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Located to the south of Lyon, in the heart of the Vallée de la chimie [Chemical Valley], Arkema’s Pierre-Bénite platform comprises a manufacturing site, the Centre de recherche Rhône-Alpes (CRRA), and the Centre technique, informatique et administratif (CETIA), a genuine shared services center for the Group. With close to 1,000 employees, the facility is one of Arkema’s major employment hubs in France.

Activities of the Pierre-Bénite Plant

In the face of technological, competitiveness and ecological transition issues and challenges, Arkema is engaged in an ambitious transformation of this site to address growing demand for new materials, in particular for current and future generations of Lithium-ion batteries.

With its 400-strong workforce, the Pierre-Bénite manufacturing plant specializes in the production of fluorochemicals. It produces Forane® fluorogases as well as the Kynar® polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) specialty polymer. The plant’s products are used in a number of sectors: construction, renewable energies, air-conditioning, electronics, chemical engineering, and pharmaceuticals…

Certified OHSAS 18001, the Pierre-Bénite plant meets the requirements of safety regulations by carrying out hazard studies, training its staff in safety, and conducting regular exercises with internal teams and external response teams.

In order to constantly improve working conditions and ensure everyone’s safety, the Pierre-Bénite plant has an integrated management reference system (Arkema Integrated Management System).

Pierre-Bénite, a unique global position in the semi-conductor market 

With its ultra electrochemical purity, Kynar® PVDF manufactured in Pierre-Bénite is the benchmark material in the semi-conductor market earmarked for microprocessors in ever growing demand.

The Pierre-Bénite facility is the only Arkema site among Arkema’s three PVDF production sites in the world to produce the high performance grades required for this market.

The development of batteries in Europe, a growth opportunity for the site

A benchmark polymer material in the Lithium-ion battery technology, Kynar® PVDF has been renowned and enjoying a leading position in this buoyant market for over 10 years. It is used by all major battery manufacturers in Asia and the US, and is currently being certified by European “pure players” that have emerged following the advent of the European “Gigafactories” ecosystem.

The emulsion polymerization and copolymerization technology developed in Pierre-Bénite has enabled Arkema to gain a strong position in this market and a foothold in each of the market’s segments (electronics, electric vehicles, stationary energy storage related to 5G, etc.).

In recent years Arkema has also conducted significant research work in the field of Foranext® fluorinated lithium salts, key components in the manufacture of electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries, and is now in a position to carry out the development of new generation salts, namely LiFSI.

Dedicated to battery technologies, the Christian Colette Center of Excellence was established and installed within the Centre de Recherche Rhône-Alpes on this platform in 2021.

A great investment drive

Close to €100 M have been invested for over 10 years in maintenance, hygiene, safety and environment, as well as in R&D to improve the site’s security and safety, minimize its impact on the environment, and develop new high added value and resilient activities and product ranges, thus capitalizing on the emergence of new markets in Europe, in particular in Lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

To support the growth of materials for the lithium-ion batteries market, Arkema announced in November 2021 a project to invest in a production line for a new Kynar® PVDF biosourced product range on the Pierre-Bénite site. These new grades will be produced from a pine oil derivative.

Alongside this platform, a pilot line dedicated to the pre-industrialization of the next generations of electrolytes for the batteries of the future is already operational.

more information

 

A pro-active commitment to minimize the environmental impact

As part of its societal commitment, Arkema operates as a responsible manufacturer driven by an initiative of constant progress in reducing the environmental footprint of its activities. Accordingly, every year the Pierre-Bénite site conducts hundreds of measurements and sampling points in water and air and in the analysis of its wastes in order to monitor and control its emissions and comply with current regulations.

Classified as Seveso 2 high threshold, the plant complies with the European directive on the control of major-accident hazards. Always aiming to limit the impact of its activities on the environment, the Pierre-Bénite production unit is certified ISO 14001.

In 2014, with the support of the Water Agency, the site installed a treatment plant to filter out suspended solids, at a cost of €10 M.

Moreover, pre-empting new regulations, Arkema has deliberately undertaken a process to substitute fluorinated additives used in small amounts in the manufacture of certain products.

Thanks to a major multi-million euro R&D program, the Group today is a pioneer in the development of an industrial technique for the manufacture of fluoropolymers without the use of fluorinated additives, and the Pierre-Bénite site will no longer resort to fluorinated additives by 2024.

Finally, the latest industrial investment announced at the end of 2021 includes a new €3 M treatment plant for production process effluents.

Meanwhile, as part of a pro-active approach to dialog with its stakeholders, Arkema contributes to developing in Pierre-Bénite, as with all its manufacturing sites, relations of trust over the long term through its “Common Ground” initiative which aims to develop community relations and open dialog with the people and communities in the vicinity of the site.

Community Involvement

As part of Common Ground®, the CETIA and CRRA of Pierre-Bénite organize actions with elected officials, local residents, and school groups.

Included these actions:

  • Presence at the Mondial des métiers, Rhône Alpes Disabled Forum, and HandiAgora job fair

  • Sponsor of the Envol trophée (Pierre-Bénite’s international athletics meet) and of the Les foulées de Beauregard sports festival in Saint-Genis-Laval

  • Participation in Run in Lyon

  • Hosting of the cinema workshop at the social center Graine de vie in Pierre-Bénite for a film shooting.

  • Meeting with stakeholders (elected officials, press, school audiences)

  • Partnership with NATURAMA to preserve local biodiversity

  • Interview with an employee with a disability as part of the “La tête de l’emploi” (Right Person for the Job) series

 

 

 

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The CETIA of Pierre-Bénite

A Global Expertise and Engineering Center

Arkema’s technical, IT, and administrative expertise brought together at the CETIA contributes to the performance of Business Units (BUs) and industrial sites. It is a group of around 500 people in six entities with innovative engineering and focusing on excellence and sustainable development:

  • ITEAM—The Information Systems and Telecommunications Department defines and implements the Group’s IS strategy, proposing solutions adapted to users’ needs while integrating the challenges linked to cybersecurity.
  • The Technical Department plays the role of industrial architect, responsible for movement from the laboratory to the production site. It designs and builds high-performance industrial units with criteria that respect reliability, safety, health protection, and the environment.
  • GASP—The Goods and Services Purchasing Department manages all purchases of goods and services for recurring expenditures and investment expenditures of Arkema industrial sites and establishments, in accordance with specifications and at the best cost.
  • The Process Department supports BUs in the choice and improvement of processes and associated technologies. It is also carrying out advanced research into the most promising technologies.
  • The Process Safety Department participates in defining the Group’s requirements for the prevention of industrial accidents, and advises BUs and plants with specialized tools and training.
  • The teams of the Shared HR and Accounts Payable Service Centers support those present on the sites. The HR department is in charge of administrative activities and training, and the accounting department is in charge of invoices and expense reports for the establishments of Arkema and its subsidiaries.
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