Invista is having success with new grades of specialty polypropylene resins.
"We're one of the smaller producers, but dynamite comes in small packages," senior application development specialist Michael Mahan said on a June 1 webinar hosted by Plastics News.
He added that Wichita, Kan.-based Invista "is focused on niche and value-added solutions. … We can look at applications with smaller volumes, instead of commodity volumes."
Invista operates about 800 million pounds of annual polypropylene capacity at a plant in Longview, Texas. The firm also has propylene feedstock supply from a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit in Houston. Invista will add more than 100 million pounds of specialty PP capacity through a debottlenecking in Longview later this year.
Invista currently makes more than 100 grades of PP resin. The firm acquired the PP and propylene units in early 2022 from Flint Hills Resources. Both Invista and Flint Hills are owned by industrial conglomerate Koch Industries of Wichita, Kan.
Mahan said that Invista's plant in Longview is 200 miles from the Gulf Coast, and that the firm has its own pipeline to bring propylene from Houston. "We have a secure supply situation," he added.
Invista's Duratemp-brand specialty PP resins offer impact resistance and clarity at low temperatures for freezer products such as ice cream containers. With Duratemp, processors "can have aesthetics and durability, as well as less breakage with good clarity," Mahan said. "It's a tough, robust resin with clarity at all temperatures."
Mahan added that Duratemp grades are recyclable and meet consumer preference for transparent packaging vs. opaque. The materials can be processed via thermoforming, blow molding and injection molding. They're being aimed at frozen food packaging, freezer to microwave uses, food storage and cosmetics.
Nine grades of Duratemp currently are available from Invista. The materials have undergone successful drop testing from different heights, Mahan said.
Other next-generation PP resins from Invista include MedSelect, a resin aimed at medical uses that offers high barrier performance, high stiffness and extended shelf life in monomaterial products.
Nextend is another specialty PP resin that's being launched by Invista. The material offers higher stiffness and better oxygen and moisture barrier performance than other materials, according to Mahan. Nextend is being marketed as a replacement for polystyrene in packaging.
Invista also is a major global supplier of nylon 6/6 resins, with production sites in South Carolina, Canada, the Netherlands and China.