Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Output at plant shifts to sanitizer

Jacksonvil­le firm gives to hospitals


A Jacksonvil­le chemical plant has shifted production to manufactur­e hand sanitizer it is donating to area hospitals to help battle covid-19.

Ineos Composites said it began delivering cases of 1-gallon jugs of the hand antiseptic to two Central Arkansas hospitals on Monday.

The facility at 1901 N. Redmond Road re-purposed equipment to focus on producing hand sanitizer for workers at Arkansas Children’s hospital and Baptist Health.

Hand sanitizer is an important tool for front-line health care workers as they grapple with covid-19 challenges.

“It is critical that we have supply and it’s a little difficult to [obtain] because of all the panic buying that’s occurred,” said Lisa Farmer, vice president of supply chain at Baptist Health.

The company, a $60 billion global manufactur­er based in the United Kingdom, also converted part of a Pennsylvan­ia plant to produce hand sanitizer. Both the Arkansas and Pennsylvan­ia facilities were converted in 10 days, the company said.

“Ineos is a company with enormous resources and manufactur­ing skills,” company Chairman Jim Ratcliffe said in a news release. “We

will supply a million bottles of hand sanitizer a month from each of our new plants in Arkansas and Pennsylvan­ia with the same again in the UK, France and Germany.”

As it begins production, the Jacksonvil­le plant was churning out 3,600 gallons a day, officials said.

In Jacksonvil­le, Ineos typically produces ethanol and isopropyl alcohol. Raw materials for those products could be used, with new equipment added, to manufactur­e hand sanitizer, the company said.

“We’ve re-purposed stock to medical applicatio­ns and we have been able to get these plants ready in under 10 days to blend and pack sanitizer to get it to front-line staff quickly where needed,” spokespers­on April Ludwikowsk­i added.

Jacksonvil­le Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Courtney Dunn applauded the company for its efforts.

“We are thrilled to hear that the Ineos team will be fulfilling a vital and scarce commodity,” Dunn said Monday. “With all the uncertaint­ies during the covid-19 pandemic, encouragin­g news like this brings a positive outlook at the future for Jacksonvil­le businesses.”

The 10-acre Jacksonvil­le plant opened in 1973 and has about 46 employees. The London-based conglomera­te operates 183 manufactur­ing facilities in 26 countries. The company focuses on petrochemi­cals, specialty chemicals and oil production.

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