By David Reed, UT EditorNew Martinsville, West Virginia-Bayer MaterialScience has closed the 50-kilotonnes-per-annum toluene diisocyanate (TDI) facility here, with immediate effect. The 30 employees affected by the closure will be reassigned to other jobs, the firm said in a 24 May announcement.”This closing completed the restructuring and consolidation of Bayer’s TDI business that we have outlined in the past,” said Jim Newport, general plant manager at New Martinsville.Over the last three years, Bayer’s TDI production has been consolidated into world-scale facilities in Baytown, Texas, and Dormagen and Brunsbüttel, Germany. Another world-scale TDI plant is planned for Caojing, China, which is expected to come on stream in 2009, Bayer added.”TDI has been produced at New Martinsville since the mid-’50s,” Newport said, “and the Bayer employees who work at the TDI unit are among the best in the business. “However, the economies of scale have been changing in the TDI marketplace, and Bayer is consolidating production to several world-scale plants, including its plant in Baytown,” his statement explained.”By concentrating our capacities in these high-technology, high-performance facilities, we are ideally equipped for the future and will be able to react to increased global demand for TDI with cost-effective production,” added Peter Vanacker, head of the Bayer MaterialScience Polyurethanes Business Unit.Bayer emphasised that the New Martinsville facility would continue to produce other isocyanates and polyols, coatings raw materials and thermoplastic polyurethanes, but said that a proportionate amount of by-product hydrochloric acid production at New Martinsville would cease as a result of the TDI closure. Isocyanates and polyols are combined to make flexible and rigid polyurethane foams, which are used in furniture, automotive, construction, appliance and sporting goods applications.Bayer MaterialScience llc claims to be one of the leading producers of polymers and high-performance plastics in North America and is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience AG with 18,000 employees at 40 sites around the world and 2004 sales of Euro8600 million ($11, 050 million). The firm’s coating, adhesive and sealant raw materials, polycarbonates, polyurethanes and thermoplastic urethane elastomers enhance the design and functionality of products in a wide variety of markets, including the automotive, construction, electrical and electronics, household and medical industries, and the sports and leisure fields. The firm also produces chlorine and related essential products for the chemicals industry.”
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