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11th June 2019, Changhua

Covestro completes TPU expansion in Taiwan

From left to right: Calvin Chen, Site Manager of Changhua Site of Covestro Taiwan, Stephan Ehlers, Head of TPU Production & Technology of Covestro and Thomas Roemer, Global Head of Thermoplastic Polyurethanes of Covestro. © Covestro

From left to right: Calvin Chen, Site Manager of Changhua Site of Covestro Taiwan, Stephan Ehlers, Head of TPU Production & Technology of Covestro and Thomas Roemer, Global Head of Thermoplastic Polyurethanes of Covestro. © Covestro

Covestro, a leading polymer provider, has completed thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) capacity expansion at its Changhua manufacturing site in Taiwan. This comes after the successful expansion in New Martinsville in the US and the takeover of the majority of the Japan Joint Venture, all happening within 12 months.

“The Changhua site is Covestro’s largest TPU production site in Asia, supported by Covestro’s APAC TPU Research and Development Center,” said Dr Thomas Roemer, Global Head of Thermoplastic Polyurethanes. “With the capacity expansion, we will cater to the market’s needs in APAC with diverse and innovative products, such as bio-based TPU.”

With the expansion, the site’s production capacity increased by 30%, a step to benefit from the growing demands in the APAC region. TPU is a highly versatile elastomer that offers both performance and flexibility. It has various applications from footwear, automotive all the way to IT. Changhua site’s proximity to ASEAN is also an advantage as it gives Covestro the upper hand, especially in industries such as footwear, the company reports.

The global TPU market is expected to grow at 6% in the forecast period 2017 to 2022, and the majority of such growth will come from the APAC region. “One of our strategies is to participate in this growth with our capacity expansion,” said Dr Stephan Ehlers, Head of TPU Production & Technology. “It will allow us to better serve our customers, meet the rising market demands and also sustain our strong presence in the APAC region.”

TPU offers several advantages, including light weight, comfort, high abrasion resistance, high shear strength, high elasticity, recyclability and resistance to oil and grease. These qualities therefore make it a sensible and appealing replacement for certain material solutions, which in turn further boosts its market demand. For instance, in the footwear sector, TPU can be used for several parts, such as uppers, shanks, insole, midsole, outsole, heel cups, as well as logo on shoes.

Knitting technology is increasingly being adapted for the uppers on sports shoes – a single knitting process allows a stylish design while saving material use per pair of shoes. To catch up with this trend, Covestro has taken a further step forward to develop this unique, innovative TPU fibre that can be seamlessly integrated into the state-of-the-art knitting technology for footwear applications.

Covestro has had roots in Taiwan for decades and serves as one of the most important innovation partners for the IT and shoe industries. Meanwhile, with more and more footwear supply chains moving to ASEAN, Taiwan now has the advantage of being close to these nations. “We look forward to best utilising and showcasing Taiwan’s innovation potential to further create synergy and in return, create product that push the boundaries of technology,” said Michael Lee, Managing Director of Covestro Taiwan.

www.covestro.cn

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