CHINA – German chemical company, BASF has officially launched its smart Verbund project in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, China, and commenced building its first plants.

BASF, the world’s largest chemical producer noted in a statement that the launch marks a milestone in the company’s US$10 billion investment project announced in July 2018.

 The first plants will produce engineering plastics and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) to serve the increasing needs of various growth industries in the southern China market and throughout Asia, noted BASF.

“We are pleased to see our mega-investment project in China is progressing,” said Dr. Martin Brudermüller, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, BASF SE.

“By utilizing the latest digital technologies and applying the highest safety standards, the new Verbund site will be a role model for sustainable production, contributing to the development of a circular economy in China,” added Brudermüller.

BASF said that by 2022, the new engineering plastics compounding plant will supply an additional capacity of 60,000 metric tons per year in China, bringing the company’s total capacity of these products in Asia Pacific to 290,000 metric tons per year.

The company further noted that the new capacity will enable BASF to meet the growing demand of its customers, particularly in the automotive, electronics and new energy vehicles (NEV) industries.

BASF plans to implement a comprehensive smart manufacturing concept at the Verbund site based on cutting-edge technologies.

The new site will utilize automated packaging, high-tech control systems, and automated guided vehicles.

The company also revealed that the project will contribute to the advancement of the local community by forming strategic partnerships with several local technical institutions to develop young technical talents.

 Integrated Site (Guangdong) Co. Ltd, BASF’s new wholly-owned subsidiary, has also been officially formed and will oversee the operations of the new Verbund site.

The Verbund site in Guangdong would be BASF’s largest investment in recent times and is estimated to be worth US$10 billion upon completion.

The integrated facility will connect upstream and downstream plants from basic chemicals to more consumer-oriented products and solutions, serving growth sectors like consumer goods and transportation.

Once complete, the verbund site would ultimately be the third-largest BASF site worldwide, following Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Antwerp, Belgium.

The first plant producing engineering plastics compounds is expected to be operational by 2022, and the whole Verbund site is planned to be completed by 2030.