MIDLAND, MICH. — Dow Chemical Co. of Midland will open a market development plant in the second quarter of 1999 to produce the company's new ethylene styrene interpolymers, which will compete with flexible PVC.
The location of the plant remains undecided, according to Kurt Swogger, research and development director for polyethylene and Insite technology at Dow's Freeport, Texas, site.
An ESI pilot plant in Freeport is producing 800,000 pounds of the material annually for testing purposes. The market development plant is expected to produce 50 million pounds of ESIs a year.
Swogger said ESI, unlike flexible PVC, does not crack when cut for corner applications in products like vinyl flooring.
The materials, based on Dow's Insite metallocene technology, also could compete with high-acid ethylene vinyl acetate as an asphalt additive, and with styrene butadiene styrene and other triblock copolymers in adhesives. ESIs also may find uses in toys, wire and cable, and some ``soft-touch'' applications.