THE SUPERABSORBERS: Evonik Garyville celebrates 30 years of keeping babies dry

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Superabsorbents, the latest generation of which are made in St. John the Baptist Parish, can absorb 500 times their own weight in liquid and retain it even under strong pressure.

Almost every diaper manufactured today contains a few grams of these granulates, and the granulates in every fifth diaper comes from Evonik.

That is especially noteworthy locally because Evonik Corporation’s Garyville site is celebrating 30 years of manufacturing.

Company leaders and staff members enjoyed the accomplishment recently with a crawfish boil for all employees, retirees, spouses and local officials.

Site Manager Danny Burns said Evonik is very excited about reaching this three-decade milestone.

Pete Terrio and Mitch Podorsky were part of a team of company leaders and staff members who enjoyed Evonik Garyville’s 30-year anniversary party for all employees, retirees, spouses and local officials.

“The length of time was achieved through the hard work and dedication of the Evonik Garyville employees, some of which have been here for the entire time,” Burns said.

The Garyville site, which employs approximately 120 people, manufactures super-absorbing polymers, which are mainly used for diapers to keep babies dry and comfortable.

Dieter Bettinger, VP of Superabsorber in NAFTA, said employees from Baton Rouge to New Orleans and in between work at the Garyville location, “so we are a melting pot for this area and this achievement reflects the innovation of our personnel and the company to meet the needs of our customers on an ongoing basis.”

Through product development, company officials said Evonik has found several other uses, such as soil treatment for arid regions, absorbent pads in food packaging and other technical applications.

The site started out as a part of Nalco in April 1987. It was sold to Stockhausen in 1996.

Stockhausen later became part of Deguss, and, in 2007, was renamed Evonik Industries.

Expansions have been made to increase capacity.

Currently, a multi-million investment is underway to manufacture a new generation of Super-absorber polymer for additional business.

The site has an excellent safety record, company leaders said, having gone more than nine years without a lost time accident and more than four years without an OSHA recordable.

Kirby Carpenter, from left, Johnell Howard, Kevin Triche and Dawayne Montz pose for a picture during the crawfish boil.