Materials maker Selenis is seeing a rise in imports of its specialty polyesters from Europe to the U.S. for uses related to fighting the spread of COVID-19.
Glycol-modified PET (PETG) and other specialty polyester resins made by Selenis are imported to the U.S. from production sites in Portugal and Italy. The materials then are used in applications including medical face shields, retail protective barriers and hand sanitizer labels, U.S. Business Development Manager Scott Sergel said in a May 5 interview with Plastics News.
Heavy-gauge sheet made from Selenis materials is used in point-of-sale protective barriers, while thin-gauge sheet is used in face shields, he added. Shrink-sleeve labels on bottles of hand sanitizer also use Selenis materials.
Imports of Selenis grades of amorphous PET (APET) and crystalline PET (CPET) used in food trays also have increased this year, Sergel said. The firm's resin production plants in Portugal and Italy have remained open during the crisis.
"Our plants have been fully cleaned," Sergel said. "We didn't miss a beat."
Selenis provided packaged meals for its truck drivers in Europe. Sergel said the drivers were facing challenges in finding places to eat because so many businesses there have closed. Selenis also has donated materials to 3D printing firms making personal protection equipment (PPE), he added.
Having its materials already approved for many medical uses also has benefited Selenis, according to Sergel.
"PETG has always had its markets," he said. "But I'm really proud of what our group has been able to do. Everyone has answered the bell."
U.S. customers for Selenis material include injection molders, extruders and extrusion blow molders. The firm also has used post-consumer content in some of its materials.
Selenis is owned by investment firm IMG Group of Portalegre, Portugal. IMG also owns global polyester film producer Evertis, which has been providing film for medical applications during the crisis.
Selenis also is a 50-50 partner with Alpek Group of Mexico in a PET bottle resin plant in Montreal. Alpek handles sales and marketing of material made at that plant.
In the longer term, Sergel said that Selenis could grow by supplying material for medical uses during the COVID-19 crisis. "It's created inroads for more discussions of how our materials can be used," he said.