KUNTO, Poland—Italian compounder Sirmax S.p.A. has strengthened its position in Northern and Eastern Europe with the opening of a new production plant in Kunto.
Marking Sirmax's 12th manufacturing unit globally and second production facility in Poland, the $33 million plant is located in the central town of Kunto and is dedicated, for the most part, to the company's new thermoplastic elastomer family of products, Sirmax said in Dec. 2 statement.
Marketed under the Xelter brand name, the new soft and flexible compound is suitable for automotive applications, including gaskets, interior components and accessories, as well as seals and gaskets in household appliances.
Presented as a "viable, sustainable alternative to vulcanized rubber," the new range is claimed to be 100 percent recyclable and suitable for a broad portfolio of applications.
With a production area of about 134,500 square feet, the new plant initially will have three production lines for elastomers, one of which will be exclusively dedicated to research and development the Cittadella, Padova-based group said.
In addition, two lines will produce fire-resistant thermoplastic resins and two will manufacture engineering compounds.
Products will include PP LFT—long glass fiber reinforced polypropylene—as well as PP FR—fire "self-extinguishing" PP materials—which also are produced at Sirmax plants in the U.S., Italy and India.
The firm also plans to produce EPC technopolymers, based on polyamides, ABS and polycarbonate, which it already manufactures at two of its Italian plants at Tombolo and San Vito al Tagliamento.
The unit will have 12 additional production lines, when operating at full capacity, will be able to produce 30,000 metric tons of TPE each year, Sirmax said.
The plant is strategically located to supply to France and Germany as well as to the eastern European states.
With the aim to position Xelter TPEs "at the pinnacle of the market" in terms of quality and consistency, Sirmax divisions in the U.S., Brazil and India will collaborate to offer the product to their existing customers in those markets.
"The choice to build our first elastomer plant in Kutno was mainly dictated by its geographical centrality," Sirmax Group's CEO Massimo Pavin said, "as well as by the fact that, after having been directly present in Poland for 13 years, we feel at home."
Sirmax opened its first compounding plant in Kutno Special Economic Zone in the Łodz province in 2006. Spanning more than 215,000 square feet, the plant is the group's largest production unit in terms of capacity.
The opening of the new production plant is aligned with Sirmax's business strategy of moving toward a "multi-product and multi-country approach." In that context, the company also is investing in a second plant in the U.S.
Sirmax started construction work on the new $18 million recycling plant in Indiana in October.
The new plant is being built by SER North America L.L.C., a new company that Sirmax formed after acquiring Italian plastics recycler SER in March. Sirmax officials said at the time that the deal was "the first step of a bigger project aimed to become an important global player in the circular economy."