MALMO, Sweden (Aug. 28, 2012)—Hexpol A.B. is adding thermoplastic elastomer compounding capacity at a German site it acquired late last year.
Malmo-based Hexpol—an international producer of plastic and rubber materials—is installing a new twin-screw extrusion line at its site in Lichtenfels, Germany. The line is expected to increase the site's annual capacity by about 10 million pounds when it starts up in early 2013.
Hexpol acquired the Lichtenfels site when it bought TPE compounder Horst Muller Kunstoffe GmbH & Co. K.G. from Rowa Group for $51 million. Hexpol now operates the business as Elasto Muller Kunstoffe, using the name of the Elasto TPE business it bought from British Vita P.L.C. in 2010.
Compounds made at the site are based on styrenic block copolymers, thermoplastic olefins and thermoplastic vulcanizates. Those materials are used in several end markets including automotive, medical and caps and closures.
The capacity increase “underscores (the site's) position as a key and growing player in the TPE market,” officials said in an Aug. 28 news release.
Hexpol officials have said the firm is looking to make a plastics compounding acquisition in North America. The firm ranks as one of the region's largest rubber compounders, having paid more than $200 million in 2010 for Burton, Ohio-based Excel Polymers, the former rubber compounding business of North American compounding leader PolyOne Corp.
Hexpol currently sells a small amount of TPEs made in Europe to North American customers.