Avon Lake, Ohio -- Noveon Inc. will increase its thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) capacity by a third through an expansion at its Avon Lake facility.
The expansion, expected to be finished in 2007, will include a new polymerisation line and associated auxiliary equipment.
Noveon officials declined to provide financial details but said the expansion was a multimillion-dollar project that could create several new jobs.
"We'll be doing extensive work at the site," Noveon's Mike Vaughn said. "This is more than a de-bottlenecking."
Vaughn, vice president and general manager of Noveon's Estane brand TPU business, added that the new capacity was needed because of increased North American and South American demand in several market segments.
He said wire and cable, hose and tubing and film and sheet markets were helping in driving the growth.
Increased use of TPU film as paint protection on cars had also spurred demand, he said.
Vaughn credited TPU's ease of processability and extrusion abilities as reasons for its ongoing market penetration.
"TPU is recognised as a critical material for a lot of end uses," he said.
According to company officials, it has been about 10 years since the Avon Lake site added capacity.
Noveon, a unit of Lubrizol Corp., also produces TPU at sites in Massachusetts, Shanghai and Oevel, Belgium.
The Massachusetts facility, in Wilmington, makes aliphatic TPUs and is undergoing a smaller capacity increase that will be finished by the end of the year.
The Shanghai plant opened in 2005 and is already working on a de-bottlenecking that will increase capacity by 10 to 15 percent.
According to Vaughn, Noveon's TPU business has also benefited from the 2004 takeover by Lubrizol.
"Lubrizol's focus on organised growth has manifested itself in the investments that are being made," he said.
From Plastics News (A Crain publication)"