ALPHARETTA, Ga., June 18, 2013 –Solvay Specialty Polymers, a leading manufacturer of high-performance thermoplastics, has announced a major series of global supply chain initiatives to expand the availability of its KetaSpire® polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and AvaSpire® polyaryletherketone (PAEK) products. This effort also benefits the global availability of Torlon® polyamide-imide (PAI), a polymer whose ultra-performance capabilities complement those of PEEK and PAEK.
Key components of this initiative include the deployment of new production assets in China for production of KetaSpire® and AvaSpire® compounds and the creation of new distribution centers for KetaSpire®, AvaSpire®, and Torlon® resins in vital regions of the world. Both elements of the initiative are aimed at providing excellent availability and supply of Solvay’s ultra high-performance polymers to support growth in a diverse range of applications spanning the transportation, healthcare, electronics, oil and gas, and semiconductor manufacturing markets.
In China, production of KetaSpire® PEEK and AvaSpire® PAEK compounds has commenced at Solvay’s Changshu production site. “This is an exciting milestone for us and represents a major commitment by Solvay to the local production and supply of these ultra polymers for the Chinese market and for the region in general,” said Chris Wilson, senior vice-president of the ultra-performance materials business line.
“This is a key investment that places these very high-quality innovative materials at the doorstep of our fast-growing customers in the region.” Solvay announced in July 2012 the opening of its Changshu production site located in the province of Jiangsu at an investment of EUR 21 million. Today’s announcement reflects Solvay’s strategy to expand the product scope of these operations as stated in the initial announcement.
In addition to establishing manufacturing presence for ultra-performance polymers in China, Solvay has been very busy developing a more agile global supply chain for these products. “Over the last two years, we have successfully leveraged Solvay’s extensive global network of warehouses to place our KetaSpire®, AvaSpire®, and Torlon® ultra polymers in close proximity to the markets in key geographies around the world,” said Art Tigera, product manager for Spire® Ultra Polymers. In the Asian corridor, Solvay has established new distribution centers in Singapore, China, Japan, and South Korea.
In the U.S., KetaSpire®, AvaSpire®, and Torlon® ultra polymers benefit from Solvay’s warehousing network in the Texas gulf coast region where consumption of these products is concentrated due to the strong presence of companies involved in oil and gas exploration and production. These added distribution centers complement the existing warehouse network in Europe, the Americas, and other regions of the world. “Solvay’s supply chain network is expansive and we’ve been able to exploit this in order to extend our local presence,” said Tigera.
KetaSpire® PEEK is one of the industry’s most chemically resistant plastics and offers excellent strength, superior fatigue resistance, and a continuous-use temperature up to 240°C (464°F). Glass fiber-reinforced and carbon fiber-reinforced grades provide a wide range of performance options for demanding applications.
AvaSpire® PAEK is a family of polymers that embraces versatility by delivering new and unique combinations of performance and value. The AV-600 Series delivers a range of distinctive performance attributes with some grades offering more attractive economics when compared to PEEK. The AV-700 Series offers comparable performance to PEEK at up to a 30% lower cost.
Torlon® PAI is a high-strength plastic with the highest strength and stiffness of any thermoplastic up to 275°C (525°F). It has outstanding resistance to wear, creep, and chemicals (including strong acids and most organics) and is ideally suited for severe service environments.