By Frank Esposito, Plastics News Staff
Duesseldorf, Germany -- Ube Engineering Plastics has opened a plant making nylon and speciality chemicals in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and will increase nylon compounding capacity for the automotive market during 2011.
Ube City, Japan-based Ube also is also to add almost 3 kilotonnes of capacity for polycarbonate diol -- a polyurethane feedstock -- at its plant in Castello, Spain, by early 2012, company officials said at a press conference at K 2010.
In addition to nylon resins, the Sao Paulo plant makes nylon feedstock caprolactam. The site has almost 50 million pounds of annual nylon capacity, according to chief business officer Bruno De Bievre. The compounding expansion will encompass about 11 million pounds of new capacity at a plant in Rayong, Thailand.
Ube is a unit of Japanese conglomerate Ube Industries Ltd. The parent firm generates about 29 percent of its annual sales from plastics and chemicals, making it the second largest of six operating units.
Ube announced the PCD addition in July, noting that polycarbonate diol is used to make PCD-based polyurethanes, which offer advantages such as excellent heat, hydrolysis, oil and weather resistance, compared to traditional polyurethanes, says the firm. PCDs are increasingly being used by automotive manufacturers in applications such as seats, dashboards and door interior panels, as well as for paints in second coat applications.
Une also says demand is also growing for PCD as a raw material for water-based paints that use polyurethane dispersion (PUD) technology. These contain no solvents and fill a need amid increasingly stricter regulation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), says Ube.