After 7 years, FACT all set to restart caprolactam production

The public sector Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT) is slated to restart caprolactam production later this week after a gap of more than seven years, making the event a landmark in the history of the company.

Restarting caprolactam production promises to add about ₹600 crore to ₹700 crore to the turnover of the company. Caprolactam, a petrochemical product, basically goes into production of Nylon-6, which is a raw material for tyre cords, fishing nets, filament yarn, engineering plastics, and a host of other products.

With Gujarat State Fertilizer Company and FACT being the only producers of caprolactam in the country, demand for the product is high, said FACT sources on Wednesday. They added that the company expected to sell most of its products in the domestic market, considering its reputation as a quality producer.

Caprolactam production came to a halt at FACT in October 2012 with the cost of benzene and liquid fuel naphtha going up significantly, making caprolactam production unviable. FACT then shifted to natural gas in 2013. However, the cost of the new feedstock continued to rule high, preventing restarting of caprolactam production.

The public sector company found an opportunity to restart caprolactam operations with the fall in gas prices in the international market even as the company had to meet the revisions in pollution control norms. Another issue faced by FACT was the shortage of experienced manpower, following the retirement of several employees during the idle period.

FACT sources said that new recruitments were made with government approval, and they were given intensive training in operating the caprolactam plant. Trial runs had been on at the caprolactam plant, and production was expected to start in a couple of days, sources said.

The plant has the capacity to produce 50,000 tonnes of caprolactam a year. The domestic demand for the product is 1.2 tonnes to 1.3 lakh tonnes per year.

While the Gujarat company produces about 70,000 tonnes, there has been an import of 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes during the past years. FACT’s caprolactam will be a major import substitution, the company sources said.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 2:16:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/after-7-years-fact-all-set-to-restart-caprolactam-production/article36107659.ece

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