Baerlocher Expands Metal Soap Production


Baerlocher Expands Metal Soap Production

Baerlocher USA announced earlier this month that it will add a third reactor to its Cincinnati, Ohio, plant to keep up with growing demand from the North American polyolefin and polyvinyl chloride industries. The new reactor, which is set to be fully operational by June 2017, will increase production capacity of calcium, zinc, sodium and other metal soaps by 50 percent.

As demand caused the plant to nearly reach full capacity, Baerlocher USA saw the opportunity to increase their production capacity. In their press release, Baerlocher cited internal and external lubricants as one of many trends driving industry demand for metal soaps.

Photo courtesy of Baerlocher

Baerlocher USA expects the addition of a third reactor will help the company keep up with growing demand in the North American market.

The companys website notes that internal lubricants aid in enhancing welding, gluing and printing properties of finished products by reducing frictional forces occurring between the PVC molecule chains, thus reducing melt viscosity. External lubricants, on the other hand, minimize adhesions between PVC and metal surfaces, with an effect primarily determined by the length of the hydrocarbon chain.

Ed Hall, president and chief executive officer at Baerlocher USA, confirmed these metal soaps are used in the production of lubricants and greases. Hall told Lube Report a majority of Baerlochers business is in polymers, but it also sells into the lithium lubricants and greases market. Though the lubricants industry was not the largest factor in the decision to install a third reactor, Hall added, it was a contributing factor.

While waxes will not be produced by the new reactor, calcium soaps will be. Calcium soaps are commonly used as a grease thickener, particularly when the grease will be used in a food-processing environment. The calcium soaps Baerlocher produces can be used as a grease thickener. Known as calcium sulfonate greases, calcium soaps are the best choice for greases and lubricants used in food-processing when potential exists for incidental contact with food.