MIDLAND, MICH. - Dow Chemical Co. has launched debottlenecking projects at its six polystyrene production facilities that will increase its overall capacity by 150 million pounds by midyear. Midland-based Dow, the world's largest PS producer, increased production by 100 million pounds in 1994 through debottlenecking. Combined, debottlenecking projects in 1994 and 1995 increase Dow's PS production capacity by 20 percent, to 1.6 billion pounds a year, according to Stephen Brorby, product group manager for styrene plastics.
Demand for PS grew 9 percent in 1994. Brorby said the prediction of 3-4 percent growth in 1995 seems conservative, based on demand in the first quarter of this year.
Brorby also noted that the price for styrene monomer, the primary feedstock used to make PS, is at 60 cents per pound, a level nearly three times higher than the price in January 1994, and twice as high as the price in June.
Brorby said he does not believe PS will lose market share to competing materials, such as polypropylene, polyethylene or paper board, because the prices for those materials also have increased significantly in the past 15 months.
The average price for an injection-grade, general-purpose crystal PS rose from 47 cents per pound in January 1994, to 58 cents per pound today, including a 4 cent-per-pound increase in the first quarter of 1995.
Dow and Huntsman Chemical Co. have announced 4 cent increases for May 1.