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Styron busy with automotive and electronics markets

By: Frank Esposito

October 23, 2013

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — Growth in the automotive and electrical/electronics markets is keeping materials maker Styron LLC busy in 2013.

“We’re focusing on where the growth in plastics is coming from, and finding the right fit for our products,” senior vice president and plastics business president Martin Pugh said in an Oct. 18 interview at K 2013. Pugh, a 35-year chemical industry veteran, joined Berwyn, Pa.-based Styron earlier this year.

In automotive, Pugh said that Styron’s materials “are continually reducing density on exterior applications,” such as polypropylene compounds used in lift gates on recent models of the Renault Clio vehicle. The firm’s Velvex-brand reinforced elastomers also are being used in auto bumpers.

For the E/E sector, polycarbonate/ABS and other Styron materials are finding homes in “smart meters,” charging stations and LED lighting, according to Pugh. Other E/E applications include covers and diffusers.

Styron also is seeing some growth from the medical field, where Pugh said its PC resins are being used in single-use and multi-use devices, as well as equipment housings and dialyzers.

The firm’s plant in Taiwan also recently began producing high recycled-content PC grades that can be used in notebook and tablet computers. “It’s a very consistent material,” Pugh said of the recycled grades.

At K 2013, Styron debuted new grades of Velvex compounds that are being used in instrument panel parts for the auto sector. The materials – developed with auto parts maker Autocomponent – offer improved soft-touch, scratch resistance and low gloss.

Styron employs 2,100 worldwide and posted sales of $5.5 billion in 2012. In North America, the firm operates resin maker Americas Styrenics as a 50-50 joint venture with Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. Styron was formed in 2011 when Boston private equity firm Bain Capital LLC bought the styrenics businesses of Dow Chemical Co.