Chemicals group Lanxess is strengthening its presence in the growing market of China: The Cologne-based company is building a new plant for high-performance plastics in Changzhou for around EUR20m (US$23.6m). From Q2 2019, the compounding plant is to produce up to 25,000 tons of Durethan- and Pocan-branded high-tech plastics for the automotive sector and the electrical and electronics industry.

“China is the largest automotive market in the world and is setting the pace for electro-mobility. We want to support growth in this important region and are expanding our presence in the high-performance plastic segment,” said Matthias Zachert, chairman of the Lanxess Board of Management, at a press conference in Shanghai. Lanxess already operates a plant for high-performance plastics in Wuxi, China.

According to studies, around one in four of the approximately 85m cars sold around the world this year will be sold in China. This figure is expected be one in three in 2025. The electrical and electronics industry also offers a great deal of potential in China. Lanxess expects here annual growth of around 9%.

“At the same time, we are expanding our global network of compounding plants with the new production site and continuing to implement the strategic focusing of our portfolios on highly refined plastics in a consistent manner,” says Michael Zobel, head of the High Performance Materials business unit at Lanxess.

Changzhou location to be strengthened
Lanxess is also investing to significantly strengthen the Changzhou location. At the Binjiang Chemical Park in Changzhou, the Group already has plants for leather chemicals and synthetic rubber, which currently employ around 350 people. The new plant for high-performance plastics will create 35 additional jobs.

Ming Cheng Chien, CEO of Lanxess Greater China said: “Lanxess pays close attention to the booming growth key industries such as the new energy auto industry in China. We place the new factory in Changzhou in response to the government’s requirement of ‘chemical enterprises into the chemical industry park’. We will utilise and integrate the resources of our leather chemicals and rubber production sites in Changzhou to achieve cross-BU synergy, and thus provide high-quality, high value-added solutions and services for our new and old customers.”

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Lightweight solutions for modern mobility
The automotive industry is the most important customer for Lanxess’ high-performance plastics. The innovative materials allow the construction of components to replace metal parts in motor vehicles and thus contribute to reducing weight, fuel consumption and emissions. Lanxess plastics are used, for example, in engine applications, door structures, pedals, front ends and cockpit cross members. Depending on the part, the lightweight construction can make a weight-saving of up to 50%.

There are also many applications for Lanxess plastics in hybrid and electric vehicles, some of which are already successful in mass production. These include components for charging systems, carriers and cell holders for battery systems and sensors and housing parts for electric motors. The materials also have great potential in electromobility infrastructure, such as in housing, switches and terminal clips for charging stations. In autonomous driving, polyamides and polyesters are ideal for connectors for sensors, displays and control units, for example.
Global production network expanded
The business unit operates a global production network at the following locations: Dormagen (Research and Development); Krefeld-Uerdingen (PA 6 Polymerisation, Compounding); Hamm-Uentrop (PBT Polymerisation, Compounding); Brilon (Tepex Production and Development); Antwerp, Belgium (PA 6 Polymerisation); Wuxi, China; Jhagadia, India (Compounding); Gastonia, US (Compounding); and Porto Feliz, Brazil (Compounding).