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Products and solutions, 2007-03-20, 10:04 AM

Acid-proof China

One of the most sophisticated and most important services provided by ThyssenKrupp Xervon in China is acid protection engineering. In and around Shanghai, the name of Xervon has almost become synonymous with this special service that encompasses the construction of production and storage vessels as well as the expert planning and application of industrial floor coatings. The special materials employed are designed specifically for applications calling for extremely high resistance to chemicals and mechanical stressing. Two of the biggest Chinese Xervon customers in the acid protection sector are Bayer AG with its Bayer Technology Services and Bayer Material Science as well as the Austrian company AT&S, one of the biggest manufacturers of printed circuit-boards.

The AT&S plant in Shanghai is one of the world’s most advanced and, to satisfy growing demand, is being extended for the second time. During the first construction project phase in 2001 and 2002, the industrial service providers, still known then as Peiniger International, applied all the floor and chemical protection coatings for the new plant – a total of about 12,000 square meters of conductive floor coatings, 8,000 square meters of standard floor coatings and 9,200 square meters of chemically resistant vinyl ester laminates. The quality of the work was such that AT&S subsequently awarded the maintenance of the chemical protection surfaces and various conversion tasks to Xervon. In spring 2006, the order was then placed for the new buildings of the second project phase, which involves the application of a further 10,750 square meters of vinyl ester laminates.

In Shanghai Cao Jing, Bayer is building a large chemical installation (Bayer Integrated Site Shanghai) for the production of plastics – the biggest foreign investment in the company’s history. Right from the start of the project, Xervon has been contributing various services, such as at the Makrolon plant, which was officially opened in September of this year. The 7,000 square meters of chemically resistant tiles and 6,000 square meters of chemically resistant vinyl ester laminates have since been providing optimum protection from all kinds of corrosion. The coating specialists from Xervon are already involved in the next project. Two more plants are under construction for which several thousand square meters of acid protection materials are required. A MDI plant with an annual capacity of 350,000 metric tons is due for completion in 2008, to be followed in 2009 by a TDI plant with an annual capacity of 160,000 tons. The polyurethane raw materials TDI and MDI are used for the production of expanded foams and are employed in such products as mattresses and seat upholstery as well as in thermal insulation.

Both AT&S and Bayer expect a quality of workmanship that is high by Chinese standards. The application of chemical protection coatings and chemically resistant tiled surfaces demands precise planning, job scheduling and programming – something to which European customers attach great importance. ThyssenKrupp Xervon even goes a step further and for quality reasons imports virtually all the materials that it applies. The bedding and jointing mortar and chemically resistant membranes are supplied from the USA and the vinyl ester laminates by the name of Asplit and chemically resistant ceramic tiles come from Germany.

The delivery logistics for the materials poses a major challenge in China, where the import process is extremely laborious and trying. On top of this there’s the time factor. The vinyl ester material will only keep for about six months. With about two months for delivery to the site and the usual delays in the building program, ordering and delivery logistics call for special attention. The material must therefore be applied within a narrow time window as soon as it arrives. On the Bayer site, Xervon has therefore hired an ex-pat site supervisor from Australia to coordinate the work. Exceptional circumstances simply call for exceptional measures.

Background: Shanghai Chemical Industry Park
Over 50 major chemical industry parks are currently being built in China – half of these alone are situated within a radius of about 600 kilometers of Shanghai. The Shanghai Chemical Industry Park (SCIP), with a surface area of about 30 square kilometers, is one of the medium-size parks. By comparison, BASF in Ludwigshafen, one of Europe’s biggest chemical complexes, occupies an area of only seven square kilometers. The SCIP was opened in 1998 and is due for completion by 2012. 15 billion euros have been estimated as the investment volume. Along with Bayer and AT&S, the companies sited here include Air Liquide, BASF, Degussa and Mitsubishi Gas.

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