BASF Corp. has completed work on two new manufacturing plants in Freeport, Texas - including a nylon resin plant BASF officials claim is the largest in the world.
The new nylon 6 plant has annual capacity of almost 265 million pounds and is the sole North American nylon production site for Florham Park, N.J.-based BASF. An existing BASF nylon resin plant in Enka, N.C., was closed earlier this year, said spokesman Daniel Pepitone.
``We are fully committed to the North American [nylon] market,'' BASF performance polymers President Harald Lauke said in an Oct. 8 news release.
Also in Freeport, BASF has opened a superabsorbent polymer (SAP) plant with almost 400 million pounds of annual capacity. SAP plants in Aberdeen, Miss., and Portsmouth, Va., were closed earlier this year.
The combined cost of both new plants was more than $200 million, Pepitone said. The overall project has created more than 100 new jobs.
Nylon 6 made at the new plant is expected to be used in automotive, electrical and electronics, furniture and leisure applications. SAP materials are used in disposable diapers, packaging materials and firefighting.
Between early 2003 and late 2005, BASF made three nylon-related acquisitions in North America, buying businesses from Honeywell Inc., Celanese Corp. and Lati USA Inc. The new nylon plant is the third capacity addition in the nylon resin market in 2007. Earlier this year, Solutia Inc. added 160 million pounds of nylon 6/6 capacity in Pensacola, Fla., and Honeywell Specialty Materials added 35 million pounds of specialty nylon capacity in Chesterfield, Va.
BASF Corp. is the North American arm of chemical giant BASF AG of Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF AG generated sales of 52.6 billion euros ($66 billion) in 2006. BASF's plastics business was the largest of its five units in 2006, bringing in 24 percent of total sales.