Shanghai — German specialty chemicals company Lanxess AG used Chinaplas 2018 to offer more details about its high-performance plastics plant in Changzhou, which is under construction and will be operational by spring 2019.
The plant, which Lanxess executives described as a 20 million euro ($23.4 million) investment, will have 25,000 metric tons capacity and will compound a full range of nylon 6/6 and polybutylene terephthalate-based compounds for automotive and electrical/electronics customers.
"Changzhou is an important project for us to support the growing market here in China," said Michael Rockel, head of greater China sales and marketing for the company's high performance materials business unit. "It is located in Changzhou Binjiang Chemical Park, where we already have some operations. We're trying to be safe in terms of investing in chemical parks for a structurally supported plant."
Environmental standards will be important to Lanxess in the new plant, Rockel said.
In April, the company's Ningbo, China, plant, located in the Ningbo Petrochemical Economic and Technology Development Zone (NPETD), was awarded a National Green Plant certificate by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
The company developed there what it calls its "Ningbo process," where energy consumption in iron oxide red pigments production can be reduced by 80 percent and byproducts can be recycled.
Speaking at a news conference in Shanghai in April, Rockel said Lanxess "sees significant potential for the application of its high-tech plastics in lightweight design, charging systems, battery solutions, sensors for autonomous driving and housings of electric motors as well as in the infrastructures of e-mobility, for instance, in charging stations."
But Rockel said the global nylon 6/6 shortage has had an impact.
"We have seen an unprecedented rise in cost of [nylon] 6/6 in the last months and years," he said. "The price delta in China between 6/6 and 6 is 40,000 RMB ($5,870) per ton for the base resin and this will continue in the years to come with the supply shortage expected ... in key raw materials."
He said Lanxess is utilizing nylon 6 as cost-efficient option to replace nylon 6/6.
"We are promoting PA 6/6 replacement in the market because we believe this market will stay short and will probably get even shorter in the years to come, due to a bottleneck in the raw materials supply chain," he said, noting repeated declarations of force majeure in the supply chain.