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DSM High Performance Fibers, the producer of Dyneema superstrong polyethylene fibre, is going to expand its production capacity by building its fourth production line. The 600-tonne/year facility will be located at the existing Dyneema production plant in Heerlen (Netherlands). DSM is making this investment on top of a debottlenecking operation in its current three production lines, which will boost annual capacity by 400 tonnes in 2001. The fourth Dyneema production line will come on stream this year. DSM is also expanding production capacity for Dyneema UD (used in personal protection equipment and vehicle armour plates). The second, 400-tonne/year production line for this product will be built in the USA. It will come on stream after the summer. The total investment involved in the expansions amounts to about EUR 30 million. DSM has also initiated an engineering study into the construction of a new Dyneema fibre plant in the USA. “The market for Dyneema is growing even faster than we anticipated,” says Peter Elverding, chairman of the DSM Managing Board. “These investments will enable the Dyneema business to implement its growth strategy at an accelerated pace.” “The US market is very impressed by the performance of our products,” says Pieter Greidanus, director of DSM High Performance Fibers. “Our existing Dyneema fibre and Dyneema UD production lines are already running flat out, but they cannot keep up with demand. If we want to continue to meet our customers’ needs, we need to add new capacity fast.” Part of the capacity increase will be achieved via debottlenecking of the Heerlen-based facilities, which will raise current capacity (1,500 tpa) by 30% this year. In view of the continuing high demand DSM High Performance Fibers has decided to build two new production lines, one for Dyneema fibre and another for Dyneema UD. This will bring total fibre capacity to 2,600 tpa and will raise Dyneema UD production capacity by 400 tpa. Further expansion of fibre capacity in the USA is expected in 2002/2003. Dyneema(R) is a superstrong polyethylene fibre developed by DSM. It is manufactured by a gel spinning process, also a DSM invention. Dyneema is used in high-performance protective equipment (lightweight bullet-resistant vests and helmets), vehicle armouring, sails, nautical ropes, fishing lines, fishing nets, cables, safety gloves and protective clothing. DSM High Performance Fibers is based in Heerlen (the Netherlands) and forms part of DSM’s Performance Materials cluster. The first Dyneema plant was opened in Heerlen in 1990. In 1996 and 1997 two more plants came on stream, raising total capacity to 1,500 tpa. Together with its Japanese partner Toyobo DSM High Performance Fibers operates a joint venture in Osaka (Japan) which manufactures Dyneema fibres for the Japanese market.
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