Bayer Corp. of Pittsburgh lifted its declaration of force majeure for polycarbonate resins early in August and, separately, announced it is expanding its PC production capacity. Bayer joins competitors GE Plastics of Pittsfield, Mass., and Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich., in announcing production increases for PC, which has been in short supply during the past eight months.
Mark Witman, vice president for Bayer's Polycarbonate Business Group, said in an Aug. 17 telephone interview from his office in Pittsburgh that, even with the increased production, he believes demand for PC will outstrip supplies well into the future.
Bayer declared force majeure Feb. 1 for production and deliveries of PC from its Baytown, Texas, plant.
Witman said Bayer is debottlenecking and adding significant new capacity at its Baytown facility. Those expansions are to be completed by the end of this year.
While Witman would not discuss the facility's capacity, industry analysts pegged its current output at 240 million pounds per year. The analysts also said they believe Bayer is adding 70 million pounds per year of capacity through the expansion projects.
Despite an expected 33 percent increase in worldwide production capacity by 1997, Witman said he expects demand to surpass supplies of PC resins. The market situation will remain tight because of new applications and continued strong demand for the resins used to produce compact discs and other computer discs, packaging and automotive components, he said.
With increases announced by Bayer, Dow and GE Plastics in North America, Europe and Asia, and with other European, Asian and South American producers expected to increase their production capacities, the worldwide production of polycarbonate is expected to reach 2 billion pounds a year by 1997, compared with 1.5 billion pounds today.