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Sabic opening compounding site for LFTs and more

Plastics supplier Sabic Europe (Sittard, The Netherlands) will open a new compounding site in Genk, Belgium by the end of this year, bringing online 140,00 tonnes/yr of capacity for polypropylene (PP) and long-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic (LFT) compounds. The supplier claims this will be the biggest greenfield compounding plant ever built in Europe. “Due to the present economic climate, the need for a secured supply is greater than ever before,” said Leon Jacobs, global business director for PP Automotive at Sabic.

The new facility will supply the company’s PPcompound-brand compounds and its Stamax LFT compounds, which are based on a PP matrix. According to the supplier, demand for those LFT-PP compounds is growing at a double-digit rate for applications such as front-end modules, instrument panel carriers, door modules, tailgates, and seating systems.

The company also said it is considering adding similar compounding capability in the U.S. and China, but in fact Sabic earlier this year acquired RheTech Inc.’s (Whitmore Lake, MI) RheMax product line and obtained a toll-manufacturing agreement with the company for its line of Stamax LFT-PP materials. Under terms of that deal, existing RheMax products will be integrated under the Stamax brand name, with product formulations maintained.

Stamax was originally launched as a joint venture between DSM N.V. (Heerlen, Netherlands) and Owens Corning (Toledo, OH). Sabic acquired the line with its purchase of DSM Petrochemicals, now Sabic Europe, in 2002. Sabic Europe’s sister company, Sabic Innovative Plastics (at the time GE Plastics), acquired compounder LNP in March 2002. [email protected]

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