Hello blog readers. It is unbelievable that the second half of the year is almost upon us and 2017 actually marks the 10-year anniversary of the Green Chemicals Blog (late September 2017 to be exact). It has certainly been through some ups and downs riding in the wave of the renewable chemicals market and my own personal quest to blog about sustainability and bio-based chemicals/materials. I will try to muddle through the blog’s 10-year history later this year (looking back at some of my first posts were really amusing).
In the meantime, here is another company, France-based Arkema, celebrating the milestone of its Rilsan castor oil-based polyamide 11. According to Arkema, the Rilsan PA11 brand has become synonymous with differentiated performance (‘being one of the world’s highest performing specialty polymer’ says Arkema) as well as being 100% bio-based. The first commercial batch was made in 1947 in a re-purposed spinning mill called “La Dame Blanche” in Serquigny, France.
When first developed in the early 40s, PA11 was used to make socks and bathing suits before branching out into other applications such as in the automotive industry, oil production and sports equipments. You should check out some of the old advertisements and promotions of Rilsan on Arkema’s website (really cool, reminded me of some of the vintage, archived advertisings at my previous job – Chemical Market Reporter).
The 70th year celebration kicked off on 10 June at its production facility and research center in Serquigny. The celebration will continue with several customer events mainly in China and USA. According to the company, the Rilsan polymers are now produced in all three major regions – Europe, North America and Asia.
Arkema is currently the only producer of PA11 worldwide.
History of Rilsan® PA 11 in 8 key dates:
June 1947: First patent, commercialized by a small French firm called Organico
1949: Polyamide 11 makes its market debut under the brand name Rilsan® ; Serquigny plant is built
1950’s: The automaker Citroën is one of the first to grasp the potential of the new plastic, using it to make the fuel lines of the legendary DS
1970: Production begins in USA (Birdsboro, Pennsylvania)
1980’s and 1990’s: Rilsan® PA11 becomes the reference for many automotive, oil & gas applications
2000’s: 3D printing, advanced composites, lightweight sports equipment, and metal replacement are common development themes
2013: Production begins in China (Zhangjiagang)
2017: The Rilsan® brand celebrates 70 years of growth and optimistically looks to the next chapter of growth and innovation