Additives for Polymers (v.2008, #9)

Ohio-based Carbolytic Materials Co (CMC) has developed a carbon black alternative extracted from scrap tyres. Trade named ApexCM™, the material is claimed to offer significant cost reduction opportunities, and an environmentally sound option, for the many manufacturers who use carbon black to reinforce rubber products and tint plastic materials.

Speciality materials company Rohm and Haas has introduced Paraloid™ SureCel™ foam cell stabilizer for cellular PVC trim manufacture. Described as ‘a major innovation in additives' for this application area, the new product is a completely new technology platform that offers free foam cellular PVC trim manufacturers ‘exceptional benefits' that are unavailable from any other supplier or technology, the company claims.

Masterbatch specialist Ampacet has launched CrystalClear™ 603192-PT, a UV absorber additive that is claimed to improve upon standard PET UV technology by delivering greater package clarity and lower cost alongside all of the UV protection benefits that preserve product integrity, colour, flavour and nutritional value.

BASF's Hexamoll® DINCH plasticizer achieved the highest eco-efficiency rating in an evaluation of five different commercially available non-phthalate plasticizer types. The analysis was carried out by BASF and independently verified by the German organization TUV Rheinland, which validated the eco-efficiency analysis method. The analysis assessed the ecological properties of a product over its complete life cycle from manufacture to disposal, incorporating the costs of production and use.

New Jersey-based Datacolor, a specialist in digital colour management technology, is introducing Match Pigment® 2.0, a new version of its colour management software for the plastics, paint and ink industries. The software includes a number of new technologies, as well as a job queuing function, the company says.

Ohio-based Americhem Inc has partnered with Cocona, Inc of Colorado to create a ‘unique masterbatch' of activated carbon. Fabrics made with nylon and polyester fibres containing this additive offer excellent moisture management and are cool and comfortable for athletes and active professionals, the companies say.

Michigan-based Dow Chemical Co is buying US speciality chemicals producer Rohm and Haas in a US$18.8 billion transaction. According to Dow, the acquisition will make it the world's leading speciality chemicals and advanced materials company, combining the two organizations' technologies, broad geographic reach and strong industry channels to create an ‘outstanding business portfolio' with significant growth opportunities.

Belgium's Solvay SA has sold its Priex functionalized additives business to Addcomp Holland BV, the specialist supplier of one-pack additive systems, for an undisclosed sum. The deal covers the Priex technology, production equipment, patents and global customer portfolio.

German chemicals giant BASF SE is to begin construction of a second oxidizing plant for the production of synthetic waxes at its Ludwigshafen site in late 2008. From 2010 the plant will produce several thousand tonnes per year of oxidized waxes using a process developed by BASF. Current production capacity at the site will be doubled as a result. The waxes are used primarily in plastics processing.

Major polymer stabilizer producer Albemarle Corp has completed its acquisition of 100% ownership of two polymer additive joint ventures in China: Ningbo Jinhai Albemarle Chemical & Industry Co, Ltd and Shanghai Jinhai Albemarle Fine Chemicals Co, Ltd. Both operations specialize in the manufacture and supply of polymer antioxidants and associated intermediates.

German speciality chemicals company Lanxess AG is expanding the Asian business of its Inorganic Pigments business unit with the acquisition of two iron oxide pigment production units in Jinshan near Shanghai. The transaction is Lanxess' first acquisition in China.

Holliday Pigments, the manufacturer of technical grade ultramarine blue and manganese violet pigments, is to be sold by its UK-based parent Yule Catto to Rockwood Holdings of the USA for a sum of about €46 million. The transaction is subject to regulatory clearances and is expected to be completed during the third quarter.

Polymer materials and services company PolyOne Corp is expanding its presence in Asia, forming an Indian subsidiary and setting up a new company in Japan. In addition, the company has announced that it is simplifying its management and segment organization and ‘realigning’ certain of its manufacturing assets, primarily in North America.

Rising costs for key raw materials such as phosphorus and tin continue to have knock-on effects for polymer additives [see also ADPO, July 2008].

For the second quarter of 2008, Albemarle Corp posted net sales of US$620.8 million, up 10.1% from $563.8 million year on year. The result was boosted by record quarterly net sales by the Polymer Additives business segment. Net income for the period was $61.7 million, up 14.5% from $53.9 million in 2Q 2007, while operating income was up 4.7% to $77.8 million.

New Jersey-based Cytec Industries Inc reported net earnings for the second quarter of 2008 of US$56.5 million on net sales of $1.006 billion. Excluding special items, net earnings were $58.5 million. Net earnings for 2Q 2007 were $54.8 million on net sales of $864 million.

From 1 July 2008, brominated flame retardant (BFR) deca-BDE can no longer be used in electronics and electrical (E&E) applications in the European Union. This follows a European Court of Justice ruling from 1 April 2008 annulling deca's 2005 exemption from the EU's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive. The decision to reverse deca's exemption came after the court found that the European Commission used an incorrect criterion as the basis for exemption. E&E goods represent the largest market for the BFR.