DAK Americas LLC of Charlotte, N.C., should introduce production in Argentina of its heat-set Laser+HS PET resin for hot-fill applications by the end of this year or early 2013, the company said at Argenplás.
DAK is eager to stimulate new uses for PET in a market where traditional demand appears to be slowing, company executives said.
Since acquiring its PET plant in Zárate, Argentina, from Eastman Chemical Co. in 2008, DAK's local production has been limited to its Laser+ PET and Laser+ RF PET resins. The RF version is for making refillable containers.
The company's Laser+HS resin, long available from the U.S., is now being reviewed by key customers in Argentina, including Coca-Cola Co. DAK said it has been told by one local customer that approval should come by year's end.
DAK wants to help boost hot-fill potential in Argentina and neighboring markets, where it has seen PET consumption approach a ceiling of sorts in recent years. Argentina consumed almost 457 million pounds of PET in 2011, down from about 473 million the year prior, according to Argentina's plastics industry chamber, CAIP.
As the only PET producer in Argentina, DAK's production capacity of almost 408 million pounds per year is nearly maxed out, with the company serving about 65 percent of domestic consumption, and imports serving the remaining third.
Per capita consumption of PET in Argentina is nearly 10 pounds per year, one of the higher rates in South America but lower than Mexico's benchmark rate of 13-plus pounds per year.
Adding new products in Argentina should broaden the pool for PET demand from local clients, said Hector Camberos, president of DAK Americas Argentina. New applications will be necessary in South American markets as DAK sees clients trying to do more with less, like forming thinner bottles for savings and “green” marketing.
Looking ahead, Camberos said DAK Americas Argentina is working toward incorporating recycled materials into a single-pellet product within five years. The company plans to have 20 percent of its resin sourced from local recyclables, Camberos said, and can model the Argentina effort after its PET recycling plant joint venture with Shaw Industries in the U.S.
In addition to the Zárate plant, DAK Americas also purchased a PET plant in Cosoleacaque, Mexico, in 2008 from Eastman. DAK operates PET plants in the U.S. in Charleston, S.C.; and Wilmington and Fayetteville, N.C. DAK has global annual PET production capacity of nearly 4.3 billion pounds per year.
DAK is part of the Alpek unit of Mexican conglomerate Alfa SAB de CV of San Pedro Garza García, Mexico. Alpek's other products include polypropylene, expanded polystyrene, nylon and nylon feedstock caprolactam.
Argenplás was held June 18-22 in Buenos Aires.