WeylChem and Catexel combining forces<br>Promising new developments across markets

As of November 2018, the WeylChem Group acquired Catexel Technologies Ltd and the combined capabilities of both companies promise to deliver some exciting developments for across a range of markets.

WeylChem has decades of experience in the homecare and cleaning arena, manufacturing a range of materials that deliver high performing, cost effective and sustainable solutions. Meanwhile, Catexel has a track-record of innovative products, across several markets with their transition metal-based catalyst technology. In homecare and cleaning applications these catalysts offer routes to reduce chemical load and energy consumption whilst maintaining, or even increasing, performance.

 

Combining Capabilities

WeylChem Group of Companies is owned by International Chemical Investors Group (ICIG), a privately-owned industrial holding company. Total sales revenue for ICIG is €2 bn and they employ more than 6000 people across the EU and USA. WeylChem Group constitutes around one third of the personnel and revenue of ICIG and is made up of ten operating divisions. These divisions are active in two broad areas; fine chemicals and consumer care.

Catexel will be incorporated into the team at Weylchem Performance Products, whose key markets are homecare and cleaning and personal care. WeylChem Performance Products has extensive application testing facilities at their site in Wiesbaden, Germany, with a large team of experienced formulators and chemists. Meanwhile, Catexel owns a library of more than 3000 catalysts, which have potential use in stain removal, cleaning, pulp bleaching and elsewhere. Bringing together both technical teams will accelerate the development of new materials, delivering novel and improved product claims to the brand leaders in the homecare and cleaning segments and opening new application areas for both companies.

Though Catexel has commercialised several catalysts from their library already, the capabilities within the wider WeylChem Group to provide custom synthesis will help bringing new products to market, quicker and more cost effectively. This will enable Catexel to pursue new developments in applications such as water treatment and hard surface cleaning.

 

Catalytically Clean Dishes

Figure 1: Chemical structure of MnTACN catalyst
Figure 1: Chemical structure of MnTACN catalyst

A key driver in the purchase of Catexel by ICIG was to take advantage of product synergies between those of Weylchem and those of Catexel. A perfect example is WeylClean® MnTACN. The CTO of Catexel, Dr. Ronald Hage, was instrumental in the original development of the catalyst that is at the core of the WeylClean® MnTACN product. The catalyst boosts performance of hydrogen peroxide, delivering superior stain removal in automatic dishwash applications. Such an active catalyst, however, needs to be carefully formulated to achieve long-term stability in consumer products. This is where WeylChem was key.

WeylChem developed granulated and protected grades of the catalyst, in combination with their TAED. These granules are ready-to-use in ADW formulations, giving formulators confidence that the performance they see directly after manufacture, will still be present when the end-consumer cleans their dishes. Moreover, since the catalyst is used at such low levels, the combination with TAED simplifies dosing, ensuring uniform activity across a production batch. WeylClean® SKS-6 is a layered, disodium silicate builder, that will further boost performance of the MnTACN catalyst with its water-softening and buffering effect. Another example of combined benefits.

 

Hygienic Performance

There are numerous applications where the elimination of bacteria and other micro-organisms is key. These include healthcare, water treatment, personal care products and food manufacturing. WeylChem’s TAED, in combination with peroxide, generates peracetic acid, a highly effective bleaching and anti-microbial agent. A well-known product in the consumer laundry segment, the anti-microbial efficacy of this system still has potential for development several other scenarios.

Catexel brings another option for anti-microbials with their patented, chlorine dioxide generation technology. This catalyst-based system works in combination with chlorite salts to produce, in-situ, ClO2, which is a highly effective biocide. Some applications of chlorine dioxide include pulp bleaching, food processing, membrane cleaning, and water treatment. The development by Catexel is relatively recent and the application and formulation experience of WeylChem will be key to bring products to market.

Hydrogen peroxide is another strong oxidising agent that can be used for anti-microbial purposes. Its application is found in textile and pulp bleaching, cleaning and water treatment. Two of the catalysts that Catexel have commercialised, Pegasus and Dragon, are highly effective at activating hydrogen peroxide, enhancing its performance and/or allowing its use under milder conditions.

 

Low-Temperature Laundry

Figure 2: Structure of Pegasus Catalyst
Figure 2: Structure of Pegasus Catalyst

Pegasus is a trade-name applied to another Mn based catalyst that Catexel commercialised in 2011 for industrial cotton bleaching. It is a highly effective stain remover and allows cotton processors to reduce the temperature at which they bleach, saving energy, time and producing a higher quality product. In laundry applications it facilitates stain bleaching at milder temperatures and is particularly efficacious on polyphenolic stains.

WeylChem have recently developed their WeylClean® CC product, a metal-free catalyst that meets a long-standing goal in laundry care: effective stain removal at temperatures below 20 °C. It acts catalytically therefore, like Pegasus, works at very low doses and, in combination with TAED and peroxide, there will still be peracetic acid produced, hence anti-microbial efficacy.

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