Italian nylon resin and fiber maker Aquafil SpA is adding commercial production of nylon compounds to its fiber production site in Cartersville, Ga.
Production of compounds based on prime and recycled nylon is set to begin March 1, Aquafil's Jeff Johnson said in a Feb. 2 phone interview. Johnson serves as business director of the firm's newly formed Aquafil USA Engineering Plastics unit.
Aquafil has made fiber in Cartersville since 1999, but is adding 15 million pounds of annual compounding capacity because of demand from global customers.
We have partners and customers we've developed in Europe, but these are global customers with facilities in the U.S., he said. It's a big advantage to them to have local manufacturing.
Aquafil of Arco, Italy, is taking a similar step at its plant in Jiaxing, China, where it will begin compounding at its fiber facility by the end of February.
In Cartersville, Aquafil will be making injection molding compounds based on nylon 6 and 6/6. The materials will be available in glass-filled, colored, flame-retardant and impact-modified grades. Target markets for the compounds include automotive, electrical/electronic and appliance.
We're getting very good feedback from original equipment manufacturers, Johnson said. The auto market definitely is coming back, and we want to be here to support the business.
Johnson added that the addition of compounding is expected to create new jobs in Cartersville, but he declined to provide an estimate. Aquafil recently added almost 200,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehousing space and now has about 300,000 square feet available in total.
Aquafil's prime compounds will be marketed under the Aquamid trade name. Sustainable compounds will be sold under the Econyl trade name and will incorporate post-industrial nylon from Aquafil's own fiber operations as well as post-commercial material.
Depending on market demand, Johnson said there's a possibility production of compounds based on recycled material could match that of prime-based compounds.
It's part of the philosophy of the company for sustainability, he said.