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Covestro to build its largest TPU site in China

Source:Adsale Plastics Network 2023-06-06

Covestro will build its largest Thermoplastic Polyurethanes (TPU) site in Zhuhai, China. With an overall investment in the low three-digit million Euro range, it will also be the company’s largest investment in its TPU business.


TPU are a highly versatile plastic material, a real multi-talent that offers a broad range of properties for a diverse set of applications like sports shoe soles, IT devices such as sweepers, smart speakers and phonecases or automotive applications. The investment shows the company’s ongoing commitment to growth in its Solutions & Specialties business entities.


“With this new major investment, we will further expand our footprint in China, as we hope to capture the robust growth potential in the TPU market around the globe,” commented Holly Lei, President of Covestro China. “The new site with cutting-edge manufacturing and innovation capabilities is also expected to contribute to the high-quality development of the markets in China and all of Asia.”


Located in the Zhuhai Gaolan Port Economic Development Zone in Guangdong province, the new site will eventually span across 45,000 square meters. It shall be completed by 2033 and is expected to achieve a production capacity of nearly 120,000 tons of TPU per year. It will be built in three phases.


Shoe soles for hiking boots are one of many end products in which TPU can be found.

The mechanical completion of the first phase is estimated for the end of 2025. This will lead to a production capacity of about 30,000 tons per year and the creation of about 80 new jobs. The initial investment for this phase lies in the mid double-digit million Euro range.


“As a world-leading supplier of high-quality polymer materials, we hope to create more innovative technology and material solutions together with our customers,” said Lisa Ketelsen, Head of Covestro TPU APAC. “By locating the site in Zhuhai, we will continue to be fully integrated into China’s world-renowned IT, consumer electronics, and footwear value chains, while also supporting our Asia-Pacific and global customers. We will be faster and more flexible in providing more sustainable solutions.” 


“I’m delighted to share this important news for our Business Entity,” said Dr. Andrea Maier-Richter, Head of TPU at Covestro. “The majority of the TPU market and its growth prospects are in Asia and particularly in China. Our investment there shows our clear intention: We want to remain successful with our customers and partners in the long run.”


An innovation center will also be part of the investment, enabling researchers on-site to design customized material formulas and to do formula adjustment to meet customer demands within very short cycles.


Sustainable and ever more circular solutions are among the long-term core target for these efforts. This shall also support broadening the offerings under the recently introduced, sustainable “CQ” product line. Products labelled as such consist of at least 25% alternative, non-fossil raw materials.


The site will furthermore utilize the most advanced production technologies and be run on 100% green power. It will produce injection molding grades for footwear and a wide range of IT devices, as well as extrusion grades for cables, hoses and tubes or automotive applications.

Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)

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