The new line is expected to come on stream in the first quarter of 2014 and will increase TPE production by around 4,800 tonnes per annum, bringing the capacity of the Hexpol TPE group, which also includes the Elasto businesses in Sweden, UK and China, to more than 65,000 tonnes.
The new line will increase capacity for the group's Lifoflex and Dryflex TPE compounds, the portfolio includes several fully customisable series including halogen-free flame retardancy, conductive, adhesion grades for multi-component applications, food contact grades and compounds offering improved compression set performance.
In addition to the new production line, the investment also includes plans for the construction of a new 600sqm building to expand the technical centre at Müller Kunststoffe's main Lichtenfels site. The technical centre will be used for the development of customised thermoplastic elastomers including TPS, TPO, TPU and polymer blends. It will house the R&D, product safety, analytics and process technology departments for Müller Kunststoffe.
Construction of the new building is forecast to be completed by September 2014. The centre will include profile extruders, film extruders and various injection moulding machines together with advanced polymer testing and analytical equipment.
Georg Ender, managing director at Müller Kunststoffe explained, "Our speciality is tailored solutions delivered efficiently and quickly. We create bespoke products for our customers, they come to us with a problem and we solve it. We also place a strong importance on product safety and reliability, the new technical centre and its specialist equipment will increase our capacity to perform diagnostic, processing and quality assurance testing. The production expansion and investment in technical resources is a result of our growth over recent years and will ensure continued fast and responsive customer support, as well as the development of new polymer combinations and compounds."
The investment is another sign of Hexpol TPE's progress as a key and growing player in the TPE market. The group opened their Elasto China TPE production facility in Foshan in 2013 as well as capacity expansion and technology investment at their sites in Sweden and the UK.
Müller Kunststoffe to expand TPE capacity