HK Research expands plant

HK Research has the largest facility in North America designed exclusively for premium polymer coating manufacturing.

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HK Research (Hickory, NC, US) recently completed an expansion of its production facility in Hickory.

“While efficiently manufacturing large quantities of whites and other bases has never been an issue, the current marine market demands have increased the need for custom-tinted gel coats. The expansion of our plant has enabled us to make a significant increase in our production capacity to keep up with growing customer demand for custom colors in random quantities,” said David Higgins, vice president of marketing and sales for HK Research. “Increasing our batch production capabilities by over 100 percent allows us to shorten our lead times, while offering greater flexibility in the gel coats we produce.”

The expansion increased floor space dedicated to gel coat production by a factor of more than 50%. The company added 10 new state-of-the art variable speed large tank mixers, eight variable speed multi- drum mixers and two powerful grind/shear mixers as part of the expansion. Six custom stainless steel mixing vessels were designed and purchased, specifically for the custom color operation for batch sizes up to 13-drum quantities. Several modern high-capacity precision scales were also added so these gel coats can be compounded with superior accuracy. These additions give HK Research the ability to produce a greater volume of its gel coats on a daily basis. The company also recently purchased land adjacent to its production facility, where it plans to build a material warehousing site in the future.

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