BELPRE, Ohio—Kraton Performance Polymers Inc., a global producer of engineered polymers and styrenic block copolymers, recently opened an innovation center at its Belpre manufacturing facility.
Kraton is using the center as a pilot plant to pave the way for new and strategic polymerization and processing technologies. The facility will allow the company to manufacture a wide range of SBC-type materials in quantities ranging from 25 kilograms to 50 metric tons.
Kraton fully funded its $40 million investment in the 30,000-sq.-ft. center, which added 11 employees, said Mike White, regional director of human resources.
“The site here in Belpre is our flagship location for making the styrenic block copolymers or SBCs,” said Craig Stevens, research manager at Kraton.
“We have other locations around the globe, but our highest degree of capabilities, both in personnel and technology, resides at this site, so it was a natural fit to build this innovation center here,” he said.
The facility and its high-technology process equipment broadens the company's abilities in polymeric chemistry by leveraging unique, less traditional monomers and building blocks to meet customer needs and create innovative applications, Kraton said.
The firm's new ability to generate developmental polymer and processing technologies opens the door to applications and industries where traditional SBCs were not an option.