KINGSPORT, TENN. - Eastman Chemical Co. announced June 14 it will build two plants to make polyester feedstocks at its Kingsport complex. At a joint news conference with Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist, Eastman Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Earnest Deavenport said the company will build purified terephthalic acid and isophthalic acid plants at the Kingsport site, where the company is based.
The PTA plant will have a capacity of 350 million pounds per year and will be used to supply Eastman's recently an-nounced PET complex in Z rate, Argentina.
Although Deavenport would not disclose the cost of the monomer-making facilities, he said that locating them at Kingsport will enable Eastman to take advantage of existing equipment and infrastructure, and lower the cost.
The PTA plant is scheduled to begin production in 1997. The project is part of a strategy announced in 1994 to boost PET capacity 45 percent, to about 3.4 billion pounds per year, by 1999.
That goal is ahead of schedule, as the company recently opened a large PET plant in Cosolea-caque, Mexico, and has another in San Roque, Spain, about half-finished.
It has announced other capacity expansions at Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and at its Carolina Eastman Division in Columbia, S.C.
Deavenport said the company's capacity stands at about 2 billion pounds per year.
Eastman is the largest producer of PET in the world and plans to have half its production capacity outside North America by 2000.
The IPA plant is the company's first producing the chemical, which is a key ingredient in reinforced fiberglass for boats, auto exteriors, corrosion-resistant pipes and tanks, and coatings for home appliances, patio furniture, lawn mowers, and aluminum siding.
The IPA plant is scheduled to begin production in mid-1998.