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Driving Sustainable Futures

October 22, 2021

The Journey Ahead: Driving Growth with Engineered Materials

By Jean-Luc Béal, Senior Vice President, Engineered Materials

At Trinseo, we have embarked on a transformational journey to become a global specialty materials and sustainable solutions provider. Hallmarks of this journey are our recent acquisitions of Arkema’s polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) business and Aristech Surfaces, which will enable us to widen our Engineered Materials portfolio, increase our technical abilities, and build a PMMA materials platform capable of delivering more innovative and sustainable custom solutions for our customers. And while we’re not done building our offerings, here is what our recent acquisitions mean for Trinseo, our customers, and the engineered materials and specialized plastics markets.

The State of Engineered Materials

Being a major integrated PMMA player, we now offer a broad range of customized plastic materials made from different polymers (PC, ABS, TPU, TPE). Our recent acquisitions of Aristech Surfaces increases our PMMA product offering into acrylic sheets and drives expansion into new markets. Because PMMA can be combined with other plastics, like ABS, to form multi-layer structures, this has opened the door to new growth possibilities. With future materials developments, we’re striving to develop even more technical solutions and help our engineered materials customers achieve their development goals. However, our success is based, beyond our portfolio expansion and its evolution, on our ability to build and nurture close customer and specifier relationships and design together solutions that fit their needs and ensure mutual success.

The Road Ahead

Looking ahead, we continue to work on new opportunities to further evolve our sustainable materials offerings, while also extending our global footprint to support our customers where they are. Part of our strategy includes expanding our presence in key geographies such as Asia, which represents approximately 70% of the global PMMA market. We are also exploring opportunities to increase the sustainability of PMMA, specifically by developing PMMA chemical and mechanical recycling technologies. To make this a reality, we are participating in the REVOLUTION project to develop and implement recycled PMMA materials that enable the production of more sustainable, lighter, and high-quality car components.

Funded under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, the project aims to support the electric vehicle REVOLUTION by maximizing the range of electric vehicles and the recycling of end-of-life vehicles by optimizing recycled plastics and advanced lightweight materials. Through our company’s work with polystyrene and polycarbonate, we have amassed extensive knowledge of establishing mechanical and chemical recycling technologies and processes for materials. We plan to leverage this expertise and apply it to MMA, PMMA and future engineered materials technologies, thus increasing their sustainability.

Though we are still in the early stages of our transformational journey, we have already made significant progress toward achieving our goals for the engineered materials division. By increasing our sustainable offerings, utilizing new technologies, and expanding our global presence, we will deliver meaningful value to our customers for years to come.

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