Ticona's Hostaform-brand acetal resin is more than 40 years old, but the product was acting like a young kid at K 2007, with several new grades being launched.
The products were unveiled by global acetal business line director John Caamano. New entries included:
* A lower-emission grade - a second generation of Hostaform's XAP line - that Ticona said won't sacrifice any material properties.
* A metallic-effect grade that reduces total system cost and handling, while also reducing the product's environmental burden. The grade provides a metallic effect inside the entire polymer.
* A low-gloss grade with an inherent matte finish, allowing users to avoid painting. The grade is aimed at automotive original equipment manufacturers.
* A long-glass-fiber-reinforced grade with high mechanical strength and impact resistance, and low abrasion. The grade increases tensile strength by more than 30 percent and more than doubles impact strength, the firm said.
* A grade offering antimicrobial protection at a molecular level.
Ticona, based in Kelsterbach, Germany, with U.S. headquarters in Florence, Ky., ranks as the world's largest acetals maker. About 40 percent of its acetals sales are into the automotive market.
The company plans to open an application development center in Shanghai in early 2008 and a long-fiber compounding site in Nanjing, China, in that same year. The firm - a unit of Celanese Corp. of Dallas - also plans to open what officials said is the world's largest acetal plant, in Frankfurt-HÃ¶chst, Germany, in 2011.
The new acetal plant will have annual capacity of almost 310 million pounds and will replace a 240 million-pound facility in Kelsterbach, Germany. The existing site is being closed to make room for expansion of a nearby airport.
Global acetal growth is expected to average 4-6 percent for the next several years, Caamano added. Growth in Asia should be in double digits, while U.S. growth should check in at 2 percent and European growth at around 3 percent.