Expansions: Covestro launches production for Vulkollan raw materials in Thailand; Invista inaugurates ADN plant in Shanghai and breaks ground on doubling of nylon facility

Covestro launches production for Vulkollan raw materials in Thailand

German materials firm Covestro recently started up the production of Naphthylen-Diisocyanate (NDI) for the Vulkollan raw material at a newly built plant in its Map Ta Phut site in Thailand. The groundbreaking of the plant happened almost exactly two years ago, in late 2020. The investment was in the high mid double-digit million Euro range and is part of several investments of the company into cast polyurethane raw materials, for example at its Spanish site near Barcelona or at its site in Caojing near Shanghai in China.

The new plant in Thailand now employs more than 25 people. The elastomers produced from the raw material are suitable for a diverse range of applications: from forklift wheels, roller coaster wheels to couplings and seals for the engineering industry, among many others.

The product displays durability, stability and thereby lowered maintenance requirements are among the key features of the material, says Covestro.

"We believe in the growth of the cast elastomers market and want to meet the increasing demand. With this new production plant, we achieve a significant improvement of our global infrastructure and strengthen our presence for high-performance elastomers in the Asia-Pacific region," says Sucheta Govil, Chief Commercial Officer at Covestro. "This investment also allows us to better serve our customers, improve our customer service and it supports the growth of applications and industries with high-end performance requirements."

"The start up of our Map Ta Phut plant is the latest step of several investments in our Elastomers business to support the Vulkollan brand," explains Thomas Braig, Head of the Business Entity Elastomers. "We firmly believe in the strong potential of this historic and well-known brand and are prepared, with this investment, for its future growth and the development of its customers."

"Our Map Ta Phut site in Thailand has been well prepared to grow and is now proud and ready to contribute to the Elastomers business while supporting Covestro's overall strategy to strengthen its Solutions & Specialties segment," added Dr. Timo Slawinski, Site Manager Map Ta Phut.

Invista inaugurates ADN plant in Shanghai and breaks ground on doubling of nylon facility

In other news, Invista Nylon Chemicals (China) recently held the inauguration ceremony for its new adiponitrile (ADN) plant at the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park (SCIP). Being a critical part of Invista’s integrated nylon 6,6 value chain, the plant, which is a more than US$1 billion investment, has a capacity of 400,000-tonnes/year and is the largest capital project in in the company’s history. The plant will further boost local production capability for nylon 6,6 and help accelerate the high-quality upgrades of the Chinese chemical industry.

The new plant deploys Invista’s most advanced, proprietary, butadiene-based adiponitrile technology. In addition to advantages in commercial scale and overall efficiency, the ADN technology and manufacturing process result in up to 60% lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to propylene-based ADN and up to 80% lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to adipic acid-based AND, says the firm. Once in full operation, the new plant can support 800,000 tonnes/year of nylon 6,6 production.

In line with the need for reduced cost and improving demand, Invista’s nylon 6,6 value chain integrates the recently opened Asia Innovation Centre and existing HMD and polymer sites, providing a comprehensive capability ranging from application development and raw materials to high-performance polymer supply. ADN can be used to make nylon polymer, fibres and other specialty materials such as hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) for coatings.

During the event, Invista also announced the start of construction for the project to double its nylon 6,6 polymer capacity to 400,000-tonnes/year. Following a 40,000-tonne/year capacity increase in 2020, this new increased production, with an investment of US$230 million, will double the plant capacity to 400,000 tonnes/year and strengthen Invista’s integrated nylon 6,6 value chain in China. It is expected to be in operation in first quarter of 2024.

Gary Knight, global vice president of Operations, Invista Nylon Enterprise, said that Invista believes that China will be the largest consumer for nylon 6,6 in the near future. Together with our partners and customers, we hope to realise the full potential of the nylon industry and downstream applications areas.”


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