By Liz White, UT staffBitterfeld, Germany-Ten years after Bayer MaterialScience AG's coating resin plant at Bitterfeld started production, the unit reached a milestone: it had now made half-a-million tonnes of product. "Six years after the coating resin plant came on stream, the 250 000th tonne was sent on its way. Just four years later, we have now reached a volume of half-a-million tonnes. Our production grew by roughly 12 percent in the past year alone. This extremely positive growth is a clear indication of the demand for our high-performance coating raw materials," said Prof Gottfried Plumpe, a Bayer board member, in a BMS statement. High utilisation of plant capacity and optimisation of production have lowered production costs for the innovative and environmentally friendly products made at Bitterfeld, added Prof Georg Frank, managing director of Bayer Bitterfeld GmbH. The picture shows (l to r) Plumpe, Frank and Dr Uwe Arndt, manager of the coating resin plant, celebrating the 500 kt milestone. Bitterfeld produces Bayhydrol and Desmolux polyurethane resins, and has a particular focus on "raw materials for environmentally friendly, low-solvent coatings and materials that contain no volatile organic compounds (VOCs)," said a BMS statement. UV-curing raw materials systems-Desmolux, previously marketed as Roskydal UA-and waterborne polyol systems marketed as Bayhydrol "currently dominate production at Bitterfeld," the group added. Continued growth is on the cards: Bayhydrol production has increased steadily since 1994, and BMS says "double-digit growth may be possible in the coming years," driven by rising demand for 100 percent solvent-free dispersions for wood and parquet coatings. BMS also revealed that it is making plans currently to expand capacity for Desmolux and for dispersions at Bitterfeld, since is expects strong growth for the material-used in coatings that require no added solvent, characterised by rapid curing and low application viscosity."