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Product development

Demand for our products resulted in a number of capacity expansions being carried out at locations around the world. Developing innovative new technologies for our customers is a key part of our operations and in this respect 2008 was a good year. For example, we successfully launched a new continuous peroxide dosing technology to several key polyvinyl chloride (PVC) customers which can lower the cost of manufacturing resin for PVC pipes. Four process licenses were signed with customers by the end of the year. It’s a significant product development because not only does it help the PVC production process become much safer, but it also makes PVC resin less expensive, while helping to produce a better quality end product. In addition, the PVC resin is whiter than found with classically produced PVC, so customers need to add fewer additives, such as titanium dioxide. The customer ends up benefiting in three ways and we subsequently strengthen our relationship with them.

Other developments

We have a very strong culture of sustainability throughout the business and one relatively small, but nonetheless important, step we took this year was to introduce a new packaging concept. Traditionally, we’ve supplied some of our products in plastic jerry cans, which were then disposed of as waste. We’re now using new reusable stainless steel bulk carriers, which reduces the amount of waste our customers generate. It’s a simple idea, but it’s an effective one and will ultimately save money.

Another important development was receiving approval to construct two new production facilities at the AkzoNobel multi-site being built in Ningbo, China. Asia is an important market and these plants – which are due to open in 2010 – will enable us to meet our growing customer needs.

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