has announced plans to increase Fortron PPS production at its Wilmington, NC. Fortron Industries LLC, which is a subsidiary of Celanese Corp., says the capacity expansion is to meet increased global demand for the material. Fortron’s operation in Wilmington is a joint venture between Japan’s Kureha Corp. and Ticona Engineering Polymers, a wholly owned subsidiary of Celanese.
Worldwide demand for the high-performance polymer is driven by industrial applications, which exploit Fortron’s chemical and thermal resistance, high hardness, rigidity, dimensional stability, creep properties, and low moisture absorption. The material can be used to replace metals and thermosets in applications like auto pumps; valves; air ducts and powertrains; electronic connectors, plugs, switches and circuit boards; structural and non-structural aircraft components; and heater grilles, impellers, conveyors, power tools, and microwave elements, among other industrial uses.
Recently the material has won new aircraft business with Airbus and Boeing. Fortron’s PPS production technology incorporates Kureha’s environmentally friendly “one unit” process. The expansion is set to come online by the end of the third quarter.
PPS suppliers and compounders include Asahi Kasei Chemicals, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Ferro Corp., Kureha, LATI SpA, PolyOne, Radici, RTP Co. Sabic Innovative Plastics, and Solvay, among others. In May 2003, Chevron Phillips Chemical announced the start-up of its new 49,000 sq ft Ryton (PPS) compounding facility located in Houston, with annual PPS compound capacity of 15 million lb. The global PPS demand was estimated at 57,000 tons annually in 2007 on the basis of PPS base resin, with that figure increasing by 15% or more annually. PPS demand in China has been growing by more than 30% annually. —[email protected]