Teijin Limited announced that it will expand its supply capability for dimethyl terephthalate (DMT), a petrochemical used as a raw material in producing polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and for other specialty chemical applications. The company’s existing DMT production facility at the Matsuyama Factory in Ehime Prefecture, Japan, will add a new line that processes DMT into high-purity briquettes, the form suited for external sales. Capital expenditure for the expansion will be approximately one billion yen. Construction will begin in October, with operations scheduled to begin in April 2013.
The expansion will enable Teijin to double its annual supply capability for DMT from the current 50,000 tons to 100,000 tons, making the company one of the largest DMT suppliers in the world. By 2016, the company plans to roughly triple its current revenue of approximately 5 billion yen from DMT sales.
DMT is a petrochemical produced from mixed xylene. When polymerized with ethylene glycol, DMT can be used as a raw material for PET. In the past, DMT was widely used for this application, but now purified terephthalic acid (PTA), which can be mass-produced at larger facilities, has become the raw material of choice for general purpose PET production. As a result, the number of global DMT manufacturers has been declining, and only a few retain systems for processing DMT for external supply.
However, due to the fact that functional particles can be added to DMT at low temperatures, that DMT dissolves easily in a solvent and can easily be made to react, and that DMT is neutral, offering little interference with the function of additives—all characteristics PTA lacks—there is increasing global demand for DMT as a raw material for specialty chemical applications. Examples include specialty polyesters, elastomers, adhesives, and other alternatives to glass with superior chemical resistance.
Teijin has been producing DMT as a raw material for in-house production of polyester fibers, films, and other materials since 1964. In the 1980s, with the establishment of technologies to process DMT into flakes, enabling long-term storage, Teijin began external sales and has been expanding that business while establishing other advanced processing technologies. The company’s total production capacity for DMT is 230,000 tons per annum, of which the company will have the capability to process 100,000 tons for external sales upon completion of the expansion, doubling the current external supply capability of 50,000 tons.
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