It's been a busy 12 months for LTL Color Compounders. Since August 2001, the firm has doubled its capacity and staff and moved to a larger location in Morrisville, Pa.
The firm, which specializes in color compounds of engineering resins, now operates 10 twin-screw extrusion lines and employs 40 in a 70,000-square-foot building. LTL plans to use its former site in nearby Fallsington, Pa., for warehouse space until its lease expires late next year.
LTL produces about 35 million pounds of product each year. Sales for 2002 are expected to total $20 million, up about 20 percent from last year's $17 million sales mark, according to Paul Zema, national sales manager.
The expansion was prompted by growth in each of LTL's markets, including electronics, telecommunications, business machinery, automotive and medical. Zema said LTL's end-market mix truly is balanced, with no single market contributing even 30 percent of the firm's total sales.
``We put a lot of effort into anticipating what the economy would do,'' Zema said in a recent telephone interview. ``So when telecommunications demand was soft last year, we were picked up by other areas like furniture.''
With average turnaround times of two or three days, LTL is well-positioned to meet its typical order size of 2,000 pounds, Zema said. The firm can crank out orders as small as 55 pounds for specialty materials.
LTL does more than half of its business in proprietary compounds, but still does toll compounding as well. Its primary base resins are polycarbonate and acrylic, although lately the firm has been doing more work in nylon, according to General Manager Jim Figaniak, who founded LTL in 1990 along with college pal Chris Kasmer and Kasmer's father, Tony.
At the time, Tony Kasmer owned Trilite Plastics, a profile extruder in Fallsington. He often had difficulty sourcing the specialty color compounds he needed, so he asked his son Chris and Figaniak, who were students at Drexel University in Philadelphia, to come up with a business plan for a compounding venture.
``Two weeks after graduating we were incorporating the company,'' Figaniak recalled. ``Tony [Kasmer] approached us with the idea and left us alone.
``Then he helped us with the financing while Chris ran the plant and I took care of sales and marketing and product formulations,'' Figaniak added. ``Things took off from there.''
Tony Kasmer sold Trilite in the mid-90s and now is semi-retired as LTL's president.
LTL is going strong, with Figaniak saying the firm plans to move downstream into manufacturing finished goods - probably film or sheet products - early next year.