Kraton to construct TPE latex unit in Brazil

March 22, 2019

Kraton Corporation, formerly Kraton Performance Polymers, has approved of the construction of a semi works latex unit in Paulinia, Brazil, which is scheduled to complete by early 2020 and ready for commissioning by the second quarter of 2020. Kraton is a leading global producer of styrenic block copolymers or “SBCs”, specialty polymers, and high-value performance products derived from pine wood pulping co-products.

Cariflex rubber is a pure, high-performance alternative to natural rubber; the investment by Kraton could lead to more flexible commercialisation of the new Cariflex IR2GL1 Latex, a next-generation thermoplastic elastomer latex offering purity, strength and softness while reducing allergies frequently encountered in dipped goods. The platform would allow for more efficient transition between the laboratory pilot unit and the full scale commercial unit, and could also offer invaluable support for alternative raw material assessments for security of supply or process, and process control studies.

The semiworks latex unit will be able to operate on the basis of using solid polymer feedstock (non-DC) mode or the Direct Connect (DC) mode where the semi works unit will pump polymer materials directly from the onsite commercial polymerisation reactor. This will provide tremendous flexibility to embrace ambitious development projects based on polymers either supplied by third parties, or sourced from Kraton’s core anionic polymerisation operations.

Kraton’s Market Development Director for Cariflex Polyisoprene Products, Philippe Henderson has said: “The new semi works unit will enable further acceleration of our innovation projects to reduce the cost and complexity during the early stages of new product scale-up activities and commercialisation, allowing for improvised time to market; we believe the Cariflex technology has high growth potential.”

Earlier this year, Kraton initiated a process to review strategic alternatives for the Cariflex business, which may result in a sale of the business.

Kraton’s polymers are used in a wide range of applications, including adhesives, coatings, consumer and personal care products, sealants and lubricants, medical, packaging, automotive, paving and roofing applications. As the largest global provider in the pine chemicals industry, the company’s pine-based specialty products are sold into adhesive, road and construction and tyre markets, and it produces and sells a broad range of performance chemicals including fuel additives, oilfield chemicals, coatings, metalworking fluids and lubricants, inks and mining.

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