Covestro inaugurates new production plant for polycarbonate copolymers

Covestro has finished its first plant for polycarbonate copolymers that can produce these high-quality plastics on an industrial scale at its Antwerp site in Belgium. The new platform technology, which the company developed itself, is based on an innovative, solvent-free melt process in combination with a new reactor concept. This makes polycarbonates with adjustable properties accessible, which have been developed and tested on a laboratory and pilot scale in recent years. The investment is in the mid double-digit million euro range and covers a pilot and a production plant.

The project team

In addition to the reduced complexity of the new production process, the connection to the existing infrastructure in Antwerp with four production lines for polycarbonate also has an advantageous effect, as it combines global scale in production with the flexibility of a stand-alone unit.

The new production process is the first and only one of its kind in the world and enables us to offer a broad portfolio of material innovations,” says Sucheta Govil, Chief Commercial Officer at Covestro. “With the new plant, we can now produce and launch new polymer materials on an industrial scale much faster than before. This is the result of several years of development work by our research and process technology teams, as well as our long-term experience with polycarbonates. In our Solutions & Specialties segment, we focus on sophisticated products with a high pace of innovation, which is a key success factor since customer requirements change quickly. The new production line is a prime example of how we implement this strategy and support our customers to the best extent.”

Compared to pure polycarbonates, the copolymers open up new possibilities for us to integrate further functionalities and properties into our materials,” explains Lily Wang, Global Head of the Engineering Plastics business unit. “These can range from improved mechanical properties, a higher resistance against chemical attack to an enhanced flame retardancy. By that, we can offer innovative materials that meet the high requirements of our customers in a wider range of applications. We will focus first on materials for the electrical, electronics and healthcare industries, while future innovations might focus on mobility and other trends.” To understand its customers’ needs, Covestro will showcase some of the products that could be produced with the new plant at the Chinaplas exhibition in Shanghai in April and look forward to talking to customers about these innovative material solutions.

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