Plasticomp installs new LFT compounding line

The new long-fiber thermoplastics compounding equipment will increase production capacity by 5 million lb (22.68 metric tonnes) at the company's Winona, Minn. headquarters.

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PlastiComp Inc. (Winona, Minn.) has increased the production capacity at its headquarters location, with the installation of a new long fiber thermoplastic (LFT) compounding line. The new line will increase the plant’s production potential by approximately 5 million lb (22.68 metric tonnes) per year, says the company.

PlastiComp acquired a new site for its headquarters in 2011. The building at the site, a 75,000 ft2 (almost 69,700m2) space, was subsequently expanded to approximately 85,000 ft2 (nearly 7900m2). Additionally, the building is undergoing modifications for the addition of a new production line dedicated to compounding carbon fiber for both LFT pellets and unidirectional (UD) tapes. The original headquarters and LFT manufacturing site, with 30,000 ft2 (about 2,800m2) of manufacturing space, continues operation.

The new lines are a response to increased demand. “Since the beginning of 2011, our sales have nearly tripled, and the view ahead is even more robust,” notes Steve Bowen, PlastiComp’s president and CEO, who notes that his company isn’t alone because other compounders are experiencing similar increases in customer orders. “PlastiComp primarily sells LFT pellets, but we also sell LFT technology. To date, we have nine LFT lines installed in other companies under license from PlastiComp. Including our own production lines and new lines planned yet in 2013, that number will increase to 17 during 2013.”

Another significant part of the company’s growth strategy is development contracts with industry-leading LFT molders that are designing and introducing composite parts into new applications and new markets, adds Bowen. “We have interesting growth plans in medical markets, energy markets, and sporting-goods applications,” he points out. “Our focus is new applications/new market space. We want our customers to improve their products and their profits with compounds and technology from PlastiComp.”

PlastiComp, founded in 2003, has developed three business focal points: LFT technology; Pushtrusion machinery developed for direct inline compounding for injection molding; and D-GMT technology, designed for compression molding. In addition, PlastiComp does advanced technology part molding and contract R&D, including material formulation, part testing, process development and evaluation.


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