By the end of the year, compounder A. Schulman Inc. will install a new twin-screw extrusion line at its Mexican plant, along with a pair of pulverizing lines that will allow the firm to make rotomolding powders in the country for the first time.
“We're refocusing on the rotomolding market,” rotational molding business manager Greg LeFevre said Oct. 5 at the Plastimagen México 2011 trade show in Mexico City. “Most of the growth [in Mexico] is in rotomolded water tanks.”
The pulverizers are being moved to Schulman's plant in San Luis Potosí from a plant that recently closed in Nashville, Tenn. The new twin-screw line is needed because of growth in compounds based on engineering plastics such as nylon and polycarbonate in the automotive market, according to Sotero Rivera, quality assurance manager at the San Luis Potosí plant.
The new line will be Schulman's 11th compounding line at the 16-year-old site, joining six other twin-screw lines, a single-screw line and three continuous mixers. The installation of the new line and pulverizers also will create several new jobs at the 250-employee site, Rivera said.
About 80 percent of Schulman's production in San Luis Potosí remains focused on compounds and concentrates based on polyethylene and polypropylene for the bag market. But recent growth has been driven by the automotive market, as well as by customers looking for materials that can be used in biaxially oriented PP film applications, Rivera said.
Fairlawn, Ohio-based Schulman ranks as one of North America's largest makers of compounds and concentrates.