InterviewDow Wolff to boost capacity by 20%

25 July 2008 19:22  [Source: ICIS news]

Dow Wolf to expand. Photo courtesy of Dow WolffBy Joseph Chang

NEW YORK (ICIS news)--Dow Wolff Cellulosics will boost its capacity by more than 20% by the first quarter of 2009 with its latest series of expansions, general manager Martin Sonntag said on Friday.

The company produces high performance cellulosics for use in pharamaceutical, food, personal care, paint and construction applications.

The expansions include a worldscale methylcellulose plant in Bitterfeld, Germany, scheduled to come on line in the first quarter of 2009, a new low-viscosity (LV) cellulosics train in Bomlitz, Germany, to start next month, and another methylcellulose train in Midland, Michigan, US, which started up in February.

While Dow would not disclose exact capacities or investments, Sonntag said its new worldscale cellulosics trains (with the exception of LV trains) will have capacities of at least 15,000 tonnes/year.

The LV train will meet growing demand in the food, personal care and pharmaceutical sectors, said Sonntag.

“This LV train will make us the only producer with a multi-site footprint,” noted Sonntag. “And this won’t be the last one,” he said. “We are really pushing ahead.”

Dow Wolff Cellulosics’ other LV units are located in Plaquemine, Louisiana, and Midland, Michigan.

The Bitterfeld plant, which will have one methylcellulose train and will be the largest methylcellulose facility in the world, will be focused on construction applications, said Sonntag.

“This project is running ahead of schedule and much better than anticipated,” he said. “And while it will be focused on construction applications, we can take this within our asset portfolio and help customers in other end markets get more supply.”

Bomlitz, Germany-based Dow Wolff Cellulosics is a business unit of US-based Dow Chemical created in July 2007 after the acquisition of Germany’s Wolff Walsrode. The company has annual sales of about $1.3bn (€832m).

($1 = €0.64)

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For more analysis and insight on Dow Wolff Cellulosics, look for the 18 August issue of ICIS Chemical Business magazine

By: Joseph Chang
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