German chemical company Evonik is reorganizing its polyamide business with a focus on the 3D printing, automotive, oil and gas and optics industries. As part of the restructuring, the company will be ceasing its polyphthalamide (PPA) business at its Witten site and will be launching a new facility complex for polyamide 12 (PA 12) as well as expanding its production of transparent polyamides at the Marl Chemical Park. Going forward, Evonik says it will focus its business on high-performance materials for high-growth markets.
“Reorganizing our polyamide business will concentrate our production and innovative strengths on specialty materials for promising applications in attractive markets such as lightweight construction, additive manufacturing, and composites,” said Dr. Ralf Düssel, head of Evonik’s High Performance Polymers Business. “This, in turn, will give us a solid foundation for continuous growth. For our customers, the move will mean a more intense focus on developing sophisticated specialty solutions.”
The company’s reorganization is supported by a €400 million investment by Evonik, which will enable it to increase its production capacity of PA 12 by over 50%. The new PA 12 facility will add to the company’s existing PA 12 production operations at the Marl Chemical Park. At this point, the new complex is expected to become operational in the first half of 2021.
PA 12 is characterized by a number of properties which make it appealing to industries, including high stability, flexibility and temperature resistance. The material is also incredibly lightweight and can be used to replace metals in certain applications. Presently, the material is used in the automotive, oil and gas, medical and 3D printing sectors. Notably, Evonik is a key supplier in PA 12 powders for HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing.
In addition to the new facility, Evonik will be scaling up its production of transparent polyamides at the Marl Chemical Park. This expansion is expected to come into effect in the first quarter of 2020 and will double Evonik’s production capacity for the high-performance material.
Employees at the company’s Witten site—which will cease production and sale of PPA—will be transferred to its Marl site to work on the new PA 12 production facility. Currently, the 16-hectare Witten site is operated by 300 employees. It houses a number of production facilities for the manufacturing of raw materials for the paints, coatings and adhesives industry.
Dr. Iordanis Savvopoulos, Head of the Product Line Granules & Compounds at Evonik, commented on the reorganization, saying: “As we focus our marketing activities on high-performance polymers, we will be utilizing internal synergies to accommodate our long-serving Witten employees with secure jobs at the new polyamide 12 production facility in Marl, where we will be able to draw upon their decades of proven experience in polymer production and compounding.”
Evonik adds that it will continue its production of bio-based polymers (the Terra series) to complement the reorganized high-performance polymers.