Additives for Polymers (v.2009, #11)

Austria's Gabriel-Chemie has launched a new range of colour and additive masterbatches based on biodegradable thermoplastic polyester polylactic acid (PLA). The Maxithen® Biol products are compatible not only with PLA but also with many other biogenic polymers as well as with conventional petrochemical-based polymers.

Clariant Masterbatches has introduced two new masterbatches that are said to offer long-lasting protection against oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) permeation in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. In addition, the division's Rite Systems business unit has developed a new family of liquid colours based on a proprietary non-mineral-oil carrier that allows their use in the extrusion blow moulding of high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

Liquid colorants and additives firm ColorMatrix unveiled a novel light-blocking technology for PET dairy packaging at Drinktec 2009 held in Munich, Germany, in September. Lactra™ is an opaque white liquid technology that is claimed to ensure high-performance light blocking at low addition rates while maintaining enhanced container aesthetics. The new product is suitable for both single- and multi-layer PET containers.

German oxo-chemicals supplier Oxea GmbH has broadened its range of plasticizers with the launch of its latest product, dioctyladipate (DOA), which is also known as di-2-ethylhexyladipate. The product is manufactured at the Amsterdam esters plant acquired by the company in August this year from ExxonMobil Chemical Holland BV. DOA is immediately available.

France's Arkema group has extended its antistatic Pebax® resin range with the development of two new high-performance grades, Pebax MH2030 and MV2080. Inherently dissipative polymers such as these are widely used as permanent antistatic additives in plastic parts and in packaging for sensitive electronics and flammable or explosive materials, where they prevent electrostatic discharge and dust attraction.

Cincinnati-based inorganic pigment specialist Shepherd Color Co has extended its Arctic® range of IR-reflecting colour pigments for plastics with the addition of Brown 10P895. The company says its new brown meets numerous regulations governing packaging, food contact, recycling and toys such as 94/62/EC, AP (89)1, AS 2070, EN 71.3, BfR, CONEG, RoHS, WEEE, ELV and TCLP.

UK-based firm Bac2 has developed a retardant that can be added to highly reactive pre-polymeric resins to enable them to be stored for at least three months before controlled polymerization at around 120°C.

Amsterdam-headquartered AkzoNobel NV is undertaking a realignment of its businesses that will see the launch of two new business units and the merger of two others. The company says the planned changes, which are due to come into effect on 1 January 2010, will introduce more balance to its Performance Coatings and Specialty Chemicals portfolios.

Chemicals giant BASF SE has announced its ‘Asia Pacific Strategy 2020’. Through growth and new business initiatives, the company says it aims to double sales in the region by 2020. Plans include an increase in headcount of at least 25% and significant investments in the next four years.

Arkema has announced the construction of a carbon nanotube (CNT) pilot production plant at its Mont site in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques region of France. The 400 tonnes/year plant is scheduled for start-up in 2011.

Germany's Merck KGaA has acquired Suzhou Taizhu Technology Development Co Ltd (Taizhu), a leading Chinese supplier of effect pigments, for a total consideration of €28 million. Located in Taicang near Shanghai, Taizhu had total revenues of more than €14 million in 2008 and employs 300 staff. Merck says that the acquisition is of high strategic importance to its pigments business.

In the USA, a new production-scale blow-moulding machine has been installed at the Clariant Masterbatches Division facility in Holden, near Boston, MA. According to the company, this investment will make it easier and faster for packaging developers located on the US East Coast to complete colour studies and produce prototype bottles.

Germany's Lanxess and the Russian Academy of Science have signed a cooperative research agreement. Under its terms, both parties aim to actively exchange information on scientific trends and innovative research developments as well as initiate cooperation projects. Lanxess says this cooperation clearly underlines its long-term approach to the Russian market and will contribute strongly to its innovation-driven product strategy.

Ultramarine pigment specialist Holliday Pigments, part of the Rockwood Pigments group, has invested €2 million in an effluent treatment plant (ETP) at its main manufacturing site in Comines, Northern France. The site now complies with all European environmental laws, the company says.

Dow Chemical has sold its hollow sphere plastics pigment product line to Ohio-based materials and laminates supplier Omnova Solutions Inc. The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

DuPont has announced a series of actions to support its commitments to customers, sustainable growth, and the delivery of revenue and earnings growth ‘through market-driven science’. The company says it will focus its innovation efforts on four emerging global trends: meeting the increasing demand for food; protecting people and the environment; decreasing dependence on fossil fuels; and capitalizing on the growth of emerging markets.

Speciality chemicals company Lanxess AG reported significant increases in both sales and earnings for 2Q 2009 in comparison to the year's weak first quarter, despite the ongoing difficult economic conditions worldwide. Sales in the second quarter fell by 30% year-on-year to €1.24 billion but rose 17% compared to 1Q 2009 due to a strong rebound in volumes, especially in Performance Polymers. Net income was positive at €17 million after being negative for two consecutive quarters.