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News

Bayer Corporation Dedicates New, Automated TDI Drumming Facility Designed to Meet Increased Packaging Needs Efficiently While 'Raising the Bar' on Safe Handling Practices

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 21 February, 2001  (Company News)
As part of an ongoing commitment to its industry-leading BayCareSM Progressive Product Stewardship Program, Bayer Corporation announced today the dedication of a state-of-the- art TDI drumming facility designed to increase operating efficiencies while setting new standards in worker and environmental safety.
Bayer's Polyurethanes Division built the 150,000-square-foot facility at its Baytown, Texas, plant to meet the increased packaging needs of Bayer's new $150 million TDI manufacturing facility there. The new TDI facility was built to supply the fast growing markets of Asia and South America. It came on-line in May 2000, and has added 220 million pounds of TDI production capacity annually at the Baytown site. The increased manufacturing capacity required increased capability to package the added product.

The new drumming and handling facility was conceived and is managed by Bayer's new Supply Chain organization to the elevated product stewardship standards of the Company's BayCareSM product stewardship program. The new facility is highly automated, and utilizes the latest technology to maximize drumming and handling efficiencies while safeguarding plant workers and protecting the environment.

Its operation is classic simplicity: new metal drums - clean, dry and empty - are inspected visually for defects, then loaded manually onto the conveyor at the head of the facility. The drums are then conveyed to one of the inspection stations, where they are vacuum-tested to detect cracks or potential weak spots. This precaution helps to ensure that only leak-free drums are filled, eliminating potential downstream hazards posed by weeping drums. It also means only drums that meet global shipping requirements and Bayer's exacting standards are filled. Bayer specifications for drums containing TDI are more stringent than industry standards. Bayer requires drums with thicker steel walls than standarddrums and triple rolled chimes (seams).

Intact drums then move automatically to the filling area. This station is remote-controlled, enclosed, and actively vented. Plant operators oversee filling operations from a secure control area outside the station. TDI is pumped into the drums. Fugitive emissions are suctioned into activated carbon scrubbers that chemically neutralize the emissions and help prevent any potentially harmful material from reaching the environment. The drums are then sealed, capped and labeled. They are then conveyed directly to containers to be shipped to customers.

'This new automated facility not only enables us to increase our drumming and handling efficiency, but in the spirit of our BayCareSM Progressive Product Stewardship program, it enables us to do so while maximizing worker safety and minimizing environmental impact,' said Bob King, Vice President-Supply Chain, NAFTA, for Bayer. 'In fact, our BayCareSM program considerations heavily influenced our final decision to do our own TDI drumming on site,' King continued. 'Bayer is the only TDI producer that does its own drumming. By drumming on site, we do not transport TDI in bulk over the roadways.'

Also by its own standards, Bayer does not store TDI in drums on site to minimize the potential of forklift damage to the drums. Instead, Bayer warehouses TDI on site in large storage tanks. When a customer order is received, the company transfers TDI from the storage tanks to drums in its new automated drumming facility, then immediately ships the filled drums to the customer. In that way, Bayer minimizes the potential for an incident.

'We don't consider the facility an added expense,' King said. 'We feel it's simply the price of doing business responsibly, of doing business the BayCareSM way.'
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