ST. LOUIS (Aug. 3, 12:15 p.m. ET) — Solutia Inc. is adding a polyvinyl butyral (PVB) resin plant at its Kuantan, Malaysia, facility, in order to better serve the Asia Pacific markets.
The new capacity will be used to cost-effectively meet the increasing demand for Saflex sheet produced by Solutia's two manufacturing lines in Suzhou, China, said Eric Nichols, president and general manager of Advanced Interlayers division, in a news release.
The advances in resin technology have resulted in scalable, less capital-intensive plants that fully leverage Solutia's 80-year history of developing PVB technologies, he added.
The Kuantan location is recognized for its efficient operations, high-quality workforce and ability to serve the broader region's rapidly growing markets, the company said. Kuantan is also home to Solutia's Crystex insoluble sulfur manufacturing facility, the largest of its kind in the world.
The Kuantan resin plant is the third in a series of investments in the region to meet the demand of the burgeoning laminated glass market across Asia Pacific.
In 2007, Solutia opened the Suzhou plant, the fifth manufacturing site for its Saflex PVB interlayers. In 2010, Solutia announced the addition of a second PVB manufacturing line in the Suzhou plant, featuring enhanced capabilities to serve the architectural, photovoltaic and automotive markets in China and the Asia Pacific region. The Suzhou site is also home to a new Saflex customer service testing lab, dedicated to supporting laminated glass customers in the region.
Solutia's Saflex interlayers are used in nearly 40 percent of laminated architectural and automotive glass worldwide, and they are also used to encapsulate thin film photovoltaic solar cells.
Solutia manufactures Saflex PVB interlayers in Gent, Belgium; Santo Toribio, Mexico; San Jose Dos Campos, Brazil; Springfield, Mass., USA; and Suzhou, China.
In the second quarter, the Advanced Interlayers division's net sales totaled $232 million, an increase of $24 million or 12 percent from the same period in 2010, and adjusted EBITDA increased $8 million to $52 million.
“The second quarter reflects the global strength of the Advanced Interlayers business, highlighting the diversity of end markets and further penetration of innovative, premium products,” said James R. Voss, executive vice president and chief operating officer.