Encouraged by rising demand in China, BASF Group has opened its first China-based engineering plastics compounding plant in Shanghai's Pudong district.
The plant, aimed at China's growing automotive and electronics industries, has the capacity to turn out 99 million pounds of engineering plastics annually. The new facility is located at the BASF Auxiliary Chemicals Co. Ltd. site, which was established in 1994.
``Asia is dominant in electronics and there is additional momentum in the automotive industry,'' said Harald Lauke, president of BASF Performance Polymers. ``The proximity of this plant to our customers in China will enable us to [react] more quickly to their needs.''
In 2006, worldwide consumption of engineering plastics reached nearly 6.6 billion pounds, with China accounting for 15 percent of the demand. The materials often are used to replace metal parts in automobiles and electronics because they are highly durable and resist heat.
``China is now BASF's third-largest market after Germany and the United States,'' said Martin Brudermuller, a member of BASF AG's board, with responsibility for the Asia-Pacific region.
The new compounding facility began operating in March, joining similar BASF plants in Malaysia and Korea. The China plant will be the fourth of its kind in Asia. BASF, based in Ludwigshafen, Germany, is a global leader in the production of engineering plastics, with worldwide capacity of more than 220 million pounds annually. The new Shanghai plant produces Ultramid-brand polyamide, Ultradur polybutylene terephthalate and an Ultradur high-speed PBT that uses nanotechnology to improve flow while maintaining the plastic's molecular structure.
``It's easy to handle and flows better, so you can produce very thin parts,'' Lauke said.
In addition to the new plant, BASF opened a technical center in Shanghai to help customers develop products using engineering plastics. The campus also is working toward boosting its research and development.
``With our polyurethanes operations starting soon, our Pudong site will develop into a BASF campus for R&D activities in China,'' Brudermuller said.