As a leader in the safety and protection market, DuPont yesterday announced production expansion plans for its high-performance DuPont™ Kevlar® para-aramid. DuPont plans to invest more than USD 70 million for the project and is beginning the equipment procurement process. The expansion will increase global Kevlar® capacity by more than 10 percent. The project is scheduled to come online in phases between late 2005 and the first half of 2006. The specific expansion locations will be finalized as required to meet the projected start-up dates.
This is the fourth expansion DuPont has made in Kevlar® para-aramid capacity since 2000 due to the growing customer demand for this unique, high-strength fiber that supports global safety and performance applications. In addition to the expansions, DuPont continues to increase capacity by optimizing the productivity of existing assets through the use of Six Sigma processes.
”Global demand for DuPont™ Kevlar® has soared with the need for safety and security worldwide," said Bill Harvey, vice president and general manager – DuPont Advanced Fiber Systems.
"In addition, new applications are being developed that harness the lightweight strength of Kevlar® fiber to enhance protection and performance. This capacity expansion is a critical step in growing the Kevlar® business, maintaining DuPont leadership in the performance fibers market, and delivering the innovation customers expect from DuPont," he said.
Between 2000 and 2003, DuPont successfully completed three Kevlar® high-performance fiber expansion projects at its Richmond, Va., and Maydown, Northern Ireland, facilities. The 2003 expansion and this announced expansion both incorporate proprietary New Fiber Technology (NFT) developed and patented by DuPont.
DuPont™ Kevlar® combines high strength with lightweight and comfort with protection. Kevlar® brand fiber is five times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis, providing reliable performance and solid strength. It is this balance of unusual properties which is responsible for the broad range of Kevlar® applications from ballistic vests to cut-resistant gloves to new markets, such as tornado and blast-resistant structures.
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