Additives for Polymers (v.2008, #8)

Product developers seeking additive masterbatches that are both biodegradable and renewable can now select several different functional ingredients in the new CESA®-natur product line from Clariant Masterbatches. According to Clariant, CESA-natur additive masterbatches, along with the RENOL®-natur colour masterbatches introduced in 2007 [ADPO, September 2007], are ideal for use with environmentally friendly biopolymers such as polylactic acid (PLA), which are becoming popular in ‘green’ packaging and consumer goods applications.

Clariant Masterbatches has also recently introduced a range of colour masterbatches that have been specially formulated for use with Purell brand medical-grade polyolefins made by LyondellBasell. The new products extend the company's existing Remafin® line and were introduced to the North American market at the MD&M-East show held in New York in early June.

Italian thermoplastics and masterbatch manufacturer Frilvam SpA has introduced a family of masterbatches for biopolymer-based packaging applications. The products are said to be suitable for use in injection moulding as well as for films and sheet extrusion.

Germany's Sachtleben, part of the Rockwood group, has developed a new rutile titanium dioxide pigment for the plastics industry.

UK-based Croda Polymer Additives has extended its range of speciality slip agents for polyolefins with the addition of Incroslip G. According to the company, the new product offers manufacturers of automotive parts, food-packaging films and containers a combination of high slip and high stability.

Italy's Viba Group has expanded its Vibatan range with the introduction of new agrochemical-resistant masterbatches for polyethylene film for use in agricultural greenhouse applications.

Preliminary studies carried out at the Agricultural Research Service's North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory in Brookings, SD, USA, in collaboration with Northern Illinois University (NIU), suggest that a co-product of commercial, corn-based ethanol fermentation could be used as a non-petroleum-based filler in plastics.

Colour and additive concentrate specialist Techmer PM reports that it has recently completed development of an improved version of its PNM13319 polyamide non-halogenated flame-retardant concentrate. First introduced in 2006 [ADPO, November 2006], PNM13319 was initially aimed at injection moulding applications. The improved form is also well suited for nylon profile extrusions, the company says.

Nanomaterials company Angstron Materials LLC, of Dayton, OH, USA, has introduced nano-graphene platelets (NGPs) as a cost-effective, high-quality alternative to carbon tubes (CNTs). The company claims to be the first to offer large quantities of the carbon-based single-atom-thick nanomaterial. It expects NGPs to find applications in the aerospace, automotive, energy, marine, electronics, construction, medical and telecommunications sectors.

In response to growing demand, European additive firm Chemson Polymer-Additive AG has established a new plant to produce lead-free one-pack PVC stabilizers at its Arnoldstein location in Austria. The plant has a production capacity of 10 000 tons per year.

Additives giant Chemtura Corporation has decided to terminate discussions on a potential sale, merger or other business combination after determining that such discussions are unlikely at this time to result in an offer at a sufficiently attractive price.

Rockwood Holdings, Inc of Princeton, NJ, USA, and Finland's Kemira Oyj have agreed to form a European joint venture combining their speciality titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment operations. The combined business will have pro forma revenues of approximately €560 million, around 1700 employees and annual production capacity of about 240 000 tonnes.

Israel's ICL Industrial Products has set up a new subsidiary in China, Jiaxing ICL Chemical Co, Ltd, in order to meet growing demand as a result of the rapid economic development in China and Asia. The new company is already building production facilities at Zhapi, Jiaxing in the Zhejiang province to manufacture phosphorus-based flame retardants and biocides for water treatment.

Price increases among manufacturers of additives and colorants for polymers are at an unprecedented level as companies seek to offset the recent ‘extraordinary escalations’ in the costs of distribution and certain key raw materials.

Boston-based Cabot Corp has announced plans to build a state-of-the art carbon black masterbatch manufacturing facility in Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone. The plant will have an initial production capacity of 25 000 tons per year with provision to expand to 75 000 tons/year in the future. The company has secured a plot of land and construction will begin later in 2008, with production scheduled to start in the autumn of 2009.

Philadelphia-based Rohm and Haas Co has announced a comprehensive set of actions to restore profitability by realigning its manufacturing footprint and support services. The initiatives will primarily impact operations in North America.

Ferro Corp posted record sales of US$607.2 million for the three months ended 31 March 2008, up 15% from $529.7 million in the first quarter of 2007. Net income for 1Q 2008 was $9.1 million, compared with $6.1 million in 1Q 2007. Operating income in 1Q 2008 included net pre-tax charges of $4.0 million, primarily related to restructuring and other manufacturing rationalization activities. The improved performance is the result of Ferro's focus on executing restructuring programmes, improving business processes and cutting costs across its worldwide operations, says CEO James F. Kirsch.

For the first quarter of 2008, Connecticut-based Chemtura Corp reported a net loss of US$21 million from continuing operations on a GAAP basis, compared to a loss of $20 million in 1Q 2007. The company also posted an operating loss of $6 million for the quarter.