ORLANDO, FLA. — Strong growth is leading Vertellus Specialties Inc. — a first-time NPE exhibitor — to add capacity for its ZeMac line of copolymer additives.
The Indianapolis-based firm will add capacity via a debottlenecking later this year at its plant in Zeeland, Mich., plastics commercial development director Ashok Adur said at NPE 2015, in Orlando. A new production line for the material may be added in 2016 or 2017, he added.
Growth for the product is coming from automotive and other sectors. The material can improve the performance of nylon resins by increasing molecular weight and providing branching. In addition to nylon compounds, ZeMac can be used with glass fibers. ZeMac sales were up almost 30 percent in 2014 and are expected to increase more than 30 percent this year.
Vertellus also is seeing growth from its Citroflex-brand bioplasticizers, which can be used in specialty grades of PVC as well as in biopolymers, according to plastics business director Michael Szabo. The material can have as much as 80-85 percent corn-based biocontent. Citroflex is made at a Vertellus plant in Greensboro, N.C.
Citroflex uses range from toys to packaging to medical applications. The material is seeing increased interest as processors look for non-phthalate plasticizers. Citroflex is phthalate-free.
Like ZeMac, Citroflex has been in production for more than 30 years, but now is finding more uses in the plastics market. Currently about 10 percent of the firm's global sales total of more than $550 million comes from plastics, but that number is growing — which led the firm to NPE 2015.
“The level of activity in what we're doing in plastics is definitely increasing,” Szabo said.