Ahlstrom Corp. (Mikkeli, Finland and Bishopville, S.C.) announced on June 20 that it is nearing startup for the production of specialty reinforcements designed and developed for the wind energy market in China. The production of the glass fiber-based products will begin in the fourth quarter of this year at Ahlstrom’s Binzhou plant in the Shandong Province on China’s east coast. Ahlstrom will install machines capable of assembling multiaxial fabrics at its existing Binzhou site, which currently manufactures transportation filtration materials and employs 170 people. Ahlstrom says the move is in response to anticipated growth in China’s wind energy market, estimated at an average annual rate of approximately 15 percent during the next five years. In 2010, Ahlstrom’s total net sales grew by almost 50 percent in the Asia-Pacific region.
Americhem (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio), a provider of custom color and additive solutions for the polymer and synthetic fibers industries, recently announced it will establish a manufacturing campus on more than 40 acres in Liberty, N.C., near Greensboro. The Liberty site is the company’s seventh capacity expansion in the past five years. The facility comprises three buildings with a combined floor space of 185,000 ft2 (17,190m2). Americhem expects to have 25 million lb (11,340 metric tonnes) of startup capacity at the Liberty campus by this fall. Americhem Liberty will serve as a “center of excellence” for specialty additive masterbatch products, white and black masterbatches and precolor and specialty compounds. The facility infrastructure includes rail line access, a dedicated rail spur, silos and close proximity to interstate highways.
SP-High Modulus (Isle of Wight, U.K.), the marine business of Gurit, recently announced the opening of its new office in North America, located in Bristol, R.I. It will house SP-High Modulus’ sales, customer service and engineering teams under one roof. The engineering team, formerly based in Gloucester, Mass., has relocated to the new Bristol office.
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The new plant, which will have an annual production capacity of 70,000 metric tons, is expected to become operational in the second half of 2018.