Thermoset resins maker Vyncolit North America plans to add a new injection press and as many as four new employees at its technical center in Farmington Hills, Mich., during 2004.
The new press - the fourth at the site - will be used in Vyncolit's application development work in automotive and other markets, according to site manager Andrew Sanders.
``We're doing a lot of concept work in replacing metal, primarily with phenolics,'' Sanders said by phone Dec. 9.
The center opened in November 2002, shortly after Vyncolit's parent, Perstorp Group of Perstorp, Sweden, acquired the moldable composites business of Rogers Corp. for $40 million. That business included phenolics, epoxy, silicones and proprietary thermoset compounding done at a plant in Manchester, Conn.
``There weren't too many customers near Manchester,'' Sanders said of the decision to open the center near Detroit. ``Being here has really helped our presence in automotive and other markets.''
Vyncolit - which Perstorp operates as part of Vyncolit NV of Ghent, Belgium - now typically can turn around an application development project for a customer in two or three weeks, Sanders said. The firm also can commission tools to be made and oversee the process if needed.
The center also has allowed Vyncolit to host phenolic training sessions for customers.
``We get a lot of [original equipment manufacturer] and Tier 1 molder traffic through here,'' Sanders said.
About 60 percent of the center's work is in the automotive market for under-hood engine and transmission parts such as water pumps and intake manifolds. Medical application development work also is under way at the site.
Vyncolit North America currently has nine employees in its sales and marketing department, but could be adding as many as four to that total by the end of 2005, according to Americas sales manager Chris Vicory.
Vyncolit North America has annual sales of about $35 million. Perstorp's annual sales of engineering materials are $130 million.