(PlasticsToday) -- Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. and its affiliated Prime Polymer Co. (both Tokyo) are to boost capacity for polypropylene compounds in Thailand to meet growing demands of the automotive materials sector in the region. An 18,000 tonnes/year expansion will take capacity from 122,000 tonnes/year to 140,000 tonnes/year. The new capacity should be on stream by the third quarter of 2012. A fully automated high-rise storage facility will also be constructed to accelerate delivery and improve its accuracy.
Although flooding in Thailand in 2011 temporarily affected the auto industry, with total production likely to be down 10% compared with the 1,645,000 vehicles manufactured in 2010, the country is expected to regain momentum as the ASEAN production and export hub for automobiles.
The current compound production augmentation will also cater to surges in demand for polypropylene automotive grades in Indonesia and neighboring countries.
The Mitsui Chemicals Group is targeting further global expansion of polypropylene compounds for automotive applications as a fundamental strategy of the 2011 Mid-Term Business Plan. This will encompass expansion of polypropylene compound production in seven major world markets (Japan, the United States, Mexico, Europe, Thailand, China, and India)