Compounder PlastiComp LLC has added a new extrusion line at its Winona, Minn., location and plans to open a new plant in Winona next year as well.
The new line will increase PlastiComp's annual production capacity for long-fiber-thermoplastic pellets by 3 million to 5 million pounds, President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Bowen said in an Aug. 30 news release. Bowen added that PlastiComp expects to make similar expansions ``for each of the next several years.''
The new plant will cover 45,000 square feet and will be located near PlastiComp's existing 15,000-square-foot site.
The $3 million project will create 10-20 jobs and the facility is set to open in the summer, Bowen said in a Sept. 6 phone interview.
PlastiComp currently employs 20 and now operates three lines with total annual capacity of 10 million to 15 million pounds.
Formed in 2003, PlastiComp sells Complet-brand LFT pellets based on nylon, thermoplastic polyurethane and other resins. The firm previously did some work in polypropylene, but Bowen said that segment now ``is well-served'' by other compounders. PlastiComp also licenses its Pushtrusion-brand LFT thermoplastics compounding technology.
PlastiComp's LFT pellets can be used in injection molding and extrusion. Pushtrusion technology provides in-line compounding of glass-fiber-reinforced materials directly into parts, skipping the pellet step.
Bowen declined to provide a sales figure for PlastiComp, but he said 2007 sales should be about five times higher than the firm's 2006 total.
He chalked the growth wave up to ``a high level of experienced people working in a startup company.''
In the LFT field, PlastiComp is a relatively small company, competing against the likes of RTP Co., Ticona's Celstran unit and Sabic Innovative Plastics' LNP business. Bowen said his firm has benefited from its wide approach to the market.
``We're not saying the answer is pellets over all things,'' he said. ``We offer what the customer wants and let them determine the best way to go.''
PlastiComp recently commercialized LFT pellets using glass fibers 1-2 inches long. Many previous LFT compounds used fibers that were only 2 millimeters long, he said.
In addition to its own new line, PlastiComp in 2007 has built and installed three lines for licensees in Europe and two for licensees in Asia. Bowen would identify only one of the licensees: Indore Composites of Mumbai, India. The line is the second Indore has licensed from PlastiComp, joining one that was installed in 2006.