On the heels of a two-day ribbon cutting event to inaugurate its newly expanded facility in Kalama, WA, Emerald Kalama Chemical - a business group of Emerald Performance Materials – announced further plans to increase capacity for its K-FLEX non-phthalate plasticizers and coalescents. The company has already doubled its U.S. capacity for the K-FLEX line at its Kalama facility since 2011 and will dedicate an additional reactor for production and R&D this fall to accommodate needs for increased manufacturing and product development.
More than 100 customers, employees, family members and representatives of federal, state and local governments attended the celebratory event to hear the announcement, as well as attend a luncheon program, formal ribbon cutting and tours of the expanded facilities.
According to Edward Gotch, president of Emerald Kalama Chemical, the execution of its latest expansion was a success. “This business has completed a major project or acquisition every year since the company was formed in 2006. Our growth will accelerate going forward to align with our strategy of expanding as an innovative leader in this key platform. With ten new product concepts active in our R&D pipeline the new large, semi-works reactor will support product and customer scale-up. It will also provide an additional 10 million pounds of capacity to support production needs. Future expansions are planned in the United States, Europe and Asia.”
“The long hours, hard work, skill and expertise needed to successfully reach this momentous landmark in our expansion, while also meeting all codes and standards, exemplifies our continued dedication to growth, ingenuity and teamwork,” said Emerald Kalama Chemical plant manager Jarrod Kocin. “At the height of construction, there were up to 90 contractor personnel on-site, and as much as 6.4 miles of pipe, 140 tons of constructional steel and 1200 cubic yards of concrete were used, not to mention the number of valves, pumps and motors that were installed.”
Shamsi Gravel, K-FLEX product line director for the Americas, conducted the ribbon cutting event, which also included several leading industry officials, such as Mark Wilson, executive director of the Port of Kalama, and James Griffing, 2012-13 president of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). Both Wilson and Griffing were guest speakers at the event and emphasized the importance and benefits of community in their messages to the audience.
Wilson, a long-time resident of the area, indicated that Emerald’s Kalama Chemical business is a vital part of the fabric of the Kalama community, impacting economic development, attracting capital, increasing the tax base and providing jobs.
Griffing spoke about the benefits of technical organizations, such as SPE, and the value derived from active participation and networking. SPE is the “go-to” resource for plastics technical information and is comprised of nearly 20,000 plastics professionals in more than 70 countries. He added that continuous exposure to a broad range of problems, products and solutions through participation in a host of events and committees may generate new ideas that provide inspiration for the next generation of products.
Gravel agreed, adding “product innovation has been a key part of the K-FLEX growth strategy. It was just one year ago that the company gathered to celebrate its 50th anniversary and dedicate its new expanded Technical Center. As a result, we have accelerated our efforts to develop creative, environmentally friendly solutions that deliver performance to targeted applications. We are looking forward to the next phase of our growth.”
K-FLEX plasticizers and coalescents are low-VOC, phthalate-free ingredients used in adhesives, PVC compounds, coatings and other latex polymer applications. In these applications, K-FLEX products are known for enhancing film formation and adhesion, processing characteristics and improving the resistance of the end-product to oil, grease and water. Other important benefits include improved scrub resistance, gloss retention in coatings, stain resistance and toughened wear layers in plastisols when compared with other materials.
Emerald Kalama Chemical also produces sodium and potassium benzoate, benzoic acid and intermediates and specialty flavor and fragrance ingredients, which the company sells globally through its distribution partners. The business has manufacturing operations in Kalama, WA and in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Emerald Kalama Chemical products are used in a range of applications from beverage preservatives to personal care and household products, as well as industrial applications.