Specialty chemicals group Lanxess has opened its first production plant for high-tech plastics in the United States. With the new facility in Gastonia in the state of North Carolina, the company will help to meet the growing global demand for premium, lightweight plastics in the automotive sector.
In the new compounding plant, basic polymers such as polyamide and polybutylene terephthalate are mixed and refined with special additives and glass fibres, according to customer needs, these plastics have a wide variety of applications, including body parts, oil pans, coolant pipes, battery housings, steering rods, pedals and pedal brackets.
These materials go into building much lighter plastic parts that can replace metal ones in motor vehicles, helping to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. The company have invested $20 million on the new plant and is creating up to 45 new jobs. The new plant will initially operate with a capacity of 20,000 metric tons a year.
Lanxess plans further investments of EUR 125 million in expanding its global production network for high-tech plastics from 2012-2014. The heart of LANXESS’ high-tech plastics value chain is in Antwerp, Belgium, and Krefeld-Uerdingen, Germany. In Antwerp, the company has decided to build a new world-scale facility to make polyamide plastics and has recently expanded capacities at this site for the chemical intermediate caprolactam, which is a precursor for the polyamide.
last week Lanxess expanded its portfolio of lightweight materials to the automotive industry by acquiring the German-based company Bond-Laminates, which specialises in developing and producing custom-made plastic composite sheets branded TEPEX.