Custom compounder Oxford Polymers of New Britain, Conn., has entered long-fiber compounding with its Stranox-brand product line.
Oxford began producing the material in grades based on polypropylene and nylon 6 earlier this year at its 100,000-square-foot facility in New Britain, President Nick DeFelice said in a recent telephone interview.
``Our customers had been asking us to supply the material, and it looked like a good growth area for us,'' he said.
``Initially, we're going into niche markets instead of going after automotive, where most long-fiber applications have been.''
The North American long-fiber market is small but growing. Leading the way is RTP Co. of Winona, Minn., and the Exton, Pa.-based LNP Engineering Plastics Inc. unit of GE Performance Materials.
Recent patent expirations have allowed other competitors to enter the field.
Oxford expects to add Stranox grades based on nylon 6/6 by the end of the year.
The 35-employee firm currently offers 10 standard grades of Stranox, which uses glass fibers to reinforce the strength of the base resin.
Oxford bases all of its products on engineering resins.
The company installed its eighth compounding line earlier this year, DeFelice said, and now has annual capacity of 40 million pounds.
DeFelice said Oxford could add as much as 50,000 square feet to its existing location if needed to handle future growth.
Privately held Oxford does not disclose annual sales, but DeFelice said the firm posted a 20 percent sales gain in 2003.