The polyethylene wax plant is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and BASF, one of the world’s leading suppliers of polyethylene waxes (Luwax), can look back over 75 years of experience of manufacturing waxes – in the beginning with montanic waxes.

The production of polyethylene waxes has profited from the integrated high-pressure facilities that are available at their Ludwigshafen site.

At a pressure of up to about 3500 bar, it is possible to synthesise ethylene homopolymer waxes from pure ethylene without the aid of heavy-metal catalysts.

‘Manufacturing waxes is like walking a tightrope’, explains Dr Stefan Weiss of BASF Performance Chemicals.

‘The waxes used in polishes have to fulfil the seemingly contradictory demands of high hardness and high flexibility.’