Independent European compounders and concentrate makers can't afford to stand still. If they do, one of their many competitors may pass them up.
A great number of companies in that area had projects to talk about at K 2004. Topping the list was Global Colors, a partnership made up of four separate firms: Plastika Kritis SA of Crete, Greece; Romcolor of Bucharest, Romania; Senkroma Masterbatch of Istanbul, Turkey; and Global Color Polska of Kozle, Poland.
Global opened a facility in China in early 2004, primarily to serve the film market, according to sales executive Cristiana Barbuceanu. The firm also added film-grade capacity in Greece and installed new extrusion machinery in Romania, she added. Combined total capacity for the Global Colors group now is about 50 million pounds per year.
A similar group-based approach is being taken by Alqemia Group, a Dutch conglomerate combining Areton International Plastics Ltd. of Wrexham, England; Constab Polyolefin Additives GmbH of Ruthen, Germany; and Kafrit Industries Ltd. of Negev, Israel.
Alqemia is focused on compounds and concentrates based on polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC and polycarbonate. The firm employs 250, has almost 100 million pounds of annual capacity and expects to exceed 70 million euros ($91 million) in sales for 2004.
At PP compounder AD Compound srl of Milan, Italy, the firm launched its first line of glass-fiber-filled compounds in early 2004, sales assistant Federica Rampazzo said. Previously, AD had focused on carbonate and talc-filled grades. AD - which moved into a new plant in 2002 - employs 15 and operates three extrusion lines with combined annual capacity of about 13 million pounds.
A new twin-screw extrusion line installed in early 2004 lifted annual capacity to 33 million pounds for color concentrate maker Chrostiki SA of Koropi, Greece. Managing Director Kostas Papaioannou said the 70-employee firm also is commercializing polyolefin compounds with smaller particle sizes that can accept loadings of 40 percent and higher.
Chrostiki - which sells its concentrates under the Filolen brand name - expects to post sales of 10 million euros ($13 million) in 2004 and predicts growth of more than 10 percent in 2005, Papaioannou said.
In Germany, Diez-based Comptek GmbH has launched new color compounds, blends and reprocessed-content grades based on engineering resins such as polysulfone, polyphylene sulfide and polyetherimide, according to sales director Ursula Karlstrom. The firm also is seeing growth in high-temperature and fluorocarbon-based resins for the automotive market.
Other independent compounding developments on the continent include:
* New engineering-grade compounds based on acetal, nylon 6 and fluoropolymers from Zaklady Azotowe Tarnoie-Moscicach of Tarnow, Poland.
* New lines of compounds and concentrates based on PVC and thermoplastic elastomers - including styrenic block copolymers and thermoplastic polyurethanes - from Applicazioni Plastiche Industriali of Vicenza, Italy.
* A new series of Elastron-brand TPEs from Elastron Kimya of Kocaeli, Turkey. The new products can be based on SBCs, TPVs or TPOs. The firm - which changed its name from Solvent Uretim in early 2004 - has annual capacity of about 45 million pounds.