HARTFORD, CONN. — Specialized Technology Resources Inc. has been involved in plastics research and development since it started in 1944. In recent years, the Enfield, Conn., company has branched out into materials testing and research, specialty manufacturing and consumer product testing.
However, the firm stressed its plastics pedigree at a seminar at the recent Plasti/Conn 2000 show in Hartford.
STR started in Springfield, Mass., as DeBell & Richardson Inc. It was incorporated by two former Monsanto Co. research directors and was devoted entirely to plastics research and development. The company moved to Enfield in 1946.
In the 1970s it added physical testing and became Springborn Laboratories Inc. When owner Robert C. Springborn retired, controlling interest was sold to J.H. Whitney & Co. of New York. In 1998, it was renamed Specialized Technology Resources Inc.
STR has 664 employees, including 216 based in the United States. The rest are stationed in 39 countries around the world, according to marketing manager John V. Riley. The firm has 6,000 clients, and is opening a new laboratory in Turkey this year, he said.
In the last decade, federally funded programs have fueled the company's growth.
In one project, STR worked as a subcontractor to the U.S. Department of Energy to develop ethylene vinyl acetate encapsulants. Now it is working on developing flame-retardant and faster-curing EVA encapsulants through a contract with the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
"This came out of the R&D effort. It is an important part of our business," said Frederick G. Crocker Jr., STR's vice president and chief financial officer.
In another project, the company began work in 1994 to develop a no-lick stamp for the U.S. Postal Service. "They wanted an adhesive that could be recycled [by] paper mills," Crocker said.
Crocker said STR also showed its versatility through work on high density polyethylene splice insulators for fiber-optic cables
Lynne A. Thoma, department manager for paper and adhesive development, said the insulators have to withstand pressure at the bottom of the ocean, and must never fail.
STR also does specialty injection molding and low-volume production and prototype runs.