Ube Industries,Ltd. (President: Kazumasa Tsunemi) announces that the MEKO (methylethylketoxime) production facilities (annual production: 5,000 tons) at its Ube Chemicals plant, construction of which was completed last November, have been quality-inspected by representatives of major paint manufacturers, and are now moving toward full operations.
Ube has been manufacturing MEKO since 1979, and the product is one of the core products of Ube's fine chemicals business.
MEKO is well known as a chemical used to prevent the formation of surface skin on liquid paint. Recently, however, demand for this product has been increasing in other sectors, including for use in cationic electrodeposition paints for automobiles, isocyanate blocking liquids for polyurethane prepolymers, and silicone sealant hardener raw materials.
With the completion of these new facilities, Ube Industries has positioned itself to respond to increasing demand stemming from robust domestic sales of automobiles as well as Japanese automakers' advances in China and throughout Asia.
The decision to build new facilities at the Ube Chemicals plant was reached because Ube Industries' Sakai plant had capacity to produce only 3,000 tons of MEKO per year, and limitations in those facilities made it difficult to increase production there.
The new facilities include ISO container filling and shipping as well as drum filling, providing for the increase in efficiency for both production and logistics, as well as for the possibility of further expansion in the future, if demand should increase. To enhance the advantages gained by concentrating production at the Ube Chemicals plant, with the completion of this stage, we have also decided to suspend operation of the MEKO facilities at the Sakai plant.
Many of Ube Industries' fine chemicals products are aimed at customers in the paint and ink industry, and our new facilities will help to strengthen our presence in this industry in Japan and throughout Asia.
In caprolactam products, which are the basic ingredients of nylon, Ube Industries has adopted a strategy of increasing competitiveness both in the basic stages and in the derivative products known as the "caprolactam chain." The new facilities can be seen as part of our strategic efforts to strengthen our caprolactam chain, as both MEKO and caprolactam are made from amine liquid.