Ticona launches giant acetal plant
SULZBACH, GERMANY — Ticona has opened the world's largest acetal production plant — an operation with more than 300 million pounds of annual capacity — in Frankfurt, Germany.
The plant required almost 18 million pounds of steel, almost 500 miles of cable and 49 miles of piping. Construction began in late 2008 and eventually involved about 1,200 workers, according to the Sulzbach-based firm.
“I'm especially proud of the excellent safety performance, with more than 3 million work hours without a serious injury,” General Manager Michael Stubblefield said in a Sept. 27 news release. The Frankfurt plant produced its first commercial material in July.
Ticona officials decided to place the plant in Frankfurt after learning that an airport expansion would require them to relocate an existing acetal plant in Kelsterbach, Germany. The Kelsterbach plant will be decommissioned by the end of 2013, officials said.
Ticona ranks as the world's largest acetal maker. It is the engineering polymers business of Celanese Corp. of Dallas. Ticona employs more than 1,600 and posted sales of more than $1.1 billion in fiscal 2010.
Ticona also is building a 110 million-pound-capacity plant in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, through a joint venture with Saudi Basic Industries Corp. That plant is expected to be operational in 2013, Ticona officials said.
The automotive market makes up about one-third of global acetal demand, which is expected to reach almost 3 billion pounds per year by 2016, according to Priya Ravindranath, a market analyst with Chemical Market Associates Inc. in Houston.
But even as demand increases, Ravindranath said, global acetal operating rates are expected to decline to around 70 percent, due to large amounts of new capacity coming online in Asia.
Demand growth for acetal has been particularly strong in China, rising an average of 14 percent since 2006. Through 2016, Chinese demand for the material is expected to grow at an 8 percent annual rate.
EDI shifting location of some flat-die work
CHIPPEWA FALLS, WIS. — Extrusion Dies Industries LLC is relocating its flat-die remanufacturing operation in Chippewa Falls to a larger, dedicated facility that focuses on die rework, spare-parts fabrication and other aftermarket services.
The move is part of EDI's ongoing lean-manufacturing initiative, said marketing director Kelly Harings-Mrozinski. It will reduce the time needed for cleaning, resurfacing, repairs or enhancements such as upgrading from a manual to an automatic die, she said.
The aftermarket services center, which measures 12,800 square feet, is housed in a separate area of EDI's technology center, not far from the headquarters site.
Moving remanufacturing into its own area will free up space in the headquarters for EDI's new-die business, said Scott Smith, global aftermarket manager.
EDI also will use the aftermarket center to rework blown film dies and resurface worn or damaged rubber rolls used in film and coating processes.