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Plant Expansions for auto sector: Kureha to increase PPS output in Japan; Mitsui to set up elastomer plant in the US

Kureha to increase PPS output in Japan

Japanese chemicals maker Kureha says it will expand polyphenylene sulphide (PPS) production at its Iwaki factory in Fukushima, Japan. Demand for PPS is growing in industrial applications requiring high heat resistance and workability, particularly for automotive electronics and lightweight solutions.

Currently Kureha has a PPS resin manufacturing plant with an annual capacity of 10,700 tonnes at the Iwaki factory, which has been operating at full capacity for recent years. In response to growing customers demand, the company is expanding PPS resin production as outlined below.

The capacity increase will be 5,000 tonnes/year with a capital investment of 10 billion yen (for equipment and building). It will be completed by September 2020, with start of operation: February 2021.

With the capacity expansion, Kureha says it aims to further strengthen its manufacturing capability to reliably and efficiently supply customers differentiated quality PPS resins. The company will also continue to collaborate with its business partner, Polyplastics Co., in order to maintain an advantageous position in the growing PPS market. For the construction of the new PPS plant, Kureha is applying for government funds offered as part of ‘The Subsidy Program for New Business Establishment in the Areas Recovering from Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster towards Employment Creation.

Mitsui-Chemicals

In other news, compatriot Mitsui Chemicals has decided to set up a new production facility for its Milastomer thermoplastic olefin elastomer at the Ohio-plant of its US subsidiary Advanced Composites, Inc.

The new facility will have a capacity of 6,000 tonnes/year; construction will begin January 2019 and operations will commence in October 2019.

The primary ingredients of Milastomer thermoplastic olefin elastomer are olefin rubber and olefin resin. With its low density, light weight and excellent mouldability, Mitsui Chemicals markets the soft resin worldwide as a substitute for vinyl chloride and vulcanised rubber.

The many uses for Milastomer include auto parts, building gaskets, toothbrushes, golf club grips and more. Global demand is projected to rise, primarily for applications such as automotive interior covers, weather strips, air bag covers and steering bellows. Demand for use in automotive interior covers is expected to expand especially in North America.

Mitsui Chemicals currently owns production centres in Japan, Europe and China. The new facility in the US will address growing demand in North America and serve as the company's fourth production base worldwide. Mitsui Chemicals America, Inc. will sell the elastomer in North America, while Advanced Composites, Inc. will handle production. Currently, the subsidiary handles PP for the North American market.

(IMA)


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