Joint venture Quingdao Auxiliary Chemical Co. Ltd. has completed the first phase of construction on a chemical plant in Qingdao, China, and has begun producing and shipping materials.
Western Reserve Chemical Corp. and two Chinese partners-Rokem International Ltd., an importer-exporter, and Feng Xuan Liu, who owns two chemical factories in China-launched the venture earlier this year.
Close to 200 employees will be employed at the large complex of buildings once the construction project is completed, which is expected in November.
The cost and size of the complex weren't disclosed.
The venture marks Stow, Ohio-based Western Reserve's first move into the chemical-manufacturing end of the business. Up until now, it has outsourced its production.
The company operates a distribution network and owns a good deal of technology that it uses to have its chemicals toll-manufactured at plants in the Midwest and Southwest.
In addition to its Stow facility, it has warehouses in Georgia and California.
The initial manufacturing phase at the complex includes production of sulfenamide accelerators CBS and TBBS, according to Western Reserve President Ron Anderson.
CBS is available in the U.S. and TBBS will become available during the third quarter, he said. Both are used to compound tires and other rubber goods.
The complex also will make other accelerators in granular and powder form-such as MBT, MBTS, TBBS, TMTD and TETD-once all facilities within the complex are fully operational.
``We've been importing so many raw materials to China it just made sense to manufacture there,'' Anderson said at the International Latex Conference in Charlotte, N.C. ``This allows us to be a much more viable supplier to our customer base.''
The venture expands Western Reserve's capacity and ``it's certainly the most recent chemical plant to go on stream and replaces other facilities closed by other companies in the U.S.,'' the official said.
Western Reserve-formed in 1979 to manufacture and distribute specialty chemicals and industrial intermediates to the rubber, polymer, textile and lubricant industries-will export chemicals to its U.S. customers from the new complex and some of the capacity will be used in China, he said.
``U.S. customers that have manufacturing plants in China will be some of our main customers,'' according to Anderson.