It was a true milestone for the Norwegian petrochemical industry when the site at Rønningen in Bamble municipality opened 40 years ago. The discovery of the North Sea Ekofisk oil field was announced on the day before Christmas in 1969. This was the starting point of the Norwegian oil adventure. The oil was transported through Norpipe pipeline to Teesside, UK.
As a result of this event, the construction of a petrochemical complex at the south coast of Norway was decided. An olefin cracker and VCM unit was build at Rafnes and a polyolefin site was erected at nearby Rønningen with production of LD-, HDPE and PP. The site was to be operated by Saga Petrochemicals AS which later changed to Statoil and Borealis before Ineos bought the site in 2007 and Norner was established.
The decision to build the polyolefin site was supported with the creation of a centre of research and technology. The first technologists were employed in 1975 and the technology centre was opened in 1977 - i.e. 40 years ago. The philosophy for the technology centre was to cover all aspects of the plastics industry from catalyst development and polymerisation via additives and polymer modification to the final application of polyolefins in extrusion and moulding.
This holistic approach has benefitted the technology centre ever since and the technology centre has an impressive track record of technology innovations.
The application and market oriented approach has been a key success factor since the beginning. During the years, the R&T centre was responsible for pipe and infrastructure, fibre and textiles, flexible and rigid packaging as well as automotive and other compounded material applications.
A long list of innovations have been realised during the years for service of the plastics industry.
Here will you find some examples:
Product and catalyst development for PE metallocene catalysts
New proprietary technology for metallocene catalysts
Cr catalyst system with in-situ comonomer generation upscaled to full plant scale
PE100 pipe materials
Advanced bimodal PE film grades
Moisture barrier HDPE materials
Advanced PP grades for injection moulding
Nucleation technology for faster moulding process
Cost efficient additive solutions
Special PP compounds for extrusion coating
PP compounds for automotives and appliances
Barrier technology based on in-mould labelling for injection moulding
Developed a web based calculator for barrier properties like OTR and WVTR for final packaging designs
Designed own IM tools for evaluation of processability and properties of thin wall packaging PP