PAULINIA, Brazil—Houston-based Kraton Corp. has approved construction of a semi works latex unit in Paulinia to expand production of its Cariflex polyisoprene products.
Kraton will begin construction at Paulinia in the first quarter of 2020 and plans to commission the new plant in the second quarter, according to the company.
The new facility will allow Kraton to accelerate its innovation projects, according to Philippe Henderson, market development director for Cariflex.
"We can reduce the cost and complexity during the early stages of new product scale-up activities and commercialization, allowing us to improve time to market," Henderson said.
The Paulinia plant's capabilities could lead to more flexible commercialization of Kraton's new Cariflex IR2GL1 latex, according to the company.
Cariflex IR2GL1 is a next-generation thermoplastic elastomer latex that Kraton claims offers purity, strength and softness while reducing the allergens frequently found in medical gloves and other dipped goods.
The Paulinia facility will allow for more efficient transition between the laboratory pilot unit and the full-scale commercial unit, the company said.
The semi works latex unit at Paulinia will allow Cariflex production to operate on either a Direct Connect or solid polymer feedstock basis. The DC mode allows the semi works unit to pump polymer materials directly from the onsite commercial polymerization reactor. This, the firm said, provides flexibility for development projects based on polymers supplied by third parties or sourced from Kraton's core anionic polymerization operations.
Earlier this year, Kraton said it would evaluate strategic alternatives for its Cariflex business, including a possible sale.