FRANKFURT, Germany (Jan. 22)—Denki Kagaku Kogyo K.K. is investing $4 million to triple annual production of its specialty elastomer Denka ER to 3,000 metric tons. The company makes the ethylene vinyl acetate acrylic ester copolymer at its Chiba, Japan, site. The expansion will take place in two stages and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2004, according to Katsumi Sugihara of the company's Denka Chemicals GmbH subsidiary in Frankfurt. Denka recently restructured its portfolio to focus its resources on specialty chemicals. Denka ER is used mainly in automotive applications such as hose, oil seals and packings, though it can be used for industrial components. The specialty material is particularly resistant to cyclic deterioration from the combined effects of heat and oil, the company claims. The elastomer exhibits heat resistance somewhere between that of silicone rubber and chlorosulphonated polyethylene or chloroprene rubber, according to Denka literature.