Japanese chemicals company Mitsui has expanded production of its “ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene“ for lithium-ion battery separators in response to growing demand from the automotive and industrial sectors.
Mitsui said additional facilities for its Hi-Zex Million product have boosted production by around 15% to some 8,500 tons per year.
The company expanded its Iwakuni-Ohtake Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture during the summer of this year and commercial operations got under way a few weeks’ ago.
Hi-Zex Million has an average molecular weight of up to 6 million, Mitsui said. The self-lubricating material “has high chemical-, impact-, and abrasion-resistance, which make it an excellent separator for lithium-ion batteries”.
The polyethylene consistently retains its shape and provides high solubility. It is also useful in industrial materials and medical devices, the company said.
BEST Battery Briefing reported last year that Mitsui had started up its electrolyte solution production facilities for lithium-ion batteries in Nagoya, Japan.