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Joint ventures create material meccas

Joint ventures create material meccas

'We will be innovative, agile, and responsive.' Brullo spent 23 years with 3M prior to being named president of Dyneon in 1996. He has held several positions of increasing responsibility within 3M, including posts with the 3M Electro Products Div., 3M Corporate Marketing, 3M Chemicals SBS, and the 3M Specialty Fluoropolymers Dept., where he was general manager. Before joining 3M in 1973, Brullo worked in product development for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. for three years. He holds a BS degree in chemical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and received his MBA from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.

In August 1996, the 3M Specialty Fluoropolymers Department and Hoechst Hostaflon GmbH forged a joint venture company called Dyneon, the second-largest fluoropolymer producer in the world. As a joint venture, Dyneon will operate as a stand-alone company, with its own board of directors made of executives from both parent companies. Dyneon is divided into three business units: elastomers and additives, PTFEs and custom compounding, and fluorothermoplastics.

Design News: How did you arrive at the name Dyneon?

Brullo: We wanted a name that captures the spirit of a company that intends to move proactively and confidently into the next century, because that's what we're all about. Dyneon is coined from three words: dynamic, neo, and eon. Dynamic signifies continuous change or activity, neo means new, and eon translates to age or era. Literally, Dyneon is a name that means a "dynamic new era in fluoropolymers." Yet, we wanted to capitalize on the excellent reputation of 3M and Hoechst; therefore we incorporated the tagline "A 3M- Hoechst Enterprise."

Q: What is Dyneon's mission?

A: Our goal is to be a major player in the fluoropolymer industry, which includes PTFE, fluoroelastomers, and melt processable fluoroplastics. By combining the core competencies of the two companies, we can grow faster and be more responsive to the needs of the marketplace. We expect to create new families of products and penetrate new markets. Our intention is to become the supplier of choice for customers worldwide. I think the best words to describe us will be innovative, agile, and responsive. That's how we expect to earn our customers' loyalty.

Q: What are Dyneon's core competencies?

A: 3M has been one of the largest suppliers of fluoroelastomer products for about four decades, and an industry leader in this area with the Fluorel(R) brand. In Europe, Hoechst is well established as a major producer and marketer of fluoroplastics, including PTFE, sold under the Hostaflon(R) brand. Obviously, the joint venture will give us a comprehensive product line. But more than that, we feel that combining 3M's excellence in innovation and marketing with Hoechsts superior manufacturing know-how and technical precision gives us a big advantage over other companies. The joint venture will be a nice blend of creative and scientific thinking.

Q: Is there one product Dyneon is particularly excited about?

A: Yes, a fluorothermoplastic unique to Dyneon called DyneonTM THV. We feel that the fluorothermoplastics market has great potential worldwide, and THV is a high-performance fluorocopolymer that defines a whole new niche in low-melt temperature processing. 3M acquired the exclusive right to market THV from Hoechst in 1993, and now, with the joint venture, we'll be able to expand its role as a versatile product line. Our THV products are the most flexible of all fluorothermoplastics and have relatively low processing temperatures (125 to 175C). This will enhance co-processing with a variety of elastomers and plastics. THV also has excellent chemical resistance, optical clarity, weatherability, and E-beam crosslinking ability.

Q: What types of markets will use THV?

A: The automotive market is a natural fit. Because of THV's flexibility, combined with its inherent resistance to a wide range of gasoline-grade oxygenates and its ultra-low fuel permeability, it's ideal for applications such as fuel-line barriers. Markets will include the transportation and wire and cable industries, as well as construction and chemical processing. Globally, the existing market for all fluorothermoplastics approaches $1 billion, but it's clear there is an opportunity to expand the market through new products and applications.

Q: How will design engineers benefit from such joint venture activity in the fluoropolymer industry?

A: The bottom line is that design engineers will have more choices of products. By helping the industry to grow--and expanding the functionality of products we offer--engineers will have more options in materials that can be considered. We hope to establish entirely new markets and applications. The ultimate customers will benefit because they'll have access to fluoropolymer performance and value that never before existed.

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