Additives for Polymers (v.2009, #2)

US masterbatch specialist Ampacet Corp has developed a specially engineered antiblock masterbatch to improve aesthetics and performance in thin, multilayer films. CrystalClear™ 102077 antiblock polyethylene masterbatch is said to reduce haze and gel formation and yield a more-consistent coefficient of friction to improve performance characteristics in polyolefin blown film and cast applications.

Colorant and additive firm ColorMatrix Group has used its expertise in liquid dispersion technology to create a completely new generation of foaming agent that promises ‘to revolutionize’ the production of PVC extruded foam sheet, it says.

Atlanta-based Huber Engineered Materials, part of J.M. Huber Corp, has launched Vertex® 100 SV, a surface-treated magnesium hydroxide (MDH) specifically designed to boost the flame-retardant properties of ethylene vinyl acetate copolymers (EVA). Flame-retardant EVA compounds are primarily used in wire and cable applications.

In the UK, Thomas Swan & Co Ltd has formed a partnership with TWI Ltd to accelerate the introduction of affordable hybrid silsesquioxane resins to enhance the performance of coatings, adhesives and bulk polymers.

Speciality materials company Momentive Performance Materials has introduced Niax silicone L-655, a silicone stabilizer designed for use in manufacturing flexible polyether foam. The company says that the new stabilizer can reduce the use of flame retardants in slabstock foam applications by 10–30% by weight compared to conventional stabilizers. Additionally, it may be applied in conventional foam manufacturing processes, and those that use carbon dioxide as an auxiliary blowing agent.

Japanese firm Kaneka Corp is reported to have developed an antibacterial additive based on aluminium for use in plastics.

Rhode Island-based Teknor Color Co has introduced a new series of concentrates for engineering-grade copolyester thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs), which includes a wide range of colour choices, all of them fully compliant with the European Union's RoHS Directive. The company recommends the new colours for use with high-performance TPEs such as DuPont's Hytrel thermoplastic polyester elastomers.

US-based additives major Chemtura Corp is eliminating around 500 jobs worldwide as part of a new corporate restructuring programme in response to the worsening economic conditions. The cuts, which represent about 20% of its professional and administrative workforce, will reduce fixed costs by approximately US$50 million.

Ohio-based Shepherd Color Co has further extended its Precise® product line of extremely durable high-performance inorganic pigments for colouring fibres and films with the introduction of Yellow 40P140.

In China, Clariant reports that it has started production at its new manufacturing operation in Guangzhou in the south of the country. The new plant produces colour and additive masterbatches for rapidly growing local markets and also serves as the Clariant centre for fibre technology development for all of China.

In response to the ‘challenges’ of the worsening global economic environment in recent months, Louisiana-based Albemarle Corp is taking steps to reduce costs, conserve cash and adjust the position of the company.

Arkema reports that its functional additives product lines, among others, have experienced significant declines in volume since the end of November as a result of the rapid decline in the global economic environment. Orders have been cancelled by a number of customers, especially in the automotive and construction markets. The company estimated a decrease in fourth-quarter 2008 sales of at least 15% compared to 4Q 2007.

UK company Colour Tone Masterbatch has invested £40 000 in state-of-the-art computer colour-matching systems from Konica Minolta with the aim of creating ‘marketing edge’ and strengthening its position in the UK's masterbatch market.

Sun Chemical Corp and its parent company DIC Corp, formerly known as Dainippon Ink & Chemicals, have formed a joint venture with Lianyungang Haidi Chemicals, Co, Ltd, a leading high-performance pigment manufacturer in China.

The global market for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) has recovered from the pressure it came under from environmental groups some 20 years ago, with demand reaching 34 million tonnes in 2007 compared to barely 24 million tonnes in 2000, according to data from a new study published by German firm Ceresana Research.

German firm Schenck Process GmbH has extended its ProFlex® C feed system to include the 6000 Series for the volumetric and gravimetric feeding of plastics additives and fillers in powder, granulate or fibre form. The C6000 has a feeding rate of up to 6000 dm3/h and complements the existing C500 model.