The following news briefs were reported from Chinaplas 2006, held April 26-29 in Shanghai, by Plastics News reporter Nina Ying Sun and correspondents Katherine Sima and Steve Toloken.
Noveon will expand TPU facility in China
The Noveon business of Wickliffe, Ohio-based Lubrizol Corp. plans to expand its thermoplastic polyurethanes plant in Shanghai.
``[The expansion] is likely to happen later this year,'' said Timothy Madden, business director-Asia Pacific.
Noveon opened China's first foreign-owned TPU plant in July. The highly automated plant is running around the clock. ``We are planning on additional capacity,'' Madden said.
Though Asia's TPU industry already suffers from overcapacity - the utilization rate is only about 50 percent, Noveon is not concerned. Madden said the firm is focused on high-end uses. The company's major end markets include functional and performance textiles and footwear, wire and cable, military rainwear and tents, automotive and medical.
About half the TPU produced at the Shanghai plant supplies the Chinese local market; half goes to Asia, North America and Europe.
Noveon also has operated a lab in Shanghai since 2003. The company runs sales offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Taipei, Taiwan, and does not use distributors.
Engel about to open Shanghai press plant
In just a few months, Chinese injection molders will have one more option when they look for Western-branded but locally made presses: Engel Holding GmbH of Schwertberg, Austria, will open a plant in Shanghai.
The plant will make large presses, with clamping forces of 650-4,000 tons, said Christian Naderer, general manager of sales and marketing for Engel Machinery HK Ltd.'s Shanghai office.
Construction of the site has finished, and actual production will begin in October or November.
The 377,000-square-foot factory on 17 acres of land is a $40 million investment. Naderer said it will create 80-100 jobs.
``We will start with 900-ton and 1,300-ton presses and then see demand from the market,'' he said.
Aiming to produce 30 machines in the first year, the plant will supply the Asia-Pacific region.
Engel sold six machines at Chinaplas, including two two-color presses. One is for mobile phones and the other for consumer goods, Naderer said. The firm sold more than 200 machines in China in 2005 and about 160 in 2004.
Chemtura chooses Asian headquarters
Shanghai will become Chemtura Corp.'s Asian headquarters by the end of the year.
The chemicals and additives supplier's current staff of 15 in the Shanghai office will expand to nearly 50, said K.H. Tham, Asia-Pacific commercial director for plastics additives.
Asia represents 15 percent of the additives division's $1.2 billion in sales. Tham said major customers in China include Beijing-based Sinopec Corp.'s operations in Maoming, Jilin and Lanzhou. The division also has a joint venture plant in Korea.
One-third of the flame-retardant division's sales are generated in the Asia-Pacific region.
Middlebury, Conn.-based Chemtura also runs offices in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The company reported $3.9 billion in sales in 2005 and employs 6,500 worldwide.
Equipment makers form joint venture
Padova, Italy-based packaging machinery maker GAP srl and Nantong Sanxin Electronics Co. Ltd. of QiDong City, China, have established a joint venture in Nantong City to produce high-speed cast stretch film lines.
The joint venture, called Nantong GAP Machinery Manufacturing Co. Ltd., first will produce high-speed cast stretch film lines, for film as wide as 13.2 feet, and with line speeds of nearly 2,000 feet per minute, according to GAP srl. The first line, a 6.6-foot cast stretch film line, will enter the market by September for a customer in Malaysia.
General Manager Chen Wei started Sanxin in 1992 to produce corona treaters; the product still accounts for 50 percent of the company's sales. Seeing an opportunity in the packaging market, Sanxin began producing cast film extrusion lines in 2000.
Degussa AG, partner to manufacture PEEK
Degussa AG has set up a joint venture to produce polyetheretherketone in China, the first investment there by its high-performance polymers division.
JIDA Degussa High Performance Polymers Changchun Co. Ltd., which is 80 percent owned by Degussa and 20 percent by Jilin University, will produce about 2.2 million pounds a year of PEEK at a plant in Changchun, one of country's centers of the automobile industry. The plant opened April 24.
JIDA Degussa will use technology developed by Jilin University but commercialized by Degussa's polymers unit in Marl, Germany.
The plant also will have the capacity to make about 660,000 pounds of polyether sulfone annually, said Joy Xia, marketing director for Degussa China Co. Ltd. in Shanghai.
The high-performance polymers division had sales of about 40 million euros ($49.8 million) in Asia in 2005, compared with 2005 China sales about 320 million euros ($398.4 million) for all of Degussa, Xia said. Corporatewide, the company wants to triple sales in China to 900 million euros ($1.14 billion) by 2008.
The division also plans to establish a technical center in Shanghai by early 2007, she said. Parent company Degussa AG started a research plant there in 2004.
Piovan to open HQ, sales sites in China
Auxiliary equipment maker Piovan SpA of Santa Maria di Sala, Italy, is opening a Chinese headquarters in Shanghai this month and three sales and service offices later this year.
Chee Kiong Lee, general manager of injection and extrusion-Asia Pacific for Piovan Asia Pte Ltd., said the Shanghai office not only will manage business in mainland China and Hong Kong, but also will support the company's main distributor in China, Andeli Co. Ltd. of Shanghai The office will employ four.