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Premix Prepares to Launch US Plant for Electrically Conductive Polymers

North Carolina facility is the first outside of Finland for the compounder.

Robert Grace

May 17, 2024

3 Min Read
hand holding black plastic resin pellets
Kriengsak Tarasri/iStock via Getty Images

Finnish compounder Premix Oy officially opened an office at the site of its first US plant on May 3, just outside Charlotte, NC, to produce electrically conductive (EC) plastic compounds and masterbatches. 

In an interview at its NPE stand, Premix Group Managing Director Hanna Ristola said the new facility has been in the works for the past two years. It will begin production in early 2025 with two compounding lines capable of eventually producing about 45 million pounds per year of polyethylene and polypropylene black masterbatches. 

Room to grow.

The facility also has the space to add more lines, noted Jari-Matti Mehto, president and CEO of Premix Inc. He said the firm in March 2023 broke ground on the new plant, which will double Premix’s global production capacity.

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Once the new plant is fully operational, officials say, "customers will benefit from our ability to deliver high-quality materials from two continents. As a Premix customer in the United States, you will enjoy local production and services, ensuring short lead times and high supply reliability."

The company says the North Carolina plant, in Gaston County, will employ 30 to 35 full-time employees once it is fully operational by the end of 2025’s first quarter. The US Department of Defense, working with the Department of Health and Human Services, awarded a $79.9 million contract to Premix Inc. to establish the plant.

Related:The Wide World of Plastics at NPE2024

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EC compounds used in pipette tips.

The family-owned company, founded in 1980, launched its Pre-Elec range of EC compounds in 1983 and still offers that product line today. In 1990, its Pre-Elec medical pipette tip compounds became the accepted industry reference material for automated liquid handling systems. Test accuracy is better, Mehto explained, when using “EC plastics intelligence” in the tip. 

Then, in the early 2000s, it launched a portfolio of Pre-Elec ESD electrostatic discharge compounds as well as those materials in a concentrate form. It also introduced concentrates for use in ATEX, or explosive atmosphere, applications that involve dust, or flammable gases and liquids. The materials also find use in semi-con cables in the energy sector, Ristola said. 

The compounds are used in ESD component trays, packaging foams, boxes, crates, and pallets. Today in Finland it also employs a range of base polymers, including ABS, polycarbonate, PC/ABS blends, nylon 6, polybutylene terephthalates and thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) and urethanes (TPUs). 

In concentrate form, Premix in Finland offers products using base polymers of high-density and linear-low-density PE, ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA), polystyrene, and nylon 6. Dilution ratios range from 70 to 40 percent. All of its products can be processed via injection molding, blow molding, or extrusion. 

An essential COVID-19 supplier.

Given that it was supplying essential materials for the robotic automation pipette tips used in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 testing, the company in 2020-2021 needed to quickly scale up production at its headquarters plant in Rajamäki, some 30 miles north of Helsinki. And now it is adding production in North America to help address growing global demand.

Today, Ristola says, Premix has developed more than 20,000 different formulations of materials, delivering to customers in more than 40 countries. 

About the Author(s)

Robert Grace

Robert Grace is a writer, editor, and marketing communications professional who has been active in B2B journalism since 1980. After editing trade publications in London for seven years, he returned to the US in 1989 to help start the weekly Plastics News. Bob was PN’s editor-in-chief for 25 years and also served as its associate publisher and conference director. In May 2014 he founded RC Grace LLC and has developed an active freelance business.

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