Sanyo Chemical Industries lubricant and lube additive plant in China is barely half a year old, but the Japanese company is already considering an expansion. The facility, located in Jiangsu province, makes viscosity index improvers and finished lubricants marketed under Sanyos Aclube brand.
We are looking into expanding our plant capacity in China as we think it may not be enough to meet demand, a company spokesman said during a telephone interview. If the company does decide to expand the plant, it will double the overall capacity from 5,000 metric tons per year to 10,000 t/y. The plant started production in January.
With the increasing demand for fuel-efficient cars, there is a growing market for additives to improve the viscosity of engine oils, and there is an immediate need to consider expansion, he said.
In the future, we will also look into the set-up of another new plant in Southeast Asia or the United States as we want to market our Aclube products worldwide, he added. The company expects to invest about 4.5 billion yen (about U.S. $42 million) in new capacity.
The company has two V.I. improver plants in Japan and one in the United States. Including the plant in China, it has a total V.I. improver additive capacity of 59,000 t/y.
Viscosity index improvers are added to lubricating oils to reduce the degree of viscosity change at low and high temperatures. In a recent report, Lubricant Additives Market Analysis By Product, By Application, Industrial and Segment Forecasts to 2024, Grand View Research estimated global demand for these chemicals at more than 950,000 tons in 2015.
Grand View predicted that the value of global demand for all lubricant additives will grow by 31 percent in the decade ending in 2024, and that growth will be fastest in the Asia-Pacific region.
Growth is expected to be driven by development of fuel-efficiency norms, coupled with growing environmental concerns about carbon emission in China, India, and Japan, the report said. A developing aftermarket for automobiles in emerging economies and subsequent establishment of domestic blenders is [also] expected to drive growth over the forecast period.