Additive Maker Grows


R.T. Vanderbilt will invest $20 million to expand its Murray, Ky., chemical manufacturing operation, adding 16 new jobs. It also outlined plans for a new laboratory in China.

The expansion is primarily to meet the growing demands of current products but will be versatile enough to handle the new products we have in the introductory stage and current being field tested by some of our customers, Steve Donnelly, global business manager of Vanderbilts petroleum department, told Lube Report. We do have a diverse offering of new products, ranging from antiwear products containing boron and tungsten, to new molybdenum friction reducers and antiwear additives.

Construction on the Murray expansion is projected to start in early 2011, according to a June 17 Kentucky governors office announcement, and is expected to increase square footage by 21,634 square feet. The 16 additional employees will primarily be for production, but also for support services, such as quality control and supervision of production, Donnelly stated.

The project involves both the chemical and mineral divisions. Vanderbilts chemical division manufactures lubricant additives, while the mineral divisions products are used in the pharmaceutical and personal care markets.

The company has long been a significant participant in the lubricant additive, pharmaceutical and personal-care markets, said Richard Vonnahme, Vanderbilts executive vice president and general manager. The investment in Vanderbilts chemical and mineral divisions reflects the companys growth in these markets and speaks well for the future of the facility. The Murray plant has been in operation since 1970.

While market conditions are improving, the Murray plant expansion is a direct result of Vanderbilts participation in the GF-5 engine oil development process and the need for better fuel economy, Donnelly emphasized. We participated in the Consortium to Develop the Sequence VID Engine Test as one of the eight cash participants, he observed. We have been working hard ever since to bring better fuel economy to passenger car engine oils, and are now preparing for the commercialization of our efforts.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved Vanderbilt for tax incentives up to $300,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act. The act is an incentive program that allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on the cost of construction materials, building fixtures and equipment used for research and development.

Vanderbilt is also growing overseas. It recently opened Vanderbilt International Sarl in Geneva, Switzerland. We are also in the process of having one of our key molybdenum products called Molyvan 855 manufactured in Europe, Donnelly noted. We hope to have this accomplished this year.

The company yesterday announced formation of Vanderbilt (Beijing) Trading Ltd., which will provide technical and research services through a new laboratory to be built in Beijing. P & J Tech and Commerce, appointed Vanderbilts distributor in China in late 2007, will continue to provide customer service for Vanderbilt in China.

The lab will first be concentrating on developing new products specific to China but could assist in Asia Pacific as we grow our activities in the region, Donnelly said.

Junbing Yao will serve as general manager of the facility. He has worked extensively in the lubricants industry, Vanderbilt said, previously holding a position as senior engineer with Beijing Aviation Oil Research Institute.

Established in 1916, privately-held Vanderbilts products include antioxidants, antiwear and extreme pressure additives, industrial preservatives, metal deactivators, friction reducers, chemical intermediates and rust inhibitors.

Related Topics

Market Topics