By Liz White, ERJ staff
Tokyo-Japanese polymer producer Kuraray Co. Ltd is to spend $12 million to expand its US subsidiary's production of thermoplastic elastomers by 6 kilotonnes per annum, to 18 ktpa.
The subsidiary, Septon Co. of America, based in Pasadena, Texas, started production of two types of hydrogenated styrenic elastomers-Septon and Hybrar-in 2002.
The current work-which involves debottlenecking the plant, will be completed in March 2007, a Kuraray statement said.
The decision to make the investment, "was driven by both the expansion of demand, chiefly in the US, and by the increase in applications for high-performance materials," said a statement from Tokyo-headquartered Kuraray.
TPEs are one of Kuraray's core businesses. The company plans to grow this business, and said it will be expanding total production capacity in Japan and the US to 50 ktpa.
Currently, the firm's Kashima, Japan, plant has capacity for 23 ktpa, following a 4 ktpa expansion which came into effect early this year. A further 9 ktpa expansion would be needed to bring the total to 50 ktpa.