Mitsui Chemicals Inc. plans to add a new compounding unit for long glass fiber reinforced polypropylene at its Advanced Composites Inc. unit in Sidney, Ohio.
The unit would have annual capacity of almost 8 million pounds. Work on the project is expected to be completed in September 2019, with production beginning in October 2019, officials with Tokyo-based Mitsui said in a Sept. 18 news release.
They added that long glass fiber PP offers an attractive appearance and a good balance between hardness and impact resistance. The material is being used in such areas as car door interiors, officials said.
The decision to establish a new production facility in the U.S. comes in response to growing demand in North America, according to Mitsui officials. Recent strengthening of environmental regulations and a shift toward electric vehicles has led to increasing needs for automotive lightweighting, they said.
Mitsui owns a majority stake in ACI, with Marubeni America Corp. owning a little more than 10 percent. Most of its output is sold into the automotive market.
In addition to Ohio, ACI operates compounding sites in Tennessee and Mexico. The Sidney site has more than 600 million pounds of annual compounding output, while the firm has almost 200 million pounds of capacity in Mexico.