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DuPont Starts Up $500 Million Kevlar Facility in South Carolina

Facility will increase DuPont’s global Kevlar capacity by 40 percent. Product to be used in growing applications including automotive and tires.

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WILMINGTON, Del. ─ DuPont has announced the start-up of its $500 million Cooper River Kevlar facility near Charleston, S.C. The Cooper River Kevlar plant uses state-of-the-art technology that will allow DuPont to meet increased customer demand for advanced protective materials in emerging industries around the world. Commercial supply will begin by the end of the year.

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Best known for its use in ballistic and stab-resistant body armor, Kevlar has helped save the lives of thousands of law enforcement and military personnel around the world.

Beyond these technology platforms and with greater availability of higher performance fibers, DuPont is working on a range of new opportunities through collaborations with customers, manufacturers, governments and others in new and existing markets.

The Cooper River Kevlar plant will initially produce products that support three primary technology platforms: DuPont Kevlar AP, DuPont Kevlar KM2 Plus and DuPont Kevlar XP for growing applications in ballistics, other personal protective equipment, aerospace, tires, fiber optic cables, oil and gas and automotive.

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Overall global production capacity for Kevlar will increase initially by 25 percent and is expected to grow by 40 percent, with planned productivity improvements and continued technology developments over the next two years. The new capacity will allow DuPont to provide customers with next-generation Kevlar products that improve their ability to innovate in many applications, according to the company.

“As the global population grows, there will be even more critical need for protection materials to keep people safe and to protect the environment, structures and critical processes,” said Thomas Powell, president, DuPont Protection Technologies. “After more than 40 years, the proven performance of Kevlar continues to create significant new opportunities where the combination of lightweight strength and other unique properties enable new designs, increase reliability and save more lives. This significant boost in production capacity and capability demonstrates DuPont’s continuing commitment to support our customers and to find solutions that help protect more people around the world.”

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Along with a recent $50 million expansion at DuPont’s Spruance plant in Richmond, Va., Cooper River represents the largest single investment in Kevlar and the largest capacity increase since the fiber was introduced in 1965. DuPont also manufactures Kevlar in Richmond, Va.; Maydown, Northern Ireland and at a DuPont joint venture, DuPont-Toray Company in Tokai, Japan. The Cooper River Kevlar plant expansion has created 135 jobs and was built over a period of three years using a construction workforce of up to 800.

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