Arkema: major investment in Asian bio-PA 11 plant will double production capacity


In line with its strategy to accelerate the development of its advanced materials business, Arkema has announced a major investment project in its biosourced polyamide 11 facilities in Asia.

rFrench materials designer Arkema has announced that it will invest some 300 million euros over five years in expanding the scope of its biosourced polyamide 11 chain in Asia. Driven by strong demand and growth in the automotive and 3D-printing sectors, and in consumer goods markets such as sports and electronics, the company is constructing a world-scale plant - its second - dedicated to producing Rilsan PA11 biosourced polyamide from castor oil. The first production site is in Marseille, France.

The new plant, which will produce both the amino 11 monomer and its polymer, Rilsan PA11, should come on stream in late 2021 and will enable Arkema to double its Rilsan PA11 (powder and granule) production capacity.
Rilsan PA11 is the only high performance 100% biosourced polyamide to qualify for the most exacting applications and is particularly suitable for electronics, 3D-printing and automotive metal-to-plastic-substitution applications.

The investment will also boost the global production capacities for Pebax, in particular Pebax RNew, of which amino 11 is a key component. Pebax RNew is a biosourced polyamide elastomer with unique properties such as energy return and flexibility, and is targeted mainly at the sports and electronics markets. Production capacity will expand by 50% as a result of the investment project.
The project underlines the Group’s long-term commitment to offer biosourced solutions to the key challenges of lightweighting and design of materials to its Asian customers. Over the next few years, annual growth of some 7% is forecast in these markets in Asia.

“This project represents a milestone in the development of our specialty polyamides over the next few years,” said Thierry Le Hénaff, Arkema Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We send this message out to our customers with confidence and pride. Today more than ever, we stand by our customers to offer them ultra high-tech biosourced product ranges. Our aim is to support their development all around the world with innovation-driven expert teams at their service.” 

This project is consistent with the Group’s ambitious strategy to step up the development of its advanced materials - ‘one of the key pillars of its future growth’, according to the company - which should eventually account for over 25% of sales, while continuing to further consolidate its presence in Asia.