Additives for Polymers (v.2010, #4)

Dutch company Polyscope Polymers BV, headquartered in Geleen, the Netherlands, is working to promote the use of styrene maleic anhydride (SMA) as a performance enhancer for thermoplastics. Already well established as a moulding resin in the automotive, packaging, and building and construction industries, neat SMA grades are increasingly finding use as an additive/compatibilizer in amorphous thermoplastics and copolymers to improve thermal performance, surface polarity and miscibility with other resins in blends and alloys.

Supplier of colour concentrates and additive masterbatches, Plastics Color Corp (PCC) has unveiled a new line of colour concentrates made partially with post-consumer and industrial plastic content. According to the firm, this provides manufacturers with a way to meet recycled material requirements while protecting valuable natural resources.

European phosphorus derivatives manufacturer Italmatch Chemicals SpA has expanded its Phoslite range of fully colourable flame retardants for polymers with the addition of Phoslite B85AX. The company reports that its Phoslite technology is already ‘successfully consolidated’ in polypropylene (PP) applications and, with introduction of the new product, is now starting to expand into polyamide PA6 and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) applications.

UK-based Croda Polymer Additives has launched Atmer 7510, a new concentrate for polyester-based polymers that incorporates 10% of the company's novel slip additive IncroMax™ 100 in a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) carrier system. The active component reduces surface friction by up to 60%, the company claims, leading to a range of product and efficiency improvements.

Bayer MaterialScience has introduced a new grade of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) under the trade name Baytubes® C 70 P. Compared with the existing product Baytubes C 150 P, the new CNTs are characterized by improved dispersibility, making them highly suited to use in mechanically sensitive polymers, the company says. Developed in response to requests from customers, the new trial product was unveiled at February's Nanotech trade show in Tokyo.

New Jersey-based Polyvel Inc has introduced two new series of masterbatches for controlling bacterial growth and odour. The VA-series of masterbatches contain silver, triclosan or proprietary agents that effectively kill microorganisms ranging from fungus, to E. Coli and Salmonella, the company reports.

France's Arkema also used the Nanotech 2010 tradeshow in Tokyo to present the latest innovations within its Graphistrength® range of multiwall carbon nanotube (CNTs): new grades for elastomers, a ‘universal’ grade for various thermoplastics, and solid concentrates for liquid epoxy and aqueous solutions.

Polymer additives major Chemtura Corp plans to increase its capacity for antioxidants and UV stabilizers through a series of global expansions as part of its ongoing efforts to boost its presence in growing markets worldwide. Elsewhere, the bankruptcy court-approved auction process for the company's PVC additives business has seen the original ‘stalking horse’ bidder SK Capital Partners [ADPO, February 2010] ousted by a new purchaser, Artek Aterian Holding Co.

In Germany, Bayer MaterialScience has opened a new pilot facility for the manufacture of multiwall carbon nanotubes (CNTs) at Chempark Leverkusen. The company has invested some €22 million in the planning, development and construction of the facility. With an annual capacity of 200 tonnes, the plant is claimed to be the largest of its kind in the world.

In Russia, a project is underway to design and construct an environmentally safe, economically effective plant for the production of nanostructured, surface-modified magnesium hydroxide flame retardants. The plant will have an annual production capacity of 25 000 tonnes and will be located at an existing manufacturing facility belonging to leading Russian chemical company Kaustik in Volgograd. Kaustik, which is part of the Nikochem group, also developed the technology that will be utilized by the new plant.

This year, Austrian masterbatch specialist Gabriel-Chemie GmbH celebrates both 60 years of company existence and 40 years of masterbatch production. In 1950, Josef Houska, together with a partner, founded a commercial enterprise in Vienna that over the intervening years has evolved into the Gabriel-Chemie Group, an international group of companies that is still independent and in private ownership.

The escalation in costs for key raw materials continues to impact manufacturers of polymer additives worldwide, resulting in further price increases for products ranging from PVC modifiers to pigments. All price changes listed are subject to the terms of existing contracts.

Swiss speciality chemicals giant Clariant International reported annual sales of CHF6.6 billion (c. €4.5 billion) for 2009, an 18% decrease in Swiss franc terms or a 14% decrease in local currencies compared to the 2008 figure of CHF8.07 billion. The company also posted a net loss of CHF194 million in 2009, down from a net loss of CHF37 million the previous year. Clariant attributes the significant declines to continuing difficult trading conditions.

Silicones and silanes producer Momentive Performance Materials USA has established a 22 000 ft2 tyre R&D lab with state-of-the-art capabilities in Charlotte, NC, USA, through the purchase of certain assets and the sublease of lab space from Continental Tire North America. It has also hired five experienced R&D personnel previously employed by Continental.

Massachusetts-based market research firm BCC Research has published Nanocomposites, Nanoparticles, Nanoclays, and Nanotubes (NAN021D), an updated version of its 2006 report of the same title.

For 2009 Dow Chemical reported full-year sales of US$44.9 billion, down 22%from reported sales in 2008. The company saw sequential sales improvements throughout the year, but these gains were not enough to offset an overall sales decline of 30% versus 2008 on a pro forma basis (calculated as if the acquisition of Rohm & Haas was finalized on 1 January 2008).

Potential emissions from brominated flame retardant manufacturing sites and downstream user plants in Europe were significantly reduced in 2009, thanks to voluntary industry initiative, the Voluntary Emissions Control Action Programme (VECAP). Now in its fifth year of existence, the programme continues to grow significantly both in participation and geographical coverage.