West Virginia Department of Commerce Success Stories

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Success Stories

DuPont Belle: Team approach to chemical productivity and safety

Employs approximately 425 DuPont employees and 160 contract employees in the Belle manufacturing plant
Produces two dozen products, including dimethyl sulfate for dyes, perfumes and fabric softeners; the propellant dimethyl ether; methyl amines used in detergents, explosives, pharmaceuticals and solvents; glycolic acid for cosmetics; a gamut of crop-protection intermediate chemicals; and plastics components
Received the DuPont Board of Director's Award for Excellence in Safety 30 times
Earned the distinction of being the Safest Plant in the World in 1999
Laboratory is both ISO certified and certified by the State Division of Environmental Protection

DuPont Belle employs more than 580 people at its chemical plant in Belle, W. Va. The manufacturing area occupies a 105-acre plot nearly a mile long. DuPont set aside 490 undeveloped acres as a Wildlife Habitat Area.

The Belle site has two river docks for shipping, rail service and five major trucking terminals located within 20 miles of the site. The plant is within a few miles of Interstates 64, 79 and 77.

“With West Virginia’s access to rail, river and road, we can transport our raw materials in and our products out easily and efficiently,” said plant manager Bill Menke.

Its chemical product line puts the DuPont Belle operation in competition with foreign as well as U.S. manufacturers. The facility’s empowered work force and team-based approach provides the flexibility they need to adapt to changing conditions in a globally competitive marketplace. Said Menke, “Our team-based approach provides a good environment that encourages people to contribute. Our work teams routinely come up with ideas to improve operations and lower costs without sacrificing safety.”

Keeping that competitive edge is made easier with West Virginia’s reasonable electrical power rates, productive work ethic, and responsive governmental agencies, he said. “Perhaps because West Virginia is a small state, government officials are accessible. We can arrange a forum for communications. They will talk to you and work with you to meet your needs.”

Stockmeier Urethanes USA, Making the CASE for West Virginia

A 35,000 square foot CASE (Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants and Elastomer) urethane blending plant in Harrison County, West Virginia
First North American production plant for German polyurethane system supplier Stockmeier Kunststoffe GmbH & Co. KG
Broke ground for plant construction in late 2003
Modern automated facility designed to be safe, efficient, clean and easy to use
Recruited entire work force — including plant operators, chemists and mangers — through West Virginia Job Service

Stockmeier Urethanes USA is a CASE (Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants and Elastomers) urethane blender.

Parent company Stockmeier Urethanes develops, produces and sells polyurethane systems. It constructed a production facility in Germany in 1991 and a second in France in 1996. In 2003, the corporation broke ground for a new full-size manufacturing operation in Clarksburg. The West Virginia site established the global urethane supplier’s first production enterprise in North America.

The automated plant is designed for ease of use, safety and efficiency. Unlike the industry’s aging factories, the new West Virginia plant is built to concentrate solely on polyurethane products. Applications include sports surfaces such as running tracks, children’s playgrounds and artificial turf; decorative surfaces; weather-resistant elastomers for roofs, parking decks and trucks; structural adhesives are available for industrial applications; casting resins for cable, electrical and technical applications; and ancillary products such as cleaners and catalysts.

West Virginia is located within overnight reach of 50% of the U.S. population. The state’s proximity to major centers of commerce, combined with its extensive network of interstates and highways, puts Stockmeier Urethanes USA within easy reach of raw materials and customers across the country, said Vice President and Operations Manager Michael Robinson.

“In all my hiring history, I have never obtained a better, brighter, more dedicated group of employees,” said Robinson. “We filled all the positions, including management, through the West Virginia Job Service. Working with the Job Service gave us excellent results, and allowed me to focus more of my attention on building the plant.”

Bayer MaterialScience, Producing innovative polyols in a safe work environment

Employs a work force of approximately 180 in the South Charleston manufacturing plant and technical center facilities
Produces a very wide range of specialty polyols used in such diverse applications as from automotive seating foam, furniture foam, footwear and recreational items.
The only BMS location that produces high polymer solids content polyols and the innovative Hyperlite III polyether polyols for the automotive seating market
ISO Quality certified since 1994
Zero non-compliance findings in both periodic surveillance and full re-certification audits for the past 8 years

Bayer MaterialScience employs about 180 people at its plant and technical center in South Charlestown. As part of more than 40 sites throughout the world, these facilities contribute to Bayer MaterialScience's worldwide leadership in polyurethane production and technology.

Each year, the plant produces millions of pounds of polyols (a polyurethane raw material) used in products that range from automotive seating foam to furniture to inline skate wheels. The West Virginia facility is the only BMS location that produces high polymer solids content polyols and the innovative Hyperlite III polyether polyols for the automotive seating market.

West Virginia has the transportation infrastructure, the skilled workforce, and the support of state government and industry associations necessary for ongoing success, said Vice President Glenn Kraynie, BMS South Charleston Plant Management. Being in West Virginia conveniently locates the manufacturer within one day of 74 percent of the U.S. polyols market. The facility can receive raw materials and ship products by barge, rail and truck. West Virginia has highly trained skilled workers and technical resources that support the chemical industry.