Growth in the automotive weather seals market has Thermoplastic Rubber Systems Inc. searching for a new home.
The compounding company is looking at land in its current headquarters city of Shirley, Mass., and in nearby Leominster. TRS plans to build a 60,000-square-foot facility within the next year, according to Jonas Angus, president and co-owner.
``Our lease is going to expire in March 2004, so we are planning right now what will happen. We need the room because it is getting crowded and we have the business to support it,'' Angus said in a telephone interview.
Angus and Paul Brunelle, vice president of operations, started the company in May 2000. Less than a year later they moved from a small space to a 20,000-square-foot facility in the same complex. Angus said sales have grown rapidly, from $2 million the first year to $4 million the second year. He anticipates $6 million in sales in 2003.
TRS is running two twin-screw extrusion lines and has annual capacity of 20 million pounds. Its number of employees fluctuate with temporary help, but it currently has 12 full-time employees working three shifts, five days a week. Angus said staff will expand to 18 this year.
The company offers a variety of thermoplastic vulcanizates and specialty elastomers, including natural, black and pre-colored. Many of the offerings are replacing traditional thermoset rubber.
Angus said automotive weather seals are a growing market. TRS also has expanded through an alliance with Solvay Engineered Polymers. The Auburn Hills, Mich., company gained worldwide rights, excluding Asia, to distribute and market TRS' NexPrene-brand TPVs and other specialty thermoplastic elastomers to the automotive market. TRS compounds have won approval from Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG.
Angus said TRS also has grown by gaining a variety of approvals and certification. Its materials are approved for some medical uses; by the Food and Drug Administration for use in beverage, pharmaceutical and food containers; and by the National Sanitation Foundation for seals, tubing and gaskets.