Additives for Polymers (v.2009, #9)

Antimicrobial specialist Microban International has extended its product portfolio with the launch of its new line of 3G silver technologies. The company says the new antimicrobial solutions open the possibilities for the use of silver in a broader range of product applications.

BYK-Chemie GmbH, the additives manufacturing subsidiary of Germany' s Altana group, has introduced BYK®-P 9065, a multifunctional processing additive for low-shrink SMC and BMC formulations. According to the company, the ‘highly effective’ new polymer processing additive features mould release properties as well as improving the appearance of the moulded part at the same time.

Houston-based ExxonMobil Chemical has introduced three new grades of Vistamaxx® speciality elastomers that exhibit a very low gel count, making them ideal for high-performance film and fibre applications, the company says.

Performance additives firm Addmaster (UK) Ltd reports that its Biomaster TD100 antimicrobial additive has gained approval from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in plastics. This EPA approval covers non food contact end applications such as mouldings, fibre, films and extruded sheets.

French starch and derivatives specialist Roquette has been awarded the 2009 Pierre Potier prize for the launch of POLYSORB® ID 37, a new high-performance plasticizer made from natural products. Created in 2006 on the initiative of France' s Ministry for the Economy, Finance and Industry, this annual chemical industry prize rewards those who commit to innovation for sustainable development.

NanoBioMatters Industries (NBM), a Spanish technology firm, has commercialized a nanoclay-based additive that is claimed to extend the shelf life of packaged foods. Marketed under the NanoBioTer® trade name, the new product can enhance barrier properties while having minimal impact on processing, optical performance and cost, the firm says.

Belgium-based fibreglass manufacturer 3B has introduced DS 2200-13P, a new chopped strand product aimed at helping OEMs, compounders and moulders expand the applications of reinforced polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) compounds. The new product is available globally.

Telles, a joint venture between Metabolix, Inc and Archer Daniels Midland Co that produces Mirel™ bioplastics, has collaborated with Teknor Color Co to develop a range of colour concentrates for use with Mirel resin. The newly developed colour concentrates are formulated using Mirel base resins and meet ASTM D6400 and EN 13432 standards for compostability and biodegradability.

Malaysian speciality chemicals supplier Performance Additives Sdn, Bhd, has expanded its portfolio for the plastics industry with the launch of its Ultraplast WF additive range for wood–plastic composites (WPCs). Produced largely (90%) from renewable raw materials, primarily palm oil derivatives, the new additives offer a range of processing and property enhancements.

SABIC Innovative Plastics has developed a new line of LNP Thermocomp speciality compounds use curauá fibre and wood flour natural reinforcements to address the increasing call for sustainable products. Elsewhere, the company is also boosting the use of post-consumer recycled (PCR) nylon fibre in carpets with the development of an additive that provides ‘colour pop’ and permanent stain resistance.

Korea-based plastics additives producer Songwon Industrial Co Ltd reports that its new US$20 million isobutylene (IBL) production facility, located at its Maeam site, has been successfully commissioned and is now in full production. IBL is an important starting material in the production of the company' s wide range of antioxidants.

BASF has finalized its plans for the integration of Ciba Holding AG, which it acquired in April this year ADPO, June 2009]. Former Ciba businesses are to be integrated into the operating divisions in BASF' s Performance Products segment where their potential can best be realized and developed. Ciba' s plastic additives business will be integrated into the Performance Chemicals division. This will extend BASF' s portfolio to cover product segments such as UV stabilizers and antioxidants, and make the company the world leader in plastic additives, it says.

New Jersey-based Cytec Industries Inc has updated its business segment reporting structure to reflect recently implemented organizational changes at the company. The new reporting structure will provide greater clarity on the new strategic focus of the company, it says. As a result, Cytec now has five reportable operating segments.

CNano Technology reports that it has successfully scaled up its manufacturing technology to reach what it claims is the world' s largest production capacity for multiple wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) at 500 tons per year. The plant is located in Beijing, China.

The ongoing global economic crisis again had a negative impact on BASF' s sales and earnings in the second quarter of 2009. The effects were especially pronounced in the chemicals, plastics and functional solutions segments because of the situation in the automotive and construction industries. Sales in the oil and gas business also declined as a result of lower gas sales volumes and a considerably lower oil price. The company' s strong agricultural products business posted higher sales and earnings.

Albemarle Corp reported second quarter 2009 earnings of US$38.5 million on net sales totalling $445.3 million, compared to 2Q 2008 earnings of $61.7 million on net sales of $620.8 million. The 2Q 2009 earnings figure includes a $12.4 million pre-tax special item charge related to the 2008 divestiture of the company' s Port de Bouc facility in France and a $9.2 million one-time benefit due mainly to a US tax issue settlement. Earnings for the first half of 2009 were $63.9 million compared to $124.9 million for 1H 2008. Net sales for 1H 2009 were $931.9 million compared to $1.29 billion for the same period in 2008.

Speciality chemicals manufacturer Clariant is planning further redundancies in 2009 and 2010 after continuing weak demand across most of its businesses in 2Q 2009 led to the company posting net losses of CHF61 million (c. €40 million) for the quarter. This contrasts with net earnings of CHF51 million for 2Q 2008.

US-based market research firm BCC Research is predicting growth for the global plastics additives market despite the current tough economic conditions. According to a new report, Plastics Additives: The Global Market (PLS022B), the global market was worth more than US$36.2 billion in 2008 and is forecast to increase to $45.8 billion in 2014.