Akzo Nobel is investing an undisclosed amount in its Industrial Products plant in Stockviksverken, Sweden, which will be used to increase the production capacity of Expancel® expandable microspheres.

“The need for more capacity has been brought about by increased global demand for the microspheres,” explained Rudy van der Meer, Member of Akzo Nobel’s Board of Management responsible for Coatings. “This incredibly versatile product was created in the early 1980s, but we are continually finding new applications and by increasing production capacity we are opening up even more opportunities for growth.”

Added Lars-Erik Thomsgård, General Manager of Akzo Nobel Industrial Products which trades under the name of Casco Products: “This investment represents a further strengthening of Expancel’s market position. A number of jobs will also be created as a result of the expansion project, which is scheduled to start this autumn and should take about a year to complete.”

Expancel microspheres are small, spherical plastic particles consisting of a polymer shell encapsulating a gas. When the gas inside the shell is heated, it increases in pressure and the thermoplastic shell softens, resulting in a dramatic increase in the volume of the microspheres.
One of the product’s biggest applications is in printing inks, but it is also used as a paint additive, in paper and board production, wallpaper production and in many other applications where improved properties and/or a lightweight filler is needed. Most recently it was used in the packaging for the fragrance Glow by J.Lo, launched by superstar singer and actress Jennifer Lopez.