DuPont Opens Expanded Cooper River Kevlar Plant

"As the global population grows, there will be even more critical need for protection materials to keep people safe and to protect the environment, structures and critical processes," said Thomas G. Powell, president of DuPont Protection Technologies.

DuPont announced Oct. 6 the start-up of its $500 million Cooper River Kevlar® facility near Charleston, S.C., and said commercial supply will begin by the end of this year. Overall global production capacity for Kevlar® will increase initially by 25 percent and ultimately by 40 percent, "with planned productivity improvements and continued technology developments over the next two years," according to the company's announcement.

"As the global population grows, there will be even more critical need for protection materials to keep people safe and to protect the environment, structures, and critical processes," said Thomas G. Powell, president of DuPont Protection Technologies. "After more than 40 years, the proven performance of Kevlar® continues to create significant new opportunities where the combination of lightweight strength and other unique properties enable new designs, increase reliability, and save more lives. This significant boost in production capacity and capability demonstrates DuPont's continuing commitment to support our customers and to find solutions that help protect more people around the world."

Combined with the $50 million expansion at DuPont's Spruance plant in Richmond, Va., Cooper River "represents the largest single investment in Kevlar® and the largest capacity increase since the fiber was introduced in 1965," DuPont said, adding that the Cooper River Kevlar® expansion created 135 jobs and was built during a three-year period by a construction workforce of up to 800 people.

The expanded plant initially will support three primary technology platforms: DuPont™Kevlar® AP, DuPont™Kevlar® KM2 Plus, and DuPont® Kevlar® XP™ for growing applications in ballistics, other personal protective equipment, aerospace, tires, fiber optic cables, oil and gas, and automotive.

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