NatureWorks contracts John Crane in development of its new biopolymer manufacturing facility in Thailand; site will produce polylactic acid polymers based on plant sugars

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CHICAGO , March 10, 2022 (press release) –


John Crane's polymer melt filtration system will help to produce NatureWorks' Ingeo™ PLA biopolymer, a process that transforms greenhouse gases and plant sugars into bioplastic

John Crane, a global leader in rotating equipment solutions, supplying engineered technologies and services to process industries, is pleased to announce a new partnership with NatureWorks―one of the largest global producers of biopolymers―in their development of a new biopolymer manufacturing facility in Thailand.

The new facility will increase NatureWorks' production capacity of lactic acid, lactides and advanced Ingeo polylactic acid (PLA) biopolymers, which produce less greenhouse gas and use less non-renewable energy in manufacturing than traditional petroleum-based plastics. John Crane will provide a polymer melt filtration system to remove contaminants, ensure continuous operation of the PLA production process and comply with the required NatureWorks quality standard.

"We are proud to team up with NatureWorks in this exciting project and are looking forward to our optimized system installation for a biopolymer facility," said Dr. Thomas Grimm-Bosbach, John Crane Product Line Director, Filtration. "This project underscores John Crane's commitment to environmental sustainability by supporting the process industry in creating sustainable products, reducing the consumption of natural resources and the release of greenhouse gases."

The filtration system design was created using John Crane's unique computational fluid dynamic (CFD) technology for filtration of non-Newtonian fluids, which provides the optimal polymer filtration process for each application. All filter elements provided are cleanable and reusable.

"By leveraging John Crane's expertise in filtration for the polymer plant design, we will ensure the Ingeo PLA biopolymer produced in the new Thailand manufacturing facility will meet the high-quality standard our customers have come to expect from our first manufacturing site in Blair, Nebraska, USA," said Steve Bray, NatureWorks Vice President of Operations and Project Program Manager.

Modeling hydraulic conditions within a filter becomes more complex if the fluid is non-Newtonian, such as polymer melts and polymer solutions. John Crane's simulation software makes accurate descriptions of flow conditions and temperature profiles possible even in complex filter geometries, enabling the efficient designs required to support innovation. John Crane has a strong track record of using unique application expertise and filtration manufacturing technology, combined with a highly skilled workforce, to support the polymer production industry with custom solutions.

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