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Braskem : the largest manufacturer of thermoplastic resins in the Americas

Braskem Profile

Braskem is the largest manufacturer of thermoplastic resins in the Americas. With 35 industrialplants in Brazil, the United States and Germany, the company produces more than 16 milliontons of thermoplastic resins and other petrochemical products annually. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Braskem America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Braskem S.A.,has five production facilities, including three in Texas, one in Pennsylvania and one in WestVirginia, as well as its Technology and Innovation Center in Pittsburgh. Braskem Europe GmbH,a wholly owned subsidiary of Braskem S.A., operates two production facilities in SchkopauGermany and Wesseling Germany. The company recently completed its acquisition of The Dow Chemical Company Polypropylene Business; builds its global polypropylene capacity to four (4)million tons per year. The assets involved in the deal include two manufacturing plants in the U.S. and two inGermany, with a total annual polypropylene production capacity of 1.05 million tons.The two US manufacturing plants located in Freeport, Texas and Seadrift, Texas will befully integrated into Braskem America, Inc. The two German plants located inWesseling and Schkopau will operate under Braskem Europe GmbH.

Braskem has also entered into its first joint venture with the Mexican group Idesa, joining the Ethylene XXI project, the company’s main greenfield project abroad.The project will receive investments of US$3 bn to produce annually 1.05 mn tons of polyethylene made from ethane using natural gas as raw material. This is the biggest private investment by a Brazilian group in Mexico. The project’s core objective is to meet the demand from the Mexican market, which currently imports 1 million tons of polyethylene annually. Located in the Coatzacoalcos Petrochemical Complex in the city of Nachital, state of Veracruz, the new project is scheduled for start-up in early 2015. The project is strategically located in an area with easy access to highways, ports and railroads, facilitating the distribution of the product within Mexico and abroad.

Utec is the Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene produced exclusively by Braskem at its industrial plant in Camaçari, Bahia. It’s molecular weight is about 10 times greater than High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) resins. This extremely high molecular weight provides UTEC® with several prominent properties, such as: high abrasion wear resistance, high impact resistance, very low coefficient of friction that makes the material self-lubricating. The ultra high molecular weight provides this engineering plastic with excellent mechanical properties, but it has such a high viscosity in its melt state that its melt index (190°C/21.6kg) is near zero. The most prominent qualities of UHMW-PE (or UTEC®) are its high abrasion wear resistance, high impact resistance and very low coefficient of friction. UTEC’s wear abrasion resistance is greater than most thermoplastics and higher than materials commonly used in making silos, containers and equipment that suffer great wear when in operation. Due to their high degree of orientation, fibers produced with UTEC are up to 15 times stronger than steel and nearly 40% more resistant than conventional aramid fibers (weight to weight). The fibers produced with UTEC have the highest performance available on the market. Their main applications are in the bullet-proof (body armor) segment, high performance rope & cable segment, fishing nets, cut protection gloves, high performance reinforced fabrics etc.

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