SK Chemicals exporting more plastic used to protect health

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SK Chemicals exporting more plastic used to protect health

SK Chemicals will double its exports of transparent plastic used to create protective barriers to the United States and Europe as the West continues to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic, the company said Tuesday.

The polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) can be used on face shields or for protective walls installed in stores to help staff and customers keep their distance. SK’s PETG panels for disease-prevention purposes are marketed under the name Skygreen. The company became the second in the world to succeed in mass production of PETG in 2000.

PETG supply contracts are usually signed on a yearly basis, but the company has faced a demand boost as clients in the United States and Europe struggle amid supply shortages of protective equipment materials.

As of Monday, the two regions accounted for 60 percent of all confirmed coronavirus patients in the world, SK said, citing data from Johns Hopkins University.

In March, SK’s Skygreen exports to the U.S. and European markets increased more than 40 percent on year. By combining existing stock with increased production, the company said it will be able to double its supply from the previous year starting from April.

“There are a lot of clients in the United States and Europe that we’ve built up long-term relations with,” said Kim Eung-soo, who heads SK’s copolyester business. “We’ll do our best to deliver as fast as possible to offer relief for them.”

PETG is not the only transparent substance available to produce face shields. But SK claims its Skygreen product offers advantages like higher resistance to cracks and color changes compared to other widely-used materials.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]

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