In the search for lighter, stronger materials, the global market has increasingly turned to the use of composites. At Darmstadt, Evonik produces the Rohacell foam products that are used as a core material in the construction of sandwich composites.
“We have experienced double-digit growth of the Rohacell brand in recent years and have indications that this success will continue,” said Dr. Matthias Kottenhahn, Senior Vice President of High Performance Polymers Business Line at Evonik Resource Efficiency Segment, in a release announcing the company’s plans to expand production capacity at its production site in Darmstadt, Germany.
The investment will increase the output of the facility by about 20% as a first step. The expanded production capacity is expected to be operational by the second half of 2017.
“We see this capacity expansion as a positive and necessary step toward assuring our customers of their continued access to our innovative product – now and far into the future," Kottenhahn explained.
Products made from composite materials are strong and dependable, as well as efficient to manufacture. Rohacell is a rigid, structural polymethacrylimide foam used in the design and production of sandwich composites in aerospace, automotive, marine, sports equipment, electronics and medical technology. The 100 percent-closed-cell foam uptakes resin only in the exposed cut cells at the surface. This prevents excess resin from infiltrating further into the foam, which would add unnecessary weight, and also enables the foam to be vacuum fixated. during mechanical processing. The foam provides composite part manufacturers with a core material solution that can withstand high temperatures and pressures, enabling quick and efficient part production, decreasing production time and lowering costs.
“As the trend toward composite usage continues, we are prepared to respond with the lightweight solutions available in our Rohacell range of foam products. By expanding our capacity, we will be ready to meet the needs of this changing marketplace,” said Dr. Andreas Hoff, Vice President of Performance Foams at Resource Efficiency Segment.
The Darmstadt plant is the original Performance Foams production facility. Over the course of the years, additional production capacity was built in Mobile, Alabama, USA, inaugurated in 2008; a third production location opened in January of this year in Shanghai, China. Both plants ensure the regional supply to local customers in both North & South America and Asia.