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June 5, 2013

SK Chemicals chooses GEA Messo PT technology

Gerald Ondrey

GEA Messo PT’s (Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands; www.gea-messo-pt.com) proprietary crystallization technology was chosen by SK Chemicals (Gyeonggi-do, Korea; www.skchemicals.com) for its large-scale facility for the production of poly phenylene sulfide (PPS) in Ulsan, South Korea. The GEA crystallization technology demonstrated its versatility to ultra-purify the non-chlorine monomer raw material and provide high recoveries through the use of GEA’s continuous suspension-based melt crystallization process. GEA Messo PT was said to be chosen because of its unparalleled experience in this field. The GEA melt crystallization technology was considered the most reliable and economic method for purification of this material, says the company.

After successful completion of initial pilot scale tests at GEA’s test facility in the Netherlands a semi-commercial scale unit was constructed and installed at the SK Chemical site in Ulsan. This semi-commercial scale plant has been operating successfully since 2010. GEA’s experience with high-temperature melt-crystallization applications helped pave the way for further development in this specific application. Ultra-high purity product, maximum recovery and minimal operating cost were key points in the SK decision to include the GEA melt crystallization technology in the planned world-scale facility.

PPS resin, a super engineering plastic, exhibits excellent thermal resistance, chemical resistance, mechanical strength and dimensional stability. It is suited for precision molding and primarily used for parts surrounding vehicle engines and motors, electrical components, connectors and sockets. The present annual demand for PPS resin is around 94,000 tons and is expected to grow in line with the increasing popularity of electric and hybrid vehicles and the ongoing expansion of electronics markets in emerging countries.

In conventional PPS resins, chlorine and sodium from raw materials and byproducts remain in the resin, which can lead to the corrosion of molds and functional deterioration of metal parts (for instance, defective electrical contacts). Also, chlorine released when the PPS is burned has a potentially harmful environmental impact. SK Chemicals has developed the technology to produce chlorine- or sodium-free PPS resins using innovative processes.

SK Chemicals ushers in a green future by providing a wide range of eco-friendly plastics and bio energy. They are expecting to complete the first commercial Korean PPS facility during the latter half of 2015.

 

 

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