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Home > Chemial News > Company News > The New Energy Vehicle Track Is Hot, And Plastic Giants Such As Covestro, Lanxess, And DSM Are Pouring In

The New Energy Vehicle Track Is Hot, And Plastic Giants Such As Covestro, Lanxess, And DSM Are Pouring In

ECHEMI 2022-01-12

On January 5, at the 2022CES exhibition, Japanese technology giant Sony released a new electric SUV concept car VISION-S02. Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida also announced that Sony Mobile will be established to commercialize Sony's electric vehicles.

 

Since 2021, more and more Internet and technology companies have entered the field of car manufacturing, including Xiaomi, Midea, 360, etc., and even the Internet freight company Huolala has also participated. Netizens joked that some future smart car manufacturers will sell mobile phones, electronics, and antivirus software. Recently, Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the Passenger Federation, said that the production and sales of new energy vehicles are expected to reach 6 million in 2022, of which more than 5.5 million new energy vehicles are passenger vehicles, achieving a super growth trend.

 

While giants from all walks of life are optimistic about new energy vehicles, major plastics giants also set their sights on new energy vehicles.

 


Covestro

In 2021, German chemical giant Covestro will participate in the CIIE for the first time. As a chemical company, Covestro has a long and in-depth cooperation with the automotive industry. Not only that, Covestro has also provided very unique assistance on the road to dual carbon in the automotive industry.

 

"As the inventor of polycarbonate, we focus on the development and application of energy-saving, carbon-reducing, innovative high-tech materials. From our point of view, we mainly focus on three aspects." Covestro Engineering Plastics Division Global President Wang Li said, "First of all, we focus on innovative material solutions, which are entirely our own, based on the needs of customers and the market, and focus on some industry-oriented technologies - such as 5G base stations in the communications industry, automotive Electric vehicles in the industry - material research and development led by application development. In this process, the concepts of low-carbon, recyclable, and sustainable development are combined. Secondly, we emphasize innovation in business models. Because of sustainable development, carbon reduction The whole industry chain and upstream and downstream cooperative customers have different demands and visions. We try to carry out different cooperation with partners in the industry chain. The third point is that we follow the concept of circular design. We try to influence and guide Our customers make them have the concept of recyclability in the process of product design, so that our customers' products also have high performance, easy recycling and regeneration capabilities."

 

The automotive industry is one of the industries that applies various innovative materials from Covestro and accepts the concept of circular economy faster.

 

"Automotive is one of the core business units of the Engineering Plastics Division, and the automotive industry provides us with many opportunities for application development. We have in-depth cooperation with the automotive industry chain from automotive OEMs to Tier 1s, and many leading customers are It is our long-term partner. In this context, of course, because we are in the automotive industry, the global market sales in 2020 will account for about 40% of the engineering plastics division, and we are a leader in this industry. Under this premise, We have started discussions with many leading customers about sustainable development and circular economy." Wang Li introduced, "The headlight assembly of the Lantu FREE show car on the Covestro booth this time is made of Made of our low-carbon raw material polycarbonate. This material can reduce carbon emissions by about 80% and is a promising example of carbon reduction in automotive materials. Similarly, raw materials based on physical recycling are added and mixed in a certain proportion, which can Providing post-consumer recycled materials with a content of up to 75% can be used in various plastic parts such as automotive interiors and exteriors, which can also reduce the carbon emissions per component to a very low level."

 


LANXESS

On November 11, German specialty chemicals company LANXESS announced that it will convert its High Performance Materials (HPM) business unit into a separate legal corporate structure, with implementation scheduled to begin in the first half of 2022. LANXESS High Performance Materials is one of the leading suppliers of high performance plastics. These materials are mainly used in the automotive, electrical and electronics industries. Electric vehicles in particular are a promising area of application for LANXESS plastics, which are mainly used in car bodies, battery housings and charging infrastructure.

 

“The global market for new forms of mobility is booming and is strategically repositioning itself – creating many innovative alliances and partnerships. To capitalize on growth opportunities in this market and be able to act flexibly, we will The business units create a separate legal structure," said Hubert Fink, member of the management board of LANXESS AG.

 


The recent expansion of LANXESS in China also confirmed this.

On November 24, 2021, LANXESS will build a second production line for high-tech engineering plastics under the Duriton and Baogan brands at its Changzhou production base. With an investment of about 30 million euros, the project will increase the annual production capacity of its Changzhou production base by 30,000 tons. Together with the existing Changzhou and Wuxi production facilities, LANXESS' total compounding capacity in China will reach 110,000 tons/year. The new production line is scheduled to start production in the first quarter of 2023.

 

Hubert Fink, Member of the Board of Management of LANXESS Group, said: "This capacity expansion is to meet the strong demand of the growing Chinese automotive industry. The vigorous development of electric mobility in China has led to new demand for lightweight applications, which continues to increase. The proportion of electronic components used in automobiles. The construction of the new production line is another important measure for LANXESS to expand its business layout in Greater China.”

 


Trinseo

In November, Trinseo CEO Frank Bozich announced that the company would be fully transformed into a specialty materials company over the next few years. Trinseo's chief executive said the company will seek to strengthen its chemical business, especially its specialty materials business, to become a stronger player in four key sectors - automotive, construction, medical and consumer products. To this end, the company will transform through aggressive business realignment.

 

Bozich noted that the automotive end market is a key growth market for Trinseo and currently accounts for about 20% of the company's sales revenue. In the future, the automotive market will be an important basis for Trinseo's transformation. Bozich said: “We are enjoying dividends from the growth in demand in the automotive market as the solutions we provide see increased adoption, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) for automotive interiors and automotive lighting The demand for polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) is growing. The current trend in the U.S. auto market towards larger models also means that more materials such as ABS are needed for interiors.”

 

Frank Bozich also said that in line with the company's transformation, the company's product portfolio will change significantly. As a result, companies will be active in M&A in 2021.

 

In May 2021, the company completed the acquisition of Arkema's polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) business; in September of the same year, the company acquired Aristech Surfaces, a company whose main business is acrylic (Acrylic) materials. In terms of business divestiture, the synthetic rubber business will be sold to Synthos, and the transaction is expected to be completed in 2022. In addition, businesses that may be divested are being evaluated, including styrene monomer (Styrene monomer), polystyrene (PS), etc. Frank Bozich pointed out that the company has done a lot in M&A this year, and the next year will focus on digesting and integrating these acquisitions.

 


SABIC

As carbon reduction has gradually become a global consensus, it is imperative to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions. Although people's attention to environmental protection travel mostly focuses on fuel innovation, making cars lighter is actually a solution with significant energy saving and emission reduction effects. Experiments have shown that if the weight of the whole vehicle is reduced by 10%, the fuel efficiency can be improved by 6%-8%; in addition, in terms of driving experience, the overall acceleration of the lightweight car is significantly improved, and the vehicle control stability, noise, vibration, etc. Improvements have also been made in aspects.

 

In order to help automakers reduce body weight and achieve sustainable development, SABIC has customized innovative solutions for many customers in China, such as the world's largest LEXAN polycarbonate rear quarter window for SAIC-GM, and glass windows. Compared with the weight reduction of up to 40%; BMW's MINI Countryman is also equipped with a lightweight instrument panel bracket using SABIC material.

 

As one of the modern new environmentally friendly travel methods, new energy vehicles have always been controversial, and lightweight battery packs can solve this problem to a certain extent.

 

In order to make "electric" travel smoother, SABIC has developed a battery pack that uses thermoplastic materials instead of metal materials. Compared with conventional aluminum and other metal materials, it not only reduces the weight of each component by 30%-50%, but also simplifies assembly. technology, reduce costs, improve thermal control and safety, enhance crashworthiness, and effectively break through the battery life bottleneck of electric vehicles, and get rid of the embarrassing situation of "circling around a hundred miles around the charging pile".

 


DSM

During the 2021 Chinaplas held in April this year, DSM Engineering Materials launched the "Discovery Journey" virtual booth online. Among them, automobiles (including the general automotive application market and new energy vehicles) account for a large proportion, highlighting DSM's ambitions in this field. Yu Bin, global senior engineering development manager of DSM Engineering Materials, was interviewed by the media and shared with you how improving engineering plastics can help vehicle electrification. The following are the highlights of the interview:

 

"Under the background that various countries and regions have proposed carbon neutrality visions, we look at the development of the entire automobile industry and focus on China. In 2030, China will ban the sale of pure fuel vehicles, and electrification is an irreversible trend. Compared with traditional fuel vehicles, electrification is an irreversible trend. Vehicles, various forms and depths of vehicle electrification, whether it is hybrid, plug-in hybrid, pure electric or fuel cell, are inseparable from high-voltage battery packs, high-voltage control systems, inverters, DC-DC converters, motors and other important functional components. DSM focuses on the three-electric system and fuel cell system of automobiles. The materials provided by DSM, such as PBT, PA66, PPS, PPA-ForTii®, are used in mainstream OEMs such as Volkswagen, GM, Special Sila, Xiaopeng, Weilai, Ideal, BYD, SAIC, GAC, BAIC, Great Wall and other brands have applications." Yu Bin cut to the chase.

 

Although DSM has plans to sell its engineering plastics project, it remains optimistic about the future of new energy vehicles.

 


ROHM Chemicals

On August 6, ROHM held the opening ceremony of the Asian Technology Center at the Shanghai International Innovation Center for Chemical New Materials (INNOGREEN). Ma Jing, director of Shanghai Chemical Industry Park Management Committee, and Ling Hongen, president of ROHM Asia, attended the ceremony and cut the ribbon. ROHM Group CEO Michael Pack and Group Supervisory Board Chairman Yu Dahai attended the ceremony via video conference.

 

In recent years, ROHM's molding compound business has continuously launched new products developed locally in China, such as the toughened PMMA PLEXIGLAS® series suitable for automotive high-brightness black columns and electronic display screens, which can meet the requirements of "seeing the light but not the light" in the lighting industry, etc. Diversified design requirements, as well as the light-diffusing PMMA series with high transmittance, high coverage and other performance advantages.

 

In addition, at the end of December, ROHM Group also officially announced to invest tens of millions of euros to expand its Shanghai factory to expand its PMMA (polymethacrylate) molding compound products under the trademark of PLEXIGLAS® (this product is available in the Americas trademarked as ACRYLITE®) capacity. The expanded molding compound plant is expected to be completed and put into operation in the second quarter of 2023.

 

ROHM PMMA molding compound products have always been in strong global demand. ROHM PLEXIGLAS® has high durability, weather resistance and UV resistance, high color fastness, high brightness and high transparency, as well as excellent hardness and scratch resistance, etc. It can be widely used in automobiles, construction, Lighting and household appliances industries.

 


ROHM's PLEXIGLAS® molding compounds business has grown rapidly in China over the past few decades. The rapid growth of the automotive and lighting industries in Asia has promoted the layout and development of ROHM in Shanghai. "This move not only supports the business growth of our customers, but also helps us seize new market opportunities," said Ling Hongen, President of ROHM Group Asia: "The announcement of the expansion of the Shanghai factory is another important milestone for ROHM's development in China. Milestone.” In addition, the ROHM New Technology Center was officially opened in Shanghai a few months ago. In the future, ROHM will continue to deepen its localization business and strive to promote the common development of China's automotive and lighting industries.

 

In addition, BASF, DuPont, Dow and other foreign chemical and plastic giants have positioned their future development direction in the new energy vehicle industry.

 

Since foreign material suppliers almost monopolize the technology of some core components of automotive plastics, the purchase price of independent brands is still high. Some lightweight materials have obvious weight reduction effects, but the cost is high. For economical products, the cost of reducing the weight of the vehicle by one kilogram is controlled within 20 yuan, which is an acceptable range. At present, the price of foreign material manufacturers is several thousand yuan per ton, and the average cost per kilogram increases by tens of yuan compared with local material manufacturers.

 

The products of local material suppliers are mainly used for parts such as bumpers, fenders, and wheel covers. The supply of lightweight materials for core components such as steering knuckles and chassis suspensions is basically monopolized by foreign companies such as Bayer, BASF, and DuPont. BASF's long glass fiber materials are mainly used in engine mounts, impact-resistant components in vehicles and other components. With increasingly stringent policies, weak links in the automotive industry chain, such as material supply and lightweight design, will still face severe challenges. Compared with foreign capital, private brand enterprises have no advantage in sales volume and capital.

 

At present, some enterprises represented by Chery Automobile have cooperated with parts suppliers, lightweight material suppliers and automobile enterprises from the early stage of research and development.

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