Lanxess AG has officially opened its auto-oriented thermoplastics compounding plant in Porto Feliz, Brazil.
The Cologne, Germany, company said on April 10 that the 20 million euro ($27.7 million) investment has initial annual capacity of 44 million pounds to compound nylon and polybutylene terephthalate with additives and glass fiber reinforcements in creating its Durethan and Pocan brand materials. The compounding operation will employ up to 50.
Lanxess first announced the project in spring of 2013. Automotive is a fast growing market in Brazil and Latin America, creating demand for lightweight materials to replace metals. Automakers also are promoting more uniformity for components, opening up opportunities for global suppliers in regional markets.
Rising needs for high-performance plastics has spurred Lanxess to expand capacity for the polymers. A new nylon plant in Antwerp, Belgium, underlines Lanxess's focus on such plastics. The new factory will have annual capacity of 200 million pounds when it starts up in the third quarter of 2014.
Lanxess's other operations in Porto Feliz include rubber additives and components, and inorganic pigments. The firm employs about 1,100 at seven sites in Brazil, which accounts for about 9 percent of its global sales.
Lanxess's performance polymers business logged sales of 4.5 billion euros ($6.2 billion) in 2013. The polymers business is integrated with other company units making glass fibers and caprolactam monomer for nylon 6.