GE Plastics is boosting worldwide production capacity for polycarbonate resins by an estimated 19 percent. As demand remains strong and production and delivery problems continue to plague the industry, GE announced July 28 it will add capacity by the end of 1996 in Europe and North America. Analysts estimate GE will add 370 million pounds of capacity.
The expansions will increase worldwide capacity nearly 19 percent, based on a current capacity estimate of 2 billion pounds.
GE Plastics of Pittsfield, Mass., said it will open a 60 million-pound PC production facility by the end of 1996 in Cartagena, Spain, next to the compounding facility it opened there last year.
Spokeswoman Diana Nichols separately said GE will expand its 8-year-old facility in Burkville, Ala., and one at Bergen-op-Zoom, Netherlands, by the end of 1996. Analysts said they believe GE Plastics will add 120 million pounds of production capacity at Burkville and 90 million in the Netherlands.
Nichols said GE only recently approved those two expansions, and details were not available.
Meanwhile, GE Plastics expects to complete by the end of the year the previously announced expansion at its facility in Mount Vernon, Ind., where it is adding 100 million pounds of capacity.
GE made its announcements as the industry continues to face shortages of PC resins. The firm's delivery schedule continues to be set at 20 weeks from the time of placing an order.
Bayer Inc. of Pittsburgh declared force majeure for PC resins Feb. 1 after a series of production problems, and continues to operate under those conditions.
Surging PC demand prompted Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich., to implement on May 1 a sales control program it is calling ``demand management.'' That program is expected to continue through December.
PC resin sales were spurred by brisk economic growth in 1994, and have not let up.
Industry analysts said the primary forces driving the 7-10 percent annual increase in PC demand are sales of automobiles, computers and CD-ROM programs.