Lianhetech, which makes fine chemicals for the crop protection, pharmaceutical and performance markets, has committed to a multimillion-pound expansion of its site. The digitalisation is being carried out as part of the large-scale expansion on existing brownfield land, which will double the site's overall capacity, alongside a planned expansion for a digital greenfield site.
The partnership aims to help Lianhetech double its chemical manufacturing capacity to meet demand from customers in the UK, Europe and globally, improve production efficiency and futureproof the plant which employs more than 350 people. The development at Seal Sands is expected to create 80 high skilled jobs. Technologies to be deployed by Siemens include Siemens SIMATIC PCS 7, a powerful control system, digital process instrumentation and variable speed drives.
Eric Bennison, account development manager at Siemens Digital Industries, said: "Our partnership with Seal Sands is almost 20 years old through its former owners Fine Organics and now Lianhetech. During that time, we have always strived to find new solutions to enhance the products they produce for their customers.
"It is testament to our long-standing relationship that Lianhetech asked us to help them enter this new phase of digitalisation.
"By using our world class, state-of-the-art digital tools, we are working with Lianhetech to develop and deliver one of the most significant investments in UK chemical manufacturing for a long time.
"The collaboration with Siemens Digital Industries has given Lianhetech firm foundations to build a truly digital chemical facility and paves the way for advanced use of data to gain insights and support continuous improvement."
Julian Lightwing, operations director at Lianhetech, said: "For decades the chemical industry has become increasingly reliant on a supply chain from the East, China, India – which has led to a huge decline in UK manufacturing.
"Lianhetech wants to take a global approach and de-risk its supply chain by investing in its operation in the UK and across Europe. The concept is that Lianhetech Seal Sands will be part of the global company and can offer the benefits of the eastern and western environments.
"We currently have four production buildings, the large expansion on the existing site and land we can expand onto. It means we can start from scratch at grass roots level to create a digital enterprise building – and involve Siemens from day one."
Lianhetech is targeting a May 2021 opening for the new development.