Stepan ups capacity

01 November 2006

Stepan UK, chemical manufacturer, has invested £750,000 to increase capacity at its sulphonation plant in Stalybridge, Cheshire. The project was carried out by Haden Freeman Ltd (HFL), Manchester-based chemical engineering specialist, and has boosted production capacity by 25 percent.

Stepan manufactures specialist intermediate chemicals used in consumer products and industrial applications. It is a leading producer of surfactants, which are the key ingredients in consumer products and industrial applications.

HFL had to complete the work in two weeks while one third of the plant was shut. Any work that overran that period would impact significantly on Stepan’s production capacity and could potentially cause hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of production losses.

A team of 16 HFL employees was deployed to cover process design, mechanical engineering, piping and layout and control system design for the plant. The project was fast tracked due to the time constraints and was split across HFL’s Manchester office, as well as on-site in Stalybridge. The strip out and installation of new equipment and the setting up of the control system was done within the two week window in June while planning, design and co-ordination work ran from January 2005. The project was completed on time and to budget.

Ian Dunkley, project manager from HFL, said: “We have a successful track record in implementing and managing chemical plant capacity increases. With this project, timing was key and specialist planning allowed the work to be carried out in an extremely tight timeframe, minimising the possibility of lost revenue.”

Darrell Hampshire, European operations director of Stepan, continued: “Stepan is now supplying increased quantities and types of High Active Ether Sulphates as a result of the upgrade and presently continue to capture an increased share of the UK market supply in this area. I’m certain that this project will make a significant contribution to our business success in customer satisfaction, plant operability, safety and reliability.”

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