INEOS Styrolution Antwerp, manufacturer of semi-finished styrene plastic products, invested nearly 1 million euros, equivalent to 0.6% of the Antwerp branch’s turnover, in research and development in 2018. 42% of this amount was staff costs.
INEOS Styrolution uses a triple shift strategy to become a more resilient, less cyclical, more diversified and more profitable business. This strategy is also central to the group’s research and development activities, hence the following shifts towards:
- growth industries, such as those in the fight against climate change, for health care, urbanisation, etc.
- a portfolio of value-added materials, for example evolving from materials for standard packaging to a material for medical applications
- and sales in emerging markets such as Asia.
In 2018, research was carried out into, for example, chemical recycling (depolymerisation of post-consumer plastic waste with a styrene content), process optimisation, materials with reduced emissions of volatile organic components, materials for medical applications (infusion tubes, infusion bags, drip chambers, bags for tube feeding, etc.) with a reduced environmental footprint and research into new styrene-based polymers for flexible and transparent materials. INEOS Styrolution now publishes 2 to 3 patents a year from Belgium, and 20 to 30 worldwide from the group.