Kuraray invests US$49 mln to expand production capacity for EVAL ™ at Pasadena

Kuraray America, Inc. has announced the approval of a project to increase its EVAL™ production capacity by 8,000 tpa at a cost of US$49 mln. The project is a response to continued global growth in demand for EVAL™ (ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer resin) of over 10% per year. Debottleneck of facilities at the plant raises production capacity to 47,000 tpa. The project will be completed by January 2014. " EVAL™ resins have so many benefits over materials like glass, steel and other plastics that it's not surprising how significantly demand has grown, particularly in innovative applications in barrier food packaging, environmental protection, and personal protection," said George Avdey, President of Kuraray's EVAL Business Unit. Kuraray has three manufacturing plants for EVAL™ resin: Kuraray America, Inc. in Pasadena, Texas; Kuraray's Okayama Plant in Japan; and EVAL Europe N.V. in Antwerp, Belgium. Following the expansion, Kuraray's combined global capacity will be 180 million pounds (81,000 tons) per year. Kuraray was first in the world to develop and commercialize the high-barrier performance resin EVAL™ in 1972. The resin has the highest gas impermeability of any plastic - approximately 10,000 times that of polyethylene. This superior gas barrier property makes EVAL™ highly trusted as a food packaging material used to preserve the freshness of a product by keeping oxygen from migrating into a package and preventing aromas and flavors from migrating out. EVAL™ is an excellent barrier to fuel vapors as well, making it the standard barrier resin for plastic fuel tanks in automobiles. The exceptional barrier properties of EVAL™ resins enable a tank manufacturer to produce lighter fuel tanks than steel, while maintaining very low evaporative emissions, ensuring compliance with strict fuel vapor emission regulations. EVAL™ is also used in floor heating pipe systems, chemical bottles, fuel pipes, cosmetic tubes, wallpaper, balloons and many other consumer and industrial applications that require barrier to a gas, good chemical resistance or durability. Many new uses for EVAL™ are being developed in agricultural films to reduce pesticide usage, geomembrane liners to reduce hydrocarbon migration into soil and groundwater, and "bag in the box" films for wine, and other oxygen-sensitive food products.
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