Compounders are responding to increased demand for their products during the coronavirus outbreak.
Teknor Apex Co. of Pawtucket, R.I., has seen "some spikes" in personal protective equipment (PPE) product demand, particularly where the firm supplies thermoplastic elastomers into masks, officials said in an email to Plastics News.
"We are doing everything we can to support and expedite the production and delivery of these items," they added. PVC compound demand "remains steady, although we do anticipate orders will grow as the medical supply chain runs low and customers begin ramping up their raw material inventory."
In colorants, Teknor has seen increased demand from customers involved in making COVID-19 test kits, as well as from those supplying tubing to the ventilator market. The firm also is receiving a steady stream of letters from customers in various industries who have been designated as essential manufacturers. "We are taking every measure within our power to support and mitigate disruptions as much as possible," officials said.
Clinton, Tenn.-based Techmer PM has formed a COVID-19 Response Team led by President Ryan Howley. The firm has met daily since March 16, Howley said in an email.
"Sales are strong," Howley added. "We are 10 percent ahead of our March shipments target and our incoming orders are above budget as well.
"We are an essential business by all local and state standards that we have seen. There has been an uptick in certain areas of material handling such as pallets, dairy crates, beverage, bread and bakery trays and in medical and hygiene as well," he said.
All of Techmer's production sites "are open and running full steam," according to Howley. "We are preparing for some worst-case scenarios, however at the moment we are busy and looking for innovative solutions to address this coronavirus pandemic."
Penn Color of Doylestown, Pa., has received an exemption to continue operations to support life-sustaining businesses and industries domestically and internationally, sales vice president Mike McGarrity said in an email.
He added that the firm "is enhancing our social distancing policies, through staggering production, quality control and R&D shifts, and we have significantly modified our cleaning and sterilization practices."
"These are certainly unprecedented times, but together we will beat this virus."
Market development director Bob Kaminski added that all of Penn Color's facilities are operational. "We produce colorants for food packaging, medical equipment, pharmaceutical packages and similar applications, so we are an essential business," he said.
All Penn Color employees who are able to work from home are now doing so, according to Kaminski. The firm also has adjusted shifts at its manufacturing plants to start later and end earlier to eliminate any shift crossover contact in locker rooms and plants, he added.