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Good infrastructure competent workforce and rapid access to the global supply chain

22. Mar 2023
Markets & Companies

Bettina Hoffmann

Byk officially opened its second manufacturing facility in China, expanding existing premises with laboratories and administration in Shanghai. We spoke to Gerd Judith, Managing Director Marketing & Sales BYK-Chemie GmbH who is responsible for the Asia business of BYK Additives.

Why did you choose Shanghai as a location?

Gerd Judith: Shanghai is our second production site in China (following Tongling). Byk has had laboratories and administration in Shanghai for a long time. As a rule, our locations are orientated to customer proximity. In Shanghai, in addition to customer proximity, we find a very good infrastructure, an outstandingly competent workforce, and a rapid access to the global supply chain.

The press release mentions an initial output of 4.750 tonnes. When do you expect to run at full capacity of 20.000 tonnes?

Judith: We want to grow in China together with our customers. Therefore, we see a modular expansion of our production capacities in Shanghai. In addition, our facilities in China are also important for the pan-Asian market.

The plant is currently manufacturing additives for the automotive and industrial coatings segment. Will these be predominantly for the Chinese market or which region are you catering for?

Judith: These are some examples of products that are in particularly high demand in Asia. The Byk Shanghai and Byk Tongling sites are closely integrated into our global manufacturing network. They primarily produce innovative differentiated solutions that customers expect locally to create value in their applications. In Shanghai, Byk is offering its customers a diverse and complete product range including defoamers, surface additives, etc. These additives are widely applicable for automotive, industrial, furniture and architectural coatings, printing inks, adhesives, thermoplastics, thermosets, and many other applications, and they comprise various systems such as solvent-borne, solvent-free, low polarity, high polarity, etc.

What are your expectations for the automotive and industrial segment for the next two to three years?

Judith: These are some of many application areas where Byk can create added value with technology and application experience for customers. They are definitely an important part of our long-term growth strategy. The trend in the automotive and industrial sector is clearly moving in the direction of innovative and sustainable solutions. China in particular is becoming more important as an independent automobile manufacturer with high demands on quality, innovation and sustainable competence. Think also of the enormous steps in flanking battery technology. An advantage for Byk as an innovation leader.

Global supply chains were somewhat disrupted over the last few years. Is a concentration on the Chinese region not risky to a certain extent?

Judith: Yes, disrupted supply chains, raw material availability and pandemic have been and continue to be very challenging for the entire industry. However, we do not see the second plant in China as a concentration on China, but rather as a crucial milestone in our global growth strategy. With our production sites in the US, China and Europe, we are broadly and efficiently positioned and can therefore easily compensate for possible fluctuations. And many global value chains have a broad base in China. China is the decisive growth market for us in the medium and long term.

To what extend will customers in Europe benefit from the new capacities in Shanghai?

Judith: Each Byk manufacturing site is embedded in the global production planning process and therefore additional capacities for customers are an important step to ensure our ability to deliver globally and decentralized.

Are there any plans for a third location in China? Likewise, any plans for expansion in other APAC locations?

Judith: We constantly review market developments and industry trends and can act with foresight as a development partner to our customers. Throughout the Asian region, we therefore have many application technology laboratories close to our customers. However, there are currently no plans for a further facility in China.

Read the full article on the Chinese expansion of Byk in the March issue of ECJ.