Materials supplier Ico Polymers Inc. of Houston has started production at its new facility in Bel HÃ³rizonte, Brazil, the company announced at Rotoplas '02, held Oct. 6-9 in Toronto.
Ico Polymers do Brasil Ltda. has begun production with capacity of about 2.2 million pounds per month, said Glenn Iken, managing director of the South American operation. He expects the plant initially to run at about half capacity for the relatively new rotational molding markets of South America.
South American demand for rotomolding compounds is growing about 10 percent per year, Iken said. Water tanks account for the biggest-volume rotomolded product on the continent, with a 40 percent share. Toys and agriculture are other key markets.
Ico's growth in South America partly will depend on how fast it can convince rotomolders to use its compounds. Most processors now rely on dry blending to mix resin powder with additives. That in-house mixing detracts from rotomolders' main purpose of making products for a fast-growing market, Iken said.
``Blending is not their specialty,'' he added.
Ico had been supplying Brazil and other South American countries from plants in Australia and New Zealand. South America was the last global region without an Ico production plant.
``To service Brazilian, Argentinian and other molders, we need to be here to make products which are right for our market,'' Paulo Palhares, Ico Brasil sales director, said in a news release.
The Brazilian plant will make Cotene and Icorene compounds.
Ico Polymers, which has 21 plants in 10 countries, also makes concentrates for film production. The company also announced that it now offers custom formulations of Icorene rotomolding powders. Processors can specify density, melt flow and other properties. Ico previously focused on stock formulations.
The firm said it and Ciba Specialty Chemicals will develop specialty additive packages for rotomolding. Ico's Icorene formulations can contain ultraviolet-light stabilizers, anti-statics, antimicrobials and other Ciba additives.