New PPS suppliers hail from Japan, Korea

Expertise in the compounding of engineering plastics and a proprietary process for polymerizing polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) resin free of chlorine and sodium are the backdrop of a new joint venture between Teijin Chemicals Ltd. (Tokyo) and SK Chemicals (Seoul, South Korea) to manufacture and market PPS resins and compounds in July this year. A 12,000-tonnes/yr production plant will be up and running in the fiscal year starting in April 2015.

The joint venture, in which Teijin Chemicals will hold a 34% share and SK Chemicals the remaining 66%, will construct a PPS resin plant in Ulsan, South Korea. As demand grows, capacity at the plant is eventually expected to reach 20,000 tonnes annually. An existing pilot plant will be utilized for market and application development until the new plant starts operating.

PPS resin is primarily is used for components in the engine bay, components related to electric motors, electrical components, connectors and sockets. Demand for the resin is expected to grow in line with the increasing popularity of electric and hybrid vehicles and the ongoing expansion of electronics markets in emerging countries.

In conventional PPS resins, chlorine and sodium from raw materials and byproducts remain in the resin, which can lead to the corrosion of molds and functional deterioration of metal parts, such as defective contacts. Moreover, chlorine has a potentially harmful environmental impact if burned. SK Chemicals possesses the process technology to produce chlorine- or sodium-free PPS resins using its own processes and it has been exploring options for making a full-scale entry into the PPS compound business. The combination of Teijin Chemicals' extensive compounding technologies and related expertise and SK Chemicals' chlorine- and sodium-free PPS resin technology will reportedly enable the partners to supply value-added PPS compounds to processors.

The joint venture will pursue global markets, with a special focus on the fast-growing Asian region, aiming to become a world leader in PPS resin and compounds. The partners envision a global market share of 20% by 2020 and annual sales of $320 million in fiscal 2024.

For Teijin Chemicals, a leading manufacturer of polycarbonate resins and compounds, the partnership will also enable the company to expand its lineup of resin products and create new value-added solutions, especially in the fields of automotive and electronics materials. Teijin Chemicals also expects to expand into other fields, including bio-polycarbonate and polycarbonate copolymers.

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