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PRET Launches its US Operation Unit, Wellman Advanced Materials

  • Tuesday, 22nd September 2015
  • Reading time: about 3 minutes

PRET Composites announce the new name of its US operating unit, Wellman Advanced Materials, after acquiring WPR Holdings (Wellman Plastics Recycling) of Johnsonville, South Carolina, US, earlier this year.

“The name change is to signify that Wellman Advanced Materials’ product portfolio in North America has been expanded to include TPOs (thermoplastic polyolefins) and various engineered polypropylene compounds in addition to Wellman’s traditional nylon products,” explained XY Sun, Chief Executive Officer, Wellman Advanced Materials.

In addition to its new name and logo, Wellman Advanced Materials says it will benefit from a major new capacity expansion of 44-million pounds/20,000 tonnes at the Johnsonville site in order to offer PRET’s highly regarded TPO, long-glass (reinforced) polypropylene (LGPP), and other engineered polypropylene (PP) compounds to automakers and tier suppliers in North America. The first compounding extruder will be installed by the end of 2015 with a second to be installed in early 2016.

According to Wellman, it is already a leading TPO compounder in the Chinese automotive market, which currently produces 21-million cars and is the world’s largest passenger-vehicle market, PRET’s products, such as compounds with seamless airbag deployment approvals, very-low odour and emissions, high scratch and mar resistance, minimal tackiness, and excellent colour matching and colour consistency ? important attributes for interior-trim components. Further, since PRET’s materials already carry global automotive approvals at Ford Motor, BMW Group, Daimler AG, Volkswagen Group, and many others, these products are now available for use on North American vehicles.

A broad range of PRET’s TPO and PP grades will be offered to the North American automotive market including talc filled, custom colour, long glass, higher strength (modified with polyolefin elastomers (POE)), and other compounds. “PRET is very well known for its pre-coloured material quality, and Wellman Advanced Materials will bring that expertise to North American customers who prefer to buy pre-coloured products,” notes Larry Berkowski, Vice President – Sales and Marketing at Wellman Advanced Materials.

In addition to the 44-million pound/20,000 tonne capacity expansion, Wellman Advanced Materials also will be expanding its product development and application testing services at its R&D facility in Johnsonville with testing equipment that is identical to that used by PRET in China with more in-house mechanical testing, material characterisation, and colour-matching resources.

Wellman explains it will now offer mould-filling and structural analysis support for its North American customers. “In China, PRET’s work with synchronised mould-filling and structural analyses to support lightweighting needs, gating optimisation, warpage reduction, and improvements to final part performance such as head impact predictions is highly valued,” adds Berkowski. “We’re really excited to be able to provide such value-added services to our customers directly from our Detroit-area office.”

Wellman will make its public debut at the 17th-annual SPE TPO Automotive Engineered Polyolefins conference, 4-7 October 2015 at the Detroit/Troy Marriott in the Detroit suburbs, US. Technical presentations will be given by Dr. Dean Chundury, Vice President – R&D of Wellman Advanced Materials and Dr. Johnny Zhang, Senior Technical Manager of PRET.

Additionally, Wellman Advanced Materials is sponsoring the Tuesday evening reception on 6th October where members of the sales and leadership team will be available to meet customers and media.

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