Solutia Inc. (NYSE: SOA) announced today that the company has engaged in a feasibility study to explore the potential addition of a polyvinyl butyral (PVB) resin plant in the Asia Pacific region.
The results of the study are expected by the end of the year, and assuming positive results and pending approval, construction would begin soon thereafter.
According to Tim Wessel, President of Solutia's Advanced Interlayers division, the expansion of resin production is necessary as Solutia continues to invest in the Saflex business. "Solutia continues to invest heavily in the high-growth Asia Pacific region. The possible increased capacity realized from the addition of a resin plant in the region would be used to meet the increasing demand for Saflex® PVB sheet produced by our plant in Suzhou, China."
Solutia's Suzhou plant currently serves as a manufacturing site for the company's world leading Saflex PVB interlayers for laminated glass. In April, Solutia announced the addition of a second PVB manufacturing line within the existing footprint of the Suzhou plant, featuring enhanced capabilities to serve the architectural, photovoltaic and automotive markets in China and the broader Asia Pacific region. The company also announced it will expand its Suzhou operations to include the production of Vistasolar® ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) photovoltaic encapsulant. This second regional investment will include the construction of a new building capable of housing several new EVA production lines and will provide the infrastructure for additional future capacity. The lines will be capable of manufacturing 2.35m wide sheet with the first production line scheduled to be completed by June 2011.
"As the world's leading supplier of PVB interlayer, we continue our 80 year commitment to serving the needs of our customers not only today, but for years to come," said Eric Nichols, vice president for Solutia's Advanced Interlayers division. "Our recent investments in the greater Asia Pacific region and across the world will ensure the stable supply of quality, high performance interlayer and encapsulant products the market has come to expect from the Saflex brand."
Solutia manufactures PVB interlayers at Ghent, Belgium; Santo Toribio, Mexico; San Jose Dos Campos, Brazil; Springfield, Mass., USA; and Suzhou, China. It also operates a PVB finishing center in Singapore, and a distribution center and regional customer service center in Shanghai.
The company currently also manufactures EVA for solar applications in Dietenheim, Germany.
Solutia's Saflex product is the most trusted name in PVB interlayer technology for laminated glazing, delivering outstanding performance and durability, backed by reliable and knowledgeable service. As a result, it is found in nearly 40 percent of laminated architectural and automotive glass worldwide. Saflex interlayers are also used to encapsulate thin film photovoltaic solar cells, providing outstanding processability and durability. The company recently acquired Etimex Solar GmbH, producer of Vistasolar® encapsulants, uniquely positioning Solutia's Advanced Interlayers division as the sole provider of both major encapsulants (PVB and EVA) to the fast-growing photovoltaic industry.