Expansions: Solvay expands prepreg portfolio and invests in LFT production facilities; Premix in US$80 mn contract for a new production facility in the US

Solvay expands prepreg portfolio and invests in LFT production facilities

Speciality materials supplier Solvay has expanded its portfolio of composite materials for the automotive industry with its SolvaLite 714 Prepregs, a new-generation of unidirectional carbon-fibre and woven-fabric products pre-impregnated with SolvaLite 714 epoxy resin.

In addition, Solvay says it has invested in its production capability enhancements for Xencor LFT (long fibre technology). The investment includes new manufacturing assets and additional capabilities in Solvay’s Oudenaarde facility (Belgium) as well as an expansion of R&D resources at one of its technical centres in Alpharetta, Georgia, US. Xencor LFT is one of the key pillars in Solvay's light-weighting portfolio, which also includes short-fibre compounds and continuous carbon-fibre composites.

Xencor LFT opens up new light-weighting potential for aluminium die-cast replacement in next-generation electric vehicles. This includes several areas of metal replacement, such as those in braking and steering, electric-drive units, inverters, and battery module protection, among others.

As for SolvaLite 714, these prepregs are said to offer fast-cure cycles, long outlife, and have been optimised for manufacturing automotive components, such as body panels at short compression moulding cycle times in serial production runs.

SolvaLite 714 Prepregs are currently manufactured in Europe, and will be commercially available worldwide beginning in the second quarter of 2022.

Premix in US$80 mn contract for a new production facility in the US

Meanwhile, in other news, the US Department of Defence, working with the Department of Health and Human Services, awarded a US$79.9 million contract to Premix to establish a plastic compound manufacturing plant in North Carolina. The facility will primarily produce plastic materials for diagnostic testing. The facility will be built in Gaston County, centrally located in the growing region of advanced manufacturing in the southeast US and is planned to be operational by September 2025.

Family-owned Finnish-based Premix Group is a market supplier and global forerunner in electrically conductive plastics. During the Covid-19 pandemic Premix said it ensured global PRC tests by securing the availability of the electrically conductive plastic resin that is used to manufacture pipette tips.

The new facility will produce plastic compounds primarily suitable for pipette tips to meet the growing demand and stringent quality requirements for diagnostic testing. The increased production capacity will result in material for pipette tips enabling more than 200 million Covid-19 PCR tests monthly.

“The new capacity will improve Premix’s global supply capability and mitigate risks in global supply chains,” says Jari-Matti Mehto, President/CEO of Premix, adding that it will cater to the US market.

Premix’s customers in North America will enjoy local production and services, ensuring faster delivery speed and high reliability. Current and future customers elsewhere in the world will benefit from Premix’s ability to deliver high-quality materials from two different continents.

When fully operational, the facilities will employ about 30-35 people in Gaston County, North Carolina, as well as support additional jobs with service providers and subcontractors both during the construction and while operational. Some recruitment has already begun.

Premix Inc. is a US company and subsidiary of Premix Oy, a 40+ -year-old Finnish company. The agreement was funded through the American Rescue Plan Act to enable and support US domestic industrial base expansion for critical medical resources.


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