Plant start-ups: Songwon starts large scale output of monomers in South Korea; Siemens to invest £27 m in new 3D-printing factory

Songwon starts large scale output of monomers in South Korea

Having started to develop functional monomers about two years ago, South Korea’s Songwon has now begun bulk manufacture at its production site in Ulsan, South Korea. These monomers provide resins and polymers with special functions, one of the most important being improvement of the physical and chemical properties of the final product. Applications include resins, sealants, adhesives and engineering plastics designed for use in coatings, the automotive sector and electronic packaging.

“With this new capacity, our production site in Ulsan can now supply medium volumes of specialized monomers at competitive prices. Subsequent development of further products at our Technology Innovation Centre and scaling up of production will allow us to follow the market’s technology roadmaps,” said Heinrich Schulte, Leader Market Centre Functional Monomers.

The first functional monomers manufactured in Ulsan are dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) phenol oligomers (known in the industry as ERM-6085 and ERM-6140, for example, depending on softening point) and bisphenol trimethylcyclohexane (BP-TMC).

DCPD functions mainly as an epoxy resin modifier in chain extending reactions and is primarily used in the manufacture of epoxy composites. The softening point and functionality of DCPD phenol resins can be widely varied and these products are therefore ideally suited to serve the growing market for special epoxy resins that exhibit high dielectric constants and low dissipation factors at high frequencies. They are, for instance, used for wiring boards and packaging material that can meet the new 5G transmission standard requirements.

Songwon’s standard grade BP-TMC monomer is available for use in epoxy or epoxy novolac resins, while the high purity grades are designed for high impact, transparent polycarbonate.

Siemens to invest £27 m in new 3D-printing factory

Meanwhile in other news, Germany’s Siemens is to make a £27 million investment in a new facility for Worcester-based Materials Solutions Ltd; its additive manufacturing, or 3D printing specialist. The new building, set to open in September 2018, will enable it to increase its fleet of 3D printing machines from 15 to 50 over the next five years. It represents a major investment by Siemens in this rapidly advancing and innovative technology. The new factory will be fully powered by Siemens Digital Enterprise technologies solutions, an end-to-end portfolio comprising software-based systems and automation components which cover every conceivable requirement arising along the industrial value chain and therefore harness the potential of digitalisation. The location for the new facility will be the Worcester Six Business Park Development which is host to manufacturing, offices, R&D and logistics buildings.

The expansion of the business is also expected to support the creation of around 55 high quality new jobs, increasing Materials Solutions’ team of world class engineers, metallurgists and manufacturing specialists to 80 – and making it a global centre of excellence within the Additive Manufacturing sector. The new facility will also be a focal point for collaboration between Materials Solutions and the already sizable UK Siemens Digital Factory division.

Materials Solutions, also offers comprehensive services for engineering and printing up to the complete manufacturing of parts for the aviation industry, the automotive industry, power generation and motor sports. The new facility will be a global centre of excellence for the business, and act as the launch pad for its global growth plans.

Siemens acquired a majority stake (85%) in Materials Solutions Ltd in 2016. The business is a pioneer in the use of Selective Laser Melting (SLM) technology for the manufacture of high-performance metal parts and has grown its business considerably over the last two years.

“This significant investment underlines our belief that there is huge potential for innovation and growth within the Additive Manufacturing sector. It is also the next step towards achieving our ambition of pioneering the industrialisation of 3D printing and demonstrates how we are leading the way for the fourth industrial revolution,” said Juergen Maier, Siemens UK CEO.

Juergen Maier recently led the Made Smarter review for government on behalf of industry in the UK. The in-depth review which forms part of the UK industrial strategy called for much greater national investment in additive manufacturing, arguing it will significantly boost industrial productivity and create new highly skilled jobs.

The company says it achieved a world first last year – the production of a successfully tested 3D printed gas turbine blade.

Founded in 2006, Materials Solutions is a pioneer in the use of Selective Laser Melting (SLM) technology for the manufacture of high-performance metal parts, with a focus on high-temperature super alloys. As a result, it has developed proven applications, know-how and a supply chain for some of the world’s most advanced engineering companies operating in a broad range of industries.

The company also works closely with Siemens’ Power & Gas Division and it is anticipated that, thanks to its expanded footprint, it will manufacture thousands of parts for use in Siemens power generation equipment over the coming years.

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