China plant for lightweight structural foam to open next year

Evonik Industries (Essen, Germany) has announced plans to build a new plant for Rohacell polymethacrylimide (PMI) structural foam in Shanghai, China, scheduled to begin operation in the fourth quarter of 2015. "Our investment in Shanghai reflects a strategic decision to bring our products closer to the customer, as well as our continued commitment to a region that is a key growth market," said Dr. Joachim Leluschko, Head of High Performance Polymers Business Line at Evonik.

Polymethacrylimide (PMI) structural foam production is coming to China

The foam is produced by thermal expansion of a copolymer sheet of methacrylic acid and methacrylonitrile. During the foaming process, the copolymer sheet is converted to PMI.

Currently two plants - in Darmstadt, Germany and Mobile, AL - supply customers in Asia. The new facility will be located in Evonik's Multi-User Site China (MUSC) in Shanghai Chemical Industry Park (SCIP). Evonik also recently expanded capacity for Rohacell at Darmstadt.

Rohacell is already being used in Asia's aviation industry, including the Comac ARJ21-700 regional jet and also the prototype of China's first large commercial airliner C919 that is scheduled to enter commercial service in 2018.

Rohacell high performance foam cores are reportedly ideal for the growing advanced composites industry and are enjoying increasing worldwide demand in not only the aviation industry, but also in automotive, electronics, medical technology and sporting goods.

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