INTRODUCING THE SPECIALTY CHEMICALS INDUSTRY
Are chemical products that are the basis of many other industrial sectors. This is because are products that are sold based on their performance or function rather than their composition. They can be a single chemical entity or formulation whose composition greatly influences the performance and processing of a customer’s product. Some categories of specialty chemicals are adhesives, agricultural chemicals, cleaning agents, dyes, cosmetic additives, construction chemicals, food additives, fragrances, lubricants, paints, polymers, textile auxiliaries, and many more. The industrial sectors such as automotive, aerospace, food, cosmetics, agriculture, manufacturing, and textiles are very dependent on products from these product. To get to know more about these products, let’s look at the following explanation.
Classification of Commercial Chemicals
Before going deeper into discussing, it’s good to learn first about the classification of chemicals. Based on the commercial classification of chemicals, chemicals produced by the chemical industry can be divided into three broad categories:
are chemicals that are produced in large quantities and in general, their application can be traced back to their chemical structure. For this reason, if you examine two commodities produced by two different suppliers, but with the same chemical structure and purity, they can be said to be identical and they can be easily exchanged. Not only that, these commodity chemicals are also usually produced by factories continuously and generally the costs are relatively low. Examples of commodity chemicals are ammonia and ethylene oxide.
Specialty chemicals (or special chemicals)
Based on a mixture of different chemicals, this products are designed and manufactured to be applied in certain applications. The formulation of this products is the result of scientific research conducted by manufacturing companies so that each formulation and related properties are unique. For this reason, the products have different properties from commodity chemicals. The difference is that you will not easily rediscover its chemical structure and exchange two different specialties produced by two different suppliers. Examples of specialty chemical applications are the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. They are produced by batch factories and generally have higher costs compared to commodity chemicals.
As commodity chemicals, they are chemicals that are characterized by their chemical structure, but in contrast to commodity chemicals, these fine chemicals are produced in small quantities. The fine chemicals can be used as components in the formulation. For example, the active ingredient of pharmaceutical drugs is fine chemicals, but pharmaceutical drugs are one of these products. Examples of fine chemical applications are the pharmaceutical, agriculture, photographic chemicals, and electronic chemicals industries. Like they are also produced by batch factories and generally have a relatively high cost.
Based on the brief explanation above, these products can be defined as ingredients used based on their performance or function. Therefore, in addition to “effect” chemicals, they are sometimes referred to as “performance” chemicals or “formulation” chemicals. They can be unique molecules or a mixture of molecules known as formulations. Physical and chemical characteristics of specialty chemicals in the form of a single molecule or a mixture of formulated molecules or mixture composition will affect the performance of the final product. This is a distinguishing component of the services provided by specialty chemicals when they are compared to other sub-sectors of the chemical industry such as fine chemicals, commodity chemicals, petrochemicals, and pharmaceuticals. These products have the following characteristics:
Sold based on customer needs
Small production volume
Often sold to a large number of customers, with relatively small purchases
Lubricants, anti-oxidation, anti-corrosion and pesticide ingredients
To clarify how to work, see the table below.
Therefore, the specialty chemicals industry serves a variety of sectors through innovative products that are adapted to specific market requirements. These products act as intermediaries for other consumer industries.
Use of Specialty Chemicals for Various Industries
- Some of the industries that the chemicals can serve include:
- Steel industry
- Sugar industry
- Palm oil industry
- Food and beverage industry
- Maritime industry
- Oil and gas industry
- Automotive industry
- Animal feed industry
- Power generation industry
- Home appliance industry
- Pipe industry
- Cement industry
- Mining industry
Some categories of the chemicals are adhesives, agrochemicals, cleaning agents, colors, cosmetic additives, construction chemicals, elastomers, flavors, food additives, fragrances, industrial gases, lubricants, paints, polymers, surfactants and textile auxiliaries. While the industrial sectors like automotive, aerospace, food, cosmetics, agriculture, manufacturing, and textiles are also the categories of the chemicals, but highly dependent on the products.
How is it Different From Commodity Chemicals?
Commodity chemicals are sold based on composition rather than function. In commodity chemicals, there is no difference in the use of chemicals sold by one producer and another, and competition is based on price. This is unlike specialty chemicals, the competitive strength lies in each of its unique formulations. As the name implies, these product can specialize in a product and become a distinguishing component from one product to another.