BASF today inaugurated two new manufacturing plants at its site in Freeport, Texas - a production line for polyamide 6 and a plant for superabsorbent polymers (SAP).
"These new facilities are fully integrated into our Verbund structures at the site and further strengthen our U.S. manufacturing base," said Dr. Kurt Bock, Chairman and CEO of BASF Corporation. "These facilities also underline our commitment to help our customers to be more successful."
The polyamide production line replaces a facility in Enka, North Carolina. The new line has an annual capacity of 120,000 metric tons per year, and the caprolactam feedstock is supplied by another BASF plant at the Freeport site. "With this latest step in BASF's consolidation strategy, Freeport is now the manufacturing base for BASF's entire polyamide intermediates and polymers business in North America," said Dr. Harald Lauke, president of BASF's Performance Polymers division. "We are strongly committed to the North American polyamide market, and the state-of-the-art technology employed at the new facility will enable us to reliably support our customers with top quality polymers."
The new superabsorbent polymers manufacturing facility is supplied with a key raw material, acrylic acid, from another BASF plant at the Freeport site which provides major competitive advantages in terms of logistics and product quality. The new SAP plant has a capacity of 180,000 metric tons per year and replaces existing facilities in Aberdeen, Mississippi and Portsmouth, Virginia.
"By integrating SAP production into our Freeport Verbund site, we solidify our competitive position in North America," said Dr. Markus Kramer, president of BASF's Functional Polymers division. "With its proprietary BASF technology, the new plant will help us to maintain our leadership position in this important market."
Polyamide 6 is primarily used to produce polyamide polymers for engineering plastics that go into the automotive, electric and electronics, furniture and leisure industries. Polyamide 6 polymers are also used to produce fibers for carpets, textiles and industrial applications. Extruded polymers are manufactured for the packaging and cable industry, as well as for monofilament applications.
BASF's superabsorbent polymers are capable of absorbing and retaining many times their weight in water and are best known for their use in disposable diapers. Specialized forms have also been developed for use in a wide range of applications, including packaging materials, cable wrappings, agricultural industry and firefighting.