By Frank Esposito, Plastics News Staff
Northbrook, Illinois -- Underwriters Laboratories Inc. has purchased a plastics testing laboratory in Krefeld-Uerdingen, Germany, from Bayer MaterialScience AG for an undisclosed price.
The deal will allow Northbrook, Illinois-based UL to expand its services in the plastics market, according to Bill Colavecchio, vice president and general manager of UL's chemicals division. UL - an independent organisation that tests more than 19 000 products, components, materials and systems each year - had previously worked with Bayer on some projects at the lab, known as Bayer's Thermoplastics Testing Centre.
The lab covers 6400 sq.m and employs 65, all of whom will be retained by UL. UL will continue to do work for Bayer at the site, but will now test materials for other plastics firms as well, Colavecchio said in a recent phone interview.
Most of the lab's work has been focused on polycarbonate. That work now will be expanded to include nylon, polyethylene, polypropylene, polybutylene terephthalate and other resins, Colavecchio said. UL may also invest in new injection moulding equipment at the site, he said.
The lab includes more than 100 pieces of testing equipment, with a high level of automated testing. About 200 different types of tests can be performed at the lab, which can also produce resin granules and test pieces.
UL's Colavecchio added that his firm "has seen nothing to rival [the Bayer lab] in the industry."
In Germany, UL already operates a testing centre for other materials in Frankfurt and an engineering office in Munich. The firm operates 64 lab, testing and certification facilities worldwide.
"We see this as a great opportunity to work with many new customers around the world," lab head Dr Bahman Sarabi said in a news release.
A Bayer spokesman said that the firm - a major global producer of plastics and chemicals - "is looking forward to a further partnership with UL and will be a customer of UL in the future."