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Argotec expands TPU film, sheet capacity

By Michael Lauzon Plastics News Greenfield, Massachusetts-Argotec Inc. is gaining more high-performance thermoplastic polyurethane film and sheet capacity.The firm added a new flat-die extrusion line at one of its Greenfield plants last month to keep up with growth among existing customers and for new specialty business. The latter includes glass-lamination grades and clear aliphatic TPU films with enhanced ultraviolet-light resistance, said Paul Darby, vice president of sales and marketing, in a telephone interview.Security and safety issues are among drivers for TPU film growth. Such films can bond layers of glass, polycarbonate and other substrates to produce high-strength laminates with anti-ballistic properties and the ability to allow for new architectural features. Other TPU film applications include breathable medical tapes, weatherable film for automotive paint protection, backing for automotive foam-in-place seating, athletic equipment and computer keyboard covers. TPU films do not contain plasticisers that can leach out, which sometimes is a problem with vinyl films, and TPUs do not get brittle over time like thermoset rubbers can, according to Argotec.In addition to TPU film and sheet, Argotec makes performance films from thermoplastic polyesters, copolyamides and thermoplastic polyolefins. One of its two plants in Greenfield is a hard-wall clean room manufacturing facility dedicated to optical grades of TPU film. Argotec makes film as thin as 0.5 mils and sheet as thick as 125 mils using blown film and flat die technologies. It also can cast film as thin as 2 mils onto various substrates and do foam extrusion.Darby said the expansion project also includes adding 10,000 square feet of warehouse space and hiring more people to run its extrusion lines seven days a week. He did not disclose the cost of the expansion.Argotec exports to South America, Europe and Asia, since the high value of its products more than offsets shipping costs. The privately held company does not disclose sales figures. Darby said current employment is about 50.Co-chairmen Dick Barnes and Steve Wolkenbreit founded Argotec in 1988 after working for several years with the former Uniroyal Corp. and film and sheet producer Deerfield Urethane Inc. of South Deerfield, Massachusetts. Darby’s film and polymer experience prior to Argotec included positions with DuPont Co. and Sony Chemicals Corp.”

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