S&E Specialty Polymers LLC has invested over $340,000 in machinery, equipment and improvements the last two years and is planning to spend more than $220,000 this year as it updates its facility to offer its own branded family of seven specialty compounds.
The company even announced it has boosted management by hiring Jay Munsey as national sales director. He formerly worked at AlphaGary Corp. and has 25 years of plastics experience.
As many companies are shrinking, we are not shrinking. We are actually growing, said Duane Shooltz, chief operating officer, during a March 16 open house held in conjunction with MassPlastics 2011.
S&E formed in 2004 when current President Steve Graham orchestrated the acquisition of Gitto Global Corp. A year later, S&E added the intellectual property of Lynn Plastics Corp.
Shooltz said the most recent change is the addition of a Steer 28-millimeter, twin-screw lab extruder. S&E is also upgrading two of its six lines with K-Tron equipment. Later in the year, it also plans to enclose its tank farm.
The company showed off its newest twin-screw extruder, as well as an Atlas Weather-Ometer, illustrating its lab capabilities. It has ISO 17025:2005 commercial lab accreditation and will be able to handle third-party work.
S&E is using four K-Tron feeders to retrofit an extrusion line as a pilot concept for its other lines.
Shooltz said sales have been up about 25 percent per year the last couple of years and similar growth is expected this year. The company's product line is split 60 percent for PVC and 40 percent for thermoplastic olefins.
We're never going to abandon PVC, but we are trying to re-engineer how we participate. The PVC margins are very lean, so olefins are a growth market, Shooltz said.
S&E has six extrusion lines at its 65,000-square-foot facility. It runs three lines for PVC and three for polyolefins. The firm has over 75 million pounds of capacity.
Wire and cable is S&E's biggest market, accounting for 39 percent of sales. Other areas include 26 percent batteries, 12 percent automotive, 11 percent footwear and 12 percent general sales. He added that the percentage of automotive should bounce back to about 20 percent in the next six months.
Shooltz pointed to the research and development work of Ilia Charlat, vice president of R&D, as instrumental in developing new, unique compounds. Charlat spent two years developing a compound trademarked TufFill to use on a Chrysler Jeep grille. The line comprises polyolefin-based compounds designed for high flexural modulus and high impact resistance in injection molded parts. Now it can be used for battery/stored energy, footwear and wire and cable applications.
The other branded compounds are TufFlex, which consists of flexible thermoplastic elastomers for wide temperature ranges; TufPrene, a series of styrene butadiene styrene and styrene ethylbutylene styrene for extrusion, molding and overmolding; TufTech, which is vinyl-based; TufLite, which is expandable and designed to be lightweight; TufShield, a plenum series; and TufGuard, which contains flame-retardant polyolefins.
S&E has enhanced its experience by working in the development stages of compounds with such companies as Chrysler, Playtex, Colgate, Rallye Footwear, General Cable, Tyco and 3M.
The company works to make its compounds biofriendly.
We took out the lead and cadmium all kinds of nasties years ago and now look more [toward] what the industries we are serving need, Shooltz said.