Akzo Nobel Surfactants
525 W. Van Buren Street
General E-mail: CSRUSA@akzonobel.com
Web Address: surface.akzonobelusa.com
Executive Officer: Francis X. Sherman, General Manager
Organization's Purpose or Mission:
We at Akzo Nobel Surface Chemistry firmly believe that close co-operation between the customer and supplier is a prerequisite for the successful development of both. Our vision is to be "The Responsive Partner" and, to keep us on the right track, we have three basic shared values: Working together: Building strength through learning and teamwork, both internally and with our customers. Being responsible: Having a respectful attitude towards each other, the environment and the community. Improving all the time: Striving for excellence in our present and future customer relationships - but above all we shall be Responsive to our customers' needs.
Services or Products Description:
Our products are cationic, anionic and nonionic surface-active agents produced from natural fats and oils and petroleum. Our customers' main applications are in formulations in fabric care, organoclays, agrochemicals, oilfield operations, industrial and household cleaning, inks and pigments, personal care, and in systems for road paving and flotation agents for the purification of minerals.
Corporate History and Milestones:
The History of Surfactants America
Surfactants America has a long and interesting history, which includes a story common to America of one industry begetting another.
· 1920 - 1930s - Armour & Co., Chemical Division
Our roots begin with an industry of major importance to the developing mid-Western region of the United States, agriculture and animal husbandry. Chicago became a center for meatpacking with its rail transportation hub. Armour & Co. was among the leading renderers at the famous Chicago Stock Yards. With meat production comes by-products and the need to expand new uses for these by-products. Traditional uses were for soaps, pharmaceuticals, lubricants, adhesives and leather. A Central Research laboratory was established by Armour at the Yards in the 1920's and remained there until 1958.
During the 1930's Ralph Potts developed the first commercial fatty acid fractionation process, which made possible the use of fatty acids as raw materials for chemical processes. Work was undertaken on nitrogen derivatives of fatty acids to nitrogen compounds via the nitrile route. By 1942, production of nitriles was 20M lb/day; today, our Morris plant can produce that much in an hour!
The first commercial long-chain fatty amine was used (ca. 1939) for the beneficiation of potash. Today, our plant at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada is a major producer of amine for the potash industry.
During this time, the manufacturing laboratory at 31st Street began doing application research; work on fatty derivatives developed at the Yards was transferred to 31st Street for scale-up and commercialization.
· 1940s - Armour Industrial Chemical Co.
Commercial procedures for making secondary amines and quaternary ammonium salts were developed. In the late 40s the first large-scale use of quaternary ammonium salts was realized when National Lead Co. requested Arquad 2HT-75 for use as an organoclay additive in oilfield drilling muds.
The use of quaternary salts for fabric softening was invented in the application laboratory. The McCook plant and new research laboratory were built in 1948-1949 and are shown below
· 1950s - Established foreign operations
A sales office was established in the Toronto followed by our plant at Saskatoon.
A joint venture to fractionate fatty acids and prepare nitrogen derivatives was made in 1959 with Dan Hess in England. This was later (1968) to become wholly owned by Armour. Another joint venture was made with Lion Fat and Oil in Japan in the late 60s known as Laco (Lion Akzo Company).
· 1960- 1970s
Kessler, a specialty ester manufacturer in Philadelphia, was bought in 1962. Specific products included polyethylene glycol esters, isopropyl myristate and others. Kessler was purchased in part as an outlet for our fatty acids. After renewing strategic goals, Kessler was sold to the Stepan Co. in 1982.
In 1969, Greyhound acquired Armour during the heyday of conglomerate formation. In 1970 Greyhound spun off the chemical operation to Akzona.
Akzona (Akzo, North America) was formed with 55% ownership by Akzo (the Netherlands). Akzo had been formed only a year earlier (November 4, 1969) by the merger of a textile company, AKU, and by KZO, a major salt company. Akzona was Akzo’s holding company for their North American textile, salt, chemical, cable and pharmaceutical companies. The former Armour Industrial Chemical division was renamed as Armak, a contraction of Armour and Akzona, at the time of its sale to Akzona.
In 1973 the Morris, IL plant started production. At its opening it was the largest manufacturing facility in the world for the production of fattyalkyl nitrogen derivatives.
· 1980s - Akzo America formed
Akzo bought all publicly held stock in Akzona, and Akzona became a wholly owned subsidiary of Akzo, in September 1982. In 1984 the name was changed from Armak to Akzo Chemie America, Armak Chemicals.
The name was changed again to Akzo Chemicals Inc., and the Armak designation dropped. Akzo America became the new name for the holding company.
In 1985 the Sarnia, Ontario, plant was purchased from Monsanto and converted to the production of amine derivatives.
In 1987 the purchase of the specialty chemicals division of Stauffer Chemical Co. by Akzo America was announced. The sales of the acquired Stauffer unit effectively doubled the sales of Akzo Chemie America, the division of Akzo to which the unit was assigned. More significant to the nitrogen chemicals business was the assignment of Stauffer personnel to manage this business.
About a year later Akzo Chemie America was reorganized into eight operating groups based on market requirements. Coincident with this the name was changed to Akzo Chemicals Inc. The structure change allowed the various chemicals with common marketing interest to be sold within a single marketing division. The nitrogen chemical business, formerly sold under the Armak umbrella, was divided into new marketing groups: Detergents and Personal Care, Fine and Functional Amines and Asphalt (Highway) Chemicals. Akzo no longer operated as individual companies based on geography, but as a worldwide organization.
· 1990s - Change continues
In 1991 Akzo Chemicals was again restructured, and the former Armak nitrogen products were now marketed under the group, Detergent and Surfactants, with subgroups Detergent and Personal Care, Petroleum, Fine and Functional Amines and Asphalt Chemicals. The McCook Research Laboratory was closed. All North American research operations were combined at the former Stauffer facility at Dobbs Ferry, New York. The Sarnia plant was also closed in 1991 with operations transferred to other North America plants.
In 1994 Akzo nv made the decision to merge with Nobel Industries, a diversified Swedish company with holdings in amines, paint and building chemicals, coatings and paper chemicals among others. The non-coatings businesses formed a new business unit, Surface Chemistry that became part of the Chemicals Group within the new Akzo Nobel nv organization.
The new Surface Chemistry headquarters were established in Stenungsund, Sweden. Various sub-business units were formed to operate on a global basis: Cleaning and Care, Industrial Surfactants, Paint and Building Additives and Fatty Acids and various niche businesses.
In 1996 the evolving Business Unit Surface Chemistry reorganized to better direct marketing efforts on a geographic basis. New sub-business units were formed: Cationic Applications (Europe), Surfactants America, Fatty Acids, Paint & Building Additives and Specialty Surfactant Applications. The new Surfactants America SBU took over responsibility for South America and the Itupeva, Brazil, plant.
In 1998 Akcros Chemicals, headquartered in the UK and a joint venture between Akzo Nobel and Harcross Chemicals, became a wholly owned subsidiary. During 1999 the Akcros surfactant line was integrated into BU Surface Chemistry.
Continued expansion into Asian markets occurred with the opening of an office in Singapore in 1997 to coordinate area marketing and secure future production. Surfactants America assumed responsibility for these activities.
In 2000 the Surfactants America organization became a separated legal entity. While remaining wholly owned by Akzo Nobel Chemicals Inc., it is now known as Akzo Nobel Surface Chemistry LLC. Targeted marketing efforts are supported in Detergents and Personal Care, Petroleum, Functional Applications, Mining and Cleaning from its Chicago office headquarters. Marketing centers were established in Singapore and Itupeva, Brazil. Later in 2000 the Singapore office separated from Surfactants America and became the headquarters for a separate SBU, Surfactants Asia Pacific.
On June 28, 2002, the Industrial Specialties surfactants group within Crompton Corporation was acquired. This acquisition nearly doubled the size of Surfactants America. Manufacturing sites for naphthalene sulfonates in Ft. Worth, TX, and for nonionics and anionics (sulfates/sulfonates/blends) in Houston, TX. A manufacturing facility on Jurong Island, Singapore, became part of Surfactants Asia. New marketing efforts were grouped into: Agriculture Applications, Asphalt Applications, Cleaning, Fabric and Personal Care, Functional Surfactants, Oilfield Chemicals and Specialty Applications.
Business unit website: http://surface.akzonobel.com
Akzo Nobel Surfactants Europe website: http://www.surfactantseurope.akzonobel.com
Traded Publicly: NASDAQ
Stock Name: Akzo Nobel ADR - AKZOY