Additives for Polymers (v.2008, #4)

Researchers at the UK's University of Leeds claim to have developed a simpler, cheaper and greener method of extracting higher yields of titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment. The Leeds process is reported to provide an average yield of up to 97% TiO2, compared with the current industry average of 85%, and to require significantly less chlorine than the conventional chloride production route.

ShengdaTech Inc of Taian, Shandong, China, is launching a new nano-precipitated calcium carbonate (NPCC) product for use in polyethylene (PE). The product was developed through collaboration with Peter's Polyethylene Industries Pte, Ltd, the largest plastics manufacturer in Singapore.

Philadelphia-based Rohm and Haas has introduced Paraloid™ K-445, a processing aid that is claimed to provide new and greatly improved processing of cellular polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for extruders and manufacturers. Cellular PVC is a fast-growing innovative material that is achieving wide interest across a number of industries because of its combination of lighter weight and good strength.

Rhodia Silcea, the fine inorganic chemistry operation of international chemical company Rhodia, has launched a new generation of high surface-area silicas for energy-saving tyres. The Zeosil® Premium range is said to offer a significant further reduction in tyre rolling resistance compared to existing high-performance silicas used for this application.

Following a lengthy development exercise, UK colour masterbatch manufacturer Silvergate Plastics, part of the multinational Vita Group, has launched ColourFrost, a new masterbatch that delivers a frosted finish to mouldings.

Plastics additives major Chemtura Corp has agreed to sell its global oleochemicals business to New Jersey-based PMC Group NA Inc for an undisclosed amount, subject to financing and other conditions. Included in the transaction is Chemtura's facility in Memphis, TN, the business's primary manufacturing location. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2008.

Ludwigshafen-based BASF SE is reorganizing its masterbatch business in Europe, which in future will operate under the name BASF Color Solutions. The changes affect the company's existing five European masterbatch subsidiaries located in Cologne (Germany), Apeldoorn (The Netherlands), Clermont (France), Kuurne (Belgium) and Cervelló (Spain).

Germany's Evonik Industries AG is expanding oxo alcohol production capacity at its Marl site by 60 000 tonnes per year. The plasticizer alcohol 2-propyl heptanol (2-PH) will also be produced there for the first time. The 2-PH facility is scheduled to come on stream in the second half of 2009, the company says.

Ohio-based Dover Chemical Corp reports that it has completed a new production facility for its Doverphos S-9228 free-flowing solid phosphite antioxidant. The new plant began production in late 2007 and is included in the company's ISO 9001 certificate.

North American PVC manufacturer Georgia Gulf Corp has launched a PVC additives division under the name Solucor.

Colorant specialist Holland Colours, headquartered in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, is expanding production capacity at its facility in Szolnok in Hungary. Recent and ongoing investments are doubling capacity at the site ‘to meet the growing demands of the plastics industry’, the company says.

Specialist polymer materials provider PolyOne has opened a third colour development centre in China, located in Tianjin. The company, which already has colour development centres in Shanghai and Shenzhen, says it will use the latest facility to develop new customer-specific colour and additive solutions and to speed up new product introductions in North China and Korea.

Global speciality chemicals firm Cytec Industries Inc posted net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2007 of US$47.6 million on net sales of $901 million. Excluding special items, net earnings were $47.1 million. Net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2006 were $83.4 million ($37.4 million excluding special items) on net sales of $794 million.

Basel-based Ciba Inc delivered net income of CHF237 million (€151 million) in 2007 compared to a net loss of CHF41 million the previous year. Sales increased 3% in Swiss francs terms to CHF6.523 billion, or 2% in local currencies, compared to CHF6.352 billion in 2006.

For full year 2007, Clariant International Ltd, headquartered in Muttenz, Switzerland, posted net sales of CHF8.533 billion (c. €5.2 billion), up 5% in Swiss francs and 4% in local currencies from CHF8.10 billion in 2006. Although sales in the second half of the year were not as strong as in the first half, sales in the fourth quarter recovered after a slower third quarter, the company reports.

US gravimetric blender specialist Maguire Products Inc reports that it has developed an advanced method of loading material into a gravimetric feeder. The loader/feeder combination is claimed to makes it possible to meter colorants or additives into a plastics processing machine with a degree of accuracy far exceeding that achieved with a volumetric feeder.

Plastics Information Direct, the technical publishing division of Bristol-based Applied Market Information Ltd (AMI), has published a new techno-economic study entitled Fillers and Their Surface Modifiers for Polymer Applications. Authored by independent consultant Prof Roger Rothon, the study considers the European market for particulate fillers used in all three major categories of polymers – thermoplastics, rubbers and thermosets.