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Lanxess opens high-tech plastics plant in Brazil

News International-French

14 Apr 2014

The company inaugurated its high-tech plastics plant in Porto Feliz, Brazil. The specialty chemicals company has invested around EUR 20 million in the facility, which will initially have an annual capacity of 20,000 metric tons. Up to 50 highlyskilled jobs will be created. 

The new plant is supporting above all the growing demand toward products for the megatrend mobility in Latin America. For example in Brazil, the fourth largest automotive market globally, a governmental program called “Inovar-Auto” has been implemented in early 2013. It offers fiscal incentives for OEMs that strengthen their production as well as their investments in research and development in Brazil and produce cars which are more energy efficient. With the new facility, LANXESS is able to meet the local demand for high-tech plastics used in the automotive sector more quickly and more efficiently.

In the new compounding plant, the basic polymers polyamide (PA) and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) are mixed and refined with special additives and glass fiber, according to client requirements, to make the high-tech plastic product lines Durethan and Pocan. These innovative materials are used for the manufacturing of much lighter parts, which can replace metal components in vehicles, thus helping to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. With these materials, the automotive industry as well as suppliers can cut production costs significantly, increase freedom of design and improve safety. Due to their excellent properties, both plastics have a wide variety of applications, such as door handles, bumpers, front ends, cable connectors, cooling pipes, among others.

Since 2012, LANXESS has been greatly expanding its global production network for high-tech plastics. In Antwerp, Belgium, the company is currently completing a new plant for polyamide plastics. The world-scale facility is designed for an annual capacity of 90,000 metric tons and scheduled to start operation in the third quarter of 2014.

The High Performance Materials (HPM) business unit with roughly 1,700 employees worldwide is part of the Performance Polymers segment, which generated EUR 4.5 billion in sales in fiscal 2013. HPM is highly backward integrated in the value chain. It manufactures the precursors for its high-tech plastics, like glass fibers for the PA and PBT compounds, the polyamide 6 monomer caprolactam and its raw materials all in its own plants. The business unit is headed by Michael Zobel.

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