Bayer MaterialScience AG is building a solid polycarbonate sheet-manufacturing facility in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, in part to target what it said is growth in diffusion lighting applications.
The facility is part of Leverkusen-based Bayer's previously announced plan to invest $148 million by next year to build five downstream facilities in China. The plant will have annual capacity of 26.5 million pounds per year.
It is designed to meet market demand growing at 10 percent a year, the company said in an Oct. 20 announcement of ground-breaking at the facility.
Production will be split equally between optical panels and solid sheets, and plans call for doubling capacity by 2015, Bayer said.
The factory is expected to begin operating in 2012.
Bayer already has a facility in Beijing for making multiwall polycarbonate sheet and another in Gimhae, South Korea, for making solid sheet.
The Guangzhou factory will let the company “locally produce high-end products cost-effectively for Chinese and overseas markets using world-scale PC extrusion lines,” Bayer said.
The market in China for PC sheet is estimated at around 243 million pounds a year, which is split equally between solid sheet and multiwall applications. However, most of the growth is coming from solid sheet applications such as lighting, according to Bayer.
The company predicts that in 2015, China will need 342 million pounds of PC sheets — 143 million pounds for multiwall sheets and 198 million pounds for solid sheets, according to Michael Schmidt, Bayer's head of global technology and production for PC sheet semi-finished products.