Shanghai — SABIC's Innovative Plastics business announced today that it is proceeding with an investment in a production line for STAMAX long glass fiber-reinforced polypropylene (LGFPP) at its manufacturing site in Shanghai, China. The new capacity, expected to come on stream during the second half of 2015, brings SABIC's STAMAX operations closer to customers in China and Asia Pacific and responds to increased demand for the lightweight LFGPP material from automakers in the region.
Leading automakers have successfully used STAMAX resin as a weight and emissions reduction solution since the early 2000s, primarily for large molded parts and semi-structural parts such as front-end modules, door modules, instrument panel carriers, tailgates and seat structures.
"With this move to bring local supply of STAMAX resin to China and Asia Pacific, we are demonstrating our commitment to ensure our expanding customer base in the region has a reliable supply of this important material technology," said Alan Leung, vice president of global and Asia Pacific commercial operations for SABIC's Innovative Plastics Business.
"SABIC is committed to delivering the material science and development support to help its automotive customers progress further in reducing vehicle weight and lowering emissions," said Scott Fallon, general manager, Automotive, SABIC's Innovative Plastics business. "Compared to the use of steel, STAMAX resin can make possible weight savings of up to 50 percent, making it an excellent material for lightweight construction. Indeed, this resin has already proven itself in hundreds of automotive applications as an enabler of both weight and cost savings."
SABIC currently operates two STAMAX resin plants: one in Genk, Belgium, the largest greenfield polypropylene compounding plant ever built in Europe; and one in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, which opened in November 2011.The STAMAX resin production line in Shanghai will be built using the same state-of-the-art design and technology of those in Genk and Bay St. Louis. As a result, SABIC will be poised to deliver uniform product quality for its customers' global platforms from each plant.
"With the continuing trend and importance of global vehicle platforms, it is increasingly necessary that automakers have the ability to specify and receive the same high quality material in one region as they do in another," Fallon said. "Our STAMAX resin production line in Shanghai will enable us to continue meeting this critical customer requirement."
STAMAX Resin Responds to China's Increased Focus on Low Emissions, Fuel Efficiency
Increased need for lightweight-enabling materials like STAMAX resin in China, in particular, comes at a time when the country is taking important strides to address the challenges of air pollution. China's Ministry of Environmental Protection has committed to reduce vehicle emissions, which is said to be the source of about a quarter of the country's air pollution.
The difference made by a material like STAMAX resin is evident when comparing its use in a front-end module (FEM) carrier vs. one with a polyamide-steel hybrid (PA hybrid). According to SABIC data that has been verified by GreenOrder, a leading sustainability consulting firm, a FEM molded out of STAMAX resin has a life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of 78 kg vs. 149 kg with a PA hybrid solution, a 48 percent reduction. That data also shows that the FEM with STAMAX resin also has a lower life cycle energy footprint of 1,200 megajoule (mj) vs. 2,140 mj for one with a PA hybrid solution, a 44 percent reduction. Scaling this data up to 200,000 FEMs with STAMAX resin vs. a PA hybrid solution, a manufacturer could avoid emitting as much GHG as driving a car 100 million kilometers.
STAMAX resin also enables manufacturers to advance from traditional multi-part steel components to single injection molded modules, which can help manufacturers to lower overall system costs by increasing automation and reducing additional processing and assembly. The material is said to offer excellent stiffness across a wide temperature range and high dimensional stability.
SABIC Also Boosting Design Support
In addition to the new STAMAX resin production line, SABIC is adding on-the-ground specialists in China and Asia Pacific to strengthen its design support offering in the region. These specialists work closely with SABIC's customers on process and mold design and can deliver technical support during processing and production. Services include ultra-light mechanical design, mechanical calculations, mold flow studies and warpage simulations.
An example of SABIC's support is its work with Changan, one of China's largest automakers, on an all-plastic FEM for its CX30 model – the first Chinese-developed vehicle with this type of part. Changhan uses STAMAX resin to replace steel, cutting part weight by up to 40 percent and total vehicle weight by approximately four kilograms. In addition to weight reduction for improved fuel economy and lower emissions, the all-plastic FEM solution reduces overall system costs for Changan by enabling modular assembly for improved efficiency on its production line. In support of Changan, SABIC provided technical support and engineering design services, including advanced computer analyses and training.
Today, SABIC is working with various automakers operating in China and Asia Pacific on programs that use STAMAX resin to reduce part weight and associated energy and GHG footprints, while simultaneously helping them reduce systems costs.
SABIC's Innovative Plastics business has been bringing thermoplastic solutions to the global automotive industry for over 50 years. Today, it offers one of the industry's broadest portfolios of thermoplastic solutions as well as development support for the construction of automotive parts in the following areas: chassis, including crash energy management applications; electrical and electronics (E/E); exteriors, including body panels and glazing; interiors and structures; lighting; and powertrain and fuel systems. The business also provides materials and engineering support to the heavy truck industry. SABIC's thermoplastic solutions are used today in thousands of demanding vehicle applications worldwide.
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Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) ranks among the world's top petrochemical companies. The company is among the world's market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers.
SABIC recorded a net profit of SR 25.3 billion (US$ 6.7 billion) in 2013. Sales revenues for 2013 totaled SR 189 billion (US$ 50.4 billion). Total assets stood at SR 339.1 billion (US$ 90.4 billion) at the end of 2013.
SABIC's businesses are grouped into Chemicals, Polymers, Performance Chemicals, Fertilizers, Metals and Innovative Plastics. SABIC has significant research resources with 18 dedicated Technology & Innovation facilities in Saudi Arabia, the USA, the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, India, China and South Korea. The company operates in more than 40 countries across the world with around 40,000 employees worldwide.
SABIC manufactures on a global scale in Saudi Arabia, the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific.
Headquartered in Riyadh, SABIC was founded in 1976 when the Saudi Arabian Government decided to use the hydrocarbon gases associated with its oil production as the principal feedstock for production of chemicals, polymers and fertilizers. The Saudi Arabian Government owns 70 percent of SABIC shares with the remaining 30 percent held by private investors in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
About Innovative Plastics
SABIC's Innovative Plastics business is a leading, global supplier of engineering thermoplastics with an 80-year history of breakthrough solutions that solve its customers' most pressing challenges. Today, Innovative Plastics is a multi-billion-dollar company with operations in more than 35 countries and approximately 9,000 employees worldwide. The company continues to lead the plastics industry with customer collaboration and continued investments in new polymer technologies, global application development, process technologies, and environmentally responsible solutions that serve diverse markets such as Healthcare, Transportation, Automotive, Electrical, Lighting and Consumer Electronics. The company's extensive product portfolio includes thermoplastic resins, coatings, specialty compounds, film, and sheet. Innovative Plastics (www.sabic-ip.com) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).
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