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Asahi Kasei boosting compounding capacity to meet automotive demand

By: Rhoda Miel

March 21, 2013

DETROIT — Asahi Kasei Plastics North America Inc. has launched a $5 million expansion of production at its Fowlerville, Mich., compounding operations to meet an expected increase in demand for its materials.

The investment is in addition to the $15 million invested during the previous five years, Prasad Puttagunta, vice president of operations for Asahi Kasei Plastics, said in a March 21 news release.

Asahi Kasei is putting $3 million into a large compounding extruder and peripheral equipment in Fowlerville. The remaining $2 million will be spent throughout the plant on upgrades this year.

The new equipment is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2013, providing a 30 percent capacity increased for Asahi's Thermylene brand of long glass fiber reinforced polypropylene and a 10 percent capacity increase over all product lines.

The company, a subsidiary of Asahi Kasei Chemicals Co., said it has seen more orders for its products — both Themylene and the Leona brand of glass reinforced polyamide — as the North American auto industry looks to reduce weight in its vehicles and improve fuel economy.