Fluortubing LLC, which does business as Fluortubing USA, has been distributing polytetrafluoroethylene tubing in the U.S., but now is making preparations to manufacture here as well.
The company, co-owned by Jack Wisdom, recently purchased a 48,000-square-foot facility in Campbellsville, Ky., and is hoping to begin operations there by the end of March.
``We originally were interested in manufacturing in Holland and finishing it here - we were just going to distribute it,'' said Wisdom, president of Fluortubing, in a March 10 telephone interview.
``But since the dollar continues to get weaker, it doesn't make sense to do it. So, last fall, we decided to make it here.''
The company is a subsidiary of Fluortubing BV of Utrecht, the Netherlands, a firm that has a commanding position in PTFE tubing in Europe.
Fluorotubing USA has had a presence in the U.S. for about two years, according to Wisdom. He said it occupied a 10,000-square-foot space in Campbellsville, but the decision to manufacture means a multimillion investment and a search for workers.
Wisdom said he just hired an operations manager and is looking for about 15 employees to spend up to a year in the Netherlands learning the process.
``We will hire people and send them to Europe to train as much as one year. It is a very difficult process,'' he noted.
The build-up in Kentucky will take place in phases. The first part is building a 60-foot tower and extrusion line. The first extruder is expected to be on line by the third quarter of this year. He's hoping to have three extruders operating by mid-2009.
``What's unique is that we build our own equipment and then we install it,'' Wisdom said.
The process enables Fluortubing to produce convoluted tubing up to 6 inches in diameter. The firm can produce continuous lengths of 500-600 feet for 1-inch diameter and 400 feet for 2-inch diameter. It also makes an anti-static tubing that is striped with carbon black.
Wisdom said the company has a licensing agreement with DuPont Co. of Wilmington, Del., to make Teflon-brand PTFE tubing.
Fluortubing has been in the Netherlands for about 17 years. Among its key industries are chemical processing, pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical, where extreme purity is required.
``Teflon tubing and hose is literally everywhere,'' he said.
The company is receiving some tax incentives from the state of Kentucky, but for Wisdom, he finds incentive in opening a business in his home town.