16 Oct 2019
SABIC’s Specialties business unveils at K 2019 its strategy for strong global growth through innovation, collaboration, sustainability
DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY, 16 October 2019 - SABIC reveals here at K 2019 (Hall 6, Stand D-42) its ambitious global growth strategy for its Specialties business, targeting the company’s vast array of vital technologies that help address hard problems in emerging markets such as electrical mobility, 5G infrastructure and remote healthcare. SABIC’s goal is to grow its Specialties business into one of the top five multi-segment premium specialty chemical companies in the world. Within the high performance engineering resins space, the company will continue to invest in innovation, sustainable technologies and global supply capacity. SABIC’s Specialties business will further enhance the overall customer experience through world-class service and enhanced regional customer support, while strengthening collaborations with OEMs, designers and molders worldwide.
“Today’s global challenges – from e-mobility to improved connectivity as well as remote healthcare – demand specialized materials that can contribute to the effective performance, durability and sustainability of tomorrow’s technological solutions,” said Ernesto Occhiello, Executive Vice President, SABIC’s Specialties Business. “SABIC intends to play an increasing, significantly broader role in accelerating the growth of these technologies worldwide, not only with differentiated materials, but also with our full spectrum of services, systems and capabilities. We are deploying our resources towards better support and collaboration with customers, addressing their hard challenges and delivering on the opportunities we uncover together.”
SABIC’s portfolio of specialty materials are key enablers in emerging technologies that are driving the 4th Industrial Revolution.
5G wireless technology is the combination of various new frequency ranges and protocols to enable increases in data transmission speed and lower latency - or the less delay in transferring data. 5G is critical to enabling many new application areas such as autonomous vehicles, Internet of Things, remote medicine, and augmented and virtual reality systems, and requires material technologies that provide superior dielectrics, electromagnetic shielding, and thermal management. 5G technology requires the development of a new infrastructure designed to handle the high data throughput and low latency.
SABIC’s NORYL™ oligomers are a key enabler of next-generation high-performance electronics systems, such as 5G infrastructure, which can handle high data transmission rates with low latency. They are used by printed circuit board (PCB) laminators to help lower the dielectric constant and loss factor in new products. Applications for NORYL oligomers include high-speed servers, wireless base stations and antennas.
Chip and component demand for 5G related applications, including network equipment, and antennas for handsets and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, is expected grow significantly from 2020 onwards. In Asia, major suppliers of PCBs are expanding production capacity while driving higher specification levels to meet expected explosive demand when 5G is commercially available.
Copper clad laminates - or CCLs - are considered a crucial material for high-end PCBs. SABIC’s High Purity BISDA, a curing agent in epoxy thermoset systems, has been developed for polyimide applications in flexible CCLs such as adhesive layers, coverlays, and varnishes. This specialty additive allows significantly lower processing temperatures, better adhesion to low profile, smoother copper surfaces and lower moisture absorption in comparison to alternative dianhydrides to enable lower power dissipations in flexible circuits.
5G and Remote Healthcare
Thanks to lower latency, 5G will provide an almost instantaneous transmission of high volumes of data between devices, enabling surgeons in the future to conduct procedures as if they were right next to the patient in the operating theatre. This evolution will stimulate the increasing adoption of robotics in surgical instrumentation, allowing doctors to perform surgery remotely from anywhere in the world. This trend can lead to a growing demand for SABIC’s ULTEM™ resins, LNP compounds and copolymers to be specified in internal and external parts of the next generation of surgical instruments, due to their sought-after properties such as, biocompatibility, lubrication, stability to Gamma and Ethylene Oxide (EO) sterilization - combined with regulatory compliance certification.
Rapid innovation in advanced driver assistance systems (ADASs) has created a need for thermo-optical resins that provide advantages over conventional materials in applications such as Light Detector and Ranging (LiDAR) lens covers. SABIC’s LEXAN™ CXT copolymers provide greater freedom to design complex shapes for LiDAR lens covers and superior resistance to impact and abrasion versus glass, and better impact and resistance to UV and abrasion compared to standard plastics.
ULTEM and EXTEM resins are also recognized by designers of optical sensors and lenses as new material choices that can replace glass and epoxy resins. Inherent flame retardance, high strength and dimensional stability, high light transmittance in the infrared spectrum range, extreme high-temperature resistance and high flow for miniaturized, complex or thin-wall parts are some of the major advantages these high-performance resins have over traditional materials – which can enable designers meet specialized requirements for innovative ADAS design.
Expanded Capacity, Service Excellence
To better serve customers of its specialty products, SABIC will be deploying production capacity for high-heat ULTEM and EXTEM resins at its new Singapore plant, due to come on stream in 2021 and enabling better service to the fast-growing Asian region.
SABIC is also recommissioning operations at its Dutch Bergen op Zoom plant, which will provide customers with a second source of NORYL resins. The multi-region NORYL production capacity will address reliably the demand of OEMs active in electrical mobility infrastructure, battery components, and renewable energy and smart grid applications. The recommission is expected to be completed in 2020.
SABIC is also dedicated in improving the customer experience through enhanced support for customers’ regional needs and service requirements. The company has made investments towards reliable and flexible supply, to ensure world-class service levels in support of our customers’ growth.
Value Chain Collaboration
SABIC is collaborating on a wide array of projects with the value chain and customers that use specialty products in new and existing applications, to help solve engineering and technology challenges. These are just a few examples of what SABIC can contribute through deep expertise and advanced services at its many state-of-the-art application development and testing facilities in the US, Netherlands, China, South Korea, Japan and India.
In order to produce lighter weight, cost-effective and recyclable vehicle panels using its UDMAX™ composite tape, SABIC collaborated with the United Kingdom’s RLE International, Italy’s AMA Composites and Germany’s Setex Textil GmbH. Their efforts resulted in a first thermoplastic composite bulkhead made with UDMAX tape and produced through a highly efficient, one-shot process of lamination and low-pressure molding. The use of UDMAX tape in vehicle panels allows the combination of strength and impact resistance with light weight, which can result in mass reduction in interior panels of up to 35 percent versus metal parts.
In another collaboration, SABIC and PTA Plastics worked with eNeura Inc. to develop the custom-colored housing of eNeura’s STMS mini®, a novel migraine relief device. The device maker selected SABIC’s LEXAN copolymer, a healthcare-grade material that met stringent requirements for biocompatibility, resistance to impact and household chemicals, and light-weight for easy handling.
A success story that has stood the test of time is the LNP™ product line. For more than 70 years, the scientists behind the pioneering product brand in compounding technologies have built a strong history of working closely with customers to develop materials that met their specific needs; even sometimes meeting a need they didn’t realize they had. The LNP portfolio has a string of important technological achievements in many industries – from light-weighting in automotive, bio-compatibility in healthcare, flame-retardance in electrical and electronics, to improved aesthetics in consumer products.
Contributions to Sustainable Development Goals
Through industry-leading technologies and customer collaborations, SABIC’s Specialties business is playing an important role in advancing United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
For Clean Water & Sanitation goal (SDG#6), SABIC’s materials are helping to improve water management systems. CERAFILTEC, a manufacturer of innovative water filtration solutions, developed a unique filtration module molded from SABIC’s NORYL glass-reinforced PPE-based resin, which is certified for potable water applications under NSF/ANSI Standard 61. The PPE material’s hydrolytic and dimensional stability and chemical and high-temperature resistance enabled CERAFILTEC to replace previous modules requiring corrosion-prone steel framing with a fully injection molded design.
NORYL resins are also contributing to the Affordable & Clean Energy goal (SDG#7) through their use in solar energy applications. These resins retain mechanical properties and offer low moisture uptake. Enphase Energy, a leader in solar equipment, selected NORYL resin for its smart grid microinverter housing. These microinverter products offer higher energy production and safer operation in residential and commercial solar systems than traditional microinverters.
The challenge of plastic waste is one facet of the Responsible Consumption & Production goal (SDG#12). Here, SABIC’s LNP ELCRIN™ iQ resin is playing an important and growing role. This portfolio of polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) compounded resins, derived from chemically recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET), support the circular economy and help reduce plastic waste. LNP ELCRIN iQ resin is a drop-in solution for virgin PBT, making it easier for manufacturers to make their products more sustainable. Since the launch of LNP ELCRIN iQ compounds in May, approximately 8 million used PET bottles have been chemically recycled to make this product. SABIC’s expectation is to exceed 20 million bottles by the end of this year.
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Notes for editors
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SABIC is a global leader in diversified chemicals headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. We manufacture on a global scale in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific, making distinctly different kinds of products: chemicals, commodity and high performance plastics, agri-nutrients and metals.
We support our customers by identifying and developing opportunities in key end markets such as construction, medical devices, packaging, agri-nutrients, electrical and electronics, transportation and clean energy.
SABIC recorded a net profit of US$ 5.7 billion in 2018. Sales revenues for 2018 totaled US$ 45 billion while total assets stood at US$ 85 billion. Production in 2018 was 75.3 million metric tons.
SABIC has more than 33,000 employees worldwide and operates in around 50 countries. Fostering innovation and a spirit of ingenuity, we have 11,738 global patent filings, and have significant research resources with innovation hubs in five key geographies – USA, Europe, Middle East, South Asia and North Asia.