Kraton Polymers LLC opened a new innovation center in Houston on June 17.
The 55,000-square-foot facility employs 80 and will allow the styrenic block copolymers maker to cut its time from conceptualization to commercialization by 50 percent, CEO and President Kevin Fogarty said at NPE2009.
The amount of innovation we've commercialized this year is as much as at any time I can remember, Fogarty said. We've come up with a lot of new polymers and new applications. It's a further indication that we're not veering from our strategy to lead the industry in innovation.
At NPE. Kraton focused on its new Nexar-brand SBCs for high-performance breathable fabrics, water transport, filtration and separation uses.
Two other new Kraton grades offer better recyclability and sustainability vs. PVC in medical, construction and electronics.
Tough economic times have affected Kraton and other specialty plastics and chemicals makers, but things seem to be improving of late, according to Fogarty.
Things are getting better, but we're still a long way off from where we want to be, he said. But that's not slowing down our long-term innovation. The most sustainable ways we can grow don't exist today.
Houston-based Kraton posted sales of almost $1.2 billion in 2008, up 10 percent vs. 2007.
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