Akcros Chemicals Ltd

Ackros’ commitment to safety

Operating from a headquarters in Eccles, near Manchester in the UK, Akcros Chemicals is one of the world leaders in the field of additives for the processing and manufacturing of polymers, such as polyvinylchloride (PVC) polyurethane (PU) polyolefins (PO) and is a speciality supplier of additives to the sealants, paint and coatings markets.

With market-leading positions in its chosen fields, Akcros delivers packaged technical solutions from its manufacturing units in the UK and the US, and has a proven track record of creating products of the highest quality, efficiency and reliability.

With its origins dating back to 1937, Akcros has a long pedigree in these markets and today serves a wide range of international customers through its highly developed global sales network of sales managers, agents and distributors.

Akcros continues to innovate for its customers through its research and development centres in Eccles, Manchester and New Brunswick, New Jersey. From low emission flooring to quality building products, Akcros develops the right solutions for its global customers.

The company produces the widest range of additives that improve products, processes and profits for customers in many key industries. This incorporates a wide range of additives for the PVC market, including Heat Stabilisers (Mixed Metal and Organotin based), Biocides, Epoxy Plasticisers, Bonding Agents, Antistatic Additives and Viscosity Modifiers. Akcros is also a pioneer in the development of Calcium/Zinc stabilisers.

In March 2007 Akcros underwent a change of ownership when GIL Investments purchased the business from Akzo Nobel Chemicals. GIL is an investment company based in Stratford-upon-Avon in the UK that acquires and develops medium-sized businesses in the manufacturing sector that offer interesting growth opportunities. Production continues in the two core sites in the UK and USA owned by the new company, and also via tolling arrangements at Akzo sites in Germany and Brazil.

Since the ownership change, Akcros has invested to enhance its already significant position in the Bonding Agent area, having constructed and commissioned an upgraded plant on the Eccles site at a cost of close to £500 thousand. Further investments are continuing in a new product line, due for completion later in 2008.

A further significant development for the business came in May when Akcros and Dalian Xingyuan Fine Chemicals Company announced the formation of Dalian-Akcros JV Company Pte Ltd (DAK-STAR); a joint venture that will develop, register, manufacture, formulate and market isothiazolone based antimicrobials on a global scale, including OIT and DCOIT.

“We are extremely excited about this cooperation bringing together the isothiazolone production know-how of Dalian Xingyuan Fine Chemicals with the formulation expertise of Akcros Chemicals to create a joint venture that will stress quality, new product development and customer support,” announced chairman of Dalian Xingyuan Fine Chemicals, Jiang Zhikai.

Jeff Simmonds, CEO of Akcros Chemicals, added: “DAK-STAR optimises the strengths of both partners by combining our already extensive sales and distribution networks to create a commercial enterprise poised to grow in a number of global market segments including vinyl, paint & coatings and adhesive & sealants.”

Based in Singapore, this new venture will produce and formulate products in Asia, Europe and the US using the partners’ existing plant and new investments, including a new plant investment in China. This will be supported by an expansion of the application testing capabilities of both partners. This will create a powerful combination of low cost production and excellence in technology for DAKSTAR’s new customers.

Other developments within Akcros so far in 2008 have centred around the organisation’s ongoing focus on health, safety and environmental issues. Akcros has well-established and accredited ISO14001 and ISO18001 Management Systems and operates a philosophy of continuous improvement across the whole spectrum of its operations. Maintaining a safe working environment and being responsible in managing its impact on the environment is a key focus of the company.

Akcros is committed to the principles of ‘Responsible Care’ and through this provides a high level of protection for the health and safety of employees and associates, customers, the public and the environment. Responsible Care is a voluntary initiative set up by the chemical industry to improve health, safety and environmental performance and to encourage communication with the public and other stakeholders.

The company’s commitment to product stewardship and sustainable development helps its customers meet increasingly stringent environmental standards and expectations, including preparation for REACH (a new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use). The organisation’s in-house technical, regulatory and environmental staff support customers on an ongoing basis, in particular during development, testing and changeover to new products.

In recognition of Akcros’ efforts in this area the company’s Eccles site was commended in January for its enviable personal safety record when it achieved a Lost Time Injury (LTI) frequency rate below the benchmark set by the Chemicals Industries Associations (CIA) for the sixth year in succession, at the end of 2006.

Alongside this, the site was awarded a Gold Award for the second successive year, recognising that the five-year mark had been bettered. This performance has been maintained since, with the site having reached and exceeded its best ever run of 930 days in August 2007; the new record currently stands at 1191 days without an LTI.

Site manager, Garry Walton, said: “These awards underline the positive perspective put on personal safety by all our employees and do not come by chance but by a lot of hard work on the part of managers, supervisors, staff and safety representatives, who work co-operatively to reduce risks and care for one another.”

European managing director, Richard Catchpole, added: “Congratulations to everybody on the site, all of whom have worked tirelessly to achieve this.” In February 2008, the site took this even further when it passed three years without a Lost Time Injury. To mark the achievement, Jeff Simmonds, CEO Akcros Chemicals, presented the site with a commemorative plaque.

Garry Walton explained what lies behind this achievement: “The combined efforts of the Eccles site management team and safety representatives have been instrumental in raising safety awareness on the site and developing the sites safety management systems, ensuring that we continue to put HSE issues at the forefront of our business management priorities.”

In this day and age, a focus on health and safety comes before all other factors in the corporate world – Akcros has recognised this and now supports its comprehensive range of solutions with first class H&S procedures.

Richard concludes: “Akcros will continue its strategy of combining strategic investments at its core manufacturing sites in the UK and the US with alliances in other regions to enhance the company’s global reach. This includes a recently announced licensing agreement with ALA Chemicals in India that will manufacture products using Akcros technology for its domestic market.”

Akcros Chemicals Ltd

Products: Additives for polymers
Manufacturing sites: Eccles, UK
Employees: Approx. 105