Additives for Polymers (v.2007, #9)

Germany's Sachtleben Chemie GmbH, a manufacturer of white pigments, fillers and functional additives for polymer films, has developed an innovative antiblocking concept for transparent polyester films. Unlike existing additives, Sachtleben's specially designed particles significantly enhance film gloss and minimize turbidity, setting new technological standards, the company claims. The product will be debuted at K 2007.

With biodegradable and compostable biopolymers increasingly in demand for ‘green’ packaging and consumer goods applications, Clariant Masterbatches is introducing a new family of all-natural colorants and additives for use in these environmentally friendly polymers. Based on natural materials like flowers, the new RENOL®-natur colour masterbatches and CESA®-natur additive masterbatches are biodegradable and renewable, making them ideal for marketers who emphasize conservation and sustainability, the company says.

Arkema Inc has added an opaque, high-efficiency grade to its line of Clearstrength® MBS impact modifiers. Intended for use in injection moulding, opaque sheet and profile applications, new Clearstrength 859 impact modifier imparts up to 20% higher impact strength compared to traditional opaque impact modifiers, according to the company.

Milliken Chemical will launch a new grade of its Hyperform HPN-20E nucleating agent for polyethylene this autumn at the Düsseldorf K 2007 show. The company claims the new product will make cost-effective property modification of PE ‘a first-time reality for converters, resin and masterbatch producers’.

Dutch polymer additives firm Addcomp Holland BV is expanding production capacity at its Nijverdal plant with the addition of two further extrusion lines. The company says the investment is in response to brisk sales in Europe, North America and Asia.

Albemarle Corp has increased its ownership interest from 25% to 75% in its two Chinese antioxidant joint ventures: Ningbo Jinhai Albemarle Chemical & Industry Co, Ltd and Shanghai Jinhai Albemarle Fine Chemicals Co, Ltd. The company says the move will allow it to take advantage of China's growing market for plastics.

Rohm and Haas has launched Paraloid™ BPM-500, an impact modifier that broadens the usability of bioplastics by making them stronger without sacrificing clarity. The new additive supports the packaging industry's movement towards sustainability by enhancing the performance of polylactic acid (PLA) polymer.

Silver-based antimicrobial specialist Agion Technologies Inc has formed a multi-year, exclusive partnership with BASF AG to develop and commercialize styrene copolymers that will feature Agion's naturally safe, antimicrobial technology. The partnership is initially focusing on the European market, but a global rollout is envisioned in the near future.

Cabot Corp is to expand its carbon black facility in China's Tianjin Economic Technical Development Area (TEDA). Cabot Chemical (Tianjin) Co, Ltd, a joint venture with Shanghai Coking Chemical Co, will invest approximately US$65 million to construct two additional rubber blacks units, increasing the nameplate capacity of the plant from 105 000 tonnes/year to approximately 250 000 tonnes/year.

Rhein Chemie Rheinau GmbH, the wholly owned Lanxess subsidiary headquartered in Mannheim, Germany, has adopted a comprehensive realignment programme following negotiations with employee representatives. The programme will involve both investment in facilities and reduction in headcount at the Mannheim site and is designed to lessen the company's annual costs.

Rohm and Haas Co posted second quarter 2007 sales of US$2.19 billion, a 5% increase over $2.08 billion for the same period in 2006, reflecting higher demand, the favourable impact of currencies and modestly higher pricing. Sales performance was largely as anticipated, with strong growth outside North America offsetting weakness in US building and construction markets. Except for North America, sales growth in all geographic regions was in the double-digit range.

Albemarle Corp reported second quarter 2007 net income of US$53.9 million, up 24% from $43.3 million for 2Q 2006 due to strong performance in the company's Fine Chemicals and Catalysts business segments. Excluding the $3.1 million after-tax charge related to the closure of the Dayton fine chemistry facility, 2Q 2007 net income was $57.0 million. Net sales for the second quarter were down slightly from $569 million in 2006 to $564 million this year.

DSM Composite Resins has sold its Uraplast polymeric plasticizer resins business to Italy's Polynt SpA in order to focus on its core activities within the composite sector. Uraplast products are used in PVC, elastomers, adhesives, coatings and other applications.

In Japan, Sanko Co, Ltd is planning a twofold increase in phosphorus-based flame retardant capacity to 3000 tonnes/year at its Arao plant.

The brominated flame retardant (BFR) industry recently published the 2007 annual report of the Voluntary Emissions Control Action Programme (VECAP), providing ‘transparent and concise’ information on the programme's progress, and incorporating feedback and comments from regulators, industry and the public. Major achievements for this initiative in the past year include the roll-out of the programme beyond the European Union to include North America and Japan, and the extension of the emissions monitoring and reduction measures from deca-BDE to other BFRs, such as HBCD and TBBPA.

UK-based Performance Masterbatches (PMB) has developed an innovative flip-effect masterbatch that is said to offer a cost-effective alternative to conventional flip colours. Designed to colour SAN products such as party ware, the new masterbatch provides a striking colour flip with a glittering ‘edge’ glow effect, the company says.

Welcome to the new-look Additives for Polymers! While we've updated the design and layout of the newsletter, be assured that we will continue to provide the usual topical news and analysis that our readers expect.