Japans Sanyo Chemical will start construction of a new viscosity index improver plant in South Korea next month, with operations expected to start by the end of 2019, the company announced recently.
The new plant will produce the companys Aclube brand of viscosity index improvers and has a capacity of 11,000 metric tons per year. Operations for the plant will begin in December 2019. A joint venture company, Sanyo Chemical Manufacturing Korea, Ltd., will be set up next month in Eumseong County, North Chungcheong Province, South Korea, where the new plant will be located.
Sanyo Chemicals four lubricant additive plants have a total combined capacity of 59,000 tons per year. That includes two plants in Japan (one in Kyoto and one in Kashima with a total capacity of 50,000 t/y), one in the United States (4,000 t/y) and one in China (5,000 t/y).
The company said olefin-based VI improvers are commonly used in automotive lubricants, but improvements in fuel efficiency when its Aclube VI improvers are added into lubricants has led to an increase in demand. Aclube is made from polymethyl methacrylate-based polymers.
Sanyo Chemicals total sales for financial year 2017 increased 6 percent to 172 trillion yen. Its overseas market – mainly Asia and the United States – had a 42 percent share of total company sales, and Sanyo plans to implement various plans to increase the share to 44 percent by financial year 2020. The company also said recently it is looking into expanding capacity of its China plant in Nantong, Jiangsu province.