“Our integrated production complex in Lillo is the backbone of our global business for high-tech plastics. Given the trend toward lightweight construction in the automotive industry, for example, this is a major future market. Therefore we are continuously strengthening the competitiveness of this site. In total, our company has invested more than EUR 300 million in Lillo since 2004 – a sum that shows our firm commitment to this site,” said Matthias Zachert, Chairman of the Board of Management at Lanxess.
The announcement was made on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of caprolactam production at the site. Caprolactam is a key precursor for the production of Lanxess’s high-tech plastics. Besides the automotive industry, these plastics are also used in electrical and electronics applications.
In recent years the company has focused on building a balanced value chain for its high-tech plastics production operations, which absorbs the lion’s share of the intermediates produced for captive use. A milestone on that strategic path was the construction of a world-class polymerization plant with an annual capacity of 90,000 metric tons connected directly to the caprolactam production facility. Since its start in summer 2014, the polyamide is shipped from Antwerp to Lanxess’s global network of compounding facilities, where it is further processed into the high-tech plastics.
An impressive history
Production at the site began half a century ago on April 24, 1967. The plant was a pioneer in the harbor area, which has developed into the largest integrated chemical cluster in Europe.
The complex had a capacity of 160,000 metric tons of caprolactam per year in 2004 when the company was founded; current capacity is 220,000 metric tons per year. Since the plant came on stream 50 years ago, 6,252,000 metric tons of caprolactam have been produced.
Lanxess not only expanded capacity considerably, it also modernized the complex. One recent major step was the implementation of a virtually energy self-sufficient infrastructure.