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Graycor Industrial Building First Biobased Polyols Plant for Cargill

November 19, 2008
Graycor Industrial Constructors Inc., a subsidiary of the Graycor family of companies, announced that it is nearing completion of construction of a world-scale manufacturing plant to produce soybean-based polyols for Minneapolis-based Cargill, a food and agriculture products company.
 
The new $22-million BiOH brand polyols manufacturing plant in Chicago is the first world-scale biobased polyols plant. Expected to be operational in November, the new plant will produce Cargill’s BiOH soybean-based polyols using a proprietary new green process. Cargill's BiOH polyols provide a responsible choice in raw materials for furniture cushioning, bedding foams, automotive seats, and building insulation.

“We chose Graycor Industrial as our construction partner because they were able to self-perform a majority of the work critical to this project and their safety practices are aligned with Cargill’s,” said Greg Wold, operations manager for Cargill. “We needed a partner who could self-perform the heavy process piping and mechanical work, and also manage multiple trades simultaneously. Graycor Industrial’s expertise in this area made it possible for a large number of trades people to work effectively in tight space constraints.”         

The new manufacturing plant in Chicago will make available a much larger supply of BiOH polyols as a viable raw material option for Cargill’s growing customer base in North America and Europe. International contractor Graycor Industrial met an early construction milestone that will enable Cargill to produce test batches while construction continues, according to Mark Liston, general manager, Graycor Industrial.

“Our teams had to work closely together to successfully coordinate a variety of trades work on a tight schedule in a small area with virtually no lay-down space, which was no small feat considering that equipment and materials were arriving almost daily from around the world,” added Liston. Construction of the 10-month-long project included a tank farm, as well as a process building housing all equipment utilized in the process. Graycor Industrial’s relationship with Cargill began in 2002 with a silo modification project in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, for the manufacturer.
 
A preliminary lifecycle analysis indicates that manufacturing BiOH polyols results in 36% less global-warming emissions and requires 61% less non-renewable energy than traditional petroleum-based polyols. The technology won the 2007 President’s Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Society of Plastic’s Engineers named BiOH Polyols best Emerging Technology at its 2007 Environmental Stewardship Awards. And, BiOH polyols captured the Alliance for the Polyurethanes Industry’s 2006 Technology Innovation Award.

Cargill is an international provider of food, agricultural, and risk management products and services. With 158,000 employees in 66 countries, the company is committed to using its knowledge and experience to collaborate with customers to help them succeed. BiOH is a trademark of Cargill. For more information, visit www.cargill.com.

For more than 80 years, Graycor Industrial Constructors Inc. has been taking on tough heavy industrial construction projects across North America in a variety of markets including metals, power, and process. The company has earned a reputation in the industry for developing long-term, collaborative partnerships that result in projects being completed efficiently, effectively and, most importantly, safely.  

The Graycor companies-–Graycor Industrial Constructors Inc., Graycor Construction Company Inc., Graycor Blasting Company Inc., and Graycor International-–provide a wide variety of industrial and commercial construction services, as well as industrial maintenance technologies, across North America. It is an industry leader with annual revenues in excess of $600 million. Established in 1921, Graycor employs more than 1500 construction specialists at the Chicago headquarters, regional offices, and project locations across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. For more information on the Graycor family of companies, visit www.graycor.com.