Dow Chemical Co. has leapt into an expansion of polycarbonate resin production, increasing its worldwide production by more than 50 percent. Fresh on the heels of a similar July 28 announcement by competitor GE Plastics, Dow of Midland, Mich., said it added 44 million pounds of new capacity through its Sumitomo Dow joint venture in Osaka, Japan. That venture began production in June.
A second expansion phase centers on increasing PC capacity by more than 60 million pounds at its Freeport, Texas, facility. Dow said that expansion is to be completed early in the fourth quarter of this year.
When the Freeport expansion is completed, Dow will have the capacity to produce 325 million pounds of PC a year worldwide. Dow also makes PC in Stade, Germany.
As previously reported, GE Plastics announced in July it would increase its PC capacity by 370 million pounds a year. When GE's expansions are completed by the end of 1996, analysts estimate GE Plastics will have the capacity to produce 1.2 billion pounds of PC a year.
Combined, Dow's and GE's expansions will increase total worldwide PC capacity by about 24 percent by the end of 1996.
Jon Pyper, Dow PC resins product manager, said he expects the expansions to provide Dow an exit from the sales control program it implemented May 1 in response to severe PC shortages.