Science & Expertise

Technology

Our Aim

Our aim has always been to be the leading producer of value-creating and quality polymers for the Southern African market. By doing so, we aim to generate growth for our stakeholders through technology and innovation which complements the full value chain.

Development & forward-thinking

Our team constantly builds upon the experience and achievements gained through more than four decades of passionate participation in the plastics sector. Through consistent development and improvement of our vast catalogue of products, we guarantee sustainable growth and competitiveness for ourselves and our customers.

 

Constant monitoring and improvement of catalysts, processes, products and applications ensure we stay at the cutting edge of our ever-evolving industry, and that we provide modern solutions to changing market requirements. In doing so, we add value to end-user applications.

 

Product developments start with a complete understanding of the needs of the value chain from to the consumer, and we translate that into a sustainable quality polymer product, ultimately providing the market with a fine quality final product. These developments are supported by continuous focus and improvement in health, safety, environmental, risk, quality, sustainability and operational efficiency.

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SPHERIPOL TECHNOLOGY

The Safron® polypropylene production unit at Safripol uses state of the art Spheripol polypropylene process technology, which is regarded as one of the leading technologies worldwide for the production of PP polymer products. This process ensures exceptional product quality with minimum property variation. The Safron® grades produced using this technology include homopolymers, random copolymers and impact copolymers. The Spheripol production process is environmentally friendly, producing no undesired by-products during the manufacturing process.

HOSTALEN SLURRY TECHNOLOGY

Safripol utilise the Hostalen low pressure slurry polymerisation technology for production of high performance bimodal and multi-modal Safrene® HDPE resins. The Hostalen process is the polymerisation of ethylene in suspension in a hydrocarbon diluent. With the slurry process there is a tendency to make higher molecular weights but also to tailor the molecular weight distribution, as a result grades produced using this technology perform very well in blow moulding, pipe extrusion and film applications. The Hostalen process is still one of the most mature, flexible, versatile and widely used processes. A technology agreement with LyondellBasell permits for technology advancement to satisfy changing market needs.

Hostalen Slurry Technology
International Acclaimed Specialised Catalyst Technology

INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED SPECIALISED CATALYST TECHNOLOGY

Safripol Piet-Retief currently has two formaldehyde plants that were designed and built by two different international companies to produce formaldehyde in a continuous process, 24 hours, 7days a week for 365 days a year. These plants comprise of state of the art equipment designed to reduce the carbon footprint of the company and increase the productivity and efficiency of the plants, ensuring a sustainable and economical addition to the value chain. A specialised catalyst is used to facilitate the oxidation reaction. Two different internationally acclaimed manufacturers are supplying this catalyst with expert advice and loading plans to ensure optimal production of the base product. Recycling most of their by-products enables Safripol Piet-Retief to reduce energy consumption for heating as well as water usage. Resins are produced in a batched process and in collaboration with a Greek Research and Development laboratory, the most cost-effective and reliable polymerised resin technology on the market is used to ensure customer satisfaction and ultimately consumer satisfaction.

INVISTA TECHNOLOGY

PET polymer is produced by the reaction of terephthalic acid (TA) and ethylene glycol (EG) and subsequent polymerisation of the oligomer produced. There are 2 main reactions to the process.

Esterification

The esterification reaction takes place in a reactor incorporating a heat exchanger and vapour separator connected with a recirculation pipe. This enables good mixing at high recirculation rates with no moving parts – no pumps, no motors, no agitators to cause mechanical failures. The reactor is continuously fed with a slurry of TA and excess glycol. EG and TA are reacted to form oligomer and water. The water and glycol vapour from the reactor are separated by distillation and the glycol fed back to the feed vessel. Typical reaction conditions are 280°C to 300°C and atmospheric pressure. The feed to the reactor has an excess of glycol to promote the reversible reaction typically in the molar ratio 2:1.

Polymerisation

The resultant oligomer is continuously fed forward to the pre-polymeriser reactor. Here the oligomer travels up the reactor where it is reacted in the presence of a catalyst under vacuum conditions and temperatures up to 300°C to produce pre-polymer and glycol. The glycol and other volatiles are removed from the system through a series of spray condensers and the glycol is recycled back to the slurry feed system. Pre-polymer is the fed to the finisher reactor where the final polymerisation takes place under vacuum conditions and temperatures up to 300°C. Here the polymer viscosity is increased to the required specification. The polymer is then chipped / pelletised.

ColorMatrix Technology

Safripol Durban has over a number of years conducted several plant trials incorporating various levels of ColorMatrix PRT toner and TiN (Titanium Nitride) reheat technology. In November 2016 Safripol Durban concluded enough technical and customer related feedback information had been gathered to warrant full toning and reheat additive conversion. Prior to ColorMatrix product conversion the site incorporated Cobalt Acetate as a toning medium and what is believed to be Invista carbon based technology as a near infra-red energy absorber, also referred to as reheat additive.

Invista Technology

Collaborations and Partnerships

Safripol stays on top of innovative technology through various collaborations and partnerships in the plastics industry.

LyondellBasell

The Sasolburg plant uses Spheripol technology for polypropylene production. The Hostalen Slurry technology for high density polyethylene under licence of LyondellBasell. Both technology license agreements give Safripol access to the latest advances in polymerisation and application development.

Qenos

Safripol’s flagship HDPE PE100 pipe resin, iMPACT100®, was developed in collaboration with Qenos. The licence agreement allows for sharing of information and gives the Sasolburg plant access to future product developments in the HDPE pressure pipe industry.

Johnson Matthey

Johnson Matthey, designer of Formaldehyde plants and expertise in catalyst production supplies catalyst to one of Piet Retief plants.  This plant was also designed and erected by Johnson Matthey which subsequently supply technical support to ensure the optimal functioning of the plant.

Clariant

This company specializes in the manufacturing of different catalysts used in a wide range of industries.  Their catalyst is used in the Piet Retief plant’s second Formaldehyde plant that was designed and built by an international Australian Chemical Engineering firm.  Continuous research and development by Clariant affords us the luxury to use the best catalyst for Formaldehyde production.

Chimar Hellas

Chimar Hellas is a Greek research and development analytical laboratory with partnerships with global leading resin production companies.  Their urea formaldehyde polymerised resin technology is state of the art and researched and developed according to their customer’s needs.

Others

In order to stay at the forefront of technology and developments, Safripol has active engagements with global additive suppliers, processing technology developers, machine manufacturers and Universities (Local and Internationally).

Chemtex

Chemtex is a global engineering and technology company wholly-owned by Italy’s M&G Chemicals. Chemtex specializes in delivering value-added project solutions for its clients in the polymer & fibres, chemicals, energy and environmental industries. The company benefits from over 60 years of success in process and technology development and has successfully delivered hundreds of projects worldwide.

Polymetrix

Polymetrix is a worldwide engineering group active in the design and construction of plants and equipment, with headquarters in Switzerland. With its vast technological expertise and engineering know-how, Polymetrix is an international leader in PET decontamination and SSP plant engineering.

Certifications

Safripol Sasolburg

Integrated ISO and OHSAS Certificate

Safripol Durban

ISO Certificate