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Hanwha Azdel announces $20M USD investment to construct new plant for LWRT composites in Korea

News International-French

21 Jun 2012

The Hanwha Azdel division of Hanwha L&C Co., Ltd. of Seoul, South Korea announced a major capacity expansion for its SuperLite® lightweight reinforced thermoplastic (LWRT) composite product line with a  $20-million USD investment that will be used to construct a new plant in Bugang, South Korea.

Scheduled to come on stream in 2014, the facility will be located inside Hanwha L&C’s existing Bugang Plant #2, home to the company’s existing glass-mat thermoplastic (GMT) composite production plant.  Both facilities will service global automotive, heavy-truck, recreational-vehicle, and industrial customers with production operations in Asia.
According to Bill Mills, director-Global Sales & Marketing for Hanwha Azdel, “This investment is yet another milestone toward our goal of fully globalizing SuperLite LWRT, a patented technology we introduced in 1999 and that revolutionized how automakers produced composite panels ranging from headliners to underbody shields.  These light but tough composite materials are important solutions for more sustainable mobility and are also an important part of Hanwha Azdel’s global business strategy.  As global demand increased for these materials, we made the strategic investment decision to support our global LWRT customers by expanding production capacity in order to provide a consistent regional supply of lightweight thermoplastic composite materials in this part of the globe.”  Mills adds that global demand for composites is projected to rise 7-10 percent annually through the year 2020.
LWRT composites are lower density forms of traditional glass-mat thermoplastic (GMT) composites with a higher fiber-volume fraction (ratio of reinforcement to resin) that are shaped by low-pressure thermostamping and are often faced with fabric or film skins.  They significantly reduce component mass and costs and improve acoustical damping vs. traditional GMT and are key product lines for Hanwha Azdel.
About Hanwha Azdel
Hanwha Azdel, Inc. manufactures tough, low-density thermoplastic composites used to produce parts with an excellent balance of cost, performance, and low weight that are designed for both interior and exterior applications in the automotive, heavy truck, and recreational-vehicle markets as well as other transportation and industrial segments.  
Hanwha L&C specializes in producing high-performance materials used in the automotive, solar, and electronics industries with annual sales of $1.4-billion USD and more than 2,000 employees globally.  The company has four divisions: Automotive Parts, Electronic and Solar Materials, Film and Sheet, and Building Materials.  A sister division of Hanwha Azdel is Hanwha L&C Alabama LLC, a tier-one molder of automotive parts in GMT and expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam.  The company was established in 2005 and is located in Opelika, Ala.
In autumn of 2011, Hanwha L&C opened its new Hanwha L&C Global Automotive Business Center in Fenton, Mich., the first global headquarters Hanwha has established outside of South Korea.  This facility serves as headquarters for the Automotive Division, a core business of Hanwha L&C, as well as a research and development center for composites developments.  
Hanwha Azdel is an operating unit of Hanwha Living & Creative (L&C) Corp., which itself is a division of Hanwha Chemical and its parent, Hanwha Group, a major Korean conglomerate with 30 affiliated companies, 30,000 employees worldwide and operations in South Korea, China, the U.S., Canada, and the Czech Republic.  
Hanwha Group has three business sectors:  Manufacturing and Construction; Services and Leisure; and Finance, operating 56 affiliates and a network of 69 overseas subsidiaries and branches.

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