Focused On: Poised for Growth

Eastman Chemical Co. partners with key customers to expand its success.

Eastman Chemical Co. is a global leader in products and services for adhesives and sealants. The Kingsport, TN, headquarters houses more than 500 buildings located on its five-miles-by-one-mile site, with the South Fork Holston River running through it. Nearly 9,000 workers are employed on the site, which has its own fire station, water-treatment plant and zip code. The company has eight manufacturing locations around the world that are committed to adhesives and polymers, with China poised for a large part of that growth.

"Adhesive applications are growing rapidly in China and our current customers are expanding in the region," says Glenda W. Eilo, Global Industry Leader, Adhesives and Packaging Materials Global Marketing, CASPI/Adhesives & Specialty Polymers, at Eastman. In 2000, the company began a joint venture with Yangzi Petrochemical Industrial Corp. in China called Nanjing Yangzi Eastman Chemical Ltd. to produce commercial quantities of Eastotac C-Series hydrogenated hydrocarbon resin. Eastman says it's looking to grow its business in China, through existing sites or with a joint venture to meet the needs of the Asia Pacific region.

Eilo defines the traditional markets for adhesives as including packaging, shoes, glue sticks, tape, labels and hygiene products. They are all growing at rates higher than the rest of the globe as downstream manufacturing continues to expand in China, she says.

"Eastman has been adding focused sales and marketing resources to help customers develop and improve their products in these markets," Eilo says. "Some of the market raw materials will be supplied from our regional manufacturing plant in Nanjing, others will come from our other facilities. Many of the products we are introducing in additional geographies have application in the China market."

The benefits of operating in China, says Eilo, are the size and growth rates of their markets with a very competitive cost structure. She says the challenges, "are consistent across the chemical industry. How do you protect your intellectual property while offering products, which meets today's market requirements?"

The company's Coatings, Adhesives, Specialty Polymers and Inks (CASPI) Segment is part of the Eastman Division. The company's top three markets, in order, are pressure-sensitive tape, nonwovens and labels.

The CASPI division recently introduced several new products for adhesives and sealants formulations, including the following.

  • Eastoflex (pellets) - Amorphous polyolefins that have broad compatibility with numerous elastomers, polymers and tackifying resins.
  • Piccotac - Hydrocarbon resins with low molecular weight.
  • Tacolyn - Resin dispersions for the manufacture of pressure-sensitive adhesives.
  • Regalite - A hydrocarbon resin for nonwovens adhesive applications.

"Advances and availability in polymers drives the technology advances in adhesives," Eilo says. "Eastman has developed several new products and starting formulations to address the m-PE and SIBS products in the market place. Another need of the adhesive formulator involves improvements in formulation performance vs. cost balance. Eastman continually strives to develop more robust products, which expand the formulators' operating window in terms of both product performance and formulation cost."

Eastman bases its success on its reputation as a global supplier with multiple regional production sites, allowing it to stay close to large manufacturers without forgetting about its smaller customers. The company is committed to partnering with key customers to be the industry's best value solution provider.

For more information, contact Eastman Chemical Co.,

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