BLAIR, NEB. (Sept. 5, 2:50 p.m. ET) — Bioplastics maker NatureWorks LLC is increasing its production capacity and ability to make specialty products at its plant in Blair, thanks to proprietary equipment from Swiss manufacturer Sulzer Chemtech Ltd.
The new equipment will be installed in early 2013 and will increase the site's production capacity to 330 million pounds per year — a hike of about 7 percent.
NatureWorks also will be able to make specialty grades of high-performance resins and lactides based on its Ingeo-brand biopolymer, officials with the Minnetonka, Minn.-based firm said in a Sept. 5 news release. The new materials can be used in injection molding applications and in fibers.
NatureWorks owns patents to the process used to make the new materials, while Winterthur, Switzerland-based Sulzer has exclusive worldwide sublicensing rights to the process.
The amount of NatureWorks' investment in the new equipment was not disclosed. Chief Operating Officer Bill Suehr said in the release that the project “has been a natural marriage of each company's assets, focused on ... NatureWorks' patented process technology to bring bith new capacity and new products to the market.”