R&D: Trinseo expands TPE R&D centre in Italy; LG Chem to set up tech centre in China

Trinseo expands TPE R&D centre in Italy

Materials firm Trinseo has finalised the expansion of its thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) R&D Centre in Mussolente, Italy. It adds that the new facility represents another step towards fulfilling Trinseo’s wider growth strategy for TPE, enabling it to further develop its portfolio of custom engineered TPE and thermoplastic urethanes (TPU), along with its bioplastics portfolio.

The facility, located on the premises of Trinseo’s main TPE manufacturing facility, has been under construction since February 2020. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, which hit Italy especially hard, work continued with complete adherence to the plans laid out to prevent the spread of the virus.

Trinseo says the Mussolente site has been leading industry developments in the design and production of sustainable soft-touch plastics, and it is combining six decades’ worth of experience with laboratory facilities and a growing, talented, team. The dedicated R&D centre is led by Marco Meneghetti - Global TPE T&I Leader and it is supporting both of Trinseo’s manufacturing sites for soft plastics – Mussolente and Hsinchu.

“We step into 2021 with another announcement regarding Trinseo’s investments in growth. We finished 2020 strong, with the opening of the TPE pilot facility in Hsinchu and the acquisition of the PMMA business from Arkema. All these steps, together, are moving Trinseo along in the direction set by company transformation strategy, that of becoming a provider of specialty compounds and material solutions. I congratulate the entire project team for ensuring the completion of this investment despite many challenges and I am looking forward to the new developments coming from Italy,” said Natalia Scherbakoff, Global Director Technology & Innovation.

LG Chem to set up tech centre in China

In other news, South Korean chemicals firm LG Chem recently signed an MOU with Wuxi City in Jiangsu Province, China, to establish a technology centre.

Under this agreement, LG Chem will invest about 30 billion won to build the Huadong Tech Centre in Wuxi City. It is designed to provide technical support to local clients and develop new technologies. Wuxi City will actively support LG Chem by providing a site and infrastructure for the construction and operation of the centre. Groundbreaking will be in the first half of 2021 and the centre will open around May 2022.

The centre will have three floors above ground and a total floor space of about 10,000 sq m. The centre will have pilot facilities that are as large as the mass-production facilities of the company’s clients. About 9 billion won will be spent on the construction of these processing and advanced analysis facilities alone.

Moreover, technical support will be provided to clients by about 60 R&D engineers, including product-specific teams for polyolefin (PO), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), SAP (high-availability resin) and high performance materials (HPMs).

Wuxi City has an excellent business environment. It was selected as one of China's top 10 economic cities. The city is the best place for LG Chem to establish a client support center as it is close to many of the company’s clients. It is home to production bases of 80 of the world's top 500 companies. LG Chem's cathode material production subsidiary is also located in Wuxi City.


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