24 June 2011

AkzoNobel building two new LED precursor plants  

Responding to continued strong global demand for its High Purity MetalOrganics (HPMO) product range, AkzoNobel of Amersfoort , The Netherlands is to significantly expand its production capacity for two of its key products: trimethyl gallium (TMG) and trimethyl indium (TMI).

The HPMO business (part of AkzoNobel’s Functional Chemicals business unit) is a producer of semiconductor-grade indium-, gallium-, aluminum-, zinc- and magnesium-based metalorganics used as key precursor materials in the production of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), solar cells and other semiconductor devices.

In June 2010 AkzoNobel doubled its TMG production capacity at its facilities in LaPorte, TX, USA. The capacity of this unit was quickly doubled again this January, and the new capacity has been ramped up during the past four months, making AkzoNobel the largest global producer of this specialty chemical, the firm says.

“Our customers’ response to these expansions has been very positive, and their continued strong demand keeps absorbing our recently enlarged capacities,” says Michiel Floor, global business manager of the HPMO product group. “We firmly believe in significant long-term growth of the LED and III-V solar cell industries, so we have decided to advance our plans for further major capacity additions with two new world-scale production units,” he adds.

The firm plans to build a large new TMG production plant which will be three times the size of the existing unit. With this expansion, AkzoNobel’s total capacity for gallium-based metalorganics will exceed 100 tons per year, from two independent production lines. The project is already well advanced; construction of the plant will start this year, with completion in 2012.

A large second production unit for the LED precursor TMI will also be built, giving a 400% increase in capacity. Construction of this unit is already in progress and will be completed by this December.

Both units will be built at AkzoNobel’s LaPorte site, which serves the global plastics, pharma and electronic industries with large-scale, fully integrated bulk metalorganics production plants. The firm will also enhance its global distribution network by establishing regional transfilling capabilities in Asia.

“These continued investments in the HPMO business show AkzoNobel’s commitment to support the LED industry in the coming years,” says Jan Svärd, managing director of Functional Chemicals. “Our capacity additions will enable our customers to maintain their growth pace, which will be increasingly driven by general lighting applications," he adds. “This business also supports our efforts in sustainability, by focusing on applications that drive energy efficiency and lower energy usage, like LEDs and solar cells”.

See related items:

Dow Electronic Materials breaks ground on Korean TMG plant

Albemarle building Korean TMG plant to meet growth in HB-LEDs

Chemtura expanding MO precursor capacity and forming Korean JV targeting HB-LEDs

Dow Electronic Materials to expand TMG capacity to serve LED market

LED market explosion hampered by materials shortage

AkzoNobel doubling TMG production capacity

SAFC Hitech expanding TMG capacity in UK plant

Tags: AkzoNobel TMG TMI LEDs

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