Orlando, Fla. — Baerlocher USA is pursuing a business strategy company leaders believe will put it on a course for consistent growth in the coming years.
According to Edward Hall, president and CEO, that strategy allows the company to expand its portfolio and offer extensive technical service.
"We expect to grow our staff by 20 percent in 2018," he said.
The company is also expanding its office space at its Cincinnati headquarters to include a technical center.
"This is going to be a differentiator for Baerlocher," Hall noted.
The company does not release dollar figures for the project, but Hall said, "It is a significant investment for us."
The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
Hall said the company is taking a role in helping to train the industry, even in products that it doesn't produce.
"We are investing in people and the plastics industry," he said.
The company started a tech summit several years ago with about 40 participants. Today, that number has grown to more than 100 and Hall said it continues to expand.
"We really see this as an opportunity to educate the younger engineers and chemists," he said.
Gary Conroy, the company's head of North American strategic business unit for PVC additives, said he sees people coming back year after year for the company's training in PVC plasticizing.
"Actually, 80 percent of what we are reaching isn't even Baerlocher business," he said.
The training included case studies for rigid and flexible and offered potential problems that young engineers may encounter. They are given the background, and instructors see how they would solve the problem.
The company's growth also means it has to expand its workforce. Baerlocher currently is seeking a sales position and a tech specialist. It also expects to add a human resources position in the near future.
Those are all a part of growing, and Hall said the company has grown by about 40 percent since 2013, though it leveled off in 2017.
"It created some stress for us, but it uncovered some opportunities," Hall said.
Roberto Nuñez, director of specialty additives, said that the company has expanded its polyolefins business by about 20-25 percent.
"We need to have the capacity to meet demand," he said, noting that the present changes in the polyolefins industry are moving toward new technologies.
With recycling gaining momentum in the U.S., Nuñez said, "Our solutions are well-suited for that."
During NPE2018, Baerlocher spotlighted its Baeropol DRS 6812 antioxidant along with its Baeropol RST platform.
The company is also globalizing the formulation of the RST platform chemistry to provide regional sources of supply.
Greg Andersen, director of Baeropol Products for Baerlocher, said the company sees the RST platform technology as a key to its polyolefins technology.
"This is the leading effort to have our own intellectual property," he said.
And as Nuñez was quick to add, "Innovation is never easy. You have to invest."