Plant Set-ups: Arkema starts first PEKK production plant in US; Nouryon to double organic peroxides capacity in Mexico

Arkema starts first PEKK production plant in US

French chemical firm Arkema has started up a Kepstan PEKK (Poly-Ether-Ketone-Ketone) plant at its site near Mobile (Alabama, US). It says this investment is a new step in its ambitious growth strategy in high-performance polymers and advanced materials.

This investment, which complements the doubling of Kepstan PEKK resin capacities in France in 2017, supports the strong demand for carbon fibre-reinforced composites and 3D printing.

Arkema says it is strengthening its offering of advanced materials in the most demanding markets such as aeronautics, oil and gas, electronics and automotive, in line with its commitment to lightweight materials, which is one of its six innovation platforms for sustainable development.

Kepstan PEKK resins range features excellent mechanical, chemical, fire and abrasion resistance, says Arkema. These resins also accommodate a wide range of processing technologies, particularly in the field of 3D printing where they are uniquely suited for powder sintering and filament extrusion processes.

Parts made of Kepstan reinforced carbon fibre PEKK, replacing metal for structural parts of future generations of aircraft, will provide lightweight materials including faster production cycles in the aeronautics and defence sectors.

Nouryon to double organic peroxides capacity in Mexico

In other news, Nouryon (formerly AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals) will double production capacity for solvent-based organic peroxides at its Los Reyes, Mexico site, enabling it to support the strong growth of the North American polyolefin and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) markets. The expansion is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2020.

Polyolefins are used to produce a variety of end products including films, food packaging, and cables. PVC is widely used in the building and construction market in applications such as pipes, ducting, door profiles and window frames.

“Fuelled by large investments in the petrochemical and polymer industry, the organic peroxides market is expanding rapidly in North America,” said Johan Landfors, Managing Director Polymer Chemistry at Nouryon. “We are scaling up quickly and building a regional production network that is flexible and resilient, enabling continuous security of supply to our North American customers.”

Landfors continued: “We are committed to adapting to dynamic market conditions and invest in production capabilities in North America to support the growth of our customers. The increased capacity will boost our position in the region and reinforces our leadership position in the global organic peroxides market."

The Los Reyes expansion is the latest in a series of investments by Nouryon to better serve and grow with its customers in the polymer market. The company recently expanded production capacity for emulsion-based organic peroxides at Los Reyes, Mexico, and started production of Butanox-branded MEK peroxides at Pasadena, Texas. Another expansion project at Los Reyes is due to be completed this year. Several projects have also been announced or completed in Asia.


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