Asahi Kasei Plastics expands

A $5 million investment in a new compounding line and plant improvements will accommodate increased growth in all markets.

Asahi Kasei Plastics North America, Inc. (Fowlerville, Mich.) announced March 21 that it is proceeding with a $5 million investment in a new compounding line and plant improvements to accommodate increased business in all markets. A $3 million investment in a large compounding extruder and peripheral equipment is in process and a $2 million investment in new projects including plant upgrades is planned for 2013. The new equipment is expected to be operational by the end of 2013 providing a 30 percnet capacity increase for their advanced line of  trademarked Thermylene brand specialty polypropylene products and a 10 percent capacity increase over all product lines.

"This $5 million investment is in addition to the $15 million invested in the last 5 years for new equipment and continuous improvement," says Prasad Puttagunta, vice president operations, Asahi Kasei Plastics. "We are very excited about the growth our company is experiencing – we are ahead of the market recovery growth rate and many of the product development investments we have made over the years are now paying dividends with increased business in new areas," said Puttagunta. "The additional capacity will ensure that we have a robust supply chain to support the growth of our customers."

"This is a very exciting time for us," said John Moyer, president of Asahi Kasei Plastics. "We are continuing to increase capacity in our plant to support business demand and we are receiving very strong support to pursue expanding our business and production capabilities in other regions in North America," said Moyer. In 2012 the company added staff in its manufacturing facility to be able to run 7 days a week, and the operations team worked on several projects to improve utilization of the plant. Adds Puttagunta, "We also opened new sales offices in Mexico and China and established distributorships in Brazil and Germany in 2012."

"Much of this growth is due to advancing our line of products for cost-effective lightweighting applications, for high performance in automotive under-the-hood and structural and impact
resistance applications," says Ramesh Iyer, vice president, commercial operations. "Interest in our new Thermylene I Long Glass Fiber Reinforced polypropylene for impact performance is driving growth and so is our new and advanced Leona trademarked resin (polyamide with 60 percnet glass) to provide a Class "A" surface without paint," adds Iyer. Asahi Kasei Plastics won the 2012 SPE Innovation Award for "Most Innovative Use of Plastics" in the materials category for their new and advanced Leona used in the Ford Escape, Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ air register vanes. In 2011, they were a winner with the Chrysler Group LLC, in the Body Exterior category, with their Thermylene products in the Dodge RamBox assembly.