BASF broke ground for a new plant in Pudong, Shanghai, on March 20, 2007. They already have one auxiliary plant in BASF Auxiliary Chemicals Company (BACC) located at the BASF Pudong site where they are producing chemicals for the whole leather process from beamhouse to finishing. The new plant will have a minimum capacity of 10,000 metric tonnes per year and will produce Basyntan, Relugan and Tamol. The new spray dryer for leather chemicals is the third one at the Pudong site.
The ground breaking ceremony for the new plant for speciality chemicals for the leather industry was carried out with the attendance of various guests from China and South Asia. The opening ceremony began with a speech from Dr Wolfgang Hapke, president of market and business development, BASF Asia Pacific. He stated that the whole chemical market in Asia Pacific is the world’s largest and is expected to grow 4 – 4.5% annually through to 2015.
‘The new manufacturing facilities in Shanghai give us an excellent competitive edge to participate in the rapid growth of the chemical industry in the region. We are now moving even closer to the goal of achieving 20% of group sales in the chemicals businesses in Asia Pacific by 2010, with 70% coming from local production.’
Later Patrick M Prévost, president of performance chemicals, told guests: ‘Our investment in leather chemicals at Pudong will further strengthen our close partnership with customers, especially in Asia Pacific. By investing in additional local production capacity we will be able to react more flexibly to fast changing market conditions and to supply our customers more reliably with a short lead time.’
With this investment BASF not only increase the capacity of the factory but will also expand the range of products for their customers in Asia. The inauguration of the new plant is expected in early 2008.
BASF have been active in the Chinese leather industry for around fifty years and are among the top chemicals suppliers in China. In 1996 they established production of leather chemicals in Shanghai and in 2000 they built their Asia Technical Centre for Leather (ATCL), making Shanghai the headquarters for performance chemicals for leather in China.
As worldwide suppliers of innovative leather chemicals, BASF have a special focus on environmentally friendly products. BASF were the first chemical company to develop ecological efficiency analysis as mandatory standards for action. Research and development at BASF, therefore, concentrates on the technical refinement of their products as well as on improving the ecological and toxicological characteristics.
The latest leather chemicals are aqueous systems, free of alkyl-tin compounds, alkylophenolethoxylates and to a large extent N-methypyrrolidon. They are low in formaldehyde and emissions and extremely environmentally compatible. This represents an important step, since finishing is instrumental in improving the usage characteristics of leather and is, therefore, an indispensable process for most leather items.
BASF’s leather department is pioneering when it comes to new products. It started with Neradol (now Basyntan) the first synthetic tanning agent in 1911 and has set the standard of tomorrow with Relugan RE, the first polymer retanning agent in 1979; with Densotan A, the first polymer dispersing tanning agent in 1997 and last but not least the revolution in leather dyeing, the world’s first reactive dyestuff for leather, Lugafast Black AN in 2005.
Leather is a significant business for BASF. The global network consists of production sites in Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Türkiye and the US and regional service and marketing centres in the main markets. They are also present in the rest of the important leather producing countries via distributors.