Expansions: Covestro inaugurates new plant for polycarbonate copolymers in Belgium; UFlex starts up polyester plant in India & CPP film line in Russia

Covestro inaugurates new plant for polycarbonate copolymers in Belgium

German materials firm Covestro says it has finished its first plant for polycarbonate copolymers that can produce these high-quality plastics on an industrial scale at its Antwerp site in Belgium. The new platform technology, which the company developed itself, is based on a solvent-free melt process in combination with a new reactor concept. This makes polycarbonates with adjustable properties accessible, which have been developed and tested on a laboratory and pilot scale in recent years. The investment is in the mid double-digit million euro range and covers a pilot and a production plant.

In addition to the reduced complexity of the new production process, the connection to the existing infrastructure in Antwerp with four production lines for polycarbonate also has an advantageous effect, as it combines global scale in production with the flexibility of a stand-alone unit.

"The new production process is the first and only one of its kind in the world and enables us to offer a broad portfolio of material innovations," says Sucheta Govil, Chief Commercial Officer at Covestro. "With the new plant, we can now produce and launch new polymer materials on an industrial scale much faster than before. This is the result of several years of development work by our research and process technology teams, as well as our long-term experience with polycarbonates. In our Solutions & Specialties segment, we focus on sophisticated products with a high pace of innovation, which is a key success factor since customer requirements change quickly. The new production line is a prime example of how we implement this strategy and support our customers to the best extent."

"Compared to pure polycarbonates, the copolymers open up new possibilities for us to integrate further functionalities and properties into our materials," explains Lily Wang, Global Head of the Engineering Plastics business unit. "These can range from improved mechanical properties, a higher resistance against chemical attack to an enhanced flame retardancy. By that, we can offer innovative materials that meet the high requirements of our customers in a wider range of applications. We will focus first on materials for the electrical, electronics and healthcare industries, while future innovations might focus on mobility and other trends."

UFlex starts up polyester plant in India & CPP film line in Russia

In other news, UFlex, India’s largest multinational flexible packaging and solutions company, says it has successfully commenced commercialising poly-condensed polyester chips at its manufacturing facility in Panipat, India. In addition, it announced the commissioning of a 6.5-m-wide cast polypropylene (CPP) film line with an installed capacity of 18,000 tonnes/year in Russia through its subsidiary Flex Films Rus in Russia.

UFlex’s polyester chips manufacturing plant has an installed capacity of 168,000 tonnes/year and reaffirms the company’s commitment to expanding its vertical integration footprint. The Panipat plant will primarily manufacture poly-condensed polyester chips, which is a key raw material required to produce BOPET packaging films.

In addition to catering to its in-house packaging film production, the facility will cater to third-party customers, contributing to the growth and sustainability of the packaging film industry in India.

UFlex starts up polyester plant in India & CPP film line in Russia

The Panipat facility complements the company’s packaging films India footprint in Noida, the National Capital Region, and Dharwad, Karnataka, further solidifying UFlex's presence and capabilities in serving its packaging film customers across the country.

The CPP packaging film line in Russia will complement the existing capacity of one 8.7-m-wide BOPET film line with a capacity of 30,000 tonnes/year and a 2.85-m-wide plasma enhanced metalliser with a capacity of 8,000 tonnes/year.

Ashok Chaturvedi, Chairman/Managing Director, UFlex Limited, said, “We are extremely buoyant about the commissioning of our polyester chips plant in Panipat, and the CPP line in Russia. Now more than ever, our customers are interested in reliability, speed, and quality in their supply chain, and this expansion will allow us to deliver on those expectations.”


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