€10 million investment at Frankfurt site
The WeylChem Group is building the largest potassium-fluoride-based plant for halogen exchange (HALEX) reactions in the Western world, at its Allessa site in Frankfurt-Fechenheim. This technology for converting chlorinated into fluorinated aromatic hydrocarbons enables a number of new multi-step syntheses that can be used to produce complex intermediates in high degrees of purity.
The wide-ranging potential applications of this technology mean that in addition to the conventional target markets of the agrochemical and pharmaceutical industries, solutions for other segments such as electronics are also feasible. A total volume of around €10 million makes this project the most sizable investment in the Allessa subsidiary since it was incorporated into WeylChem eight years ago.
The Group adopted the underlying technology from the Frankfurt-Griesheim site that closed in 2019, performing additional process development and adding comprehensive automation to create what is currently the most modern production facility of its kind.
The plant’s location in Fechenheim Industrial Park also ensures access to the site’s dedicated maintenance, site safety and wastewater treatment systems, as well as proven processes for the treatment and recycling of waste.
Sustainable and reliable
The project was designed to be sustainable in multiple ways. The plant is being built in an existing production building, has an integrated energy management system and obtains its main raw materials very locally from Frankfurt-Höchst, where WeylChem has a side-chain chlorination plant and will soon also operate a ring chlorination plant. In addition, potassium fluoride technology is generally much safer than the commonly used hydrogen fluoride process. The central location in the heart of Europe also minimizes carbon emissions upon delivery to customers who manufacture here and gives these customers greater delivery reliability in light of the fragility of global supply chains.
“We’re one of the few suppliers to produce high-purity chemical building blocks using this technology,” says Uwe Brunk, President of the WeylChem Group of Companies. “Within the WeylChem Group, we’re integrated into chlorination upstream and a wide range of further processing methods downstream, which means we can offer the synthesis of a very wide range of complex molecules to our customers.”
“There is great interest in the market,” adds Technical Marketing Manager Michael Badine. “As early as in the construction phase, some customers signed supply contracts with us, and further sampling is ongoing.”
From idea to reality in record time
Just over two years will elapse between the initial idea and the planned start of production. This is made even more remarkable by the fact that the plant is being erected in a production building during ongoing operations. “This installation in record time is only possible thanks to good cooperation between all of the departments involved,” says Allessa’s Managing Director Wolfgang Böhm, who is responsible for the overall project. “Together, we will do everything we can to keep meeting our customers’ expectations when the plant is up and running.”
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