Speciality compound producer Continental Engineering Compounds has invested R25-million in building a new specialised production line at its Westmead factory, in KwaZulu-Natal.
The added capacity will help the company to increase supply of locally manufactured compounds used for packaging, consumer goods and automotive applications while remaining commercially competitive against international alternatives.
The investment comprises new machinery, automation and downstream equipment. Continental Engineering Compounds sales and marketing executive Byron Stanley tells Engineering News that the new machinery is being manufactured and will arrive on site by August.
Commissioning and production trials will take about two-and-a-half months, with commercial volumes expected early next year.
“We envisage that as much as 20% will be exported to other continents as we enhance these platforms,” he says.
Continental Engineering Compounds’ current compounding capacity is about 52 000 t/y. The new production line will add about 3 800 t/y of engineered compounds production capacity. This will increase compounding capacity to 55 800 t/y in August, while specific engineering polymers capacity will increase to as much as 8 000 t/y.
“Some of the raw materials are locally sourced from large polymer suppliers and some of the specialised bases still have to be imported because there is no local production. The art is in formulating and producing to a specification consistently at an accessible point of local supply,” Stanley notes.
He explains that the new plant will allow for a much wider diversity of customised compounds to be produced from various polymerbases, polycarbonates, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polyacetals and highly filled masterbatches. These products will continue to be supplied to the automotive, consumer goods, packaging and electrical industries, among others.
Compounds currently produced by Continental Engineering Compounds’ PVC division include cable compounds, footwear compounds, packaging compounds, rigid extrusion and injection moulding, as well as flexible extrusion.
“The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted global supply shortages and delays, and so the original scope was brought forward to assist in terms of local supply to the industrial and automotive sectors.”