Spartech Corp. by midsummer plans to open a technology center near its headquarters in Clayton, Mo., and is consolidating some compounding and sheet operations.
The producer of plastic sheet, compounds and packaging products announced the expansion March 1. The facility will bring together Spartech's material development, product development and packaging technology centers in an 80,000- to 100,000-square-foot facility, according to a March 1 news release.
The company did not disclose the facility's cost. In a March 2 phone interview, Randy Martin, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the center will be in leased space that is about four times the size of existing facilities.
The opportunity here is about combining our material science [and] our extrusion technologies in packaging and product technologies, all in one facility, he said. We've outgrown the respective spaces.
About 40 material scientists, processing engineers, and commercial development specialists will work in the center, he said. Some will transfer from other Spartech operations, but the majority will be new hires, he said.
The center will be designed specifically to give current and future customers opportunities to work with Spartech's expanded technology team on advanced thermoplastics and polymers, new product applications, and innovative processing
It will be a full complement of lab and technology opportunities, Martin said. We do have extrusion capabilities [and] thermoforming equipment in this facility so that we can basically show the real-time impact of changing formulations, changing methodologies on our productions.
[The center] will be focused on new product development, but it's basically the same-sized equipment that we use in our plant facilities, he said.
Spartech's three business segments, which operate in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and France, process about 1 billion pounds of resins, specialty plastic alloys, and color and specialty compounds a year.
Spartech's first-quarter earnings, released March 4, show profit of $4.7 million on sales of $225.2 million compared with a loss of $5.1 million on sales of $237.3 million in the year-ago period.
The company said it has substantially completed the consolidation of its Kearny, N.J., compounding plant into other facilities and announced plans to expand a sheet facility in Wichita, Kan., to consolidate production from its Arlington, Texas, plant.
Spartech employs about 2,400.
Copyright 2010 Crain Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.