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Dow affiliate invests in Russian composites

DowAksa Advanced Composites Holdings B.V. has taken up a one-third stake in the Russian Nanotechnology Center of Composites (NCC, Moscow).

PlasticsToday Staff

January 30, 2014

4 Min Read
Dow affiliate invests in Russian composites

DowAksa Advanced Composites Holdings B.V. has taken up a one-third stake in the Russian Nanotechnology Center of Composites (NCC, Moscow).

Founded in 2011 by the Holding Company Composite (HCC, Moscow) and the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs (FIEP, a member of the Rusnano Group), NCC provides an innovation and engineering platform for start-up companies in the production of polymer composite materials for industrial sectors, such as construction, energy and automotive, which are stimulating strong global demand for high-strength, light-weight product solutions.

The NCC also stimulates the growth of nanotechnology in Russia by providing R&D, engineering, scale-up and pilot manufacturing support to Russian companies by state-sponsoring R&D projects, investing into startups in seed and venture phases, or renting space and equipment.

Established in 2012, DowAksa is an Istanbul, Turkey-based 50:50 joint venture between The Dow Chemical Company (Midland, MI) and leading acrylic fiber manufacturer Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii A.Åž. (Yalova, Turkey). It plans to spend an estimated spend $1 billion over the next five years in projects related to carbon fiber, including in Russia and the U.S. DowAksa has acquired the one-third stake through a $4.3 million investment.

The Russian Nanotechnology Center of Composites is a one-stop shop for a variety of composite-related services.

Heinz Haller, Dow's Executive Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer, and President for Europe, Middle East and Africa, as well as Chairman of the DowAksa Board of Directors, Anatoly Chubais, Rusnano CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board, Mehmet Ali Berkman, Deputy Board Chairman of DowAksa, and Leonid Melamed, CEO of Holding Company Composite, signed the agreement during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"The agreement will accelerate DowAksa's efforts in growing and participating in the Russian carbon fiber composite market with a specific focus on oil & gas and infrastructure applications," says Haller. "At the same time, DowAksa will provide access to global market channels, exposure to international partners, and the opportunity to provide services to an international audience."

Chubais added: "DowAksa is a global technology leader in the field of advanced materials. The partnership with a company of such caliber dramatically increases the value of our project. The collaboration is aimed at the development of novel innovative products, and I am convinced that the NCC will benefit from every possibility arising from the business and technological cooperation with DowAksa."

The NCC will leverage existing partner engineering assets to help develop leading positions in Russia, CIS and other countries for prominent sectors such as oil & gas, mineral extraction and offshore exploration. The first production line in the NCC, equipped with a high-tech scientific laboratory and a one-of-a-kind multi-axial machine, has been launched to produce polymer composite materials used in construction, energy, and IT. The second production line is to be launched soon. The NCC  will showcase the latest technologies of polymer composites processing in Russia, supplying both the Russian domestic and global markets.

"It is very important to bring the strengths of DowAksa and NCC together to address the global challenges in the market of carbon fiber composites which are increasingly used in the energy, construction, automotive, and oil and gas industries. The Russian government emphasizes the importance of the composite industry by establishing NCC which also provides R&D and pilot manufacturing support to start-ups and others who are willing to make innovations in equipment related to the composite industry," commented Berkman. "DowAksa's engineers together with their counterparts in NCC will develop revolutionary scientific applications of composite materials which will help to increase the efficiency, productivity and value-add of them. An additional benefit coming from these applications will be reduced emissions to help protect the environment."

The main activities of the NCC are: R&D projects; experimental design and process development works; pilot production; tests and certification of composite materials; promotion of manufacturing companies; and providing services for small innovation companies (consulting, training, leasing of equipment, investments). The NCC primarily develops composite products for the construction, civil infrastructure, machinery and automotive industry. Production areas of NCC are located in Technopolis Moskva (the former car factory of Moskvich). NCC is equipped with modern multifunctional machines for production and testing FRP products (GFRP, CFRP, basalt FRP, aramid based FRP). Production assets include: a filament winding line; a pultrusion line; an extrusion line; a clean room; an automated cutting machine for fabrics and prepregs; a hand and spray lay-up area; injection-molding machines; a painting section and mechanical treatment section; a metal workshop; and a mechanical test laboratory.

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