New applications and steady sales growth are leading Arkema Group to increase North American capacity for its Kynar-brand fluoropolymer by the end of 2009.
The move will boost Kynar capacity by 10 percent in Calvert City, Ky., fluoropolymers sales manager Gary Dennis said during a recent interview at Arkema headquarters in Philadelphia.
``Right now, we're looking at 5-10 percent global sales growth per year, and we believe that's sustainable,'' Dennis said.
The Calvert City expansion is going to be a debottlenecking that will include the installation of new machinery. Arkema also makes Kynar a polyvinylidene fluoride at a plant in Pierre-Benite, France, and plans to start production in 2011 at a plant in Changshu, China, as well.
The material's largest end market is in architectural coating used over metal on building exteriors. Kynar is somewhat similar to Teflon-brand fluoropolymer made by DuPont Co., but has less fluorine content and doesn't compete with Teflon in many markets, Dennis explained.
Kynar also is used in piping for the chemical processing industry and in specialized, high-performance molded and extruded parts. Other traditional markets for the material include electrical wire jacketing and in cable and plenum. In those applications, Kynar is valued for its smoke and flame resistance, Dennis said.
In the foam market, Kynar is used for airplane insulation because of its light weight, and smoke and flame resistance.
New applications for Kynar include in elastomeric water-based coatings for ``cool'' roofing a roofing material that will reflect sunlight and create energy savings. Resins used in cool roofing are sold under the Kynar Aquatec brand. Other new Kynar Aquatec grades are in development.
Kynar Rx resins are being used in pharmaceutical applications, where they can be steam-sterilized and reused. The materials also can be autoclaved and don't absorb solvents. In the past year, Arkema has commercialized Kynar Ultraflex B, an elastomeric compound with extreme flexibility for use in tubing and gasketing.
Dennis said that he expects water management to be a strong future market for Kynar, especially in Asia, where the product can be used as a membrane film.
As a value-added material, Dennis said that Kynar hasn't been affected much by high feedstock and energy costs, as many commodity materials have.