Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Booth W123011) isn't letting short-term economic woes slow down its global plans.
Sabic a global petrochemicals firm based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia has contracted with warehouses in Texas and New Jersey to import commodity resins from its plants in the Middle East. The firm's Sabic Innovative Plastics LP unit by the end of the year will open a new plant making Ultem-brand polyetherimide in Cartagena, Spain, and next month will expand engineering resin compounding capacity by 30 percent in Nansha, China.
Sabic intends to play a major role in shaping the plastics industry through innovation, Sabic Vice Chairman and CEO Mohamed Al-Mady said at a June 22 news conference at NPE2009. We have a very important foundation for plastics growth.
In North America, Sabic is working with global shipping firm Katoen Natie Houston in La Porte, Texas, and Mid State Packaging in Hillsborough, N.J., to import commodity polyolefins. Currently Sabic is importing less than 10 million pounds of polyolefins annually into the region, according to Sabic Americas General Manager Fahad Al-Swailem. But Al-Mady said that amount is expected to increase.
The U.S. is going to be a net importer of polymers in the future, and Sabic is capable of fulfilling these requirements, he said. Our strategy for selling polymers in the Americas is still evolving. We're looking to find the best combination of logistics and service for our customers.
We're investing heavily to improve our supply chain in the Americas, added polymers Vice President Khaled Al-Mana. It's a long supply chain, and warehouses will allow us to be closer to our customers.
Globally, Sabic is adding more polyolefin capacity in Saudi Arabia this year and will begin polycarbonate production there by the end of 2010, officials said. The firm also plans to build an ABS resin plant and smaller compounding facilities for PC and ABS.
At NPE2009, Sabic's 8,800-square-foot booth is the largest occupied by a materials supplier. New products introduced include:
* Composites reinforced with natural fibers from its LNP Engineering Plastics unit.
* New forms of inherently flame-retardant Ultem resins, film and fiber/foam composites.
* New natural and black high density polyethylene resins for pressure pipe.
* iQ-brand resins made from upcycled water bottles.
* High-flow Valox-brand polybutylene terephthalate resins for greater miniaturization.
* Long-glass-fiber polypropylene materials with higher strength.
The new Valox grades offer double the flow of traditional PBTs and can reduce cycle times by as much as 25 percent, officials said. Vertron- and Stamax-brand long-glass-fiber compounds can cut weight and assembly steps.
New blends of Lexan-brand PC also can eliminate the need for some hard-coating steps, company officials said.
The Ultem line also has been enhanced with an eye toward new uses, such as in composite skin/core/skin structures used in aircraft. Ultem foam can reduce density by as much as 30 times vs. traditional materials in those applications, according to the company. Ultra-small parts can be molded with high-flow grades.
In spite of global economic troubles, we still have a vibrant and enormous growth opportunity, Sabic IP President and CEO Charlie Crew said.
Crew cited Sabic IP's efforts in product and process technology as a means of reaching new markets. The firm also now is marketing Sabic PP to its automotive customers, along with Sabic IP's line of engineering resins.
There's a lot more penetration we can do, Crew said.
Sabic IP's recently signed distribution deal with Ashland Distribution allows [Sabic IP] to get out and visit more customers because of Ashland's great network in the Americas, Crew said.
Sabic IP employs about 9,000 worldwide and has annual sales estimated at more than $6 billion. The unit was created in 2007 when Sabic bought the GE Plastics business from General Electric Co. for $11.6 billion.
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