Orlando, Fla. — Teknor Apex Co. is having a solid 2018 as it tends to grow projects in Germany, Tennessee and Rhode Island.
The Pawtucket, R.I.-based compounding firm will break ground in the next 60 days for a new plant in Rothenburg, Germany, President William Murray said in a May 8 interview at NPE2018 in Orlando. The plant should be in production by the end of 2019.
Teknor also recently added a new PVC compounding line at its plant in Brownsville, Tenn. In Rhode Island, the firm now is using a new 30,000-square-foot engineering building and conference center not far from its headquarters in Pawtucket.
So far in 2018, Teknor "is continuing to grow, but competition is as tough as ever," Murray said. He added that demand from the automotive market "has backed off a little," but that business in the wire and cable and building and construction sectors is doing well.
New construction is driving volume demand growth, senior vice president Lou Cappucci said, adding that Teknor was seeing more orders for halogen-free compounds for wire and cable.
In the automotive sector, the firm's engineering resin compounds were seeing growth in metal replacements for powertrains and other high-temperature applications, according to Vice President Michael Roberts.
"There's been a tremendous amount of innovation in powertrains," he said. "We're seeing parts that couldn't be made before. These materials now are easier to process, and they flow well."
Medical market growth also has been solid for Teknor, according to Americas TPE Business Manager Sachin Sakhalkar. The firm's Medalist-brand line of medical TPEs are being used in a range of medical applications, including as a PVC replacement in medical tubing.
Murray pointed out that although the firm offers PVC replacements, it still produces PVC compounds.
"We want to be polymer neutral," he said. "We want to give our customers options, even within PVC.
"We don't want to dictate to the market. Whatever material our customers need, that's what we'll give them," Murray added.
Teknor also is "always out there" looking for acquisitions, Murray said. The firm has made two acquisitions since 2014, most recently purchasing compounder PTS GmbH of Steinsfeld, Germany, in early 2016. The PTS business will move to the Rothenburg plant when it opens.
"We're interested in plastic businesses that complement a geography or market or polymer for us anywhere in the world," Murray said.