Critical aspects of plasticizer production: a plant manager’s perspective

As the plant manager of OXEA’s Amsterdam Ester Plant, I have high safety standards, excellent product quality and availability as my top priorities. Most of our esters are sold as plasticizers. Depending on the business, industrial and technical requirements of our customers, there are various quality requirements that our plasticizers must meet.

In my routine, production meetings are carried out to discuss and review critical topics on a regular basis. As many people are curious about how those topics are handled, as an ester plant manager, I thought this is a perfect opportunity to share some parts of my work on this blog.

Let me start with the topic of product quality – Ensuring product quality is of extreme importance as it is necessary to deliver product excellence to the consumers. Therefore, we have a standard procedure in place to ensure product quality. Let me shed some lights on the daily quality control process:

The quality of the raw materials arriving on-site is checked the moment they are delivered. These materials are then stored until needed in the production. Once the production has started, the operator takes check samples at different time points throughout the process. This is mainly to understand the progress of the reaction.

When reaching the product specification, the reaction is stopped and the reactor is cooled down. Other aspects, such as colour improvement and solid removal, are done in the second stage of the production. The end product is then stored in a Quality Control tank. Samples of the final product are taken and sent to a certified independent laboratory that checks whether the material is within required specifications. After all these steps, the product is ready to be sold.

One thing worthwhile to mention is that our plant is certified for, ISO 9001: 2008 quality management system, ISO 14001: 2009 environment system and meets HACCP standards. Of course, quality assurance is only a part of my responsibility. I would like to continue the blog later on to cover more topics, such as safety, incident and waste management.

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