K 2013: Dow Elastomers plans major boost in post-metallocene EPDM capacity

Düsseldorf - Dow Elastomers will soon break ground on a world-scale Nordel EPDM (ethylene propylene-diene terpolymer) facility in Plaquemine, LA, USA, which will utilize the company's latest proprietary catalyst technology to enable production of grades with high Mooney viscosities.

Dow's Mitchell: Latest generation of EPDM products lowers the gel level even further.

Speaking to PlasticsToday at the K trade fair in Düsseldorf Germany, David Mitchell Global Marketing Director, Performance Plastics, at The Dow Chemical Company (8a/K48) said the company's latest Nordel products boast a lower gel level than competing EPDM products, realizing a Class A-plus finish in applications such as automotive weather strips. "Automotive weatherstrip is predominantly based on cross linked EPDM compounds, however there is a market trend toward TPVs (polypropylene/EPDM blends), due to their inherent recyclability," noted Mitchell. "In today's market, 80% is typically EPDM cross-linked compounds while 20% is TPVs but  over time, we expect that the ratio will move higher toward TPVs, due to their recyclability," he added.

The new plant will also give Dow capabilities to expand participation in the wire and cable market, particularly insulation and jacketing.

Previous Dow metallocene technology could only be utilized to manufacture EPDM over a limited range of Mooney viscosities but the latest advanced post-metallocene technology enables production of a full slate ranging from low to high.

The new plant, which will service customers globally, is expected to come online in 2016 and will leverage Dow's comprehensive investment plan to serve its downstream businesses through increased ethylene and propylene production in the US Gulf Coast and to connect the company's US operations into feedstock opportunities from increasing supplies of shale gas. Dow is the only EPDM producer globally that has announced expansion in the "highly advantaged region."

"This Nordel plant will set the standard in quality, product performance, and production efficiencies, and coupled with the benefits of Dow's shale gas investments will further solidify Dow's unparalleled leadership position in the EPDM market," added Mitchell.

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