The first product batches out of Chemigate’s new modification line were shipped out to the wider world at the beginning of February. The internationally unique production process produces a polysaccharide-based product – a more sustainable alternative to, for example, the synthetic chemicals used in detergents and microplastic sources.
Lapua’s modification plant is a significant investment for Chemigate – and a breakthrough. This will expand the company’s activities in the further processing of polysaccharides – in addition to products that will improve the environmental sustainability of various consumer and industrial products.
Construction of the plant was finalised by the end of 2022. The project – with its many moving parts – proceeded in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and a restless global situation, but all these challenges were overcome with flying colours.
“The cooperation with our subcontractors and suppliers went well in the end. There were some delays in construction, and the project’s budget stretched to EUR 9 million, but was completed in sync with our partners’ other investments,” says a satisfied Aki Laine, CTO at Chemigate.
A new pillar to secure the future of Chemigate
The plant was at last certified operational after its first product batches were produced in January. This came on the heels of a week-long, round-the-clock crunch – but the end-result was positive to say the least.
“All parties have been satisfied with the schedule – and the fact that we were able to smoothly deliver a quality product right away. The first product batches will go to our global partners for the manufacturing of detergents, among other products. Before starting regular production, we’re still waiting for commissioning tests and product approvals from various parties early in the year,” says Laine.
“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our partner in the US, International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., who provided us with expert support in commissioning the plant, producing the first production batch, and implementing the entire investment. Thanks also to Culmentor Oy, who coordinated construction, and Fimpec Oy, the engineering firm that carried out the investment project.”
Chemigate will gain a significant new pillar of support from the modification plant, which will overlap with and complement ongoing business activities.
“This will open up paths to a new customer base and new markets, which will balance and ensure the long-term continuity of our operations. At the same time, the new production is part of Chemigate and IFF’s wider and developing collaboration in processing new, bio-based materials,” notes Laine.
A carefully planned and implemented package
Miikka Laukkanen, process engineer at the new modification line, says that the new production process includes process steps and equipment previously foreign to Chemigate, such as a new evaporator and filtration method. The implementation and commissioning of these processes proceeded smoothly as well, without the need for major retrofitting and overhauls.
“When I arrived at Chemigate in 2021, the plant was already well planned out, so the list of things to be finalised at this stage is very short. What’s left is mostly fine-tuning – just small improvements and changes.”
Laukkanen has reinforced the plant project with his own expertise – handling practical matters such as commissioning preparations, testing, and operator training. He will continue to work as an expert at the plant. After the finishing touches, the next steps include finalising operating instructions and the quality system, training operators, and more.