After a delay brought on by the global financial crisis, DuPont Co. announced April 19 it will push forward with plans to add new production lines to its Shenzhen, China, plant, doubling the company's compounding capacity in the region.
We announced our plans to add production lines two years ago, but then, three months later, the crisis hit and we stopped everything, said James Hay, regional director of performance polymers in the Asia-Pacific region. Now it's going to be ready in three months.
The company is adding lines for its range of Zytel nylon 6 and 6/6 resins as well as Zytel HTN PPA high-performance polyamide. The materials offer increased temperature and chemical resistance and can serve in a range of automotive and electronic applications, according to DuPont.
Currently, the Wilmington, Del.-based company's sales are split equally between North America, Europe and Asia. Asia, however, is growing quickly. DuPont is projecting 12 percent sales growth globally for 2010, and Asia is set to be a big part of that.
In addition to the expansion at the Shenzhen plant, DuPont has added facilities to its Shanghai research and development center, expanding its capability in automotive applications, including noise and vibration testing as well as impact simulation for testing how materials respond in different environments.
The Shanghai center offers services for plastics and for some of DuPont's other materials, said Philippe Hanck, sales and development director for performance polymers in emerging economies. The materials often end up complementing one another, he added. Many have the same end markets.
The automotive market is a particular target for the center, in light of rising sales numbers in China's domestic market and the number of new carmakers hoping to expand their offerings.
Cars in China have less engineering plastic content than elsewhere in the world, Hanck pointed out. So even if automobile sales volumes cool down, there will be room for growth in the market. Hay also has high hopes for infrastructure and railway applications.
Asia overall was quick to recover from the crisis, with China the earliest out, said Hay. Still, 2010 may not be all smooth sailing. Coming out of a crisis like this, you have to ask how much of [the current improvement] is based on industry build.
More importantly, according to Hanck, is the outlook for the next five years. We're keeping a close eye on these large trends, he said. I think we're well-placed to serve these markets well.
Copyright 2010 Crain Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.