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For Better Looking Cars and Safer Bridges: RAG Subsidiary Degussa Expands Isophorone Production in North Rhine-Westphalia - New Production Line Consolidates Global Leadership Position


With the formal opening of its new isophorone production line in Herne, RAG subsidiary Degussa is paving the way for expansion and growth. Through its Coatings & Colorants Business Unit, headquartered in Marl, the world’s number one specialty chemicals group has long been a global market leader in isophorone chemicals. These are used in the production of automotive coatings and industrial floorings, and for corrosion protection, to mention only a few applications. With the capacity increase achieved by the expansion, Degussa is now further consolidating its already strong position in this growth market. In addition to the three integrated production facilities for isophorone now existing in Herne, the company has a fourth production line in Mobile, USA.

Says Dr. Klaus Engel, chairman of the board of Degussa GmbH: “Over the last few years, investments amounting to a triple-digit figure in millions of euros have flowed into the Herne site. Of this, the new production line alone accounts for a sum in the high double-digit range. This shows that Degussa has a continuing commitment to North Rhine-Westphalia, and that the site is absolutely competitive by international standards.”

Prof. Andreas Pinkwart, Minister for Innovation, Science, Research, and Technology in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, adds: “It gives me great satisfaction that Degussa is investing in a new production facility here in Herne. The company is also heavily committed to research and development in North Rhine-Westphalia. Degussa continues to give importance to production in our state, while simultaneously promoting innovation here. This sends out a strong signal for Germany’s leading chemical production site.”

Isophorone production in Degussa’s flexible integrated facilities allows the company to adapt the product individually to various fields of application, to differentiate itself in the market by offering a number of different derivatives, and so to position itself very successfully. Degussa’s main strengths compared with its competitors are its very broad product range, a high degree of flexibility and availability in supply, and 40 years of experience - and therefore comprehensive expertise - in isophorone chemistry.

In the internal competition for the new production line, Herne won out over such sites as Mobile, Shanghai, and Antwerp. The crucial factors in its favor were the excellent infrastructure already in place and the outstanding training of its employees. Thanks to its high safety standards, it was possible to complete construction of the plant in record time and without any complications. The Herne site has a total of 385 employees, 25 of whom are trainees. The investment in the Herne region has, in addition to safeguarding existing jobs, created a number of direct and indirect new jobs, for example, in the supply industry.

Isophorone products are used, for example, in the production of light- and weathering-resistant automotive coatings and high-quality parts for automotive interiors, and in solvent-free coatings for industrial flooring. In the construction industry, they serve, for instance, as corrosion protection agents for bridges, scaffolding, and sluices. These products are also used in the formulation of epoxy resin systems, such as for rotor blades in wind power plants.


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