Additives for Polymers (v.2008, #7)

New Brunswick-based Akcros Chemicals Inc, USA has developed a new low-odour reverse ester mercaptide tin substrate stabilizer for the PVC siding, fencing and profile extrusion market. According to the company, Akcrostab™ T-5311 is a low-cost tin stabilizer suitable for rigid PVC extrusions where weatherability is not critical.

Masterbatch manufacturer Ampacet has introduced a new chrome-effect product for extrusion and injection blow-moulded bottles as a lower-cost and more environmentally friendly alternative to the use of metal dips. The company has also launched a range of ice-effect colorant masterbatches aimed at packaging applications for liquid products.

Cytec Industries Inc has introduced a new family of polymer additives – Cyasorb Cynergy Solutions™ light stabilizers. The company says that the new range of stabilizers was developed to meet the ‘demanding performance requirements’ of specific plastics applications.

Rhode Island-based Teknor Color Co has developed three new series of colour concentrates based on three different carrier systems for use with polylactic acid (PLA) resins and blends. The company says the colorants will help manufacturers of packaging, bags, liners and other extruded or moulded products to meet consumer demand for goods that are biodegradable and based on renewable resources.

Ashland Composite Polymers, a business of Ohio-based Ashland Inc, has extended the availability of its Neulon 480 low-profile additive to European automotive manufacturers using sheet moulding compound (SMC). The additive is said to provide a significant improvement in external body finish.

Japan's Katayama Chemical Inc, based in Osaka, is preparing to launch eco-friendly flame retardants derived from vinyl phosphonates, according to a report in Japan Chemical Week. The products are said to considerably reduce emissions compared to some other flame retardants used in plastics.

Bayer MaterialScience LLC (Bayer MS) has unveiled a new set of Leda™ compounded colour technology visual effects as part of its Fantasia™ range designed for use with the company's Makrolon™ polycarbonate resin. Four effects families within the Leda group of product lines have been extended with new colours and finishes that ‘reflect the hottest colour trends’, Bayer MS says.

Connecticut-based polymer additives major Chemtura Corp has sold its organic-based stabilizers (OBS™) product line for rigid PVC applications to Baerlocher. At the same time, the German company has also acquired a licence for use of Chemtura's OBS patents as well as know-how for flexible applications.

New Jersey-based masterbatch firm Polyvel Inc has developed a pelletized plasticizer masterbatch for commercial compounding into nylon 6. HP-N01 is 40% N-butyl benzene sulphonamide in a nylon 6 carrier resin.

Clariant Masterbatches reports that it has expanded its operations in Southeast Asia, doubling its manufacturing footprint and establishing a regional headquarters in Thailand, and adding capacity in Indonesia. Construction of a new masterbatch facility in China's southern city of Guangzhou is also reported to be on schedule for start-up in June 2008. Investment levels and capacity figures for the individual facilities have not been disclosed. Business in the Asia-Pacific region is growing at two to three times the rate in Europe and North America, Clariant says.

California-based Yuntinic Resources, Inc, a subsidiary company of China's largest tin producer Yunnan Tin Co Ltd, has doubled its overall manufacturing capacity for PVC tin stabilizers with the addition of a second plant for these products. Located in Gejiu, China, the new plant was scheduled to start up in June 2008 with a capacity of an additional 6000 tonnes per year of methyltin PVC stabilizers.

Cleveland-based PolyOne Corp is to expand liquid colour concentrate production capabilities at its Massillon plant in Northern Ohio. This expansion, which includes the installation of high-speed media mills and upgraded high intensity mixers, is expected to increase the facility's capacity for these products by up to 50% while enhancing product quality and consistency.

Norway's Elkem Materials is building a new plant to expand production capacity at its Elkem Salten operation in Straumen. The facility manufactures speciality microsilicas for the worldwide plastics and rubber markets.

Major manufacturers of flame retardants, antioxidants and other phosphorus-containing polymer additives have announced a fresh round of price increases in order to offset the volatile and rapidly escalating costs of the element and ensure a continuing supply of their products. According to Albemarle, there is an unprecedentedly high demand for elemental phosphorus at present, exacerbated by a shortage of energy in key producing regions of China. In addition, Lanxess cites a sixfold increase in China's export tax for phosphorus from 20% to 120% from 20 May this year, which is affecting prices globally. The companies warn that they may be required to enact further price increases with little notice.

According to Ciba's CEO Brendan Cummins, dramatic changes in the currency and raw material environment had a more adverse effect on the company's first quarter results than predicted, with sales in Swiss francs down 6% to CHF1.56 billion and net income of CHF37 million, less than half the 1Q 2007 figure of CHF76 million. Although good underlying growth continues in many of Ciba's markets, the impact of the economic slowdown on overall sales growth is clearly apparent in NAFTA and in Europe, Cummins says. Asia and the Middle East are proving to be more resilient.

Swiss-based speciality chemicals major Clariant posted sales of CHF2.112 billion for the first quarter of 2008, representing a 3% sales growth in local currencies but a 2% decline in Swiss francs due to adverse currency effects. Net income for the quarter declined to CHF41 million from CHF86 million in 1Q 2007 as a result of higher restructuring costs and unfavourable currency effects, which wiped CHF44 million from the net result.

Canadian publisher ChemTec Publishing has recently released a new book authored by George Wypych on the degradation and stabilization of polyvinyl chloride. PVC is enjoying a resurgence in global interest – with many medical, pharmaceutical, industrial and consumer goods applications – which can be attributed to the increasing use of non-toxic stabilizers and other additives. PVC stabilization is the most important aspect of its formulation and performance.