Polyethylene wax supplier Oxidized Polyethylene Innovations has grown under new ownership and has plans for future expansion.
Gregg Chaplin and his sons Brent and Shane acquired Fountain Inn, S.C.-based OPI in May 2020. Gregg Chaplin has owned and operated G.E. Chaplin Inc., a supplier of plastic additives, specialty chemicals and additives in Flemington, N.J., since 1988.
OPI had been owned by Gabe Gruber, who started the firm in 2008 and had been a supplier of G.E. Chaplin since 2013. Each of the Chaplins now is a managing partner with OPI. Shane handles day-to-day operations, Brent handles finances and Gregg assists with operations and business development.
In a recent phone interview, Gregg Chaplin said he and his sons acquired OPI to vertically integrate in relation to his other business. OPI sells its PE waxes to resellers, who then sell the materials into various end markets.
Rigid PVC is the largest end market for OPI's PE waxes, accounting for 40-50 percent of sales through products such as pipe and siding. Oxidized high density PE waxes can be used as a processing additive in PVC, helping to maximize processing times by improving melt and flow characteristics.
OPI now employs 15. A new storage silo and additional grinding equipment should be in place by mid-2021. The firm also hopes to expand its warehouse space and install additional oxidation equipment in the next 2-3 years. "We have acres of property," Gregg Chaplin said.
Like many firms, OPI has been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. The site was professionally cleaned to reduce the risk of infection and the firm was able to meet some of its labor needs by hiring workers who were laid off by other firms in the area.
OPI also has seen a good market for its PE waxes in PVC regrind. "I think the interest there has come from both affordability and sustainability," Gregg Chaplin said.