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History of Rhein Chemie in a Nutshell

Welcome to a short journey through 125 years of Rhein Chemie

In 2014, as we celebrate our 125th anniversary, we can look back with pride on our impressive company history: 125 years in which our motto, “Focusing on Progress,” has always guided us to new challenges, opportunities and success through exciting developments, technologies and industries.

As you look through these pages, we would like to 
invite you to find out more about the most significant milestones along our path – from a small chemical start-up in Mannheim at the turn of the 20th century to a highly diversified provider of customized, premium solutions that are in demand all over the world in this new millennium.

1889: Our Beginnings

Our long history of success begins with the establishment of the general partnership Müller & Dubois OHG, registered by the young chemists Dr. Albert Müller and Dr. Hermann Dubois in 1889 in the company register of the Mannheim district court. Our first products are chlorine compounds for cleaning agents and solvents. Just one year after it was founded, the company moved 20 kilometers (about 12 ½ miles) from Waldhof to Rheinau, where company headquarters are still located today.

1900: Pioneers in the Rubber Industry

Here, where Carl Benz designed the first modern automobile, the company’s founding fathers envision an area of operations with huge growth potential early on: the rubber industry. Even before the turn of the century, due to advances in rubber processing, natural rubber has become scarce and expensive. Based on the initiative of the new partner, Dr. Victor Kaufmann, in 1902 we start manufacturing factice – an extender for natural rubber. This material is still used today in a wide variety of products

1923: Early commitment to sustainability: 
In the 1920s we turn towards reprocessing and recycling of waste rubber and production scrap – an early example of technological sustainability as it continues to shape our current company consciousness today. The recycled, so-called reclaimed rubber is an important component in the manufacture of technical rubber products such as hoses, seals or molded items in times of rapid progress in motorization. Reclaimed material production remains a mainstay in the company from 1923 until the mid-1960s. In 1926, Dr. Kaufmann and like-minded colleagues found the Deutsche Kautschukgesellschaft (DKG, German Rubber Association).

1936: Extending the product range
Starting in 1936, the rubber experts in the Rheinau factory develop many substitute materials with which they provide our first processing promoters for rubber compounds. For example, Aktiplast®: this substitute for stearic acid makes processing natural rubber easier. In 1941, the company is renamed Rhein Chemie GmbH. World War II leads to decreasing resources, which also compels Rhein Chemie to begin with war production in 1942. In the following years, the most important products are factice, reclaimed rubber and processing promoters. In 1950, liquid release agents and anti-sun check waxes are added.

1956: Expertise for the lubricant industry...
In 1956, we start producing lubricant additives. Alongside additives for motor oils, in 1957 we develop our first light-colored sulfur carriers (EP additives) and corrosion inhibitors. Based on this foundation, as the years go on we establish a comprehensive product range of additives for industrial lubricants. In the commissioning of our technical facility for chemical reactions in 1965, we reinforce our excellent position in advanced facility technology.

… and for the plastics industry:
Rhein Chemie recognizes new opportunities for growth in the increasing use of plastics in automobile manufacturing – in 1961, our plastics department starts operation. At first, we also manufacture large containers from polyethylene; specialization in plastics additives comes later. This lays the foundation for today’s business lines – rubber, lubricants and plastics.

1971: Innovative Developments under a new roof:
In 1971, Rhein Chemie Rheinau GmbH becomes part of Bayer AG – and in so doing, Bayer becomes the provider with the most comprehensive portfolio of rubber chemicals. In the same year we start production of Rhenogran®. Thanks to highly innovative characteristics in areas such as energy saving, scrap reduction, and health and environmental protection, these polymer-bound rubber additives become true bestsellers, which today’s rubber industry can no longer do without.

In 1972, the close cooperation with Bayer results in the expansion of business in the plastics 
sector. The new product range includes hydrolysis stabilizers, which become well known all over the world in 1973 under the brand name Stabaxol®. In addition, our portfolio of lubricant additives, which has continually expanded since the 1950s, is brought together under the former Bayer trademark name Additin® – since then, the name Additin has stood for the highest standards in the international lubricant industry. In 1976, with our multi-purpose chemical facility, we achieve a breakthrough in the production of high-quality lubricant and plastics additives

1987: Rhein Chemie becomes a global player
During the 1980s and 90s, in the expansion of our research and production activities we achieve a strong position in the most significant international market regions. For example, in 1987 we acquire Wyrough and Loser, a manufacturer of polymer-bound chemicals in the USA, and in 1990 we start production for rubber additives in Japan. In 1996 production of lubricant additives begins in Belgium. In 1999 our Chinese facility opens and manufactures our entire product range for rubber processors in China; later we add lubricant additives as well. We continue to expand our business in the USA with the acquisition of Elastochem, a provider of individualized customer services and rubber additives. In 2000 we expand our production capacity in Japan. In 2002 we start production in Brazil, thereby strengthening our position in Latin America.

2004: Rhein Chemie becomes a part of LANXESS
Starting in 2004, after more than 30 years under the roof of Bayer AG, Rhein Chemie becomes a business unit of LANXESS. The chemical division spun off of Bayer becomes part of the newly established specialty chemicals group. In the coming years, this new connection will prove a solid foundation for success – both for Rhein Chemie as well as for the entire LANXESS Group.

2005: Establishment of production facilities worldwide
In the new millennium, international activities undergo successful expansion. New facilities are opened and existing facilities and Technical Competence Centers are expanded in China (2006, 2008, 2012, 2013), India (2005, 2007, 2012), Germany (2006, 2008, 2013), the USA (2006, 2012), Brazil (2013), Argentina (2011) and Russia (2013). Today Rhein Chemie has a highly productive network of production facilities and Technical Competence Centers in all regions of the world.

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