DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — Braskem SA, a leading producer of thermoplastic resins and the world’s largest biopolymers producer, is investing $23.1 million to expand its production capacity of linear low density polyethylene by 120,000 metric tons per year in Brazil, the company announced Oct. 17.
Of that amount, 100,000 tons will be part of the Braskem Flexus line, the company’s brand for metallocene-based PE. Braskem will convert one of its industrial lines for PE in the Camaçari petrochemical complex in Bahia state for new production of this resin, which is being promoted as the latest technology in resins for plastic film.
Camaçari is also the location of a potential new joint venture plant under study by global styrenics leader Styrolution Group and Braskem, which would have annual capacity of about 220 million pounds for ABS, styrene acrylonitrile and specialty styrenics, the companies said on Oct. 14.
Engineering studies have been completed for conversions at the Camaçari complex, and Braskem projects the new production line will be operational by the first half of 2015, according to Luciano Guidolin, vice president of polyolefins.
“We are expanding our selection of products from the Braskem Flexus family in order to ensure support for the growth of our customers in market segments that require high-technology resins,” he said.
Braskem Flexus products are increasingly being used in packaging that requires greater resistance, gloss, transparency and sealing, the company said. They’re intended for processing applications in specialty films, reel technique and industrial films.
“With this investment, we can meet the growth demanded by the market in the coming years, in addition to meeting the needs of our customers for films with better performance,” said Edison Terra, director of PE business.
Braskem (Hall 6/D27) has led the Latin American market since 2004 in production of metallocene-based PE, with capacity of more than 350,000 tons per year.
The company also launched a national program in September, dubbed the Plastic Chain Incentive Plan, to incentivize manufacturing throughout the plastics production chain in Brazil. The plan will offer incentives to Brazilian customers that increase domestic production of processed plastic goods for export.
Braskem also announced it is investing $3.2 billion in building a manufacturing plant in Mexico.
The Idesa complex will produce 1.05 million tons of polyethylene a year and will allow the company to diversify its feedstocks.
“Braskem has an ample spectrum of sources of raw materials, including competitive and renewable ones, as is the case with our green plastic production,” the company said in a news release. “This positioning, and especially our presence in highly dynamic markets, gives our clients a guarantee of a privileged position regarding international operations.”
The company told Plastics News that Mexico is currently underserved by domestic suppliers and that the investment will also enable it to grow its global business, as well as benefit from the “significant economic advantages” that come from using shale gas from the U.S.
“The feedstock in Mexico is not sourced from shale gas, but it is priced by U.S. shale gas pricing, so it is very competitive,” said a spokesperson.
The company is also exhibiting its new products in Europe for polypropylene: homopolymers, impact polymers and random copolymers at K 2013.