KINGSPORT, TENN. - To keep pace with a market the company predicts will grow about 5 percent per year for the foreseeable future, Eastman Chemical Co. is ramping up to double its capacity to produce low density polyethylene for extrusion coating. N. Phillip Begley, business market manager for extrusion coatings, said the company will double its current 250 million pound annual capacity by 2000. The expansion will be made at Eastman's Longview, Texas, coatings complex.
While it is true that not that many people are increasing LDPE production in general, this particular set of materials is growing for use in cartons and low-gel photographic applications,'' he said at the company's headquarters in Kingsport.
Eastman makes extrusion coating materials for paper, paperboard, photographic and medical films, can liners and consumer products such as potato chip cans.
Begley said Eastman's extrusion coating business had total 1995 sales of about $100 million, and accounts for about 21 percent of the total worldwide market for the materials.
Accompanying the LDPE capacity increase, Eastman also will add capacity for PE extrusion coating blends. Production capacity for about 20 varieties of blends will reach 60 million pounds per year by 2000, from about 30 million pounds per year now.
We are sort of a quiet business with Eastman,'' Begley said. ``But there are good opportunities in many areas for laminates, liners, dual-ovenable packaging, and colorants.