Eubank leads company’s restructuring during critical financial times
As a company, Elé Corporation casts a very long shadow, one that dates back to 1945 when Pelron Corporation was founded to manufacture metalworking fluids primarily for engineering applications and automotive industry suppliers. Pelron also was one of the first companies in the U.S. to explore and promote the benefits of urethane chemistry.
In 1986, Elé Corporation was created to act as Pelron’s marketing, sales, finance and administrative sister company. Together, the two companies have expanded into markets both complementary to and independent of Pelron’s core product lines.
The process in which specialty chemicals are created is called batch processing:
Specialty chemical manufacturers produce organic chemicals that are used in thousands of products vital to consumers and U.S. industry. Specialty chemical manufacturing is sometimes referred to as custom or fine chemical manufacturing. The term specialty chemical is based on use and fine chemical is based on purity, yet they are both considered a part of specialty chemical manufacturing.
This unique niche in the chemical industry is innovative, entrepreneurial and consumer-driven. Specialty manufacturers make smaller quantities of chemicals that have specific performance applications.
In contrast to the production of commodity chemicals, specialty manufacturing requires that the raw materials, processes, operating conditions and equipment change on a regular basis to respond to the needs of customers.
Specialty chemical manufacturers can be tollers, custom chemical producers, and/or proprietary chemical producers. Whether a company operates in the specialty or fine sector, it may play in one, two or all three arenas. Specialty chemical manufacturers may serve a downstream customer, which is either a formulator* (blends materials together, but there is no chemical reaction) or another chemical manufacture (doing a reaction). Some may also operate formulating businesses as well as reaction processing.
*An example of a formulator is an adhesives company that blends various raw materials (ingredients) together into a mixture, packaged, and sold to a big-box retailer such as Walmart.
How Specialty Chemicals Differ from Commodity Chemicals
Specialty chemicals differ from commodity chemicals in that each one may have only one or two uses, while commodities may have dozens of different applications for each chemical. While commodity chemicals make up most of the production volume (by weight) in the global marketplace, specialty chemicals make up most of the diversity (number of different chemicals) in commerce at any given time.
Commodity chemicals are typically produced in continuous processes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Specialty chemicals, because of their complex chemistries and narrowly focused applications, are frequently produced batch-by-batch in a reaction vessel. Since continuous processes employ continuous feeds and yields, the production volume is usually far greater, per chemical, than for batch processes. The main difference, however, is that a batch process is not necessarily automated, and the chemical reaction (which yields the desired product) has a distinct beginning and ending for each batch.
Chemical Manufacturing Methods: Batch vs. Continuous Processing
Chemicals are manufactured using one of two distinct methods: batch or continuous. A continuous operation requires a constant raw material feed to the process vessel and continual product withdrawal. A batch process, which is used by specialty chemical manufacturers, requires intermittent introduction of frequently changing raw materials, varying process conditions within the vessel, and different removal methods. In batch processing, vessels are often idle while waiting for raw materials or undergoing quality control checks and cleaning. Thus, emissions from batch processing are substantially different from those of continuously operating processes.
The major concern of specialty chemical manufacturers in 1921 was the need for barriers to foreign manufacturers importing into the United States. Members of this specialized sector of the infant chemical industry felt that American companies had the knowledge and capacity to compete against these more well-established companies in countries like Germany that were dominating the U.S. market. Thus, they created a trade association – then the Synthetic Organic Chemicals Manufacturers Association – to advocate for their needs.
Jay Dickson, President,
Nation Ford Chemical (NFC)
Q: How or why did you become involved in the specialty chemical industry, and how long have you been a part of the industry?
A: As a chemical engineer, the specialty chemical industry is the perfect job that allows you to work on a variety of unique products. I started my career as a process and project engineer responsible for many aspects of process development and production. It gave me...
There are many legislative and regulatory issues facing the specialty chemical industry. But in late 2015, Miscellaneous Tariff Bill and Toxic Substances Control Act Reform have been the top industry issues before lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Miscellaneous Tariff Bill
The Senate and House of Representatives passed a number of trade bills this summer, but they left one outstanding: the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (HR 644). This was the only bill with substantial differences between the House and Senate...
Ashland supports rise of the gluten-free baked goods market in Europe
Benecel™ HPMC hydrocolloid, demonstrated to improve the volume, softness, and crumb structure of gluten-free bread, is presented at the Food Ingredients Europe exhibition
WILMINGTON, DE - Gluten-free foods, established approximately 15 years ago to provide consumers with celiac disease additional food choices free of wheat, barley, and rye, today have become a mainstream product category. Last year, food and beverage companies introduced more than 20,000 products into the global marketplace with a gluten-free label designation....
The following numbers represent the impact of SOCMA member companies on the specialty chemical sector.
HPLC, High performance Liquid Chromatography – a way to tell purity of non-volatile materials, a technique used in analytical chemistry to separate compounds in a mixture. It is used in the medical industry detecting vitamins in blood samples, separating synthetic chemicals from each other.
Specialty chemicals go into many different sectors, including:
Specialty chemicals can be material additives that enhance performance, ingredients in a formulation or mixture or intermediates, which are compounds used to make other chemicals.
What’s Special about Specialty Chemicals?
Specialty Manufacturing Businesses
Curious about which industries SOCMA members serve?