AMSTERDAM - AkzoNobel's Specialty Chemicals business is investing more than €20 million to increase production capacity in Sweden for its Expancel product line for expandable microspheres.

Increasing demand for the product, which is an essential ingredient in many consumer goods, industrial applications and the construction industry, means the company will expand its Stockvik facility near Sundsvall. Completion is expected by the end of 2018.

"Expancel microspheres are used in a number of important growth markets, such as food packaging, paints and the automotive industry," said Sylvia Winkel, Director of Expancel at AkzoNobel. "We are seeing a strong increase in demand for the product, and the expansion will ensure our ability to serve our customers globally."

Expancel consists of expandable, microscopic spheres comprising a thermoplastic shell encapsulating a gas. When heated, they expand dramatically, up to 60 times in volume, making them ideal for a variety of uses, such as insulation in shoe soles or as filling material. The number of applications for microspheres is growing all the time, particularly for products where weight is critical, such as cars and wind turbines.