Dow Chemical Co. has launched commercial production of its Versify-brand propylene ethylene copolymers with a 125 million-pound-capacity plant in Tarragona, Spain.
The new materials - made with Dow's Insite-brand single-site catalyst technology - are aimed at film, rigid packaging, consumer durables and several other markets. Twelve Versify grades initially will be available. Officials declined to give a per-pound price estimate, but said Versify will be priced in line with other specialty polymers.
Midland, Mich.-based Dow said Versify offers processors and designers a soft touch without a rubbery feel, as well as a high melting point. The material also has excellent clarity vs. standard polypropylene films, according to Dow.
``Strong customer demand and interest has accelerated the start-up of our first commercial plant just seven months after the product introduction,'' Romeo Kreinberg, Dow senior vice president of plastics, said in a recent news release.
Elsewhere on the new product front, Dow is focusing on new grades of high density polyethylene, including bimodal HDPE for pressure pipe and blow molding. In a recent interview, Keith Cleason, gas-phase PE product director, said the firm will be commercializing new blow molding grades in the next 12 months and a new pipe grade in the next 12-18 months.
In PP, Dow is doing research and development work with Inspire performance polymers, which also use Insite technology, because of their high melt strength and high-impact toughness, according to North American PP product director Jerry Pritchett. More PP-based material is being used in blown film, leading Dow to add six to eight new grades in late 2004 and early 2005 that are stiffer, tougher and clearer.
The materials originally were developed for blown film, but now are being sold into rigid packaging and drink cups, where they are competing with PET, Pritchett said. In the future, blow molding has a lot of growth potential in PP relative to overall markets, he added.