Axel Invests in Three U.S. Grease Plants

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Axel Invests in Three U.S. Grease Plants
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Axel Christiernsson Group announced on July 15 that it is proceeding with an additional expansion and improvement plan across its three grease plants in the United States. The newly announced investments build on a multi-million-dollar expansion and improvement plan announced in October 2019 for the same facilities.

Headquartered in Nol, Sweden, Axel Christiernsson Group AB manufactures and supplies lubricating greases in the U.S. through its Axel Americas and Axel Royal companies.

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The most substantive of the improvements outlined in last week’s press release include a new grease reactor to increase soap and grease-making capacity, new finishing kettles to increase finishing capacity and a second cartridge filling line to double filling capacity at its Rosedale, Louisiana location. The plan also calls for installing additional high-speed cartridge filling lines and several equipment investments and process improvements to debottleneck operations at the company’s plants in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Schertz, Texas.

“This additional plant expansion at the company’s ISO-certified facilities comes as a response to recent industry developments and the significant production void created in the North American market,” Axel said in a news release. “As a leading private label grease supplier in the USA, Axel is further investing to meet the additional requirements and growing demands of its existing customers in the short and medium-term. The company has been focusing its immediate efforts on critical products and its European facilities are also assisting in meeting the increased U.S. needs.”

According to Axel, a new mezzanine is under construction at its Rosedale facility, and its production floor is undergoing expansion to host the company’s new stainless steel Stratco Grease Contactor reactor, ordered in December 2020.  Axel claims it is the only and largest ever built of its kind, and that it will significantly increase the facility’s soap and grease making capacity by an additional 20 million to 30 million pounds per year, allowing Axel to manufacture new technologies and, and provide more flexibility.

The company said it ordered a second high-speed cartridge filling line for the Rosedale location and expects it be operational by mid-October, which will double its current filling capacity.

A new hot oil furnace increased its Schertz plant’s heating and production capacity. The company re-piped the totality of the plant and added enhanced temperature and process controls, new mills and deaerators, along with installation of filtration for optimal quality and production output. “These investments significantly removed prior bottlenecks, achieved better utilization, reduced possible cross-contamination and improved quality assurance through greater control and accuracy over the processes and production batches,” the company noted.

The Schertz facility also received an additional high-speed cartridge line, significantly increasing cartridge filling capacity. The site also had four additional bulk storage tanks added.

Axel installed new transformers at its Tulsa facility to accommodate new equipment energy requirements and increased production demands. The facility was also fully re-piped in two stages. The improvements brought reduced bottlenecks, improved process and temperature controls and increased throughput, the company said.

The facility also received a new high-speed cartridge filling line, more bulk storage tanks and improved process control system.

The company said it invested and expanded its technical lab capabilities by purchasing critical equipment, including multiple Shell Roll Stability Test machines, multiple Raman Spectroscopy meters and BVT-1A Bearing Vibration testers and other various lab equipment.

On the workforce side, Axel said it promoted and hired new personnel, including plant, maintenance and purchasing managers, controllers, quality control supervisors and lab technicians

Axel Christiernsson has manufacturing facilities in Sweden, France, the Netherlands and the U.S. The company acquired grease maker Royal Manufacturing in Tulsa in March 2018.