CHICAGO (June 28, 4:45 p.m. EDT) — Dow Chemical Co. is hoping plastics processors can't refuse Infuse.
Infuse is the name of a new line of specialty plastics that Midland, Mich.-based Dow unveiled at a June 20 news conference at NPE in Chicago. The materials are olefin block copolymers made using Dow's Insite-brand technology.
Infuse offers “unprecedented molecular control,” said Greg Jozwiak, global business director for Dow's performance elastomers and plastomers business. The materials also provide faster set-up, shorter cycle times, and better compression set, along with improved abrasion resistance and improved high-temperature performance, Jozwiak added.
They're expected to compete with materials such as PVC and styrenic block copolymers in applications ranging from footwear to athletic equipment to diapers and other personal-care items.
Dow currently is making sample quantities and small commercial lots of Infuse at a pilot plant in Freeport, Texas. Full commercialization is expected in 2007.
Infuse can be based on ethylene, octene and butene and can be processed on standard machines if temperature adjustments are made, said Kurt Swogger, vice president of research and development for Dow's performance plastics and chemicals portfolio.
Swogger added that Infuse is the next step in Dow's commercializing of Insite technology, which to date has produced such materials as Affinity polyolefin plastomers and Versify propylene ethylene copolymers. Insite products passed the 2 billion-pound volume mark in 2005 and are expected to post sales of almost $2 billion in 2006.
“We've done a lot of new applications with these [Insite] products, but we've found a lot of others,” Swogger said. “The key is how we can keep growth going at 15 percent per year.”
Dow did not exhibiting at NPE, but hosted the event's five-day technical conference, which included presentations from Dow on energy management and new elastomer technology. The firm also hosted a customer center.
About half of Dow's $46 billion sales total in 2005 came from plastics and related products. Dow is a world leader in the production of polyethylene, polystyrene and other materials. Its specialty plastics and elastomers group — integrated when the DuPont Dow Elastomers joint venture dissolved last year — has annual sales of $4 billion, employing 2,100 at 43 sites worldwide.
Dow also is expanding capacity for Styrofoam EPS insulation in La Porte, Texas. The firm also will open a polyurethane blending plant near Mumbai, India, in early 2007.