DuPont to increase ethylene capacity to meet packaging demand

DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers plans to invest $100 million to increase production capacity of its ethylene copolymers assets at its Texas manufacturing facilities. The company estimates that the by the end of 2015, it will install more than one-third of the investment. The balance of the investment is expected to be completed over the following three years. 

"We did this now to build on our strong competitive position," Dale Outhous, vice president of ethylene copolymers at DuPont's Packaging & Industrial Polymers business, told PlasticsToday. "We want to make sure that our customers and potential customers in our diverse market spaces know that we are prepared to meet their needs."

DuPont Surlyn ionomer resins are frequently used in tough-to-seal packaging applications to protect the contents. 

Specifically, this investment will support growth in DuPont specialty resins including:  DuPont Surlyn ionomer resin, DuPont Nucrel  ethylene acid copolymer resin, DuPont Elvaloy ethylene copolymer resins, DuPont Vamac ethylene acrylic elastomers, and special grades of DuPont Elvax EVA copolymers.

In packaging, there is growing demand for packaging that helps reduce food waste and offers consumer convenience, Outhous said. The company is also seeing growth in overall construction and infrastructure driving demand for Elvaloy in paving and roofing and higher-performing architectural glass solutions. 

The specialty resins associated with food packaging are DuPont Appeel peelable sealant resin and DuPont Surlyn ionomer resin. While these resins are used in many industries, they have valuable attributes for food packaging, he said.

Surlyn reportedly provides low-temperature seal initiation, hot tack strength and puncture resistance. It seals through contaminants, helps reduce leakers and increases line speeds. The resin can seal through contaminants like grease and can therefore offer protection against rupture or leakers in meat packaging as well as keep meat fresher and more appealing longer. 

DuPont Appeel helps make packages easy to open, while protecting contents against spoilage, leakage, contamination and tampering, the company said. These are typically used for flexible lidding on rigid containers for yogurt, snacks, dry cereals, as well as in flexible structures, including bag-in-box.

With regards to new hires, Outhous said it's too early to confirm that additional permanent positions will be added associated with this activity. However, the company expects there will be some temporary jobs added as a result of construction.

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