DuPont has selected its Cooper River plant in South Carolina to receive the planned USD 500 million investment it recently announced to significantly expand production of high-performance Kevlar® para-aramid brand fiber for industrial and military uses.
The investment at the Cooper River site, which is located about 30 miles north of Charleston, will include construction of a new Kevlar® fiber facility. It is expected to require 100 permanent DuPont jobs, as well as more than 400 contractor jobs during peak construction, which is scheduled to begin in January 2008. The plant's startup is scheduled for 2010.
The new Cooper River facility is the centerpiece of a multi-phase, multi-year Kevlar® production expansion announced in September that will ultimately increase global Kevlar® production capacity by more than 25 percent. The company is investing an additional USD 50 million at its Spruance plant in Richmond, Va., to increase Kevlar® polymer production. The combined expansion represents the largest single investment in Kevlar® and the largest capacity increase since the fiber was introduced in 1965.
"The new plant at Cooper River, together with our other global assets, will help DuPont meet strong and growing global demand for Kevlar®," said Tom Powell, vice president and general manager, DuPont Advanced Fiber Systems. "It also will allow us to put our innovative science to work to develop new, differentiated Kevlar® products using the latest new fiber technologies that protect people and processes."
The Cooper River plant opened in 1973. The site currently has 60 employees and produces Hytrel® thermoplastic polyester elastomer, which is used primarily in the automotive industry.