Imerys expands its presence in China to better serve electric vehicle polymer customers
- Imerys has invested €43m in a state-of-the-art specialty mineral polymer additive plant in Wuhu, China.
- The plant will leverage Imerys’ mineral expertise to provide the Chinese market with a local source of its high-end specialty talc solutions to meet growing demand for mineral reinforcement additives for lightweight automotive plastics.
Imerys officially inaugurated last week its new talc processing plant in Wuhu, China, dedicated to the production of high-value specialty talcs to serve the automotive polymers market. The ceremony was attended by key customers as well as Government officials.
This new talc processing facility is the company’s most ambitious investment project in the region in recent years. It produces Imerys’ range of engineered high aspect ratio, ultrafine, and micro lamellar talcs - including brand names such as HAR®, Jetfine®, Steamic® - specifically designed to improve the mechanical performance of talc-reinforced plastic automotive parts which are increasingly replacing metal parts in modern vehicles - as well as its ImerFlex® range for tire inner liner downgauging.
While automotive lightweighting is an important key trend - with automotive part producers seeking new materials to create lighter, stronger, and less fuel-greedy vehicles - the recent shift to e-mobility is making the race to find lighter components all the more urgent, since electric vehicles (EV) are heavier than their combustion engine counterparts. The new plant will play a key role in fueling the Chinese automobile industry - in particular the growing electric vehicles sector - with the critical materials the industry needs.
The new plant occupies around 26,000 square meters and was built in two years. It employs around 30 people and is slated to reach its full annual production capacity of around 35,000 tonnes by 2025. Located in Wuhu, Anhui province, it benefits from a strategic location in the heart of the country’s automobile industry, enabling the company to forge closer ties with clients, whilst enabling the latter to benefit from the proximity of a major industrial mineral supplier.
With booming EV production in China, Imerys’ capacity to provide a local source of critical minerals is crucial to local automotive part manufacturers. The new plant will be able to provide Chinese polymer producers with the same state-of-the-art talc products we currently supply to global automotive polymer leaders from our European production sites. It not only strengthens our strategic presence in the region and our relationship with customers, it also brings a host of benefits to local manufacturers, including shorter lead times and cost-competitiveness.
Furthermore, the investment forms an integral part of Imerys’ strategy which aims to support the automotive industry’s transition towards a low-carbon economy thanks to our high-performance mineral solutions.
Imerys enjoys a strong presence in China with a Technology Center in Tianjin, and 10 other plants - including a calcium carbonates processing plant adjacent to the new facility - and currently employs around 1,400 people in the country.
The world’s leading supplier of mineral-based specialty solutions for industry with €4.3 billion in revenue and 14,000 employees in 2022, Imerys delivers high value-added, functional solutions to a great number of sectors, from processing industries to consumer goods. The Group draws on its understanding of applications, technological knowledge and expertise in material science to deliver solutions by beneficiating its mineral resources, synthetic minerals and formulations. Imerys’ solutions contribute essential properties to customers’ products and their performance, including heat resistance, hardness, conductivity, opacity, durability, purity, lightness, filtration, absorption and water repellency. Imerys is determined to develop responsibly, in particular by fostering the emergence of environmentally-friendly products and processes.
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