…they’re indispensable in our everyday lives. The world’s population keeps growing and growing. The United Nations expects that the planet — currently home to 6.9 billion — will have around eight billion people by 2025. And it looks as though the total population will hit 9.2 billion by 2050. That means there will be tremendous challenges in practically all aspects of our lives — above all in terms of having adequate food supplies and medical care.
Chemistry will play an important, and probably even decisive, role in all this. For example, chemical syntheses provide agents for antibiotics and ingredients for medications to treat cardiovascular diseases and cancer. And then there are insecticides for malaria prevention and fungicides that can protect entire harvests from fungal infestation. So there’s no doubt that our way of life today would be impossible without chemistry.
When it comes to making chemicals not only in experimental laboratories, but also in industrial quantities for large-scale manufacturing, many companies are outsourcing the production work. Such custom manufacturing means that products are made exclusively in accordance with the customer’s specifications. Saltigo GmbH, a LANXESS Group company with about 1,300 employees is one of the world’s largest suppliers of custom-manufactured fine chemicals.
Custom manufacturing — producing chemicals under contract to customers
Manufacturing pharmaceutical precursors and agents is a very demanding assignment. Being able to flexibly and fully satisfy the requirements of high quality standards, for example cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practice), isn’t something to be taken for granted. But custom manufacturing also encompasses much more than the production of chemical substances. This is why Saltigo offers a palette of services that extends along the entire value chain of the product, including synthesis design, development and optimization of processes, production on a range of different scales, and helping with the registration and approval of products. A tailored package of services can be put together to meet a customer’s specific needs.
The basic prerequisites for the custom manufacturing business are modern and flexible plant and equipment, high quality standards, and strict confidentiality. After all, the development of chemical agents and efficient manufacturing processes often involves time-consuming, cost-intensive research.
To continue to efficiently incorporate new findings from chemistry and process technology into industrial production, Saltigo engages in external research collaborations worldwide with partners from universities, institutes, and industry.
Focusing on Efficiency
- Process-related expertise — as a rule the contracted manufacturer already has the know-how for the relevant process, so it doesn’t have to be gained by means of costly, time-consuming experiments and test runs.
- Chemicals can be produced in any desired quantity — from a few grams to hundreds of tons.
- Whether the work requires reaction vessels or mixers, distillation lines or centrifuges — all the equipment and machinery is at hand and provided in modular form for the specific job.
Thanks to its ideal combination of pilot plants and large-scale facilities, Saltigo can provide almost any chemical compound in any quantity desired — from a kilogram to several tons. Smooth completion of production orders is assured even under considerable time and cost pressure, because the services are for the most part offered from a single integrated location. Process development and the subsequent scale-up to production operation are thus centralized, which makes many aspects much easier. Short distances reduce transport costs for intermediate products, and many technologies are available in multiple units or systems. That means a more reliable supply.
Scale-up — the adjustment from small to large
A high degree of technical expertise is often needed, especially when it’s time to take syntheses from the lab and expand them to production scale. In many cases, there are fundamental differences between the process steps for product treatment and isolation when the scale of the production quantity that has been ordered is increased several times over. To ensure that these transitions and the scale-up proceed as planned, the synthesis experts from Saltigo have their own technology lab. This in-house center of expertise has a wealth of experience at its disposal. In the treatment of typical lab-scale quantities under realistic operating conditions, this facility helps to realize precious savings of time and expense for process development. The technology lab also supports companies in their everyday production by providing problem analysis and solutions. The laboratory is involved in about 120 projects a year.
Tapping potential all along the process chain
In view of the ever-present calls for greater cost-effectiveness, reduced budgets, and leaner inventories, the realization of lasting improvements in process efficiency can help cut production costs without impacting security of supply.
Programs designed to optimize costs now stretch along the entire life cycle of a project and are no longer restricted to chemicals and technology issues. Indeed, such projects as a whole are considered in terms of supply management. When partnered with optimal access to low-cost raw materials and the best possible planning of the production chain, the use of innovative chemical and technical solutions can generate a substantial reduction of costs. With its integrated plant in Leverkusen, Saltigo has a particular competitive edge in this field. At Leverkusen’s Chempark, everything that’s required for efficient production is right on the doorstep.
Active Ingredients That Work
In the field of agrochemicals, Saltigo manufactures intermediates and active ingredients for crop protection companies around the world. Although such products are primarily used in agriculture, many of them are also available to the home gardener — and can be found on sale at hardware stores.
Soybeans, for example, are part of the basic diet for billions of people. In other words, fungal infestation of soybean plants can lead to substantial crop failure and therefore serious famine. Prominent examples of this include Asian soybean rust, an extremely aggressive fungal disease that on several occasions has wiped out as much as 80 percent of the soybean harvest in South America. In the space of a week, its spores transmute lush green foliage into withered, rust-colored plants — hence the name. With its generous production capacity, Saltigo is able to supply its customers with large volumes of the active ingredients required and can react quickly to any unforeseen increase in demand.
In many regions of the world, dangerous diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and Lyme disease are transmitted by insects. Statistically speaking, someone dies every 30 seconds as a result of an insect bite. Malaria alone kills up to three million people a year. Saltidin®, an active ingredient produced by Saltigo, is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the prevention of malaria. Stiftung Warentest, a German consumer protection organization, also awards top grades to insect repellents containing Saltidin®. It is approved for use in numerous countries and meets strict requirements regarding human safety and the environment.
Insect repellents based on Saltidin® are available in many countries, where they are on sale in supermarkets and drugstores in various concentrations (5–25 percent) and different forms, including sprays, lotions, wipes, and sticks. Formulations with a concentration of 10 percent of the active ingredient provide between three and five hours of protection; those with 20 percent up to 14 hours. This long action time is a crucial factor in its favor.
How to ensure effective protection against insects
Whether you’re on a journey or in the garden at home, the best protection of all against diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, and yellow fever is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes or other insects.
Light-colored clothing repels insects that are active at dusk and during the night. The fabric must be finely woven, so that mosquito bites are unable to penetrate clothing. Ensure that your clothing covers the entire body.
Mosquito nets protect against not only mosquitoes but also bugs and other pests. The mesh should be able to trap the smallest insects and measure under 1.2 millimeters.
Air conditioning in hotels and apartments offers a certain degree of protection, since insects avoid cool environments. However, the use of air conditioning is controversial, since it can cause chills and other disorders. It often suffices to run the air conditioning for two hours before going to bed in order to drive away any mosquitoes. The air conditioning can then be switched off before going to sleep.
When applied to uncovered areas of the skin, these products repel insects. Saltidin® provides reliable protection against mosquitoes for up to 14 hours.
The following precautions should be observed when using insect repellents:
- Be sure to apply the repellent to exposed parts of the body in their entirety.
- Also apply the repellent to skin under thin clothing or spray such clothing with the repellent.
- Remember that the duration of the effect may not be the same for different insects. Heavy perspiration, high humidity, and abrasion can shorten the duration of the effect. If necessary, reapply the repellent to your skin.
Most repellents are only water-resistant to a limited degree. They should therefore be reapplied after bathing or swimming. If using other skincare or sunscreen products, the insect repellent should always be applied last of all.
Fighting the Diseases of this World
For our customers from the pharmaceutical industry, we primarily provide manufacturing services for active ingredients and intermediates for medicinal drugs. These customized compounds are used for products that are under clinical development or already on the market.
Companies producing active ingredients for the pharmaceutical industry face extremely high quality standards. All the plant and equipment in use — ranging from water treatment and cleanrooms to filling systems and process control engineering — must meet exacting specifications with regard to both purity and conformity to current good manufacturing practices (cGMP). In summer 2010, for example, Saltigo successfully passed an audit conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Over a period of five days, FDA auditors inspected the company’s production and quality-control systems in Leverkusen. As part of this so-called pre-approval inspection, the FDA verifies whether a production facility is capable of manufacturing a medical product according to the latest technological standards, as recognized in the U.S., and in line with international cGMP. A result of “No Findings” is to be rated very highly, since an FDA audit represents a particularly rigorous benchmark.