Asahi Glass will increase its production capacity at the Kashima Plant (Kamisumachi, Kashima-gun, Ibaraki Prefecture), with construction scheduled to start in November 2004 and completion set for August 2005. Total investments in the project are estimated at approximately two billion yen. As a result, the Company's total production capacity of ETFE will increase by about 25%.
ETFE is a fluoropolymer for which Asahi Glass started commercial production for the first time in the world in 1972. It has several properties superior to other materials, which include easy fabrication due to its thermoplasticity; chemical resistance; extremely high electric resistance; and durability for more than 10 years in outdoor use due to its resistance to ultraviolet rays. Therefore, ETFE is being used in a wide range of applications, including insulator for electrical cables used in automobiles, aircrafts and robots, in tubing for transferring various fluids, or as greenhouse films. Asahi Glass decided to increase production capacity because it has become difficult to keep up with demand that has rapidly increased in recent years from new areas such as automotive and construction materials.
Asahi Glass currently manufactures ETFE at its Chiba and Kashima Plants. It manufactures and markets over half of the worldwide total demand for ETFE, which is projected to increase by approximately 5% annually. Asahi Glass intends to increase its production capacity as necessary to cope with this increasing demand, and at the same time will continue to provide high quality solutions to customers by using the unique expertise in fluorine chemistry that has become its core technology.