Polymax TPE to boost compounding capacity at Waukegan, IL

Manufacturer and custom compounder of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) Polymax Thermoplastic Elastomers LLC has announced plans to increase the size of its production operation, adding about 8 million lb (3630 tonnes) of annual capacity. The company has added a new compounding line to expand manufacturing of its extensive line of thermoplastic elastomers including styrene-ethylene-butadiene-styrene (SEBS), SBS, thermoplastic olefin (TPO), and alloy products.

The expansion, which includes the hiring of up to 10 new production employees, is underway and will be fully operational by the first quarter of 2018. Since opening its U.S. operation in 2013, Polymax TPE has enjoyed strong growth for its engineered TPE materials which serve the automotive, food packaging, consumer, building and construction, and industrial markets. “This investment reaffirms our continued commitment to the engineering TPE plastics market in the U.S.,” said Tom Castile, vice president of sales for Polymax TPE. “The expansion will play a key role in meeting the application development needs of our customers and further unlock new business opportunities and maintain our superior customer response time.”

TPEs are widely employed in automotive interiors

The expanded capacity will be run on another twin-screw extrusion system furnished by Leistritz, Somerville, NJ, equipped with an underwater pelletizer from Gala Industries, Eagle Rock, VA. The 42,000 ft² facility is also equipped with a twin-screw pilot line for testing and small production runs, as well as a fully equipped laboratory.

In response to continued growth in both the automotive and packaging markets, Polymax TPE has invested in new equipment and regulatory accreditations, such as ISO 9001:2015 and IATF  16949:2016, which certify the company’s ability to meet or exceed current performance for products, services, and systems, ensuring quality, safety, and efficiency. In addition, statistical process control (SPC) technique and analysis tools are applied to monitor process consistency and product quality.

The company’s TPE materials are used to produce injection molded, extruded, and blow molded parts such as interior and exterior automotive trim, consumer grips and handles, beverage closures, overmolded gaskets and seals, sporting goods, and soft-touch applications.

Polymax TPE is a sister company of Nantong Polymax Elastomer Technology Co., Ltd., based in Nantong, China, both of which were co-founded by Dr. Martin Lu. Nantong Polymax has about 30 million lb/yr (13,600 tonnes/yr) of TPE capacity and ranks among the largest Chinese TPE suppliers. While the two sister companies operate independently, they leverage each other’s technical and manufacturing capabilities to create innovative material solutions.

Polymax TPE, based in Waukegan, Ill. specializes in the development of thermoplastic elastomer materials and custom applications across a wide range of market segments in North America, Asia, and Europe. The company develops TPE materials for use in injection molding, extrusion and blow molding processes for the automotive, healthcare, electrical, electronic, construction, packaging, and consumer products industries. The product portfolio includes materials that provide excellent bonding performance to other substrates including polyethylene, polypropylene, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), polycarbonate/ABS, copolyester, and polyamide.

Polymax grades provide hardness characteristics from 0-99 Shore A and can be formulated to meet a variety of specific physical and aesthetic requirements in flexibility, grip ability, feel, color, opacity, and taste or odor neutrality. The range includes materials which often exceed industry standards in high-heat stability, abrasion resistance, tear strength, melt strength and foaming ability as well as low extractable levels required by the food-contact and medical industries.

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