Eastman Chemical Company, United States of America

In 1999, Eastman Chemical Company began construction of a small-scale current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) facility in Arkansas, US. The plant, which was designed and constructed by Kvaerner Engineering, produces custom pharmaceutical intermediates and bulk actives, as well as fine chemicals. It was the first of two cGMP manufacturing plants to be built at Eastman's Arkansas site.

The small-scale plant was fully operational by the fourth quarter of 2000. Construction of the large-scale plant started in 2001 and was completed by 2003.

"The small-scale plant was the first part of the company's two-phase cGMP North American campaign to expand in the pharmaceutical industry."

Headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee, Eastman Chemical Company manufactures and markets chemicals, fibres and plastics. The small-scale plant was the first part of the company's two-phase cGMP North American campaign to expand in the pharmaceutical industry. It preceded the construction of a commercial-scale cGMP plant capable of manufacturing multiple metric tons of pharmaceutical intermediates and bulk actives.

The small-scale plant manufactures pharmaceutical intermediates and bulk actives under cGMP in quantities ranging from grams to metric tons. It has two main sections:

  • The smaller section houses 22l reaction systems for manufacturing initial quantities of new chemical entities (NCEs) under cGMP conditions
  • The larger section manufactures multiple-kilogram to metric-ton quantities of cGMP pharmaceutical intermediates and bulk actives in a mix of 100 and 300 gallon reaction vessels. These vessels offer flexibility for a host of organic syntheses including hydrogenation, halogenations and low-temperature reactions

The technology employed at the Arkansas facility ranges from general-purpose batch processing equipment, featuring computer-controlled equipment, to small-scale and commercial-scale cGMP plants. Dedicated continuous processing facilities are also available to meet customer production requirements.

Batch reactors (over 60 made of glass and stainless steel, 1,000–3,000 gallon capacity) special reactors (chlorinators and sulfonators) continuous equipment (dedicated and limited general-purpose) and a cryogenic hastelloy reactor are used for the synthetic process.

Centrifuges (Hastelloy and stainless steel), nutsches (epoxy and stainless steel) and a Flaker system are used to carry out the isolation process. Meanwhile, Eastman uses process vacuum stills (multiple receivers) and batch vacuum stills (glass and stainless steel) for the distillation process. For the auxiliary process, it uses rotary vacuum dryers (glass and stainless steel) and a solvent recovery bulk storage clarification filter Hastelloy auto filter dryer.


The laboratory at the small plant comprises over 13,000ft² of modern lab space. It offers comprehensive analytical process improvement and product development services. Besides employing classical methods, the laboratory can perform reaction calorimetry, kinetics and thermal hazard analysis, reaction modelling (using simulation software), mobile real time RT IR reaction analysis, and process instrumentation analysis.

General-purpose bulk storage and dedicated bulk storage facilities (including glass, stainless steel and rubber-lined vessels) are available for solvent, raw-material and finished-product storage. Warehousing and distribution warehouse space comprises 200,000ft² of heated space, 4,800ft² of refrigerated space and additional room for special storage needs.


In July 2006 the Eastman Chemical plant was sold, with the deal completed by the end of 2006, to Viceroy Acquisition Corporation. Jim Rogers, president of Eastman Chemical Company and head of the Chemicals and Fibers business group, said: "The Arkansas facility has been an important part of Eastman's business since the late 1970s.

"In July 2006 the Eastman Chemical plant was sold, with the deal completed by the end of 2006, to Viceroy Acquisition Corporation."

"However, it does not fit with the company's current strategy of driving growth in our core businesses and on taking full advantage of new growth opportunities. This divestiture will result in a better alignment of company resources with our strategy."

The plant not only manufactures pharmaceutical ingredients and fine chemicals but also had become a major producer of biodiesel in the State of Arkansas. The site was purchased for $75m and all of the 408 personnel were retained. The plant's cGMP facility still produces organic compounds for fibres, food and beverage production, as well as household and personal products and pharmaceuticals.

One of the major focuses of expansion at the plant currently is the production of biodiesel and bioethanol. FutureFuel Chemical Company now operates the former Eastman Chemical Company 24MMgy biodiesel plant in Batesville. Biodiesel production at the plant was only 8MMgy in 2001 and having tripled since that time is eventually expected to be over 100MMgy.