Summit Lubricants installed a new 50,000 pound grease reactor at its plant in Batavia, New York, last week to increase manufacturing capacity and speed and to gain more control over quality.
The $400,000 reactor addition is part of a $1.2 million capital investment program for Summit, which is a subsidiary of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based Quaker Chemical Corp. Quaker has plans to continue to invest in our grease business, including new capabilities for packaging and manufacturing that will enable our plant to grow with longer term demand, Mike Tolleson, plant manager for Summit Lubricants, told Lube Report. The reactor is capable of manufacturing our entire portfolio of Summit greases, including lithium, lithium complex, aluminum, aluminum complex, polyurea, calcium sulfonates and bentonite.
The investment in the reactor was done not only to increase capacity, he said, but also to increase manufacturing speed and improve the plants quality controls. This kettle is twice as large as the other kettles at Summit, allowing us to fill a bulk tanker in one batch, he said. The technology built into the kettle also has some advances from our older model kettles, including the ability to de-aerate the product and a control system to minimize manual inputs.
According to Tolleson, the largest markets that Summits grease business serves are primary metals - with a particular focus on offerings for steel mills - followed by automotive and general maintenance greases. In the automotive space, weve experienced significant growth over the past year with our solutions that help automotive manufacturers with fill-for-life grease, he said.
Jan Nieman, Quaker Chemicals vice president and global leader for grease, fluid power and mining, said the company has experienced increased demand for its products across its Quaker, ECLI and Verkol grease brands. The investments weve been making and the partnerships weve been developing with our customers have allowed us to offer much more value to industries like steel and automotive, Neiman said.
He added that the company looks forward to the potential of even more opportunities that may arise as a result of its planned combination with Houghton International. That deal is now expected to close during the fourth quarter of this year.
Quaker Chemical acquired Summit Lubricants for $30 million at the end of 2010, including its commercial operations and two manufacturing plants in Batavia, New York.