Zeon suspended operations at its Shunan City, Yamaguchi Prefecture plant Jan. 15 after a temporary discharge stack, installed to maintain operations while the main discharge stack was being reinforced, malfunctioned.
The cause was determined to be the material out of which the temporary discharge stack was made, according to Zeon.
"In early January, fallen debris (iron rust) discharged from the stack was observed on the premises of Zeon and of an adjacent company," Zeon stated. "After investigating the cause of the problem and implementing countermeasures, Zeon determined that a complete solution could not be reached and decided to temporarily shut down the boiler facilities."
And since the boiler supplies electricity, steam and other important power sources for the facility, the entire plant—except for safety equipment—was affected.
As operations resume, Zeon plans to use the existing stack even as reinforcements proceed on the chimney, pending a current review of the restart plan.
"Zeon has confirmed that both the existing and temporary stack are functioning properly and that emission data, such as soot concentration, is within the normal range," Zeon said. "Since the fallen debris is large enough to be confirmed visually, it is unlikely to remain floating in the air, and the risk of inhaling it is considered low.
"The area within the range of (earlier) falling debris is also limited at this time."
Zeon produces specialty elastomers, polymers and chemicals.
Customers should direct further inquiries to the sales representatives of Elastomers Sales and Marketing; Elastomers Division (synthetic rubbers, synthetic latices); Sales and Marketing, C5 Chemicals Division (polymerized toner); and the CNT Division (single-walled nanotubes).