Bayer Corp. has doubled nylon compounding capacity at its plant in Newark, Ohio.
The additional capacity will allow for production of a wider range of Bayer's Durethan-brand nylon compounds, and is designed to handle short- and long-term needs in the automotive and consumer markets, officials said.
Durethan business manager James Walton said the firm has seen strong growth in plastic/metal hybrid applications, under-the-hood auto parts, power tools and lawn and garden equipment.
In a recent telephone interview, Walton said the expansion includes a new twin-screw extrusion line as well as downstream equipment such as pelletizers and dryers.
He declined to offer details on the site's annual capacity or number of total lines.
The new equipment will allow Bayer to increase maximum glass loadings in its nylon compounds to 50 percent, from 35 percent. The firm also will be able to produce combination glass- and mineral-filled nylon compounds in the United States for the first time.
Most of the metal-to-plastics conversions that have benefited Bayer have come in the auto market, in parts such as grille-opening reinforcements and under-the-hood applications.
``Those programs have really taken off,'' Walton said.
Recently, a 30 percent glass-filled, black nylon 6 grade of Durethan was used in air-intake manifolds on General Motors' four-cylinder, 2.2-liter Ecotec engine.
The manifolds are molded in three parts by Mann & Hummel Automotive Inc. of Portage, Mich., and appear on several GM models, including the Chevrolet Cavalier and the new Saturn Vue sport utility vehicle.
Most Durethan compounds are based on nylon 6, with a smaller percentage based on nylon 6/6. In addition to nylon, Bayer compounds polycarbonate, ABS, polybutylene terephthalate and specialty styrenic-based resins in Newark.
Bayer also compounds nylon at plants in Uerdingen, Germany, and Filago, Italy.
Bayer employs about 160 at the 250,000-square-foot Newark plant. Employment levels won't be affected by the expansion, officials said.
North American nylon consumption was up almost 4 percent through August compared with the same period in 2001, according to the American Plastics Council in Arlington, Va.
Sales of nylon into the North American auto market were up more than 5 percent for the same period.
Pittsburgh-based Bayer Corp. is a unit of Bayer AG of Leverkeusen, Germany.