ORLANDO, FLA. — Eastman Chemical Co.'s Tritan-brand co-polyester business continues to grow, with 35 million pounds of capacity added late last year and a second plant on the horizon.
The expansion took place in the fourth quarter of 2014 at Eastman's headquarters site in Kingsport, Tenn., and now gives the firm almost 170 million pounds of annual Tritan capacity there.
A second Tritan plant in Kingsport is in the planning stages, but no dates have been set for that project. Officials said the second plant will have annual capacity of about 130 million pounds.
“We're trying to stay ahead of demand,” said Burt Capel, specialty plastics vice president and general manager, at a Monday news conference at NPE 2015 in Orlando. “We're seeing global expansion of Tritan.”
A new Tritan web site has allowed the business to connect with injection molders and brand owners, according to global sales director Randy Beavers.
Eastman at NPE also is showcasing its work with mold maker Prestige Mold Inc. of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., on a 32-cavity mold for medical parts. The mold was successfully tested in January, making a universal female luer — a part used with IV tubing for drug delivery and similar applications.
“The mold started right up,” Prestige owner and CEO Donna Pursell said at the news conference. “There were no filling or pressure or sticking issues.
“Eastman was very involved with us in the process. There aren't too many companies that are that proactive.”
At NPE 2015, Eastman also spotlighted its Amphora 3D polymers, which is being used by 3-D filament maker Helian Polymers in its ColorFabb XT polyester. The material's high strength and good dimensional accuracy and stability make it ideal for 3-D printing applications.
Eastman is a global specialty chemicals company with 15,000 employees worldwide. The firm posted sales of $9.5 billion in 2014.