The $65 million expansion of the Fortron® polyphenylene sulfide plant in Wilmington, N.C., has passed a series of initial milestones. These include the completion of preliminary engineering and process design and putting the purchasing process in place for long-lead items. In addition, Jacobs Engineering Group has been chosen to do detailed engineering and procurement for the project.
The expansion, which is being done by Fortron Industries, a joint venture of Ticona Technical Polymers and Kureha Corporation, will double the capacity of the existing Fortron PPS plant to 15,000 metric tons per year. When completed in the first half of 2007, the expansion will create the world’s largest PPS plant. The current plant came on stream in 1993.
“We’re increasing the capacity of our Wilmington plant so significantly in order to retain our industry leadership position,” says Fred Daniell, President of Fortron Industries. “In addition, the step up in output will help us meet the soaring global demand for PPS in the electrical, electronics, automotive, aerospace, industrial, consumer and other markets.
The expansion will incorporate Kureha’s advanced and environmentally friendly ‘one-unit’ production process, which will make it highly efficient.
The expansion was sited in Wilmington after a global search. This location was chosen for its business environment, world-class port and other transportation facilities, and skilled worker base, among other reasons.
PPS is a high-performance material used in demanding applications. It offers excel-lent chemical and thermal resistance, high hardness, rigidity and dimensional stability, and low creep and moisture absorption. It is often used instead of metals and thermosets in such applications as: auto pumps, valves, fuel rails and power trains; electronic connectors, plugs, switches and circuit boards; structural and non-structural aircraft components; and heater grills, impellers, conveyors, power tools, microwave elements and other industrial uses.