The expansion of thermoplastic elastomer manufacturing facilities at Kuraray's Kashima Plant (Kamisu-machi, Kashima-gun, Ibaraki Prefecture) has been completed, and the new facilities commenced operation in April 2005. This project increased the plant's annual production capacity of hydrogenated styrenic elastomer. Kuraray markets it by 4,000 tons to a total of 23,000 tons under the brand names of SEPTON and HYBRAR.

  • * Including the 12,000 tons per year of Kuraray's U. S. subsidiary, Septon Company of America, located in Pasadena, Texas, the Kuraray Group's total production capacity is now 35,000 tons per year.

Kuraray's thermoplastic elastomers are synthetic rubber, materials that possess superior elasticity, and like ordinary plastic can be molded when heated. For this reason, this flexible material is used in a broad spectrum of useful products, including automobile interior fittings, parts for electronic devices, household materials, toys, tools, and stationery. It is used to increase the shock resistance of engineering plastics (heat-resistant, high-strength plastic used in automobiles and electronics), as a modifier to make hard plastic less brittle, and, making use of its lasting adhesiveness, as a material for inorganic solvent adhesive.

Today, the world market for hydrogenated styrene elastomer is about 110,000 tons per year (2004 estimate by Kuraray). Its use as a substitute for vulcanized rubber and soft PVC in Europe, America, and Asia is rising at an annual rate of approximately 10%. In recent years there has been demand for ever-higher heat resistance, abrasion resistance, and oil resistance.

Kuraray will continue in the future to strengthen its user-focused development systems, and will strive to strengthen and expand its thermoplastic elastomer business.

The Facilities Expansion Project

Location Kuraray's Kashima Plant
(Kamisu-machi, Kashima-gun, Ibaraki Prefecture; Plant Manager: Takayoshi Osaki. )
Present Production capacity 19,000 tons per year (before completion)
Expansion 4,000 tons per year
Total production capacity 23,000 tons per year
Startup Operations commenced in April 2005
Investment Approximately ¥1.5 billion.