Covestro Expands Coating Raw Materials
German engineering plastics producer Covestro, which has a sideline in coatings raw materials, has expanded production of HDI, an important feedstock for its coatings portfolio, in China. The new world-scale plant at Shanghai inaugurated last week can produce up to 50,000 t of the feedstock annually.
“Particularly in China and the Asia-Pacific region, there is strong demand for coatings and adhesives in such key sectors as the automotive, construction and furniture, footwear and textiles industries. We believe there is considerable potential for growth through product and application innovations, and we are responding to that with the expansion of our HDI production capacity,” said Daniel Meyer, head of Covestro’s Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties (CAS) segment.
Meyer said the new plant uses an environmentally friendly process. In the last process step, the use of solvents has been cut by up to 80%, while up to 60% less energy is used, compared with the conventional technology. Overall, the carbon footprint of HDI production is claimed to have been reduced by up to 70%.
The former Bayer MaterialScience said the facility will help ensure a stable and flexible supply of HDI to regional markets in addition to its captive use, for example for BLULOGIQ, described as “a unique technology for coating plastic automotive parts that is highly energy efficient and delivers significant cost savings.”
One of the last projects in a 10-year, more than €3 billion, investment program for the site, the new plant makes Shanghai one of the largest HDI production centers in the world, said Klaus Schäfer, management board member responsible for production and technology. As part of the spending scheme, output of polycarbonate production capacities at Shanghai will be doubled to about 400,000 t/y by the end of this year.
Separately, Covestro’s board has given its final approval for expansion of polyurethane feedstock MDI at the company’s Brunsbüttel site in northern Germany. In the project, on the drawing boards for some time, an idled TDI plant is being converted to produce the sister product. This will lift MDI output at the site to around 400,000 t/y by 2018.