BASF invests in a new plant for the production of oxi-dized waxes at its Ludwigshafen site
* Oxidized wax capacity to be doubled
* Production Verbund saves energy and creates synergies
In the fourth quarter of 2008, BASF will begin construction of a second oxidizing plant for the production of synthetic waxes at its Ludwigshafen, Germany, site. From 2010 the plant will produce several thousand metric tons of oxidized waxes using a process developed by BASF. This is double the current production capacity. The waxes are used primarily in plastics processing.
As in the existing plant, which has been in operation for more than ten years, the raw material − low-density polyethylene waxes (PE waxes) − will come from the site’s own polymerization plants. Thus, the new plant will fit perfectly into BASF’s Verbund, the company’s integrated raw materials and energy system, at the Ludwigshafen site. “At the same time as building the new plant, we will also modernize our existing plant for PE waxes,” said Dr. Thomas Greindl, head of European Marketing BASF Care Chemicals & Formulators. The total investment will be about €10 million.
“Due to the growing demand for plastics around the world, the market for high-quality waxes will continue to increase,” added Greindl. “We therefore expect attractive growth opportunities for our products.” BASF markets its high-quality waxes worldwide in the specialties segment. They are available in the form of powders, fine powders, granules, pastilles or as liquid emulsions.
A wide range of applications
In plastics, for example polyvinylchloride (PVC), waxes are used as lubricating and dispersing agents. With their help it is possible to reduce the amount of energy needed in further processing. In floor and shoe care products and also in automotive polishes and finishes, waxes provide protection and shine. The paper of glossy magazines is also coated with wax during printing, so the ink does not stick to the hands as one turns the pages. As a mild abrasive in toothpaste for sensitive teeth, waxes complement the mechanical cleaning process. Thin layers of wax on the skins of citrus fruits protect the fruit from drying-out and bruising. Coated chewing gums are also covered with a protective wax film to preserve their flavor.
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