Engineered thermoplastics compounder RTP Co. has opened a new manufacturing plant in Ladenburg, Germany, the company's second in Europe.
Operating as RTP Deutschland GmbH, the 61,500-square-foot operation will make products including very-long-fiber composites and conductive compounds.
In addition to expanding manufacturing capacity, the Ladenburg plant also houses on-site product development engineers as well as a quality assurance laboratory, John Van Wijk, European director of sales, said in a news release.
Winona, Minn.-based RTP now has 11 manufacturing sites. Others include Beaune, France; Suzhou, China; Singapore; Monterrey, Mexico; and six plants in the U.S.
RTP bought the Beaune plant from French thermoplastics compounder Codiplast SNC in 1995. Since then, RTP has significantly expanded its global footprint. The company said a second plant in Europe was necessary because of growth in its market for engineered materials.
In an interview at K 2010, European sales and development manager Colin Rooney said RTP has seen strong demand for compounds based on nylon and polypropylene for the automotive sector.
If you want to be in automotive [in Europe], Germany is the place, he said, adding that a number of customers had asked RTP to locate a facility there.
RTP's long-fiber products and other materials can be used in automotive battery trays, front-end parts and door panels. The first extrusion line at the Ladenburg plant was commissioned in late October, with the second line set to begin production in the first quarter of 2011.
Business in 2009 wasn't good for anybody, Rooney said. But it came back this year.
Earlier in 2010. RTP entered the South American market with a sales office and warehouse in Alphaville, Brazil, near São Paulo. Officials said they are needed because of increased demand for domestically made products from the automotive, consumer-goods and energy markets.
RTP ranks as one of North America's 30 largest compounders and concentrate makers.