“Q-PLUS” Made Kolon Glotech a Prize Winner at “NANO KOREA 2021”
▷ Researcher Hang-Jin Jo received the Minister’s Award in nano industrial technology from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy at NANO KOREA, the biggest nanotech exhibition in Korea
▷ Recognized for making improvements in the spinning process of Q-PLUS, an antiviral functional textile material
Senior research Hang-Jin Jo at Kolon Glotech (CEO Yeong-Bom Kim) received the Minister’s Award from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy at NANO KOREA 2021 in recognition of his research on Q-PLUS, a fiber material with antiviral function.
NANO KOREA, the world’s biggest nanotech international symposium and convergence exhibition, marks its 19th anniversary this year after launching in 2003. This year the event will take place for 3 days from the 7th at KINTEX, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do, with the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy as co-hosts and the Korea Nanotechnology Research Society as an organizer.
On the morning of the 7th, Wednesday, NANO KOREA 2021 awards ceremony was held to honor researchers who produced outstanding research results in nanotech and companies (organizations) that introduced products with significant industrial potential. At the ceremony, researcher Hang-Jin Jo from Kolon Glotech was honored with the Minister’s award for his excellent work in developing Q-PLUS, which blocks and exterminates 99.99 percent of all types of germs, fungi, and viruses by applying copper sulfide to textile fabrics such as nylon and polyester.
Since June 2019, Kolon Glotech has been working on a national project with the objective of “developing an antibacterial filter material using low-temperature processing” in partnership with Clean & Science, a filter manufacturer. Senior researcher Hang-Jin Jo successfully developed a functional resin optimized for filters using Q-PLUS technology that enables size flexibility in nano units. He managed to turn the existing high-temperature spinning process into an optimized low-temperature one with higher consistency of nanoparticles. On top of that, when made into a filter, the material shows more effective airflow and a high filtration rate, leading to better antibacterial and antiviral effects.
Kolon Glotech has been showing its deep commitment to the research and development of an antiviral function that blocks various types of viruses in existing antibacterial materials since 2015, and this effort has been followed by the introduction of Q-PLUS, a material with antiviral function, in the second half of 2019. The technology is currently being applied to health masks and air purifiers and is expected to be utilized in antibacterial bedding later this year. Kolon Glotech plans to expand the adoption of Q-PLUS in broader ranges of products: namely, its own-produced car interior products such as car seats and artificial leather.
Kolon Industries to Make Aggressive Investments in 5G and Electric Vehicle Markets by Doubling “Aramid” Output
▷ Doubling annual output to 15,000 tons once again in 3 years
▷ Investing proactively in response to rising demands for 5G cables and ultra-high performance tires for EVs
▷ Solidifying Kolon Industries’ top position in the global aramid market
Kolon Industries (CEO Hee-Goo Jang) is making strides towards high tech industries such as 5G and electric vehicle by ramping up its output of aramid fibers (brand name: Heracron) by 50 percent. Aramid fibers are a high-strength material 5 times stronger than steel and can withstand high temperatures of 500 degrees Celsius.
The Korean chemical and textile company announced its aramid annual output will increase from the current 7,500 tons to 15,000 tons by expanding its aramid fiber production line in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province, by 2023. This is a large-scale investment aiming to double capacity once again in 3 years, after the company expanded the facility’s capacity by 50 percent in 2017. The textile and chemical unit of Kolon Group is preparing preemptively to increasing demands in the high-tech industries, particularly 5G network and EV, by expanding the facility once every 3 years since 2017. It aims to consolidate its top position in the global aramid market and close gaps with leading businesses through the expansion work.
The global aramid market is growing significantly, driven by sharp rises in 5G network infrastructure demands. Characterized by high strength and tensile strength, aramid fibers are a reliable reinforcing material that supports optical cables for 5G networks. Increases in online data usage due to the spread of contactless lifestyles since the COVID19 outbreak also prompted the growth of the aramid market.
Another driver of market expansion is the rapid increase of EV supplies. Demands are rising for ultra-high performance (UHP) tires since EVs are heavier than internal combustion engine-powered vehicles but have a stronger acceleration power than the latter. Aramid tire cord demands to be applied to HUP tires are expected to skyrocket with the expansion of high-performance car markets such as EV.
Aramid fibers from the new production lines will also be applied to Kolon Industries' flagship tire cord products and are expected to create a high synergy effect between businesses. Additional production lines operate as a smart factory, equipped with digitalized and automated systems of production facilities — a sensor-based real-time process analysis system at every production stage is adopted. Moreover, big data collected on the lines are used to build know-how in production technology such as quality and production efficiency improvement.
Kolon Industries' aramid business is a key growth engine, continuously generating high profits and leading future growth. Demands for high-tech industrial materials such as 5G telecommunication infrastructure have increased significantly since 2019 and the company has obtained global competitiveness mainly in the North American market, achieving a 100 percent utilization rate and sales rate. This proves that Kolon Industries' aramid product quality has been globally recognized as top-tier.
The company began research to develop its own aramid fiber in 1979, and then released its own product under the brand name of “Heracron” in 2005 after establishing a production facility for the third time in the world. Kolon Industries has been running its aramid fiber production lines at full capacity since 2017, successfully increasing its global client base, and is recording remarkable growth even during COVID-induced industrial downturns based on its competitive edge in quality. The global aramid fiber market is projected to grow more than 6 percent annually over the next 5 years from the current 70,000 tons in terms of supply.
Aramid fiber is a type of heat-resistant and strong synthetic fiber. It is a cutting-edge fiber with high strength and tensile strength: its tensile strength is 5 times stronger than iron of the same weight and withstands repeated heating above 500 degrees Celsius. The material is used in the military as ballistic-rated body armor, protective apparel, tire reinforcements, and friction materials (brake pad).
"The decision points to the determination of Kolon Industries to increase its market dominance with aggressive investment. We will continue to generate high profits by responding quickly to increasing demands in the global aramid market in the post-COVID19 era.”, said Ey-Goo Kang, head of the Heracron business. The company is considering another mid-to long-term investment in its aramid (Heracron) business after the current expansion.
Kolon Industries Sets Out to Expand Its Eco-friendly Business, Using Plastic Waste from the Military
▷ Signed an MOU with the Korean Veterans Association on plastic recycling business
▷ Securing a nationwide network for a stable plastic waste supply chain
▷ Spearheading a resource-circulating ecosystem with Kolon’s proprietary technology
Kolon Industries (CEO Hee-Goo Jang) announced on the 22nd that it has signed an MOU with the Korean Veterans Association (President and Retired Army general Jin-Ho Kim) to develop eco-friendly plastic recycling technology and business.
In a view to recycle plastic waste conventionally discarded or incinerated after being used in the military, Kolon Industries plans to gather information on the amount of plastic waste generated and collect data to assess its suitability as a raw material. Targeted items include non-combatant daily supplies and plastic waste in the military currently being incinerated and discarded, which will be supplied as a raw material for recycled PET (polyester). The company is in great anticipation of the synergy effect from the collaboration with the Korean Veterans Association that boasts 10 million members and an extensive network across the military, including a stable raw material supply chain.
The company is focusing on developing eco-friendly PET recycling technology using plastic waste, which has been put in the spotlight as an effort to achieve ESG management. With the existing heat-based recycling process, only a fraction of waste is recyclable given its limited capacity to remove impurities in the waste. However, Kolon Industries’ chemical recycling method is applicable to most types of recycled plastic products since high-purity raw materials can be extracted regardless of the type and contamination level.
Recycled PET is recognized as an eco-friendly technology since it can reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 30 to 40 percent compared to the existing PET. Harnessing its proprietary plastic recycling technology, Kolon Industries is determined to gain a strong foothold in the PET market and continuously expand its eco-friendly business with a plan to start mass production from 2025.
Research director Eun-Jung Jo at Kolon Industries said, “This MOU serves as an opportunity to send plastic waste in the military into the recycling pool.”, and added, “With our proprietary recycling technology, we will take the initiative in creating a resource-circulating ecosystem by expanding collaboration with partners from home and abroad.”
Kolon Industries to Start Full-scale Production of the World’s First Advanced Petroleum Resin
▷ Completed the expansion of its advanced petroleum resin production facility in Yeosu by 15,000 tons per year
▷ Aiming to venture into the high value-added market with its world’s first development of highly reactive resin (HRR) and others
▷ Ranked second in global petroleum resin production and succeeded in materials localization
Kolon Industries (CEO Hee-Goo Jang), the first in the world to develop advanced petroleum resin technology with dramatically improved adhesiveness and other properties, will now set forth to enter the global high value-added petroleum resin market.
The company announced on the 21st that it has expanded the production capacity of its petroleum resin plant in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, by 15,000 tons to mass-produce highly reactive resin (HRR), pure monomer resin (PMR), liquid petroleum resin, and high-performance tire resin.
Consequently, it has emerged as the second largest petroleum resin producer in the world, with a total annual production capacity of 200,000 tons. Plans are in place to further boost its advanced petroleum resin production capacity gradually to 20,000 tons. On top of that, it has significantly increased its business competitiveness and successfully localized materials by establishing the latest facility with its proprietary technology.
HRR, a hybrid of Kolon Industries’ existing products and proprietary technology, is a highly reactive petroleum resin that becomes exceptionally adhesive when reacted with moisture in the air. With less bodily harmful substances compared to previous adhesives, excellent heat resistance, and durability, HRR is increasingly being applied to automobiles, construction, and industrial products.
PMR is specialized for tire manufacturing. Increased grip force in automobile tires will reduce fuel efficiency in general. However, adding PMR can improve grip force while maintaining fuel efficiency. As the automobile market is recently showing signs of recovery, along with the evident preference for high performance and fuel efficiency, PMR has caught the attention of tire-makers home and abroad.
Liquid petroleum resin products, first developed in Korea by Kolon Industries, will be released. The company is the only manufacturer in Korea and the second largest liquid petroleum resin maker. Liquid petroleum resin, specialized for tires and paints, is easier to work with compared to conventional solid petroleum resin, making the production process simpler. Profitability is projected to increase upon mass production since there is no alternative that can rival high-performance tire resin first developed by Kolon Industries, focusing on automobile grip performance improvement.
In his commemorative speech at the completion ceremony held on the 18th, Kolon Industries CEO Hee-Goo Jang said, “This expansion is an opportunity to provide customers with new values others cannot offer. Building an innovative portfolio will act as a significant milestone in solidifying the future sustainable growth potential of the petroleum resin business.”
Kolon Industries to Penetrate into the Global Hydrogen Mobility Market with Core Materials for Hydrogen Vehicles
▷ New humidity controller applied to Hyundai Motors’ next generation hydrogen fuel cell system
▷ Planned to be built into diverse hydrogen vehicles including Nexo 2023
▷ Accelerating core materials and parts businesses such as membrane and MEA (Membrane Electrode Assembly)
With humidity controllers developed by Kolon Industries (CEO Hee-Goo Jang) applied to next generation hydrogen fuel cells, the Korean chemical and textile manufacturer is rapidly making inroads into the global hydrogen mobility market. The company announced on the 16th that it has signed a contract with Hyundai Motors, a global leader of FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle), to supply humidity controllers with upgraded performance.
The contract is the largest one made since Kolon Industries completed the establishment of a mass-production line. The company has been improving the performance of humidity controllers, a core material of hydrogen fuel cells, and building a mass-production system in response to the burgeoning FCEV market.
It seeks to expand its global supply chain by leveraging the current contract with Hyundai Motors as an opportunity to take its materials and parts technology and capability to yet another level. Preparation for surging demands and market growth is underway by considering investments to ramp up facilities, supported by global partnerships.
As a core material of FCEV, humidity controller maintains humidity inside vehicles to facilitate electricity generation. Kolon Industries stands tall as a No.1 humidity controller manufacturer, leading the global market with an integrated production system that covers all processes from membrane production to module assembly. The controllers can not only control the water and temperature of stacks but also reduce the hydrogen concentration of exhaust gas. Better yet, they are applied to fuel cells for vehicles and buildings given their smaller size and high performance.
Ey-Goo Kang, head of the fuel cell business at Kolon Industries said, “Hydrogen economy is not a far-fetched future but a near future moving closer to us. Materials and parts business, our core capability, will contribute to technological development and business expansion of the hydrogen fuel cell industry.”
Kolon Industries is speeding up its business related to hydrogen fuel cell core materials and parts such as membrane (PEM and MEA), along with humidity controllers, to strengthen its position in the global market. Markets for membrane and MEA, which account for approximately 40 percent of stack production cost, are valued at 1 trillion won and 3 trillion won as of 2025, respectively.
Kolon Industries Makes Eco-friendly Adhesive Resins Out of Wood Byproducts
▷ Completed patent application, with production and sales expected in the second half of this year
▷ Hailed as a future eco-friendly raw material given its capacity to replace existing toxic materials and reduce CO2 emitted while using petrochemical materials
▷ Secured new eco-friendly material technology along with biodegradable PBAT and recyclable PCR PET films, ramping up efforts to expand its business in eco-friendly materials
Kolon Industries (CEO Hee-Goo Jang) has applied for a patent on a lignin-based eco-friendly adhesive resin extracted from wood byproducts. Being the first of its kind in Korea, the company is stepping up its efforts in the eco-friendly material business.
The chemical and fashion unit of Korea’s Kolon Group has been devoted to developing and commercializing eco-friendly products such as PBAT, eco-friendly biodegradable plastics, and PCR PET films that use recycled plastics. The lignin-based resin has become another addition to the list of eco-friendly materials developed by Kolon Industries.
Lignin is a polymer extracted from the byproducts created during the pulp-making process from wood. At present, lignin is being used as a compound to enhance the performance of concrete but not for industrial production: in most cases, it is burned and disposed of as fuel during the manufacturing process. Compared to a petrochemical raw material, lignin has the effect of reducing the generation of carbon dioxide during the production process and has great growth potential as an eco-friendly raw material that can replace toxic materials.
Kolon Industries developed the lignin resin and applied for a patent after being successful in a two- year-long experimentation on biomass, a substitute for existing petrochemical raw materials. Lignin is not easily mixed with other materials despite its adhesive property, making chemical bonding challenging. Nonetheless, Kolon Industries succeeded in developing the adhesive resin by applying its existing know-how in phenol resins production. The company plans to produce lignin resins by using existing resin facilities at its No. 2 plant in the southeastern city of Gimcheon and aims to launch sales of lignin resins from the second half of this year.
High expectations are there for Lignins’ further application in different types of industrial adhesive materials, given its advantage of improving petroleum-based resins’ adhesiveness and heat resistance. It also boasts high cost-competitiveness as it uses otherwise-discarded raw materials.
Sang-Min Lee, managing director of the lignin resin business at Kolon Industries, said, “We are planning to expand the adoption of biomass-based raw materials in line with the recent trend of ESG management.”, adding, “We will make sure to lead the market with products that boast better properties such as mechanical strength, by using the structural characteristics of lignin, a substitute for existing petroleum-based raw materials.”
Kolon Industries to Expand the Eco-friendly Materials Market with the First-ever PCR PET Film in Korea
▷ Succeeded in the commercialization of eco-friendly plastic films, developed in collaboration with LG H&H and Lotte Aluminum
▷ Venturing into new markets by expanding the application of PCR PET materials
▷ Planning to apply PCR PET films to packaging materials of household goods, food containers, and industrial products
Kolon Industries (CEO Hee-Goo Jang) has set out to explore new markets for eco-friendly materials after developing a recycled plastic film for the first time in Korea. The company announced on the 26th that it has decided to supply polyester (PCR PET) film made from post-consumer recycled (PCR) raw materials to LG H&H and Lotte Aluminum. The film will be used as a packaging material for household items and food containers that will be released by both companies this month.
Kolon Industries, LG H&H, and Lotte Aluminum had been collaborating since the second half of last year to develop packaging materials using recycled PET and have successfully developed the nation’s first PCR PET film. PCR PET raw materials had seen limited use, only being applied to the production of extruded sheets or recycled yarn. This is the first time they have been utilized to produce films since the production requires sophisticated quality control and shape processing: physical properties must be maintained without any impurities.
Building on this opportunity, the Korean chemical and textile company is seeking to lead a new trend in the eco-friendly packaging market, as it gradually expands application areas of PCR PET films to household goods, food packaging, and industrial products. In particular, the company will be able to respond effectively to global environmental regulations such as Europe’s mandate to recycle more than 50 percent of plastic packaging by 2025.
PCR PET films account for less than 1 percent of the total market demand for PET films, which exceeds 6,000,000 tons per year. However, with the worldwide move to reduce plastic consumption, PCR PET films are brought into the spotlight as an eco-friendly material, mainly in certain areas with low technical barriers such as product packaging.
“We are delighted that the development of new recycled plastic products allows us to contribute to resolving environmental pollution issues.”, said Kolon Industries CEO Hee-Goo Jang. “As the new pillar of Kolon Industries’ ESG management, our recycled PET business will branch out and be applied to wider areas, paving the way towards a sustainable future.”
○ Kolon Industries has been experimenting in various ways with recycled materials, as well as the newly developed PCR PET films, applying them to its products with the aim of fostering eco-friendly materials into a new business. With Spunbond (long-fiber, non-woven fabric), made from recycled water bottles and certified as GRS (Global Recycled Standard) last January, products made from recycled materials will account for over 20 percent of Kolon Industries’ total sales. Kolon’s premium RCS-certified (Recycled Claim Standard) artificial leather brand, Chamude, will start selling products such as car interior leather from the second half of this year.
Kolon Industries to Partner with Hyundai Motors on Internal Corporate Venturing
▷ Signed an MOU with Hyundai Motors to foster and make a business out of internal corporate venturing
▷ Kolon Industries’ “Palzak” and Hyundai Motors’ “RollerMarket” will develop a location-based service as their first collaboration
▷ Striving to secure a future growth engine including internal corporate venturing
“Let us all try to ensure that our internal corporate venturing program goes beyond simple success to creating an environment where creative employees are eager to take on new challenges, generating future values for the company.”
This is a message delivered by CEO Hee-Goo Jang when Kolon Industries began to gather ideas about its internal corporate venturing program dubbed “K-Ventures” in 2019. The program is now taking a first step forward in collaboration with Hyundai Motors to create a future growth engine driven by fresh and creative ideas.
Kolon Industries (CEO Hee-Goo Jang) and Hyundai Motors (CEO Jae-Hoon Chang) signed an MOU to work together on running an in-house corporate venture program on the 11th. They agreed to establish a mechanism for mutually beneficial collaboration on internal corporate venturing and to work side by side when △ running an in-house venture program and making a business out of the program, △ developing and operating services amongst in-house venturing teams, and △ expanding services and exploring commercialization opportunities for corporate venturing teams.
As the first example, Kolon Industries’ “Palzak” and Hyundai Motors’ “RollerMarket” will hold a business partnership on a location-based service. The business model developed by “Palzak” is centered around an audio coaching mobile application that plays a pacemaker role and provides training content in audio for those who go for a run. Hyundai Motors’ “RollerMarket” built an on-demand service model upon a Purpose-Built Vehicle (PBV) commerce platform, which provides autonomous driving mobility to users who want to move in areas with weak transportation infrastructure. The two are planning to develop interrelated business models on location-based services.
Jeong-Sok Roh, director of “K-Ventures” at Kolon Industries, said, “The MOU will be used as a basis to provide new experience and convenience to customers by building a solid foundation to collaborate with Hyundai Motors’ venture companies in a wide range of business areas.”
The Korean chemical and textile company is currently running an in-house venture fund worth 10 billion won to foster internal ventures. It allows those who raised ideas to focus on their new business with ownership and expertise by providing them with high incentives and shares of a new start-up once the idea is selected as a creative business item. “Palzak,” the first team to be chosen, will launch a beta version in the first half of 2021, entering a full-scale commercialization phase.
The company is making bold investments in external venture companies as well. Kolon Industries invested 3 billion won in G2touch, a hidden champion that developed touch IC and supplies touch ICs for laptops, through PEF in March. G2touch is supplying products to touch LCDs provided to global IT device manufacturers including Dell, HP, and Lenovo through BOE, the world’s largest display company. In addition, Kolon Industries has been participating in the “Weconomy Startup Challenge,” a program to discover promising startups with innovative technologies and establish a business model for new ideas, hosted by Seoul Business Agency (SBA) since last year. By supporting joint research and commercialization of startups with promising technologies, the company explores more opportunities to create a future growth engine and grow in tandem with startups.
*PBV: Self-driving ground mobility transformed into different shapes and functions according to its purpose. For instance, it can be used to provide customized services for passengers on the move, for short-distance freight shipping, and as public transportation. The idea of PBC is to add various frames that provide services on demand, such as relaxing, logistics, and commercial. PBC is deemed an area of high growth potential once autonomous driving technologies are added.
Kolon Industries, Launching into the Chinese Foldable Phone Market with CPIⓡ Films
▷ Supplying “bendable and transparent” CPIⓡ films for Xiaomi’s first-ever foldable phone, Mi Mix Fold
▷ Dominating 90 percent of the Chinese foldable cover window market, Kolon Industries is an unparalleled No.1 in the foldable display market excluding thin glass
▷ Targeting approximately 60 percent of annual growth in the global foldable display market
Kolon Industries (CEO Hee-Goo Jang) is securing dominance in the cover window market in advance by accelerating the commercialization of foldable phones in China with its proprietary transparent PI film CPIⓡ. The company announced that its CPIⓡ films will be used for Xiaomi’s recent foldable phone, Mi Mix Fold. The Korean CPIⓡ film maker accounts for almost 90 percent of the foldable display material market for smartphones and laptops including Xiaomi, making it an incomparable No.1 in the cover window market excluding thin glass.
The soon-to-be-released Mi Mix Fold is the first foldable phone of Xiaomi, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer with a significant global presence. The Chinese smartphone maker aims to sell 500,000 units this year after releasing 30,000 in the initial stage. Mi Mix Fold is priced at 9,999 Chinese yuan (1,720,000 Korean Won), deemed a reasonable price compared to foldable smartphones already in the market. Accordingly, the global foldable phone market is expected to see more intense competition.
CPIⓡ films are outstanding in that they are more cost-effective and less prone to cracking than thin glass for cover windows and can provide optimal quality that meets customer needs: all cited as reasons for Xiaomi choosing CPIⓡ films. Different from thin glass for cover windows, touch pens can be used for CPIⓡ films. The films also stand out when it comes to applicability since they can be applied to mid- to large-sized foldable displays such as tablets or laptops given their high durability. The company has been supplying them for the world’s first foldable PC by Lenovo since the end of last year.
Chinese smartphone manufacturers including Xiaomi are targeting their domestic market, and at the same time, rapidly branching out globally. The Chinese market is forecast to witness continuous development and release of foldable form factors, including Xiaomi’s roll-out of its foldable phone. China will become a major battlefield of foldable display products with the launch of Huawei’s Mate X series and foldable phones from Oppo and Vivo. On top of that, the development of the first-ever foldable laptops’ successor model is planned by Lenovo.
According to the market research firm DSCC (Display Supply Chain Consultants), the market size for foldable displays will grow from 3.3 million in 2021 to 41.1 million devices in 2024. Kolon industries said sales of its CPIⓡ film are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 60 percent, taking into consideration the fact that China accounts for the largest part of global demand.
Jung-Il Kim, head of the CPI business at Kolon Industries said “Demands will rise for not only price-competitive but also simply designable and processable CPIⓡ films with high durability, as diverse form factors with sophisticated structures such as rollable phones, multi-folding, and mid-to large-sized foldable displays will emerge.”, adding, “We will continue to develop CPIⓡ films that outperform thin glass with unmatched competitiveness to keep up with diverse products that will hit the market.”
Kolon Industries’ CPIⓡ is as transparent as glass and can be bent without leaving scratch or crack, making itself a core material for foldable display cover windows. The material also boasts longer durability and can withstand extreme temperature changes, enabling extensive applicability to form factors of various sizes and designs.
After succeeding in the mass production of CPIⓡ films in 2019 for the first time in the world, Kolon Industries has been supplying the material for cover windows to various foldable phone makers including Xiaomi through global display companies. The Korean CPIⓡ film maker has obtained a favorable place in the mid-to large-sized foldable display market by supplying CPIⓡ films to Levono for its world’s first foldable laptop, Thinkpad Fold X.
Kolon Industries Starts with a Gold Rating in ESG Management
▷ Awarded a gold rating from EcoVadis, a global ESG management rating agency
▷ Conducted RE100 potential evaluation to achieve net-zero emissions at all business sites
▷ Established the Environment Safety Committee, a dedicated organization to practice ESG management
▷ Continuing eco-friendly businesses such as bio-degradable plastics and hydrogen fuel cells
Kolon Industries (CEO Hee-Goo Jang) has kicked into high gear its move towards ESG management. On the 19th, the company announced that EcoVadis, a global ESG management rating agency, awarded the company a gold rating which is given only to the top 5 percent of evaluated companies.
EcoVadis, based in Paris, France, is a leading international research organization in rating the sustainability of businesses. 75,000 companies around the world are assessed in terms of environment, labor, and fair trade and a gold rating is given to only the top 5 percent of 2,607 companies subject to evaluation in the basic chemical industry. Kolon Industries was ranked in the top 3 percent with high scores in the fields of environment and labor.
ESG management in Kolon Industries is being practiced in diverse areas. The RE100 potential evaluation project is underway to achieve net-zero emissions at all business sites by 2050. The idea of this project is to measure the potential for renewable energy generation at all business sites, particularly focusing on solar power generation. It is a scientific and technical springboard for reaching net-zero emissions.
To this end, the Environment Safety Committee, a dedicated organization to ensure carbon neutrality and ESG management, is also in operation. With the CEO, members of business sites, and technology headquarters at the center, the 2021-established committee serves as the mainstay for minimizing environmental and safety risks and laying the foundation for sustainable growth based on eco-friendly businesses.
Kolon Industries announced on March 7th that it will enter the biodegradable PBAT (Poly Butylene Adipate-co-Terephthalate) market with SK Global Chemical. Biodegradable plastic, PBAT, is an eco-friendly material and PBAT products show a decomposition rate of higher than 90 percent within 6 months of being buried in the ground. Both companies are seeking to leverage this collaboration to shift away from conventional plastics, pointed out as the main culprit of pollution, and stay ahead of the game in the global eco-friendly plastic market.
Efforts are also underway to expand the company’s presence in the hydrogen fuel cell business, another core eco-friendly business of Kolon Industries, driven by the completion of PEM mass production facilities. The company boasts superb technological prowess acquired since 2013 when the company first mass-produced humidity controllers for hydrogen fuel cells. It has set out to expand its foothold as a comprehensive solution provider for hydrogen-related businesses, backed by mass production facilities for MEA (membrane electrode assembly), a core part of hydrogen fuel cells.
In addition, its new eco-friendly PET decomposing technology and MOU with the Korean apparel and textile recycling association have allowed Kolon Industries to successfully reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 30 percent compared to the conventional process. The fashion division of Kolon Industries plans to use eco-friendly materials for 50 percent of all Kolon Sports products by 2023. RE;CODE, a brand specializing in upcycling, is creating values and sharing culture with customers by producing clothes made out of waste clothing, military supplies, and industrial materials.
CEO Hee-Goo Jang said, “A gold rating from EcoVadis demonstrates that Kolon Industries’ ESG management strategy is globally recognized.”, adding, “We will continue to uphold social values while fully utilizing our in-house human and physical resources to continue running eco-friendly businesses and realizing social values”.
Kolon Plastics Presents Material Solutions for Electric and Hydrogen Vehicles
○ Exhibiting core materials for electric and hydrogen vehicles as well as eco-friendly POM and carbon fiber reinforced plastic
○ Expanding the supply of engineering plastics to boost growth
On the 13th, Kolon Plastics (CEO Min-Soo Bang) presented its eco-friendly POM as well as solutions for core materials in electric and hydrogen vehicles at Chinaplas 2021, held in Shenzhen, China. Core components of EVs such as battery modules and high-functional materials with high voltage charging are being showcased.
Lightweight solutions for EVs are also presented. An EV cowl cross beam, a special material with great strength that replaces metal and is used to prop up the dashboard are put on display. Also introduced are special fire-retardant materials that facilitate fire response and special insulating materials that withstand electrical stress.
Kolon Plastics is striving to develop materials for electronic control units, as future electric vehicles will be more about electrical parts than mechanical parts. The company has already introduced a high-speed transmission connector that minimizes the loss of electric signals in its Virtual Product Development Program and is planning to launch proactive tech solutions going beyond materials in automotive electrical parts.
Products developed based on its proprietary technology are showcased as well. Prime examples include a material that withstands ultra-high voltage and a hydrolysis-resistant material that shows little discoloration and performance degradation even in high temperature and humidity environments. A host of specialty products such as a material with high fiberglass concentration with more stiffness than metal and trendy paint-free material that requires no painting process are also there.
Kolon Plastics’ POM (Polyoxymethylene) rarely releases formaldehyde and boasts the world’s best low odor (LO) characteristics as well as strong resistance to shock and wear. The exhibition hall displays diverse types of products such as automotive and electronic parts, and daily supplies, made from eco-friendly POM. The environment-friendly POM releases almost no harmful chemical not just in the manufacturing process but also when made into finished goods.
“At this exhibition, we are promoting various products that use Kolon Plastics’ technologies such as applications for parts modules for EV and HCEV platforms, lightweight materials, and eco-friendly materials.”, said Mr. Min-Soo Bang, CEO of Kolon Plastics. He added, “We will continue to drive growth by expanding the supply of engineering plastic products with our world’s best manufacturing technology.”
Chinaplas 2021, the world’s second biggest and Asia’s largest plastics and rubber trade fair, will be held from April 13th to 16th at the Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center under the theme of “New Era, New Potential, Innovation for Sustainability.” Hosting around 3,600 exhibitors, the event is anticipated to provide an opportunity to stay up to date with the latest products and market trends.
Kolon Holds “Kolon Festival,” Its Signature Interactive Event
▷ Established in 2006, “Kolon Festival” is a signature event where employees’ success stories are shared
▷ Every member votes online to choose an awardee
▷ This year’s award went to “Kolon Global’s Renewable Energy Business Team,” a leader of wind power generation
While group events and gatherings are being postponed and downsized due to COVID19, Kolon Group held its online “Kolon Festival” on the 8th, Thursday, where successful projects were shared in the presence of all Kolon members.
This year marks the 14th anniversary of the festival that started in 2006 and has become a signature interactive platform for Kolon. The event is a participation-based one where domestic executives and employees share projects that produced fruitful results, and in the end, one team is honored with an award. Participants analyze their colleagues’ performance and vote in real-time to select an award-winning team.
The once fully offline event has turned into a hybrid gathering — most of the members join using their laptops or smartphones while a minimum number of people participate offline, adhering to COVID19 safety guidelines.
This year, the award went to Kolon Global’s Renewable Energy Business Team. The team has been applauded for their outstanding project performance that led to increased profits by involving itself in the construction and operation of Gyeongju and Taebaek Gadeok Mountain wind farm. Head of the team, Min-Sik Lee said, “It was a great pleasure to share our team’s work with Kolon members, and I was especially touched by everyone’s fervent support and encouragement, despite the festival being held online.”
The festival featured diverse success cases of numerous teams including Kolon Industries’ Film Business Team, which achieved significant performance improvement based on team members’ dedication even amid fiercer market competition due to oversupply.
Kolon Industries to Target Eco-friendly Materials Market with Biodegradable Plastic
▷ Signed a strategic partnership with SK Global Chemical to enter and preoccupy the PBAT (polybutylene adipate-co-terephthalate) market
▷ Succeeded in developing a biodegradable plastic product and plans to move onto commercialization in the latter half of this year
▷ Synergy effect expected from the collaboration of the two companies across all divisions including material supply, production, and sales.
▷ Aspiring to become an eco-friendly company for a sustainable future as part of its ESG management
Kolon Industries (CEO Hee-Goo Jang) will partner with SK Global Chemical to target the eco-friendly plastics market. The company has announced on the 7th that it has signed a strategic partnership with SK Global Chemical to launch into and stay ahead in the biodegradable plastic PBAT (polybutylene adipate-co-terephthalate) market.
More than 90 percent of PBAT, a high-tech, eco-friendly, and biodegradable plastic, will naturally degrade within six months of being buried. The material is generally used in non-recyclable products such as disposable plastic bags and agricultural plastics and has immense potential for being fabricated into various plastic substitutes given its flexibility and the capability to be mixed with other types of plastics.
The two companies are aiming to produce prototypes, receive product certification, and obtain joint patents within the first half of this year. Commercialization is expected in the second half. Kolon Industries, with its best process technology know-how in Korea in terms of developing polyester-based materials and operating facilities, will be the key player in developing and producing PBAT products in this joint project. Its partner SK Global Chemical will be in charge of the reliable supply of PBAT raw materials and post-processing. This partnership is expected to create synergy between the two companies, which are planning to ramp up their PBAT annual production to 50,000 tons in 2023 to preemptively respond to the biodegradable plastics market.
Building on this opportunity, the two companies agreed to continue their strategic partnership to expand their eco-friendly chemical product portfolio. They will work shoulder to shoulder to create an ecosystem of a circular economy for plastics by setting up a partnership model that uses waste plastics to produce recycled products or through applying biodegradable materials to difficult-to-recycle plastics. PBAT demand is forecast to rise sharply given its biodegradability, against the backdrop that the Ministry of Environment announced a goal to make Korea carbon-neutral by 2050 and regulations on disposable plastic consumption are being beefed up.
Kolon Industries CEO Hee-Goo Jang said, “We are delighted to develop a new biodegradable plastic product and contribute to solving environmental problems while waste plastics are blamed as the main cause of pollution.”, adding, “The PBAT business jointly led by the two companies is a part of ESG management, and Kolon Industries will strive to become an eco-friendly company opening up a sustainable future.”
The Korean chemical and textile company is making multifaceted efforts to ramp up its ESG competitiveness and is emerging as a solution company for hydrogen fuel cell core material. After starting the mass production of humidity controllers essential for hydrogen fuel cells in 2013, it established a PEM (Polymer electrolyte membrane) mass production line in 2021 and is now developing MEA, membrane electrode assembly. In addition, its new eco-friendly PET decomposing technology and MOU with the Korean Apparel and Textile Recycling Association have allowed Kolon Industries to successfully reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 30 percent compared to the conventional process. The fashion division of Kolon Industries plans to use eco-friendly materials for 50 percent of all Kolon Sports products by 2023. RE;CODE, a brand specializing in upcycling, is creating values and sharing culture with customers by producing clothes made out of waste clothing, military supplies, and industrial materials.
Kolon Industries’ CPIⓡ Films to be Applied to Foldable Laptops, Going Beyond Foldable Smartphones
- Kolon Industries’ CPIⓡ films applied to the world’s first foldable laptop, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
▷ Launching into the mid-to large-sized display film market for the first time after succeeding in mass production of the first-ever transparent PI film
▷ Set to spearhead the next-generation display market by developing diverse form factors
Kolon Industries (CEO Hee-Goo Jang) announced on the 5th that its transparent PI film CPIⓡ covers Lenovo ThinkPad XI Fold, the world’s first foldable laptop manufactured by a global PC maker, Lenovo. The company seeks to leverage this as an opportunity to stay ahead in the mid-to large-sized foldable display market, moving beyond foldable smartphones.
XI Fold is a premium laptop with a foldable 13.3-inch display equipped with Kolon Industries’ CPIⓡ films, which the company succeeded in the world’s first mass production. This is the first time for a transparent PI film to be applied to mid-to large-sized foldable displays such as laptops, since so far, its major application area was foldable smartphones. On top of that, XI Fold also adopted a touch pen technology for the first time, which is particularly challenging for thin glass cover windows. The laptop was first released in the North American market at the end of last year and became available in Korea from February.
“Kolon Industries’ innovative technological capabilities have been recognized in the global market with its CPIⓡ film applied to the world’s first foldable laptop.”, said Jung-Il Kim, head of the CPI business at Kolon Industries, adding, “We will put an all-out effort in R&D to strengthen competitiveness and lead the next generation display market.”
The CPIⓡ film is a core material of foldable display cover window since it can be bent hundreds of thousands of times without any scratch or crack. The material also boasts long-time durability and can withstand extreme temperature changes, making it widely applicable to form factors of various sizes and designs. After succeeding in the mass production of CPIⓡ in 2019 for the first time in the world, Kolon Industries has been supplying the film to numerous global display makers to be used on foldable smartphones.
Market research firm DSCC* projected in a report released in 2020 that the foldable display market is expanding from small-sized smartphones to mid-to large-sized products such as tablet PCs and laptops and is expected to grow by 131 percent per annum over the next 4 years. Demands for mid-to large-sized foldable display technology is forecast to increase continuously since it significantly reduces volume and increases portability when applied to mid-to large-sized devices such as tablets and laptops with screens larger than 10 inches.
The Korean company is looking to branch out to new business avenues, harnessing the application of its technology to X1 Fold as a steppingstone. Plans are in place to develop and supply materials optimized for diverse form factors including mid-to large-sized and rollable products by strengthening partnerships with global display manufacturers, which is particularly important considering the successful application of CPIⓡ films to X1 Fold based on the partnership with LG Display.
* CPIⓡ film (Colorless Polylmide Film) Kolon Industries’ proprietary transparent polylmide film
CPIⓡ film is Kolon Industries’ trademarked brand name. The film is as transparent as glass and can be bent without leaving any scratch or crack, making itself a core material for next generation displays such as a foldable display. Kolon Industries was the first to succeed in the mass production of the film.
* DSCC (Display Supply Chain Consultants) is a global research firm that tracks trends of the global display market.
Job Seekers to “Chi-Bbo” with Kolon’s KOALA
(*Chi-Bbo, a portmanteau of “Chi up” (finding a job) and “Bbo-gae-gi” (achieving), is a term used by Korean job seekers to wish “success in getting a job.”)
▷ Kolon’s online job mentoring program, KOALA, goes over big with job seekers
▷ KOALA provides less accessible and practical information on jobs related to trademark rights, patent, upcycling design, hotelier, and windfarm construction
KOALA, Kolon’s online job mentoring program, is being well-received by job seekers while majority of recruitment roadshows and job fairs have been canceled and employment opportunities are becoming scarcer due to COVID19. Participants said, “The online program enabled me to gain knowledge about diverse jobs.”, and added, “KOALA provides us with job-specific information, which cannot be found anywhere.”
Kolon has been uploading its job mentoring content “KOALA” on Youtube every month since last August. The content features one Kolon employee chosen as a mentor of the month, who shares his/her job duty and tips on how to get a job. KOALA is an interactive mentoring program: the introduction of a new mentor is posted on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms in advance, job seekers leave questions on the posts, and the mentor provides tangible advice.
KOALA is characterized by its high accessibility to every job seeker. Kolon Group’s prior offline mentoring program provided more hands-on experience but had limitations in terms of the number of participants and time. By contrast, any job seeker looking for recruitment and job-related information can access KOALA via Youtube. Better yet, participants can ask questions specific to themselves and receive feedback by simply leaving a comment.
KOALA is also differentiated by its informativeness. Mentoring is provided not only on well-known jobs such as management support, sales, and R&D but also on highly technical jobs with less information available for job seekers. Those who join can acquire practical and detailed information about various jobs and fields: the soon-to-be-introduced hotelier, apartment interior designer, and windfarm builder as well as patent, intellectual property rights, and upcycling designer, which are already covered.
Recently, a program that featured Kolon Industries’ FnC RE;CODE team design director Sun-Joo Park on the 15th received a host of positive feedback. She introduced Korea’s first-ever upcycling brand “RE;CODE” and shared useful information about finding a job while having a multi-faceted discussion on sustainable fashion. RE;CODE is an eco-friendly fashion brand that creates new products by reusing deadstock clothing waste more than 3 years old, and thus, is otherwise subject to incineration. Sun-Joo Park’s mentoring was especially well-evaluated since she went beyond the simple introduction of jobs in the fashion industry and led fruitful discussions on designers’ capabilities and methods of gaining inspiration.
One job seeker who attended a session on overseas sales led by Sung-Jun Kwon, manager of Kolon Global trading business team, commented “It was a great opportunity to learn essential job duties of an overseas sales team in a general trading company, which was what I always looked for.”, and added, “The session was as helpful as reading several books.”
KOALA is receiving mentoring applications in advance on Kolon Group Facebook (www.facebook.com/kolongroup) and Instagram (@kolongroup), and the videos are uploaded on Kolon Group’s Youtube channel (www.youtube.com/user/kolonsns). The company is planning to provide mentoring on hotelier in April, apartment interior designer in May, and windfarm builder in June.
Kolon Industries to accelerate its penetration into the global tire cord market
- Making an investment to expand a tire cord plant in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam
▷ Increasing capacity by 19,200 tons, with total production output reaching about 103,000 tons
▷ Enhancing its global business structure by securing production bases with technical prowess and price competitiveness
Kolon Industries (CEO Hee-Goo Jang) is aggressively making inroads into the global tire cord market, expanding its tire cord plant in Vietnam.
The Korean chemical and textile company announced that it has decided to expand its polyester (PET) tire cord plant in Vietnam by next year September to boost its annual production capacity by 19,200 tons. This is the second investment made in Vietnam following the company’s first PET tire cord plant construction with an annual output of 16,800 tons in 2018, proving its initial roadmap set when it entered Vietnam is well underway. The upcoming expansion will lead to a twofold increase in output, bringing the tire maker’s total output to 103,200 tons.
Kolon Industries’ tire cord plant in the Bau Bang Industrial Park of Binh Duong Province has an integrated production system that covers all processes from raw material production to weaving, heat treatment, and finished products. The plant has also received approval on quality stabilization from global tire makers and is currently running at full capacity. The newly built facility will also have an integrated production system, which will be conducive to both output and efficiency.
The prospect for the continuous growth of the tire market is why Kolon Industries decided to ramp up the plant. One company specializing in market research for the automotive industry projects the market to grow about 3.5 percent per annum, going back to pre-COVID levels from 2022.
In particular, the market is forecast to sustain its growth in the longer term, driven by the increased uptake of tire cords following a more extensive supply of eco-friendly vehicles. Hybrid, electric, and hydrogen cars require 10 to 20 percent more tire cords than internal combustion engine vehicles to enhance durability due to battery weight.
Since starting its tire cord business in 1973, Kolon Industries has partnered with global tire giants such as Michelin, Goodyear, and Bridgestone. The company is strengthening its global portfolio by building overseas production bases that boast technological sophistication and price competitiveness. This can be exemplified by its two-time investment in Vietnam, following the establishment of a new plant in Nanjing, China, in 2004.
Kyu-Dae Park, managing director of the automotive materials business, said the company “plans to expand its market dominance by securing price competitiveness through realizing economies of scale with the second investment” and “at the same time maximize profitability by increasing sales of high-quality aramid and hybrid tire cords, developed for the first time in Korea.”
Tire cords are fiber reinforcements in which high-strength fiber is added to tires to support their shape, and thus, play a significant role in the safety and performance of a vehicle. There are four different types of tire cord depending on which raw material is used: PET, Nylon, Rayon, and Steel. Kolon Industries produces PET tire cords mainly used for passenger car tires.
The tire cord market has a relatively high entry barrier than other industries since tire cords are directly related to end users’ safety. Technology development and production are challenging as it is a labor-intensive process industry requiring large-scale investments. However, once the quality is recognized, manufacturers can gain a firm foothold in the market.
KOLON engages with society! – “We Together 2021”
-Pledging to build a stronger bond with society and offer creative solutions for the problems faced by the communities we serve
-Holding the New Year’s kick-off meeting online
-Emphasizing the need to institutionalize ESG-centered management and bring positive change to the sectors we are involved in
KOLON Group held its New Year’s kick-off meeting online on the 4th, the first working day in 2021, and proclaimed “We Together 2021” aimed at achieving co-growth with society. The online kick-off meeting was broadcast via the in-house broadcasting channel, intranet, and mobile app to enable employees to watch the meeting free from the constraints of their location.
The One & Only Committee, the council of CEOs of the Group’s major subsidiaries, announced through its New Year’s message that “We Together 2021” has been selected as the bond-building campaign of 2021.
“We Together 2021” conveys the message that the entire KOLON family must strive to build a stronger bond and share what it has with customers and society. It highlights the Group’s determination to take the lead in fulfilling corporate social responsibility and uphold social values.
It said, “The current situation sheds light on the importance of connection and solidarity. The value of a life shared with others within the community continues to grow as we are compelled to maintain physical distance from one another, and the Group shall remain attentive to the needs of the communities it serves as a responsible member of society.”
The Committee stressed, “The KOLON family must strive to take the equation for success unique to the Group (adding our hearts, multiplying our wisdom, and dividing difficulties) to the next level and share it with customers and society to make progress together.”
To encourage all to focus on the realization of “We Together 2021”, the Committee said, “The KOLON family must remember to utilize our competence and technologies for offering creative solutions for problems faced by society and take the lead in putting them into practice.”
The Committee offered the Group’s support activities for those struck by COVID-19 last year as an example. The Group produced MB filters for face masks around-the-clock to resolve the mask shortage and supplied them to SMEs for free. It also took advantage of its differentiated technologies and competence to contribute to the wellness of the public as evidenced by its donation of module-type negative-pressure units for severely ill COVID-19 patients.
The Committee also proposed actions to take. First, it highlighted the need to enhance the value of the Group’s products, services, and brand through social solidarity to achieve co-growth with customers and communities based on the system that allows different subsidiaries and business units to cooperate with members of society for problem-solving.
In addition, the Committee emphasized the importance of enhancing environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). It stated, “ESG-centered management with a focus on the enhancement of each element is not optional but mandatory. We must institutionalize and strictly follow standards for ESG in a preemptive manner to build a better KOLON Group that puts social responsibility above profit.”
The Committee added, “Corporations that fail to learn from the past and reflect on their footsteps are bound to be weeded out. All experiences accumulated, both successes and failures, must be archived without exception. Leaders must be able to distinguish between what is to be inherited and what is to be changed based on a thorough understanding of the sectors involved and be evaluated based on this ability.”
After the kick-off meeting, employees put on the badge for this year’s campaign and renewed their resolution, continuing the Group’s “badge management” tradition for the ninth consecutive year. This year’s badge was designed to embody two hands held together to reflect the message of “We Together 2021”. All employees of KOLON Group will be wearing this badge throughout 2021.
Auto Parts & IT
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By means of core material development, KOLON will create a better life than now.
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