Huge investment in Anchor Chemicals by Hobart Enterprises

ANCHOR CHEMICALS has made a substantial investment in South Africa in which it has consolidated its two manufacturing plants in KwaZulu-Natal in a greenfield project in Willowton in Pietermaritzburg where it has made provision for much of its electrical requirement itself.

Anchor Chemicals took the decision two years ago to consolidate its production facility in Pinetown onto a site adjacent to its existing Pietermaritzburg factory which it owned since 1995. The plant was opened on 2 February with VIP guests from Isle of Man based Hobart Enterprises group, the owner of Anchor Chemicals (many of who have strong connections to Africa and South Africa particularly), guests, customers and service providers in attendance, and obviously staff of the now-consolidated Anchor Chemicals operations.

Anchor Chemicals has traditionally manufactured adhesives (under Ty-Ply and more recently Ecorrlok) for the bonding of rubber to metal and other substrates as well as processing aids, powder blends and anti-tack agents for the rubber industry.

All the manufacturing equipment of Anchor Chemicals Pinetown (the plant was actually in Westmead) has been moved to the new site for the production of TPR and TPE compounds as well as thermoplastic masterbatch.

“Anchor Chemicals is excited to start utilizing its fully refurbished compounding machinery and the facilities of the new plant, which will ensure improved production efficiencies and the production of top-quality products for both domestic and export markets,” said Kerry Kirkman, Carst & Walker South Africa Industry Group Manager.

The new plant occupies around 5 000m² under roof and with warehouse storage capacity for 550 tons; room for expansion is included. The new plant employs 25 additional staff.

Dr James Carson (ex-Goodyear), has been the factory manager at Anchor Chemicals since 2021. George Nxumalo, formerly manager of Anchor Chemicals Pinetown, is now production manager at Willowton and has made the move along with the staff and machinery from that site.

The current phase of the expansion uses four production units, including Anchor Chemicals flagship Farrel Pomini CP Series II Compact Processor designed for the processing of highly filled, highly pigmented materials, including highly abrasive materials.

A second phase of the expansion project is planned too.

The new facility makes use of a borehole water source and chemical treatment plant on site to supply 8,500 litres per hour for its production processes.


720 solar panels

The roof is fitted with 720 solar panels that can provide for the plant’s entire power needs during daylight hours. In the Pietermaritzburg area, which is characterized by hot conditions virtually throughout the year, the solar installation is likely to perform optimally.

In addition, Anchor Chemicals has installed its own water reserves for fire suppression, which totals 800 000 litres of water stored in four 200 000-litre tanks.

“The Hobart Group is uniquely positioned in having a 100% allocated R&D group manager and, together with its production and sales team, offers advanced technical support and product development for customers. The two plants’ lab equipment are due to be combined into a single lab at the new site,” said the Anchor Chemicals statement.

Anchor Chemicals TPR and TPE product ranges are sold under the brand name Davprene™ and black masterbatch under the Davblack™ brand. Davprene TPR is a thermoplastic rubber which can be blended with many plastics to improve performance. Anchor Chemicals TPR’s are sold predominately into the footwear industry for shoe soles. These soles are produced with various hardness, colour, translucent or solid state according to customer requirements. Davprene TPR grades can be converted into various products through injection moulding and extrusion.

Davblack provides UV protection and enhances aesthetics of plastics and is suitable for both extrusion and injection moulding. The black masterbatches are supplied with various carriers ranging from PP, HDPE, LDPE, and LLDPE to polystyrene and EVA.

The carbon black content goes up to a 50% loading, without using waxes, stearates or wetting agents.

With these market requirements, the production units at the plant need to be versatile, which is what the Farrel Pomini unit and other three extruder systems are designed to provide.

Anchor Chemicals offers filled and unfilled masterbatch grades, including various additive options to meet customer requirements relating to colour, processability and UV/weathering. Common additives include antioxidants, desiccants, and process aids.

Anchor Chemicals also offers several Davblack grades incorporating recycled polymer and was one of the first black masterbatch suppliers to offer a locally manufactured grade using both a recycled polymer and recovered carbon black. This supports the group’s endeavour to offer environmentally friendly and cost-effective solutions.

In addition to black masterbatch, the Farrel CP550 line also produces some TPE’s and a highly filled, fine particle size calcium carbonate extender under the brand name Davextend 180.

Anchor Chemicals offers both unfilled TPE grades with food approval under its DP210 series in Clear and Black and filled TPE grades under its DP520 series in Natural and Black.

“The Hobart Group is exceptionally proud of this Anchor Chemicals plant development and looks forward to an exciting partnership and future together with its various stakeholders,” said the group in a statement.

  • All Anchor Chemicals’ sales are handled through Carst & Walker (Hobart Distribution Companies) operating worldwide.