Arkema starts up its specialty UV/LED curing resins' capacity expansion in China

Arkema starts up its specialty UV/LED curing resins' capacity expansion in China

MRC -- Arkema has begun production of Sartomer® specialty UV/LED curing resins at its expanded facility in Nansha, China, where the Group invested to double the capacity, as announced end-2021, said the company.

This will support the development of more sustainable solutions for fast-growing applications in Asian markets, such as cutting-edge solutions in electronics, driven by 5G technology, and in renewable energies.

The Nansha capacity expansion leverages the most recent process and manufacturing standards. The whole plant has an energy efficiency program, and aims at carbon neutral growth through green electricity purchasing and the installation of solar panels.

“Doubling the capacity of the Nansha plant will allow us to support the growth, innovation and regional supply of our customers in Asia. The accelerating need for lower carbon solutions is creating new opportunities for the UV/LED curing technology, which is expanding fast to a wider range of substrates and applications” said Richard Jenkins, Senior Vice-President of Arkema’s Coating Solutions.

We remind, Arkema collaborates with industry leaders including EOS, HP and Stratasys, to continue offering customers more sustainable, high-performance materials for additive manufacturing. This is particularly true of its bio-sourced Rilsan® Polyamide 11, for which the Group recently announced a further reduction in the carbon footprint of all its grades globally. This initiative represents an improvement of around 70% compared to traditional polyamide resins produced using fossil-based raw materials and conventional energy sources.

Celanese Q3 earnings surge as sales rise faster than costs

Celanese Q3 earnings surge as sales rise faster than costs

MRC -- US Celanese saw profits surge over the third quarter as sales rose faster than costs, the acetyls and engineered materials producer announced on Monday.

The following tables show the company's Q3 financial performance. Figures are in millions of dollars.

The company said net sales of $2.7bn were down by 3% from the prior quarter, representing a 3% decrease in pricing which was partially offset by a 1% increase in volume.

The company said it took actions to reduce costs, align production and inventory levels with demand, and maximise cash generation in response to unfavorable demand and competitive dynamics, including reducing inventory balances by $177m with inventory reductions across Engineered Materials and the Acetyl Chain of 7% and 6%, respectively.

The following table shows the Q3 performance of the Acetyl Chain. It makes acetic acid, vinyl acetate monomer (VAM), ethyl acetate (etac), butyl acetate (butac) and acetic anhydride as well as vinyl acetate ethylene emulsions and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA).

We remind, Celanese will idle eight units in its Engineered Materials segment, while running many other plants at reduced rates. Celanese did not specify which units it will idle, what products they make or how long they will remain down. Out of the idled plants, six are in Mobility & Materials (M&M), a business that Celanese acquired from DuPont. The remaining two predated the M&M acquisition.

Solvay confirms plans to create largest North American production facility for electric vehicle materials

Solvay confirms plans to create largest North American production facility for electric vehicle materials

MRC -- Solvay confirms its plans to build a new battery-grade PVDF facility in Augusta, Georgia, said the company.

With more than half of U.S. car sales projected to be electric by 2030, the U.S. produced PVDF - a thermoplastic fluoropolymer - will allow supply for the rapidly growing EV battery market, meeting the growing needs of U.S. domestic energy storage markets. The new operations will provide material for more than 5 million EV batteries per year at full capacity and create hundreds of jobs throughout the value chain.

Solvay and Orbia have just signed their joint venture agreement for this project. The partnership secures the supply by Orbia of needed materials for Solvay to manufacture its suspension-grade polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) production, which is used as a lithium-ion binder and separator coating in electric vehicle batteries. Solvay, on the other hand, will bring its process technology and global market know-how to this venture. In combination, Solvay’s Solef® PVDF innovations and Orbia’s raw material assets and production expertise will enable delivery of PVDF that enables electric vehicles to go farther on each charge, extends battery life and improves battery safety.

We remind, Solvay announced its plans to lower the production capacity of its soda ash plant in Torrelavega, Spain by 300,000 tonnes/y to 600,000 tonnes/y, effective Jan 2024. The site will now concentrate on serving the needs of regional soda ash and premium grade sodium bicarbonate customers.

Epsilyte partners with Fimic for advanced EPS recycling

Epsilyte partners with Fimic for advanced EPS recycling

MRC -- Advanced insulative materials producer Epsilyte, The Woodlands, Texas, has partnered with Italy-based equipment provider Fimic SRL to broaden its expanded polystyrene (EPS) recycling operations, said the company.

Epsilyte says it will leverage Fimic’s melt filtration equipment to address physical contamination in recycled EPS. The company says Fimic’s technology demonstrates versatility in its ability to handle different types of physical contamination and minimizes the risk of damage to recycling equipment. Epsilyte also cites Fimic’s reliable delivery schedule as a factor in its partnership decision.

"Epsilyte is committed toward a more sustainable future and demonstrates it in the investments we're making in technologies like Fimic Melt Filtration,” says DJ Harris, Epsilyte plant manager. “Their knowledge and experience in the filtration sector are highly valued, and our collaboration with Fimic is serving as a foundation of Epsilyte's improved capability to process a variety of recycled polystyrene.

Earlier this year, Epsilyte received the Excellence in EPS Recycling award at the EPS Expo in Orlando, Florida. The award recognizes outstanding achievements in foam recycling and enhancements in innovation and technology.

Kem One Ceases Caustic Production in France Due to Profitability Issues

Kem One Ceases Caustic Production in France Due to Profitability Issues

MRC -- Kem One, a significant player in the chemical industry, has made a strategic decision to temporarily suspend operations at its chlorine and caustic soda production facilities in France, said Chemanalyst.

This move is driven by the persistent issue of low profitability that the company has been grappling with. Kem One has announced that this shutdown is expected to endure for several months, reflecting the need to navigate through turbulent economic conditions.

The primary impetus behind this challenging decision stems from the continuous deterioration of market conditions within the processing sector. Kem One has observed a disconcerting absence of signs pointing to a swift recovery in demand, while the prevailing dynamics in the market are posing considerable challenges to the profit margins of European producers.

Over the preceding months, Kem One has witnessed a significant reduction in its production output, with figures showing that it has nearly halved. This substantial drop in production can be largely attributed to reduced demand for construction-related products and chemicals across the industry. To underscore the gravity of the situation, recent data from Eurochlor, an industry organization dedicated to chlorine production, reveals that capacity utilization for chlor-alkali products across Europe in the year 2023 is anticipated to reach historically low levels.

Kem One's presence in the French chemical industry is marked by two major production facilities. The first is located in Lavera, with an annual capacity of 341,382 tonnes of chlorine and 333,373 tonnes of caustic soda. The second is situated in Fos, boasting a capacity of 635,710 tonnes of chlorine and a substantial 2,202,200 tonnes of caustic soda per year.

Prior to this recent development, it was reported that Kem One, recognized as the third-largest producer of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) in Europe, faced an unscheduled shutdown of its caustic and chlorine production operations in St. Fons, France, in February. This unexpected disruption was triggered by a technical malfunction at the Kem One plant in Saint-Fons, which resulted in a production hiatus lasting for nine days.

The decisions taken by Kem One highlight the intricate and dynamic nature of the chemical and processing industry, where factors such as profitability and market conditions hold a pivotal role in shaping operational strategies. These actions undertaken by Kem One reflect the continuous challenges faced by the sector and underscore the company's commitment to adapting to the ever-evolving economic landscape.