The companies that produce industrial chemicals comprise the chemical industry. They are very important in global industry because they convert raw materials like oil, natural gas, water, air, metals, and minerals into more than 70,000 different products. More than 80% of the companies’ output are polymers and plastics like polythene, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene, and polycarbonate.
Chemicals are used in a wide variety of consumer goods and also inputs to agriculture, industries, construction and other service sector industries. 26% of the total output of the chemical companies are consumed within the industry itself.
The products of the chemical companies are mainly used in making rubber and plastic products, textiles, petroleum refining, pulp and paper, and primary metals.
The chemical industry has grown rapidly in the last 50 years. The synthetic organic polymers used as plastics, fibers and elastomers have made the most serious progress.
Throughout history, Western Europe, North America, and Japan have been the major chemical producers. In the USA, there are 170 major chemical companies with more than 1,700 foreign subsidiaries. The total chemical output of the USA is $400 billion. They employ more than one million people.
In Europe, Germany is the most important chemical producer in the plastic and rubber sector. In Europe, the chemical companies employ more than 3.2 million people and include more than 60,000 companies.
Chemical processes like chemical reactions and refining methods are carried out in the dedicated facilities of these companies. Most of the products of chemical companies are used by manufacturers, but products like solvents, pesticides, dye, washing soda, and Portland cement are used by consumers directly.
Both inorganic and organic industrial chemicals are produced by the companies:
Organic industrial – phenol, ethylene oxide, urea, acrylonitrile,
Inorganic Industrial – ammonia, sulfuric acid, nitrogen, sodium hydroxide
Polymers – polyethylene, Bakelite, polyester
Ceramic products – silica brick, frit
Petrochemicals – benzene, ethylene, styrene
Agrochemicals – fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides
Fragrances and flavors – benzine benzoate, coumarin, vanillin
Elastomers – polyisoprene, neoprene, polyurethane
Explosives – nitroglycerin, ammonium nitrate, nitrocellulose
Chemical reactions are carried out by chemical companies to form new substances. The use of catalysts, elevated temperature and pressure is common. The products of these reactions are separated by distillation, crystallization, filtration, precipitation, sublimation and drying. Among other methods, the companies use pipelines, tank cars and tanker trucks, drums, bottles, and cylinders to deliver the end products. The chemical companies have research and development laboratories for testing and developing products and processes.
Last Updated on : 22th July 2013