Friedrichshafen, Germany — Radici Group marked the opening of a new compounding plant in India and came to Fakum 2023 with a wide range of sustainable materials.
The new plant is in Halol in the state of Gujarat. The foundation of the venture is the engineering plastics business of Ester Industries Ltd., which Radici acquired for about $36.5 million in late 2022. The business makes compounds based on nylons 6 and 6/6, polycarbonate, polybutylene terephthalate, polypropylene and other resins.
Bergamo, Italy-based Radici essentially relocated the acquired business to a new location in India. The new site covers 62,000 square feet and includes four extrusion lines with total annual production capacity of almost 45 million pounds, according to Danilo Micheletti, chief operating officer for Radici's high-performance polymers unit.
"India was our last piece of operations that was missing," he added at an Oct. 18 press event at Fakuma 2023. "It was a target for us."
Previously, Radici mainly had supplied its customers in India from a plant in China. Micheletti said Radici has room to expand at the new plant, which employs about 120. The firm also plans to add a fifth extrusion line at the site by the end of the year, he added.
Also at the press event, Radici officials Cesare Clausi and Erico Spini commented on the firm's approach to sustainability and on new materials being offered.
Clausi said Radici has reduced its emissions by 70 percent since 2011. The firm now gets almost 60 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. Four of Radici's production plants use 100 percent renewable energy.
"More and more, these actions are a fundamental requirement in our industry to be regarded as a top-line supplier," said Clausi, global sales director for high-performance polymers.
Spini, global marketing director, said Radici has had industrial recycling programs since 1988 and launched its Renycle-brand recycled nylon materials in 2021. There are now more than 40 grades of Renycle materials available, including post-consumer and post-industrial grades.
Spini also provided examples of successful Renycle uses. An auto powertrain component switched from a prime nylon resin to a 30 percent glass-filled Renycle grade and reduced its carbon footprint by almost 80 percent. An auto cooling system component also used a 30 percent glass-filled Renycle and reduced its carbon footprint by almost 50 percent.
In biomaterials, Spini said Radici has placed a nylon 6/10 with more than 60 percent biocontent into a cooling line connector. The firm also is developing an "experimental grade" of nylon 5/6 with more than 40 percent biocontent. Spini said that material is "a possible alternative" to nylon 6/6 in electric vehicle and electrical/electronic uses.
Radici employs 3,000 worldwide and makes a range of specialty plastics and chemicals. The firm posted sales of just over 1.5 billion euros in 2022.