Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. is expanding polypropylene (PP) compounding capacity at its affiliate Grand Siam Composites in Thailand to meet growing global demand from the automotive sector. The expansion due on stream in June 2020, will boost the group’s overall global compounding capacity to close to 1 million tonnes annually, ranking it second in the world behind LyondellBasell.
|The Grand Siam Composites in Rayong, Thailand.|
LyondellBasell already possessed close to 1.36 million tonners/year of PP compounding capacity, mainly serving the auto sector, prior to its acquisition of A. Schulman in 2018. A. Schulman itself has PP compounding capacity estimated by consultant Townsend Solutions at around 400,000 tonnes/year. This is in addition to an estimated 100,000 tonnes/year of PP masterbatch capacity and 600,000 tonnes/year of compounding capacity for other resins.
The Mitsui Chemicals Group currently operates eight compound production bases around the world (Japan, USA, Mexico, Europe, Thailand, China, India and Brazil) and research bases in five areas (Japan, USA, Europe, Thailand and China). The Group has continued to enhance its production systems, sales and R&D of high-performance PP compounds, which can be used to help reduce the weight of automobiles. It is also investing in more capacity for long glass fiber PP.
Recently strengthened environmental regulations have driven an increasing global need for lighter automobiles. As a result, demand for PP compounds is rising each year to meet lightweighting needs in bumpers, instrument panels and other applications.
This increase in capacity will not only strengthen the Mitsui Chemical Group’s supply capabilities in the growing Asian market, but it will also expand the Group’s global supply system and ensure the stable provision of premium-quality products to automakers and parts manufacturers with bases in Asia.