LIVE FROM CPhI 2011: Robinson Brothers on course for record 2011 sales

Invests in UK plants to increase capacity to meet demand

On course for record sales in 2011, chemicals manufacturer Robinson Brothers (RBL) is to make major investments at its two UK sites to increase capacity to meet increasing demand.

A £100,000 investment at RBL’s pilot plant in West Bromwich has seen the installation of two new glass lined reactors, one 225L and one 450L, which will increase plant capacity by 15–20%. The installation is supported by improvements to the computer control systems at the facility.

The primary function of the new reactors will be to increase throughput on the development plant, where all new products are processed and evaluated before going into full-scale production.

RBL and its subsidiary Endeavour Speciality Chemicals (ESC) have seen significant year-on-year sales growth so far this year and managing director Adrian Hanrahan predicts sales of £31m for 2011, up from £24m in 2010. Pharmaceutical products represent 10% of this turnover.

‘With a record number of new projects in our pilot plant in 2011, and the outlook for 2012 just as strong, it was important to make the investments now to safeguard our ability to both attract and successfully complete new, often challenging projects,’ said Hanrahan.

At ESC’s Daventry site, a similar six-figure sum is to be invested in the replacement or refurbishment of more than 60 fume hoods in its main production laboratories plus a number of significant modifications to its abatement plant, which will see a capacity increase of 10–15%.

Hanrahan said the company also plans to invest £750,000 at West Bromwich and £500,000 in Daventry during 2012.

ESC has added new reactive intermediates to its product portfolio, including a set of carboxylic acid anhydrides. Aimed at researchers working to synthesise new biologically active substances with specific pharmacological activity, the anhydrides are most commonly used in their reaction with nucleophiles to form the corresponding acylated compound, where the nucleophile could be an amine, thiol or any number of other groups.

‘We are constantly designing and developing innovative products to meet the demands of research and discovery scientists as well as looking at new applications for our existing technologies,’ said Endeavour sales manager, Jordi Robinson.

‘The new range of anhydrides illustrates the diversity of our capabilities across a wide range of market segments and we are currently working on a strategy potentially to add significant numbers of new items to our range in 2012.’

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