Oxford Polymers has added a sixth compounding line at its New Britain, Conn., plant and plans to add its seventh later this year or in early 2003.
The sixth line will add 5 million pounds of annual capacity and will focus on small-lot color work and specialty-reinforced compounds, according to Chief Financial Officer David Gambardella. The line will handle color jobs of 50-3,000 pounds, he said.
In recent years Oxford has received several requests for specialty work from the automotive market, which accounts for about half of the firm's overall sales, Gambardella said.
Oxford, which does all of its work in engineering resins, has plenty of room to expand in its 100,000 square-foot site. The seventh line is expected to add 10 million pounds of annual capacity, bringing the company's total to about 40 million pounds.
Sales at Oxford were flat last year but were up about 15 percent in the first half of 2002, Gambardella said. Privately held Oxford, which employs 40, does not disclose annual sales.
Gambardella attributed much of this year's growth to a pickup in automotive business, primarily in compounds used to make under-the-hood parts. Sales into the furniture industry also have improved this year for Oxford compounds used to make such products as chair bases.
Oxford also inked a deal with distributor Prime Alliance earlier this year to further its U.S. market penetration. The deal was Oxford's first with an outside distributor.
In addition to its standard engineering resin compounding, Oxford operates a separate company called Oxford Performance Materials Inc. that focuses solely on high-performance polyketone-based compounds, Gambardella said.
The unit was spun off in late 2000 because of the difference between polyketone markets - primarily aerospace and medical - and markets served by Oxford's other products, he said.