BRENHAM, Texas—Precision Polymer Engineering Ltd. celebrated the opening of its first U.S. manufacturing facility.
Located in Brenham, the 30,000-sq.-ft. building began production in November 2014 and focuses on compression molding and employs about 20 people. The firm said it spent about $4 million to fill it with about 14 presses, about half of which primarily will serve the oil and gas market.
The company also added capabilities to its technical center in Houston, which opened in 2013 as its first center in North America. In November 2014, the firm added additional capability for testing rapid gas decompression. The center now employs 10.
“Operations are going very well,” said Steve Jagels, PPE's global marketing manager for oil and gas. “Essentially, it's a mirror copy of our existing facility in Blackburn, England. We've taken the best processes we've developed over the past 30-some years of being in business and replicated the ideas in the new facility. Everything is working out quite well.”
PPE focuses on critical sealing applications for a variety of industries, but Jagels said oil and gas represents about 20 percent of the firm's total business. The Brenham plant also serves the semiconductor industry with PPE servicing food and pharmaceutical production, chemical processing, large-bore diesel engines, and the aerospace industries.
A subsidiary of Idex Corp., the firm produces high performance O-rings, technical moldings and sealing solutions. It operates a manufacturing facility in Blackburn, England, and employs about 300 worldwide.
The company utilizes higher-end elastomer materials, including fluoroelastomers, perfluoroelastomers and tetrafluoroethylene propylene rubbers. Jagels said the Texas facility focuses on O-rings, critical seals and T-seals of custom design for high pressure applications.
He said the firm's goal is to continue to grow its presence in the oil and gas sector by 15 to 20 percent year-over-year. As that occurs, the company expects to add more jobs at its Texas facilities.
“Oil prices are down, so we see some challenging months ahead,” Jagels said.
“But long term we really feel it's an industry that is growing and demanding more technical products. We feel strongly that the subsea oil market and production equipment is poised to grow at a very healthy rate. It's an area we've been heavily focused on.”