United Soft Plastics, a leading manufacturer and custom compounder of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), has announced the opening of a new 10 million lb production facility in Houston in response to strong market demand for its extensive line of TPE products. The new plant, which complements USP’s existing facility in Lawrenceville, Ga., consists of new state-of-the-art compounding equipment which expands production of its broad portfolio of thermoplastic elastomers including traditional SEBS-based TPE, TPO, TPU, and special products such as acrylic-based TPE compounds.
Over the last 15 years, USP has enjoyed strong growth for its engineered TPE materials which serve the automotive, food packaging, consumer, medical, and industrial markets in more than 20 countries. “This investment reaffirms our continued commitment to the engineering TPE plastics market in the U.S., Mexico, and also outside of the Americas,” said Benedict Herbst, executive vice president of USP. “The expansion of our manufacturing assets will play a key role in meeting the application development needs of our customers and further unlock new business opportunities and maintain our superior customer response time.”
Herbst said the new plant represents a strategic market repositioning which enables USP to move closer to raw material hubs and high-volume customer accounts in Mexico, the Southwest U.S., and also
Asia. The company envisions the hiring of up to 25new production employees and possibly even further hiring as additional new lines come on-stream. The additional capacity will allow the existing USP plant located in Georgia to further focus on specialized product development and creating cutting-edge solutions for its customers.
The new manufacturing facility will be run on a twin-screw extrusion system furnished by KraussMaffei Berstorff, equipped with an underwater pelletizer from Nordson. The nearly 20,000 ft² facility is also equipped with state-of-the-art testing equipment and a fully equipped laboratory.
In response to continued growth, USP has undertaken extensive product development work and now offers a broad portfolio of TPE products. The company’s product line includes standard grades adhering to PP and special adhesion grades for non-PP overmolding applications with substrates such as ABS, PC, PA6, and PMMA. Other innovative materials have been developed to meet special regulatory requirements within the FDA, EU food contact, and NSF. The range of products also includes new acrylic-based TPEs which offer an ultra-transparent profile and a smooth dry surface with improved oil and chemical resistance.
The company’s TPE materials are used to produce injection molded, extruded, and blow molded parts such as interior and exterior automotive trim, consumer grips and handles, beverage closures, over-molded gaskets and seals, sporting goods, and soft-touch applications. The company specializes in the creation of custom material solutions for any application and focuses on quick turnaround and execution.