Originally created 06/13/06

Expansion at Weylchem is almost done



After nearly three years and millions of dollars, Augusta's WeylChem Corp. will complete its expansion this fall when the chemical company relocates its research and development operation from Pennsylvania to Aiken County.

The company, formerly known as Rutgers Organics, has been gradually taking on new staffers since its sister facility in State College, Pa., was shut down in 2004.

"Initially it was the consolidation of manufacturing; then early this year we consolidated administrative functions," WeylChem President Randall Wilterdink said. "Now we're completing the job by making plans to consolidate our research and development."

The custom chemical maker plans to house its research team, which will be headed up by Jeffrey Gaynier, at the newly opened Center for Hydrogen Research in Aiken County.

The 2,000-square-foot laboratory, which would create up to eight jobs, is expected to be operational during the fourth quarter.

The bulk of WeylChem's 45 employees work at the company's headquarters and manufacturing plant on Clanton Road in south Augusta, behind the Solvay Advanced Polymers plant.

WeylChem's 80-acre site was developed in 1980 by German chemical company Rutgers-Nease. The company's name was later changed to Rutgers Organics and then to Bakelite Epoxy Polymers before readopting the Rutgers Organics name. In June 2005, the German private equity firm International Chemical Investors acquired the business and changed its name to WeylChem.

The company makes custom chemicals for manufacturers in the polymer and agricultural industries.

Mr. Wilterdink said the Augusta plant is working to produce a new product before the end of the year. He would not disclose details on the product.

"It's for another large industrial customer, one that we hope to have a long-term relationship with," he said.

The new product requires WeylChem to apply for an air-quality permit from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. Heather Cottrell, an EPD environmental engineer, said it probably will be several weeks before a decision is reached.

Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3486 or damon.cline@augustachronicle.com.