By Dr. Cameron Chai
BASF has been involved in the manufacture of carpolactam on a large scale for fifty years now. Approximately, around 6.5 Mt of polyamide 6 intermediate has been produced by the plant.
The vice president of the Polyamide and Intermediates unit explained that in all these years they have manufactured good quality polyamides without any hiccups such as plant shutdowns etc. Manufacture of carpolactam is done through a highly integrated structure called Verbund by a complex manufacturing process. BASF manages to produce around 800,000 t of carpolactam, which is the output of the three manufacturing units put together.
Carpolactam is the base material for polyamide 6 (PA 6), which is known as Ultramid commercially. BASF has gained popularity in the manufacture of polyamides by virtue of its capacity of manufacturing carpolactam industrially. Carpolactam is the chief ingredient in the polyamide 6 value chain within BASF Verbund. The polyamide produced by BASF in the initial stages exhibited toughness and resistance, which was far more superior to any of the thermoplastics that were produced earlier. Simultaneously, BASF started manufacturing carpolactam industrially, which catered to the increasing demand for the raw material in the polyamide manufacturing process. Carpolactam has become an indispensable material in the manufacture of plastics and fiber polymers. These products are used in a number of applications such as cable sheaths, outdoor sportswear, lightweight car components etc.