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Mumbai-based Gharda Chemicals Ltd. plans to open a commercial scale plant in Panoli, India for making specialized engineering resins polyetherketone (PEK), polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and polybenzimidazole (PBI), using what it says is a new production method. The company will decide final capacity and investment details later this year, and is aiming for an April 2015 startup for the new facility in Panoli, said Prakash Trivedi, head of the polymer strategic business unit for Gharda.

PlasticsToday Staff

November 25, 2013

2 Min Read
Gharda plans new plant in India

Trivedi said the company process for making PEK is produced with a single monomer and is based in chlorine rather than fluorine like other PEK manufacturers. He said PEK capacity could be up to 1,000 metric tons annually.

Gharda is the first in India to feature two wear grades, G-PAEK 1230FCT and GAZOLE 6430FCT, with an easy flow characteristics for injection molding of intricate multi-cavity parts, Trivedi said. Their heat deflection temperature of 350 °C - 360 °C makes them suitable for demanding high heat resistance applications. The company touts that these are "far superior in performance to the commercially available engineering alternatives of polyether imides (PEI), Polyimide (PI), poly phenylene sulphide (PPS), poly ether ether ketone (PEEK) - and exhibit exceptional wear, chemical and thermal resistance."

The company has been researching the new grades for the past few years, and has been producing some of them in pilot or semi-commercial volumes at an existing Gharda petrochemical plant in Ankleshwar, which is north of Mumbai.

The comparable specific flexural strength of G-PAEK & GAZOLE FCT grades to metals reportedly provides cost savings  to the manufacturer. "Gharda's high performance thermoplastics offer weight savings, easy machining and molding options with greater design flexibility," the company said. "This allows the customer to produce parts with challenging geometries as required. It eliminates the costly production steps that are necessary for metals."

The high fatigue strength and high wear resistance with temperature make G-PAEK and GAZOLE FCT grades suitable in the automotive/transportation segment for gears, bearings and bushes. Other key applications of FCT grades are in printer parts and textile parts such as thrust pads, roller bearings and dry lubricating bushes that are continuously moving at low to high speeds and at high temperatures.

The firm's polyetherketone ketone process is also made with a unique process Gharda developed, using two monomers instead of the traditional three, while the PBI is made with a single monomer rather than two monomers, Trivedi said.

When the new plant in Panoli opens, it will also make the monomers the firm uses, and the company believes it can manufacture the three polymers cheaper in India.

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