Specialty compounder PolyChem Alloy Inc., which exhibited at NPE 2003 in Chicago, has established a base in Europe in its quest to become a global supplier and plans to go into production in the region.
In July, the privately owned Lenoir, N.C.-based company launched a European enterprise based in England to capitalize on its growing sales in the region.
PCA, whose products include thermoplastic elastomers, additive masterbatches and impact modifiers as well as custom compounds, appointed Ron McGregor its European operations director. He heads a sales and technical team of five in Sevenoaks, England.
Within the next 18 months, PCA aims to establish several compounding sites across Europe, as well as a network of agents to market its range of products.
Already, PCA has achieved significant sales, according to McGregor.
``We are in deep negotiation with four or five potential agents in different parts of Europe. PolyChem Alloy's central idea is `to make in Europe for Europe,' '' said McGregor, a business start-up specialist with a background in the coatings and rubber sectors.
To begin with, PCA is targeting the United Kingdom and two undisclosed European countries with compounds and other products being shipped from North Carolina.
Although PCA does not rule out locating one production site in England, a final decision on European manufacturing is not expected for about six months, McGregor said.
PolyChem Alloy, founded by Brown University polymer chemist Chakra Gupta in 1989, moved from Granite Falls, N.C., to its present 11-acre Lenoir site in 2000.
From an initial focus on the cable, wire and packaging markets, PolyChem Alloy has branched into other sectors including computers and electronics, telecommunications, office furniture, sports and recreation, medical devices and foam.
Earlier this year, the firm, which employs about 30, raised its compounding capacity by about 12 million pounds per year to about 60 million pounds by installing a Coperion MegaCompounder. The new line, which brings its total to three, produces specialty TPEs and various impact modifiers for engineering polymers.
PolyChem Alloy, which retained the Portland, Maine, consulting firm Atlantica Group LLC in 2000 to help it develop business abroad, also is looking at expansion in Asia, McGregor said.
``Apart from our European business, the growth plan is simultaneously to move into Japan and to Southeast Asia,'' he said.