Triad Polymers LLC is boosting its research and development tool kit to develop new plastics.
The Greensboro, N. C., company has been installing new laboratory equipment and has hired two materials scientists in its effort to create new polymers.
"We want to be ahead of the curve with new materials," said Lee Williams, Triad vice president of research and development, in a phone interview.
Williams said a recent lab addition was a mass spectrometer, an instrument that identifies elements in a mixture and can help elucidate molecular structures in the mixture. Triad has installed the instrument and will start using it shortly, Williams said. Triad has tripled its lab area to accommodate the new instruments, which can perform thermal and chemical analyses of polymers. In 2015 it upgraded its pilot production line with automated material handling, precise metering and a more advanced human-machine interface.
The materials development thrust coincides with an investment of more than $2 million in advanced compounding equipment for sampling and production. Recently added were two Leistritz high-torque twin screw extruders with barrel diameters of 27 and 50 millimeters. The additions boost Triad's production capacity to four extrusion lines. Triad is certified to ISO 9001 standards.
Triad was founded by owner Jeff Bruner in 2010. Its early work focused on materials for textiles production but it soon branched into thermoplastic masterbatches for packaging, blow molding and injection molding, Williams recalled.
Triad is working with various resins and reinforcements such as nano carbon tubes and nano minerals. It has already developed compounds with added UV stabilizers, flame retardants, optical brighteners, slip agents and anti-microbial additives.
About 50 employees in Greensboro work on compounding and materials research as well as similar research on textiles in a facility that also houses Bruner's other businesses.