ORLANDO, FLA. — The long line of new products that Teknor Apex Co. brought to NPE 2015 didn't happen by accident — it was the result of a focused investment in research and development.
“We invested a great deal in an ERP system for our information technology,” Executive Vice President Bert Lederer said. “When you take good chemists, and give them better tools, they can be more productive and develop compounds that meet customer needs.”
Pawtucket, R.I.-based Teknor unveiled 13 new products at the event, including five new PVC compounds, four new thermoplastic elastomers, three new bioplastic materials and a new color concentrate.
Lederer said the automotive market continues to be strong for the firm. President William Murray said that interest in automotive lightweighting “has provided nice growth” for Teknor's thermoplastic vulcanizate TPEs.
New PVC and polyolefin capstock compounds for fencing and decking made by Viking Polymers — the Jamestown, N.C.-based compounder that Teknor acquired in early 2014 — “have taken [Teknor] into a whole new subset,” Murray said. Working with Viking has allowed Teknor to develop technology and products it didn't have before, Lederer added.
On the capacity front, Teknor recently in Singapore opened a new PVC compounding line with 25 million to 30 million pounds of annual capacity. The line will make rigid PVC compounds for packaging, pipefitting and other uses.
New materials from Teknor at NPE 2015 include:
• New grades of Terraloy-brand bioplastic made using Pebax-brand thermoplastic elastomers from Arkema Inc. The two firms announced their collaboration in January. The new materials are expected to be used in breathable films for the housewrap market.
• Flexalloy-brand PVC compounds for cable jacketing in mining, oil drilling and other harsh environments. The new compounds provide the elasticity and low-temperature toughness of TPEs along with PVC benefits like flame retardancy.
• Medical-grade Apex SCR-brand PVC compounds that can compete with polycarbonate in clear medical components such as connectors and check valves. Officials said these grades have comparable strength and excellent clarity, while reducing or eliminating the stress cracking that often occurs in clear plastics at the interface with flexible PVC components such as tubing.
Teknor, founded in 1924, operates 13 plants worldwide and has annual sales of more than $600 million.