Polymer Resources is a supplier of UL and non-UL thermoplastic compounds to a variety of industries worldwide. With two operations, one in Farmington, CT and another in Rochester, NY, Polymer Resources supplies a diversified range of markets and materials.
Over the 40 year time span, there have been two very significant advancements in the company's compounding business, according to Kevin Sheehan, manager of quality and technology for Polymer Resources. "The first significant advancement is the use of ERP systems for running a business," Sheehan said. "These systems have greatly improved the overall efficiency of our compounding business. The second most significant technical advancement has been in equipment used for color measurement. Technical advancements made in equipment for measuring color have helped us to consistently produce products with tight color tolerances."
In fact, Polymer Resources considers its custom colored products to be the company's most successful products. "Throughout our history, we have demonstrated our ability to produce custom colored products not only consistently but in short lead times," Sheehan said.
Polymer Resources 'family' of products includes blends of polycarbonate and polyesters (PBT and PET), and blends of polyphenylene ether (PPE) and styrenics. "We have created a broad line of products by producing these two blends over a range of different compositions," Sheehan explained. "Our catalogue of UL listed products has continually grown throughout history, and has allowed us to successfully meet the needs of many customers."
Customers today want both short lead times and prompt delivery of products, Sheehan noted. "We strive to maintain 4-week lead times for our 'custom colored' products, and 2-week lean times for our 'standard' products," he said. "We have also found that customers are moving toward thinner-walled and lighter parts. This has created a need for balancing higher flow with physical property requirements. The knowledge of compounding technology that we have developed helps us to meet this need."
Of course the cost of raw materials is always a big concern to processors, and that is something Sheehan readily admits. "Our customers are operating their businesses in a very competitive environment, and they expect high performance at low cost," he commented. "Over the years, we have paid great attention to improving our overall 'operational efficiency' as a means of meeting the cost/performance needs of our customers."
Change is a given over the course of 40 years, and Sheehan said that the biggest change that the company has seen in the compounding business has been in the customers' ever-increasing interest in the composition of compounded products. "Today, requests for statements related to regulations such as RoHS and REACH are quite common," Sheehan said. "This interest on the part of our customers has gradually increased over the years. While this is a change, we feel that that it is a change for the better, and we gladly provide information to our customers."