The production site at Weiterstadt came into existence as the result of great demand during the 1960s for PLEXIGLAS® and other products from Röhm & Haas GmbH, as it was then called. When capacity in the main factory in Darmstadt had been expanded as far as possible, the company’s management looked for another suitable site. In 1966 they decided on a 375,000 m² piece of land in Weiterstadt, only three kilometers away from the main site and one kilometer away from the highway. At the end of 1968 the first plant went into production, manufacturing extruded sheets of PLEXIGLAS®. The official opening followed a few weeks later, at the beginning of 1969. In the same year, a 20,000 m2 shop for cutting, storing and dispatching sheets began operation.
The expansion of its capacity made it possible for Röhm & Haas GmbH to finalize a contract with the company responsible for organizing the Olympic games. For the roof of the Olympic buildings in Munich the factory produced almost 80,000 m2 of cast PLEXIGLAS® sheets. These had to be manufactured, cut to size and stored on-site, which required an enormous amount of space.
New product line in Weiterstadt
In 1973, increased demand for the engine oil additive VISCOPLEX®, which had been manufactured exclusively since 1953 in the main factory in Darmstadt, resulted in the construction of a new production plant in Weiterstadt. VISCOPLEX® is added to engine and gear oils to ensure that the flow properties of the oils remain constant even when temperature fluctuates widely. RohMax Additives GmbH was established for this division, which today is a 100 percent Evonik subsidiary. In Weiterstadt the major oil companies, such as Shell, BP, Aral and Esso supply raw oil in railway tankers from Hamburg or Rotterdam and return with the finished VISCOPLEX®.
Along with this new production and dispatch plant in Weiterstadt, there were further enhancements to the extrusion equipment throughout the 1970s and 80s, for example, the addition of a continuously operating large-scale extrusion system. In 2000, production at the former Agomer GmbH in Hanau-Wolfgang was transferred completely to Weiterstadt. Similarly, the PLEXIGLAS® casting plant was extended with a new, fully-automatic system. The casting operation from Darmstadt was integrated with it. Today, this production line is one of the most modern acrylic glass casting systems in the world.
In keeping with company tradition, the gates of the factory in Weiterstadt are made of steel filled with PLEXIGLAS® . At the 9th German steel construction awards, the site received a commendation for one of the best buildings in Germany. In 1981, a shipping hall for EUDRAGIT® pharmaceutical products was added, and later a corresponding production plant was built to supplement the Darmstadt facilities.
The factory area in Weiterstadt now covers 430,000 m2. The Evonik site Weiterstadt is purely a production and marketing site that employs approximately 600 people.