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March 7, 2018

Volume 3 Issue 8

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Italmatch Forms Additives Unit

Italmatch Chemicals Group announced last week that it has formed a lubricant additives business unit in the wake of December’s acquisition of Elco Corp. and parent company Detrex. Officials said the new unit, named Lubricant Performance Additives, will aim to expand in terms of chemicals supplied and geographic areas served.

In an interview following last week’s announcement, officials said they see synergy between two companies that both focused on the lubricants industry but that supplied different chemistries.

“Elco has always been known for being a producer of sulfurized extreme pressure additives, whereas Italmatch is certainly one of the leading producers of phosphorus derivatives,” said Dave Millin, global vice president of sales and marketing for the new unit. “Whatever you’re doing in the lubricants sector, you need sulfur and phosphorus, particularly in metalworking.”

Italmatch is the main European manufacturer of phosphorus pentasulfide, a key raw material for producing ZDDP (zinc dialkyldithiophosphate) antiwear and antioxidant additives – which Elco makes. The Italian company, which also produces synthetic and natural esters for lubricants and other applications, has six manufacturing plants in Europe, four in the Asia-Pacific region and now two in the United States, with sales and distribution centers in Belgium, China and Japan.

Cleveland-based Elco manufactures high performance specialty chemicals, primarily additives such as antioxidants, extreme pressure agents and rust and corrosion inhibitors for industrial lubricants, greases, metalworking and other fluids. It also makes high purity hydrochloric acid for the semiconductor industry.

Lubricant Performance Additives now has two testing facilities, one in Cleveland, the other in Arese, Italy, near Milan. Both locations conduct technology and application testing, and Millin said they will work to develop new products in the future.

“Wherever in the world we’re manufacturing, be it Cleveland or Arese, we as LPA will be in charge of and responsible for that business.” he said.

Officials said Italmatch has made strides the past 20 years to expand its operations and sales in the Asia-Pacific region and that Elco has also been working to grow in that region.

For the time being, the new unit will focus on further developing existing products. “We’re first going to expand on what we’ve been doing, which is taking derivatives of our sulfur and phosphorus and the proprietary polymer esters KetjenLube and Dapraphos, and to blend those with other components to create solutions we can then deliver to the marketplace,” Millin explained.

According to Italmatch’s web site, KetjenLube is its trade name for di-esters, polyol esters and complex esters used in lubricants. Dapraphos is the company’s trade name for phosphite esters, phosphate esters and phosphonates used in applications such as lubricants, chemical intermediates and extreme pressure additives; and also ester copolymers used in lubricants.

“We’re going to combine the technology Italmatch has on phosphorus with Elco’s on sulfur and zinc dialkyldithiophosphates. Not just in components but also into additive packages that can combine chemistry from both entities,” Millin said, adding that there would be a continuous evolution of products that will be customized and tailored so that they fit exactly with performance requirements of the market.