By Nick Gilbert
The ever-increasing worldwide demand for Bayer MaterialScience’s high-tech plastic trademarked Apec is driving a significant investment in eastern Germany.
Another roughly €50 million production facility for an important precursor of Apec is being constructed in the chemical industry center of Bitterfeld. The operator of the facility is Hi-Bis, a joint venture wherein Bayer MaterialScience is also a stakeholder. Hi-Bis is increasing its production capacity at the site by two times. The facility is slated for operation in mid-2014.
Apec is a heat-resistant plastic designed for use in lighting technology, automotive lighting, household appliances, and in the electrical and electronics industry. The transparent material is suitable for making components that require challenging optical characteristics and high temperature tolerance, such as hot air nozzles in hair dryers, housings for light fittings, and lenses of automotive headlights. Bayer MaterialScience manufactures Apec at its facility situated in Antwerp, Belgium.
Hi-Bis in Bitterfeld produces special bisphenols, an important ingredient for Apec production. The Japanese-German joint venture started an initial production plant of this precursor in 2004. Bayer MaterialScience owns a 10% stake in the joint venture, while Mitsui holds a 35% stake and its subsidiary Honshu Chemical Industry owns 55% stake.
Bayer MaterialScience’s Head of Production and Technology for Polycarbonates Business Unit, Dr. Ralf Echterhoff stated that this capacity expansion will enable the company to fulfill the demands of the market. The Bayer Group operates a key manufacturing facility in Bitterfeld, which also houses other pharmaceutical and chemical companies.