At a time when fewer plants are coming on-line in the U.S. and more manufacturing jobs are outsourced to emerging markets, Cognis is bucking the trend by opening new facilities in the U.S. to serve its household and personal care customers better and faster.
Just last month, Cognis dedicated a high temperature reactor (HTR) at its facility located in Mauldin, SC Early next year, Cognis will open a surfactant plant in Kankakee, IL. It’s all part of the company’s strategy to serve its customers wherever they need it, explained Richard Ridinger, Cognis’ group VP-care chemicals.
“Some people may think Cognis is crazy to invest in the U.S., when so much of the chemical industry is moving to Asia,” observed Mr. Ridinger. “But we’re dedicated to our customers, so we continue to improve the supply chain. We believe in the future of the U.S. personal care and household product industry. That’s why we’ve made this investment.”
At the same time, the new facility helps ensure that Cognis can deliver the same quality product around the world even if one facility is affected by natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes. It’s all part of Cognis’ “mirror plant” strategy of maintaining manufacturing facilities in every important region of the world.
A Wide Range of Products
Cognis manufactures more than 900 products at the Mauldin site and ships 8-10 million pounds of products a month, including alkoylations, specialty esters and blended products.
The new HTR facility at Mauldin manufactures a wide range of products for the household and personal products industry, including chemicals sold under the Cetiol (emollients) and Eumulgin (O/W emulsifers) brand names. These and other products are key ingredients in several fast-growing personal care categories.
Cognis is already the world’s largest manufacturer of fatty chemical products based on renewable raw materiials, but company executives aren’t content to rest on their accomplishements.
“We don’t know of any competitor that is making this kind of investment,” said Mark Leonard, Cognis’ vice president, care chemicals, North America. “We have a real passion to help our customers and be No. 1. That’s why we’re building these state-of-the-art facilities and taking some risks.”