Insulation industry news from Global Insulation
US: China’s Wanhua Chemical plans to build a US$1.1bn methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) plant in Louisiana. The chemical producer has not revealed where it intends to build the plant, what size it will be or when it plans to start construction, according to local media. It expects to choose a site later in 2017. Wanhua Chemical will contribute about US$950m towards the project and US$170m will come from an unnamed partner.
Wanhua Chemical operates two MDI plants in China. In 2011 it spent US$1.7bn when it purchased BorsodChem, a Hungarian polyurethanes manufacturer. Louisiana state officials have reportedly been discussing the project with Wanhua since 2013.
South Korea: Armacell and JIOS Aerogel (JIOS) have formed a joint venture called Armacell Jios Aerogels (AJA) to develop and manufacture silica aerogel blankets. The new company will be based in Hong Kong and South Korea, operating from Armacell’s existing manufacturing facility in Cheonan, close to Seoul.
JIOS is contributing its process technology and proprietary manufacturing know-how as well as the intellectual property. Armacell will invest an undisclosed amount into aerogel blanket production equipment, accelerate the industrialisation and certification process and provide its world-wide distribution network to market the new technology. AJA will focus on delivering solutions based on aerogel blankets to the oil and gas, marine and general industrial sectors and in particular for high temperature and cryogenic applications.
“The joint venture with JIOS provides us with access to the next generation of aerogel technology and enables us to deliver a complete portfolio of thermal and acoustic insulation solutions to the oil & gas industry,” said Patrick Mathieu, chief executive officer and president of Armacell International.
Russia: TechnoNicol has opened a Euro27.6m mineral wool insulation production plant in the Khabarovsk region. The plant will have a production capacity of 0.75Mm3, according to Prime News. The products will be sold locally and via export. The company plans to export 20% of its entire output to China in 2019. The insulation producer expects the payback period for the plant to take seven years.
China: China National Building Material Company's (CNBM) net profit has fallen by 83% year-on-year to US$157m in 2015. Its revenue fell by 17.8% to US$15.4bn. China's largest cement producer has blamed the loss of profits on a steep drop in cement sales due to a national slowdown in fixed-asset investments, infrastructure construction and real estate investments.
The state-owned building materials company also produces gypsum wallboard, insulation materials and ceiling systems. Revenue from the sale of lightweight building materials fell by 7.6% to US$1.09bn as the price of gypsum wallboard fell. However, revenue from mineral wool insulation sales and composite materials rose by 25.3% to US$501m due to increased sales of pipes, tanks and rotor blades.
China: Evonik has started building a plant to produce organically modified specialty silicones in Shanghai. The project is part of a global investment initiative that started with the construction of a first expanded production plant in Essen, Germany that became operational in late 2014. The new facility is being constructed at the Multi-User-Site (MUSC) in the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park, with completion planned for mid-2017. No exact figure for the high double-digit million Euro project was specified.
"We want to expand our specialty silicones production capacities in Asia to serve the rising demand with local production.” That is why we are enlarging our production capacities in this region," said Klaus Engel, the chairman of the Evonik Executive Board.
China: BASF has adopted a polymeric flame retardant for Neopor in China. It has replaced the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) with PolyFR in its white expandable polystyrene insulation product.
“There is a greater need than ever for energy efficiency in the commercial and residential construction sectors, and EPS insulation materials like Neopor have the right properties to serve this need. Additionally, with the switch to PolyFR, we are now ensuring that the thermal insulation products are suitable for a wide range of sustainable building projects in the future. These high-quality materials can help developers address the increasing market requirements for energy efficient living and working spaces while ensuring regulatory compliance,” said Giorgio Greening, Senior Vice President of BASF’s global styrene foams business unit.
PolyFR is already used as an effective flame retardant in BASF’s portfolio of polystyrene-based insulation materials worldwide, including the Neopor range used in Europe, North America and China. As the first manufacturer in Europe and the first in Korea to switch entirely to PolyFR, BASF is now the first to do so in China.
China: BASF has begun trial operations at its mononitrobenzene plant within the integrated 400,000t methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) complex in Chongqing, China. This MDI site covers an area of more than 50 hectares, including facilities of 400,000t/yr of Mononitrobenzene, 300,000t/yr of aniline, 400,000t/yr of crude MDI, and an MDI splitter with a capacity of 400,000t/yr. Mononitrobenzene is a precursor for the production of MDI, a component for polyurethanes.
China: Zotefoams, which produces cellular material technology, has entered into a new venture with China's King Lai Group to manufacture and sell insulation products. The new venture will be called ZOTEK King Lai (ZKL).
Zotefoams and King Lai have a previous long-standing relationship for the sale of T-Tubes in China. Building on the success of T-Tubes clean-room insulation products for biotech, pharmaceutical and semiconductor plants, ZKL will offer a local supply to the market in China and a more rapid response to other markets including Asia, India and the Middle East.
ZKL is owned 51% by Zotefoams and 49% by King Lai. Manufacturing will be located in King Lai's plant in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province, China. The manufacturing of products made from Zotefoams' ZOTEK foam materials is expected to begin in the second half of 2015. Sales activity in China will be the direct responsibility of ZKL, using King Lai as the exclusive distributor, while all sales to customers outside China will be the responsibility of Zotefoams Operations Ltd in Thailand.
"I am delighted to extend our relationship with King Lai. Its commitment to operational excellence and strong position in products for clean-room markets make King Lai an ideal partner to accelerate the development of our unique materials," said David Stirling, managing director of Zotefoams.
China: China Magnesium Corporation Ltd (CMC) has executed and commenced a cooperation agreement with Pingyao County Fengyan Mineral Wool Co Ltd (FMW), effective from 1 February 2015. The effect of the agreement is that CMC will have a 60% economic interest in FMW, control a majority of the FMW board seats and be responsible for the management of FMW's business.
FMW is an established and profitable medium-sized metallurgy company based in Pingyao, Shanxi Province. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fengyan Coal & Coke Group Company Ltd. FMW can produce 150,000t/yr of ferronickel and uses the waste slag from the ferronickel production to produce mineral wool and mineral wool acoustic board products, among other industrial products. It currently purchases all of CMC's semi-coke to use in its ferronickel production. Any external ferronickel requirements in respect of CMC's recycling and production are also currently supplied to CMC by FMW.
Kazakhstan/China/Russia: Russia's TechnoNicol will invest Euro12.4m to build a 300,000m2/yr capacity extruded polystyrene foam (XPS) insulation plant in the Karaganda Region of Kazakhstan. The plant will start production in 2016. Its products will be supplied to all regions of Kazakhstan and south Asia.