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The Hanwha Azdel division of Hanwha L&C Company of Seoul, South Korea plans a major capacity expansion for its SuperLite lightweight reinforced thermoplastic (LWRT) composite product line with a 23-billion won (?) / $20-million USD investment that will be used to construct a new plant in Bugang, South Korea.
Scheduled to come on stream in 2014, the facility will be located inside Hanwha L&C’s existing Bugang Plant #2, home to the company’s existing glass-mat thermoplastic (GMT) composite production plant. Both facilities are expected to service global automotive, heavy-truck, recreational-vehicle, and industrial customers with production operations in Asia.
According to Bill Mills, Director-Global Sales & Marketing for Hanwha Azdel, “This investment is yet another milestone toward our goal of fully globalising SuperLite LWRT, a patented technology we introduced in 1999 and that revolutionised how automakers produced composite panels ranging from headliners to under-body shields. These light but tough composite materials are important solutions for more sustainable mobility and are also an important part of Hanwha Azdel’s global business strategy. As global demand increased for these materials, we made the strategic investment decision to support our global LWRT customers by expanding production capacity in order to provide a consistent regional supply of lightweight thermoplastic composite materials in this part of the globe.” Mills adds that global demand for composites is projected to rise 7-10 percent annually through the year 2020.
Hanwha Azdel explains, LWRT composites are lower density forms of traditional glass-mat thermoplastic (GMT) composites with a higher fibre-volume fraction (ratio of reinforcement to resin) that are shaped by low-pressure thermostamping and are often faced with fabric or film skins. They significantly reduce component mass and costs and improve acoustical damping vs. traditional GMT and are key product lines for Hanwha Azdel.
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