Eastman Chemical Co. is boosting capacity for its Tritan-brand specialty copolyester at a plant in Kingsport, Tenn.
The project includes constructing new manufacturing sites and converting some existing operations, officials with Kingsport-based Eastman said in a March 13 news release. The project should be completed by late 2009.
Annual growth for Tritan and for the global copolyester market is expected to average 6-8 percent for the next several years, said Dante Rutstrom, vice president and general manager of Eastman's specialty plastics unit.
``This product has been well-received by customers and consumers,'' he said in the release. ``We are completing this expansion so that we can continue to grow with the market demand.''
Eastman launched Tritan in October, at the K 2007 trade show in Dusseldorf, Germany. The product is aimed at housewares, appliances and sheet, among other uses. Tritan's attributes include heat resistance, toughness and ease of processing, and it is expected to compete with polycarbonate in several markets.
Current Tritan customers include water bottle maker CamelBak Products LLC of Petaluma, Calif.; blender manufacturer Vita-Mix Corp. of Olmsted Falls, Ohio; and Carlisle Food Service Products of Charlotte, N.C.
Tritan can handle vivid aesthetics and is dishwasher-safe, officials said. The material also can be lighter than PC and other competing materials because of its lower density, they said.
The March 13 release did not provide details, but Eastman officials previously had said that the firm would convert 220 million pounds of PET capacity over to copolyester by 2010. Eastman - a longtime leader in the PET field - is transitioning into more profitable business segments.
Eastman expects its move into copolyester and other higher-margin efforts to increase its earnings to $10 per share by 2010.