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World’s Second SPS Plant Starts Up in Malaysia

Idemitsu Kosan, pioneer of the styrenic engineering plastic, said a second production base will contribute to supply security.

Stephen Moore

December 27, 2023

1 Min Read
SPS production plant
Syndiotactic polystyrene (SPS) production plant in Malaysia.Image courtesy of Idemitsu

At a Glance

  • Growing demand for high-heat resin in automotive
  • Appliances, tableware, and microwavable containers among other expanding uses
  • Co-location with monomer plant brings production efficiencies

Idemitsu Advanced Materials has completed construction of a second syndiotactic polystyrene (SPS) production plant in Pasir Gudang, Johor, Malaysia, and launched commercial operations in November 2023. The company is a subsidiary of Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan, which pioneered the development and commercialization of the heat-resistant styrenic engineering plastic in 1997.

9,000 tonnes/year production capacity

Production capacity of the new Malaysian plant is 9,000 tonnes per year, and with this second SPS production plant in operation, the production capability for proprietary SPS resin will be effectively doubled. The new two-location system with the first SPS production plant at the Chiba Complex in Ichihara City, Japan, has realized a more stable production and supply arrangement, according to Idemitsu.

SPS handles the heat

Xarec SPS resin is a purely Japanese engineering plastic that Idemitsu succeeded in synthesizing for the first time in the world in 1985 and achieved global-first commercialization in 1997. Its characteristics include outstanding heat resistance (melting point is 270°C), hot water resistance, electrical insulation, and radio wave permeability. SPS resin is widely used in automotive parts, including for electric vehicles (EVs); home appliances; and daily-use products such as tableware and microwave oven cooking containers. Demand reportedly is expanding steadily.

Pasir Gudang, Malaysia, where the second SPS production plant has been constructed, is one of Idemitsu’s key manufacturing sites for petrochemicals. The Southeast Asian site was selected due to demand growth prospects in the region, as well as the possibility to procure raw material styrene monomer onsite from Idemitsu SM (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., also a subsidiary of Idemitsu, which is located adjacent to the SPS plant. 

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and a proud dachshund owner.

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