BASF expands compounding/TPU capacities in China; auto/infrastructure sectors boost demand

German chemical company BASF estimates the Asia Pacific market for engineering plastics will grow on average by about 7% per year. Based on this it has doubled the capacity for its compounding plant for Ultramid PA and Ultradur PBT in Shanghai, from currently 45,000 to more than 100,000 tonnes/year– making it BASF’s biggest engineering plastics compounding facility in Asia Pacific.

The expansion, which is operational more than six months ahead of schedule, also includes a compounding line for speciality grades that enables BASF to tap the burgeoning market potential for speciality applications. With this project and the new compounding plant in Yesan, Chung Nam Province, South Korea, which is expected to begin operations from the end of 2015, BASF’s overall compounding capacities in Asia will increase from the current 130,000 to a total of 225,000 tonnes.

“More than 60% of China’s people will live in cities by 2020. Supporting an environmentally-friendly path for urbanisation presents a huge opportunity for chemistry as an enabler for sustainable innovations in areas ranging from industrial manufacturing to construction, transportation and consumer goods,” said Albert Heuser, President, Greater China and Functions Asia Pacific, BASF.

The company says that growth of engineering plastics use is driven by the transportation, construction, high speed railway, as well as the electrical and electronics industry. Ultramid and Ultradur are used in automotive parts and innovative applications include seat structures, oil sump modules, sensors, engine mounts, connectors and highly integrated laser-structured electronic devices.

Additionally, according to China’s national New Urbanisation Plan (2014-2020), with additional 100 million people living in cities by 2020, the percentage of more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly buildings among newly constructed buildings in China will rise to 50% from 2% today. BASF recently introduced co-extrudable Ultradur to reinforce thermally insulated PVC window profiles, an important contributor to building energy efficiency.

Increase in capacity of Elastollan TPU and expansion of Cellasto capacity/technical centre

It has also “significantly” expanded the Elastollan thermoplastics polyurethane elastomers (TPU) capacity (without stating the amount). Elastollan TPU is a versatile material that can be processed with different methods, including extrusion and injection moulding as well as blow moulding. The Shanghai-based Elastollan plant, which was established in 2007, will support growth of the rapidly growing market for textile, footwear, transportation, wire and cable sheathing and other industrial applications.

In 2013, more than 42 million cars were sold in Asia Pacific and over 20 million in China, the world’s largest automotive market. The number is foreseen to increase to 33 million in China and 62 million in Asia Pacific by 2020. (Source: LMC Automotive Ltd 2013 Report).

Cellasto microcellular polyurethane component is the customised solution for damping and reduction of the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) level of vehicles. In Asia Pacific, BASF will strengthen Cellasto offering, based on the existing facility at the Pudong site, which was established in 2011. The new investment project includes the expansion of the Cellasto Asia Pacific Technical Centre, the establishment of three new production lines, and the technical improvement of existing facilities. The production capacity will be doubled after the project completion in 2015.

Cellasto components are sold to the automotive industry mainly as jounce bumpers, top mounts and coil spring isolators for suspension, as well as other NVH parts. BASF currently produces Cellasto at six sites worldwide: Lemförde, Germany, Shanghai and Nansha, China, Guaratinguetá, Brazil, Shinshiro, Japan, and Wyandotte, US.


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