DuPont Co. will spend $115 million to boost polyester film capacity at sites in Contern, Luxembourg, and Foshan, China. In Contern, the company is investing $80 million to build a line that will use linear motor-based technology to make thin Mylar PET and polyethylene napthalate films. When production kicks in by year's end 1997, it will double DuPont's capacity for thin and ultra-thin Mylar films, said Michael Hartnagel, vice president and general manager for DuPont Films.
The unit also will mark the world's first commercial production of PEN film as thin as 0.6 microns, he said. As of yet DuPont has no trademark for its PEN films.
Hartnagel, who would not disclose capacity at Contern, said the new operation will hire roughly 100 workers.
In Foshan DuPont and its joint-venture partner, Foshan Hongji Plastic Packaging Mate-rials Co. Ltd., will invest $35 million apiece to upgrade two existing PET lines and build a third line to boost annual capacity there to 44 million pounds by July.
Since Jan. 1 DuPont has owned 51 percent of that operation, now named DuPont Hongji Films Foshan Co. Ltd., which has capacity for 18 million pounds of polyester a year, Hartnagel said. Most of the plant's current output is sold in China, but the new line will give it 26 million pounds more of PET film a year for packaging applications in China and Asia.
The companies also plan to convert one of two existing lines to manufacture films as thin as 4 microns.
Hartnagel said the new polyester unit at Contern will commercialize linear motor-based production technology previously demonstrated in a pilot plant in Circleville, Ohio. Electromagnetic linear motors stretch the film in longitudinal and latitudinal directions at the same time, producing higher-quality thin films with en-hanced surface and tensile properties at greater speeds, according to the Wilmington, Del.-based firm.
Thin and ultra-thin Mylar films are used in electronic, thermal transfer media and digital stencil applications. The higher temperature resistance of PEN films makes them well-suited for surface-mount chip capacitors, the company said. The new line also will produce multilayer PET films for specialty packaging.
At Contern, DuPont currently operates four Mylar PET lines; a single line manufactures Kro-nar, a thicker polyester film used in photographic products. The Mylar products business segment had sales last year of more than $1 billion.
In addition, DuPont recently announced that a methanolysis facility in Cape Fear, N.C., is in operation.
Using DuPont's Petretec technology, the plant can convert as much as 100 million pounds of PET a year into its raw materials of dimethyl terephthalate and ethylene glycol.