Eval Co. of America plans to build a 22 million-pound-capacity ethylene vinyl alcohol plant in Antwerp, Belgium.
The plant, scheduled to open in fall 1999, will be the third for Eval, a Lisle, Ill.-based subsidiary of Kuraray America Inc.
The company operates plants in Pasadena, Texas; and Okayama, Japan.
Eval claims that the Pasadena plant, with annual capacity of 46 million pounds, is the world's largest.
Company officials said in a prepared statement that the need for the Antwerp plant is fueled by growing global markets for its Eval-brand EVOH copolymer resins.
Those markets are expected to increase by 30 percent in the next three years, according to the company.
The resins are primarily used in food packaging, where they provide gas-barrier properties and resistance to odor and flavor permeation, officials said.
In addition, the resins are finding use as a barrier layer in high density polyethylene automotive fuel tanks.
James Claggett, Eval's vice president of sales and marketing, said many major automakers are using the company's EVOH for this application.
``EVOH is lighter and more formable than steel and a better barrier than fluorinated HDPE in this application,'' Claggett said in a July 25 telephone interview from Lisle.
Western European customers are currently served from the Pasadena site, which added a production line in December. The company expects the new plant to also serve Eastern European customers.