Covestro AG (Leverkusen, Germany) will build its largest thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) site in Zhuhai, China. With an overall investment in the low three-digit-million euro range, it will also be the company’s largest investment in its TPU business. TPUs are a highly versatile plastic material, a real multi-talent that offers a broad range of properties for a diverse set of applications like sports shoe soles and IT devices, such as sweepers, smart speakers and phone cases, or automotive applications.
“This investment shows our ongoing commitment to growth in our Solutions & Specialties business entities,” said Covestro CCO Sucheta Govil. “With this new plant for TPU we want to capture the expected fast and high market growth of the TPU market globally, and especially in Asia and China. The production site will be able to serve both the growing Asian markets, as well as demand in Europe and North America.”
Located in the Zhuhai Gaolan Port Economic Development Zone in Guangdong province, the new site will eventually span across 45,000 square meters. It will be completed by 2033 and is expected to achieve a production capacity of nearly 120,000 tons of TPU per year. It will be built in three phases. The mechanical completion of the first phase is estimated for the end of 2025. This will lead to a production capacity of about 30,000 tons per year and the creation of about 80 new jobs. The initial investment for this phase lies in the mid double-digit million Euro range.
“I’m delighted to share this important news for our Business Entity. This new plant will enable us to be in close proximity to our customers and the value chains in the IT, consumer electronics, footwear and other industries”, said Dr. Andrea Maier-Richter, head of TPU at Covestro. “The majority of the TPU market and its growth prospects are in Asia and particularly in China. Our investment there shows our clear intention: We want to remain successful with our customers and partners in the long run.”
An innovation center will also be part of the investment, enabling researchers on-site to design customized material formulas and to do formula adjustment to meet customer demands within very short cycles. Sustainable and ever more circular solutions are among the long-term core target for these efforts. This shall also support broadening the offerings under the recently introduced, sustainable “CQ” product line. Products labelled as such consist of at least 25% alternative, non-fossil raw materials. The site will furthermore utilize the most advanced production technologies and be run on 100% green power. It will produce injection molding grades for footwear and a wide range of IT devices, as well as extrusion grades for cables, hoses and tubes or automotive applications.