Capacity Expansions: BASF starts new production line of PESU in South Korea; Evonik to pump up crosslinker business in the US

BASF starts new production line of PESU

Germany’s BASF has started up a new production line for its high-temperature resistant thermoplastic Ultrason (polyarylsulfone) at its site in Yeosu, Korea. With the new line the global annual capacity for Ultrason PESU material will increase by 6,000 to 24,000 tonnes, serving the growing market demand worldwide. The plant in Yeosu was opened in 2014 as the first Ultrason plant in Asia.

Ultrason is the tradename for BASF’s product range of polyethersulfone (Ultrason E), polysulfone (Ultrason S), and polyphenylsulfone (Ultrason P). Latest innovations include the optimised Ultrason Dimension, a highly filled polyethersulfone known for its extraordinary dimensional stability and excellent flow properties.

BASF produces Ultrason in Ludwigshafen, Germany and in Yeosu, South Korea. Both locations are designed to produce the entire product range of S, E and P, and provide BASF with the flexibility to optimise supply capabilities to customers around the world.

BASF says that with increasing urbanization and the growing need for clean water management, Ultrason is the ideal material for filter membranes thus contributing to the desalination and purification in water treatment. It is also widely used in the electronics, automotive and aerospace industries for the production of heat-resistant, lightweight components. The thermoplastic can withstand temperatures up to 220°C without altering its properties, and possesses outstanding chemical stability.

For example, it enables the compact design of the new headlight reflector in the Hyundai ix35, owing to its superior temperature resistance. The high-performance material is employed in membranes for water filtration and medical devices, in hot water and food contact parts e.g. for espresso machines or microwave-proof dishes as well as in premium household appliances. It complies with the American FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the European regulations for food contact applications. Ultrason is also used in the production of carbon fibre composite materials.

Evonik to pump up crosslinker business in the US

Meanwhile in other news, German chemicals company Evonik is expanding its production capacities for methacrylate crosslinkers of the Visiomer brand. To this end, the Methacrylates Business Line has made an investment in the low single-digit million-euro range at the Mobile site (Alabama, US). The start-up is scheduled for the third quarter of 2018.

“With this investment, we will further improve the global positioning of Application Monomers. It will allow us to provide customers with crosslinkers from our plants in the US, Germany, and China,” explains Hans-Peter Hauck, head of the Methacrylates Business Line in the Performance Materials Segment.

“In the future, we will be able to provide methacrylate crosslinkers for the US market out of Mobile plant,” continues Grant Lafontaine, general manager of the Application and Bulk Monomers Product Lines in the US. “We will thereby significantly improve our flexibility and responsiveness for the benefit of our customers in the US.”

The investment in Mobile will continue to develop the strengths of the methacrylates business and Evonik says it is currently looking for the best owner for its methacrylates business, which is being set up as an independent entity. The aim is to find a new owner who will invest in the long term growth of the methacrylates business ensuring it a bright and successful future.

Evonik's crosslinkers are used in many applications such as paints and coatings, composites, and plastics. In the final product they can improve chemical resistance or technical hardness, for example.


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