DuPont plans to invest over $500 million in a multi-phase production expansion starting with a Kevlar polymer expansion in Richmond, Va., later this year.
For DuPont, this expansion would increase Kevlar capacity by more than 25 percent when complete in 2010 and represents the largest Kevlar expansion since the product was introduced in 1965. Details about additional expansion phases will be announced at a later date.
“”Global demand for DuPont Kevlar has soared with the growing need for safety and security worldwide,”” Thomas G. Powell, vice president and general manager – DuPont Advanced Fiber Systems, said. “”In addition, high energy prices have increased demand for the lightweight strength of Kevlar in the aerospace, oil and gas and automotive industries. Our capacity expansion plan is a critical step in growing the Kevlar business, maintaining DuPont leadership in high performance fibres, and delivering the innovation customers expect from DuPont.””
“”This is a significant investment for DuPont and underscores our commitment to sustainability and providing products that improve the safety and protection of people and critical processes around the world,”” Mark P. Vergnano, group vice president – DuPont Safety & Protection, said. “”We are focusing our investment on products like Kevlar® that meet the needs of these multi-billion-dollar growth industries for high-performance, innovative materials.””
Between 2000 and 2006, DuPont completed four Kevlar fibre expansion projects at its Richmond, Va., and Maydown, Northern Ireland, facilities. The latest expansions incorporated a proprietary New Fiber Technology (NFT) developed and patented by DuPont that they say will help meet future market needs. In August 2006, DuPont said that it expected to invest more than $100 million in a three-phase capacity expansion that would raise Nomex fibre and paper capability by approximately 10 percent. The first phase of the Nomex expansion is scheduled to go online later this year.
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