Arkema Starts Plants for PVDF, Molecular Sieve
Arkema’s High Performance Materials business segment has completed two major investments, starting up a capacity expansion for the fluoropolymer PVDF at Changsu, China, near Shanghai, and inaugurating a new specialty molecular sieve capacity at Honfleur, France.
The 25% increase in the undisclosed capacity of the Chinese PVDF facility, which the French speciality chemicals and plastics producer claims is world’s largest, is designed to supports the company’s growth strategy for technical applications. Demand for its “Kynar”-brand fluoropolymers used in batteries and photovoltaics as well as in water management and construction coatings is said to be especially strong in Asia.
Started up in 2011, the Shanghai fluorpolymers plant was expanded again in 2012, by 50%. Arkema also produces PVDF in Europe and North America. With the latest investment it said it is “consolidating its leading position.”
Closer to home, the new €60 million molecular sieve facility is aimed at supporting customers in the refining and petrochemicals markets, in particular in Asia and the Middle East. It will primarily supply the manmade fiber and PET bottle markets.
Arkema claims to be world’s number two player in molecular sieve, and the business is one of its growth drivers, CEO Thierry Le Hénaff remarked at the plant inauguration. The new investment at Honfleur site marks the official launch of the doubling of capacity for specialty molecular sieves dedicated to aromatics separation in petrochemicals, in particular xylene separation, he said.