CABB: Never stand still – this is how innovation happens
Those who speak of innovation in the chemical sector often refer to the development and optimisation of synthesis processes. The latter also plays an important role for our member CABB. For CABB, innovation above all means to never stand still.
The global manufacturer of starting materials, advanced intermediates and fine chemicals CABB fosters an active culture of always questioning everything. The positive effect of this is that potential for improvement is discovered and sometimes a totally new approach to solving a challenge is found. CABB’s example from the field of logistics management demonstrates this very clearly.
The current challenges associated with the corona vaccinations have shown that a reliable and secure delivery chain is of central importance. The focus on sustainability is also increasing constantly, also as a result of the awareness and engagement of our young people. And it’s precisely these two topics that sum up the efforts of our innovative member company in Pratteln.
High requirements for packaging and transport
CABB is one of the market leader in monochloroacetic acid or MCA, which is manufactured at a site in Germany. Monochloroacetic acid is an important basic material in the chemical industry. MCA is a very corrosive substance that rates as a hazardous product and is processed further in Pratteln, among other locations. As MCA is transported as a melt, the most important challenges include safety as well as the insulation and heating of the containers.
The extremely corrosive molten MCA is poured into storage tanks at a temperature of more than 60 degrees Celsius. It is therefore important that the molten mass doesn't cool down too much during transport and that the tank’s contents can be heated. Traditionally, the melt is transported in heated tank cars made from stainless steel coated with vitreous enamel. Although this combination of materials is very resistant to chemicals, it is vulnerable to mechanical damage and relatively heavy. This is where the scienceindustries member started wondering if there isn't a better solution.
Better environmental record and improved safety
The idea was born to use light, extremely resistant and resilient tank cars made from the high-tech metal titanium. The titanium tank cars are around 40 percent lighter than the traditional enamelled stainless steel containers, making it possible to increase the permitted load by some 30 percent. The bigger load considerably improves the ecological footprint for transports, which are also safer and cost less. By now, the fine chemicals manufacturer CABB has 15 of these tank cars.
The development of a tank car made from titanium was an important milestone for the fine chemicals company and its customers. This special project for the transport of monochloroacetic acid was realised within three years in collaboration with the automotive construction specialist Feldbinder and the vehicle rental company Onrail. CABB and its partners can rightly be proud of this innovation. This is the only instance in the world where titanium tank cars is used. This not only benefits the customers, but also the environment and society as a whole.
Always question the status quo
This is a specific example relating to a scienceindustries member of how Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences companies approach problems with creativity and an open mind. Not only classic research and development beliefs are questioned, but also the status quo. This is the only way to make sure that a company such as CABB doesn’t stand still. This understanding of innovation is another contribution from the chemical industry to the survival of Switzerland as a centre of technology.