Belarus PET and synthetic fibre producer Mogilevkhimvolokno has begun the first phase of a major process upgrade with the launch of a new 50-kilotonne-per-annum (ktpa) PTA (terephthalic acid) plant.
This facility, put into operation ahead of schedule, forms the basic stage of a project to modernise the firm's integrated manufacture of polyester based products, including food grade PET granulate, nonwovens and polyester technical yarn.
Mogilevkhimvolokno, based at Mogilev in eastern Belarus, is investing around €120m to establish a new polyester production complex switching from its old DMT (dimethyl terephthalate) raw material base to PTA. It expects it will have replaced its outdated technology by 2021.
The company reported that within a month of starting production, the newly launched unit had shipped an initial 120 tonnes of material to customers in Russia.
According to Piotr Rudnik, Mogilevkhimvolokno's chief executive, the main task of the enterprise is now to reach the unit's design capacity as soon as possible, which is expected to be achieved in the first half of 2019.
His company stated that the second phase of the investment project is “at an active discussion stage”. Development of technology for this phase is currently underway in collaboration with the firm's Chinese partners.
Phase two involves the construction a technically linked continuous PET polycondensation plant, polyester fibre production lines, a pre polycondensation unit and technical polyester yarn manufacture.
Mogilevkhmvolokno, part of the state run Belneftekhim chemicals group, expects that the second stage facilities of its upgraded polyester complex will be commissioned by 2023-4.
Upgrading its technology will help cut costs, reduce plant energy consumption and enable the Belarus to compete with Asian manufacturers. It will allow the firm to produce a wide range of new products in demand in the domestic market as well as abroad, it said.
The first new unit was started up five months earlier than under standard terms, which brought Mogilevkhimvolokno savings of between €5.3m - €6.1m, while the annual income from products sold should be between €7.9m - €8.83m.
Belarus deputy Prime Minister Igor Lvashenko, who took part in the plant's opening ceremony, said that the new products are of the highest quality produced by any company within the Eurasian Economic Union region.