Expansion of the plant in Krefeld, Germany has begun, with Lanxess expecting the project to finish in the first half of 2012. Once fully operational the plant will support a longer-term approach to ingredient supply.
"The additional quantities of thymol, crude menthol and D,I-menthol will allow our long-time contract partner Symrise to enter into long-term supply agreements", said Hubert Fink, head of the Advanced Industrial Intermediates business unit (AII) at Lanxess.
Materials manufactured at the Krefeld plant are used by Symrise in its range of menthol products. High-grade menthol is used as a taste-masking pharmaceutical excipient and in the cosmetics industry.
Building a plant
In conjunction with the expansion Lanxess is beginning to use a new catalyst it developed in-house. Lanxess claims the catalyst, which uses raw materials from another of its German plants, will make production more efficient.
Better use of energy is also being targeted. An energy recovery unit, developed by an in-house team, is being installed by Lanxess to cut carbon emissions associated with menthol production. Lanxess is also erecting three distillation columns, one of which is 50 metres tall, as part of the project.
"A column of such dimension is special for our plant. We will use three cranes, one of which has a lifting capacity of 900 metric tons and is the largest available in Germany”, said Lutz Heurer, production manager at Lanxess.
Work on the Krefeld plant follows an expansion project initiated by Symrise in November 2010. The project will double capacity at Symrise’s synthetic menthols plant in Holzminden, Germany and is due to be completed in 2012.
Lanxess supplies raw materials to the site from its Krefeld plant, which is located 260km away. By integrating its raw material supply Symrise claims it ensures reliable supply, quality and price.