DuPont Starts Up $500 Million Kevlar® Facility in South Carolina

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Will Increase Global DuPont™ Kevlar® Capacity by 40 Percent to Serve Growing Industries and Address Global Protection Challenges

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.

DuPont today 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 by expanding its portfolio of science-based innovations and boosting productivity. Commercial supply will begin by the end of the year.

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.

“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 G. 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.”

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.

DuPont also has research and development facilities and customer applications centers for Kevlar® in every region: Shanghai, China; Hyderabad, India; Paulina, Brazil; Meyrin, Switzerland, Richmond, Va. and Wilmington, Del.

The Cooper River Kevlar® plant will initially produce innovations 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. Among the industry opportunities where new DuPont™ Kevlar® products already are making an impact:

  •     Added protection and performance can be achieved in ballistic applications for military and police helmets and tactical plates. Critical is the reduction of the weight of helmets for soldiers and marines and for other helmet and tactical plate designs where there is higher ballistic performance and increased protection, without sacrificing other performance requirements.
  •     According to DuPont and independent tests, new body armor can help stop bullets within the first three layers of a vest designed with a total of 11 layers. The remaining layers absorb the energy of the bullet, resulting in 15 percent less bruising for the vest wearer. DuPont estimates that the ballistics demand is growing at more than 10 percent annually.
  •     More than 1 billion tires are produced for the automotive industry annually around the world, with global tire sales of approximately $90 billion for the overall industry, including cars, trucks and aerospace.
  •     By 2017, auto industry experts estimate that there will be more than 36 million cars with turbo-charged engines around the world. The design of more energy-efficient, turbo-charged engines requires higher performing materials with higher strength, thermal and pressure resistance. Those include light weight, durability, thermally resistant and flexible hoses and belts.
  •     DuPont estimates that the fiber optic cable industry is growing at almost 10 percent per year in the United States alone and approximately 15 percent annually in Asia, driven primarily by the meteoric growth in broadband connections.

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.

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.

DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment. For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, please visit

Forward-Looking Statements: This news release contains forward-looking statements based on management's current expectations, estimates and projections. All statements that address expectations or projections about the future, including statements about the company's strategy for growth, product development, market position, expected expenditures and financial results are forward-looking statements. Some of the forward-looking statements may be identified by words like "expects," "anticipates," "plans," "intends," "projects," "indicates," and similar expressions. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Many factors, including those discussed more fully elsewhere in this release and in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by DuPont, particularly its latest annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly report on Form 10-Q, as well as others, could cause results to differ materially from those stated. These factors include, but are not limited to changes in the laws, regulations, policies and economic conditions, including inflation, interest and foreign currency exchange rates, of countries in which the company does business; competitive pressures; successful integration of structural changes, including restructuring plans, acquisitions, divestitures and alliances; cost of raw materials, research and development of new products, including regulatory approval and market acceptance; seasonality of sales of agricultural products; and severe weather events that cause business interruptions, including plant and power outages, or disruptions in supplier and customer operations. The company undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statements as a result of future developments or new information.

The DuPont Oval Logo, DuPont™, The miracles of science™ and Kevlar® are registered trademarks or trademarks of DuPont or its affiliates.

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