Mitsubishi, Celanese to expand polyacetal complex in South Korea

Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co. (MGC) says it is expanding polyacetal (POM) production at its joint-venture facility in South Korea, increasing its production by 35,000 tpy.

The plant is a joint venture with US-based specialty chemicals producer Celanese, who owns the other 50%.

In 1988, Mitsubishi began production of POM at its plant in Ulsan, and annual production has now reached over 100,000 tons.

The additional 35,000 tpy of capacity made possible with MGC technology will be combined with the current capacity to bring total POM production capacity to 140,000 tpy, the company said.

The construction of the new facility will start in the first quarter of 2012 and will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2013. Commercial operation is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2014.

With its mechanical strength, fatigue characteristics, and chemical resistance, POM is used in products such as mechanical components for automobiles and electric/electronic equipment.

POM is expected to achieve an annual growth in demand of 5 to 6% in the future, causing a tight demand-supply balance for years to come, MGC officials said.

The annual capacity of 140,000 tons will make the facility of the world's largest single POM production sites, the company says.

MGC is also undergoing a POM expansion at its Thai Polyacetal Co. subsidiary in Bangkok, with capacity rising from the current 55,000 tpy to 100,000 tpy by the 2013 second quarter.

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