HOUSTON (April 27, 2010)—Kraton Performance Polymers Inc. said it will spend about $27 million to add polyisoprene rubber production to its Belpre, Ohio, facility, and will close a similar plant in the Netherlands.
The producer of styrene block copolymers said the moves are targeted at increased demand for polyisoprene rubber in the U.S., especially in the medical sector because of its ability to provide comfort and alternatives to natural rubber latex.
Polyisoprene rubber often is substituted for latex because it doesn't contain natural impurities that can cause allergic reaction, Kraton said. Kraton PIR is used in applications including catheters, surgical gloves, medical stoppers, medical tube connectors and other medical products.
The company said it will begin modifying and upgrading the Belpre plant around the third quarter 2010 with the new production capabilities should go online by mid-2011.
As part of the change to the Belpre site, production at the firm's Pernis facility ended in December 2009.
Kraton CEO David Bradley said the U.S. location is better-suited to serve a region that increasingly seeks high quality alternatives to natural rubber for medical applications.