Italian Sirmax starts first TPE compounding plant in Poland

Italian compounder Sirmax has strengthened its position in northern and eastern Europe with the opening of a new production plant in Kunto, Poland.

Marking Sirmax’s 12th manufacturing unit globally and second production facility in Poland, the €30m plant is located in the central town of Kunto and is dedicated, for the most part, to the company’s new thermoplastic elastomer (TPEs) family of products, Sirmax said in a statement 2 Dec.

Marketed under the Xelter brand name, the new soft and flexible compound is suitable for automotive applications, including gaskets, interior components and accessories, as well as seals and gaskets in household appliances.

Presented as a “viable, sustainable alternative to vulcanised rubber”, the new range is claimed to be 100% recyclable and suitable for a broad portfolio of applications.

With a production area of 12,500 square metres, the new plant will initially have three production lines for elastomers, one of which will be exclusively dedicated to R&D, the Cittadella, Padova-based group said.

In addition, two lines will produce fire-resistant thermoplastic resins and two will manufacture engineering compounds.

Products will include PP LFT – long glass fibre reinforced polypropylene – as well as PP FR fire “self-extinguishing” PP materials, which are also produced at Sirmax plants in the US, Italy and India.

The firm also plans to produce EPC technopolymers, based on polyamides, ABS and polycarbonate, which it already manufactures at two of its Italian plants at Tombolo and San Vito al Tagliamento.

The unit will have an additional 12 production lines, and the capacity to produce 30 kilotonnes per annum of TPEs, when fully ramped up, Sirmax added.

The plant, according to Sirmax, is strategically located to supply to France and Germany as well as to the eastern European states.

With the aim to position Xelter TPEs “at the pinnacle of the market” in terms of quality and consistency, Sirmax divisions in the US, Brazil and India will collaborate to offer the product to their existing customers in those markets.

“The choice to build our first elastomer plant in Kutno was mainly dictated by its geographical centrality,” said Sirmax Group’s CEO Massimo Pavin, “as well as by the fact that, after having been directly present in Poland for 13 years, we feel at home.”

Sirmax opened its first compounding plant in Kutno Special Economic Zone in the Łodz province in 2006. Spanning 20,000 square metres, the plant is the group’s largest production unit in terms of capacity.

The opening of the new production plant is aligned with Sirmax’s business strategy of moving towards a “multi-product and multi-country approach”. In that context, the company is also investing in a second plant in the US.

The company started construction work on the new $18m recycling plant in Indiana in October.

The new plant is officially being built by SER North America LLC, a new company that Sirmax formed after acquiring Italian plastics recycler SER in March.

Sirmax officials said at the time that the deal was “the first step of a bigger project aimed to become an important global player in the circular economy.”

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