Eastman PET Plant to use New Technology

Sep 10, 2004

Eastman Chemical Co., a leading supplier of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for packaging, will build a 350,000-metric-ton integrated-PET manufacturing facility that will use the company’s new Integrex technology. Eastman’s existing purified terephthalic-acid facilities will be retrofitted using additional elements of Integrex to supply intermediates for the expansion.

Plans for the new facility and supporting infrastructure require an investment of more than $100 million for the company. The company anticipates the new facility to be operating at full capacity by the fourth quarter of 2006.

Allan Rothwell, Eastman executive vice president and Voridian division president, says, “We have made a technology investment that completely redefines the paraxylene (PX) to PET manufacturing process, allowing us to meet future market demand with the most advanced technology. The competitive advantage this technology provides our PET business will enable us to strengthen our leadership position in the polyesters for packaging industry and is a key element in our integrated polyester strategy.”

The company expects to receive patents on more than 100 process and product innovations surrounding this breakthrough technology, which encompasses manufacturing process integration from PX to PET.

PET-packaging-industry growth rates are driven by continued strong demand for bottled water, the expansion of niche carbonated-soft-drink markets, and new packaging applications for PET.  Industry analysts project PET packaging industry growth rates will require new capacity to be available in North America by late 2006.