By David Reed, UT consultant editor
Leverkusen, Germany-the Polyurethanes Business Unit of Bayer MaterialScience, has added 36 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) of capacity for MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) at its plant in Krefeld-Uerdingen, Germany, bringing its global capacity to more than 1 million tonnes, the firm announced 1 Aug.
The expansion was achieved by "a number of debottlenecking measure based on process improvements," the Bayer announcement said, adding that these "did not require any major investment."
"We want to grow with the market by ensuring an efficient utilisation of our available capacities," said Peter Vanacker, head of the Polyurethanes Business Unit, in the announcement.
"The recent expansion project is one of several measures that have enabled us to significantly increase our total annual capacity in the last two years," he added.
The company statement pointed out that it is also building a new world-scale production facility for MDI at its integrated site in Shanghai, People's Republic of China. This, Bayer claims, "will be the biggest of its kind in the world, with an annual capacity of 350 ktpa. It is scheduled to go on stream in 2008."
"With locally produced MDI, we want to secure a large portion of the future growth in the Asia-Pacific region, and thereby underscore our position as one of the world's leading producers of polyurethane raw materials," said Vanacker.
MDI is an important chemical component in the production of polyurethane foams and elastomers. Rigid insulating foams are used, for example, in the production of refrigerators and freezers, for thermal insulation in the construction industry and in district heating systems. MDI elastomers are used in the footwear, automotive and electrical industries.