Defying current downturn in North American automobile market, SABIC Innovative Plastics recently agreed to acquire the RheMax product line from RheTech, Inc. (Michigan, USA), a leading supplier of polyolefin-based compounds to North American auto market. As per the terms of the deal, RheTech will be a toll manufacturer of SABIC-IP's STAMAX* LGFPP (long glass fiber-filled polypropylene) resins, which were launched in North America in September 2008. In addition, the existing RheMax products will be integrated under the STAMAX resin product line and brand name. The agreement will provide SABIC-IP ready access to North American customers and production capability while RheTech will develop new products and technology for the customers of its core polyolefins compounding business.
STAMAX LGFPP composites are made by combining a polypropylene (PP) base resin with long glass fibers and are understood to provide a great balance of properties such as 10-25% lower density than traditional materials and hence lighter weight parts, better surface finish than short glass fiber products enabling molded-in-color, and processability. In addition, the resins provide strength and dimensional stability, as well as high flow for thin-wall parts required for several automotive applications. These composites have been used extensively by European automakers to replace steel in key structural components including front-end modules (FEM), door modules, instrument panels, center consoles, underbody shields, seating systems, liftgates and tailgates. The majority of European cars incorporate on average five pounds of STAMAX LGFPP composite.