DETROIT - Anticipating continued demand for nylon from the automotive industry, DuPont Co. announced several capacity expansions on Feb. 27. At a press conference at the 1995 SAE International Congress & Exposition in Detroit, DuPont executives said they are doubling their production capacity for nylon 6/6 resins, while launching two recycling efforts, including one based on new depolymerization technology.
John R. Lewis, director of engineering materials, said DuPont will expand capacity for nylon 6/6 at its Spruance Plant in Richmond, Va. Those resins are sold under the Zytel trade name.
Lewis would not discuss DuPont's current capacity for nylon 6/6, nor would he discuss the size of the investment in the expansion. The new capacity will be put into production by 1998, Lewis said.
Separately, DuPont plans to build a developmental-scale facility at its plant in Kingston, Ontario, that will use a patented process to recycle nylon.
Lewis said DuPont has a laboratory-scale plant at Kingston that uses its patented ammonolysis process to depolymerize nylon, and the developmental-scale plant is an interim step toward a 100-million-pound, commercial plant that DuPont intends to have in production by 2000.
The ammonolysis plant is analogous to the 100-million-pound methanolysis facility to depolymerize polyester resins that DuPont intends to have in operation next year, Lewis said.
Lastly, DuPont has started to build a facility at its Chattanooga, Tenn., site that will be used to recycle 10 million pounds of commercial and residential nylon carpeting.
Nylon recovered at that site will be used to produce 14 million pounds of nylon resins ayear for applications such as fan shrouds, engine fans and air cleaner housings that will contain 25 percent post-consumer resin, Lewis said.
DuPont will supply the facility through its Carpet Reclamation Program, which operates regional collection centers around the United States in partnership with carpet retailers, Lewis said.