Product Spotlight: Acetylene Black
With the demand for technologies like electric vehicles and renewable energy on the rise, the need for battery manufacturing is at an all-time high. However, have you ever thought about what batteries are made from? Most of us are familiar with lithium-ion batteries (like the ones used in our phones and computers), but batteries can also be made with lithium sulfur dioxide, zinc air, lead acid, and others. The one thing all of these batteries have in common, though, is they all contain Acetylene Black – often referred to as “AB.”
Acetylene Black is made from the thermal decomposition of acetylene gas and is available in powder and granular forms and standard and battery grades. Soltex Acetylene Black is a specialty additive that provides the highest degree of structural aggregation, increased thermal and conductive properties, and low metal and ash content. These factors of Soltex’s Acetylene Black meet the high standards of the aerospace, automotive and battery industries.
Soltex’s Acetylene Black has uniquely high absorption and conductivity levels due to increased crystallization and a more developed secondary structure, which contributes to enhanced thermal dissipation, anti-static properties and improved elasticity. Perhaps most notably, Soltex Acetylene Black has high conductive grades developed specifically for battery applications, a reduction in the formation of dendrites and increased battery life. Equally important, Acetylene Black is manufactured with a range of absorption levels that meet performance needs outside of batteries as well, such as plastics, paints, adhesives, ceramics, sealants, and lubricants. Soltex Acetylene Black grades are UV stable and provide excellent pigmentation for the aforementioned end uses.
Business Research Insights predicts the market size for Acetylene Black will be $318.5 million USD by 2028, and while batteries will largely contribute to the market, rubber and tires are a close runner up. Carbon black is one of the reinforcements regularly utilized in the automotive tire business due to its influence on the mechanical and dynamic features of tires. Acetylene Black is used into a variety of rubber formulations to alter the performance characteristics, such as a strengthening reinforcement agent or filler.
So, with a growing demand for Acetylene Black, how will Soltex meet increasing consumer needs? The teams at Soltex are highly experienced when it comes to supply chain challenges. By facing those challenges head-on, Soltex is committed and equipped to build stock of Acetylene Black with in-house laboratories to readily support customers with Soltex quality that can be counted on.
Soltex Teams Embrace Celebration
The workplace culture of Soltex is anything but dull and the annual company-wide Halloween festivities are a testament to just that. The participation and overall enthusiasm for celebration at Soltex was particularly evident this year. With each department dressing up in a particular theme in mind, everyone was in on the fun; from operations to sales and everything in between, the creativity among Soltex staff took on a playful and humorous tone.
Partially motivated by the yearly costume competition, departments first worked together to decide on a group theme and then executed their individual costumes within that theme. And while Soltex teams collaborate daily on work projects constantly throughout the year, this particular opportunity for a team challenge brought a certain, highly anticipated element of fun and camaraderie.
On Monday, the office was bustling with employees who arrived to work dressed as characters from The Muppets, Toy Story, The Adams Family, Alice in Wonderland, and The Flintstones. All employees then voted on their favorite department costume, as well as best individual female and best male costume. Once the votes were cast, the group came together for a spook-tacular luncheon. This year the winners of the group costume contest were Alice in Wonderland from Accounting department. Best individual costumes were awarded to Queen of Hearts, Christine Thomas and Cousin It, Blaine Wiles.
It’s the fun moments like this among the normal day to day at Soltex that contribute to the cultural workplace environment our employees value; one that celebrates creativity, individuality, teamwork and fun! We are already hearing whispers of costume ideas for next year’s celebrations and can’t wait for the fun to continue onward.
Soltex Reactions Q3 – 2022
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Meet The Team: Peter Gobert
There are many moving parts to running a chemical supply company that involve numerous individuals, products and places to get the job done in a timely and professional manner. In this fifth blog of our employee features, we’re introducing you to Peter Gobert. As a valued member of the team for 17 years, Gobert works as the warehouse manager, playing an integral role in keeping the ship afloat and operating smoothly, thus allowing us to continue maintaining and building fruitful partnerships with customers worldwide.
Before joining the team nearly two decades ago, Gobert worked at Chevron so he was no stranger to this industry. As the current Soltex warehouse manager, he performs a variety of tasks. He is responsible for the overarching warehouse operations that involve managing inventory, staff and important safety protocols. As issues arise, Gobert is able to tackle them with his wealth of experience, knowledge and positive attitude.
When asked what he believes sets Soltex apart from industry competitors, he responded, “We are all family and together we get the job done Soltex strong.” A unifying mentality between him and the entire team is one of “hard work comes first.” Putting forth the utmost effort into each day at Soltex allows him to further find satisfaction in what he accomplishes.
A true Texan, Gobert loves trying out various barbecue joints in the Houston area and also enjoys eating shrimp from the gulf. During football season, you can often find him cheering on his two favorite teams, the Saints and Seahawks.
Gobert’s role within Soltex is integral to our continued success as a company. His hard work is evident in the smooth operation of the warehouse each day. Here’s to many more years of hard work and dedication!
Soltex Partners Make Way for Continued Company Success
Soltex’s continued growth and success over the years is credited to high-quality product offerings and devoted, knowledgeable, and customer-service focused employees. Yet, strong partnerships with outside entities also contribute to the ongoing company achievement. With two new supply chain partners, Transflo and Wolflake, joining the mix, we’re filling gaps to work toward further success and maintain our reputation of providing the best service possible to all customers.
Transflo is a solid stronghold in the Midwest region. With this partnership, we can provide timely product deliveries to customers. The newly secured space to stock product like polybutene is key to our customers and Soltex. The transloading facilities also provide key operational services, which was another major factor of consideration with our partnership as few locations have these capabilities.
With Transflo, we are also able to provide faster service via railcar with fewer checkpoints, further lessening the often-excruciating wait time in the chemical supply industry. The Transflo railcar tracks are the equivalent of four trucks of product and the railyard checks product with scale and heat checking. Something unexpected can happen like the 2021 winter storm. Texas has a reputation for bizarre weather changes that don’t normally occur within a normal year. Seasonal risks like hurricanes and winter weather (Refer to Former Blog) stress are also minimized now that we have a reliable and regional presence in the Midwest with material on the ground and ready to go for customers. The ability to have other areas of resources allows our operations to never close.
Similar to Transflo, Wolflake is another supply chain partner that allows us to stock products locally for customers in the Midwest and the country. As a familiar partner for us having previously been a place to stock polybutene, they are now stocking products such as acetylene black, fumed silica, and paint and coating products.
Our partnerships with Wolflake and Transflo, above all, allow us to continue prioritizing customer service and satisfaction. Their central locations and ability to house our most demanded products like acetylene black and polybutene securely vastly improves our supply chain and customer service focus, further contributing to Soltex success.
Why So Many Lubricant Additives?
Choosing the right lubricant additive package or component can be overwhelming, but the experts at Soltex are here to help. The long list of available lubricant additive packages is not just for show – each additive package was designed with a specific application in mind. At Soltex, additive products are grouped by application: engine oil, driveline, industrial, food grade and components. These types are then broken down by functionality, which are Boosters, Anti-wear Additives, EP Additives, Detergents, Dispersants, Viscosity Modifiers, Pour Point Depressants, Antioxidants, Tackifiers, and Food Grade Additives. Within these product groups, formulas designed for similar purposes are tweaked to meet specific needs and functionality. Altogether, that comes to a broad portfolio of additives packages and components. But why is the lubricant additives product line so extensive?
Well, because there are many end uses for lubricant additives, such as engines, hydraulics, racing, grease, gear, compressors, rock drill oil, and transmissions. Here is a breakdown of the product groups:
- Lubricant Additive Packages are Soltex’s tailored blends to formulated finished fluids for engines, driveline, and industrial applications.
- Anti-wear additives, with ash and ashless chemistries, offer wear protection by preventing oxidation and reducing sludge.
- Antioxidants provide longevity to a lubricant and protect from thermal and oxidative degradation.
- Detergents additives designed to clean and neutralize acids within an engine and prevent the build-up of deposits.
- Dispersants help to prevent sludge, varnish, and other deposits from forming on critical metal surfaces.
- Food grade additives include corrosion inhibitors, anti-wear and EP additives, tackifiers and antioxidants for white oils, anti-wear and corrosion inhibitors for mineral oil based lubricants, and tackifiers and thickeners for white oil and vegetable oil based lubricants.
- Pour point dispersants are used to adjust the lowest temperature at which a fuel or oil will pour when cooled under defined conditions.
- Tackifiers increase the adhesive properties of lubricants, preventing dripping and splashing during operation which helps to reduce operational cost and the risk of environmental contamination.
- Viscosity Modifiers, or viscosity index improvers, are polymeric and are added to lubricants to reduce the degree of change in viscosity seen at high and low temperatures.
Hopefully, now that the purpose for each lubricant additive has been defined, choosing the best additive package or component for your application is less intimidating. Need a blend of lubricant additives? Contact a representative today online or over the phone to see how Soltex can put their technical resources to work for you.
From Humble Beginnings to Proven Success: The Evolution of Soltex
Now a thriving business serving customers internationally with 65 employees, the growth of Soltex from humble beginnings is truly an American business success story. With just two phones, four employees, and a blank book of customers, they built what is now a successful company from the ground up.
Describing the original office of Soltex, Susan Kovacs, vice president of sales at Soltex, says “It was just a bunch of file boxes and a garage.” Yet, a bare-bones environment didn’t stop the small team from pounding the pavement and the phone lines to build a strong, sustainable, and expanding business that started out with the original Soltex products of refrigeration fluids, Soltex dielectric fluids and synthetic alkylates.
With a focus on maintaining credibility and being “customer-centric,” Kovacs explains that “Customer service was and always has been paramount.” Together, the small team concentrated on their strengths in both product offerings and forming relationships. They grew steadily over time by maintaining these relationships and were able to step up and consistently solve problems when they arose. Year after year listening to customer needs was paramount in delivering the best consumer experience.
The perspective Kovacs provides comes with over 30 years of experience on the Soltex team. Explaining her devotion to the business, she says, “When you put your heart and soul into a company and watch it go through good times and bad, it becomes your passion. You want to be part of the process.” Another key piece of the Soltex success puzzle from the beginning was the culture. Every individual matters and is essential to the overall success of Soltex. A team bonded together in their desire to serve their customers has created a great synergy.
While the industry has evolved, so has Soltex. There was a time not so long ago when most business was conducted in person, but over the last few years, Soltex has been able to shift to better accommodate customers in the current world. Communicating using tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Webex consistently has become the norm. The openness among members of the chemical suppliers community has also been paramount. Being able to keep up and exchange information through a variety of platforms, including social media, has kept the industry as a whole moving forward. The Soltex team has also expanded, bringing in new key people to meet new demands and fill gaps that have arisen with the ever-evolving industry landscape.
While much has changed since the early days with two phones and file boxes, the future for Soltex looks promising. “Hard work and persistence have truly paid off,” concludes Kovacs.
Soltex Strong Efforts Amidst ILMA Cancellation
The 2022 Annual ILMA (Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association) Meeting, which was scheduled for the end of September in Marco Island, was unfortunately canceled due to Hurricane Ian this year. Prior to its cancellation, Soltex was excited to attend and was disappointed to hear that it would not take place. The decision to cancel ILMA was certainly necessary and we are sending our support to those impacted by Hurricane Ian in Marco Island and the entire southwestern Florida community. While we know this is not an equal substitute for in-person conversations, hands-on activity, and potential business opportunities that would’ve taken place at ILMA 2022, please do not hesitate to contact our sales team if you have any questions or would like to schedule a meeting. We look forward to connecting with you in ILMA Engage 2023 soon!
Donate to Recovery Efforts
If you would like to donate to hurricane relief and recovery efforts in Florida, you may wish to consider the following organizations:
United Way of Collier and the Keys (Marco Island is located in Collier County)
Soltex Summer Interns Bring New Energy and Insights
This summer Soltex has welcomed two interns to our team, Christian Gilmore and Mia Traugott. Bringing dynamic and helpful energies to the team, both have seized the many opportunities they have been presented with at Soltex to further their knowledge and gain experience individually. Gilmore is more specifically a supply chain intern and Traugott has focused her time on marketing and operations.
A recent college graduate, Gilmore interviewed with Soltex for his position and describes that he took an immediate liking to Soltex and his interest in the chemical industry was piqued. In his role as a supply chain summer intern, he describes that he performs a variety of tasks from “accurately composing and executing purchase orders, to communicating with domestic and international suppliers, and coding invoices for accounting.” While he details that the supply chain industry can be unpredictable, he also explains that the most interesting project he’s worked on so far has involved analyzing sales history and sales forecasts for products such as polybutene, fumed silica, acetylene black, and others to create an effective future supply plan.
As a summer intern with an interest in marketing and office management, Traugott has also stepped up during her time on the Soltex team. Working with the marketing department, she has been able to dive into marketing analytics, perform many marketing-based tasks and learn the ins and outs of industry best practices. For her, the most interesting project has been developing a robust analytical report for all social media channels and the Soltex website.
Both Gilmore and Traugott described the environment at Soltex as supportive and communicative and noted the company’s success and reputation in the chemical market. Success in their roles comes in the form of both achievement on projects, and in the immense growth they have each experienced professionally. The ability to gain knowledge in a hands-on environment has contributed to both of their growth over the course of the internship. Gilmore explains that “shadowing your superiors and learning their processes and skills that has allowed them to be great in their current role” is also incredibly valuable.
When they’re not gaining experience and skills to carry into their individual careers, Traugott and Gilmore each stay busy pursuing individual hobbies and interests. Gilmore enjoys track and field, and playing video games and guitar, while Taugott likes to play softball, read, swim, and hang out with friends. They both also enjoy spending time by the water; Gilmore is more a lake guy, while Traugott is happy “anywhere with the beach.” Interns with such drive and ambition have brought new energy to our workspace and we’re glad to have contributed to and experienced their growth. We look forward to following their future career paths and want to congratulate both on officially joining the Soltex family.
Meet the Team: Mike Bonn
Each individual on the Soltex team contributes to driving the company toward further achievement. The sales team in particular plays a large role in doing so through their continuous efforts to maintain strong relationships with existing customers while building new relationships with potential customers. Technical Sales Executive Mike Bonn, who is based out of Canada, has found continued success in sustaining and forming connections with Soltex partners.
Bonn joined the Soltex team after working previously in electrical transformer manufacturing. With such a background, it’s no surprise that he describes the most interesting project he’s worked on as the development of HyVolt C50A liquid for the Canadian Market. Playing a key part in its consumer rollout, his deep knowledge of the product became a major factor in the success of the product.
Now in his fourth year with Soltex, Bonn credits many of his accomplishments within the company to his strong communication skills and helpful attitude. The “genuine desire to help customers get what they need” guides his actions and the sincere communication he provides daily. He also explains that customer needs are treated as urgent saying, “When customers call, we answer the phone and get them the solutions they need to help their businesses run more smoothly.”
His strong communication skills have vastly contributed to the customer satisfaction which he believes leads to more new customers and overall higher sales revenue. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic created additional challenges in getting out in the field to meet new prospective customers, his commitment and knowledge have driven success.
When not tending to current Soltex customers or driving new business, Bonn prefers to spend his time outside. From fishing to camping, hunting, woodworking, and even gardening, he is no stranger to the great outdoors. The Rocky Mountains have a place in his heart as his favorite vacation spot and he even co-hosts a podcast about ice hockey called the ScuttlePuck.
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