News

News

2017-09-19

Five Years of High-tech Plastics Production in the USA

  • LANXESS Corporation Gastonia site celebrates fifth anniversary
  • Key pillar in High Performance Materials’ global compounding network
  • Addition of former Chemtura Urethanes site makes Gastonia LANXESS Engineering Materials hub

Pittsburgh, PA – September 19, 2017– It has been five years since specialty chemicals company LANXESS opened its production facility for High Performance Materials in Gastonia, North Carolina – the first plant for LANXESS high-tech plastics production in the United States.  In its short history, the Gastonia site has undergone an expansion that doubled its initial capacity, increased its shift schedules and produced and shipped more than 100 thousand tons of high performance Durethan® polyamides (PA) and Pocan® polybutylene terephthalates (PBT) to customers in the North America region. 

 

“The Gastonia compounding plant is a core pillar in our strategy to build and deliver as a global engineering plastics supplier,” said Dr. Michael Zobel, Global Head of business unit High Performance Materials (HPM).  “Five years later, the global HPM business has transformed from a European intermediates business to a truly global plastics player, differentiated by our technological know-how and high-end engineering support.” 

 

Construction of the plant commenced in October, 2011, and production began in September, 2012.  Less than two years later, in August, 2014, LANXESS announced plans to expand the site with a second production line to meet growing market demand for high-tech plastics, particularly in the automotive industry.  This expansion represented an investment of about USD 15 million and doubled capacity from 20,000 to over 40,000 metric tons annually.  The second line was completed and came into operation at the end of 2015.

 

In the plant, the basic polymers polyamide (PA) and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) are mixed and refined with special additives and glass fiber, according to customer requirements, to make the high-performance plastic product lines Durethan and Pocan. These innovation building blocks (Durethan and Pocan) are used in the automotive industry to manufacture plastic components that contribute to lightweighting and fuel efficiency, and also in the electric and electronics industry, playing well into industry trends of miniaturization and ecological requirements such as halogen-free flame retardancy.  LANXESS customers benefit from an integrated value chain, as products manufactured locally in Gastonia are the same quality, formulation, and specifications as those produced at all HPM facilities worldwide. 

 

LANXESS’ global production network for high-performance plastics

The business unit High Performance Materials is highly backward integrated in the value chain. It produces the precursors for its high-performance plastics, like glass fibers for the PA and PBT compounds and the polyamide 6 monomer caprolactam, all in its own plants.
It is one of the leading global producers of the engineering plastics polyamide (Durethan) and polybutylene terephthalate (Pocan), and of thermoplastic fiber composites (Tepex®).

With roughly 1,500 employees worldwide, the HPM business unit operates production facilities in Belgium (Antwerp), Germany (Krefeld-Uerdingen, Hamm-Uentrop, Brilon), China (Wuxi), India (Jhagadia), United States (Gastonia) and Brazil (Porto Feliz).
It is part of the LANXESS Engineering Materials segment, which generated sales of EUR 1.1 billion in 2016.   

 

Expanded engineering materials capability

 

With the addition of the business unit Urethane Systems through the recent acquisition of Chemtura, LANXESS has extended its engineering materials portfolio. Also located in Gastonia, about 15 minutes away, the Urethane Systems plant produces hot cast elastomer prepolymers and curatives, and the business unit is a world leader in this space.

 

Hot cast prepolymers are used in the most demanding applications and industries, such as oil and gas, mining, or tires and wheels. Urethane elastomers are known for wear and abrasion resistance, toughness and load-bearing capability. These innovative systems are also tailored to withstand the harshest environments and to provide exceptional dynamic properties for these applications.

 

The new LANXESS Engineering Materials business segment comprises the business units High Performance Materials and Urethane Systems and totals about EUR 1.5 billion in sales.

 

“The transformed LANXESS has moved away from capital-intensive, mass-market chemicals and is steering towards higher margin specialty applications, such as high-performance polymers and engineering materials,” says Antonis Papadourakis, President and CEO of LANXESS Corporation. “The Gastonia hub is an important example of the commitment of LANXESS to growth in North America and in this market.”

 

 

LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 7.7 billion in 2016 and about 19,200 employees in 25 countries. The company is currently represented at 75 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of chemical intermediates, additives, specialty chemicals and plastics. Through ARLANXEO, the joint venture with Saudi Aramco, LANXESS is also a leading supplier of synthetic rubber. LANXESS is listed in the leading sustainability indices Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI World) and FTSE4Good.

 

Forward-Looking Statements
This company release contains certain forward-looking statements, including assumptions, opinions, expectations and views of the company or cited from third party sources. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause the actual results, financial position, development or performance of LANXESS AG to differ materially from the estimations expressed or implied herein. LANXESS AG does not guarantee that the assumptions underlying such forward-looking statements are free from errors nor does it accept any responsibility for the future accuracy of the opinions expressed in this presentation or the actual occurrence of the forecast developments. No representation or warranty (expressed or implied) is made as to, and no reliance should be placed on, any information, estimates, targets and opinions, contained herein, and no liability whatsoever is accepted as to any errors, omissions or misstatements contained herein, and accordingly, no representative of LANXESS AG or any of its affiliated companies or any of such person's officers, directors or employees accept any liability whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from the use of this document.

 

Information for editors:

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Contact

Lisa Goldstone
Head of Communications, Americas

Phone: +1 412-809-1524