Milliken & Co. is expanding the assets it acquired when it bought German compounder and concentrates maker Zebra-chem GmbH early last year.
Spartanburg, S.C.-based Milliken is installing new manufacturing equipment and adding three employees at Zebra-chem's site in Bad Bentheim, officials said in a news release. The expansion will allow Milliken to boost production capacity at the site by 60 percent by the end of the year. Milliken also has built a new warehouse in the area.
"We are seeing very strong demand from several end markets where these products are adding value," Sales Manager Tugce Asici-van Houselt said. "These facilities will continue to serve the global market, with a focus on Europe, the Middle East and Africa."
Viscosity modifiers and performance modifiers made at the German plant increase melt flow of recycled polypropylene resins with minimal loss of physical properties, officials said. This enables more recycled content to be used by processors and brand owners without compromising overall performance, they added.
"We are excited to be able to leverage our leading position in Europe to help accelerate market solutions that improve and increase manufacturing with recycled plastics," Wim Van de Velde, global plastic additives vice president, said. "This expansion signals that the market is clearly responding."
Other materials made at the site serve as chemical blowing agents for foamed thermoplastics. These items allow for lightweighting and improved thermal and sound insulation. They're suitable for use in PVC, PP, polyethylene and polystyrene and can be used in both extrusion and injection molding foam processing methods.
Milliken officials said the firm is on track to fully integrate the acquired operations this year. Milliken is one of the world's largest privately held chemicals and textiles makers. Plastics-related products made by the firm include polymer additives, such as clarifying agents for polypropylene.