Mitsui Chemicals has announced plans to set up a new production facility for Milastomer thermoplastic olefin elastomer at the Ohio plant of its US subsidiary Advanced Composites, Inc. There will be one production line with a capacity of 6,000 t/y. Construction start is scheduled for January 2019, completion in June, operations will then commence in October 2019. Mitsui Chemicals currently owns production sites in Japan, Europe, and China. The new facility in the USA will address growing demand in North America and serve as the company’s fourth production base worldwide. Mitsui Chemicals America will sell Milastomer in North America, while Advanced Composites will handle production.
Advanced Composites, Inc. was established in June 1986 as a joint venture of Mitsui Chemicals America, Inc. (59.8 %), Prime Polymer Co. Ltd. (3 %), Mitsui & Co. Ltd. (27 %), and Marubeni America Corporation (10.2 %). Its main business is the production, sale and research of polypropylene compounds. Contract production of Milastomer will be added from October 2019 on.
With its low density and good mouldability, Mitsui Chemicals markets Milastomer as a substitute for PVC and vulcanised rubber. The many uses include auto parts, building gaskets, toothbrushes, golf club grips and more. Global demand is projected to rise, primarily for applications such as automotive interior covers, weather strips, air bag covers and steering bellows. Demand for use in automotive interior covers is expected to expand especially in North America.