kuraray


News Releases 2004

Expansion of EVAL Manufacturing Facilities in Europe Completed

Oct 20, 2004
Kuraray Co., Ltd.

EVAL Europe's plantEVAL Europe’s plant

Kuraray has completed the expansion of facilities to manufacture EVOH resin (which Kuraray markets under the trade name EVAL) at EVAL Europe N. V. (Antwerp, Belgium). The project just completed increases production capacity by 12,000 tons per year, to 24,000 tons per year.

Kuraray was first in the world to develop and commercialize this high-performance resin in 1972, with the launch of EVAL. It has the highest gas impermeability level of any plastic (approximately 10,000 times that of ordinary polyethylene). These excellent gas barrier properties make EVAL film a superior food-wrapping material. Because it contributes to lighter weight of the products in which it is used, is easily shaped, and is impermeable to fumes, it is an excellent material for auto fuel tanks. Demand for EVAL in this connection is growing rapidly. In addition, the use of EVAL pipes for floor heating systems and in other applications in the residential field is growing.

At present, demand for EVAL is centered in Japan, the U. S., and Europe, and is growing at more than 10% per year. This facilities expansion positions us to meet not only European demand, but also the demand growth forecast in the Middle East and South Africa as lifestyles change in those areas. This project also allows us to use a more environmentally aware manufacturing process.

In addition to EVAL Europe N. V., Kuraray has EVAL manufacturing facilities at its Okayama Plant (Okayama Prefecture, 10,000 tons per year), and at Eval Company of America (the U.S., 23,000 tons per year). This Eval Europe N. V. expansion project also completes our tripolar, 57,000 tons-per-year EVAL manufacturing structure, anchored in Japan, the U. S., and Europe.

The expansion of facilities at Eval Company of America is also underway, and will increase their production capacity by 24,000 tons per year, resulting in a total production capacity between the three locations of 81,000 tons per year. This product is scheduled for completion in fiscal 2006.

EVAL production capacity as of October 2004 (Ktons per year)
  Current* Planned expansion Scheduled completion After expansion
EVAL Europe N. V. 24     24
Okayama 10     10
Eval Company of America 23 +24 March 2006 47
Total 57 +24   81

Kuraray is working to expand its EVAL business, positioning it as one of the Company's core businesses, emphasizing uniqueness and competitiveness worldwide, as called for in Kuraray's "G-21" medium-term business plan.

Kuraray will continue applying its highly original technology to the development of new products, seeking to solidify its position as the global leader in the gas-barrier related business domain.

Additional information

1. Volume of demand for EVOH resin (Kuraray estimates)

Total demand

Volume of demand for EVOH resin (Kuraray estimates) (Ktons)

2. Primary Properties of EVAL

  • High impermeability to gasses, including oxygen
    (approximately 10,000 times that of ordinary polyethylene).
  • Excellent resistance to organic solvents.
  • Because it contains no chlorine, it generates no dioxins when incinerated.

3. Principal applications of EVAL and relative weights

an automotive fuel tankan automotive fuel tank

Food packaging material: 70%
(Mayonnaise, ketchup, tea leaves, fruit and vegetable juices, fruits, fresh meats, processed meats, etc.)

Non-food packaging materials: 30%
(Automotive fuel tanks, pipes for floor heating systems, vacuum insulation sheets for refrigerators, etc.)

4. EVAL Europe N. V.

(1)Company name EVAL Europe N. V.
(2)Headquarters Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium
(3)Production capacity 24,000 tons per year
(4)President Junshi Hata
(5)Capital Euro 29,700,000