Kraton Performance Polymers Inc. has opened the Kraton Innovation Center, a new pilot plant and research facility in Belpre, Ohio.
The center opened on June 26, and has the ability to make Kraton's styrenic block copolymer materials in sizes ranging from 55 pounds to just over 110,000 pounds. Houston-based Kraton already operates commercial-scale SBC production in Belpre.
The new plant will allow Kraton to test new types of polymer chemistry and new product applications.
“By making this additional investment in innovation, we are accelerating our time to market and improving our supply-chain capabilities, which enables us to meet the needs of our global customers,” President and CEO Kevin Fogarty said in a June 26 news release.
He added that the project “underscores our long-term commitment to the Mid-Ohio Valley and its economic growth.” Kraton now employs almost 600 at the Belpre site.
Kraton ranks as one of the world's largest SBC makers. The firm posted sales of almost $1.3 billion in 2013.