Ascend Makes First China Acquisition
US-based polyamide 6,6 producer Ascend Performance Materials has signed an agreement to buy the assets of NCM (Changshu) Co. and Tehe Engineering Plastic (Suzhou) Co., marking its first acquisition in China and providing a footprint for growth.
The companies are located in Changshu Yushan High-tech Industrial park, 100km outside of Shanghai.
Ascend said its master plan includes expanding compounding assets at the site and establishing a global R&D center with a focus on existing applications in the automotive, electrical and electronics, consumer and industrial sectors, as well as in new areas such as 3D-printing and high-performance films.
Phil McDivitt, Ascend’s president and CEO, said the purchase positions the company to better facilitate supply to customers in Asia and to support future market growth. “Ascend’s long-range plan includes providing world-class service to customers around the globe.
The park, with its proxdimity to both China’s major automotive industry clusters and to Shanghai, make it an ideal choice for a hub to help us better reach the rapidly emerging markets in Asia,” the CEO said.
The company plans to take final ownership in August. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Separately, Ascend has introduced a new technology for textiles and nonwoven fabrics that is specially formulated to resist the growth of mildew, fungi and other microbes. Ascend’s vice president leading the Acteev launch, Lu Zhang, said Acteev Protect is a “leap forward” in protection for face masks, apparel, upholstery, air filters and more.
Ascend said the technology has been in development for several years, but with the recent shortage of articles resistant to microbial growth, it accelerated the product launch by partnering with independent laboratories for testing and reallocating resources to scale up production.
Acteev Protect combines zinc ion technology with polyamide-based woven, nonwoven and knit fabrics. The active zinc ions are embedded into the polymer matrix, providing a long-lasting solution that does not wash away, unlike topical finishes or coatings.
The embedded zinc in its ionic form is a powerful inhibitor of bacterial growth, explained Vikram Gopal, Ascend’s senior vice president of technology. “Zinc is an essential element needed for bacterial growth, so bacteria readily allow it inside the cell body. But the zinc ion out-competes other essential elements such as manganese and magnesium and chokes their ingestion channels. Without those minerals, the microbes can’t grow or reproduce,” he said.
Acteev Protect is the company’s first offering available in ready-to-use fabric form factors. Ascend plans to extend the line in the coming months to include polyamide 6.6 fabrics for medical applications and engineered plastics for high-touch surfaces.