A stronger economy is driving Teknor Apex Co.'s recently announced expansion projects.
In a Jan. 31 interview with Plastics News, President William Murray provided more details of the firm's plans to grow in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Tennessee.
At its headquarters in Pawtucket, R.I., Teknor has invested in research and development and corporate activities, adding between 20 and 30 jobs in the last year, Murray said. This growth didn't require physical expansion of the site, he added.
In Leominster, Mass., Teknor plans to add 12 new jobs and install a new production line for Sarlink-brand thermoplastic vulcanizate (TPV) materials this summer, according to Murray, who has been with Teknor for almost 40 years and has been the firm's president since 2013.
Teknor's biggest expansion will take place in Brownsville, Tenn., where the firm will spend $32.2 million on several projects, creating 50 new jobs. A new nylon compounding line was installed recently, Murray said, and a new PVC compounding line is set to begin production late this year.
The firm also will build a 200,000-square-foot distribution center in Brownsville. Land for the project was provided by the city, with the state providing a $400,000 grant. Teknor also will receive a 10-year partial tax abatement on the new building, according to Murray.
Brownsville also has received several new lines producing PVC garden hose. Teknor's new ZeroG-brand hose — a fabric hose with PVC tubing — “has taken off tremendously,” Murray said.
Overall, Teknor has seen “continued strength” in the automotive market and “a wider presence in numerous markets, he added. The consumer market in particular has benefited from the success of Teknor's garden hose products, he explained.
Teknor was founded as a tire recapper in 1924. The firm now employs more than 2,000 worldwide and has annual sales of more than $600 million. In North America, Teknor is one of the region's 30 largest makers of compounds and concentrates, according to Plastics News data.
Teknor's compounds are used in applications ranging from wire and cable products to automotive, medical, consumer and industrial products.