Launching a new chapter in the history of one of its most renowned materials, SABIC Innovative Plastics today cut the ribbon at its new Ultem* polyetherimide (PEI) resin production facility here in Cartagena. This much-anticipated event marks a 35 percent increase in Ultem resin capacity for European and global customers. The state-of-the-art 300 million euros facility, which is SABIC Innovative Plastics' second Ultem resin plant, will provide customers with higher supply dependability.
The plant also encompasses scalable capacity for producing ultra-high-performance Extem* resin grades and specialty intermediates (anhydrides). Proprietary process chemistry and cutting-edge manufacturing technologies will improve operating reliability and flexibility while minimizing the environmental impact of by-products. This major investment demonstrates the company's unyielding commitment to reliable, scalable supplies of its Ultem and Extem resin grades, whose outstanding performance is driving ever-greater demand from global customers.
"Today represents a very significant milestone in SABIC Innovative Plastics as we open our second world class "Ultra High Performance" resins plant at our Cartagena, Spain site," said Charlie Crew, president and chief executive officer, SABIC Innovative Plastics. "We will manufacture our Ultem (polyetherimide) resins immediately and have the capability to make Extem (polyimide) resins and other high heat polymers in the future at this facility to support our global customers who require high temperature and high strength in their demanding applications. These resins will also be used in a variety of compounds that we will manufacture in Spain and other global compounding sites to serve our customers around the world. Our commitment to innovation through new product technologies is stronger than ever. This new facility demonstrates the significant investments we at SABIC Innovative Plastics are making to better serve our customers with materials solutions to help them innovate and grow."
Ultem Resin, Extem Resin Blends and Intermediates
The Cartagena plant will primarily produce Ultem base resin, a proven material that offers the highest performance across a balance of properties of virtually any thermoplastic in the global plastics industry. The Ultem resin can then be compounded into customized compounds with colorants, reinforcements, etc., at the SABIC Innovative Plastics compounding facility in the Cartagena complex or at other global facilities. Ultem resin is available in fiber, foam, film, fabric and paper forms at other global SABIC Innovative Plastics or value chain partner facilities. Further, the material can be enhanced with special attributes such as inherent electrostatic dissipative (ESD) performance, lubricity and thermal conductivity, provided by the company's LNP* specialty compounds business.
Ultem resins have been taking customer applications to new levels of performance in the consumer electronics, electrical, healthcare and transportation segments for more than 30 years. Today, with higher performance properties and expansion into non-injection-molded technologies, Ultem resin is meeting customer needs in emerging segments such as alternative energy, LED lighting and aerospace interiors.
In addition to Ultem base resin, the new plant can produce Extem resin grades, which offer exceptionally high temperature resistance and other desirable properties for the most demanding applications in the semiconductor, transportation and electrical/electronics sectors, among others. Scalability to produce large volumes of Extem resins has been built into the facility.
Further, SABIC Innovative Plastics will derive unique, high-purity anhydrides from the manufacturing process for Ultem resin. These specialized intermediates can be used for modification of coatings, adhesives or thermosets or as the base chemical for other polymers pharmaceuticals or pigments.