MONHEIM, Germany - Global specialty chemicals supplier Cognis has opened a new SO3 sulfation plant at its site in Ecatepec, Mexico. The facility produces ingredients for use in products such as shampoos, shower gels, paints, paper coatings and agrochemical applications. By increasing both the plant’s capacity and the quality of its products, this investment will enable Cognis to target new markets in the region. The Ecatepec site near Mexico City is now equipped with all the important technologies, like sulfation, ethoxylation and multi-purpose reactors, in close proximity to major customers.
Products from the new sulfation unit, such as fatty alcohol sulfates, fatty alcohol ether sulfates and other surface active agents, have significantly better quality. The new reactor uses crystalline sulfur instead of chlorosulfonic acid as the basis for the sulfation process; and as a result, the products are now purer than before, containing no chlorine byproducts. In addition, the facility enables Cognis Mexico to provide products into the market with low 1,4-dioxane concentrations, matching worldwide benchmarks. The new reactor operates at lower temperatures with the effect that organic components do not discolor and stay more transparent. This makes Ecatepec’s products suitable for crystal-clear formulations, which meets an important market demand. Improved product quality also provides enhanced performance in emulsion polymers for coatings and adhesives.
As well as increasing product quality, the progress in sulfation technology also makes possible higher throughput rates, which eventually will increase the plant’s overall capacity. Roland Spörer, Site Manager and Director Care Chemicals and Supply Chain, commented, “This new facility complements our existing plants and sulfation departments in Argentina, Brazil and the USA perfectly, and enables us to cover the entire North, Central and South American surfactants market.”