Milliken expands capacity and warehousing space at Zebra-chem
Milliken & Company is moving to address anticipated market needs by expanding the facilities and capacity it acquired last March via its purchase of Germany’s Zebra-chem.
Zebra-chem is a specialty compounder and chemicals company that makes additive and blowing agent concentrates for polyolefins, PVC and engineering thermoplastics.
The expansion will enable Milliken to boost production capacity for the acquired Bad Bentheim plant by 60 percent by year’s end. Milliken plans to install new manufacturing equipment and hire additional employees at the plant, which will be renamed Birch I. It also built a new warehouse, called Birch II, nearby. Milliken has been a trailblazer of sustainability for more than a century, and the company’s legacy of naming locations after trees is a tribute to that core company value.
“We are seeing very strong demand from several end markets where these products are adding value, and our customer base has welcomed our broader solution portfolio,” said Milliken sales manager Tugce Asici-van Houselt. “These facilities will continue to serve the global market, with a focus on Europe, the Middle East and Africa.”
The viscosity modifiers and performance modifiers made at the German plant increase melt flow of recycled PP resins with little to no loss of physical properties, enabling more recycled content to be used by the converters and brand owners without compromising overall performance.
“Milliken is known for its sustainable innovation,” notes Wim Van de Velde, global vice president of Milliken’s plastic additives business. “We are excited to be able to leverage its leading position in Europe to help accelerate market solutions that improve and increase manufacturing with recycled plastics. This expansion signals that the market is clearly responding.”
The facility also produces solid concentrates that serve as chemical blowing agents for the production of foamed thermoplastics. These agents — which allow for lightweighting as well as improved thermal and sound insulation without compromising mechanical properties — are suitable for use in PVC, polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene. They can be used by converters in both extrusion and injection moulding foam processing methods.
Milliken says it is on track to fully integrate the acquired operations during this calendar year.