EVAL: European Plant in Antwerp becomes the world’s largest EVOH production site

EVAL Europe N.V. has completed the manufacturing capacity expansion of its EVAL™ ethylene vinyl-alcohol (EVOH) copolymer resin plant in Antwerp. Total capacity of the site is now 24,000 tonnes per year, overtaking Kuraray’s American EVAL™ production site to become the largest EVOH plant in the world. Mechanical completion was completed in September, 2004. Expanded EVAL™ resin production began on 18th October. The additional manufacturing capacity represents an investment of approximately 80 million euro.
EVAL™ resins have the highest gas impermeability rate of any plastic (approximately 10,000
times that of ordinary polyethylene). The primary application for EVAL™ EVOH copolymer resins is food packaging, where EVAL™resins provide excellent gas barrier properties and resistance to odour and flavour permeation. Another high growth market for EVAL™ resins
is as a barrier layer in plastic automotive fuel systems. EVAL™ resins help to protect the environment by minimising harmful fuel vapour permeation from fuel tank, line and filler pipe, allowing fuel systems to conform to strict international emission standards. EVAL™ is also
used to make pipes for floor heating systems, and in other residential, cosmetic, medical and appliance-related applications.
Kuraray became first the world to develop and commercialise the high-performance EVOH resin EVAL™ in 1972. EVAL Europe N.V., established in 1997, is a fully owned subsidiary of
Kuraray Co., Ltd. The plant started production in September 1999 with an annual capacity of 10,000 tons, quickly expanded to 12,000 in 2001. In addition to EVOH resin production, the EVAL Europe N.V. site includes sales, technical service and administrative offices. Linked to the capacity expansion, EVAL Europe has constructed a new processing and development
hall for their European EVAL™ Technical Centre, which serves customers in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This will both accelerate and increase the amount of EVAL™ EVOH research and product development done in Europe.
The new capacity ensures Kuraray’s position as the leading manufacturer of EVOH resins and demonstrates its continued confidence about the future growth of EVOH markets worldwide.
The average annual growth rate of demand for EVAL™ EVOH copolymer resins is expected to be 10% over the next decade. Growth is centered in Europe, North America and Japan., but new demand growth is predicted in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, South
Africa, Asia and Latin America where lifestyles and standards of living are changing.
Kuraray is the world’s leading manufacturer of EVOH resins. Kuraray supplies its customers world-wide with EVAL™ EVOH copolymer resins from plants in Pasadena, Texas, USA (23,000 tonnes per year, previously the largest EVOH facility in the world), Okayama, Japan
(10,000 tonnes per year) and Antwerp, Belgium. With the expanded EVAL Europe plant, Kuraray’s total world-wide capacity for EVAL™ resins now exceeds 57,000 tonnes per year.
The USA plant (EVAL Company of America) announced on August 2, 2004 its plan to
expanded its manufacturing capacity by 24,000 tonnes per year, scheduled for completion in March 2006. This new planned expansion will bring the total EVAL™ capacity to 81,000 tonnes per year. The capacity expansions in Europe and the USA position Kuraray to
continue to support its customers’ increasing EVOH requirements and demonstrate Kuraray’s global commitment to new application development.

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