Lubrizol expands global TPU capacities

Lubrizol has announced an update to its global expansion programme supporting its Engineered Polymers thermoplastics polyurethane business and growing global demand for its Estane TPU, Pearlthane TPU, Pearlbond TPU, and other product lines. The programme is said to comprise multi-million-dollar expansions, with a combined investment of nearly USD 80 million.

In Songjiang, China, Lubrizol held a ribbon cutting ceremony shortly before the Chinese New Year to unveil a new compounding line and new extrusion lines. The compounding line commenced production in Q1 2018, adding capability to produce customised, functional TPU and elastomer compounds, with sufficient capacity to enable near term growth. In addition, the company announced that a new reactive extrusion line will come onstream in the second half of 2018, which is expected to increase TPU production capacity in Songjiang by nearly 40 %. According to the company, 2018 marks the fourth major expansion in Songjiang since the plant first produced TPU in the early 2000’s. Recognising the potential of the Chinese market, Lubrizol said it was the first foreign company to invest in local TPU production. Further investment is planned in Asia in 2019.

Jane Cai, regional business director, Lubrizol Engineered Polymers, said: “Through our fast product development, expanded manufacturing capabilities and local partnerships, Lubrizol is well positioned to tailor products to the specific needs of our customers’ end use applications and processes. Recent new product launches, including the Estane SKN range for consumer electronics and Estane TRX provide unique performance properties. Now we can give our customers even greater design flexibility to help drive their product differentiation.”

Furthermore, the company announced that it is adding TPU capacity and compounding capabilities in every major region of the world. Multiple staged investments and expansions are underway at its facilities in Oevel, Belgium, Montmelo, Spain, and Avon Lake, OH, USA. In North America, the company is adding new production capabilities, expanded raw material storage, warehouse space and improved site logistics. With the latest investment, new capacity is expected to come onstream later in 2018. In Europe, the company is extending production capabilities for elastomers, aliphatics and adhesives. These expansions build on the acquisition of Merquinsa in 2011, and improvements to R&D laboratories in 2016. A next major European expansion is planned for 2019, said Lubrizol.