Additives for Polymers (v.2009, #6)

In order to meet the growing trend in the European Union and the USA to eliminate phthalates from polymer compounds, The HallStar Company, based in Chicago, IL, has announced several commercially available phthalate alternatives or replacements for use in all types of polymer applications, especially PVC and synthetic elastomers. According to the company, these economical products offer the same or improved functional benefits as phthalates, without the environmental concerns.

In the USA, Arkema Inc has added two improved grades to its existing line of Thermolite® tin stabilizers. The company says that manufacturers of rigid PVC extrusions for demanding applications such as thin-wall agricultural pipe, high-shear pipe, large diameter pipe and sewer pipe now have more options.

BASF SE has introduced Glacier™ Frost White, claimed to be the whitest pearl effect pigment currently available on the market. A new generation of titanium dioxide-coated synthetic mica flakes makes it possible to achieve ‘extraordinary lustre and brilliance’ combined with the ‘whitest of whites’ for attractive applications in plastics, coatings and printing inks, the company says.

Cincinnati-based Shepherd Color Co is introducing a new chromium-free, high-temperature, high-performance mineral pigment, Black 20F944. The new black is suitable for use in engineering plastics, coatings and ceramics and is approved for indirect food contact use by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Honeywell reports that it is developing a new blowing agent with low global warming potential (GWP) for energy-efficient polyurethane foam insulation. The non-flammable liquid blowing agent will provide customers with an alternative to hydrocarbons and traditional hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and assist customers in reducing the overall environmental impact of foam, the company says.

Milliken Chemical and Chemtura Corp were among the companies to debut their latest additive innovations for polyurethane (PU) foam applications at the recent UTECH Europe 2009 event. Held in Maastricht, The Netherlands, from 31 March to 2 April, this three-yearly event provides a forum for PU industry leaders to discuss issues and opportunities facing the industry.

Nanoclay specialist Nanocor has introduced a new nanoMax® product line for polyolefin resins. These new nanoMax formulations do not contain any compatibilizers, such as PE-g-MA or PP-g-MA. The masterbatch products were developed using the elongational flow processing technology developed by Stratek-Plastics LLC of Wallingford, CT, USA.

BASF SE has successfully completed its c. €3.8 billion acquisition of Ciba Holding AG. It now holds 95.8% of Ciba shares. The ‘Discovery Phase [ADPO, April 2009], during which joint teams from BASF and Ciba will analyse the acquired businesses in depth, is underway. The actual integration and restructuring process is due to start in July 2009 on the basis of those results.

Both AkzoNobel and Ciba Inc have confirmed that they have received a Statement of Objections from the European Commission concerning an investigation that began in 2003, and relating to companies involved in the heat stabilizer sector. It concerns allegations of possible misconduct before the year 2001 by the companies' former businesses in this sector.

Rhode Island-based Teknor Color Co has sold the PVC segment of its colorant business to Breen Color Concentrates, based in Lambertville, NJ. The sale, for an undisclosed sum, includes Teknor Color formulations and customer lists for PVC colorants produced at the company's facility in Attleboro, MA. The business will be merged with the PVC colorant business of Breen as part of the formation of East Coast Colorants, a new company established by Spell Capital Partners, LLC, which has purchased Breen.

Speciality materials firm Momentive Performance Materials is opening an R&D and technical service laboratory in Leverkusen, Germany, for its Niax and Geolite urethane additives. The new facility includes foam prototyping capabilities and a comprehensive physical testing lab. The company has four existing urethane additives R&D labs, two in the USA and one each in China and Japan.

In the USA, an exclusive strategic alliance has been formed between Ohio-based A. Schulman, Inc and New York firm Add the Flavor, LLC. The alliance will focus on commercializing Polyflav™, a product supplied as a masterbatch or additive aimed at plastic applications requiring custom taste and scent enhancements.

Ciba has sold the rights to Ciba® Colibri™, the colour-matching system for the plastics and coatings industries, in a management buyout that will transfer the business to its partner Nexirius. By combining Ciba's colour-matching software and expertise with Nexirius's experience in developing the software, the spin-off ensures service continuity as well as ongoing system development in step with customer needs.

Italy's IMI Fabi SpA has agreed an exclusive alliance with Kanoo Chemical, the chemicals business of Saudi Arabia's Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo LLC, to sell and distribute IMI's talc products throughout the Middle East.

Altana, the speciality chemicals group headquartered in Wesel, Germany, has acquired the high-performance additives business of Frankfurt-based textile die supplier DyStar for an undisclosed sum. The acquired business has annual sales of about €7.5 million and will be integrated into the group's BYK Additives & Instruments division.

Maguire Europe, the European sales and service subsidiary of Maguire Products Inc, reports that new capabilities are available for the company's MGF™ gravimetric device for feeding colorants and additives into plastics processing machines. These include multilingual operator access and full data retrieval as standard features for all moulding and extrusion applications, plus a new ‘extrusion following’ option. Language capabilities include Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish.

In Brazil, Braskem and Cromex have formed a partnership to develop products specifically for use with ‘green’ polyethylene – a Braskem innovation made from sugarcane ethanol. This collaboration will enable Cromex to develop a series of colours and additives that will enhance the characteristics of the green polymer while respecting its fundamental sustainability properties.

The global market for high-performance fillers was worth more than US$1.16 billion in 2008 and is expected to reach $1.84 billion in 2015, representing an average annual growth rate of about 8%, according to a new report published by Frost & Sullivan. The study covers mechanical property modifiers, electrical property modifiers, processability modifiers, flame retardants and niche property modifiers. It provides market units and market revenues by property and chemical composition.