Invista is the newest player in the global engineering polymers market.
At a June 24 news conference at NPE2009, Wichita, Kan.-based Invista announced plans to begin production of nylon 6/6 resin at several locations, including Chattanooga, Tenn., and Kingston, Ontario.
The launch coincides with the expiration of a non-compete agreement with DuPont Co., which sold its Invista fibers unit to Koch Industries Inc. in 2004. Koch then combined its KoSa PET unit with Invista to create a separate company.
At NPE, Invista's Kurt Burmeister executive vice president of the new engineering polymers unit said his firm is uniquely equipped to revolutionize the nylon engineering polymers business.
Our customers told us what we needed to do to stay successful in a global business, he said. We worked hard to listen and anticipate what customers want in a global material supplier.
We're fully integrated with high-quality, cost-controlled ingredients and have the potential to be a strong player in the engineering polymers market.
Burmeister declined to say what Invista's initial nylon production capacities will be.
He added that the firm will work with toll compounders in North America, Europe and Asia, but he declined to identify specific firms.
Initial products will include nylon 6/6, but Invista eventually could add nylon 6 and reinforced PET to its product mix.
Some available nylon 6/6 grades also will have post-industrial recycled content, according to Burmeister. Customers have expressed a high interest in sustainability and recycling options, he added.
Potential markets include automotive, electrical, consumer products and sporting goods. And Burmeister said launching the unit in a down economy actually could be an advantage for Invista.
We get to start fresh, he said. And customers now are thinking about things they hadn't thought of before. They're looking at new models.
Invista officials also said the new business will be unaffected by a lawsuit filed against Invista late last year by DuPont. The lawsuit claims Invista violated the non-compete agreement between the two firms in numerous ways, including by advertising engineering resins at polymer trade shows and recruiting business personnel to work in its engineering resins business.
Invista's PET business also is recovering from the late 2008 closings of PET plants in Greer, S.C., and Millhaven, Ontario. Both closings were related to oversupply and lower demand in the North American PET market. Based on estimated 2008 sales, Invista ranked as the region's largest PET maker, with a market share of 24 percent.
Invista's PET business is now balanced and healthy, according to a company official.
The official added that the PET unit has been helped by having a more diversified portfolio that includes a fair amount of non-bottle PET supply, in areas such as sheet.
Copyright 2009 Crain Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.