Evonik invests over EUR400 mn in 2015; builds new specialty copolymers plant

New production plants, modernised infrastructure facilities, involvement in research and development – this more or less summed up Germany-headquartered Evonik’s investment activities in the year 2015. In its recent press release, Evonik has invested more than EUR400 million in its domestic production plants. The lion’s share of the funds (around two-thirds) was divided among Evonik’s five-largest sites in Germany: Marl (hundreds of millions of euros), Hanau, Essen, Darmstadt, and Wesseling (tens of millions of euros at each site).

"By investing in growth and modernisation in Germany, we are strengthening our foothold in important markets of the future," stressed Klaus Engel, Chairman of Evonik’s Executive Board. "Favourable conditions for investment are by no means a given. I would like to see greater understanding among policy-makers for the necessary competitiveness of our industry, entailing, for example, improvements in the transportation infrastructure, the transition to renewable energy sources, and the expansion of digital networks."

Evonik is planning further large-scale projects in Germany. One of these is the construction of a new plant for production of specialty copolyesters in Witten by 2018 with an investment in the double-digit million euro range. As part of the global production initiative for specialty silicones, Evonik intends to invest in production for these products in Essen once again. A new silane research centre is currently being built in Rheinfelden that is slated to be completed in 2016.

In the 2014 financial year, nearly EUR3 billion or 22% of consolidated sales was generated in Germany. The company employs around 21,000 people in its home country. Investing in Germany gives Evonik the opportunity to recruit highly educated, motivated people in addition to the advantages of proximity to key customers, first-class research facilities, and existing integrated production networks at the sites.

In Marl, Evonik’s largest site worldwide with a workforce of close to 7,000, a production facility for C4-based raw materials was completed in 2015. In Essen, the company put a new manufacturing plant for polymeric dispersants into operation and expanded a plant in which specialty silicones are produced.

Additionally, a number of infrastructure projects were also completed at Evonik’s German sites in 2015. In Marl, a new canal bridge for rail transportation was inaugurated, a state-of-the-art warehouse for hazardous materials was opened, and a new coal conveyor was put into operation. For next year, Evonik is planning the start-up of a new gas and steam turbine plant in Marl. This new power plant will replace an old coal-fired unit and go a long way toward reducing greenhouse gases.

In Darmstadt, among other things, a new control centre with a situation centre for the Darmstadt/Weiterstadt and Worms sites was opened on the factory premises. In Wesseling, the plant entrance and gate system at the Bonn-Beuel section of the plant were rehabilitated, creating more space for waiting trucks and reducing the traffic backlog. There are plans to renovate the workshops and upgrade the fire protection equipment in 2016.

The expansion of the central warehouse in Essen through the addition of 1,300 square meters of space is also expected to be finished next year.

Meanwhile, a recent development has seen Evonik expanding further, with a new production plant for specialty copolymers being built at its Witten site in Germany.

As binders for paints, specialty copolyesters are used in coil coatings and, increasingly, in food can coatings. The company is investing a mid-double-digit million euro sum in the plant, which will have annual production capacity of several thousand metric tonnes. It is scheduled to be completed in 2018. The investment will create around ten new jobs in Witten, where the group currently has around 250 employees, according to Evonik.

Dr Ralph Sven Kaufmann, a member of Evonik’s Executive Board and its CEO, said that one driver in this market is the trend towards epoxy resin-free can coatings that do not contain bisphenol A (BPA).

Dr Dietmar Wewers, head of the Coating & Adhesive Resins Business Line at Evonik, said that specialty copolyesters are the main building block for coatings that have the right balance between flexibility and hardness. In food can coatings they provide good sterilization resistance, adequate rigidity and protection.

Evonik is one of the world’s leading suppliers of polyesters for pre coated metals and reactive hot melts. Polyesters from the DYNAPOL brand serve as binders for paints. In addition to coil coatings, they are also increasingly used for food can coatings well as in flexible packaging. Polyesters from the DYNACOLL brand are used in reactive hot melts applications. (PRA)

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