Additives for Polymers (v.2008, #1)

In response to the growing trend away from lead-based stabilizers for plastics, Germany's Baerlocher introduced new calcium-based and mixed-metal stabilizers at last October's K 2007 show. The company also launched a range of lubricant one-packs for wood-polymer composite (WPC) applications.

Korea's Songwon Industrial has broadened its range of polymer additive offerings to include halogen-free flame retardants. The company introduced its first three flame retardants at K 2007, as well as presenting additions to its key polymer stabilizer ranges.

At the K show, UK-based Huntsman Pigments launched a new titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment that is claimed to offer handling properties that are ‘far superior to any TiO2 currently available for plastics compounders’. The company believes that Deltio™ 5X will simplify handling of the white pigment, reduce dusting and lead to improvements in dosing consistency. The new product will satisfy customers’ requests for more precision in metering, the ability to clean equipment faster at product changeovers, and the need to improve the working environment for employees, Huntsman says.

French company Arkema has launched a range of additives for polylactic acid (PLA), comprising a processing aid, Biostrength™700, and two impact modifiers, Biostrength 130 and Biostrength 150. Biostrength 700 provides high melt strength performance, clarity and recyclability, while the two new impact modifiers are designed to improve the sturdiness of PLA.

Houston-based ExxonMobil Chemical has introduced Elevast™ polymer modifiers for the rubber industry. According to the company, these new speciality hydrocarbon fluids may enable formulators to create innovative solutions for EPDM and polyolefin elastomer technical applications that require improved mechanical properties across a wide range of service temperatures.

Wilmington-based DuPont has introduced DuPont™ Light Stabilizer 210, a product designed as sun protection for plastics. The company's Packaging & Industrial Polymers division also recently launched two new Entira™ permanent antistatic additives.

Swiss speciality chemicals firm Ciba has introduced a new non-phenolic stabilizer for polypropylene fibre applications. The product was unveiled at K 2007.

Songwon Industrial of Korea and W. Zink GmbH of Jettingen-Scheppach, Germany, have agreed to collaborate in order to meet European market demands for one-pack systems (OPS). This strategic cooperation allows Songwon's customers in Europe to have immediate access to several thousand tonnes of capacity based on a range of technologies.

Germany's chemicals and polymers group Degussa has been renamed as part of a change in identity by parent group RAG Beteilungs. Degussa, which was acquired by RAG last year [ADPO, November 2006], has become part of Evonik Industries AG. The new industrial group includes RAG's energy and real estate businesses but not its coalmining operations, which will retain the RAG name and will now be run separately.

Leverkusen-based chemicals group Lanxess is strengthening its operations in Central and Eastern Europe by establishing a sales company specifically for business in these growth markets. The new company, Lanxess Central Eastern Europe sro, has its headquarters in Bratislava in Slovakia and offices in Warsaw, Poland and Budapest, Hungary.

Titanium dioxide producer Millennium Inorganic Chemicals (MIC) has announced plans to close its MIC Le Havre SAS pigment plant in France. The company has started an information and consultation process with employee representatives regarding the proposed closure of the site, which currently employs 287 permanent staff.

Switzerland's Ciba Inc posted sales of CHF4.946 billion (€2.99 billion) for the first nine months of 2007, up 3% in Swiss francs and 2% in local currencies from the same period in 2006. Operating income for the period before restructuring was up 2% at CHF423 million, despite a substantial increase of about 2.5% in raw material costs. However, net income from continuing operations was impacted by an exceptional non-cash tax charge of CHF15 million which, together with restructuring charges, reduced the figure to CHF161 million compared with CHF178 million for the first nine months in 2006. Excluding those charges, income from continuing operations was up 14% from 2006 levels to CHF240 million.

Clariant International of Muttenz, Switzerland, reported a rise in sales for the first nine months of 2007 to CHF6.447 billion (€3.90 billion) from CHF6.090 billion a year earlier. This represents growth of 4% in local currencies and 6% in Swiss francs. Operating income before exceptional items declined to CHF417 million from CHF458 million for the period, while net income from continuing operations rose to CHF129 million in 2007 from CHF108 million in the first nine months of 2006. Operating cash flow almost doubled compared to the first nine months of 2006 to reach CHF320 million.

For the third quarter of 2007, French firm Arkema reported net income of €37 million, up 68% from €22 million in 3Q 2006. Quarterly sales were stable at €1.380 billion, compared to €1.387 billion for the same period in 2006. While exchange rates had a negative impact, this was offset by a major increase in volumes in several businesses, the company says.

US fluoroelastomer manufacturer 3M Dyneon is to eliminate the use of ammonium perfluorooctanoate (APFO) as a processing aid in its fluorinated plastics and elastomer production processes by the end of 2008.

Dutch company DSM reports that its patented Micabs® additive technology for dark laser marking of thermoplastics can now be used in plastic caps and closures in both Europe and the USA as it is fully compliant with the relevant requirements of the US Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the EU Framework Directive 1935/2004.