Strategic investments in strong back integration, finished products capacity, R&D and advanced production technology
New products to be unveiled at K 2022, Hall 8a, Booth E33
Long-term commitment to Europe with growing workforce and logistics
UniteChem Group, the world’s leading supplier of light stabilizers for plastics in a broad range of high-end industrial applications, has announced that it has departed on an ambitious expansion journey with major investments in global production capacity and local customer support. Building on more than 20 years of experience in the market, the Group is determined to create value, deliver success and meet industry targets through highly responsive, long-term collaboration with customers and optimized product solutions. The growing portfolio will be on display during K 2022 from October 19 to 26 in Düsseldorf, Hall 8a, Booth E33.
“Over the past two decades, we have been taking our expertise in innovative light stabilizers and other performance additives beyond China to meet the demands of a growing customer base worldwide,” says Junyi Lin, CEO of UniteChem Group. “Our current investments extend across all levels, adding production, R&D, local sales and logistic capacities to get closer to upstream and downstream customers and maintain security of supply in line with our key values of Trust, Partnership and Excellence.”
Adding capacity in intermediates and finished products
One of the important strengths of UniteChem is its solid backward integration, providing extensive production flexibility, high reliability and maximum quality control. The Group’s current 80,000 tons capacity for intermediates is being ramped up to more than 300,000 tons with an expansion of its existing Suqian (Jiansu) facilities. In addition, three new plants are scheduled to come on-stream in 2022/2024 at Nanchong (Sichuan), Shengjin and Shengrui (both Jiangsu). These significant investments will also allow UniteChem to integrate further intermediates in its production and support the availability of new additive solutions.
Capacity in finished products will be more than doubled by an increase of 50,000 tons to meet growing customer demands for both existing and new products, such as UV absorbers – produced in a novel environmentally friendly process – as well as nucleating agents and other stabilizers. At its expanding Suqian site, UniteChem is also adopting a new and more sustainable technology for synthesizing benzotriazole UV absorbers in a proprietary catalytic hydrogenation reduction process.
Moreover, as part of its commitment to sustainability in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, the Group is investing in dedicated recycling, reuse and reduction initiatives at its production sites. Installed capabilities today include 280,000 m³/hr of waste gas treatment using regenerative thermal oxidization (RTO) technology, 1,800 m³/day of waste water treatment, and 8,800 tons/year of solid chemical waste treatment.
Growing portfolio of performance additives
UniteChem Group began producing industry-standard light stabilizers such as LS-944 in 1997 and has been continuously expanding its polymer additives portfolio ever since. Recently commercialized HALS (hindered amine light stabilizer) products have included LS-2020 for fibers and webs of polyolefin and other polymer materials, and LS-119 mainly for agricultural, greenhouse and engineering polymer applications in automotive etc.
Soon to be commercialized will be LS-4050 (in 2023), a low-molecular weight HALS for thick-wall items, as well as several halogen-free bisphenol A bis(diphenyl phosphate) BDP and piperazine pyrophosphate (PAPP) flame retardants for demanding components such as multi-fiber push on (MPO) connectors, and two high-heat polyamide (PA) stabilizers for automotive parts and fibers.
Innovative product developments in the pilot stage include new HALS NO-R grade, state-of-the-art stabilizers for high-pesticide agricultural applications, and various nucleating agents mainly for use in polyolefins (PP, PE) but also in polyethylene terephthalate (PET), engineering polyesters (PBT) and polylactic acid (PLA).
Boosting customer support in Europe
After establishing a major warehouse in Antwerp, Belgium, and opening a Sales office in Düsseldorf, the next steps in expanding the European footprint of UniteChem will be to double its workforce and bring its technical support even closer to local customers. Experienced market specialists with strong industry focus and covering additional languages will be added to the European Sales Team, ensuring faster response and lasting partnerships.
The Group is also looking at potential further logistic sites in other EU countries, e.g. Italy, to improve the availability of product samples and accelerate the time-to-market of innovative new applications. Apart from building a network of local warehouses, security of supply is backed by shipments from several different key ports in China, including Guangzhou, where UniteChem operates a major warehouse, as well as Shanghai, Qingdao, Tianjin and Lianyunyang.
Going public to enable further investments
As part of its commitment to invest in future solutions for its customers, UniteChem Group regularly allocates five percent of its total revenue to R&D, operating five independent laboratories – including its recently opened modern Shanghai R&D Center. In order to secure the funding of major investments especially in capacity and portfolio expansion, the Group is currently filing for initial public offering (IPO) at the Shanghai Main Stock Exchange and expects to become officially listed around December 2022.