Specialty chemicals company Evonik has officially begun construction on its largest investment to date in Germany. Armin Laschet, the minister president of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Christian Kullmann, the chairman of the executive board of Evonik Industries AG, stood in the front row as over 200 shovels were planted in the ground at the construction site in the middle of Marl Chemical Park. The ceremony, which was also attended by customers, employees, and other representatives from the world of politics, signaled the launch of the project. The company is expanding capacity for polyamide 12 (PA 12) by more than 50 percent at its largest site in the world. The project will complement existing PA 12 production there with additional plants for the polymer and its precursors. Startup is scheduled for 2021.
Christian Kullmann highlights the significance of the new plant: “This is the biggest single investment our company has made in Germany. We’re building this plant because we want to continue to grow with innovative specialty chemical products. With our high-performance polymer PA 12 we can supply global strategic growth markets such as 3D printing. But also in the automotive industry, our light-weight and long-lasting plastic makes an important contribution to resource efficiency.”
Innovations are also the business of the invited startups
and of the digitalization projects, which Claus Rettig, chairman of the management board of Evonik Resource Efficiency GmbH, briefly introduced to those in attendance. “We want to become faster and more flexible when it comes to developing new, customized polymers to help our customers achieve strong growth. We need new technologies to do that, which is why we’ve taken consistent steps toward utilizing artificial intelligence,” says Rettig.
Evonik has been developing custom high-performance polymers for sophisticated applications for over 50 years. The Group is one of the world’s leading producers of PA 12, which the company sells under the brand name VESTAMID Granulate. Demand for the material is considerable in highly attractive markets such as the automotive industry, oil and gas extraction, medicine, and athletics. VESTONSINT, a powdered version of PA 12, is used in applications such as metal coatings for consumer goods, dishwasher baskets, automobile components, and medical devices. Evonik has also spent years developing specialty polymer powders that allow manufacturers to use 3D printing to produce high-tech components on an industrial scale.