Polymax Thermoplastic Elastomers is American-owned, but the company saw its start thousands of miles away.
"The company began in China because it was the largest TPE market at the time and we continue to see robust demand within this market," a company spokesperson told PlasticsToday.
Since the establishment of the business in 2005 in China, Polymax TPE has designated a TPE Research and Development Center for Jiangsu Province and has become one of the top three TPE manufacturers in China, according to the company.
But TPE demand is increasing on a global basis. Global demand for TPEs is forecast to rise 5.5% per year to 5.8 million metric tons in 2017, valued at more than $20 billion, according to The Freedonia Group, a market research firm. Healthy growth will also be fueled by an improved economic outlook in North America and Western Europe, while advances in emerging countries will benefit from increased adoption of TPEs in place of competing materials.
As such, Polymax TPE decided to establish its second headquarters in North America.
"Establishing a second headquarters in North America has been a part of our strategic plan from the beginning," stated Martin Lu, Polymax TPE co-founder, chairman and VP of Technology. "This expansion allows us to provide research and development, technical sales and service, manufacturing and distribution in closer proximity to our North American, South American and European customers."
Polymax TPE has opened its full-service North American headquarters facility near Chicago. The Polymax TPE team will leverage their expertise in TPE technologies, materials and custom compounding to create solutions for use in injection molding, extrusion and blow molding processes within the automotive, healthcare, electrical, electronic, construction, packaging and consumer products industries. The company's products are also available in North America under the Maxelast brand through its distribution partner, APS Elastomers.
Polymax TPE American business partners, Lu and Tyler Xu, have assembled a team of researchers and business managers with experience in the thermoplastic elastomer segment of the plastics industry. Most recent additions to the management team include Ron Sheu, VP of Business Development and Tom Castile, VP of Sales.
The company spokesperson said that North America is currently the second largest TPE market and there has been substantial improvement compared to the recession period of 2007 - 2012.
"Polymax TPE selected the U.S. as its second headquarters in order to support the needs of existing and new customers in the U.S., and offer a more direct, local service," the spokesperson said. "This growth rate, in both existing and new applications, is due to ongoing innovation and a strong market demand."
The new U.S. facility includes custom designed extrusion equipment, full service product develop and a QC laboratory. The company plans to initially fulfill 25 positions, and the facility is large enough to support additional production lines and support its growth plan for several years. The company said that the new U.S. headquarters will offer the same quality and services as it does to its Asian customers.