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Invista to Grow Nylon Production on Two Continents

Invista is expanding its nylon production capacity in China and the U.S.

On Wednesday, Invista and the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park (SCIP) signed memorandum of cooperation to construct an adiponitrile (ADN) plant in Shanghai. ADN is the key ingredient in the production of nylon 6,6, a versatile polymer used for things like specialty apparel fibers, engineered plastics, automotive airbag fabric and high-performance coatings.

Jeff Gentry, Invista chairman and CEO, said, “With this memorandum of cooperation and a commitment to work toward an investment agreement, we are pleased to be taking the next step toward finalizing the investment and its location.”

Invista looked to Shanghai due in part to the benefits of integrating the new facility into Invista’s existing HMD (hexamethylenediamine), which is also an ingredient in nylon production, and polymer plants at SCIP.

“Furthermore, the cooperation and support we’ve received from the Shanghai government and SCIP to advance this project give us confidence that we can work together to meet future milestones,” Gentry said.

According to the cooperation agreement, Invista will advance its internal decision-making process for the project with strong support from the Shanghai government and SCIP, including commitment to intellectual property protections and joint efforts to execute an investment agreement.

Engineering for a 400,000-ton ADN plant has begun at an estimated investment in excess of $1 billion. With support of the local authorities, Invista said it expects construction to start in 2020, with startup expected to begin by 2022.

In line with that, Invista is entering the final design phase for a $250 million project at its Victoria, Tex., site to upgrade its manufacturing technology and increase production of ADN. Construction for the project is set to get going in the first quarter.

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“We’re proud to deploy our most advanced ADN technology here and expect this investment to further strengthen the Victoria site’s competitive position as a global leader in the manufacture of nylon intermediate chemicals,” said Bill Greenfield, president of Invista Intermediates.

The new technology, which was developed and is in use at the company’s facility in Orange, Tex., brings improved product yields, reduced energy consumption, lower greenhouse gas emissions, enhanced process stability and reduced capital intensity compared to existing technologies. These improvements in performance have enabled the Orange facility to set production volume records since deployment in 2014, Invista noted.

This investment in Victoria comes after last September’s news that joint venture partner Solvay decided to deploy this technology at the Butachimie joint venture in France.

As the world’s leading supplier for ADN, Invista supports growth and innovation in the nylon industry by continually investing in research and development, including the continued improvement of its ADN technology. The new ADN technology is the result of more than $40 million in research and development spanning four years on two continents. Invista markets the proprietary ingredients for nylon 6,6 and apparel and home goods fiber brands including Cordura, Stainmaster and Antron.