Nouryon and Safic-Alcan DKT interview

Nouryon and Safic-Alcan DKT interview

Uniting Forces: Safic-Alcan and Nouryon Elevating the Rubber Industry Together.

In the vibrant landscape of the rubber industry, collaboration is not just a strategy but a necessity for innovation and growth. In this exclusive interview between Stefan Van As, Business Manager Performance Products at Safic-Alcan Rubber Benelux, and Leo Nijhof, Global Technical Development Manager at Polymer Specialties at Nouryon, we delve into the dynamic partnership between Safic-Alcan, a global distributor of specialty chemical ingredients, and Nouryon, its esteemed partner, as they continue to redefine the standards of excellence in the sector.

As a global specialty chemicals leader, markets and consumers worldwide rely on Nouryon’s essential solutions to manufacture everyday products, such as personal care, cleaning goods, paints and coatings, agriculture and food, pharmaceuticals, and building products. Central to the success of Safic-Alcan and Nouryon's partnership since 2023 is a shared commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction for the distribution of of crosslinking peroxides across Europe.

As Safic-Alcan prepares to present its latest innovations at DKT 2024, Europe's leading conference on rubber and elastomers to be held in Nuremberg from 1 to 4 July 2024, Nouryon joins as a co-exhibitor, adding an extra dimension of expertise and innovation to the showcase.

In this interview, we look at the intricacies of this long-standing partnership, exploring the synergies, challenges, and triumphs that have marked the rubber industry's journey.

Can you share with us the genesis of the partnership between Safic-Alcan and Nouryon in the rubber industry? What common goals or values brought your companies together?

Stefan Van As: The partnership between Safic-Alcan and Nouryon started at the beginning of 2023. As a chemical distributor in the rubber industry, peroxides are a very important cornerstone of our portfolio. Thanks to this new cooperation, we were able to offer this key ingredient to all our European customers.

Safic-Alcan has an extensive distribution network and a very strong presence in the rubber world. Nouryon has strong expertise and top-notch manufacturing facilities for peroxides. They are recognized as one of the peroxide leaders in the world. The market has a need for high-quality and sustainable chemical ingredients. By bringing our two companies together, you get a very strong partnership with a customer-centric approach at the core.

We’re also brought together by our shared commitment to innovation and quality products. Sustainability is a core value for both our companies and our customers. Reducing the environmental impact and CO2 carbon footprint, plus increasing energy efficiency, is key for a successful rubber operation today.

The rubber recipe is central in the day-to-day operation of our customer, and our aim is to contribute to this recipe in a sustainable, cost-efficient, and technologically innovative way. The partnership with Nouryon reflects these shared goals perfectly.

Leo Nijhof: Nouryon’s contact with Safic-Alcan goes back a long time and as of January 1, 2023, the long-term partnership in the UK, Ireland, and Portugal was extended to distribute the Perkadox® and Trigonox® crosslinking peroxides across Europe. Our customers benefit from the combination of highly trained sales and technical teams, formulation support, comprehensive regulatory know-how, and exceptional quality and service in the rubber industry. With all these qualities, Safic-Alcan is seen as a leader in providing solutions to the rubber and crosslinking market in Europe.

One of the challenges of distributing peroxides concerns product safety. How do you manage this to ensure optimal delivery to customers?

SVA: Managing the distribution of peroxides involves several critical steps because of their highly reactive and potentially hazardous nature. As a distributor, we make sure every storage and delivery are compliant with local regulations. We store several grades in our warehouse in Londerzeel, which allows us to offer the option of delivering smaller quantities to our customers who are limited by storage limits. Furthermore, delivery can happen in combination with other goods from our portfolio. The storage conditions, of course, matter and we ensure that the peroxides do not cross a certain threshold temperature where quality loss or, worse, self-accelerating decomposition temperature is reached. Additionally, we ensure that the peroxides are stored separately from flammable and reducing agents and other incompatible materials. In the delivery step, it’s important to have reliable forwarders who are properly trained and certified. This is part of our decade-long distribution experience in our market.

In close collaboration with Nouryon, we also support our customers with proper documentation and the possibility of visiting the safety lab in Deventer (NL), which is a real added benefit for our local customers who wish to learn more about the safety aspects of peroxides firsthand. Live demonstrations are possible and equally impressive and insightful.

The product should arrive in mint condition and in a timely manner at our customer site with all the prescribed labeling and documentation (TDS/SDS/CoA) already in the mailbox and, where necessary, attached to the PL. This is our quality level every time a customer orders our products.

LN: Safety is a top priority for Nouryon.

Safety of organic peroxides needs proper attention, as this group of chemicals is classified as dangerous goods. It all starts with the safe production of organic peroxides in Nouryon facilities. Aspects such as UN-certified packaging, prescribed ADR transport of dangerous goods, and in some specific cases, country-specific regulations covering the storage of crosslinking peroxides, need to be followed and advised upon.

In addition, working with Safic-Alcan helps in safety aspects because they offer the optimal way to serve customers in case relatively small quantities need to be delivered in a short time. This is very attractive for those customers that do not have options to store large quantities of crosslinking peroxides. Being served in time with the required amount of product is a growing need expressed by the industry.

From an application point of view, it frequently starts with discussing with the customer about their needs, possibilities, and limitations in detail. Based on their feedback, pure or formulated products can be offered in a way that safe storage, handling, and usage are guaranteed. For those customers that need safety support in more depth, Nouryon does offer ‘safety support on the spot,’ as well as in-house training and an interactive online education program available in 12 languages.

Next to training, we have a world-class research and development facility in Deventer, the Netherlands, where we perform extensive safety studies. Through vigorous testing and an in-depth knowledge of the products we manufacture, we can develop safer products and innovative packaging.

Sustainability is increasingly becoming a priority across industries. How do you see and address sustainability concerns in the rubber sector, and what initiatives are you undertaking to promote responsible practices?

SVA: All the involved stakeholders in this story, like local and European governments with more stringent legislation, our investors, customers and principals with increased expectations, and finally, we ourselves as employees, are expected and striving to contribute to a more sustainable future. This is definitely one of the fields where we have made very big strides over the past few years, gaining a silver ECOVADIS rating for Safic-Alcan Group in 2023.

Additionally, as we seek new partnerships in rubber, sustainability is at the forefront as a criterion. Partners who manufacture products based on more sustainable feedstocks, have a reduced carbon footprint compared to market standards, or produce products with less proven detrimental impact on our environment fit in our philosophy. Finally, the proximity of a manufacturing plant is also key in this story as it makes the whole logistic chain much easier and quite often less CO2 demanding.

In our daily job, we actively recommend ingredients that contribute to a greener recipe or make the mixing operation more efficient. Lastly, the logistic step to our customer is a very big part of the story, and we are proud to offer a complete portfolio making efficient combinations possible in terms of delivery for our customers.

Allow me to say I’m also pleased to see that Nouryon is very forthcoming and sharing pro-actively data like carbon footprint, which is very well appreciated by our customers.

LNHigh on the agenda of the rubber industry is the reduction of the carbon footprint. In 2023, Nouryon launched the Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) factsheets for most of the crosslinking peroxides that we offer. These data were received enthusiastically by customers and end-product industries. A well-known example is the building and construction industry, which needs to implement zero-carbon strategies for new buildings. Here, it is already an obligation to share PCF data if you want to be selected as a supplier.

In addition, feedback from industry has shown that the usage of less energy during compounding and curing is a priority. It is known that compounding rubber is a high-energy demanding step, and we noticed that multi-stage mixing is under review. We often get the question from our customers if we can shorten mixing cycles or if we can eliminate a 2nd or 3rd mixing stage.

Here, sometimes temperature-robust peroxide cure systems that can be used in a single compounding step do have an advantage over scorch-sensitive sulfur/accelerator cure systems, which need a 2-step mixing cycle. To offer the most suitable solution, we discuss with customers how to best formulate rubber recipes having optimal scorch protection by the ‘do it yourself’ concept. For Nouryon, it is important to share our knowledge with our customers; only then are we building a prospective and sustainable future together.

It's exciting to see Safic-Alcan hosting its booth at DKT 2024, together with Nouryon as a co-exhibitor. What are the novelties and product lines that customers can expect to discover during the event?

SVA: Safic-Alcan, as a global specialty distributor, is partnering with Celanese, Imerys, and Nouryon at DKT 2024 to present a full range of rubber solutions. On behalf of Nouryon, we’ll be showcasing the Perkadox® 14-EP40 and Perkadox® BC-EP40, which are polymer-bound peroxides allowing for a dust-free work environment, making the weighing and mixing area safer in terms of potential exposure to chemicals. Furthermore, the incorporation in the rubber compound is easier with minimal impact on the coloration of the rubber compound.

At Booth 125 Hall 9, you can expect to find us together with our partners. Please feel free to book a time slot with us or start a technical or commercial discussion. Everyone is welcome, and we are looking forward to being at DKT again.

LN: At this year’s event, we would like to highlight our new polymer-bound product grades: Perkadox® 14-EP40 and Perkadox® BC-EP40. Specifically for Germany, the need for a halogen-free crosslinking peroxide for silicone rubber has become more and more clear. Our Perkadox® PM-50S-PS helps address this need, and it is now gaining higher interest in other EU countries. As usual, we will be present with a technical support team at the DKT, not only serving direct customers but also supporting Safic-Alcan accounts. Meeting appointments can be made in advance, but for those visitors who come to the booth, feel free to start a technical conversation; we will be happy to accommodate you.

Popular post