Japan-based chemical group UBE Industries is planning to use a new process for manufacturing cyclohexanone at its factory in Ube City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. The cyclohexanone, produced at the facility, is used as an intermediate to make Caprolactam (nylon 6 raw material), which is also being produced at the same site. The new facility, which will produce cyclohexanone through selective hydrogenation of phenol, is expected to be completed by 2017.
In a bid to improve the company’s Caprolactam and nylon business, as well as execute fundamental cost reductions and make Caprolactam’s captive consumption rate better, the company has taken the decision to use the new manufacturing process. As part of these initiatives, the company has decide to build a new facility that can produce 80,000-MT of cyclohexanone. Compared to the existing manufacturing process, the new phenol process offers several advantages, including a streamlined process, downsize equipment, and higher yields of cyclohexanone from raw materials. The new process also consumes less steam and power, thereby helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Upon completion of the new facility, the company, plans to stop the production of 1,6-hexanediol and 1,5-pentanediol at the Ube Chemical factory site. However, the company will not discontinue these products, and will import them from its Thailand-based subsidiary, Ube Fine Chemicals (Asia). Currently, the company is expanding its nylon 6 business and aims to provide better quality extrusion applications, including food wrapping films. The company is also planning to globally expand compounding facilities network for injection applications, such as automotive components.