Eager to sustain its customers’ strong growth, in particular in automotive, 3D printing, and in consumer goods markets such as sports and electronics, Arkema has made an investment plan of some 300 million euros over five years in the biosourced polyamide 11 chain. This major investment will enable the Group to increase by 50% its polyamide 11, known commercially as RILSAN PA11, global production capacities. The project falls in line with Arkema’s strategy to speed up its development in advanced materials, one of the key pillars of its future growth, sustained by a unique portfolio of innovations around the main sustainable development trends.
Over the next five years, the Group plans to invest some 300 million euros in building, in Asia, a world-scale plant dedicated to producing Rilsan PA11 biosourced polyamide from castor oil. The new plant, which will produce both the amino 11 monomer and its polymer, Rilsan PA11 – polyamide 11 – should come on stream in late 2021. It will enable Arkema to increase by 50% its Rilsan PA11 (powder and granule) production capacity. The investment also includes a 50% increase in global production capacities for Pebax, in particular Pebax RNew of which amino 11 is a key component. PebaxRNew is a biosourced polyamide elastomer with unique properties such as energy return and flexibility, earmarked in particular for the sports and electronics markets.
With this upcoming plant, Arkema will have a second amino 11 monomer production site, complementing its historical site in Marseille, France. Rilsan PA11 is the only high-performance 100% biosourced polyamide to qualify for the most exacting applications in particular in the electronics, 3D printing and automotive markets, where it serves as a metal substitute.
This investment illustrates the Group’s long-term commitment to fulfilling strong demand from its customers in Asia by offering biosourced solutions to the key challenges of lightweighting and the design of materials. Over the next few years, annual growth of some 7% is forecast in these markets in Asia.
With this project, the specialty polyamides business, which already achieves 40% of its sales in Asia, will bolster its industrial, commercial and R&D presence in the region. The Group thereby confirms its commitment to support its customers by working closely on their individual needs and providing them with the right innovative solutions that match the local specifics of their various markets.
“This project represents a milestone in the development of our specialty polyamides over the next few years. We send this message out to our customers with confidence and pride. Today more than ever, we stand by our customers to offer them ultra-high-tech biosourced product ranges. Our aim is to support their development all around the world with innovation-driven expert teams at their service,” said Thierry Le Hénaff, Arkema Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
This project is consistent with the Group’s ambitious strategy to significantly step up the development of its advanced materials, which should eventually account for over 25% of sales, while continuing to further consolidate its presence in Asia.