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Chinese flame retardant leader in expansion drive

The world’s leading supplier of organo phosphorus flame retardants, Jiangsu Yoke Technology Co. (Yixing, China), plans a large-scale expansion of capacity to satisfy demand from end users switching away from brominated products.

Already operating three production plants for various organo phosphorus flame retardant types at three locations in China boasting combined capacity reported at 100,000 tonnes/yr, company general manager Shen Qi says they plan to add a 60,000-tonnes/yr facility in Pinghai, China this year. Yoke sees its main competitors in the field as being Japanese companies Adeka (Tokyo) and Daihachi Chemical Industry (Osaka), both of whom produce in China and Japan, as well as Chinese compatriot Zhejiang Wansheng Science And Technology Co. Yoke is represented by Shekoy Chemicals in Europe (Lijndinonk, The Netherlands) and North America (Atlanta GA).

Yoke pegs global capacity for organo phosphorus flame retardants at more than 400,000 tonnes annually. These flame retardants find wide usage in resins such as polycarbonate and polyurethane.

Development drive
While the vast majority of Chinese additive suppliers specialize in “me-too” molecules whose patent protection has expired, Yoke says it is bucking the trend with ongoing R&D efforts to realize a new molecule to replace the brominated flame retardant tetrabromophthalic anhydride (TBPA), and a new phosphorated polystyrene (PS) flame retardant that could replace brominated PS. “We have a team of 50 research scientists working on these projects, and we think this is the biggest such team assembled in the world,” says Qi.

Yoke is adopting two approaches in its research efforts. One is to develop small molecules that will function with minimum dosage, good compatibility, and low toxicity. The other is to develop oligomers with even better compatibility and minimum adverse influence on the properties of final products. —[email protected]

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