DSM expanding capacity for Dyneema in Europe, US

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Royal DSM NV is boosting global capacity for its Dyneema plastics-based fibers and laminates.

Strong demand for both Dyneema UD, a unidirectional laminate, and Dyneema-brand fiber is prompting the increase, officials with the firm in Heerlen, the Netherlands, said in a 14 May news release. Financial details of the expansion will not be disclosed.

DSM is investing to install additional new UD technology at its plants in Heerlen and in Greenville, North Carolina. It also will make improvements to existing production lines to expand Dyneema UD and Dyneema fiber capacity. Both materials are based on ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene.

Global Dyneema UD capacity will grow by 20% from the expansion. No total was included for Dyneema fibre. Expansion work will take place during 2018, with new capacity fully onstream by the first quarter of 2019.

In addition to expanding capacity, officials said that DSM Dyneema will improve its carbon footprint. DSM's plant in Greenville already uses 100 percent renewable electricity. Dyneema UD is a composite unidirectional laminate that offers excellent energy absorption and enhanced protection.

Dyneema products "are finding use in a broad and ever-increasing range of markets and applications in which lightweight strength is of the essence," DSM Dyneema president Wilfrid Gambade said in the release. These applications include protective ballistic vests, inserts and helmets, he added.

Industries ranging from law enforcement to medical to fishing use Dyneema for its lightweight, protective and durable properties, officials said.

Dyneema is an UHMWPE fiber that, according to DSM, is 15 times stronger than quality steel and 40 times stronger than aramid fibers. The firm is a global plastics and chemicals maker with annual sales of more than $10bn (€8.4bn).


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