Additives for Polymers (v.2010, #5)

New York-based Applied Minerals Inc reports that it has completed trials incorporating its non-toxic, biodegradable halloysite clay as a drop-in additive for reinforcement in polymer composites. The company intends to market a line of halloysite products under its Dragonite™ brand – named for its wholly owned Dragon Mine in Utah, which is the source of these naturally occurring aluminosilicate clay nanotubes.

A new masterbatch from Chroma Corp eliminates the spray-painting step normally required to achieve a frosted-glass look in PET bottles used for the packaging of high-end cosmetics, personal care products, alcohol and the like. By using the new concentrate at the moulding machine to produce this premium colour effect, processors can also reduce time to market and cost, Chroma explains.

Oberhausen-based chemical company Oxea GmbH has launched a new mellitate-based plasticizer product. Tri-octyl trimellitate (which is alternatively designated tri-2-ethylhexyl trimellitate) is generally known in the marketplace as TOTM.

In the USA, PolyOne Corp is close to completing the development of a fibre treatment technology that will enhance the performance of traditional wood–plastic composites (WPCs). The company says that its new, patent-pending technology will enable customers to differentiate their products in the marketplace by offering better performance and enhanced resistance to weathering, mould and mildew, scratching, staining, and water absorption.

French firm Eliokem has extended its range of elastomeric modifiers for plastics with Sunigum® LCS, a crosslinked copolymer of bu-tylacrylate, styrene and acrylonitrile. According to specialist distributor Hubron Speciality Ltd, which is marketing the new product, the polymer morphology has been designed in particular to enhance the compression set properties in plasticized polyvinyl chloride (pPVC), thus making it a good candidate for gasket and seal applications.

Belgium companies carbon nanotube specialist Nanocyl SA and 3B-Fibreglass, a manufacturer of fibreglass products for the reinforcement of thermoplastics and thermosets, have announced an agreement for the joint development of innovative carbon nanotube (CNT) glass fibres for the growing thermoplastic and structural composite markets.

Eastman Chemical Co has announced that its well-established non-phthalate plasticizer Eastman 168™ has been included in the EU Commission's regulation 975/2009, the list of additives that may be used in the manufacture of plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs.

Eastman Chemical Co is acquiring Genovique Specialties Corp, a leading global producer of non-phthalate, speciality plasticizers, benzoic acid and sodium benzoate, from New York private equity firm Arsenal Capital Partners. The terms of the cash transaction, which is subject to the usual regulatory approvals, have not been disclosed. According to Eastman, the acquisition will establish it as a global leader in non-phthalate plasticizers for both general purpose and speciality markets.

UK-based Bac2 is offering customizable latent acid catalysts to help manufacturers control polymerization processes in order to reduce both energy consumption and costs. As resin systems vary widely in terms of pH sensitivity, the company is now providing a twin-catalyst option to allow the product developer to blend the two catalysts to suit the reactivity of the resin system.

Speciality chemicals company Lanxess has successfully completed the construction and start-up of a rubber chemicals production plant at its new site in Jhagadia, in the Indian state of Gujarat. The plant will supply the global rubber and mineral oil additive market as well as the rapidly growing Indian tyre and rubber industry with high-quality antioxidants belonging to the company's Vulkanox® brand.

Elevated operating costs, particularly of raw materials, transportation and energy, are continuing to force additive manufacturers to increase selling prices for their products. Unless otherwise stated, the listed pricing changes are effective from 1 April 2010 and are subject to the terms of existing customer contracts.

In China, Adeka Fine Chemical (Shanghai) Co, Ltd, the wholly owned subsidiary of Japan's Adeka Corp, is building a plant to manufacture intumescent flame retardants for use in polyolefin resins. Construction of the 5000-tonne capacity plant began in January and is scheduled for completion in January 2011.

Colour and additive masterbatch firm Americhem Inc has added multilayer bottle blowing equipment to its packaging product development lab at the Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA, manufacturing plant. It has also announced plans to install a spun-bonded nonwoven pilot line at its fibre product development lab in Dalton, GA. The new equipment at both labs allows for pilot runs, which will speed colour and additive product development for the company's customers in the targeted industries.

A Schulman, Inc has purchased fellow Ohio-based firm McCann Color, Inc, a producer of high-quality colour concentrates, for less than US$10 million in cash. The company has also decided to close its Polybatch Color Center located in Sharon Center, OH, and will consolidate production to the McCann facility in North Canton.

PolyOne Corp reported net income of US$24.0 million on revenues of $552.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, compared with a net loss of $282.6 million on revenues of $541.8 million in 4Q 2008. Operating income from its speciality businesses grew nearly tenfold to $18.4 million in 4Q 2009 from $1.9 million in the same period of 2008 driven primarily by a 30% increase in sales by the International segment.

For the year ended 31 December 2009, Ferro Corp announced net sales of US$1.658 billion, a drop of 26% from net sales of $2.245 billion in 2008 due to the decline in customer demand as a result of the global economic downturn. Loss from continuing operations for 2009 was $40 million compared with a loss of $53 million the previous year.

Chemicals giant BASF reported net income of €455 million for the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with a loss of €313 million for the same period in 2008. Sales for the quarter were down 8% year on year but rose 2.9% from 3Q 2009 levels. Income from operations (EBIT) before special items was up 181% compared with 4Q 2008.