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Asahi Glass is to establish a plant at the Asahi Glass Fluoropolymers U.K. Ltd. site in Lancashire, UK, to manufacture fluorinated resin ETFE.
Construction will begin in January 2006 with anticipated completion in January 2007. The total investment is estimated to be approximately three billion Japanese yen (approximately 15 million pounds sterling). The project, once operational, will increase the Company’s production capacity for ETFE by approximately 20%.
“”Fluon ETFE”” (a copolymer of ethylene and tetrafluoroethylene) is an engineering resin, and the Company claim that they were the first in the world to start producing it commercially. According to Asahi, the resin features:
Excellent thermal plasticity that enables it to be easily moulded;
excellent resistance to chemicals;
good electric insulation properties; and
excellent ultraviolet resistance that enable the resin to be used outdoors for more than ten years.
Given these characteristics, the resin is used in applications such as an insulation material for electrical wires used in automobiles; aircraft and robotics; a material for tubes used to transport specialized liquids; and a film material used in greenhouse applications.
The Company currently manufactures ETFE at its Chiba and Kashima plants in Japan. The company has suggested that in response to growing demand for the material, they have ETFE facilities at its Kashima Plant to raise production capacity. The company also add that most of the worldwide demand has been from manufacturers of automobiles and construction materials, in addition to existing applications, with Europe accounting for much of the expansion.
Since it purchased the fluorinated resin business in Europe and the U.S. from Imperial Chemical Industries PLC in 1999, the construction of the new plant will be their Chemicals Division’s largest investment outside of Japan. The Company is now seeking European Union and local approval for the construction and operation of the facility from the appropriate regulators. Along with the plant’s establishment, the Company will set up new European technical service capability for ETFE and other melt fluorinated resins within Asahi Glass Fluoropolymers U.K., aiming to strengthen local marketing activities.
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