Kraton Polymers LLC is boosting production of its flagship styrenic block copolymer resin by 20 percent through streamlinings in Belpre, Ohio, and Berre, France.
The Berre project, to be completed by mid-2003, is a low-cost capital investment to support growth in European markets.
The Belpre project, to be completed by mid-2004, is based on new proprietary technologies developed by research and development staff at Houston-based Kraton.
Kraton officials declined to release production details, but said capacity at the Belpre site roughly will double, while Berre will gain about 5.5 million pounds of annual capacity.
Garret Davies, global director for Kraton's G line, identified automotive weather stripping and food-wrap packaging as high-growth areas for the 30-year-old material.
About 20 percent of Kraton goes into traditional plastic applications like molding and extrusion, with the remainder going into adhesives, sealants, roofing materials, asphalt modifiers and similar markets.
Worldwide, Kraton operates six plants and has about 700 million pounds of capacity. The company employs 950, including a staff of 150 in R&D. Kraton also licenses several independent compounders to make Kraton-based compounds.
Kraton's 2001 sales were estimated at $650 million.