Clariant: 75 years of montan wax production

Exactly 75 years ago, the ”Gersthofen Chemical Works” commenced technical-scale modification of raw montan wax, a product extracted from lignite. At the time, the bleaching agent used was chromic acid. The first 25 years were marked by a tough struggle to survive, before it became clear that the use of chromic acid was to be the basis for long-term success: the acid needed for oxidation is completely regenerated following the process, making it a prime example of product-integrated environmental protection. Over the years, the montan wax production developed into one of the primary pillars of the entire chemical site. The original annual capacity of ca. 250 tonnes reached its first peak in 1939 with 2,800 tonnes and today, following continuing expansion, lies at several thousand tonnes per year.

On 1 July, 1997 the Gersthofen Works, which for many years had belonged to Hoechst AG, devolved into Clariant AG. Clariant is by far the market leader in this product group, supplying a large range of different wax types. They have made themselves indispensable in almost all branches of industry and assume the most varied of tasks: from protecting and enhancing to binding and separating, and on to bonding and coating. Melted wax can be poured, dissolved, dispersed and emulsified, permitting the selection of the method best suited to the intended further processing. Clariant waxes are available as powder, flakes, fine powder, granules or as micronized micro powder (Ceridust®). The most important applications for montan wax are in polishes for floors, furniture, shoes and cars.
In the plastics industry, montan waxes serve primarily as processing aids – as a slip agent during extrusion, as release agent in injection moulding and for improvement of pigment dispersion in technical thermoplastics.
The key to the success of montan waxes is the enormous diversity within the product group and their capacity to adapt to the constantly-changing market environment – ensuring continued growth with waxes well into the future.

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