Friedrichshafen, Germany — Ascend Performance Materials LLC plans to add capacity for multiple products, including nylon 6/6 resins.
Houston-based Ascend first will add capacity for adiponitrile feedstock at its plant in Decatur, Ala., said Scott Rook, nylon commercial operations vice president, in an interview at Fakuma in Friedrichshafen. He declined to provide details of the expansion but said that the project will create new jobs and "will meet [Ascend's] needs."
Rook estimated that the global nylon 6/6 market will need an estimated 385 million pounds of annual adiponitrile capacity in the next five years. "Capacity is very tight in the industry," he said.
Over the next two to three years, Ascend will add production capacity for nylon 6/6 resins as well as for hexamethylenediamine (HDM) and adipic acid feedstocks. The firm is seeing double-digit demand growth for its resins from automotive and other markets.
"We're ramping up capacity to support the growth of the industry," Rook said. Ascend makes nylon 6/6 resins in Pensacola, Fla., and Greenwood, S.C., and compounds based on nylon 6/6 in Pensacola and Foley, Ala.
At Fakuma, Ascend introduced a new high-performance grade of its Vydyne-brand nylon 6/6 compounds. The new grade is aimed at unattended appliances such as washers and dryers.
Officials said the new grade "will bring extra safety" to electrical connectors used in those appliances. In addition to excellent electrical and flammability properties, the new Vydyne grade also exhibits high ductility and elongation at break, they added, providing engineers with greater freedom when designing parts such as living hinges and snap fits.
The new unreinforced, flame-retardant compound also has superior melt flow and requires lower pressure to fill molds, reducing cycle times and production costs, officials said.
Ascend employs 3,000 worldwide. Private equity firm SK Capital Partners of New York has owned Ascend since 2009, when it bought the integrated nylon business of Solutia Inc.