Materials firm Epaflex Polyurethanes SpA is expanding its presence in North America.
Epaflex, based in Cassolnovo, Italy, has opened a sales office in Rochester, Mich. The firm has more than 200 thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) grades available for use in automotive, general industrial, electronics, consumer goods and heavy engineering applications.
To serve the region, Epaflex has established its Epaflex Americas business unit. In an interview with Plastics News, sales and marketing director Dillon Desai said that demand for TPUs "is high, and existing capacity can't meet it."
"Suppliers don't serve small-to-medium companies very well," he added. "We needed to find a way to get into the U.S."
Epaflex also will open a testing lab in North America, Desai said, with TPU production possibly being added in the future.
Joachim Bode will serve as general manager and CEO of Epaflex Americas. In a news release, he said that "the vision for us is clear; we simply want to put the customer at the center of everything we do."
Epaflex Americas President Davide Brambillasca — who is also CEO of the parent firm — added that Epaflex "has been interested in supporting the Americas market in a more meaningful way for a long time."
Rhona Watson will serve as vice president of technology for the new business. She said that Epaflex's materials have potential in food safe materials, spiral hoses and flat and pneumatic tubes.
Desai added that Epaflex has "some bold targets," such as holding dedicated inventory for customers domestically at all times, next-day shipping for all products in inventory and "maximum response times" to phone calls and emails.
Epaflex was founded in 1991 as a specialist in production of PU systems for footwear. The firm later expanded into polyaspartic coatings, prepolymers, and spray foams for insulation.