Additives for Polymers (v.2008, #11)

Philadelphia-based speciality materials company Rohm and Haas has launched a new plastics additive, Paraloid™ BPMS 250 melt strength enhancer, to improve the processing of the compostable biopolymer polylactic acid (PLA) and its alloys. The introduction took place at the Innovation Takes Root conference held in September in Las Vegas, NV, USA.

Masterbatch specialist Ampacet Corp has unveiled EdgeGlow™ Masterbatch, which is claimed to offer ‘unique, visually stimulating, high-energy packaging’ that is well suited for beverage, energy drinks, hair care, shampoo, and teen or ‘tween HBA (health and beauty aid) products.

Arkema Inc has added a new metal release additive to its recently introduced Biostrength® range of impact modifiers and processing aids for biopolymers [ADPO, January 2008]. Intended for use in extrusion, injection moulding and calendering of polylactic acid (PLA) and other biopolymers, the new Biostrength 900 lubricant enables more consistent processing of PLA, the company says.

German chemicals group BASF SE launched an agreed takeover bid for Swiss speciality chemicals firm Ciba on 14 September 2008. The offer of CHF50 per share equates to a premium of 64.3% over the volume-weighted average price of Ciba shares over the previous 60 trading days and a premium of 32% over the closing share price on 12 September. The acquisition will make BASF a major player in the polymer additives sector.

Petrochemical trading company Innua Petrochem has recently added two non-phthalate, cyclohexane dicarboxylic acid plasticizers to its product line.

Premier Finishes, based in Kettering in the UK, has adapted an antibacterial product that started life as a wood lacquer for use in plastics. The company says that Hygienilac can be added to polypropylene, polyethylene and polystyrene, among others, to provide lifetime protection from antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

In the USA, Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM) and PolyOne Corp have formed an alliance to develop and commercialize bio-based plasticizers from corn and oilseeds for use in polymer formulations.

German speciality chemicals group Lanxess is to launch a Moscow-based company in the New Year as the first step in its plans to enter the Russian market.

All the major producers of titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigments have introduced further adjustments to their product prices, citing the continuing increases in raw material, energy and transportation costs. A number of polymer additive manufacturers have also raised their prices in recent weeks. All listed pricing changes are dependent on existing contracts.

Indian pigment manufacturer Sudarshan has opened a new office in the Netherlands to enhance customer service to its European customers. Based in Amsterdam, Sudarshan Europe BV will offer the company's core colour and pearlescent pigments along with experienced local customer service.

Masterbatch firm Americhem Inc is closing its manufacturing facility in Elgin, IL, USA in early 2009. Products currently manufactured at the site will be shifted to the company's other four production plants in the USA. According to Americhem, the move is part of its overall strategy to consolidate and further invest in its major manufacturing facilities in the USA.

For the first six months of 2008, Ciba reported a net loss of CHF569 million (around €380 million) compared to a net profit of CHF103 million for the same period of 2007. Sales of CHF3.088 billion were down 7% in Swiss franc terms from CHF3.308 million in 1H 2007, though flat in local currencies. The company cites a slowdown in Europe, the heavy impact of higher raw material and energy costs, and a significant goodwill impairment charge for its paper business as the main reasons behind the decline in performance.

France-based Adeka Palmarole SAS, the European arm of Japanese polymer additives company Adeka Corp, has been merged with its sister company Palmarole Compounds.

For the second quarter of 2008, US-based polymer materials specialist PolyOne Corp has reported net income of US$8.8 million on revenues of $748.1 million, up 8.6%. The company posted a loss of $5.4 million on revenues of $688.8 million in 2Q 2007.

Ohio-based Ferro Corp posted net sales of US$650.4 million for the quarter ended 30 June 2008, up 17% from sales of $553.7 million in 2Q 2007. Income from continuing operations for the quarter was $9.4 million, more than double the $4.6 million figure reported in 2Q 2007 as a result of the combined effects of higher gross profit driven by increased net sales, lower selling, general and administrative expenses and reduced interest expense, partially offset by higher restructuring charges.

US firm Xaloy has introduced the nXmix™ mixer, which combines high intensity with low shear and heat. The company says that it represents a ‘step-change’ advance in technology for the dispersion of additives and fillers in thermoplastic polymers. Applications for the new mixer include the production of compounded resins and masterbatch, as well as in-line compounding of highly filled materials in making blown film, sheet, pipe and profiles with single-screw extrusion.

The latest generation of Graviblend, the feeding and blending system from Colortronic Systems, now comes equipped with a fully integrated material conveying system. The company says that this means that there are fewer interfaces, it is easier to use and material changes require less time, resulting in increased savings. Due to its reduced height, the new system also takes up less room than its predecessor.

Boosted by demand from China, the global plastic additives industry grew to 12.2 million tonnes in 2007, valued at US$32 billion, according to a new report, Plastic Additives 7: A Global Additives Study, from US consultancy Townsend Polymer Services and Information.