Mexico City — Techmer PM plans to add a second work shift at its year-old compounding plant in Querétaro, Mexico, and plans to add a major new production line in Tennessee.
The Querétaro site opened in April 2018. The 60,000-square-foot plant employs 30 and will add a second shift in the second quarter of 2019, Latin America General Manager Guillermo Quijano said April 4 at Plastimagen in Mexico City.
"We're moving to plan with volume and working hard to serve existing customers and new ones," he said. The plant is seeing strong sales into the agricultural market. It offers Techmer's full range of engineering compounds, additives and color materials.
The new line will be added in May at Techmer's headquarters site in Clinton, Tenn. The line will be the firm's highest-technology product line and will make complex 3D printing materials, founder and CEO John Manuck said.
Techmer has done extensive work with 3D materials since 2014, including collaborations with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
On the new product front, Techmer recently introduced a multi-season antifog additive for use in polyethylene-based agricultural films. The materials allow PE film to last for more than one growing season.
Another new product for Techmer is a carbon fiber-filled ABS for 3D printing. The materials are being used in ambulance interiors, police trucks and similar applications.
Manuck is continuing to push for higher material inspection standards in the plastics industry. Techmer had problems in that area after it acquired TP Composites in 2013. Similar issues caused major financial problems for compounder A. Schulman Inc., leading to that firm being sold to LyondellBasell Industries last year.
"You can't afford to have your brand destroyed," Manuck said. "Having a letter on file [for material certification] won't protect anyone."
To avoid such conflict, Manuck said firms should meet and establish regular contact with regulatory staff at their suppliers.
"Sometimes a letter might not apply to that particular resin or it might be a food-grade certificate that only applies to certain foods," he explained. "You don't expect someone to misrepresent their materials. It's tough."
Techmer employs 650 and has annual sales of more than $200 million. The firm ranks as one of North America's 30 largest compounders and concentrate makers. Techmer has six facilities in the U.S. in addition to sites in Brazil, Germany and Mexico.
Last month, Techmer was named to the Plastics News Best Places to Work list for 2019. It's the fourth time since 2014 that Techmer has received that honor.