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December 5, 2006

1 Min Read
Asahi Glass expands ETFE capacity

Asahi Glass Co. (Tokyo) has decided to increase production capacity for its Fluon ETFE fluoropolymers, which are primarily used as encapsulation materials for wires and cables and in various films. Asahi Glass will invest around ¥2.5 billion ($21.5 million) in its Kashima plant in Japan in the production boost, due to come on stream in the first quarter of 2008.

Following expansion of production capacity at the Kashima site in 2005 and expanded production capacity scheduled for Asahi Glass Fluoropolymers U.K. (Lancashire, U.K.) in 2007, this latest expansion will nearly double the company’s ETFE production capacity.

Fluon ETFE (a copolymer of ethylene and tetrafluoroethylene) is a high-performance fluoropolymer developed by Asahi Glass. The resin reportedly offers thermal plasticity for easier molding, high chemical resistance, high electrical-insulation properties, and high ultraviolet resistance, making it suitable for outdoor use over periods exceeding 10 years. Given these characteristics, the resin is widely used in applications that include electrical-wire insulation in automobiles, aircraft, and robotics; and coatings for tubes used to transport special liquids.

In recent years, worldwide demand for ETFE has increased sharply, particularly in areas such as the automotive, aeronautics, and membrane structures, where new applications are emerging. For example, the company’s ETFE film has been used in the construction of the main stadium and swimming pool for the Olympic Games in Beijing. These demand pressures are the primary motivating factor prompting the latest plans to increase production capacity.

Asahi Glass currently manufactures and sells more than half the world’s ETFE. Worldwide demand for ETFE is projected to increase annually at rates exceeding 10%. In response, the company will consider further expansion of its ETFE production capacity when necessary.—[email protected]

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