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Plant in Belgium produces polycarbonate copolymer with adjustable properties at industrial scale.

Stephen Moore

March 29, 2024

2 Min Read
PC copolymer team at Covestro
Image courtesy of Covestro

At a Glance

  • World first: Covestro has developed a solvent-free melt process for a range of polycarbonate copolymers
  • Wide range of applications, including mobility, electrical/electronics, and healthcare

Covestro has completed its first industrial-scale polycarbonate (PC) copolymers plant at its site in Antwerp, Belgium. The new platform technology, which Covestro developed, is based on an innovative, solvent-free melt process in combination with a new reactor concept. This marks the start of commercial availability of PC with adjustable properties that has been developed and tested on a laboratory and pilot scale in recent years. The investment is in the mid-double-digit million-dollar range and covers a pilot and production plant.

In addition to the reduced complexity of the new production process, the connection to existing infrastructure in Antwerp with four production lines for polycarbonate also has been advantageous, as it combines global scale in production with the flexibility of a stand-alone unit.

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New process enables material innovations

"The new production process is the first and only one of its kind in the world and enables us to offer a broad portfolio of material innovations," said Sucheta Govil, chief commercial officer at Covestro. "With the new plant, we can now produce and launch new polymer materials on an industrial scale much faster than before. This is the result of several years of development work by our research and process technology teams, as well as our long-term experience with polycarbonates. In our Solutions & Specialties segment, we focus on sophisticated products with a high pace of innovation, which is a key success factor since customer requirements change quickly. The new production line is a prime example of how we implement this strategy and support our customers to the best extent," said Govil.

Copolymers with enhanced flame retardance

"Compared to pure polycarbonates, the copolymers open up new possibilities for us to integrate further functionalities and properties into our materials," explained Lily Wang, global head of the Engineering Plastics business unit. "These can range from improved mechanical properties and higher resistance against chemical attack to enhanced flame retardancy.” Wang added that Covestro first will focus on materials for the electrical, electronics, and healthcare industries, while future innovations might focus on mobility and other trends.

To understand its customers' needs, Covestro will showcase some of the products that can be produced with the new plant at the Chinaplas exhibition in Shanghai in April.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and a proud dachshund owner.

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