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Gharda plans plant

By: Steve Toloken

October 22, 2013

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — Mumbai-based Gharda Chemicals Ltd. plans to open a commercial scale plant in India for making specialized engineering resins polyetherketone, polyetheretherketone and polybenzimidazole, using what it says is a new production method.

The company will decide final capacity and investment details later this year, and is aiming for an April 2015 startup for the new facility in Panoli, India, said Prakash Trivedi, head of the polymer strategic business unit for Gharda.

"We have to decide the final capacity," Trivedi said in an interview at Gharda's booth (Hall 5/B5-2) at K 2013. "We are building a major commercial plant."

The company has been researching the new grades for the last few years, and has been producing some of them in pilot or semi-commercial volumes at an existing Gharda petrochemical plant in Ankleshwar, in the state of Gujarat, 250 kilometers north of Mumbai.

Trivedi said the company process for making PEK is produced with a single monomer and is based in chlorine rather than fluorine like other PEK manufacturers. He said PEK capacity could be up to 1,000 metric tons annually.

The firm's polyetherketone ketone process is also made with a unique process Gharda developed, using two monomers instead of three as is traditional, while the PBI is made with a single monomer rather than two monomers, Trivedi said.

When the new plant in Panoli opens it will also make the monomers the firm uses, and the company believes it can manufacture the three polymers cheaper in India, he said.

"We have started marketing and developing it in a major way," Trivedi said.

The firm previously had a facility in Panoli to manufacture PEEK and other engineering materials in Panoli but sold it to Solvay in 2006.