Additives for Polymers (v.2008, #10)

A number of new additive masterbatches for use in polyolefins have been developed by Austrian firm Gabriel-Chemie GmbH. These comprise new antimicrobial and flame retardant masterbatches and a new nucleating agent. Designed to benefit the plastics processor, the introductions are in response to customer and market demands, the company says.

PM13800, the latest flame retardant concentrate from colour and additive masterbatch specialist Techmer PM, not only passes the most stringent efficacy tests but can also be used in the challenging application of heat-seal films, the company claims.

Germany's BYK-Chemie GmbH has introduced Disperbyk®-2155, a new wetting and dispersing additive that is said to assist the formulation of pigment concentrates with higher solids contents.

Mining and minerals company World Minerals Inc, headquartered in Santa Barbara, CA, USA, has announced the development and launch of two new additives for polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Europerl®60 and Harborlite® 205P are fine grades of aluminosilicate designed to be used as extrusion aids, and are particularly applicable for use in PVC polymers, the company says.

Ohio-based PolyOne Corp has entered into an exclusive licence arrangement for a series of soybean-based plasticizer technology patents owned by independent research and development organization Battelle.

ZEOX Performance Materials, LLC (ZPM) has developed a new class of surfactants based on a newly developed molecular structure. The materials will be sold worldwide under the trade name Lipotrope® and, according to the company, are expected to find broad industrial applications, including the dispersion of water-soluble dyes and other additives into plastics and as key components in the production of high-performance polymer nanocomposites.

Germany speciality chemical group Altana AG has signed a contract to acquire the effect pigment business of United States Bronze Powders Inc (USBP) of Flemington, NJ, USA, for an undisclosed sum. Subject to obtaining the necessary antitrust approvals, the USBP business will be integrated into the Eckart Effect Pigments division, a manufacturer of metallic and pearlescent pigments which was itself acquired by Altana in 2005 [ADPO, September 2005].

Swiss additives major Ciba Inc has signed a joint venture agreement with Astra Polymers of Saudi Arabia to blend and sell customer-specific antioxidant blends to customers in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. At the same time, the joint venture partners signed a letter of intent to study the feasibility of building an antioxidant plant in Saudi Arabia in order to bring supply closer to customers in the region.

Loughborough University's Institute of Polymer Technology & Materials Engineering has spun off functional fillers technology firm Polyfect Solutions Ltd. The new company says its technology can both reduce the cost of manufacturing plastic products and improve the quality of the plastic from which they are made.

Independent German speciality chemicals manufacturer Süd-Chemie AG has officially opened its expanded production plant for hydrotalcites in Moosburg. Over the past 20 months [see also ADPO, November 2006], the company has invested some €20 million at the site, tripling production capacity for the heavy-metal-free stabilizers from 5000 tonnes to 15 000 tonnes per year.

Cognis has sold its 50% stake in the Cognis Oleochemicals joint venture to PTT Chemical International Private Ltd for around €104 million in cash. The purchaser is a Singapore-based wholly owned subsidiary of Thailand's olefin producer PTT Chemical Public Co Ltd. Cognis says that the sale is in line with its strategy of focusing on its core businesses driven by the ‘wellness and sustainability trends’.

In the USA, Clariant Masterbatches has acquired the combined companies of Rite Systems Inc and Ricon Colors Inc, leading US masterbatch suppliers with both liquid and solid technology. The purchase gives Clariant Masterbatches a stronger position in the liquid colouring field and substantially strengthens its market position in North America, which is an important growth region for this technology, it says. Terms of the acquisition agreement have not been revealed.

Pigment and mineral filler firm TOR Minerals International of Corpus Christi, TX, USA, has completed its newest powder treatment centre in Malaysia. The company also reports that it has made changes to its production and logistics operations designed to improve efficiencies and customer service worldwide.

Connecticut-based additives major Chemtura Corp reported a net loss of US$278 million for the second quarter of 2008 on net sales of $1.023 billion. In second quarter 2007, the company achieved a net profit of $8 million on sales of $1.038 billion. The decrease in revenues was attributed to the impact of divestitures and lower volume and product mix, partially offset by favourable currency effects and higher selling prices.

For the first six months of 2008, Clariant posted net sales of CHF4.233 billion (c. €2.75 billion). This represents a 4% rise in local currencies and a 2% fall in Swiss francs, due to strong adverse currency effects, compared to CHF4.336 billion in 1H 2007. Net income rose to CHF92 million from CHF73 million year on year. In the second quarter, the company posted net income of CHF51 million on net sales of CHF2.121 billion, compared to a net loss of CHF11 million on sales of CHF2.18 billion in 2Q 2007.

The worldwide market for antioxidants had a total volume of around 0.88 million tonnes in 2007. Asia accounted for 47% of consumption in 2007, followed by Europe at 24%, North America at 22% and the rest of the world at 6%. With predicted volume growth rates of 3.9% per year, consumption is expected to increase to 1.25 million tonnes in 2016, according to a new study, Antioxidants (UC-705), from German independent market research company Ceresana Research.

The brominated flame retardant (BFR) industry recently released its third Annual Report on the Voluntary Emissions Control Action Programme (VECAP). Among other key findings, the report indicates that around 90% of packaging residues of BFRs are now effectively controlled in Europe, via regulated and controlled disposal.