Compounder Star Plastics has installed a new twin-screw extruder at its Ravenswood, WV, facility, the first phase of a more than $5 million investment in 2022 to support current and new customers. The 75-mm Leistritz twin-screw extruder is Star’s largest to date, tripling capacity in anticipation of continued long-term growth. A second twin-screw extruder will be added soon.
The Leistritz extruder was installed in December 2021, and trial runs were conducted during January. The high-torque machine provides improved material incorporation and dispersive mixing during production, said Star Plastics. The screw design can be modified to generate higher quality production outputs.
More product offerings will be introduced throughout the year, as the company pursues the goal of being a full-service supplier of compounded engineering-grade resins for the plastics industry. “Our customers asked us to expand our current portfolio and capabilities,” said CEO Donald Wiseman. “They want our quality, service, and delivery on even more material options, and we are going provide them with just that.”
The additional polymer types will open the door to new markets and product development beyond the E&E space, allowing the company to offer a wider range of glass-filled and composite type materials that are not part of the current product portfolio. The equipment investments will further support Star’s production of Lati materials for North American customers.
While increased capacity and production rates are important, Operations Manager Mike Vacek notes that the new twin screw “not only improves our ability to produce high-quality, consistent material [but] also enhances our ability to operate even more safely, given its state-of-the-art safety interlocks.”
More facility investments are scheduled for 2022, including experimental pilot lines, an additional twin-screw extruder and mega compounder, and the addition of a customer experience center at its corporate headquarters in Ravenswood.