Shepherd Chemical Co., a producer of metal-based lubricant additives, announced a multi-million dollar expansion to its Mirecourt, France, production facility this week, potentially doubling its current production capacity.
The Norwood, Ohio-based specialty chemicals producer will spend $8.5 million to, among other things, add a third reactor dedicated to lubricant additive production. The Mirecourt facility produces additives, primarily titanium-based, which provide anti-wear, extreme pressure and corrosion resistance properties.
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Shepherd produces 2,000 metric tons of lube additives per year, with approximately half of that coming from the Mirecourt site. The facility is Shepherd’s lone manufacturing site in Europe.
Shepherd stated that it expects to begin operating the new reactor in late 2019 and that the project could double the facility’s current capacity.
“We’ve had 200 percent lube additives growth since 2014, Jennifer Haggard,” Shepherd international account manager, told Lube Report. “We’re doing it so that we can dedicate an entire reactor to our lube additives business. The impetus behind this expansion is to grow with our customers in Europe.”
The company primarily works with customers to develop custom products sold exclusively to those clients, including the development of specialty lubricants. Over 90 percent of its metal-based additives are custom co-developed, according to the company’s website. Shepherd uses bismuth, molybdenum, zinc, iron, manganese and titanium metals in its additives. Metal-based additives provide certain advantages, Haggard said, such as bismuths synergistic performance with sulfur compounds.
“We’ll work with any metal across the periodic table as long as it reaches the desired performance,” said Haggard.
Shepherd’s additives are predominantly used in motor oils and greases.
The expansion of the Mirecourt facility also entails a new warehouse and upgraded research and development pilot facilities. Aside from lube additives, the facility produces catalyst materials and rubber adhesion promoters.