Chemical Themes Variation Evident in Company Web Sites

April 1, 2000
CHEMICAL company web sites seem to be as varied as the products the manufacturers and distributors handle. As e-commerce becomes more attractive, companies

CHEMICAL company web sites seem to be as varied as the products the manufacturers and distributors handle. As e-commerce becomes more attractive, companies are posting what they have available for customers that are seeking a technological relationship. In addition to e-business services provided, companies have a means to showcase standard operating equipment.

While logistics information dominates the industry, and the web sites, companies know the value of public relations. Some of the web sites have information about educational programs furnished to schools and communities.

Following are reviews that give examples of the many different kinds of information that can be found by visiting a chemical company web site. In general, having a web site gives chemical companies the opportunity to present their services so that anyone who has an interest in the manufacturer or distributor can take a quick look. If more information is needed, the company can always be contacted directly.

Another resource for chemical company Internet addresses is the National Association of Chemical Distributors, The association provides direct links to many of its members' web sites. Coyne Chemical, Croydon, Pennsylvania, an independent chemical distributor in the eastern region, provides more than 2,400 products that are used in the production of industrial products as well as food, fragrances, flavors, and cosmetics, according to the web site.

The company headlines its services of custom blending and custom packaging. Tank trucks, rail cars, totes, and drums are part of the distribution equipment available.

"We can package products of any viscosity or freezing point, at any time of the year," the information states. "Whether you need special coding or customized labeling, Coyne can meet your needs." DuPont has designed a web site with a page for products and services that gives four ways to access information. Product information is indexed by market segments, business segment, alphabetical list, and a product database search.

For customers interested in e-commerce access involving resins, a separate address,, sets up a user name and password. Once the profile is entered, the customer can sign up for e-news to get e-mail updates about web content and CD-ROMS. Access can be granted to UL Electrical insulation, Q&A Online, case history, and specification listings. Additional customer information will also be available.

An interesting aspect of the web site is the page that provides a brief history of DuPont research and development, beginning with Eleuthere Irenee du Pont, who was a student of an 18th century French scientist and later the company's founder.

Today, DuPont invests more than $1 billion annually on research and development, according to the web site. Eastman Chemical Company customer access pages are demonstrated on the web site. To access secured information provided by the company's customer center, customers must be registered via an account identification and password. However, the demonstration will allow visitors to see how the process works.

Registered users can access product information and search data sheets by application, property, name, or trademark. Orders can be placed and revised around the clock every day and status can be reviewed. Access can be made to various documents, including material safety data sheets.

From the home page, subjects can be found on markets, product information, brands, processes, and investor information. Houghton Chemical, Boston, Massachusetts, describes the vehicles it has available for transporting chemicals in aluminum and stainless steel tank trailers custom designed for chemicals and solvents.

The company notes that there are single- and up to six-compartment tank trailers with insulation and steam coil available. The vehicles come equipped with individual discharge lines and are double bulk-headed. Special equipment on all Houghton trailers includes calibration charts with quarter-inch increments. Grounding cables with heavy duty stainless steel safety clamps are listed as special equipment as are quick-coupling fittings in four sizes.

Other specifications on the web site include solvent-proof discharge hose, static wired nonsparking tools of beryllium-copper and aluminum, and drumming equipment with nonsparking nozzles. And those are just a few of the descriptions. Nova Chemicals, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, provides information about its various joint ventures and strategic investments, including the company's relationships with Methanex Corporation and Dynegy Inc, and furnishes links to the partner's web sites. For keeping up with the company's advances in technology, another page lists product development, product tailoring, applications development, and license technology. The subjects cover Nova's programs and how they are related to their customers.

"In some cases, we can save customers money and help them improve their end products through the creative development of new, different, or better ways of using or working with our resins," the information states. "We work very closely with customers to combine our collective expertise to design and implement new or better applications." Van Waters & Rogers North America of Seattle, Washington, has posted the company's eBusiness Partners information that can be reached from the home page. Van Waters & Rogers is a worldwide chemical distributor. The same is true of the Van Waters & Rogers Inc web site, The corporate web site links to the parent company's web site, www.vopak (Royal Vopak, a Rotterdam, Netherlands company).

E-commerce subjects include a preview of services available to eBusiness partners, discounted prices, a registration section, and electronic data interchange (EDI) service.

If an eBusiness Partner wishes to examine a material safety data sheet (MSDS) for products that are purchased from Van Waters & Rogers, the information is only a few clicks away.

The page demonstrates the service by submitting caustic soda and sulfuric acid as examples. "In the real customer order entry system, you would be able to read the entire MSDS for this product. VW&R has a comprehensive data base of more than 10,000 MSDS," the demonstration states.

E-mail forms are available to register for the eBusiness Partner program, and codes will be provided to enter the secured section of the web site. Partners have access to members-only services such as order entry and MSDS. Vulcan Materials Company, Birmingham, Alabama, features its Science Center, a resource for teachers, on the home page. Not only is the section of interest for teachers, it is an excellent source for other companies who may be considering a similar program.

One program for studying chlorine suggests chemistry can be made interesting without tackling the whole periodic table at once. "Recognizing basic elements as building blocks is essential to the study of science," the information states. "And looking closer at one element in particular chlorine can help ignite students' interest in chemistry."

Also headlined on the home page is the company news section with latest information. Unlike some company web sites that seem to lack updating, the Vulcan news pages have current information, including a March announcement of a name change. The company announces that its specialty chemicals businesses will be combined into one business unit with a common name, Vulcan Performance Chemicals. The newly named business will offer an expanded product range and national reach to better serve customers in a variety of industries.

Information about the company's ISO certifications are posted, as well as the type of audits that are conducted annually to maintain the registrations.