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SDK to Manufacture N-Propyl Acetate for Use in Solvents

Showa Denko K.K.
October 23, 2008

Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) has decided to manufacture n-propyl acetate (NPAC) for use in solvents for ink for special gravure printing. SDK will complete the production facilities by the end of 2009, partly utilizing existing facilities, and start selling NPAC in early 2010.

Special gravure printing is widely used for exterior packaging films for confectionery and frozen food as it ensures clear and beautiful images. Toluene and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) are now mainly used as solvents for the gravure printing ink.

However, demand for NPAC—an acetate-based solvent—is sharply increasing as their safe and easy-to-use substitute. Furthermore, following the revision of the Air Pollution Control Law, a tighter control has been introduced over the emission of volatile organic compounds. In this connection, the printing industry is considering the introduction of special gravure ink that uses a two-component solvent with high recovery rate, in which NPAC is used as the main component.

In addition, NPAC is expected to be used in other applications, including adhesives, optical films and extractants. Thus, domestic demand for NPAC will almost triple, to 30,000 tons a year, by 2015. SDK has decided to start manufacturing NPAC in view of the expected short supply situation and competitiveness of the company's manufacturing process.

SDK is currently producing allyl alcohol at its Oita Petrochemical Complex as raw material for special resins. SDK will use intermediates for allyl alcohol to produce NPAC, utilizing part of the existing process for allyl alcohol production. As a result, SDK will be able to start producing NPAC with relatively small amount of capital investment. If demand increases further, SDK will consider expanding its NPAC production capacity.

SDK is a leading manufacturer in the world of ethyl acetate, which is widely used as solvents for inks and paints. As NPAC will contribute to food safety and improve working environment, SDK will be able to better serve the diversified and sophisticated needs of the ink producers and printing companies.

For further information, contact:
IR & PR Office (Phone: 81-3-5470-3235)