Providing Customers with New Catalyst Options: The DAVICAT® Silica Story
A customer identified W. R. Grace & Co.’s silica-alumina powder—a product in the DAVICAT® line—as a promising catalyst for a fine chemical application. Subsequently, the customer asked Grace for the same silica alumina in an extruded form rather than a powder.
The extruded form was not in Grace’s portfolio at that time, however. Complicating the matter, the customer required very high purity and the project’s scale was fairly small.
In time, Grace identified a compatible plant and cleaned it thoroughly to meet the customer’s specifications. After, Grace extensively optimized a scalable manufacturing process for the catalyst, the satisfied customer adopted the catalyst and continues to use it today.
A reputation almost 200 years in the making
The previous example illustrates how Grace leveraged its commercial-grade silica-alumina powder and existing manufacturing assets to scale up and commercialize a new product—in a plant that had never made a product like it.
These strengths arise in part from Davison Chemical, which was founded in 1832 and acquired by Grace in 1954. Davison’s legacy continues to thrive at Grace through the DAVICAT® product line, which includes catalysts and catalyst supports (silicas, aluminas, silica-aluminas, and zeolites). Today, DAVICAT® products are used for hydrogenation, dehydrogenation, oxidation, isomerization, oligomerization, and condensation reactions.
“For many years, Grace has earned the confidence of chemical and petrochemical customers as a supplier of custom catalysts,” says Sudhakar Jale, the firm’s global marketing director of chemical catalysts. “Grace is the largest producer of silica gel and is one of the largest for alumina and silica-alumina products,” Jale adds. “We have extensive expertise. We have a broad range of capabilities. We have a global footprint. It puts Grace in a unique position to help meet customers’ needs.”
DAVICAT® product customization
The first step in a customization project usually involves evaluation of an existing DAVICAT® product (or products) in response to a customer request.
Detailed technical discussions follow to determine catalyst composition and properties like shape, size, surface area, or other desired modifications or characteristics. Several rounds of sample development, testing, and customer qualification encompass the longest stage. Once samples are approved, pilot production informs final pricing and product specifications.
Collaboration persists during commercial production, and Grace continues to offer technical support after the product is delivered to the customer.
“It is Grace’s desire,” Jale says, “to supply a product with consistent quality through the life of the technology.”
We have extensive expertise. We have a broad range of capabilities. We have a global footprint. It puts Grace in a unique position to help meet customer’s needs.