In response to worldwide growth in demand for thermoplastic elastomers (hydrogenated styrenic elastomers that Kuraray markets under the trade names SEPTON / HYBRAR), Kuraray will expand the production facilities of its U.S. subsidiary, Septon Company of America. Kuraray will invest US$12 million in the elimination of bottlenecks in manufacturing processes, which will increase annual production by 6,000 tons, to a total of 18,000 tons. Construction is scheduled for completion in March 2007.
The thermoplastic elastomers SEPTON / HYBRAR are synthetic rubbers developed and commercialized by Kuraray in 1990. These materials have excellent elasticity and can be extruded and molded like ordinary plastics. These properties are desirable for automobile interiors, parts for electronic components, consumer non-durables where flexible materials are required, industrial machinery, etc. Worldwide demand for hydrogenated styrenic elastomers is growing at a rate approaching 10% per year, primarily as substitutes for vulcanized rubber and flexible PVC, with the bulk of the expansion in the U. S., Europe, and Asia.
Thermoplastic elastomers are one of Kuraray's core businesses. The Company is moving forward with the expansion of its thermoplastic elastomer business, and will be expanding its total annual production capacity in Japan and the United States to a combined total of 50,000 tons. The decision to undertake this expansion was driven by both the expansion of demand, chiefly in the United States, and by the increase in applications for high-performance materials.
Kuraray will continue to place customer requirements first and foremost in its R&D programs, out of which have emerged new products that respond precisely to the needs of the market. Kuraray will continue to focus on the strengthening and expansion of its thermoplastic elastomer business.
|Location||Pasadena, Texas, U. S. A.|
|Production capacity per year|| |
|Total investment||US$12 million|
|Present(*)||Planned expansion||Planned completion||Total after expansion|
|Septon Company of America||12||+6||March 2007||18|
|Kashima Plant (Japan)||23||23|
(Ktons / yr)
|1. Legal name||Septon Company of America|
|2. Headquarters||Pasadena, Texas, USA.|
|3. Production capacity||12,000 tons per year|
|4. President||Dr. Masao Mizuno|
|5. Capital||US$35 million|