Automation Systems for Aromatic Network Lanxess Completes Three-Year Investment Program

Editor: Wolfgang Ernhofer

Specialty chemicals company Lanxess completed three-year investment program totaling over EUR 20 million aimed at expanding the company's aromatics network. The comprehensive modernization project focused mainly on facilities that manufacture nitrotoluenes, chlorobenzenes, and their downstream products.

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After three years Lanxess's investment program totaling over EUR 20 million is done.
After three years Lanxess's investment program totaling over EUR 20 million is done.
(Picture: Lanxess)

Cologne/Germany – “Since 2013, we have modernized several production plants in the aromatics network operated by the Advanced Industrial Intermediates (AII) business unit at our German locations. Thanks above all to the introduction of state-of-the-art automation systems, we also tapped into considerable capacity reserves, for example for nitrotoluene derivatives,” Joachim Waldi, head of the Lanxess Production, Technology, Safety & Environment group function explained. At the same time the safety equipment was updated and significantly improved once again.

“The new automation systems, combined with the knowledge and experience of the specialists working on implementation, have not only brought the plants up to the latest standard, but also to a new level of efficiency,” emphasizes Dr. Torsten Hauschild, head of the Aromatics Network at AII.

Efficiency enhancements of this kind are an opportunity for the European chemical industry, as reported in Commerzbank's “Chemical Industry Report” (Branchenbericht Chemie), which it presented in early February 2016 together with the German Chemical Industry Association VCI.

Controlling complexity

Developed over decades, the aromatics network is a complexly networked structure encompassing seven large production plants that manufacture over 60 synthesis components from petrochemical raw materials. Its name comes from the products themselves: aromatic compounds, mostly derivatives of benzene and toluene, of which chlorobenzenes, nitrotoluenes and their downstream products are among the most important.

They are used by numerous industries to generate a wide range of final products: active ingredients for pharmaceuticals and crop protection products, additives for plastics and rubber products, paints and coatings, flame retardants, biocides, perfumes and flavorings.

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