Midland, Michigan-Dow's facility to make polymeric methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (PMDI) at Freeport, Texas, is now fully operational, and the firm announced 25 May that it plans to shut its Laporte, Texas MDI facility immediately and permanently.
Production at the 227 kilotonnes per annum Freeport facility will replace PMDI production at LaPorte.
The shutdown of our LaPorte PMDI facility was contingent upon completion of the start up of our new, state-of-the-art Freeport facility," said Steven English, global business director for Dow Isocyanates, in a Dow statement. Dow's investment in the Freeport plant represents our commitment to providing our customers with reliable and consistent product supply," English added.
The Freeport plant had a delayed start up in December 2004, and has experienced problems reaching full capacity. Dow has announded in February 2005 that it would close the LaPorte plant in May, but then extended that deadline in June 2005, indicating that it might be several months before the Freeport plant was running at full capacity.
Discussing the delay, English pointed out that, since demand for MDI has been high, Dow was fortunate in being able to "extend our operations at LaPorte to supply customers while Freeport was coming up."
English added that, We anticipate no net increase in capacity since production of our pMDI products will merely shift to the new facility," adding that Dow is committed to the safe shutdown of the LaPorte plant.
Dow adde that it will continue to operate the MDI distillation facility at LaPorte.
Dow says it is the world's largest producer of polyether polyols, a leading producer of quality aromatic isocyanates (such as MDI and TDI-toluene diisocyante) and a major supplier of propylene oxide, an essential component of polyether polyols.