Kraton to build semi works latex unit in Brazil

Kraton Corporation announced that it has approved the construction of a semi works latex unit in Paulinia, Brazil, which is scheduled to be complete by Q1 2020 and ready for commissioning during Q2 2020. Details on the investment volume and capacity of the facility were not disclosed.

“The new semi works unit will enable further acceleration of our innovation projects,” said Philippe Henderson, Kraton’s Market Development Director for Cariflex polyisoprene products. “We can reduce the cost and complexity during the early stages of new product scale-up activities and commercialisation, allowing us to improve time to market,” he said.

According to the company, this capability could lead to more flexible commercialisation of the new Cariflex IR2GL1 Latex, a next generation thermoplastic elastomer latex offering purity, strength and softness while reducing Type I and Type IV allergies frequently encountered in dipped goods. The platform would allow for more efficient transition between the laboratory pilot unit and the full scale commercial unit. It could be used for early stage commercialisation volumes. It could also offer invaluable support in the context of Management of Change, such as alternative raw material assessments for security of supply or process, and process control studies, said Kraton.

The semi works latex unit will be able to operate on the basis of the Direct Connect (DC) mode or using solid polymer feedstock (non-DC mode). In DC mode, the semi works unit will pump polymer materials directly from the onsite commercial polymerisation reactor. This will provide flexibility to embrace ambitious development projects based on polymers either supplied by third parties, or sourced from Kraton’s core anionic polymerisation operations.

“We believe the Cariflex technology has high growth potential,” said Henderson. “This platform will enhance our ability to capitalise on key market opportunities through product portfolio expansion.” Earlier in 2019, Kraton announced that it has initiated a process to review strategic alternatives for the Cariflex business, which may result in a sale of the business.

The company is a global producer of styrenic block copolymers, speciality polymers and high-value performance products derived from pine wood pulping co-products. The products are used in a wide range of applications, including adhesives, coatings, consumer and personal care products, sealants and lubricants, medical, packaging, automotive, paving and roofing applications.