PPG cuts European
production, but opens new US plant
PPG Industries is currently reducing fibreglass production at its Hoogezand plant in The Netherlands, but continues to expand in the USA. In October the company dedicated its newest fibreglass manufacturing facility in Chester, South Carolina, with about 100 state and local officials on hand for the ceremony. Compared with 1995, PPG estimates that the market for glass-fibre sales in Europe has declined by 5-6% during 1996, and lower than expected sales and increasing inventories have made it necessary to shut down one of the furnaces at Hoogezand. The decision to decrease production earlier than planned has not changed PPG's long-term expectations, and the company believes in the viability and strength of the composites industry, and says that it will have capacity available when demand increases again.
In the USA this view is apparent with the company investing more than $50 million to renovate and retrofit its Chester plant which started producing continuous strand reinforcement products during March. The company says that it installed an oxy-fuel furnace incorporating proprietary manufacturing technology, as well as winding equipment that will allow enhanced quality control and afford opportunities to manufacture new glass fibre products. The Chester plant manufactures reinforcements used in thermoset and thermoplastic resin systems for applications such as snowboards, ladder rails, corrosion-resistant storage tanks and pipes. Roel Oosterhoff, PPG Industries Fiber Glass BV; tel: + 31-598313911; fax: + 31-598-
Bridgestone builds plant in Malaysia JAPAN's Bridgestone has formed a joint-venture company to produce fibre-reinforced plastics compounds in Malaysia, reports Asian Chemical News. The 3000 tonne per year plant located at Bentong, Pahang, is scheduled to start production in April 1997. According to the report, Bridgestone will hold 51% of the ¥250 million company,
Bridgestone Rei Komposit. Rohas Euco Industries, a local partner will hold 28%, and 21 % will be controlled by DIC Polymer and Chemicals Asia, a subsidiary of Dainippon Ink and Chemicals. The venture is said to be targeting sales of ¥300 million in its first year of operation. This is forecast to rise to ¥600 million by the end of the decade.
In brief Amoco is joining forces with a group of Chinese companies to build what it claims will be the largest P-phthalic acid plant in the world. Zhuhai Pure P-phthalic Acid Factory, 80% owned by Amoco, will come on stream in 1999 and will cost $300 million. Initial production capacity will be 250 000 tonnes/ year, and will be expanded later to 1 million tonnes/year. Diab Group has announced that it is to partially sponsor Dennis Conner Sports' boat, 'Toshiba', in the 1997-98 Whitbread Round the World Race. The boat will incorporate Diab's Divinycell structuralpolyvinyl chloride foam core in its construction. The Reinforced Plastics and Composites Facility at the School of Mechanical Engineering at Wits University in South Africa has again received funding from sponsors, Acoustical Fibreglass Insulation (AFI) and NCS Resins. Two major studies are reported to be under way at the facility. One
focuses on residual stresses associated with postcuring shrinkage of glassreinforced plastics, while the second concerns the post-buckling behaviour of compOSite plates, relating to the use of composites in aerospace structures. Sharq (Eastern Petrochemical Co), a jointventure affiliate of the Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), is to construct what it says is a world-scale ethylene glycol plant at its complex in AI-Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia. The new plant will have a production capacity of 497 000 tonnes/year, and it is said, will raise the affiliate's total capacity to more than 1.4 million tonnes per year, including mono-, di- and tri-ethylene glycol. The Composite Polymers Division of Ashland Chemical Co says that it is has increased the prices of its polyester resins and low profile additives. The increase will vary from 4.4-6.6 cents/kg, depending on the specific resin composition.
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Reinforced Plastics December 1996