Asahi Kasei on expansion drive in the US

Japanese firm Asahi Kasei Plastics North American unit is investing US$5 million investment in a new compounding line and plant improvements to accommodate increased business in all markets. A US$3 million investment in a large compounding extruder and peripheral equipment is in process and a US$2 million investment in new projects including plant upgrades is planned for 2013.

The new equipment is expected to be operational by the end of 2013 providing a 30% capacity increase for the firm’s line of Thermylene speciality PP products and a 10% capacity increase over all product lines. "This US$5 million investment is in addition to the US$15 million invested in the last five years for new equipment and continuous improvement," said Prasad Puttagunta , Vice President operations, Asahi Kasei Plastics. "We are very excited about the growth our company is experiencing – we are ahead of the market recovery growth rate and many of the product development investments we have made over the years are now paying dividends with increased business in new areas," said Puttagunta. "The additional capacity will ensure that we have a robust supply chain to support the growth of our customers."

Last year, the firm also added staff in its facility to be able to run seven days a week. It also opened new sales offices in Mexico and China and established distributorships in Brazil and Germany. In 2011, Asahi Kasei Plastics invested US$5.5 million in a new compounding line to increase capacity for its Leona and Xyron engineering products and an additional line for expanded R&D services.

The firm says the expansions are in line with the growth of its product uses in automotive under-the-hood and structural and impact resistance applications. Interest is also being generated in Thermylene I long glass fibre-reinforced PP for impact performance and Leona resin (polyamide with 60% glass) to provide a Class "A" surface without paint. Last year, Asahi Kasei Plastics won the SPE Innovation Award for "Most Innovative Use of Plastics" in the materials category of its Leona resin in the Ford Escape, Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ air register vanes.


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