DSM to Build Fifth Dyneema Yarn Production Line

29 November 2001

DSM High Performance Fibers, the producer of Dyneema, is going to expand its production capacity once again.

At the existing Heerlen (Netherlands) production site, a fifth production line with a capacity of 600 tpa will be built. The project involves an investment of around EUR 30 million and comes on top of a number of other expansions carried out this year to meet the fast growing market demand. The fifth Dyneema yarn production line will come on stream in the last quarter of 2002, bringing total capacity at Heerlen to 3,200 tpa. In 2002 the company's workforce will grow by approximately 30.

The market for Dyneema is growing strongly. The combination of high strength and low weight is the reason that Dyneema is increasingly used in high-performance protective products such as lightweight bullet-resistant vests and helmets, vehicle armouring, safety gloves and protective clothing, as well as in sails and other sport articles, nautical ropes and cables, fishing lines and fishing nets. Over the last few years demand in protective applications has grown very fast. On top of that, Dyneema's successful track record in rope and twine applications has accelerated the replacement of steel and polyester in these applications.""We have changed our organization to keep up with market demand, which is increasing very fast,"" says Pieter Greidanus, director of DSM High Performance Fibers. ""The most recent capacity expansion scheme for Dyneema yarns confirms this: by the end of 2002 total production capacity will be 3,200 tpa, more than double the 2000 figure.""

""We expect demand for Dyneema products to outstrip the capacity of the five Dyneema production lines within two years,"" says Pieter Greidanus. ""Therefore, DSM has initiated an engineering study into the construction of a sixth Dyneema fibre plant in the USA. We have a solid position in Europe now and fast growing sales in North America."" In 2001 DSM High Performance Fibers also built a 400 tpa production line for Dyneema UD in Greenville (NC) in the USA. Dyneema UD is a special sheet material made of Dyneema fibres, which is used for personal ballistic protection and lightweight vehicle armour. The Dyneema UD line will start production in the coming months. ""This capacity expansion, too, is badly needed, as our 400 tpa Dyneema UD unit at Heerlen is running at full capacity,"" says Randy McGowan, director of DSM High Performance Fibers USA Inc.

Additionally, Dyneema ballistic fabric and UD panels have been tested according to Federal Aviation Regulation 25.853, the U.S. standard widely used in the Civil Aviation Industry. The panels have passed the 12 second and 60 second vertical flame test.

Dyneema is a superstrong polyethylene fibre developed by DSM. It is manufactured by a gel spinning process, a DSM invention. Dyneema is used in high-performance protection items (lightweight bullet-resistant vests and helmets), vehicle armouring, sails, nautical ropes, fishing lines, fishing nets, cables, protective gloves and other protective clothing.

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