Growing Compounder Targets Tolling
Illinois-based compounder BPC boosts capacity with high-output twin-screw to target more toll-compounding business.
A young company with state-of-the-art compounding capabilities has expanded with the addition of a high-capacity extruder it will use primarily to expand its services in tolling.
Based in the tiny Midwestern town of Meredosia, Ill, BPC Toll Compounding & Blending produces a wide range of compounds based on PP, PE, TPOs, TPEs, and engineering polymers. Materials are formulated in variety of colors using a gamut of additives that include talc, mica, calcium carbonate and flame retardants. BPC was founded in Houston in 2007 to conduct testing services for major chemical companies. It moved to Illinois in 2012 and expanded into custom compounding. Today, BPC employs 20 in an 80,000-ft2 plant with a rail siding that can handle 24 cars. BPC is an acronym for Brown Pike County, said to be the best bow-hunting area in Illinois.
Recently, BPC saw its business increase to the point where the company was running at full capacity, making it necessary to expand by adding new machinery and equipment. As it happens, over the years BPC has run numerous trials at machine builder ENTEK’s In-House Pilot Plant in Lebanon, Ore., testing a wide variety of fillers and formulations.
Mike Krause, operations manager at BPC, also had a history with ENTEK that dates to his time at wood-plastic composites processor Fiber Composites Inc. (FCI), the makers of Fiberon decking and railing products. FCI had numerous ENTEK twin-screw extrusion lines in operation, running what Krause describes as ‘‘high-quality materials with very low downtime.” Krause adds, “ENTEK’s service and support was instrumental in FCI’s growth. I saw this firsthand and wanted the same thing for BPC.” So when the time came to purchase new machinery, the compounder chose ENTEK’s high-output HR3 73-mm, 48:1 L/D twin-screw extruder, which was on display at ENTEK’s booth during May’s NPE2018 show in Orlando, Fla.
Since BPC began its compounding operations in Meredosia, it has grown steadily, with a recent shift of focus more to toll compounding. Says Krause, “Custom compounding was our focus over the past five years. We still do a lot of development with clients to develop custom compounds. But now we are opening the business to do true toll compounding as well, taking a customer’s materials and running to their specifications. We saw a need in the market for this service.”
Adds Greg Larson, BPC’s v.p. of business development, “Toll compounding helps our customers increase their compounding capacity without having to invest in new machinery and equipment. We can do the materials production for them and provide a full range of other services, very cost-effectively.”
The new ENTEK HR3 73-mm twin-screw extruder is BPC’s second production line. It is equipped with K-Tron Coperion feeders and a Gala underwater pelletizer, all integrated by ENTEK on a turnkey basis. BPC expects the line will allow it to gain more customers and increase its toll compounding capacity dramatically, from 22 million lb to 60 million lb/yr. BPC’s lab in Meredosia has a compounding line with a strand pelletizer; lines for five-layer blown film and cast film/tape; and an injection molding machine.
Larson said that BPC has deliberately kept a low profile in the past, a posture that is changing. “We have traditionally stayed under the radar, but our growth has led our owners to invest heavily in our plant,” he states. “We’ve added staff and are about to launch a new corporate identity. NPE2018 was a big show for us. While we were not exhibitors, we were proud to show off our new machine at ENTEK’s booth.”
Larson, Krause, and Robin Fourness, BPC’s v.p. of sales and marketing, all have many years of plastics industry experience, and joined BPC to promote and grow the business. “I believe a real strength is our independence; we aren’t owned by a larger company,” says Larson. “We are very lean, and we are very successful.”
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