Kraton Polymers' Belpre plant has grown and changed with the times in the last 50 years.
"Kraton and the Belpre Plant are moving ahead," said David Mongilio, technical and major projects manager for the Belpre site. "Together, employees and the community that support us have every reason to look to the future with optimism."
The plant has undergone changes valued in the millions of dollars and investments that include $26 million for polymer unit modifications completed in 2004 with an expansion of HSBC capacity and improved catalyst technology; an investment of $4.6 million in 2007 that increased capacity of the G-2 polymer unit; and a $3.3 million investment in 2009 to the utilities burner management system with a new safety system on the steam boilers.
Last year saw the completion of a new $7.6 million office building and laboratory that modernized the lab and office space for 40 employees and gave room for growth. The previous lab had been built with the original facility in 1961.
The new building, which is at the front of the plant near Ohio 618, was designed for expansion with enough extra land to add another 50 percent more room to the lab.
This year a $30 million investment in solid isoprene rubber allows for the conversion of K-1 to make poly-isoprene rubber (Cariflex) and standard paving and roofing products.
A look back
Plant managers over the last 50 years were:
- 1961 to March 1965, Glenn A. White
- March 1965 to March 1966, William G. Eddleman
- March 1966 to June 1968, Klaus L. Mai
- June 1968 to July 1972, R. Peter Toohy
- July 1972 to October 1976, E. H. Mergens
- October 1976 to April 1984, Robert K. Hartig
- April 1984 to February 1987, Ray L. Torgerson
- February 1987 to January 1990, Charles J. Shearer
- January 1990 to April 1998, Arnold D. Ditmar
- April 1998 to March 2002, Richard A. Ott
- March 2002 to March 2010, Robert D. Roesch
- March 2010 to present, Marcus W. Gaddy
The plant is in the middle of a five-year re-instrumentation project with the modernization of the process controls systems in the polymer units and utilities areas, an estimated $40 million project.
The plant has hired 135 employees in the last five years with many hired last year after plant manager Mark Gaddy announced the hiring of 25 operators and 12 technical employees.