Vi-Chem Expands Capacity

May 10, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — In order to meet double-digit growth for its custom plastic compounds, Vi-Chem Corp. has invested $750,000 into new capital equipment to expand its manufacturing capacity.

The Grand Rapids-based manufacturer of engineered vinyl and thermoplastic elastomer compounds and alloys has completed installation of an additional compounding line designed to manufacture its proprietary line of products, including Sevrene, Sevrite, TPEs and Interion TPOs.

The expansion will create five new jobs.

Vi-Chem President Len Slott said the company is looking to add another compounding line in the next 18 months. The new extrusion line will allow an additional 9 million pounds of capacity for its custom TPE and TPO products for both automotive and non-automotive applications.

“These new product lines have been extremely well-received since we introduced them six years ago,” Slott said. “They have allowed us to add new customers and to increase our sales with current customers, leading us to post annual growth of 15 to 20 percent despite the lackluster economy. Our plan is to continue to pursue new opportunities in a wide range of markets.”

For more than two decades, Vi-Chem has supplied the automotive industry and other markets with pre-colored, engineered vinyl and TPE compounds. The addition of new products allowed the company to offer increased capabilities in large mold components, such as instrument panels, floor mats and large arm rests, as well as critical appearance items.

These advancements have allowed Vi-Chem to secure significant contracts with new automotive suppliers, including aftermarket manufacturers, and attract makers of consumer products, furniture, food packaging and sealing.

“Unlike more traditional compounds, which offer a rubbery feel, our new products can be tailored to provide a feel that is more like leather,” said William Greer, sales and marketing manager. “This has proved extremely popular with our automotive customers, especially for arm rests and consoles.

“Consumers increasingly demand more from automakers, particularly in terms of look and feel. Automotive interiors remain one of the key areas where vehicle manufacturers can distinguish themselves.”    

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