Axel Americas completed expansion of its grease plant in Mississippi, done in response to growing demand for its industrial and automotive greases supplied to multinational companies and large distributors in the Americas.
The expansion at the plant in Rosedale includes a new calcium sulfonate production line and additional polyurea production line, the company said Monday in a news release. The investment includes four new production kettles, a programmable logic controllers (PLC) system with automation features, seven new bulk finished-good storage tanks and two new base oil storage tanks. In addition to the new production lines, Axel said it has also installed a new cartridge filling line that can fill 56,250 cartridges per shift.
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Tom Schroeder, president of Axel Americas, said the completed expansion was almost one year in the making. This will now not only increase our flexibility and production capacity by more than 17.2 million pounds, it will also allow us to produce some of the more specialized grease technologies our customers are demanding, Schroeder said in a news release.
In an interview with Lube Report, Schroeder said target applications on the calcium sulfonate side consist of steel mills and agriculture, including large agricultural original equipment manufacturers. On the polyurea side, applications commonly asked about by customers include steel mills, some automotive manufacturing and large electric motors.
Schroeder noted that while lithium and lithium complex greases still dominate in overall grease production, calcium sulfonate is a growing and expanding grease segment. Theres been a shift and a growing demand for calcium sulfonate complexes because theyve got some different, unique properties that make them really good in certain applications, especially in applications where water wash-out is a concern, he explained.
On the polyurea grease side, Schroeder said, Axel has seen a growing demand and need for electric motor greases. Although weve made polyurea for a long time, we havent necessarily made a lot of polyureas for electric motors, he noted. Thats been dominated by one or arguably maybe two manufacturers. Because we make so many polyureas in other applications, weve had a lot of companies contact and ask us specifically if we can help get them into the electric motor segment.
Schroeder noted that the new PLC system will provide automation and improved access to important data. It will allow us to more tightly control the cook process, and it will also help us to keep and maintain data throughout the cooking process, he said.
Axel Americas LLC is part of Nol, Sweden-based Axel Christiernsson, which has production sites in Sweden, the Netherlands, France and the United States. The company acquired U.S. grease manufacturer Jesco Resources in 2011, gaining access to two grease production facilities with a combined capacity of 16,000 tons per year.