Yesterday and Today
Niacet: Yesterday and Today
In 1924, the first semi-commercial chemical plant, based on acetylene, was put into operation in Niagara Falls, NY by Carbide and Carbon Chemicals Company. Within a year, the plant was expanded to full-scale production and Niacet Chemicals Corporation was formed under the joint ownership of Carbide and Carbon Chemicals, E.I. Dupont, and Shawinigan Power Company. The company name, Niacet, was derived from Niagara Acetylene.
In 1928, Niacet built the first plant to produce synthetic glacial acetic acid by air oxidation of acetaldehyde. Sodium acetate and other derivatives soon followed. Also introduced here in 1937 was one of the earliest productions of vinyl acetate by the treatment of acetic acid with acetylene. During World War II, output of acetylene and its derivatives was greatly increased to meet essential needs.
In 1946, the company was purchased by Union Carbide Corporation, but the trademark NIACET, remained, being regularly applied to acetic acid derivatives produced at the Niagara Falls plant. Over time, however, technology changed, and the processes used at this facility were no longer competitive. By the late 70’s, Niacet was reduced to only 2 product lines, Acetate Salts and NIAPROOF Anionic Surfactants. The plant was barely profitable and was about to be shut down.
Then in 1978, Niacet was reborn through the actions of an executive of Union Carbide Corporation. Niacet Corporation purchased all the plant facilities and business activity associated with the Niagara Falls facility, including its highly skilled and experienced production and management staff.
Niacet boasts the largest capacity in North America for metal acid salts such as Sodium Acetate, a buffering agent , Sodium Diacetate, a food flavoring agent, and Calcium Propionate, a mold inhibitor for bread. The company is the only USA producer of Sodium Phenoxy Acetate (SPA), an intermediate used extensively in the fermentation of penicillin.
Many capital improvement projects have been completed to meet market demands. In 1989, a state of the art Monochloroacetic Acid production unit was commissioned. This production unit supplies bulk quantities of Monochloroacetic Acid and co-product Hydrochloric Acid to industrial customers. In 1999, Niacet installed production equipment to produce high quality Sodium Acetate Trihydrate used extensively in the food and household products industries. In 2004, a significant expansion of our Calcium Propionate process occured. This entailed installation of additional equipment to produce our CrystalPro Calcium Propionate. This high quality product is often preferred by consumers due to its low dust characteristics.
In 2009, Niacet completed design and installation of its newest production facilities for Sodium and Calcium Stearoyl Lactylates. These lactylate salts are emulsifiers commonly used in the bakery industry as dough strengtheners and crumb softeners. They also have wide applications in cosmetics and personal care products.
While there have been many accomplishments since 1978, there is more to do. The Company continues to build on the technical skills and experience that comprise its over 85 year heritage by developing and maintaining a dominant market share and a superior cost position on all the products it manufactures.