By Frank Esposito Plastics News Staff, a Crain publication
Akron, Ohio - As it celebrates its first birthday, resin distributor Alliance Polymers & Services llc already has international aspirations.
The Romulus, Michigan-based firm - which distributes thermoplastic elastomers for BASF Corp. and Polymax Elastomer Technology Co. Ltd - hopes to open a sales office and warehouse in Asia during the first half of next year, officials said in a recent interview in Akron.
"Our business model has been very successful, and we'd like to see if it can work in Asia or Europe," principal Stephane Morin said. "But we want to remain only in TPE. We want to have inventory and be a great resource."
Alliance can supply thermoplastic polyurethanes from BASF and styrenic block copolymers from Polymax in drums, boxes or 55-pound (20-kg) bags - in most cases, within 24 hours.
The firm has benefited from this year's auto industry rebound, as US car and light-truck builds are expected to increase to 11.5 million - 3 million more than were produced last year.
"The third quarter was really good for us, and it shows no signs of slowing down," Morin added.
Replenishing of inventories of recreational vehicles and other large vehicles also gave Alliance a boost in its first year of operation.
Alliance supplier Polymax also has been enjoying fast growth, to the point where the Nantong, China-based firm hopes to have its own production plant in North America within the next two or three years, co-owner Martin Lu said in Akron.
Although Polymax is not basic in SBC production, the 5-year-old firm can produce up to 1000 specialised grades of those materials, Lu said. Polymax employs 110 in Nantong.
Alliance also is looking to add its own compounding capacity in the near future, either on its own or as part of a joint venture with Polymax. Alliance now employs 10 and hopes to add employees and sales representatives early next year. The firm occupies a 1400-m2 location.
Morin and co-owner Roger Huarng launched Alliance in late 2009 after lengthy careers with BASF.