The main uses of formaldehyde are urea formaldehyde (UF) resin, used as a binder in particle board and medium density fiberboard (MDF); melamine formaldehyde (MF) resin, used in laminates; phenol formaldehyde (PF) resin, used as an insulation binder in laminates, and high-tech automobile and aviation applications; and rigid polyurethane (PU) foams, used in construction where superior insulating and mechanical properties are needed.
Formaldehyde is primarily produced as a 37% aqueous solution, which makes trade costly, as there is less than two-fifths of formaldehyde per unit of liquid, thus increasing the amount of solution that needs to be delivered, which in turn increases transportation costs. Formaldehyde prices are set on a quarterly basis and track methanol feedstock. In Europe, formaldehyde is usually consumed locally.
Polioli SpA was a major formaldehyde producer in Italy. During the past 45 years, Polioli developed its formaldehyde process reaching a very high level of efficiency and reliability. In 1987, Polioli built a 60,000 TPY formaldehyde plant which produced formaldehyde solution at 37 wt.%, with residual methanol of 0.5 – 1.0 wt.%, and formic acid of less than 200 PPM. In 1991, the plant upgraded its reactors. After a larger formaldehyde plant was built by Polioli, this plant was shut down in 2012.
Phoenix purchased this formaldehyde plant and re-sold its equipment, piping, instruments and technical documents to a customer from Asia. All original technical documents of this plant were written in Italian and available only in hard copy. Phoenix arranged to translate over 400 original documents into English by an experienced process expert, including translating and transferring all documents to an electronic format. Phoenix was responsible for the match-marking, dismantlement, export sea worth packing, loading and inland and sea transportation of this plant to its final destination. As part of the work, we provided a complete 3D laser scan of the plant. The final shipment included 15 expertly packed 40 ft sea containers and 5 large break bulk items, totaling around 300,000 kg. Phoenix completed the dismantlement and delivery within 6 months of receiving the order. In addition, Phoenix helped the customer obtain engineering services for upgrading the plant, supervision for the re-installation and guidance for the commissioning. The customer will receive a process guarantee.