CPhI NEWS: Endeavour Speciality Chemicals invests £400,000 in plant improvements

Spend will double capacity of extraction plant and improve the internal environment

UK independent chemical manufacturer Robinson Brothers (RBL) and its wholly owned subsidiary Endeavour Speciality Chemicals are expecting a strong financial performance in 2012, which is set to surpass 2011 group sales of more than £31.5m. This has enabled the businesses to accelerate their ambitious expansion plans, including a £400,000 investment at Endeavour’s Daventry, UK site.

The three-month project will effectively double the capacity of the extraction plant and improve both the internal environment and working conditions for laboratory-based staff. Due for completion in December 2012, the project will also see the replacement or refurbishment of more than 60 fume hoods in both main production laboratories.

‘The increase in sales has been driven by a number of factors,’ said RBL managing director Adrian Hanrahan. ‘Our continued growth in both new and existing markets for our established product lines has been strong, while we have also had a record number of new projects, both at laboratory and pilot-scale. The success in this area also has the knock-on effect of giving us an exceptionally strong pipeline for 2013 and beyond.’

In the face of stiff competition RBL recently won UK Government funding through the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, to carry out feasibility studies into transferring hydrogenation chemistry from batch to continuous process using flow-chemistry reactors.

The trials commenced in September 2012 and will run for nine months; RBL will work alongside flow reactor manufacturer AM Technologies.

‘For more than 40 years hydrogenation has been one of Robinson Brothers’ key competencies,’ said Hanrahan. ‘Our plan is ultimately to use continuous flow chemistry to increase our capacities across our core chemistries. Additionally, we could potentially broaden our technology portfolio by undertaking new chemistries that we do not currently possess, primarily due to the limitations of batch chemistry.

‘Following the successful completion of the feasibility studies, we would look to invest in a dedicated flow chemistry facility as an integral part of our customer offering going forward.’

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