Custom color, additive, and compound supplier Techmer PM (Polymer Modifiers; Clinton, TN) is looking southward vs. eastward to expand its business, adding manufacturing in Brazil to support its direct-sales presence there. “We see South American as a natural expansion for us,” John Manuck, Techmer PM president and CEO explained to MPW at NPE2009. Manuck said Techmer has had a number of significant customers in Brazil for several years, with additional business in Argentina, Venezuela, and Peru.
To serve those customers, the company added a direct-sales presence in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and it is now working on building up local manufacturing capacity in the next year. Manuck said the initial capacity will be in the range of 10,000 to 15,000 tonnes/yr, serving markets like high-end fibers, non-wovens, automotive, and medical. As it has in other parts of the world, Techmer PM will seek out a local partner for the business.
Techmer PM President and CEO John Manuck (left) and Ryan Howley, managing director international, stand before a map at NPE2009 illustrating the custom color, additive, and compound supplier’s expanding global reach.
In late 2003, the company announced a masterbatch partnership with Guangzhou Eastern Rainbow of China to supply masterbatches of colorants and additives for moldings, films, nonwovens, and fibers. In 2007, Techmer PM and Germany’s Lehmann & Voss (Hamburg) created a joint-venture compounding company called Techmer Lehvoss Compounds to serve Europe. As far back as 1987, Techmer partnered with Japan’s Matsui and Tokyo Printing. As part of that final partnership, Techmer engineered some of its U.S. lines to match their Japanese partners’ systems, helping the company win transplant automotive business in the U.S., according to Manuck.
Going forward, Manuck said his company will expand by seeking new global business and pursuing technology. “Let’s face it,” Manuck said, “[plastics] is a mature industry,” adding that consistent double-digit growth has been replaced with annual market expansions that now track GDP. “[Techmer PM] wants to create a totally new product; that’s how we can grow faster than the economy.”
New technology highlighted at NPE2009 included an infrared-reflecting additive for polyethylene (PE) films and polypropylene (PP) nonwovens that acts to protect products from the sun’s rays. In a greenhouse, the additive would allow UV light to pass through, nourishing the plants, then keep the greenhouse from cooling at night. In military use, the additive could block soldiers' body heat from registering on thermal imaging devices, for example. The company also highlighted non-halogen flame retardants for injection molded and profile extruded nylons. On the design front, the company promoted its Techmer Color digital design system, which features a database of pigment systems for resins; and Techmer Vision, which it describes as virtual reality software that allows customers to see product digitally with different lighting and colors. —[email protected]