Additives for Polymers (v.2009, #3)

Axel Plastics Research Laboratories has announced the commercialization of MoldWiz® INT-35CPD, a new additive designed to improve scratch and mar performance in automotive-grade thermoplastic olefin (TPO) resins. A proprietary synergistic blend of modified polymers and organic fatty amides, the new product is available as a 100% active pellet or as a free-flowing powder.

Atlanta-based Huber Engineered Materials has extended its alumina trihydrate (ATH) range with the addition of three new optimized MoldX™ grades. MoldX A100, C200 and W300 were launched at the Composites and Polycon 2009 conference held in Florida in January.

Baerlocher has enhanced its product portfolio with the new Baerostab ‘RF' line, a range of REACH-friendly PVC stabilizers that meet existing market performance benchmarks in plasticized PVC calendering and plastisol applications.

International additives manufacturer Chemtura has announced the launch of a new range of mixed metal, liquid stabilizers for polyvinyl chloride. The new stabilizers will be available in two ranges, the Mark® 800 series and Mark 900 series.

Japan's Showa Denko KK (SDK) has developed VGCF™-X, a new grade of SDK carbon nanotube (CNT) with an optimized design for resin composite applications. The company says it will begin construction of a 400 t/year plant to manufacture the new product at its Oita complex in March 2009. The plant, due to start up in 2010, will benefit from a cost-competitive position since it can fully utilize the existing utilities at the site.

Wesel-based BYK-Chemie has developed a new group of additives for polyurethane (PU) foam applications. According to the company these ‘unique' processing additives improve both the compatibility and the processability of foam systems.

Researchers at the USA's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have determined that adding a small amount of carbon nanofibres to the polyurethane (PU) foams used in some upholstered furniture can reduce flammability by about 35% when compared to foam infused with conventional fire retardants.

Huntsman Corp's Pigments Division is closing its titanium dioxide (TiO2) manufacturing facility in Grimsby, UK. The plant, the division's oldest and least-efficient, has an annual production capacity of 40 000 t of TiO2 pigments. The closure is part of a wider cost-saving initiative that will see the company shed more than 9% of its global workforce by the end of 2009.

Philadelphia-based Rohm and Haas has announced a second set of actions to adjust its operations and cost structure to reflect the slowing economy and widespread market weakness. The actions are expected to be completed predominantly in 2009, and are intended to deliver pre-tax savings of approximately US$90 million.

Bayer MaterialScience has begun work on the construction of a 200 t/year facility for the production of multi-wall carbon nanotubes (CNTs) at its Leverkusen site in Germany. The catalytic chemical vapour deposition (CCVD) plant, claimed to be the largest of its type worldwide, will consist of a fluid bed reactor, catalyst dosing and product filling equipment.

To better align its carbon black capacity in Europe with market demand, Columbian Chemicals has closed its Sevalco Ltd production and laboratory facilities in Avonmouth, Bristol, UK, with the loss of 88 jobs. Demand has been affected particularly by difficult trading conditions in Europe's car industry. The site had been in operation for more than 50 years.

Chemtura is realigning its businesses into two groups – Performance Products and Engineered Products. Led by group president David Dickey, Performance Products comprises the Consumer Products, Petroleum Additives, Urethanes and Antioxidant/UV plastic additives businesses. Engineered Products consists of the Flame Retardants, Crop Protection, Organometallics and PVC businesses. Company CEO Craig Rogerson will lead Engineered Products until a group president is appointed.

Albemarle Corp posted record annual net sales of US$2.5 billion in 2008, up 6% compared to 2007. However, 4Q net sales of $517.7 million were down 14% compared to $599.2 million for the same period a year earlier, with the polymer additives segment showing a particularly sharp decline in both sales and operating profit.

Swiss-headquartered Clariant has reacted to the ‘unfavourable demand development' in 4Q 2008 by reducing production in impacted businesses and announcing a further round of job cuts. The textile, leather, automotive and construction markets experienced the largest declines in demand.

Speciality chemicals firm Cytec Industries Inc reported a net loss for the fourth quarter of 2008 of US$350.7 million on net sales of $698 million. Excluding a goodwill impairment charge of $358.3 million and other special items, net earnings were $4.9 million. Net earnings for 4Q 2007 were $47.6 million on net sales of $901 million. For full-year 2008, Cytec posted a net loss of $198.8 million on sales up 4% to $3.64 billion.

Ciba's new Xymara™ CarboProtect light stabilizer was one of two R&D projects singled out by the company for an innovation award in 2008. Described as ‘unique', the new additive is reported to greatly extend the application scope for carbon-fibre-reinforced materials (CFRMs).

South Korean polymer additives specialist Songwon Industrial Co Ltd has put in place a ‘comprehensive distributor network' to secure its future in the Indian market. Jayvee Organics & Polymers Private Ltd and Qualichem Specialties Private Ltd will each focus on different market segments to ‘ensure that customers receive the highest quality of service and rapid response', says Songwon.