Dow Chemical working to fuel customers' growth

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: November 14, 2013 11:50 am ET
Updated: November 14, 2013 11:51 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Materials Suppliers, K 2013, Business News & Features
Companies & Associations Dow Chemical Co.

Officials at Dow Chemical Co. are looking forward to the opportunities that new polyethylene capacity will bring to the North American plastics market.

“We’ve got the ability to grow beyond where the market is today,” Dow executive Greg Jozwiak said in an interview at K 2013 in Düsseldorf, Germany. “There’s a focus on rigid and flexible packaging, where there’s further ability to replace paperboard and paper/foil combinations.”

“We also can replace non-plastics with standup pouches for food items,” added Jozwiak, who serves as North American commercial vice president for packaging and specialty plastics business at Midland, Mich.-based Dow. “There’s a tremendous opportunity for lightweighting, which can produce energy savings.”

Dow — which ranks as one of the world’s largest plastics and chemicals makers — is putting its money where its intentions are, with plans to spend about $4 billion to add more than 3 billion pounds of PE and related plastics on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The first new capacity is set to come online in 2017.

“We’re looking at this opportunity fairly quickly,” Jozwiak said. “We want first-mover advantage – now 2017 — amount of construction affect schedule of production. We’re growing packaging for plastic packaging applications, but (PE) supply will be constrained in the meantime. This is kind of a ‘get ready’ period.”

And although Jozwiak said that some of the new PE capacity being brought on by Dow and other PE makers will be exported outside of North America, most of it will remain in the region to meet new demand from domestic processors.

“There will be some finished product production brought back (to North America) and our customers must have the capacity to do that,” he said. “We think that will happen because (North American) resin prices are among the lowest in the world.”

One way that Dow hopes to fuel this customer growth is through its series of Pack Studios — regional innovation centers that create solutions for better packaging. The newest Pack Studio opened in October in Freeport, Texas. Dow already operates similar centers in Shanghai, Sao Paulo and Horgen, Switzerland.

In Freeport — one of Dow’s largest production sites — the firm already had a film application development center and other packaging equipment in place. By adding a full Pack Studio, Dow now can run small trials of film or molded packaging, such as form-fill-seals and stretch film.

“We’re having customers come down and run films with a high focus on the flexible space,” Jozwiak said. “They’re running multilayer structures on shrink film and other products, and then they can make it again in a day or so. They can run it here without losing production time at their own plants. We’ve even had collaboration with customers and brand owners.”

Brand owners are important in developing new packaging, he added, because “brands are what they live off of. They need functionality, aesthetics or improved sustainability to gain consumer acceptance.”

And even with some in the industry expressing concerns about the amount of new PE set to come on in the next few years — and about the region’s ability to meet the labor needs of all that new construction — Jozwiak said those are good challenges to have.

“When you look at plastic suppliers investing billions of dollars, that’s an opportunity to grow by having new capacity and working on innovations with customers,” he said. “It’s a phenomenal opportunity. We have a bright future in plastics across the industry.”


Comments

Dow Chemical working to fuel customers' growth

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: November 14, 2013 11:50 am ET
Updated: November 14, 2013 11:51 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Automakers look under the hood for the next lightweighting opportunities

August 20, 2014 1:06 pm ET

The automotive industry's current favorite target for lightweighting efforts is the powertrain, according to a recent survey.    More

Image

Flexible film waste-to-oil pilot project continuing in California

August 19, 2014 3:19 pm ET

A recent decision to discontinue operations at a plastics waste-to-oil site in Portland, Ore., is not impacting a pilot program aimed at hard-to-...    More

Image

ISO publishes international standard for measuring phthalates in toys

August 19, 2014 10:40 am ET

The Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published an international standard on phthalates used as plasticizers in...    More

Image

RTP expands very long fiber thermoplastic production to Mexico

August 19, 2014 9:47 am ET

RTP Co. has introduced very long fiber reinforced compounds at its Monterrey, Mexico, facility.    More

Image

Ineos takes its first step into UK shale exploration

August 18, 2014 1:15 pm ET

Ineos Group AG has moved into United Kingdom shale exploration with the purchase of BG Group’s 51 percent share of the shale section of a joint ...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events