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Sasol Wax Reactor Reaches Destination to Produce Hard Wax for Adhesive Industry

Published on 2011-03-15. Author : SpecialChem

After almost four weeks of travelling from Richards Bay, through various towns in South Africa, Sasol's 712 ton heavy load has reached its final destination. The wax reactor will now take its place as a key component of the R8.4 billion Sasol wax expansion project. The wax reactor will produce hard wax, used in several major industries such as adhesives, bitumen used in road construction, as well as printing ink.

The 712 ton Sasol Large Load successfully negotiated the last hurdle on its 24 day journey to Sasol, Sasolburg when the pedestrian bridge over the R57 and Bergius Street was lifted to let the load enter the Sasolburg industrial area.

Sasol built the pedestrian bridge in 2002 as part of its corporate social investment programme at a cost of R1,6 million. The pedestrian bridge crosses the busy R57 and Bergius Street, allowing residents from Zamdela and Chris Hani safe access to the Sasol Midland Site.

Large loads such as the 7,7m high Sasol Wax Reactor are too high to pass under the pedestrian bridge that only clears 5,5m. According to Sasol Infrachem's MD, Stephan Schoeman, "the bridge was purposely designed to enable the 50 ton span over the south going lane of the R57 to be lifted by two cranes. The bridge was lifted some 2,5m recently for the first time since its construction in 2002, but with the Sasol Sasolburg Expansion Programme gaining momentum, more lifts are expected towards May 2011".

The 150 meter long convoy comprised the wax reactor and a quench tower, which was transported in two loads, at a speed of approximately 5 - 10 km/h. The load started its journey in Richards Bay, successfully passing through Northern Kwazulu-Natal, Swaziland, Mpumalanga and Southern Gauteng, before entering the Northern Free State on its way to Sasolburg, home of the Sasol One site.

Project Manager, Robbie la Cock said, "After almost four weeks of complex travel arrangements, we are very pleased the load arrived safely. We at Sasol would like to thank the many communities, who encountered the load on its journey, for their patience and understanding as we moved these important pieces of equipment. An extra thanks also goes to the many service providers that ensured the safe transportation of the abnormal load, including the transport company, the route clearance agency, our ambulance crew, as well as the provincial and municipal traffic and police departments for their professional support."

The R8,4 billion wax expansion project at the Sasol One site in Sasolburg forms part of the larger Sasol expansions programme which is estimated at R14 billion.

The first phase of the project will come into operation in 2012 and the second phase is planned for 2014. The expansion will double Sasol Wax's production of hard wax in South Africa. It is estimated that the wax expansion project will create approximately 3 500 job opportunities during construction and 70 - 100 permanent employment positions on its completion.

Uses for hard wax

  • An important hard wax application is in hot melt adhesives (glue which is applied at high speed, for instance to seal cereal boxes or milk cartons). This is a rapidly growing application, especially in the developing world.
  • An environmentally friendly application for hard wax is as an additive in bitumen used in road construction. This additive is patented by Sasol and sold as Sasobit™. It reduces the temperature at which the bitumen can be laid, thereby reducing emissions and greenhouse gases. The wax additive improves the resistance to deformation and cracking of the road surface.
  • The product is also used in printing ink. Another important application is as an additive in the forming (extrusion) of PVC objects such as pipes or window frames. Lead based stabilisers in PVC are being phased out and hard wax is a critical component in the additives that are replacing the lead based product.

About Sasol

Sasol is an international integrated energy and chemicals company that creates value through its proven alternative fuel technology and talented people to provide sustainable energy solutions to the world.

Source: Sasol

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