BASF ups capacity at DMAPA plant

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German speciality chemicals supplier BASF has increased production
of its specialty amine, dimethylaminopropylamine - used to create
mild personal care products - in response to increased demand and
in total has recently passed the 100 000 metric ton mark.

German speciality chemicals supplier BASF has increased production of its specialty amine, dimethylaminopropylamine, in response to increased demand. Its Ludwigshafen, Germany-based purpose-built plant upped its yearly production capacity by 4000 metric tons to 21 000 metric tons a year and has just passed the 100 000 metric ton mark.

Dimethylaminopropylamine (DMAPA) is an important intermediate in the manufacture of personal care products that do not irritate the skin. According to Dr. Günter Gaus, BASF's director of marketing for amines the capacity expansion is designed to consolidate and increase BASF's market leadership and ensure that BASF can continue to meet its customers' requirements in the future.

BASF is the world's largest DMAPA manufacturer and is unique in that it also manufactures the two raw materials dimethylamine and acrylonitrile that form the ingredient.

Most of the specialty amine is processed to amphoteric surfactants, which are starting products for personal care products. Cocoamidopropylbetaine, a co-surfactant, gives shampoos, shower gels, liquid soaps and washing-up liquids their mildness.

According to BASF, the ingredient does not sting or hurt the eyes, makes a fine-bubble foam, and is readily compatible with other shampoo additives. It is also claimed to be very good value for money and highly biodegradable. Shower gels, shampoos and similar products contain between 5 and 10 per cent cocoamidopropylbetaine.

BASF supplies DMAPA to customers in Europe, Asia and Africa from its Ludwigshafen base. The company's Geismar, Louisiana site in the US supplies the Americas and parts of the Asian market.

Last year the company says it exceeded the targets for 2007 that were set when the Ludwigshafen plant was started up with above-average global sales performance which it attributes to both high demand and 'excellent positioning on the part of BASF'.

The launch of liquid soaps in Europe and the USA in the late 1980s-early 1990s and rising demand for skin-friendly surfactants has also boosted the demand for DMAPA overall. Asia currently ranks as the largest growth market due to the growing popularity of shower gels in that part of the world.