HOUSTON — Targor, the Hoechst/BASF joint venture that leads Europe in polypropylene production, is bringing the metallocene revolution to European PP users.
``At this conference, you could get the impression that metallocenes are for polyethylene and not for polypropylene,'' Targor metallocene research and development manager David Fischer said at Metcon 98, held June 10-11 in Houston. ``We'd like to change that picture.''
With this goal in mind, Targor launched metallocene PP production in October, only four months after the venture formed. The company, based in Ludwigshafen, Germany, was able to take advantage of metallocene technologies that were being developed separately by each company, he said.
This dual technology, dubbed Metocen, also gave Targor the ability to produce metallocene PP in gas- and bulk-phase processes.
Fischer declined to estimate anticipated annual output of metallocene PP, but he said about 462 million pounds out of Targor's total PP capacity of 3.3 billion pounds will be outfitted for metallocene use.
Initial metallocene PP production has been done at plants in Ludwigshafen and Knapsack, Germany. Similar production will begin in Wesseling, Germany, next year, Fischer said.
Fischer added that although metallocene PP catalysts are more difficult to make than metallocene PE catalysts, the finished material has avoided the processing pitfalls that metallocene PE suffered initially.
The narrow molecular weights of Targor's metallocene PP actually improved processability and reduced residue buildup on dies, he said.
Targor has 10 grades of metallocene PP commercially available and has been successful in replacing polystyrene and PS-based polymers in some applications, according to Fischer.