Specialty chemicals firm Vertellus sees a lot of opportunity in the plastics market, company officials said at the K 2019 trade show.
The Indianapolis-based firm currently generates about 20 percent of its annual sales from the plastics market, but that number is expected to grow, CEO John Van Hulle said.
"The fun part of Vertellus is that we have so many diverse markets for a company our size," he explained. "In plastics, we can sell into everything from intermediates to personal care."
Plastics-related growth for Vertellus is expected to be in the high single digits in 2019. Van Hulle said the firm expects that growth rate to continue "for the next couple of years." Plastics-related products made by Vertellus include Zemac-brand copolymer additives and Citroflex-brand bioplasticizers.
Megatrends benefiting plastics uses for Vertellus include auto lightweighting in under-hood parts and growth in medical applications such as kidney dialysis equipment and catheters.
The firm also has benefited from business shifting from China to the U.S. because of international tariffs, Van Hulle said. In the past year, Vertellus also has increased the size of its commercial staff by 20 percent.
Sustainability was a big topic at K 2019. Van Hulle said that Vertellus can tailor sustainable products for individual customer applications based on either recycled content or bio-based materials. The firm also can help automotive customers reach sustainability goals through lightweighting of parts.
Also at K 2019, Vertellus launched a new developmental product designed to upgrade fiber reinforcements used to produce plastic compounds and composites. The firm also presented high-performance intermediates and catalysts for making a broad range of vinyl and sulfone polymers.
Focus areas for Vertellus at the event included advanced performance additives for the PVC, polyester, polyolefin and nylon industries. The firm also showcased next-generation adhesives and sealants, and gel products that officials said are helping device manufacturers maintain product integrity in harsh environments.
Van Hulle joined Vertellus as CEO in October 2018. He has more than 30 years of plastics and specialty chemicals experience, including former leadership roles with PolyOne Corp. and ChemDesign.