Solvay Boosts Americas PA Business
Solvay is building a compounding unit in Mexico for its Technyl range of polyamide (PA) resins. The plant in San Luis Potosí will have an initial capacity of 10,000 t/y when it becomes operational in the third quarter of 2017. Investment costs were not disclosed. Vincent Kamel, president of Solvay Performance Polyamides, said the facility will help to support the company’s fast growing Technyl PA business in North America. He said: “Many of the world’s top automotive OEMs are located in the region, which makes it an ideal base for us to serve both local and US markets.”
Mexico is ranked as the second largest producer of cars and commercial vehicles in the Americas and seventh worldwide, with annual production of more than 3.5 million units in 2015. In addition, Solvay said, many consumer goods and electrical equipment players are located close by, offering new opportunities. In order to minimize investment costs and time to market, the Belgian company is partnering with one of its major customers, Chunil Engineering, a South Korean specialist injection molder for automotive powertrain components.
“Our collaboration with Chunil Engineering – a global automotive tier 1 supplier – enables us to optimize the site’s infrastructure including the use of power, water and waste treatment,” said Peter Browning, general manager of Solvay’s Engineering Plastics business. “As our business develops, we will expand this modular unit’s capacity to meet the rapidly growing needs of our customers in the region,” he added.
In separate news, Solvay has launched Technyl REDx at the German plastics exhibition K 2016, which is being held in Düsseldorf from Oct. 19-26. The new grade of heat-performance PA 6.6 incorporates a “smart molecule” self-reinforcement technology and is said to outperform conventional specialty polymers in demanding thermal management systems, particularly in the automotive industry.
“There is a need for new material solutions that resist the higher continuous heat stress of new generation engines without compromising on costs and performance,” said James Mitchell, global automotive market director for Solvay Engineering Plastics, noting that more than 12 million engines now use Technyl technologies.
The technology in Technyl REDx remains inactive during injection molding but is activated by a vehicle’s elevated temperatures, leading to rapid cross-linking that boosts the mechanical properties far beyond their initial values.
As a result, said project leader, Antoine Guiu, the material opens up completely new possibilities for high-heat applications with lower material and manufacturing costs.