Specialty chemicals company LANXESS produces iron oxide and chrome oxide pigments for numerous applications in the world’s largest production plant for inorganic color pigments in Krefeld-Uerdingen – and has been doing so for 90 years. Whether in the paint on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the red asphalt in front of Buckingham Palace in London or numerous products we encounter in our day-to-day lives – pigments from LANXESS are in use all around the world. What began very modestly 90 years ago has turned into a genuine success story. Since its launch in 1926, more than 13 million metric tons of pigments have left the plant in Krefeld-Uerdingen.
Besides production itself, LANXESS also places a very high value on its links with the local community. “We want to find a special way of thanking the city for the decades of outstanding cooperation we have had,” explained Jörg Hellwig, head of the LANXESS Inorganic Pigments business unit (IPG) at a celebration marking the 90th anniversary of the Uerdingen production facility for iron oxide pigments. He was joined by Krefeld’s Lord Mayor, Frank Meyer, as he announced the launch of the new “Besser Lernen” (Learn better) initiative for educational institutions and youth organizations in Krefeld. With the Lord Mayor as its patron and a total fund of EUR 50,000, the initiative will support projects run by educational institutions and youth organizations that use color schemes and other measures to improve the learning environment or care services for young people. Public educational institutions, clubs and initiatives can now put forward projects that are being run in Krefeld and involve total costs up to EUR 10,000.
Krefeld-Uerdingen through the decades:
In 1925 Julius Laux discovered that the salt solutions in the waste iron oxide pastes, led to the formation of intensely coloured oxides that were ideal for use as pigment. By 1927 production had reached 5000 metric tonnes.
Within a short period, synthetic oxides from Uerdingen had established a firm spot in the market and were being used primarily to colour linoleum, surface coatings and construction materials.
During the 1960s production soared to volumes of more than 100,000 metric tonnes. The range has grown with it, with a colour rang of over 100, compared to just 25 in 1931.
In 1976, the iron oxides from Uerdingen got their own special name and, since then, Bayferrox has been the most important global umbrella brand for the pigments. The products are distinguished by their high quality and simple and environmentally compatible processing.
There was a key development in the 1990s with the introduction of micro-granules, which support low-dust handling and are free flowing for metering purposes.
The latest groundbreaking innovation is the new plant in Ningbo, China. IPG have developed a completely new technology, known as the “Ningbo Process”, for the plant, which has since become another global benchmark for sustainable iron oxide production.