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On 24 September, chemical company Oxxynova GmbH completed the biggest inspection shut-down of the last 40 years on schedule, and successfully resumed production of its main product, dimethyl terephthalate.
Every five years, Oxxynova undergoes a scheduled TÜV inspection of its dimethyl terephthalate production site in Steyerberg, Germany. As the sole remaining European producer of dimethyl terephthalate (DMT), the major challenge here was to continue to supply all customers to the greatest extent possible even with the entire site in shut-down. Neither the company nor its customers had experienced anything like this before.
Thanks to long-term planning carried out over more than 18 months and close cooperation with all customers, it was possible to agree shut-down and supply concepts for the period in question. This meant that customers were able to safeguard their production capabilities during this time.
As well as filling liquid DMT tanks to capacity, this also included producing customer-specific solid DMT stocks. These could then be melted down into liquid goods again for the individual customers using Oxxynova’s available internal melting capacity. Thanks to the new solid DMT production site, commissioned in 2017, Oxxynova was able to cost-effectively produce these solid DMT stocks for its customers in advance. This meant the company was able to continue supplying them in a compe-tent and reliable manner while the site was shut down.
Alongside the usual planned maintenance and renewal work, followed by the prescribed TÜV inspec-tions of a wide range of machinery and equipment, the main focus was on renovating the combustion chamber for the first time after 40 years of operation. The combustion chamber is used to generate steam and is therefore the centrepiece of the system. The rebricking of the combustion chamber and the related drying process were key factors in determining the five-week duration of this site shut-down, which had previously been limited to three or four weeks.
Precisely five weeks after the start of the shut-down on 20 August, operations were gradually re-sumed and the first ‘new product’ was delivered the same week. “All of our employees showed an exceptional level of commitment during the shut-down, without which we would not have been able to meet the deadline for this challenge nor remain within budget. We would therefore like to thank all of our colleagues and also external contractors for their coopera-tion.” said Oxxynova’s two Managing Directors, Dr Klaus F. Puell and Henning Buuk, in a joint statement.
Despite the presence of numerous external contractors with over 200 employees on site, the shut-down was concluded without any major medical problems and without a single reportable work incident. This means that, having completed the TÜV inspection, Oxxynova can now look back on over 630 incident-free days.
This represents another milestone for Oxxynova and means 2018 can already be declared a success. The company will now continue to supply the global market with high quality DMT in both liquid and solid form.
This year, the chemical company Oxxynova GmbH had two milestones to celebrate at its Steyer-berg site – not just its 40th anniversary but also, in late November, the production of its seven millionth tonne of liquid DMT.
As the sole European manufacturer of dimethyl terephthalate (DMT), Oxxynova can look back on a smooth and successful history spanning 40 years; during this time, the company has not only made its mark on a highly competitive market but also evolved from a group subsidiary into a fully-fledged medium-sized company.
The reorganisation of Oxxynova’ s ownership structure in 2016 enabled the company to forge ahead with a consistent strategy that it had already been pursuing for some years; namely converting and expanding its activities into new business areas, under the leadership of long-serving Managing Di-rector Dr Klaus F. Puell.
A continuous investment strategy has ensured that DMT production, an area that has already been successful for many decades, is safeguarded in the long term, while also allowing the company to build on its position as a sustainable industrial site.
“Our company has a stable workforce with very little fluctuation, making it a goldmine of expertise and experience. This expertise is also reflected in the quality and reliability of our production activi-ties. Our employees come from the surrounding areas and run the plant with a great deal of com-mitment and dedication. Safeguarding these jobs is one of the main factors that motivates us to en-sure the sustainability and longevity of our site,” says Dr Klaus F. Puell, Managing Director of Oxxynova.
Last August, a new, ultra-modern facility for the production of solid dimethyl terephthalate was put into operation. The investment in this new DMT plant represents one of the largest individual investments since the Steyerberg plant was founded and developed during the 70s and 80s. It also reflects the positive trend of increasing international demand for DMT, driven by new areas of application. Now that it can produce solid DMT on an industrial scale, Oxxynova has secured access to global markets.
In recent years, the company has also firmly established itself as a distiller of glycols, methanols and the solvent tetrahydrofuran, with annual quantities of more than 60,000 tonnes. Alongside DMT production, the processing of side-streams and waste streams is another promising area of business in which Oxxynova will continue to invest in future.
Oxxynova GmbH has announced the commissioning of its new, ultra-modern plant for producing Dimethylterephthalate (DMT) in solid form at its site in Steyerberg (Lower Saxony, Germany).
For decades, Oxxynova has been a European market leader in the production and distribution of liquid Dimethylterephthalate. For 40 years it has distinguished itself as a provider of high-quality products and round-the-clock customer service.
In future, it will be possible to produce large volumes of DMT in both flake and briquette form at the Steyerberg site. The new, ultra-modern plant, which came into operation on July 28th 2017, has the capacity to produce 25,000 tons per year.
The investment in a new DMT plant represents one of the largest individual investments since the Steyerberg plant was founded and expanded during the 70s and 80s. It also reflects the positive trend of increasing international demand for DMT in solid form, driven by new areas of application.
Dr. Klaus Puell, CEO of Oxxynova, sees the investment into the new DMT-solid production plant as a sustainable and forward-thinking decision, and one which confirms Oxxynova’s long-term commitment to the production and distribution of Dimethylterephthalate at the Steyerberg location.
“The construction of this new DMT-solid plant is a significant part of our strategy for opening up new export markets outside of Europe, and boosts the existing business”, adds Dr. Puell. The new plant will not only secure jobs at the Steyerberg site in the long term, but will also lead to the creation of new jobs in the production, filling and logistics area in the medium term.
With a view to constructing the new DMT-solid plant and developing new export markets, primarily in Japan and Asia, Oxxynova has established a long-term exclusive sales partnership for selected Asian countries with a leading Japanese trading house, Chori Co. Ltd, and their subsidiary company Chori Europe GmbH. Chori has been successfully distributing DMT-solid in Japan and Asia for a number of years, with a focus on high product quality and excellent service. Both companies are looking ahead with confidence to a successful and long-lasting partnership.