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On Saturday 21st September, Lucite International (LI)’s Rozenburg celebrated 50 years of producing Diakon® on site. The Rozenburg site, based in The Netherlands, manufactures Diakon® bespoke PMMA polymer solutions, which are used in cosmetic packaging, lighting, medical diagnostics equipment and fascia for electronic appliances amongst other applications. The plant has a dedicated team of talented people who focus on continuously improving their services and providing the best support for customers.

Linda Mindertsma, a long-serving part of the team at Rozenburg looks back at the site’s history.

“The Diakon® story started almost 80 years ago when the ICI Plastic Division, under John Crawford, began experimenting with MMA. In 1934 this resulted in a technique called suspension polymerization by which ICI created clear, round pearl shapes, which they branded Diakon®.

In 1957 a number of countries founded the EEC (European Economic Community). At the time, the United Kingdom wasn’t a member, however, the ICI Board recognised the opportunity it presented and decided to build plants within the EEC countries. After an extensive search they decided on a location near the small village of Rozenburg and in 1962 the mayor of Rozenburg approved the plan to build the Diakon® plant. It became the first operational plant on the ICI Rozenburg site.

The first production record in 1963, stated that the Diakon® plant had produced 126 tonnes; a record which was broken year on year, securing the plant as one of ICI’s growing number of manufacturing facilities.

The first coloured beads were produced in the seventies after the introduction of dry colouring (mixing pigments directly into bead product). Until the early nineties the Diakon® plant produced only bead directly from the autoclave. When ICI’s UK, Billingham-based plant was closed in 1992, its twin-screw extruder was moved to the Rozenburg site and within the next few years the Diakon® plant volumes increased to 12,000 tonnes!

Just a few years later in 1995, ICI increased the volume by adding another line under the code name ‘Project Pear’. Completion of this extensive project was celebrated in 1997 when LI CEO Scott Davidson planted a pear tree in front of the Diakon® plant.

When ICI decided to sell the Polyurethanes and Acrylics businesses, it meant the end of an era for the Rozenburg site. ICI Holland BV ceased to exist and the two businesses were separated. Ineos Acrylics Holland BV was created at the end of 1999 and became a stand-alone business on the former ICI site. Not only did this require setting up our own works council, personnel administration, customs and transport but also our own customer service team.

Becoming LI Holland BV in 2002 led to a whole new era of progress: a new automated packing line; construction of our own laboratory; installation of the Moving Bed Trickling Filter Unit to reduce odor emission and so much more. With continuous improvement projects, investments into the site and new opportunities resulting from being part of Mitsubishi Rayon Corporation, the Diakon® plant is very much looking forward. Our brand new Diakon® website, which went live in August 2013, is the just latest step in our commitment to serving customers even better in the future.”

View the microsite here.