China plants: Clariant to build new catalysts unit; Sumitomo Chemical sets up 5th line for PP

Taiwanese machine makers introduce latest technologies

Swisss materials firm Clariant is to build a new site for catalyst production site in China. This project is said to represent a significant investment which further strengthens Clariant’s position in China and enhances its ability to support its customers in the country’s thriving petrochemicals industry. Construction at the Dushan Port Economic Development Zone in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province is scheduled to commence in Q3 2020, and Clariant expects to be at full production capacity by 2022.

The new facility will be primarily responsible for producing the Catofin catalyst for propane dehydrogenation, which is used in the production of olefins such as propylene, and used in combination with Clariant’s Heat Generating Material, which further increases the selectivity and yield of production units.

Taiwanese machine makers introduce latest technologies

Once completed, it will be Clariant’s third catalyst production plant in China. It will strengthen catalyst’s existing network, which comprises a joint venture facility with the North Huajin Group in Panjin as well as a fully-owned Clariant facility in Jinshan, Shanghai.

China is the world’s leading producer of on-purpose propylene. The nation’s production volume accounts for around 50% of total global capacity and is expected to continue rising by 8% a year, accoding to a IHS Markit 2019 report. Consequently, the first phase of the new plant will focus on meeting China’s PDH requirements through Catofin production. In the future, Clariant says it may expand manufacturing capabilities at the site to offer further catalyst technologies relevant to China’s chemical industry.

“As we have defined the right portfolio for Clariant’s focused growth strategy, it is now vital that we invest in these core high-value specialty businesses, such as catalysts, to put them in the strongest possible market positions. China continues to be a growth market with attractive prospects for Clariant. This investment will be of great benefit to our company’s positioning and customer proximity in the entire region and hence, together with the One Clariant campus, marks another cornerstone of Clariant’s “Fringe to Core” strategy execution,” said Hans Bohnen, COO at Clariant.

Taiwanese machine makers introduce latest technologies

Meanwhile, Japanese materials firm Sumitomo Chemical has set up Zhuhai Sumika Polymer Compounds Co. (Wuxi Plant), as a new production facility for polypropylene (PP) compounds, to enhance its automotive materials business in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China. The plant is located on the premise of Sumika Electronic Materials (Wuxi) Co., Ltd., which is under the control of IT-related chemicals. Along with a production facility already set up in Changdu City, the Wuxi plant is due to be in operation at the beginning of 2021.

PP compounds are in high demand for use in automobile bumpers, interiors, and home appliances. China is the world’s largest market for automobiles. Prompted by tightening environmental regulations in recent years and an increasing need for products that can improve safety, there is a growing demand for PP compounds each year for automobile interiors and exteriors, says Sumitomo.

Against this backdrop, in October 2016, Sumitomo Chemical established a new production and sales facility in Chengdu. Sichuan province, a central city of the Western region of China. Now, this facility is manufacturing trial products for evaluation by customers.

Following the facility in Chengdu, Sumitomo Chemical established the Wuxi plant as a production facility in the rapidly growing Huazhong region of China. By setting up the fifth production facility in China, Sumitomo says it aims to further increase its presence through a widespread supply chain for Chinese automobile manufacturers and home appliance makers in the region.

The firm adds that it will continue to address its customers more quickly through its global PP compound production and sales facilities, and expand its business even further.


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