BELPRE - Kraton Performance Polymers Inc. today will announce the opening of its new Kraton Innovation Center at the Belpre plant.
The pilot facility allows Kraton to manufacture a wide range of styrenic block copolymer-type materials in quantities ranging from 25 kilograms to 50 metric tons. The facility and its high-technology process equipment broaden the company's abilities in polymeric chemistry by leveraging unique, less traditional monomers and building blocks to meet customer needs and create innovative applications, the company said.
This new ability to generate developmental polymer and processing technologies also opens the door to applications and industries where traditional styrenic block copolymers were unable to participate.
As the first asset of its kind built by Kraton, the pilot plant is located within the company's flagship commercial manufacturing facility in Belpre. This allows the new facility to capitalize on the existing plant's technical skills, talents and infrastructure.
Its fit-for-purpose volume scale-up bridges the gap between laboratory and full-scale production of products within the development cycle, enhancing the company's ability to deliver developmental polymers in customizable quantities in record time. It will reduce reliance upon Kraton's commercial manufacturing plants for test runs, resulting in fewer type changes and improved utilization of its manufacturing facilities.
"By making this additional investment in innovation, we are accelerating our time to market and improving our supply chain capabilities, which enables us to meet the needs of our global customers. This new facility has garnered significant interest on the part of those customers and our development partners around the world," said Kevin Fogarty, president and chief executive officer. "It also underscores our long-term commitment to the Mid-Ohio Valley and its economic growth."
Combined, the new pilot facility and the existing Belpre manufacturing plant employ nearly 600 employees and contractors, making Kraton one of the largest employers in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
The modular design of the new pilot plant allows room for future expansion and it is able to capitalize on the technical skills and product feedstocks of its on-site manufacturing plant, the company said.