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Within North East England the Fine & Speciality chemical sector is an important player on the world stage with companies such as Akzo–International Paints, Aesica, Banner Chemicals, Chemoxy International, Exwold Technologies, Fine Organics, Frutarom, Thomas Swan, High Force Research, Johnson Matthey Catalysts, Kilfrost, Mitsubishi Chemicals, Newchem, Onyx Scientific, Piramal, Shasun, & Vertellus – all located here and all making a wide selection of materials using an extensive range of chemical technologies.

Fine & Speciality Chemical companies are relied upon to provide either fine chemicals which are very pure, specific molecules or effect chemicals, known as specialities. Fine Chemicals, as mentioned are usually very pure specific molecules made to a very high specification that are the building blocks for pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and in many other regulated or more controlled substances. Effect chemical deal with day-to-day societal demands and include adhesives & anti-freeze, flavour & fragrances, lubricants, paints & water treatment chemicals to name but a few.

Some Commodity Specialities are also made in this region such as PET by Lotte Chemicals, Perspex by Lucite International and Titanium Dioxide and polyurethane intermediates by Huntsman. A number of new technologies that are only just appearing on the market are also being developed here such as graphene applications by Applied Graphene Materials, polylactic acid polymers by Plaxica, printable electronics by Polyphotonics and new water treatment technologies by CatalySystems.

The influence of these companies on our day-to-day lives cannot be over-estimated and it is amazing to see the range of influence that their products have on everyday living. Just one medium sized company such as Thomas Swan lists Thixotropic additives – for use in resin manufacture; Biocides – for use in healthcare products plus leather, wood and paper; Powder coatings – curing agents for high-gloss and gloss reduction effects; Personal care materials- dyes for hair care and biocides; Ink resins for flexographic and gravure printing; Reprographics – compounds and couplers used in printed circuit manufacture and Rubber Chemicals – peptisers, latex thickening agents and bonding agents and much more!

Without these innovative companies whole industries could not deliver the products that consumers demand and the world would a far less comfortable and exciting place to live.

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