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Mark Nikolich, CEO, Braskem America (left) and Christopher Gee, UTEC Business Unit President, Braskem America.
Mark Nikolich, CEO, Braskem America (left) and Christopher Gee, UTEC Business Unit President, Braskem America.

For Braskem, the Brazilian based and the world’s leading thermoplastics resins and biopolymer producer, CHINAPLAS 2018 was a show held at a unique time for the company to promote its unique plastic and polymer solution.

Braskem produces polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resins, as well as basic petrochemicals such as ethylene, propylene, butadiene, chlorine, benzene, toluene, etc. The company has production units in Brazil, the US, Mexico and Germany.

During the show, Mark Nikolich, CEO, Braskem America, shared his views on the opportunities for high-tech plastics and polymers in China with CPRJ.

“It is a unique time as we have a unique plastic and polymer solution for some of the current growth in China,” explained Mark Nikolich. “China is experiencing a revolution and is leading the world in some unique areas like electric vehicles (EV).”

The Chinese government and the industry are working together to accelerate the global adoption of EV. A big component is how to manage the energy in the EV, and therefore how to enhance the manufacturing of battery is a huge focus for special materials.

“Our UTEC polymer is unique and is in the use of separators in lithium ion batteries that are produced in China. It has a very high growth rate, over 25% per year of growth in this application,” continued Mark Nikolich. “UTEC has the unique properties that can produce efficient separators to increase the efficiencies of batteries.”
Braskem’s plant in São Paulo, Brazil.
UTEC is Braskem's brand of Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) with outstanding properties, such as high abrasion wear resistance and high impact resistance. The combined annual production capacity of UHMWPE of its facilities in the US and Brazil is 70 kilotons.

Another interesting application for UTEC is production of pipes for movements of materials. “A good example is mining. Therefore, for Chinese customers who produce pipes in mining operations, the pipes will have very good abrasion resistance so can be used for a very long period of time.” he remarked.

Mark Nikolich also said the Chinese manufacturing industry has been upgrading technologies very quickly, and it was energizing and amazing to discuss the evolving EV technology trends in China.

Christopher Gee, UTEC Business Unit President, Braskem America, added: “When I went to visit Chinese customers’ plants, I was impressed with the level of sophistication of the productions and operations. I was also impressed with the dedication they have to high quality. They have clear specifications to meet the requirement of the industry.”

India market another focus with enormous potential

Apart from China, Mark Nikolich mentioned that India is another focus in Asia of Braskem.

“Both Southeast Asia and India have huge potential. They have smaller manufacturing base for plastics and polymers, but they have huge potential for consumption,” he commented. “India is still building its petrochemical and polymer infrastructure, and it is a market with high potential to consume plastics and polymers, so it needs raw materials.”

Therefore, Braskem is also trying to understand the needs of the customers in India ahead of time, and find partners. 

Braskem introduces the new UTEC 9540

Braskem has introduced the new UTEC 9540 high molecular weight polyethylene polymer recently. UTEC 9540 has a molecular weight over 50 times higher than High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) resins and is used in applications that require extreme abrasion resistance.


This latest addition to Braskem's UTEC portfolio extends the depth and breadth of products available to a wide range of applications including RAM extruded and compression molded sheets, rods, and profiles.

UTEC is an UHMWPE product line manufactured exclusively by Braskem. UTEC’s molecular weight is about 10 times greater than HDPE resins and its density makes finished parts approximately eight times lighter than steel.

This extremely high molecular weight provides UTEC with several outstanding properties, such as: high abrasion wear resistance, high impact resistance, and very low coefficient of friction that makes the material self-lubricating.

UTEC can be used for a vast array of applications in the following industries: construction, agriculture, material handling, transportation, textile, pulp and paper, food and beverage, mining, marine, porous plastics, oil and gas, high performance fibers, battery separators and waste water treatment.

UTEC is sold in powder form with products spanning a range of molecular weights and particle sizes. The molecular weight begins in the low range (3 million g/mol) and extends to a high range (7 to 10 million g/mol).


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