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SEKISUI CHEMICAL: Films capacity expansion in the Netherlands / Output to meet rising demand from car industry

Sekisui Chemical (Tokyo / Japan; www.sekisuichemical.com) is spending about JPY 20 bn (EUR 149m) to expand resin and films production in the Netherlands. The measure is to meet growing demand from the automotive industry.

Output of PVB resin at its Chemelot site in Geleen will rise by 1.7 times current capacity (actual figures were not disclosed) while a new line for interlayer film for laminated glass will be installed in Roermond. The PVB resin line will go into operation during the first half of fiscal 2020, while the film line will start up in the second half of fiscal 2019.

At Roermond, Sekisui said it plans to mostly produce wedge-shaped interlayer films for head-up displays (HUDs), which project information such as speed onto car windscreens. According to its own in-house estimates (fiscal 2016), Sekisui said it has the world’s top share in the automotive interlayer film market.

The Japanese company said global car production is expected to grow at approximately 2% per year in the coming years, rising to 105m units in 2021 from 94m units in 2016. In addition, the growth in demand for interlayer film for laminated glass is expected to exceed the increases in car production as demand spreads for applications beyond windscreens to front side and roof windows, along with rising demand for repairs.

Furthermore, said Sekisui, the growth rate for interlayer films with added sophisticated functions such as sound and heat insulation and HUD compatibility will remain at 5% or more per year. In particular, and according to its own estimates, Sekisui predicts that direct-type HUDs will be adopted in roughly 10m new cars in 2020, which is about double the level in 2017.

Sekisui began full-scale production of interlayer films at its plant in Morelos / Mexico in January 2018. It has been producing the films at Suzhou, Jiangsu / China since April 2015.

Grand View Research (San Francisco, California / USA; www.grandviewresearch.com) estimates that the global automotive film market was worth USD 5.84m (EUR 4.95m) in 2016 â€" see Plasteurope.com of 16.08.2017. North America accounts for the biggest share of this market, followed by Europe, the world’s largest car manufacturing region.

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