Dow breaks ground on plant expansion

Published July 24, 2002 in the Midland (MI) Daily News

Beth Medley Bellor

    Michigan Operations is a hopping place.

    In addition to a huge new incinerator, construction is under way on an expanded plant at The Dow Chemical Co.’s Midland manufacturing site. And it will support the coolest of products — glowing plastic.

    The company recently broke ground to expand its manufacturing facility for light-emitting polymers (LEPs). The materials are essential to the production of polymeric light-emitting diode (pLED) displays.

    pLEDs are one class of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), which allow bright, high-contrast, low-voltage displays. LEP materials such as Dow’s are the critical light-emitting material in an emissive display and represent the equivalent of the backlight and color filters in a typical liquid-crystal display (LCD). They come in a variety of colors and can be used for everything from instrument panels to cell phones. Eventually they will show up in larger displays for desktop monitors, notebook computers, flat-panel TVs and other consumer products.

    Up to 18 new Midland-based jobs will be created in Dow’s Advanced Electronic Materials (AEM) business over the next five to 10 years, eight salaried and 10 hourly. It is estimated the project will have local purchases and construction contracts of $1.8 million with a peak contractor labor force of 35 people. The expansion will be designed, constructed and operated by Dow Haltermann Custom Processing, a part of Dow’s Custom & Fine Chemicals global business unit.

    “We are proud that Dow AEM has chosen our Midland location for this significant investment,” said Gary Veurink, Michigan Operations vice president and site director. “This expansion positions Dow’s Michigan Operations as a globally competitive hub for the display materials industry, and we are confident that this new growth will help Dow continue to attract new business opportunities to Midland.”

    The first phase is scheduled to be completed during the fourth quarter so Dow can begin manufacturing LEPs there by the end of 2002. Construction of a second phase of the expansion should begin yet this year, with the facility online by the third quarter of 2003.

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