Additives for Polymers (v.2010, #3)

Swiss-based Clariant Masterbatches has launched two new, environmentally friendly, non-halogen flame retardant masterbatches under the Cesa® flam brand. The new plastic additive products are fully melt processable, thus preserving colour and physical properties, the company says. They were developed specifically to help products made of polyester, polypropylene (PP) and thermoplastic urethane (TPU) meet critical flammability standards for applications in extruded and injection-moulded articles.

Masterbatch manufacturer Ampacet Corp of Tarrytown, NY, USA, has introduced a high-efficiency antioxidant product to protect reprocessed or recycled polyolefins from degradation during processing. This allows processors of blown and cast polyolefin films to use higher recyclate content without detrimental effects on aesthetic or physical properties, the company claims. The masterbatch is approved for food-contact applications.

US-based Arkema Inc's PVC Additives Group is introducing Durastrength® 3000 acrylic impact modifier to the polyvinyl chloride market. According to the company, the new additive imparts excellent impact properties to rigid PVC products and provides outstanding processability.

The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) in North America has released a voluntary testing protocol for the effect of degradable additives on recyclable PET bottles. The association is concerned about the possible impact of degradable additives increasingly used in PET water bottles on the recycling process and the subsequent uses of the reclaimed postconsumer plastic. APR members represent more than 90% of the postconsumer plastic reclamation capacity in North America.

US company PMC Polymer Products Co has introduced a line of flame retardant masterbatches free from decabromodiphenyl ether (deca-BDE). The launch follows the recent announcement that deca-BDE is to be phased out from all applications in the USA by the end of 2013 [ADPO, February 2010].

In the USA, Chemtura Corp and Albemarle Corp have entered into a series of strategic agreements. These include a long-term strategic sourcing agreement concerning several flame retardants and bromine derivatives, and the settlement of ongoing decabromodiphenyl ethane and bromine litigation.

Milliken Chemical, working with precision blow-mould maker ADOP France, has demonstrated that its Millad® NX8000 clarifying agent for polypropylene is suitable for use in injection-blow moulded products. The clarifier, which was introduced at the K 2007 show for extrusion-blow and injection moulding applications [ADPO, September 2007], has been shown to provide at least a 50% improvement in the haze of PP over the current benchmark grade, Milliken says.

In 2010, BASF SE again intends to maintain its research budget at the previous years' high level, with an overall target of €1.38 billion, confirms Dr Andreas Kreimeyer, research executive director and member of the board. During 2009, BASF's research allocation reached almost €1.4 billion, slightly above the €1.35 billion level of the previous year.

The Additives business unit of German mineral-based flame retardant supplier Nabaltec AG has successfully launched the production plant for its new mineral co-stabilizer Actilox CAHC. The plant, which has an annual capacity of 10 000 tonnes, is located at the company's German manufacturing site in Schwandorf.

Flame retardants, antioxidants and titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigments are among the polymer additives affected by the latest tranche of price increases as manufacturers of these products are again affected by major increases in raw material costs. All listed pricing changes are subject to the terms of existing contracts.

Cabot (China) Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cabot Corp, and Bluestar New Chemical Materials, which is part of the China National Bluestar group, have signed an agreement to significantly expand the fumed silica capacity at the companies' joint venture plant in Jiangxi Province, China. The first stage of the planned expansion will increase capacity at the site from its current level of 5000 tonnes annually to more than 15 000 tonnes by the end of calendar year 2011.

Addcomp North America Inc, a subsidiary of Addcomp Holland BV, has opened its new location in Rochester Hills, MI, USA. The company provides additive masterbatches and compacted products to polymer manufacturers and converters in the USA, Canada and Mexico.

For the quarter ended 31 December 2009, Albemarle Corp posted net income of US$62.3 million on net sales of $558.2 million compared to net income of $13.1 million on net sales of $517.7 million for the same period in 2008. Excluding special items and one-time tax benefits, 4Q 2009 earnings were $58.7 million, up 54% year over year and 12% sequentially, the company says. All segments experienced growth in both income and margin for the quarter.

Emery Oleochemicals, the Malaysian joint venture between PTT Chemical International and palm oil producer Sime Darby Plantation, has appointed IMCD UK as the distributor for its Edenol and Loxiol plastics and rubber additives ranges in the UK and Ireland.

Cytec Industries Inc posted net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2009 of US$9.8 million on net sales of $752 million. Included in the quarter are several special items that total $24.6 million of net expense after-tax; excluding these special items, net earnings were $34.4 million.

South Korea's additives specialist Songwon Group continues to show an improvement in results compared to 2008. It achieving a net profit of KRW 8.9 billion (€5.7 million) for the third quarter of 2009, up 8% on the same period of 2008, and net profit of KRW 22.4 billion for the first nine months of 2009, a 7.2% rise.

According to a recent study published by the Freedonia Group, the decline in US demand for flame retardants between 2003 and 2008 is expected to reverse and grow by 2.7% annually, from 830 million lbs (377 000 tonnes) in 2008 to 950 million lbs in 2013, valued at US$9000 million.