CRC Polymer Systems Inc. is planning for a busy 2004, when it expects to open a new technical center and add five employees.
The Rochester, N.Y.-based firm opened a new 4,000-square-foot headquarters there this summer. CRC currently operates a technical center in Stanford, Vt., but is looking at potential new sites in New England and New York, co-owner and technical director David Saldo said by telephone Nov. 26.
CRC has a unique business plan, in which it develops ``polymer systems'' - which can include anything ranging from compound or concentrate formulation to resin selection to feeding systems - for its clients.
``Customers will come to us saying they need to make this product to meet these standards, and we take it from there,'' said CRC co-owner and sales and marketing director Todd Ewing. ``It's a natural progression to what the industry needs.''
CRC's customer mix ranges from injection molding to blow molding to structural foam and beyond.
The mix also is fairly evenly split between markets such as consumer, automotive and industrial, with no end segment having more than a 20 percent share of CRC's business.
In its four-year history, the firm has worked with a stable of between 20 and 30 clients, designing polymer systems used in products such as garden sprayers - for Chapin Manufacturing Inc. of Batavia, N.Y. - and oxygen equipment for home health care - for Airsep Corp. of Rochester, N.Y.
Resin suppliers that CRC has worked with include Basell Polyolefins, Dow Chemical Co. and Atofina Petrochemicals Inc.
Saldo and Ewing developed the idea that became CRC when they worked together at M.A. Hanna Co. of Cleveland in the mid-1990s. Saldo previously had been with GE Plastics, while Ewing had worked for Eastman Kodak Co.
``We wanted to provide service at the application level,'' Saldo said of CRC's beginnings. ``That wasn't being done by material suppliers at the time.''
``What separates us is our ability to work at the manufacturing site,'' Ewing added. ``We're at the [injection molding] press or blow molding site to make sure the system works.''
CRC does not own its own compounding assets, preferring to work with a group of toll compounders.
``We're very good at application and development, and manufacturing would distract us from that, from a time standpoint,'' Saldo said. ``There are other people who have their forte in compounding.''
Recently, CRC has done more work in developing products without a specific client focus. One recent example of this approach is mineralized thermoplastic elastomers for industrial and houseware uses.
Privately held CRC does not release sales figures, but Ewing said the firm expects to post sales of more than $15 million in 2004.