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PLEXIGLAS GS 249 stretched for passenger cabin windows.
PLEXIGLAS GS 249 stretched for passenger cabin windows.
Photo: 12

Evonik is investing two-digit million euro on the construction of a new stretching and polishing plant at the Weiterstadt site in Germany.

The ground-breaking ceremony took place on March 2. Production of large polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) PLEXIGLAS sheets for the aviation industry is expected to start at the end of this year.

The new plant is being constructed directly next to the existing production facility for the cast PMMA blocks that serve as the primary products for the stretching process.

According to Evonik, the stretched PMMA sheets produced here will be more than twice as large as the currently available formats, while satisfying the stringent standards (Mil-P-25690 and EN 4366) of the aviation industry.

"The new plant fits perfectly with our position as a leading supplier of polymer materials. It is the embodiment of our expertise in building complex technology platforms and integrated structures and operating them efficiently. It also indicates our commitment to serve the aviation industry as a reliable partner," said Dr. Michael Pack, member of the Management Board of Evonik Performance Materials GmbH.

Compared with cast PMMA materials, Evonik said stretched PMMA sheets offer higher impact strength and increased chemical resistance.

"With our new plant, we're supplying the largest sheets available anywhere in the world with the lowest possible thickness tolerances," said Roland Mickal, Head of the Transportation market segment at Acrylic Products.

The aviation industry can benefit from the new format, according to the company. First of all, it makes production of aircraft and helicopter glazing more efficient. In addition, entirely new designs, such as particularly large cabin windows, are now possible.

This is Evonik's second investment in quick succession at the Weiterstadt site. The construction of a production plant for high-grade PMMA flat film was announced as recently as mid-February, with investment again in the two-digit million range.

"Both of these projects express our confidence in the sustainability of our PLEXIGLAS business. In the future we will systematically expand our presence in markets of high growth potential, entirely in accord with our aim of intelligently designing our chemicals business," said Pack.

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