Additives for Polymers (v.2010, #6)

Germany's Sachtleben Chemie GmbH, a Rockwood Holdings company since 2004, has unveiled Sachtotec MD 300, an ultrafine synthetic zinc sulphide product intended for use alongside conventional organic stabilizers to significantly enhance the resistance of polymers to heat-induced degradation. The product received its debut at April's WIRE trade show held in Düsseldorf, Germany.

The Sustainability Additives group of Arkema Inc is now offering Biostrength® 700, a melt strength enhancer for use with polylactic acid (PLA), in the USA. The additive was initially launched in Europe [ADPO, January 2008].

Dow Wire & Cable, a Dow Chemical business unit, has launched Ecolibrium™ bio-based plasticizers, a new family of phthalate-free plasticizers for use in wire insulation and jacketing. The new plasticizers were developed to meet growing demand for more sustainable options in wiring applications such as personal electronics and appliance wiring, residential and commercial building wiring, communications and data cabling, and automotive wiring.

Ohio-based masterbatch manufacturer Americhem Inc has introduced a new range of custom colour masterbatches for nonwoven fibres at IDEA 2010, held in Miami in April. According to the firm, the new product line features dispersion technology resulting in lower pack pressure rise, fewer spin breaks and pack changes, and higher yields. By promoting uniform dispersion throughout the fibre, the new masterbatches significantly reduce the presence of aggregates and agglomerates, increasing pack life and spinning efficiency, Americhem explains.

In Asia, PolyOne Corp is introducing tailored solutions for colorants and additives used in monofilament fibre processing. Rather than relying on standard products, customers who process monofilament fibres in Asia can now work with a team of industry experts from the company to design a customized approach. The development was announced at Chinaplas 2010 in April.

Plastic recycling specialist Axion Polymers of Manchester, UK, has developed a unique coffee-scented plastic material based on waste products for Re-worked, a London-based industrial design and product development enterprise.

Germany's Rhein Chemie Rheinau GmbH has launched a new brand name for its cast-nylon additives: Addonyl®. The current descriptions Katalysator NL neu as well as Zusatzmittel UE 8073, VP KU2-8108 and VP KU2-8112 are being standardized by the new name, but will retain their customary classification, the firm says.

Chemicals giant BASF SE is repositioning its global pigments business. Overcapacities are to be reduced and the product portfolio streamlined, with the consequent loss by 2013 of approximately 500 out of the current total of 2900 jobs worldwide in pigment production.

Leading polymer additives supplier Songwon Industrial Co Ltd of South Korea recently announced a new business structure for its operations in China. The company says this will be effective in the second quarter of 2010 and will create the foundation from which it will continue to build its presence and customer relationships in the country. Songwon subsequently signed an agreement to form a joint venture to manufacture and sell polymer antioxidants in China.

US companies PolyOne Corp and Segetis Inc are joining forces to explore the development of bio-derived plasticizers for use in targeted petroleum and bio-based polymers. The deal comes in response to customer demand for more sustainable product offerings.

FRX Polymers, Inc, of Chelmsford, MA, USA, has recently opened a new 2500 ft2 (c. 230 m2) applications laboratory to assist in the market development of its family of inherently flame retardant polyphosphonate polymers and oligomers.

In the first quarter of 2010, Louisiana-based Albemarle Corp posted record earnings of US$67.9 million, excluding special items, on net sales of $580.3 million, up 19.3% compared to $486.6 million in 1Q 2009. Including special items, net income was $63.3 million, compared to $25.4 million in 1Q 2009.

Japan's Showa Denko KK (SDK) has completed the construction of a 400-tonnes/year plant for VGCF™-X, a new grade of carbon nanotube (CNT) with an optimized design for resin composite applications [ADPO, March 2009]. Located at the company's Oita Complex, commercial production at the plant was scheduled to begin in April after a trial run.

Speciality chemicals manufacturer Cytec Industries Inc reported net earnings for the first quarter of 2010 of US$24.8 million on net sales of $787 million. Included in the quarter are several special items that total $7.9 million of net expense after-tax; excluding these items, net earnings were $32.7 million.

For the fourth quarter of 2009, additives major Chemtura Corp recorded a net loss on a GAAP basis of US$89 million. This represents a substantial improvement from the net loss of $690 million reported for 4Q 2008. Net sales declined by 5% from $690 million in 4Q 2008 to $656 million a year later.

Cleveland-based materials company Ferro Corp announced net sales of US$493 million for the three months ended 31 March 2010, an increase of 38% from net sales of $358 million in the first quarter of 2009. The loss from continuing operations for the first three months of 2010 was $0.8 million, compared with a loss of $20 million in the first quarter of 2009.

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the USA have recently published three new studies that suggest that graphene should be the nanomaterial of choice to strengthen composite materials used in applications such as wind turbines and aircraft wings.