Antwerp/Leverkusen - LANXESS is investing EUR 15 million in its glass fiber plant in the Antwerp docklands. For the specialty chemicals company glass fibers are a key intermediate for the production of high-tech plastics. With the expansion, the actual annual capacity of 60,000 metric tons will increase by 10 percent. The announcement was made during a LANXESS High-Tech Plastics Day at the facilities for caprolactam and glass fibers in Belgium. With the investment the glass fiber plant will replace both furnaces.
“The high-tech plastics business is a major growth driver for LANXESS. There is attractive business potential in the global market arising from the increasing demand for modern mobility as well as from the electric and electronic markets,” stated Werner Breuers, member of the Board of Management of LANXESS AG. The global demand for high-tech plastics is expected to increase by roughly seven percent per year through 2020.
Just before summer an investment project of EUR 35 million to expand the production of the plastic intermediate caprolactam at the site in the Antwerp docklands was finalized. The production capacity of 200,000 metric tons per year will be increased by another 10 percent.
LANXESS has been investing substantial amounts in the expansion of its global production network for high-tech plastics during the last 18 months. Including the glass fibers expansion, recent investments for high-tech plastics account for EUR 90 million. LANXESS’ Semi-Crystalline Products (SCP) business unit is a leading supplier of premium high-tech plastics. New compounding facilities are being built in the United States and Asia. In the existing compounding plants investments are being made to increase capacity.
Heart of high-tech plastics
“The investments in our Antwerp facilities for caprolactam and now glass fibers further strengthen our competitiveness,” said Michael Zobel, head of the SCP business unit. “More than half of the caprolactam and glass fibers produced is used internally. This perfect upstream integrated value chain is a key success factor for our business. With the production of these intermediates Antwerp is really the heart of the LANXESS high-tech plastics business.”
The LANXESS Year of High-Tech Plastics
LANXESS has declared 2011 the Year of High-Tech Plastics. As part of the theme year, LANXESS is initiating a series of events and taking part in trade fairs and exhibitions that provide information to all interest groups. The company highlights where high-tech plastics are used, the benefits they offer and, in particular, how they can also help ensure sustainable development. The High-Tech Plastics Day for the European media in Antwerp is part of this program.
The Semi-Crystalline Products business unit belongs to the Performance Polymers segment. It employs around 1,500 people worldwide with current production sites in Belgium (Lillo and Kallo in the Antwerp harbor), Germany (Krefeld-Uerdingen and Hamm-Uentrop (JV)), and China (Wuxi).
The automotive industry is the largest customer for the Semi-Crystalline Products (SCP) business unit, which produces Durethan and Pocan. These highly innovative products allow for the design of lighter-weight plastic parts to replace metal parts in automobiles, contributing to fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. In addition, Durethan and Pocan enable carmakers and car parts suppliers to achieve considerable savings through cheaper production and easier assembly.