PolyOne Corp. will spend $8.2 million to transform a vacant warehouse into a compounding plant and lab at its headquarters site in Avon Lake, Ohio.
The 100,000-square-foot site will employ 38 and operate six extrusion lines, with space for an additional six. The new machinery will include twin-screw Coperion ZSK Megacompounders. The plant's product mix will include compounds based on specialty engineering resins and thermoplastic elastomers.
PolyOne also will transfer two twin-screw and two single-screw lines from a plant in Broadview Heights, Ohio, that closed last year. Renovation of the building's roof began in late January. The first new machine should be in place by May 1, with the second arriving by the end of September. The Broadview Heights lines should be moved by mid-July, the company said.
The project is intended to improve the focus of PolyOne's North American engineered materials unit, Vice President and general manager Richard Burns said in a Feb. 2 phone interview.
``We want to spend more time on specialty resins like polycarbonates and polysulfones,'' he said. ``These are products with smaller volumes but higher margins. It's an area where we do well in Asia and Europe, and we need to strengthen the business in North America.''
North American engineered materials were on track to ring up sales of about $100 million for PolyOne in 2005. Through September, the unit's sales were down 2 percent and volumes were down 10 percent.
But officials said those results - making up about 4 percent of the firm's overall sales total - were affected by a drop in toll compounding business from the automotive market. In 2006, tolling for both engineering and color work will be reported elsewhere in PolyOne's financials.
Even with the change, Burns said he still expects the unit to hit the $100 million mark in 2006, meaning it would produce a sales gain of about 30 percent.
``We're expanding our reach in elastomers and in areas like double-shot molding,'' he added. ``There are new opportunities in the industrial, electronic, medical and automotive markets.''
PolyOne ranks as North America's largest compounder, with a market share estimated at 12 percent. The firm posted sales of about $2.5 billion in 2005.