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Otech unveils new compounds for various markets

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ROLLING PRAIRIE, Ind.—Thermoplastic compounder Otech Corp. has released two custom polypropylene/EDPM compounds that can be used in various industries.

Jason Page, vice president of operations at Otech, said the compounds can be utilized in many markets, including automotive, injection molding, profile extruders and others.

"This will go globally across the board for anyone who wants to use it," he said. "We're branching it out into the wire and cable market as well."

Rolling Prairie-based Otech, founded by current CEO Jack O'Donnell in 1999, traditionally works as a PVC compounder, but it is expanding its capabilities with different polymers, such as polypropylene, polyethanol, styrene-based and EVA compounds.

Page said the company is growing at a rate of anywhere from 10 to 20 percent each year.

Consumer demand drove the decision to add PP products to the firm's portfolio, he said.

"We initially got a request from a customer, and we tried to come up with a solution for them to a problem they were having," Page said.

"We have a lot of customers that ask us for various items, and we're there to provide solutions."

He said PVC has some limitations to both high and low temperatures, so the company decided to go with the PP/EPDM polymer instead for the custom compound.

Page said a PVC compound can be used at 136°C continuously, and for the most part, it withstands temperatures of -20° to -40° regularly.

"When you go outside of that, the other polymer bases offer you a lot more," he said. "EPDM and propylene sort of fit that bill" because it has a broader range of temperatures, and "you can use them for both high and low temperature applications," a requirement the compound needed.

The compound also withstands stress and high-speed conditions, ideal for truck trailer wind skirts. Page said the wind skirting material has a higher durometer, but it also can withstand a higher temperature, in the range of 150-170°.

On the flip side, the compound also can handle temperatures in the -170° to -180° range, too.

"The tractor trailer is going to go into temperatures that may be really, really cold," Page said. "Plus it's moving at 65-70 miles per hour, so it needs to have some of that flexibility at low temperatures."

It might also be used in such places as Arizona that could reach 110°F, so the wind skirt is going to get hotter than that, he said, "and it needs that flexibility as well at those temperatures.

"PVC may not meet it," he said. "That's why we've gone some of these avenues and gone into some of these other polymers."

The second product is a wire-reinforced ductile hose material designed for under-the-hood applications.

Page said temperatures are extremely high under the hood, so Otech wanted to develop a product that can be used there.

"It meets a pretty stringent set of testing," he said.

Otech also has released new products in other arenas, such as a series of zero-halogen wire and cable products. Page said the company does a lot of work in the footwear industry for non-vinyl products.

Otech recently came out with a new custom compound for floor mats that are in a different segment of the industry and a different polymer set.

The floor mats are of a styrene-based compound.

Page said Otech has been working on adding things to the mats to make sure the products have "a very good structure at the end use."

Otech aims to create the solutions customers need in custom mixing. "It really is never ending. Otech really strives to be an innovator," according to the executive.

He added that Otech wants to "develop the undevelopable" and "to make sure we provide a solution to people that have either not looked elsewhere, or have looked elsewhere and have fallen on deaf ears."