Saltigo GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of specialty chemicals company LANXESS, will be showcasing its range of contract and exclusive synthesis services at Chemspec Europe. This international trade fair for fine and specialty chemicals is being held in Munich from May 31 to June 1, 2017. Saltigo specializes in the exclusive synthesis of active chemical ingredients and intermediates, and will use the fair to present its broad range of expertise targeted at customers in the agricultural, pharmaceutical and fine chemicals industries.
Saltigo is currently implementing a major investment program to ensure that its synthesis capacity remains at the cutting edge of technology and is sufficient for the needs of customer projects. The program has seen approximately EUR 60 million flow into the renovation and expansion of plants at the Leverkusen site. All the work is set to be completed by the end of 2017 to enable production to begin in the new facilities.
“Our success is based on our ability to find holistic solutions for the often complex and rapidly changing requirements of our customers,” says Dr. Torsten Derr, Managing Director of Saltigo, continuing that the combination of technologies and services involved in these solutions generates immediate added value for customers. “As part of this integrated business concept, we have previously continuously adapted our operations to the needs of the market. We will continue with this successful strategy so as to go on playing a leading role in exclusive synthesis in the future,” explains Derr.
The cutting edge of technology
Two new multi-purpose production lines in the Central Organics Pilot Plant (ZeTO) in Leverkusen are core elements of the current renovation and expansion activities. They have been specifically designed for producing large volumes of solids for the agrochemical and other industries. To this end, the production lines are being equipped with stirred-tank reactors with a capacity of up to 16 cubic meters. The ZeTO will then have more than 70 stirred vessels. A number of smaller pieces of equipment have been dismantled ahead of the expansion work for this purpose.
A Hastelloy Nutsche filter/dryer and a Hastelloy centrifuge/dryer combination are used to isolate the solid substances in the two lines. The high-capacity centrifuge in particular makes it easier to isolate fine-grained agrochemical active ingredients and intermediates.
“When it came to choosing the centrifuge and Nutsche filter, we opted for equipment made from Hastelloy, an extremely corrosion-resistant nickel-based alloy, because more and more agrochemical products contain fluorine and exhibit corrosive characteristics. While stainless steel equipment would have been significantly cheaper, it would have offered only limited resistance when manufacturing these kinds of products,” explains Dr. Boris E. Bosch, plant manager at Saltigo.
The ongoing investment project will also add an active container storage tank farm to the bulk storage options at Saltigo. This will ensure more efficient supplies of raw materials and solvents to production in the ZeTO and the adjacent Plant 4 (FFK plant). In addition, ISO tank containers stored there can be filled or emptied via a pipe junction connected directly to the production facilities. The plans include a reserve for further expansion of these storage capacities at a later date and for connecting more facilities. Construction progress and costs on schedule
“Construction began in summer 2016, and work is now at a very advanced stage. We are therefore confident that the new facilities will be completed within the scheduled budget and timeframe, so they will be available for customer projects at the end of 2017,” says Maik Schumann, the responsible project manager from LANXESS’s PTSE (Production, Technology, Safety and Environment) group function.
The final key component – the huge Hastelloy Nutsche filter with a mass of around 20 metric tons – will be delivered at the end of May 2017 and then transferred to its new home on floor 2 of the eastern ZeTO building using a special crane.
By the time it is completed, the construction work will have used approximately 200 metric tons of steel and 1,000 cubic meters of concrete. The project also involves installing more than 100 new pieces of equipment and connecting them using a total of 14 kilometers of pipes. Several pipe junctions will ensure that it is easy to switch between the different pieces of equipment depending on what the particular synthesis order later requires.
More than stirred vessels and pipes
A significant part of the investments has also been poured into automation technology. By the time the facilities are finished, more than 2,000 sensors and actuators will have been installed, wired into circuits and controlled using a central system. “This comprehensive process automation will enable us to combine equipment with the highest level of flexibility without the need to add automation components at a later date. Our new multi-purpose facilities have therefore been designed to deal with numerous eventualities from the very beginning,” explains Bosch.
The new facilities are also at the cutting edge of technology in terms of energy efficiency. Right from the planning stage, efficient and sustainable use of energy was a top priority. “Speed-regulated pumps and motors and multi-stage cooling and heating systems are just a few examples of how we made this a reality,” says project manager Schumann. The high level of automation and the resulting detailed information about process performance in the facilities will also help make the plant particularly energy-efficient.
Saltigo at Chemspec Europe in Munich, May 31 – June 1, 2017, Hall A6, Stand D110