Expansions: Röhm to expand PMMA moulding capacity in China; Arkema to increase elastomers capacity by 25%

Röhm to expand PMMA moulding capacity in China

German polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) maker Röhm is expanding its activities in China. The company says it is investing a double-digit million amount in the expansion of a production plant for Plexiglas (branded in the Americas as acrylite) moulding compounds in Shanghai. Last year, Röhm had announced the expansion of a production plant for Plexiglas moulding compounds in Worms (Germany).

“This significant global capacity expansion will enable us to further increase delivery reliability and flexibility for the benefit of our customers worldwide”, says COO Hans-Peter Hauck.

Röhm’s branded PMMA is used in growing sectors, such as the automotive, construction and lighting industries as well as for domestic appliances. Plexiglas is especially well-suited for applications where durability, resistance to weather and UV, colour fastness, high luminosity and transparency as well as hardness and scratch-resistance are key, the company adds.

Röhm has been successful in China for many years with its Plexiglas moulding compounds, it says. The dynamic economic development of the automotive industry and the lighting industry in Asia is a driver for the expansion of capacity in Shanghai. The expanded moulding compounds plant will go into operation in the second quarter of 2023.

“In this way, we not only support the growth of our customers, but at the same time seize new market opportunities”, says Benjamin Ling, Asia President. Only a few months ago Röhm inaugurated a new technology centre on-site in Shanghai.

Arkema to increase elastomers capacity by 25%

Meanwhile, in other news, to support its customers’ strong growth, in particular in the sports and consumer goods markets, French chemical firm Arkema will increase its global manufacturing capacity for Pebax elastomers by approximately 25% through an investment at its Serquigny plant in France.

This investment will notably enable increased production of the bio-circular Pebax Rnew and traditional Pebax ranges, it adds.

This new capacity will produce a variety of highly specialized grades to meet growing demand in numerous demanding applications thanks to the lightweight, flexibility and excellent energy return of these materials. These properties are particularly appreciated in sports equipment, such as soles for running shoes, ski boots or technical textile, in consumer goods such as smartphones and flexible screens, as well as in other markets such as medical equipment.

Derived from renewable castor seeds, Pebax® Rnew® advanced bio-circular materials offer a sustainable solution to our customers who are increasingly driven by sustainability and social responsibility. Compared to other elastomers on the market, these materials have a carbon footprint that is up to 50% lower and can be fully recycled. In addition, this investment, which is scheduled to come on stream mid-2023, will lower the water consumption of the site by 25% thanks to process optimization.

“We are very excited to commit to an expansion in our Pebax® elastomers capacity” said Erwoan Pezron, Senior Vice-President of Arkema’s High Performance Polymers Business Line. “The Serquigny plant has a long proven legacy in the production of these advanced materials, and we are delighted to add this new capacity to support our customers’ growing demand for high-performance sustainable materials. We will also continue to produce many of these materials at our Birdsboro plant in Pennsylvania”.


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