Arkema invests €20 million to double specialty polyamide powder production capacities in France

Arkema, a French chemical and materials company, has announced plans to expand its global specialty polyamides powder production capacities at its French Pyrenees facilities by 50%.

Through an investment of €20 million, Arkema will cater to the growing international demand for high-performing powders for industrial applications – including coatings, composites and the 3D printing market.

“We continue to invest to support the growth of our customers, especially in cutting-edge, next generation,” said Erwoan Pezron, Global President of Arkema’s Technical Polymers business.

The Arkema production site in the French Pyrenees. Photo via Arkema.
The Arkema production site in the French Pyrenees. Photo via Arkema.


Supporting industrial manufacturing

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printing technology, fuses successive layers of powder materials, which can include polymer, nylon, or polystyrene into solid objects. This process has been used by companies from advanced sectors such as automotive and aerospace for cost-effective rapid prototyping and manufacturing.

For example, Energica, an Italian manufacturer of supersport electric motorcycles, has fabricated functional parts for Italy’s first street-legal electric motorcycle, the Energica Ego, using SLS 3D printing.

Sold under the brand name Orgasol, Arkema’s specialty polyamides powders are made through a unique patented polymerization process which creates its small and complex controlled particle size distribution. Due to its notable strength, viscosity, stability, and contour resolution, Orgasol has been used for a range of industrial applications.

For instance, Orgasol Industrial powders have been used as a toughening agent within composite layers where there is evidence of delamination –  the separation of material layers.

Orgasol speciality polyamide powder. Photo via: Arkema.
Orgasol polyamide powder. Photo via Arkema.

Arkema invests in Asia

Last year, Arkema announced plans to expand the production of its 3D printable resins by 30% at its subsidiary Sartomer’s Nansha facility in China. This expansion arose to also meet increasing customer demands in the electronic, 3D printing, and inkjet printing markets.

“Having recently announced very substantial investments in Asia for our Rilsan polyamide 11 and Rilsamid polyamide 12 product lines, we now shift our focus to the Orgasol specialty powders portfolio,” said Pezron.

In addition, earlier this year, Arkema announced a partnership with fellow high-performance materials company, Hexcel to develop carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic tapes for advanced aircraft.

This expansion is scheduled to be fully in effect by the second half of 2019.  

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Featured image shows Orgasol polyamide powder. Photo via Arkema.

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