Lanxess brings a taste of China to Europe

05 May 2015

Visitors to the Lanxess stand at the recent European Coatings Show were not only introduced to the latest inorganic pigment products but also had the chance to view a 1:250 scale model of the company’s new production plant in Ningbo, China. In the morning on the first two days of the show there was also a live relay from the site with information on the progress of construction.

The Inorganic Pigments business unit currently produces these new grades in its Geman pilot plant in Krefeld-Uerdingen but from 2016 they will be manufactured in the new production plant in Ningbo. They will be marketed globally under the trusted Bayferrox brand name and represent a further expansion of the product portfolio of the world’s largest iron oxide producer.

The new plant for iron oxide red pigments, which has been built to the latest environmental standards, is being designed for an initial synthesis capacity of 25,000t/yr. On the same site, Lanxess is now also erecting a mixing and milling plant for pigments with a capacity of 70,000t/yr. "The trend toward urbanisation is driving the demand for environmentally friendly, sustainably-produced iron oxide pigments. With our new facility in China, we are expanding both our global production network and our product line. We can thereby continue to grow with our customers and remain a reliable partner," said Jörg Hellwig, Head of the Inorganic Pigments business unit.

Energy-efficient facility sets new environmental standards

In the Ningbo Chemical Park, the company will for the first time employ its optimised Penniman process in which improved water treatment and waste gas purification ensure a high level of environmental compatibility. Optimisations in the production process will also significantly reduce the quantities of nitrogen oxides generated. Emissions of the greenhouse gas N2O (nitrous oxide) will almost completely be converted by an efficient after-treatment into nitrogen, water and oxygen – all naturally occurring substances.

Compared to all currently available iron oxides, the innovative and sustainable Penniman process produces the brightest and most yellowish red pigments. Significantly higher colour values on the red axis (a*) in the L*a*b* colour space are achieved, and the same is true for the colour development on the yellow axis (b*). No other iron oxide production process provides the option of such a flexible and precise production of colour shades.

Effective milling reduces the proportion of aggregates and agglomerates, which makes it possible to wet the pigments quickly during incorporation into colour systems. ‘New Red’ pigments exhibit very good colour stability during milling, even with the use of agitator mills. Their resistance to heat is extraordinarily good.

The new bright yellowish Bayferrox red pigments have also been tested for use in highly filled paste systems: the viscosity curve of these systems is nearly Newtonian. As a result, the systems can be highly concentrated, which gives the user flexibility in control of the process.

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