What Are Specialty Chemicals Used For?

What Are Specialty Chemicals Used For?

What Are Specialty Chemicals?

Specialty chemicals, also known as a performance chemical, is a chemical that is made on the basis of its function. This means that they will usually have one or two specific applications. This is different from commodity chemicals, which are essentially the opposite—they are produced in bulk quantities and are generic, base chemicals that can have a plethora of functions.

What Are They Used For?

Many chemicals are specialty chemicals. They may start with the same base (commodity) chemical but are tweaked to match the specific needs of the customer, consumer, or industry—the chemical composition of each material can highly influence the performance and application. High-performance products, agrochemicals, new chemicals, and many others are among this category.

Specialty chemicals may either be market-oriented or functional. Some examples of market-oriented products include:

  • cosmetic chemicals
  • pharmaceuticals
  • food additives
  • construction chemicals
  • oilfield chemicals
  • electronic chemicals
  • industrial cleaners

Functional chemicals serve certain purposes, rather than being directed at a certain industry. This may be things like:

  • detergents
  • adhesives
  • pesticides
  • surfactants
  • biocides
  • polymers

How Are Specialty Chemicals Manufactured?

This type of chemical is always produced through a method called batch processing. This means that rather than being continuously manufactured, they are produced as needed. Batch processes run in short bursts, and in the case of specialty manufacturing, usually happen on a small scale. A batch process is usually comprised of:

  • Adding precisely measured amounts of raw liquid or powder starting materials into a chemical blending machine
  • A specific series of processes (mixing/blending, heating, cooling, distillation, separation, packaging, etc.)
  • Removal of products, byproducts, and wastes from the final vessel
  • Recycling/treatment/disposal of wastes and byproducts
  • Quality testing
  • Packaging and storage of final product
  • Thorough cleaning of all equipment

This process is then repeated as needed with whatever chemical needs to be manufactured. The exact process will vary depending on what chemical needs to be made and how much of it is to be produced.

Types of Specialty Chemical Manufacturers

Though all under the same umbrella term, there are a few different types of companies that produce specialty materials.

A toller is a company that will charge the customer a toll fee for the use of their production tools. The customer is responsible for providing the raw materials to create the desired product.

A custom chemical producer will use the ideas of a customer. Basically, a person will come to them with a certain chemical that they want should be made, and the producer and customer will collaborate to create an end product.

A proprietary chemical producer is one that takes care of all sides of the process—planning, recipe, methods, raw materials, packaging, etc. The customer then buys the finished product without assisting in the process.

Looking for Specialty Chemicals?

Look no further! Our team at Bulk Chemicals 2 Go can provide you with a variety of specialty and commodity chemicals that will fit your needs. To talk to an expert, call (800) 563-1305 or contact us here.