Materials Science

Lubrizol plans $80 million global expansion for TPU

Lubrizol Corp. will expand production capacity and technology for its engineered polymers thermoplastics polyurethane (TPU) business as demand grows for its materials. The multimillion dollar expansion will see new capacity added in key plants in North America, Europe and Asia. According to Wickliffe-based Lubrizol, a combined investment of nearly $80 million has been earmarked for the development plan.

“Ongoing investments in engineered polymers are an integral part of Lubrizol’s global growth strategy and strengthen our position in every region of the world,” said Arnau Pano, vice president and general manager for Lubrizol engineered materials.

The company is witnessing “a robust market,” Pano said, with a rebounding global economy and increasing demand for higher performing, more sustainable materials. In North America, the company is adding new production capabilities, expanded raw material storage, warehouse space and improved site logistics. With the latest investment, new capacity is expected to come on stream later this year.

In Songjiang, China, the company held a ribbon cutting ceremony earlier in February to inaugurate a new compounding line and new extrusion lines. This marks the fourth major expansion in Songjiang since the plant first produced TPU in the early 2000s. Further investment is planned in Asia in 2019.

In Europe, the company is extending production capabilities for elastomers, aliphatics and adhesives. These expansions build on the acquisition of Barcelona, Spain-based Merquinsa in 2011, and improvements to R&D laboratories in 2016. Lubrizol’s next major European expansion is planned for 2019.

Demand has increased for its materials including TPU brands of Estane, Pearlthane and Pearlbond, according to Lubrizol.