US Expansions: Ascend expands LCPA production capacity; Dow to build MDI distillation and prepolymers facility in Texas

Ascend expands LCPA production capacity

Materials firm Ascend Performance Materials has expanded production capacity for HiDura long-chain polyamides in its Greenwood, S.C., plant. The multi-million dollar expansion will help the company meet growing demand for its new product line.

Launched in Nov. 2020, Ascend’s HiDura PA610 and 612 products are used in a variety of consumer goods, industrial, renewable energy, automotive and electric vehicle applications.

“Exceptional ductility, UV weatherability and hydrolysis resistance give HiDura resins and engineered plastics reliable, long-term performance in some of the harshest conditions,” said Kaan Gunes, business manager for HiDura at Ascend.

Gunes cited applications in solar photovoltaic supports, battery seals and brush bristles to illustrate the versatility and durability of HiDura. “Each of these parts faces extreme conditions, whether the 25 years a solar PV installation will be exposed to the elements or the constant contact with corrosive chemicals inside a battery cell. The various grades we developed are designed to improve the reliability of our customers’ products.”

Ascend, which is the largest fully integrated producer of polyamide 66 resin, used its extensive polymerisation knowledge to expand capacity at its Greenwood facility.

“We have been polymerising PA66 in Greenwood for decades,” said Michael Walters, senior site director for Ascend in Greenwood. “Our people understand how to consistently produce high-performance, high-quality materials safely and were excited to see the success of HiDura build off their work.”

Dow to build MDI distillation and prepolymers facility in Texas

In other news, chemical major Dow plans to build an integrated MDI distillation and prepolymers facility at its world-scale manufacturing site in Freeport, Texas. The new Freeport MDI facility will replace Dow’s current North America capacity in La Porte, Texas, and will also be capable of supplying an additional 30% of product to Dow’s customers. In coordination with the start-up of the new MDI facility, expected in 2023, Dow will shut down its polyurethane assets at the La Porte site.

This investment supports increasing demand for downstream polyurethane systems products and advances Dow’s position in attractive applications in construction, consumer, and industrial markets that are growing above GDP.

“This MDI investment optimizes our existing asset infrastructure and enhances our global polyurethanes leadership position, further enabling us to support downstream systems customers’ growth,” said Jane Palmieri, president of Dow’s Industrial Intermediates & Infrastructure operating segment. “The back integration at the Freeport site creates a cost competitive supply of key upstream polyurethane raw materials, ensures a reliable supply position to support our growth in downstream high-value polyurethane markets and delivers a more sustainable production process.”

The new facility in Freeport will reduce Dow’s carbon footprint and water usage by:

  • eliminating the need for the generation of thermal power by utilising existing thermal energy from the Freeport site,

  • reducing water intake and wastewater discharge (through production efficiencies), and

  • eliminating the need for transport of raw materials.

Dow’s extensive Polyurethane Systems franchise upgrades key polyurethane components in order to produce rigid, semi-rigid and flexible foams, and coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers and composites for applications that range from industrial and infrastructure solutions, to consumer comfort solutions in flooring, furniture, bedding and footwear, to automotive solutions for vehicle interior, and energy-efficient insulation materials.


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