Ferro Corp.'s Advanced Polymer Compounding unit is expanding its toll compounding menu.
In the past, Carpentersville, Ill.-based APC had done tolling work in thermoplastic elastomers, polypropylene and PVC for select customers, but the firm now is promoting the service after seeing an increase in requests.
``We're looking at our market and looking for opportunities for increased revenue flow,'' APC operations manager Steve Rust said in a recent telephone interview. ``We've seen interest from companies who are deciding if they want to do their own work, but until they get to a certain size they want to have it done by an outside firm.''
The toll compounding service also is expected to let customers test new products without excessive capital expenses, react quickly to market demand and perform research and development, APC officials said.
APC's main product is Alcryn, an olefinic TPE that can be processed like melt-processible synthetic rubber and that is used in automotive, appliance, lawn and garden and electrical applications. APC custom compounds Alcryn, creating separate formulas for each customer.
Founded in 1997 and acquired by Cleveland-based Ferro in 1999, APC operates five kneading lines and two twin-screw extrusion lines in Carpentersville. The site's total annual capacity is between 30 million and 40 million pounds.
In the past 18 months, the unit completed a 40,000-square-foot warehouse expansion and installed a pilot extrusion line that can run specialty orders as large as 5,000 pounds. APC also may add a mixing line in late 2003, Rust said.
Although most of APC's own production is in Alcryn - which was developed by DuPont Co. before being bought by APC's founders - Rust said he expects toll compounding demand to be divided evenly among TPEs, PP and PVC.
APC employs about 50 and posted annual sales of about $25 million in 2002.