Materials firm Teknor Apex Co. is on track to open a new compounding plant in Germany early next year.
The new plant in Rothenburg will cover 160,000 square feet and employ almost 100 in manufacturing positions. When it opens, Pawtucket, R.I.-based Teknor Apex will close its plant in nearby Steinsfeld. That plant housed the business of PTS GmbH, a compounder that Teknor acquired in early 2016.
"One of the primary reasons that we made the choice to build in Rothenburg was that we could retain almost all of the employees from Steinsfeld," Teknor President Suresh Swaminathan said Oct. 18. Swaminathan has been with Teknor since 1987 and became the firm's president earlier this year.
The new plant will make a wide range of compounds based on engineering resins and thermoplastic elastomers. Markets served by the new plant will include transportation, consumer, electrical/electronic and medical.
"We're not polymer-centric, so we can bring more value to our customers," Europe TPE Sales and Marketing Director Jan Duyfjes said.
Like many materials firms, Teknor is addressing sustainability at K 2019. "In a macro sense, sustainability means different things to different people," Swaminathan said. "Some companies like the idea of bio-based, because it's moving away from oil. As a compounder, we can approach the topic in different ways, which is exciting."
Swaminathan pointed out that Teknor's PVC garden hose division has been recycling its own products for the last 50 years. "Our hoses are 80 percent made with recycled products," he said. "We were ahead of the curve."
Teknor also has seen recent success with new high-temperature grades of its Creamid-brand nylon compounds that it launched in late 2018. Those compounds, which are aimed at auto applications such as intake manifolds, "are starting to gain traction," Swaminathan said.
Teknor employs more than 2,000 worldwide and ranks as one of North America's 30 largest compounders and concentrate makers.