Asahi Glass Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Tokyo; President & CEO: Masahiro Kadomatsu) has decided to increase its production capacity of AFLAS® fluoroelastomer (copolymer of tetrafluoroethylene and propylene)?sed mainly in covering materials for electric cables and automotive parts (oil seals). Asahi Glass will increase its production capacity at its Chiba plant (Ichihara-shi, Chiba Prefecture), with construction scheduled to complete in March 2006, and will raise production capacity of AFLAS® by around 50%. Total investments in the project are estimated at approximately 1.8 billion yen.
AFLAS® is a special kind of fluorinated rubber developed originally by Asahi Glass, and has been on the market for 25 years. Compared to conventional general-purpose fluoroelastomers, AFLAS® boasts a number of advantages, such as (1) extremely high electrical resistance, (2) high chemical resistance, especially against many additives comprised in oil-based products, (3) high steam resistance, and (4) high heat resistance. Because of these outstanding characteristics, AFLAS® is used as an insulation covering material for electric cables used in automobiles, trains, and home appliances, and also in automobile transmission oil seals.
In the medium-term management plan, "JIKKO-2007," initiated this fiscal year, Asahi Glass positions fluorine and specialty chemicals operations as a high-growth business of its Chemicals Company, and plans to focus on product groups in which the company's strengths can be maximized. Among such products, fluoroelastomers have been enjoying rapid demand growth in recent years, mainly for use in new automotive applications. As the worldwide demand is expected to rise at an annual rate of about 10%, Asahi Glass has decided to boost the production capacity of AFLAS® at its Chiba plant to respond to such robust demand.
Furthermore, in a bid to better meet customers' needs, Asahi Glass will market a new AFLAS® product series with improved processing ease, enhanced mechanical properties, and reduced environmental impact, using the production facilities to be made available under its expansion program at its Chiba plant. Details of the new AFLAS® series will be announced in the Automotive Engineering Exposition to be held from May 18 through 20 this year in the Pacifico Yokohama Exhibition Hall in Yokohama, Japan.
Asahi Glass will continue to utilize its original fluorochemical technologies in an effort to provide high-quality solutions to customers.
*For product details, visit our AFLAS® home page http://www.aflas.jp/english/index.shtml
*For information on the Automotive Engineering Exposition, visit http://www.jsae.or.jp/expo/index_e.php