Kuraray America Inc. is celebrating 30 years of EVAL production in the United States at its plant in Pasadena, Texas. The celebration also marks 30 years of safe operation at the EVAL plant.

The event included a behind-the-scenes tour of the plant for customers and local officials, remarks from Tetsuro Amano, Japan’s consul general, and the traditional Kagamiwari sake barrel-breaking ceremony.

“This week was a notable milestone for Kuraray as we celebrate 30 years of continuous safe operation at our EVAL plant,” says George Avdey, president and CEO of Kuraray America Inc. “In 1986, Kuraray planted the first seed in Texas by constructing this EVAL plant. Today, we have four world-scale specialty plants and our headquarters in the southeast Houston areas of La Porte, Pasadena, Bayport and Clear Lake employing over 500 people.” 

EVAL is the branded name for ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) used in numerous everyday applications. These high-barrier polymers are particularly suited for preserving quality and avoiding waste in food, medical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and industrial packaging. They also allow for more efficient energy use and reduce environmental impact in automotive fuel systems, building and construction materials, and agricultural films.

“The highlight of the event for me was the unveiling of a 30-year milestone monument to commemorate this anniversary,” says Robert Armstrong, general manager of the EVAL business unit at Kuraray. “The milestone monument was created from one of the original columns used at the EVAL site when it started operation in 1986 and recognizes both the 12 customers in 1986 who are still with us today and the dedication of our plant team by noting 49 employees who have been with the company for more than 25 years. Thanks to the innovative collaboration between customers and Kuraray employees in using EVAL to preserve food supplies, protect the environment and improve health, we are able to offer a product around the world that makes a difference in millions of lives. The partnership between the Kuraray team and our customers is truly something to be proud of.”

The opening of the EVAL plant 30 years ago created 60 jobs in Houston. Today, the plant employs 85 full-time workers and 55 contractors. In entirety, Kuraray America has over 750 employees in the U.S. 

Kuraray America Inc.