Düsseldorf, Germany — Trinseo is hoping that three new materials will continue the firm's recent run of success.
Berwyn, Pa.-based Trinseo (Hall 6/E60) has seen its profit and stock price both soar in 2016. First-half profit zoomed to $172.5 million — more than four times higher than its total for the first half of 2015. The firm's per-share stock price has followed suit, rising to almost $56 in early trading Oct. 19 — almost double its price on Jan. 1.
The new products introduced by Trinseo at K 2016 include a new polypropylene-based 85 percent long-glass fiber concentrate for the automotive market. The firm recently began making the material at a plant in Midland, Mich. It's designed for instrument panels, door modules, front-end modules, tailgates, and other interior and semi-structural uses that need a balance of dimensional stability, heat resistance and weight optimization.
Officials described the new material as “a step-change improvement” over the previous industry benchmark of 60 percent LGF concentrate. The material, part of Trinseo's Enlite-brand structural polymers, have the highest glass fiber concentration of any PP LGF concentrate available commercially for automotive semi-structural applications. They enable lighter-weight interior parts at lower total cost compared to steel and aluminum.
“Materials like this are intrinsic to our growth,” said Hayati Yarkadas, performance materials business president in an Oct. 19. “We had good growth in automotive in the first half. Our growth there isn't only driven by [auto] builds, but by organic growth in new applications.”
The other new materials are grades of polystyrene. Styron X-Tech 2175 is a PS for home appliances. It offers a combination of improved rigidity and strength along with advanced downgauging and up to 10 percent material savings for OEMs.
Styron 2678 Med is a biocompatible PS for the medical market. Officials said it meets a growing need — especially in medical packaging — for a medical-grade polymer that offers the versatility of polystyrene. It can be used in clear packaging, diagnostic components and petri dishes and provides an alternative to general purpose food-grade PS.
Medical also has been a good market for Trineso's ABS resins and polycarbonate compounds, according to Yarkadas. “These medical materials have to be tremendously resistant to chemicals,” he said. “These aren't ordinary plastics.”
Other recent developments for Trinseo include the opening of a pilot plant making styrene-butadiene rubber in Schkopau, Germany, and the addition of PC compounds for Asian markets. The firm also will begin making ABS resins at its plant in Zhangjiagang, China, in 2017.
Trinseo — then known as Styron — was formed in 2011 when private equity firm Bain Capital LLC of Boston paid $1.6 billion for the styrenics businesses of Dow Chemical Co. It then went public in June 2014. The firm's assets include a 50 percent stake in Americas Styrenics, a joint venture it operates with Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.
Trinseo employs more than 2,200 at 15 global sites. The firm posted sales of around $4 billion in 2015.