The State of the U.S. Chemical Industry
The chemical industry is one of the largest subsectors of manufacturing in the United States, with large national and international markets. Many products from the U.S. chemical manufacturing sector are also exported: U.S. global chemical shipments make up more than 15 percent of worldwide chemical shipments, making the U.S. a top global player in the production and export of chemical products.
Specifically, there are more than 10,000 chemical manufacturing establishments throughout the United States, which produce more than 70,000 chemical products. In 2015, sales in the U.S. chemical manufacturing sector were over $800 billion, and the sector provided direct employment for more than 800,000 workers. Industry suppliers also indirectly employed more than 2.6 million workers.
Our access to low-cost natural gas, skilled educated workers, state-of-the-art research facilities, combined with our establishment of strict standards of excellence, has caused the United States to remain a popular location for chemical manufacturing companies from around the world. With the consistent and growing demand for chemical manufacturing, the need for support within the industry is high.
Materials and Applications
A broad range of materials are used in the chemical manufacturing industry, depending on the specific application called for. Transferring toxic chemicals from one location to another without incident and minimal corrosion is a daily and critical concern. Therefore, plastic materials are often used for transferring chemicals, as they are generally more chemically resistant than metals, which makes them ideal for use in manufacturing systems where oxidation and rusting is likely to occur.
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), for example, is a plastic material that is known for being tough and stable, and for having the ability to withstand exposure to harsh chemicals. Polypropylene (PP) is another plastic material that is known for its elasticity and high chemical resistance, and is commonly used in packaging for consumer products, as well as in the automotive industry, textiles, and others. Both of these plastics are clean materials, which makes them easy to work with.
When it comes to metals, stainless steel is often preferred in the chemical manufacturing industry, partially due to its corrosion-resistant properties and ability to withstand long-term exposure to the environment. Stainless steel is used to build tanks, pipes, pumps and valves for storing and transferring a variety of chemicals. While it’s true that some chemicals will corrode stainless steel faster than PP and PTFE, the opposite is also true. Therefore, whether plastic or stainless steel materials are used in chemical manufacturing will also depend on the chemicals that will be contained or conveyed within.
Chemical Manufacturing Solutions
Axenics specializes in providing a variety of services for the chemical manufacturing industry. Our technicians are skilled at building high-purity plastic piping systems for storing, using, transferring and delivering chemicals. We also build secondary containment boxes, as well as chemical filtration and mixing systems for our chemical manufacturing clients.
Axenics provides metal tube welding and tube bending services, plastic cutting, bending, and welding services, in addition to designing specialty piping kits, gas boxes, and complex assemblies, as well as custom solutions developed to meet individual customer specifications. Tube welding allows us to permanently join two or more components within an assembly, while our bending capabilities allow us to fit tubing and piping into tight spaces within gas boxes and other complex assemblies.
Plastic Manufacturing Services
Though our plastic welding services differ from our metal welding services, Axenics also has the ability to weld plastics, such as PP and PTFE. Our welding process for PP uses a heat-based welding process, where the plastics are melted together. However, when it comes to welding PTFE, we have developed a proprietary method for welding this type of plastic material.
Chemical Transport Solutions
In addition to the solutions we provide to chemical manufacturers, Axenics also provide services to assist with the transport of chemicals. We are DOT-approved to manufacture, inspect, test, repair, and/or certify chemical stainless steel canisters, for types 4B260 + 4B300.