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STI invests $1 million to expand N.C. facility

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STI Polymer Jeff Lamb
STI Polymer President Jeff Lamb (right) poses with Kazunobu Azuma, general manager of Saiden Chemical Industry Co. Ltd.'s overseas department, at STI's booth during the Adhesive and Sealant Council 2014 Fall Convention and Expo in Greenville, S.C.

SANFORD, N.C.—STI Polymer Inc. is in the process of expanding its facility in Sanford and has developed a new roof adhesive for EPDM and thermoplastic polyolefin membrane bonding.

The expansion is designed to debottleneck the warehouse and research and development area at the North Carolina facility through a 14,000-sq.-ft. warehouse. Scott Coring, vice president of sales and marketing, said the firm took on some new business in 2013, increasing its market segment by 25 percent.

The firm invested about $1 million and broke ground in August. It plans to occupy the building by June 2015. Coring said the firm has been planning the addition for two years and has increased employment to 40 from 25 in preparing for the expansion.

Coring said the three-year plan is to house another reactor in the building, which could create more jobs.

“We needed extra room to hold some finished goods for a few of our customers,” said Coring, who cited growth in construction related products, pressure sensitive acrylic polymers to companies that make flooring adhesives, and water based roofing bonding adhesives.

STI primarily supplies water based pressure sensitive acrylic polymers. Coring said its top focus is on companies that make formulated adhesives for a variety of industries—including packaging, roofing and construction.

Coring said the new adhesive STI is developing is an improvement of a water based bonding adhesive to perform more like a solvent, consisting of zero volatile organic compounds. The development is in response to South Coast air quality rule 1168, which he said eliminated all solvents that can be used in bonding single-ply membrane in the commercial roofing industry.

STI is targeting areas of the market that wouldn't conflict with its current customers, who use their polymers to construct their own adhesives.

“As a finished polymer, we'd target any of your EPDM or TPO membrane manufacturers,” Coring said. “We think they're big enough where they're going to want to look more toward a polymer company that can produce a polymer that will work neat.”