To facilitate Q8Oils’ growth in the international lubricants market, we’re investing 63 million euros in a new blending department and storage facility for additives and lubricants in Antwerp. The new facilities will complement the other recent major investments at our blending plant, situated in the industrial Blue Gate area, formerly referred to as the old Petroleum South area, which holds the worldwide headquarters. Blue Gate Antwerp is a new and sustainable economic development area.
The new facility in Antwerp will feature pigged production lines and pigged manifold technologies to avoid possible contaminations during the production process.
The name pigged-line refers to the practice of using ‘pigs’ (a solid plastic cylinder with rubber bushes) that clean, after product transfer, the pipeline before there’s switched to another type of lubricant. The pig is driven through the pipelines using compressed air. Because of the investments and innovation it will be possible to flexibly produce all different kinds of oil-based lubricants in Antwerp. The renovation will ameliorate the automatisation of the blending process and the efficiency and quality of the filling process.
The construction works for the new blending facilities started mid 2012 so that the blending plant will be operational by the end of 2014. The existing workforce will receive additional training related to the new facility. “We believe in Antwerp because of the excellent location of the site”, says David Wright, MasterPlan Manager at Q8Oils.“A harbour with good access to the sea and a prefect road network to France and Germany. It’s a gate for the entire European market. We see Antwerp and Rotterdam as a whole. It’s the access to an important market. Another asset for Antwerp is that large volumes of resources can efficiently be accepted.
The communication with the government was perfect. “The consultation on buildingpermits and environmental permits went smooth”, says Geert Matton, KPIL Manufacturing Director. “This also has to do with the significant efforts we made to integrate the new facility in the landscape of the Blue Gate Industrial Area, a strategically located estate covering 103 hectares set in the south belt ofAntwerp. In the design process we searched and found the golden mean between regulatory compliance, safety, environment and landscape integration.”
The new plant is built modular, with the possibility of capacity expansion. The plant currently produces 125 million liters. In the future this may grow up to 190 or even 250 million liters. "Because of the upgrade we will have the largest blending plant in Europe in terms of volume and efficiency," says Geert Matton.
On 02.08.2013 38% of the new blending facility was completed.
The start-up, testing and activation of this phase will take place in August 2014. This phase should be fully operational by November 2014.
At the beginning of 2015, the breakdown of the old factory begins.
Later that year, we will start the construction of the new storage facilities for additives. Which should be finished mid 2016.