Ascend Performance Materials is investing $35.2 million to increase nylon 6/6 resin production in South Carolina.
Houston-based Ascend plans to upgrade several lines in early 2019 to increase nylon production capacity by 50 percent at its site in Greenwood, S.C., officials said in a Dec. 18 news release from the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. The expansion is expected to create 30 new jobs.
Global supplies of nylon 6/6 have been tight since early 2018, largely as the result of limited supplied of adiponitrile (ADN) feedstock. This has led to higher prices for the material and concerns that processors may turn to other types of plastics or other materials for auto parts or other products.
"The polymer we make at Ascend in Greenwood forms the building blocks for things we use every day, from air bags to high-end carpet to tennis balls," site director Hal McCord said in the release. "Thanks to the hard work of our employees and the support of leaders in Greenwood County and South Carolina, this expansion will allow us to increase our polymer production … creating more jobs for local residents."
Gov. Henry McMaster added that Ascend's decision "to double down on its commitment to Greenwood County is proof that South Carolina's economic development strategy is working."
Ascend ranks as one of the world's largest producers of nylon 6/6 resins, compounds and fibers. The firm operates six plants in the U.S. and Europe and employs 3,200.
Company officials said in October that Ascend would add almost 90 million pounds of annual production capacity for ADN in Decatur, Ala., by the end of the year. An additional ADN expansion there of almost 400 million pounds should be online by 2022.