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Kraton to construct latex manufacturing unit in Brazil

| By Mary Bailey

Kraton Corp. (Houston; has approved the construction of a semi works latex unit in Paulinia, Brazil. Construction is scheduled to complete by the first quarter of 2020 and ready for commissioning during the second quarter of 2020.

“The new semi works unit will enable further acceleration of our innovation projects,” said Philippe Henderson, Kraton’s Market Development Director for Cariflex Polyisoprene Products. “We can reduce the cost and complexity during the early stages of new product scale-up activities and commercialization, allowing us to improve time to market.”

This capability could lead to more flexible commercialization of the new Cariflex IR2GL1 Latex, a next-generation thermoplastic elastomer latex offering purity, strength and softness while reducing Type I and Type IV allergies frequently encountered in dipped goods. The platform would allow for more efficient transition between the laboratory pilot unit and the full-scale commercial unit. It could be used for early stage commercialization volumes. It could also offer invaluable support in the context of Management of Change, such as alternative raw material assessments for security of supply or process, and process control studies.

The semi works latex unit will be able to operate on the basis of the Direct Connect (DC) mode or using solid polymer feedstock (non-DC mode). In DC mode, the semi works unit will pump polymer materials directly from the onsite commercial polymerization reactor. This will provide tremendous flexibility to embrace ambitious development projects based on polymers either supplied by third parties, or sourced from Kraton’s core anionic polymerization operations.

“We believe the Cariflex technology has high growth potential,” said Henderson. “This platform will enhance our ability to capitalize on key market opportunities through product portfolio expansion.”

Earlier this year, Kraton initiated a process to review strategic alternatives for the Cariflex business, which may result in a sale of the business.