Take Safety as Foundation, and Take the Road of Green Innovation and Development ——An Interview with Wang Shuhua, President of Kemai Chemical Co., Ltd.

21 August 2019 | Source from China Rubber Journal

◎ Xu Yiming

In recent years, major, particularly serious and extraordinarily serious safety accidents have occurred continuously. “Safety” and “environmental protection” have become the focus of chemical industry, and have become key factors in considering the long-term development of chemical enterprises. How is the progress of environmental protection work for rubber auxiliary enterprises? Have them been affected in this safety storm? Recently, the reporter has interviewed Mr. Wang Shuhua, President of Kemai Chemical Co., Ltd.


Safety System + Process Innovation to Ensure Safe Production

“Safety is the lifeline of an enterprise. To achieve high-quality development of an enterprise, it is essential to do a good job in safety management.” Wang Shuhua said, “After the Xiangshui Accident, various levels of government security departments have conducted intensive investigations on enterprises, but Kemai has successfully cleared all levels of safety investigations.”

“It is very difficult to be safe, but it is not impossible.” Wang Shuhua told the reporter that since 2004, Kemai has introduced an occupational health and safety management system, implemented safety standardization management, and obtained the first batch of Tianjin Safety Standardization Certification.

Since 2016, Kemai has successively invested more than RMB 20 Million Yuan to introduce the global safety management benchmark, DuPont’s safety management model, to continuously improve the safety management level and achieve the safety goal of “zero injury” and “zero accident”. The project has been promoted in a two-year cycle and has now entered the second cycle - all members practice the safety culture, and move from strict supervision to self-management.

In addition, Kemai also pays special attention to solving production safety problems from the source of process, and actively develops new processes for microchannel reaction. “The greatest value of microchannel reaction is to achieve the intrinsic safety of chemical production process.” Wang Shuhua said that this is an upgrade, and a change of traditional way of thinking.

The reporter learned that the microchannel reaction of sulfenamide products independently developed by Kemai has now completed the pilot test. It is expected that the operation of 10,000-ton device can be realized in September this year.

“Microchannel reaction has small occupied area, small feeding quantity, fast reaction rate, less ‘three wastes’ by-products, and high conversion rate. The project has been widely concerned by upstream and downstream industries at home and abroad once it came out. Industrialized production of microchannel reaction will be a disruptive project in the field of chemical synthesis. It is a redefinition of traditional chemical production process.” Wang Shuhua said.

Heavy Investment in Environmental Protection to Promote Green Development

In recent years, China’s environmental protection requirements for production-oriented enterprises have been continuously raised. As one of the leading enterprises in domestic rubber auxiliary industry, Kemai has consistently promoted the management concepts of green manufacturing and eco-chemical, actively fulfilled its social responsibilities, and proactively increased environmental protection investment. All products adopt clean production processes. Its production equipment such as antioxidant TMQ and accelerator MBT are the first in the industry to realize DCS control and adopt fully automatic packaging line.

Wang Shuhua said that Kemai relies on the independently developed clean production process to realize resource utilization of solid waste and waste water in end treatment. It has realized resourcezation treatment of “three wastes” earlier in the industry, and its consumption of raw materials and energy is at the leading level in the industry.

Waste water treatment of rubber auxiliaries has always been a difficult problem in the industry. Kemai has uniquely set a goal of waste water resourcezation utilization, with an accumulative total investment of more than RMB 200 Million Yuan. It adopts the process of “multi-stage pretreatment + two-stage MVR evaporation + advanced treatment” to improve waste water treatment. Nine sets of MVR waste water treatment and supporting equipment have been built in Kemai Tianjin and Kemai Inner Mongolia factories.

The device relies on MVR evaporating equipment’s advantage of energy efficiency and characteristic of low temperature, and is equipped with the key technologies of raw water pretreatment and deep condensate treatment. The recovered salt meets the standard of industrial salt, and organic matters are classified and recycled. In 2017, the project Research and Development of Rubber Auxiliary Waste Water Resourcezation Process passed the appraisal of achievement of the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation. Experts believed that the achievement has reached the international advanced level.

Kemai Tianjin factory adopts coal-to-gas, qualitative and quantitative management of VOCs, tail gas incineration and other measures, pays close attention to waste gas treatment by means of full participation and internal and external integration, and has achieved a series of results. From 2015 to 2017 alone, the cumulative environmental protection investment of Kemai Tianjin factory exceeded RMB 140 Million Yuan.

Kemai Inner Mongolia factory was established in 2010 with a designed annual production capacity of 177,000 tons. The main products are accelerators MBT, MBTS, DPG, CBS, etc., all adopting self-developed green environmental protection production process. In 2018 alone, Kemai Inner Mongolia invested more than RMB 90 Million Yuan in environmental protection and energy conservation to update and renovate the boiler system, update two 35-ton new high-efficiency low-nitrogen steam boilers, and build a new Claus furnace exhaust gas treatment device.

Adhere to Science and Technology to Form Industrial Transformation Chain

Over the years, Kemai has been practicing the development philosophy of “technology-based, and future-forwarding”. At the beginning of the company’s establishment, it cooperated with Tianjin University conducting industry-university-research cooperation to introduce high-end talents. In 2011, based on 10 years of cooperation with Tianjin University, Tianjin University-Kemai New Materials Joint Research Center was established. At the same time, the company was awarded Tianjin Key Laboratory of Green Auxiliary Enterprise, and Tianjin Enterprise Technology Center Certification. Its physical and chemical testing laboratory was certified by CNAS. The MVR waste water resourcezation treatment technology it developed solves the problem of “three wastes” treatment of auxiliary production, and transforms pollutants into recyclable resources, solving the bottleneck problem of industrial development.

As of 2018, Kemai had applied for 231 patents, and the laboratory test results had been recognized by 92 countries and relevant international organizations around the world. It had hosted and participated in the drafting of ten national standards and industry standards, identified 16 new products, and undertaken two national-level projects and seven provincial-level science and technology projects.

Wang Shuhua believed that the combination of industry, university and research is an inexhaustible motive force for Kemai’s innovation and development. In this process, the expert team provides theoretical support for innovation, and Kemai, as the main body of innovation, has established a three-level R&D system of “one R&D generation, one storing generation and one producing generation”, conducting R&D in a directional manner and industrializing the results to form a green and healthy R&D industrial chain.

Do Well in Strategic Layout to Achieve Global Development

Wang Shuhua introduced the development plan of Kemai in the future to the reporter. He said that Hebei factory will be the key strategic deployment of Kemai in the next five years.

Kemai Hebei Factory is located in Lingang Economic and Technological Development Zone, Cangzhou Bohai New Area, Hebei Province. It covers an area of more than 700 mu, with a total investment of nearly RMB 3 Billion Yuan and a designed annual production capacity of more than 400,000 tons. It is expected that Phase I of the project will be completed by the end of 2020.

“Hebei factory is equipped with two 10,000-ton microchannel reaction devices of accelerators CBS and TBBS, which are the first in the world.” Wang Shuhua introduced that at the same time, the continuous production process of antioxidant TMQ and accelerator MBT will also be applied in Hebei factory.

The reporter learned that the continuous process of above antioxidant TMQ and accelerator MBT has completed the pilot test three years ago, and the traditional intermittent tank operation has been upgraded to pipeline continuous operation, which reduces safety hazards and improves process stability and automation level.

Wang Shuhua said that as early as the design of Hebei factory, three driving factors of technological innovation, equipment innovation and management innovation were identified. In addition to capacity expansion, the new factory reflects the technological progress of the enterprise and even the industry to a certain extent. Through new projects, Kemai is stepping down the distance from the world’s leading chemical enterprises.
It is understood that Kemai currently has four major production bases in Tianjin, Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu and Hebei. The production and sales volume of core products of antioxidant TMQ and accelerators MBT, DPG and DCBS have leapt to the forefront of the world. In 2018, Kemai achieved sales income of RMB 2.07 Billion Yuan and profit and tax of RMB 560 Million Yuan.

Wang Shuhua said that China’s auxiliary production accounts for more than 75% of the world. As the first national auxiliary enterprise that “goes global”, relying on technological advantages and output advantages, Kemai took the lead in exploring the international market and established overseas sales subsidiaries in the United States, South America and Europe.

Kemai has realized the transformation from “going out of the country to the world” to “serving the world and leading the future”. In the future, Kemai will continue to adhere to the development concept of technological innovation and safety and environmental protection, and leap forward with the global rubber industry.  

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