Duran Lubricants & Chemicals GmbH from Werther is a part of the group of companies from Lower Saxony. The autoExpert magazine visited two of the largest companies in the industry in Germany: the oil production, and the bottling plants of the final products. We saw where and how FOSSER and ASTRON oils are produced and bottled.
Production from A to Z
FOSSER and ASTRON oils are manufactured in the largest and most innovative lubricants plant in Germany. Here, a full cycle of motor oils production takes place from prepared crude oil up to the final product, bottled in consumer containers.
The plant is one of the most high-tech and modern enterprises of its type. Today it focuses on the production of high-quality special petroleum products. Tremendous success has been achieved in this area. The heavy fractions of the crude oil left over from the production of fuel are subjected to high-tech processing. An important product for the plant are white oils, which are used as raw materials from the medical, up to the food industry. A particular important group of products is performed by paraffins, which are used in more than a hundred industries. A new generation of low-emission oils is used in the production of automobile tires.
In total, the plant produces more than 700 types of products. And almost every company operating in the chemical or pharmaceutical industry in Germany is a customer of this plant.
Both the separation and the purification of products are based on physical and chemical processes. The success of these processes is ensured by temperature differences, pressure differences, the addition of solvents and the use of catalysts. These processes are carried out in a total of 11 different sectors of the plant.
Separating the wax from the oil is a particular step in the manufacturing process. Dewaxing takes place in large drum filters where the temperature drops to -30 degrees Celsius. This temperature is achieved using a special cooling unit.
Paraffin increase the pour point of oils. Dewaxing, on the other hand, lowers the pour point of the base oil.
The oil is mixed with a mixture of two solvents. Then when cooled, paraffin crystals precipitate and are separated by filtration, and the solvent is distilled off from the oil and a dewaxed oil is obtained with improved properties: with a lower pour point, increased viscosity index, improved fluidity at low temperatures. A by-product, slack wax, is used as a raw material for catalytic hydrocracking, which can produce high quality base oils.
All processes at the plant are electronically controlled around the clock. Huge amounts of information from more than 11,000 measuring circuits are processed in the control center.
The plant laboratory is equipped with the cutting edge measuring instruments and systems.
This group of companies constantly invests in the production processes optimization. State-of-the-art systems allow you to consistently reduce emissions and save natural resources.
Due to the fact that this plant produces nearly any oil for all the famous brands, it’s not possible to go into many more specifics when it comes to the oil itself.
In the most modern motor oil, base oils of Group IV and V are also used, which makes it possible to achieve impeccable quality, lengthen oil service intervals even with low-quality fuel, and withstand high loads in racing or drifting. Production volume of fast flowing low viscosity oils 0W-20 and 0W-16, which are mainly used in Japanese cars, is growing. And there are more and more of them on German roads.
Filling and logistics
FOSSER and ASTRON lubricants are bottled at the second facility of the group of companies, the main reason for this being is that the blending facility at the oil production plat is significantly exceeds the bottling capacity. But also for other reasons, which I will discuss below.
This specialized enterprise allows the most flexible and fast satisfaction of logistics demands, and also allows bottling oils in any volumes demanded by the market. I will tell you about it in more detail, because this is the first time I've seen such a scale of bottling and storage capacities in this market sector.
Underground there are about 100 containers for storing finished oils and liquids with a total volume of approximately 10 million liters! This is more than 150 railway tanks or 2 trains! Now you can imagine the scope of the activity. But can you imagine that these containers are also periodically washed, of course, with special compounds. Everything is always washed three times. All pipelines that go to the containers are also washed out with a special detergent. All this is regularly monitored by DEKRA.
Tanks are located throughout the territory underground, under the industrial buildings. Relatively small containers for brake fluid are the only one on the surface.
It turns out that bottling brake fluid is not an easy issue. It is necessary that there is no water vapor in the canister. There is a special technique that does not allow moisture from the air to enter the canister before sealing.
There is always a stock of oils of all possible types in the above-mentioned tanks. Pipelines are readjusted quickly. Such a speed of response to a customer's order can never be ensured at the plant that produces oils, - they have a completely different rhythm of production life there. Therefore - specialization objectively rules!
The territory of the enterprise is constantly expanding. Fortunately, there is space. And this is contrary to the general opinion that the consumption of automotive oils should decrease with the sales growth of electric vehicles. So far, it is only going up. Globalization is not only happening "at the top", it is everywhere. The demand for perfectly functioning businesses is growing and they are consolidating, while imperfectly organized ones are losing volumes and positions.
The business of producing oils and the business of bottling them are separating and specializing. Increasingly, oil refineries are stating: "We cannot bottle, store and ship a lot, can you bottle it for us?" The facilities of this enterprise are the largest in Europe.
With 9 ramps, 18 trucks can be loaded at the same time. For maximum customer satisfaction, the company also has a large fleet of its own heavy-duty vehicles both for the transportation by tanks and finished packaged products.
Electricity here is their own, from solar panels on the roofs, surplus is sold to the city. This is how the whole of Germany tries to work. You may ask yourself: “They often have a surplus of electricity. Well, why do they need gasoline and diesel cars at all?”)
There is its own fuel station on the territory of the industrial complex, which operates 24 hours a day.
Four bottling lines are fully automatic, capable of filling more than 6,000 canisters per shift each. And in total, incl. the semiautomatic lines, there are fifteen of them!
One of the lines for bottling antifreeze is on two-levels, and it dispenses 54,000 pieces per shift. No matter whatever you may need: 4-5-liter canister or one-liter bottle.
It should be said here that the antifreeze production is also a rather specialized business in Europe and it also has its own leaders producing large volumes. And a lot of marketing-wise successful brands buy finished antifreeze from these leaders and bottle it at their facilities.
It is easier with the window washer fluids. They are easy to produce on site. They are produced here and bottled in decent quantities either ready to use or in concentrates. Different smells and "tastes" (just kidding). One shift - 14,000 cans, by two people.
Naturally, there is an automated line for the production and packaging of distilled water.
Of course, the FOSSER and ASTRON range includes antifreezes, glass washers, and other technical fluids.
The quality of the packaging is carefully controlled. If, for example, the label on the canister is stuck crookedly, it is thrown away. This happens on all lines, without exception. If weighing reveals underfilled canister it is also put aside.
Cartons are assembled automatically and sealed not with tape, but with molten plastic. Scotch tape is not reliable.
Barrels 20, 60, 200 l. also bottled on conveyor lines, and automatic lines.
Automatic and semi-automatic capacities for "smart" storage are amazing. Every cubic meter of storage space is used. Pallet warehouse has three levels. Automation allows to work three times faster.
The automatic carts are programmable, electrically powered. The batteries that are charged at night. In total – eight of them for the entire warehouse. They are rearranged if necessary with a Forklift.
Palletizing system is also automated.
There are four such warehouses. The cost of each is very high. But cubic meters of space are used to the maximum!
In 2018, a separate huge warehouse for cardboard packaging was built.
So, this is not just a bottling enterprise, but a complex logistics center.
Everything for the convenience of the client!
The slogan of Duran Lubricants & Chemicals GmbH and FOSSER is "Endless Possibilities". The scale and level of both enterprises are fully consistent with this phrase.
Alexander Kelm, Kyiv – Werther – Kyiv
Duran Lubricants & Chemicals GmbH
Rodderheide 3-7, 33824 Werther (Westf.) Germany
fon +49 5203 901510, fax +49 5203 901515