Sabic (Sittard, The Netherlands) continues to expand globally with the inauguration of a new polypropylene (PP) pilot plant in Geleen, The Netherlands, and also announced investment in a state-of-the-art PP extrusion facility at the same location.
An opening ceremony for the pilot plant (seen at right) and a customer event was presided over by Yousef Al-Benyan, Sabic vice chairman and CEO, and the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp.
“We have a long-term vision to drive sustainable success for our customers and we work constantly to create and deliver innovative solutions that answer their challenges,” said Al-Benyan during the opening ceremony.
In line with Sabic’s strategic commitment to customer-driven innovation, the new pilot plant, located at the Sabic’s Global Technology Center for Europe in Geleen, will design next-generation PP materials.
The pilot plant was constructed in modular form in nearby Enschede in The Netherlands and installed in just two weeks by Zeton B.V., a leading designer and builder of innovative pilot and demonstration-scale plants. It is already on-stream using gas-phase polymerization technology and will be operated by 13 qualified operators. The plant will enable accelerated development and commercialization of highly innovative material solutions that meet the growing needs of various industries, including automotive, health- and personal care, appliances and advanced packaging.
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“[These facilities] will support our company’s strategy to develop new sustainable material solutions that help our customers achieve their goals, as we work with them in ever-closer collaboration,” said Abdulrahman Al-Fageeh, Sabic’s executive vice president of petrochemicals.
There is an increasing need for creative solutions that are sustainable, cost-efficient and compliant with ever-tougher regulations across industry, Al-Fageeh explained, that at the same time must provide increased consumer safety and convenience, while delivering improved functionality.
“We are playing our part by relentlessly pursuing cutting-edge technologies, both in production and new material development,” he said. “Our new investments will open up opportunities to create smarter, more efficient, higher performing products that can generate sustainable solutions for long-term success.”
The new facility will serve to develop grades with improved balance in stiffness and impact-resistance, flow properties and other properties specific to target applications. Sabic plans to concentrate on development of impact grades of PP, as well as random copolymers and homopolymers. The site will also carry out experiments on advanced catalysts.
The highly automated, cutting-edge PP extrusion line (shown above) is expected to be operational in the 4Q 2017. It will focus on customers’ needs for advanced materials including next-generation, lightweight applications in industries such as packaging, appliances, automotive, and healthcare.