Long favored for its ports and its business-friendly ways, Texas is drawing a new flurry of investment and activity from the pipeline and chemicals industries.
Bayer MaterialScience, Farwest Corrosion Control Co. and TMK IPSCO have all recently announced investments in the Lone Star State.
Bayer MaterialScience: Expanded Manufacturing
Bayer MaterialScience is set to invest about $120 million in its Baytown, TX, site—the company’s largest U.S. manufacturing facility and a keystone of its global manufacturing capability.
The investment targets production of:
• Methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI): Plans include environmental upgrades, reliability improvements and minor debottlenecking.
• Toluene diisocyanate (TDI): Plans include improved process technology, environmental upgrades, and energy efficiency and reliability improvements to increase productivity.
• Polycarbonate: Plans include reliability upgrades and quality improvements for advanced optical applications.
Additional investments are aimed at improving the reliability of the infrastructure throughout the site.
MDI and TDI are used to produce polyurethanes used in flexible foam for the furniture and automotive industries; rigid and spray foams for insulation in the construction industry; and coatings, adhesives, and sealants. The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued action plans to address the potential health risks of the two chemicals.
Polycarbonate is used in automotive headlamp lenses, optical data storage (CDs and DVDs), medical devices, shatter-resistant optical lenses, and other applications.
“Our Baytown plant is a critical asset in the Bayer MaterialScience global portfolio,” said Dr. Tony Van Osselaer, head of Industrial Operations. “It is a first-rate manufacturing facility, and these significant investments are our commitment to keeping it fit for the future.”
Bayer MaterialScience LLC is a leading North American producer of polymers and high-performance plastics.
TMK IPSCO: R&D Complex
TMK IPSCO has broken ground on a research and development center for product design and testing for the global pipe maker and its Moscow-based parent, OAO TMK.
|TMK IPSCO already has a manufacturing plant in in Baytown, TX.|
The 51,000-square-foot facility, to be built on eight acres, will house a lab and offices for engineers and technical sales people. The company says the new complex will enable it to develop products used in growing and emerging markets such as Canada's oil sands or shale gas and oil plays.
"If you look at the crystal ball, that is where some of the new applications will be," said Pras Adhikari, vice president and chief technology officer for TMK IPSCO, which makes welded and seamless pipe products for the oil and gas industry.
"Hydraulic fracturing is one. There will be a lot of demand because of the shale plays in the Marcellus region."
Lab and Testing Capabilities
The facility will also allow the company to improve current products that are being used in more severe conditions, Adhikari said. The lab will feature two high-tech pipe connection testers, corrosion testing equipment and other advanced instruments for metals testing.
Engineers will be able to use the latest simulation and modeling software to predict changes in behaviors in steel making, rolling, welding, machining and heat treatment processes, Adhikari said.
The company will collaborate with research universities and organizations such as the Russian Research Institute for the Tube and Pipe Industries at the new building.
The center is expected to open in the fall and employ up to 90 people.
TMK IPSCO also has a manufacturing site in Baytown, TX, that performs heat treatments and threading operations used for connecting pieces of pipe in the drill string.
Farwest Corrosion Control: New Center
Farwest Corrosion Control, provider of cathodic protection and corrosion control material sales and services, has opened its newest warehouse and distribution center in Houston, TX.
Farwest Corrosion Control Co.
|Farwest Corrosion Control Co. provides cathodic protection materials and equipment, as well as engineering and installation services for corrosion control.|
The new, 10,000-square-foot facility and office complex represents the eighth location for the global distributor of corrosion control products and services. The new facility offers products and services for a variety of industries served by Farwest.