E-Tong Chemical: Building a vertically integrated industrial chain from intermediates, TCs to formulations based on fluorobenzene fine chemicals
Oct. 20, 2021
Shanghai E-Tong Chemical Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "E-Tong Chemical") is affiliated to the Agrochemicals Division of Zhejiang Yongtai Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Yongtai Technology"), a leading company in the field of fluorobenzene fine chemicals. Relying on Yongtai Technology’s strong intermediates and intermediate production capability as well as advanced technology, and fully exerting its strengths as exporter of plant protection products, E-Tong Chemical has built a vertically integrated industrial chain from intermediates, TCs to formulations based on fluorobenzene fine chemicals, and continuously developed and expanded its agrochemical business, which in turn accelerates the growth of the company. Recently, AgroPages made an exclusive interview with Song Yongping, President of Shanghai E-Tong Chemical, about the company’s development history, production process, business presence, R&D related patents and so on.
Please introduce the developments and main business of E-Tong Chemical.
E-Tong Chemical is mainly engaged in the production and export of herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and public health products. E-Tong Chemical carries out independent registration in many countries such as Brazil, India, Australia, Myanmar and Vietnam, and holds more than 1000 registrations worldwide. After years of hard work, E-Tong Chemical is now in the club of large exporters of plant protection products in China. In 2015, E-Tong Chemical became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yongtai Technology. Since then, the company has extended its reach to the upstream of pesticide industry chain, opening up a wide growth space from intermediates, TCs to pesticide formulations.
Founded in 1999 and listed in 2009, Yongtai Technology is a global leading manufacturer of fluorobenzene fine chemicals with a complete product chain and large production capacity. According to end-use applications, Yongtai Technology’s main products, in terms of their end applications, are divided into three categories: pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and lithium battery plus other materials. At present, Yongtai Technology has a registered capital of RMB870 million and total assets valued at RMB7.7 billion, with subsidiaries in Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, Chongqing, Shanghai, Fujian and other places, and more than 3,000 employees worldwide.
What are the production bases that provide support for E-Tong Chemical? Could you briefly introduce what production technologies are adopted for TCs and intermediates? How about the supply of fluorobenzene intermediates?
E-Tong Chemical has many production bases such as Yongtai Technology, Inner Mongolia Yongtai Chemical Co., Ltd. and Chongqing Yongyuansheng Technology Co., Ltd. By the end of 2020, the company has a designed capacity of 18,127.46t/a and an upcoming capacity of 24,315.00t/a for intermediates as well as a designed capacity of 5,100.00t/a for pesticide formulation.
The process flow varies for each product, and production plants can complete a variety of reactions. The main reaction types include fluorination reaction (>15,000mt/a), halogenation production technology (chlorination, bromination) (9,000/1,800 mt/a), reduction technology (>2,200mt/a), diazotization technology (>1,500mt/a), nitration technology (>15,000mt/a), etc. Among them, the characteristic fluorination technology has helped the company achieve some breakthroughs in sophisticated green chemical synthesis processes.
We have a wide variety of fluoride-containing intermediate products, including difluoro, trifluoro, pentafluoro, hexafluoro, o-fluoro and para-fluoro series which comprise of nearly 100 products, such as 3,5-difluorobromobenzene, 2,4-difluoronitrobenzene, 3,4,5-trifluorobromobenzene, 3,4,5-trifluorophenol and fluorophenol. Most of the varieties in the product chain can be sold individually as products. This enables the company with strong market adaptability and great space for product structure adjustment and upgrading.
How many kinds of TC products can E-Tong Chemical supply?
We can supply more than 30 kinds of TC products, including fungicides such as azoxystrobin, carbendazim, cyproconazole, epoxiconazole, aluminum triethylphosphate, fludioxonil, picoxystrobin, tebuconazole, and prothioconazole; insecticides such as abamectin, teflubenzuron, dimethoate, pymetrozine, emamectin benzoate, fipronil, indoxacarb, and lufenuron; and herbicides such as bispyribac, cloransulam-methyl, diclosulam, glyphosate, glufosinate, and isoxaflutole.
Besides, the production plant of Inner Mongolia Yongtai Chemical Co., Ltd., located in the Low-carbon Industrial Park of Wuhai Economic Development Zone, is planned to start a new pesticide TC project.
How about the formulation production capacity of E-Tong Chemical? What measures are taken to prevent cross-contamination during processing and production?
The company has a factory specializing in pesticide formulation research and development as well as production of pesticides for export. The factory covers an area of 5,000 square meters and has formed a preliminary production capacity of more than 5,100 tons of various pesticide formulations per year. The factory can manufacture more than 600 varieties of pesticides in 20 formations, including WP, SP, WS, WDG, WSG, EC, ULV, SC, SL, OF, DS, EW, ME, SE, AS, DP, GR, etc.
We attach great importance to contamination prevention and environmental protection in the process of pesticide production, and have established a quality assurance department responsible for establishing a cross-contamination prevention system and managing the cross-contamination prevention.
The cross-contamination prevention management system includes 10 aspects such as cross-contamination risk assessment, determination of cleanliness level, establishment and verification of cleanliness procedures, cleaning and acceptance of production units, residue testing, acceptance of production transition, tool management, material management, etc.
The company strictly follows above rules to ensure clean production of pesticides. The cross-contamination risk assessment provides clear provisions on production line distribution, warehousing, product transition principles and production scheduling principles. For example, raw materials, additives, finished products of insecticides (fungicides) are stored in separate warehouses to achieve complete isolation from those of herbicides; each production line can only manufacture products with the same or similar applications, or the same or similar herbicidal spectrum, and, once the type of products to be manufactured by a production line is determined, no change is allowed.
Please tell us how the vertically integrated industry chain of “Intermediates + TC + Formulation” created by E-Tong Chemical exerts its competitive advantages.
First, unlike other companies in the industry that use purchased intermediate chemicals as raw materials for their production, E-Tong Chemical has its own raw material base. The production integration based on the complete product chain of the production base enables the company to, from starting materials, effectively reduce production costs and keep away from the influence of outsourced intermediate products due to market shortage or price fluctuations, thus ensuring the stability of product quality.
Second, production integration makes it possible for more complementary products, and the company can timely adjust the product structure according to the market demand to avoid risks and maximize benefits. With a rich product mix and proprietary co-production technology and equipment, we have achieved a production model of “manufacturing various products with the same starting material”, which utilizes by-products from the production process in a comprehensive manner to manufacture other products with higher economic value, and thus, the overall production cost is reduced.
Based on its outstanding product quality, good delivery record and strong technical strength, E-Tong Chemical has won the recognition of many companies. The company has established stable cooperation relationships with global famous chemical companies such as BASF, Bayer, Sumitomo and Syngenta, as well as some well-known domestic companies.
Innovation and R&D is an important driver for high quality development. How does E-Tong Chemical practice this concept? What are your important achievements?
Yongtai Technology, the parent company of E-Tong Chemical, is entitled as the first batch of “National High-tech Enterprise” and “Zhejiang Patent Demonstration Enterprise”, and equipped with a “National Certified Enterprise Technology Center”, a “Postdoctoral Workstation”, and an “Academician Expert Workstation”. Yongtai Technology has established three R&D centers respectively in Zhejiang, Shanghai and the United States, maintained a good cooperation with many universities and research institutions, and built up a complete, leading and efficient R&D system.
We are the holder of some core technologies, including directed fluorine atom introduction, chiral enzyme catalytic reaction, microchannel continuous reaction, patented co-production technology and other industry-leading technologies. The directed fluorine atom introduction technology enables it possible to introduce fluorine atoms at almost any position on the aromatic ring. This technology is authorized with 22 invention patents, leading the progress of the industry. By the end of 2020, Yongtai Technology has applied for 154 invention patents, of which 106 have been authorized.
In the patented “2-4-dichloronitrobenzene synthesis method utilizing micro-channel reactor”, m-dichlorobenzene, concentrated nitric acid and concentrated sulfuric acid are used to prepare the mixed acid starting materials, and the process of pre-cooling and reaction of m-dichlorobenzene and mixed acid is completed in a high throughput micro-channel reactor. Continuous nitration reaction happens with stable temperature control and safe process. In this method, 2,4-dichloronitrobenzene is a key intermediate for the formulation of flumioxazin.
In addition, we also have synthesis route patents involving 3,4,5-trifluorobromobenzene, a key intermediate of fluxapyroxad, and 1-methyl-3-(difluoromethyl)-1H-pyrazole-4- methanoic acid, a key intermediate of SDHI.
CMO has high requirements on R&D, technology, management and other aspects of an enterprise. In the background of weak global economic growth, the CMO of pesticides and pharmaceuticals is still growing. What are the advantages of E-Tong Chemical in undertaking CMO business?
Yongtai Technology and E-Tong Chemical have rich experience in CMO business and have provided customized manufacturing, R&D and technical services for several international giants.
The execution of a CMO project will go through five processes: lab development, continuous improvement, small-scale installations, pilot scale up and commercial manufacturing. We have industry leading technology conversion capabilities and can provide strong support for the final commercial manufacturing of products. Moreover, a stable supply chain is also one of our strengths. Our production base has complete production facilities, rigorous quality management system and EHS management measures, professional management team and strong financial support, enabling it the capabilities for stable supply of raw materials.
We have noticed that both E-Tong Chemical and Yongtai Technology have new developments and plans in product registration and project construction. Please give a brief introduction of them.
In terms of product registration, in 2020, E-Tong Chemical obtained 101 new overseas registrations, of which 66 are independently registered products, and submitted 586 applications for overseas registration, which are expected to be approved in two to five years; Jiangsu Subin Agrochemical Co., Ltd. obtained three new product registrations for domestic market and three overseas product registrations, and another 17 products are pending registration in China; Shanghai Yongkuo completed the initial construction of a GLP laboratory which is now in the trial operation stage. The company aims to complete the GLP certification in 2021.
In terms of project construction, we have initiated a large project in Inner Mongolia Yongtai. The construction of the first phase of the project, which will form a production capacity of 18,715t/annual fine chemicals, 30,000t/ a potassium fluoride and co-products, was commenced in March 2020, and part of the units officially entered the trial production stage in April 2021. We will start the construction of the project’s second phase, which will focus on advanced pharmaceutical intermediates, pesticide intermediates and pesticide TCs, according to the developments of the first phase. In addition, the 1500t/ a lambda cyhalthrin acid project of Chongqing Yongyuansheng Technology Co., Ltd. also entered the trial production stage in March 2021. Lambda cyhalthrin acid is an important intermediate for the synthesis of pyrethroid insecticides.
Business inquiry please contact:
Mr. Sayid Song
Tel: 0086 13564872556
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