Shanghai — Netherlands-based chemical giant DSM NV is bringing new and enhanced facilities on line as it aims to keep up with demanding Asian markets.
DSM Engineering Plastics Asia Pacific President Ivo Lansbergen said the company has launched a pilot production line at its Jiangyin, China research center. The new line is geared to making batches sufficiently large for a customer to make its own production tests.
“You can't have a request for 100 or 200 kilograms and say, ‘Thanks, I'll deliver it in three weeks.' No. You have to be able to deliver that in a couple of days or a week,” Lansbergen said during an interview at Chinaplas in Shanghai. “And you don't want to make it in Europe or the United States, simply because of the distance and the time it takes to ship.”
Jiangyin, in Jiangsu province, is in the heart of China's plastics belt.
In April, the company opened a 5,000-square-meter R&D center in Pune, India, with 15 staffers and plans to grow to 40 in a few years. The facility, which focuses on CAE modeling and application development, has a twin-screw extruder for test runs.
“OEMs are building a lot of technical centers in India. You have to be there on the ground to provide support,” the 17-year DSM veteran said.
At a press conference on the first day of Chinaplas, the company touted Stanyl HGR1, the latest entry in its high-temperature Stanyl nylon 4/6 line, as a superior alternative to nylon 6/6 for boosting engine efficiency and fuel consumption while reducing friction in engine timing systems. Fiat Chrysler America has begun using Stanyl HGR1 new offering in its Pentastar V6 engines.
The company also announced the latest offerings in its ForTii line of nylon to have bioplastics — 10 to 25 percent of the polymer in the three new ForTii Eco products come from castor beans. The new products are targeted at electronics applications such as cellphone casings and connectors. DSM claims the earth-friendly — and halogen-free — products meet stringent requirements for flow, heat resistance and dielectrical strength.
With sustainability becoming a new rallying cry in the global electronics industries, “The more a Chinese company wants to spread its wings in Europe or the United States, the more they're going to take that into consideration,” Lansbergen said.
DSM NHU Engineering Plastics (Zhejiang) Co. Ltd., the polyphenylene sulphide joint venture with Zhejiang NHU Co. Ltd. announced at last year's Chinaplas, has cleared all regulatory approvals and begun operations, Lansbergen said.
NHU provides the joint venture with PPS polymer, while DSM has taken over NHU's PPS compounding operations and markets the compounds worldwide under the trade name Xytron PPS.
“They are providing the polymers and we are providing the access to markets,” Lansbergen said.
Lansbergen, who assumed his current job in Shanghai two years ago, sees DSM well set up for tectonic shifts in industry.
“Automotive used to be very mechanical. But you see the merging of two vertical industries, automotive and electronics. So tell me: Are we now talking about a self-driving computer, or a self-driving car? Do we see two industries merging into one? We like to see ourselves as nicely positioned, with many customers in automotive and in electronics,” he said.