HOUSTON — Chevron Corp. of Houston will expand capacity for EMAC- and EBAC-brand specialty copolymers 50 percent by year's end.
EMAC resins are ethylene methyl acrylate copolymers used in films, extrusion coating, molding and polymer modification. EBAC resins are ethylene butyl acrylate copolymers primarily used in film.
The firm will expand capacity in Orange, Texas, by realigning lines at the site, said Lou Compton, a market development representative in Chevron's specialty polymers group.
``We'll be shutting down smaller lines and moving capacity to larger, existing lines,'' Compton said.
Compton and specialty polymers business manager Mitch Eichelberger said the expansions were needed to match growing demand, although they declined to release sales or growth figures.
As a tie layer in blown and cast films, EMAC offers better low-temperature performance, Chevron officials said. When used in polymer modification, it acts as an impact modifier and adds flexibility to polypropylene, polyester and nylon. It also is used as a blend component for low and linear low density polyethylene.
``A majority [of EMAC and EBAC] is still sold into high-value modification uses,'' Compton said. ``Someone who's been making monolayer film for 20 years might go to five-layer coextrusion, and boom, they might need our product.''
Chevron's newest addition to its specialty polymers line is EMAC Plus. Commercialized late last year, it offers better adhesive properties and higher melt points when used in film. Though some EMAC/EBAC properties are similar to those offered by up-and-coming metallocene-based resins — which Chevron also is developing — Eichelberger said the products can complement each other instead of competing.
``A metallocene might not give the adhesion EMAC can give. By the time someone is selecting our material, they've already looked at metallocenes,'' he said.