The dawn of the post privatization era brought with it a new dimensional approach together with renewed devotion, resolve and commitment towards rapid industrial growth. The first R&D task undertook by ICL during the private era was the revival of Zinc Sulphate Plant and its up-gradation together with product quality refinement. The product Zinc Sulphate (monohydrate), brand name “Ittehad Zinc”, is second to none and is a hot selling commodity with agriculturists due to its quality and high zinc contents.
The balancing and modernization as well as up-gradation of the Sodium Hypochlorite Plant and Bleaching Earth plant were undertaken simultaneously.Another major step was the enhancement in production capacity of Caustic Soda (by 240 tons) through the installation of mercury-free environment-friendly Ion Exchange Membrane Electrolyzers. A lot of corrosion resistant engineering material including FRP (developed through R&D and local expertise) was manufactured in the ICL workshops to supplement the installation and commissioning of the IEM Plant.
R&D work also concentrated upon improving the process parameters for ultimate conservation and optimizing the inputs thereby reducing the cost of production. A pilot plant for the production of CaCl2 solid was also established. Based on the initial findings of the pilot plant, a full scale CaCl2 prills unit was set up in technical collaboration with M/s NIVOBA BV., Veendam, Holland in the year 2007.
In order to cater for chlorine, which will be used in our future expansion programs, R&D work has already been undertaken for producing Phosphoric Acid through HCL route, a rare process which is in vogue at only a few potential production facilities around the world. Other R&D jobs undertaken are the effective utilization of carbon dioxide released during acid lime stone reaction for production of calcium chloride liquid for CCIL plant.
R&D work was carried out on a laboratory scale to recover BaSO4 from the sludge through washing of acid soluble impurities. The successful completion of lab work culminated in establishing a proper BaSO4 recovery plant of about 4 tons per day capacity. The product is mostly used in paint industry and favorably compares with several brands which are being imported in the country.