Evonik, the largest specialty chemicals producer in the world, has announced that its VESTOSINT (PA 12) production plant has now entered the project implementation phase, after the completion of the conceptual and basic engineering stages. This is a major step for Evonik since the foundation of the facility.
The €400 million VESTOSINT plant is part of one of the largest chemical sites in Germany, the Marl Chemical Park. It is located in the North Rhine-Westphalia. The VESTOSINT facility is expected to be fully operational by 2021.
Dr. Ralf Düssel, the Head of the High Performance Polymers Business Line at Evonik, said, “This project is a special challenge […] In Evonik’s engineering unit, some 80 engineers are working on the project. We have also contracted a well-known, globally active technical service provider for the detail engineering of individual sub-projects.”
Customized PA 12 powder
For over twenty years, Evonik’s has produced specialty powder materials such as PA 12, PEBA and PEEK for various 3D printing technologies. The company is known for its PA 12 powder called VESTOSINT, which can be customized for SLS, HSS (High Speed Sintering), and Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing. In addition to 3D printing, the VESTOSINT powder can be processed in various ways to make it suitable for different applications such as flame spraying, a coating process technique.
According to Evonik, there has been a consistent demand for VESTOSINT. The new complex will increase production capacity by 50%.
Dr. Düssel elaborated, “The construction project is located in the direct vicinity of ongoing production, with special safety standards, and we have to keep areas for construction containers, material storage, and pre-assembly open in addition to the actual construction sites.”
“The Marl Chemical Park offers us optimal conditions for this extraordinary feat. Once we start up the new facility, the existing structures that have been in place for over 50 years will be used for product distribution.”
Furthermore, to grow its influence in the additive industry, Evonik acquired the start-up Structured Polymers, recently.
The demand for PA 12
Polyamide 12 is one of the several nylon polymers, commonly used in SLS printing. The PA 12 protects against chemical and water. Furthermore, it is also tough and resistant to stress and fatigue cracking. Due to such strong mechanical and chemical properties, PA 12 is used in the automotive and oil & gas industry.
Dr. Claus Rettig, the Head of the Resource Efficiency Segment, further explained the reasons for increasing the production of PA 12. He said, “This investment supports Evonik’s consistent concentration on specialty chemicals. As a high-performance polymer for special applications, polyamide 12 is an important aspect of the Smart Materials Growth Engine.”
“What’s more, products made from PA 12 are usually energy-efficient: They are durable and require less maintenance than steel components, for example in gas pipelines, and contribute to lightweight construction, e.g. in automotive design.”
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Featured image shows the VESTOSINT powder by Evonik. Image via Evonik.