Specialty chemicals are manufactured on the basis of their performance or function. They can be single-chemical entities or formulations whose composition influences the performance and processing of the end product. Individual customer service to provide innovative technical solutions is an important component of the service provided by specialty chemical producers.
The process in which specialty chemicals are created is called batch processing:
A batch process is one in which a finite quantity of product is made during a period of a few hours or days. The batch process most often consists of introducing measured amounts of starting materials into a vessel followed by a series of unit operations (mixing, heating, reaction, distillation, etc.) taking place at discrete scheduled intervals. This is then followed by the removal and storage of the products, by-products, and waste streams. The equipment is then cleaned and made ready for the next process.
Specialty chemical manufacturers produce organic chemicals that are used in thousands of products vital to consumers and U.S. industry. Specialty chemical manufacturing is sometimes referred to as custom or fine chemical manufacturing. The term specialty chemical is based on use and fine chemical is based on purity, yet they are both considered a part of specialty chemical manufacturing.
This unique niche in the chemical industry is innovative, entrepreneurial and consumer-driven. Specialty manufacturers make smaller quantities of chemicals that have specific performance applications.
In contrast to the production of commodity chemicals, specialty manufacturing requires that the raw materials, processes, operating conditions and equipment change on a regular basis to respond to the needs of customers.