Additives for Polymers (v.2010, #8)

A new range of masterbatches from Clariant formulated for use in biopolymer applications has been certified according to European and US standards governing compostability and ecotoxicity. According to the company, the incorporation of both non-natural and natural additives and pigments in the new products means that they are more economical and process- and light-stable than ‘all- natural’ products. They also bring a broader choice of colours and additive functionality to bioplastic products and packaging, Clariant says.

Ohio-based PolyOne Corp has launched WithStand™, a new additive technology that imparts antimicrobial characteristics to Class I, II and III medical devices, medical packaging and other healthcare and wellness related applications. The new product line expands the company's broad portfolio of healthcare solutions targeted at the specific performance and regulatory challenges faced by the healthcare industry.

The latest addition to Ampacet's FormulaX LiquidMetals™ line of products [ADPO, May 2007], UltraChrome masterbatch creates a ‘luxurious mirror-like finish’ for moulded plastic components. The high-end product can be used with polyolefins and a variety of engineered resins, the company says. Potential applications include packaging, cosmetic components, household accessories, consumer appliances and automotive aftermarket products.

The phthalate-free plasticizer Mesamoll II manufactured by speciality chemicals group Lanxess of Leverkusen, Germany, has taken its final step towards gaining European approval for use in food contact applications. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published its scientific opinion on the additive, concluding that alkyl(C10-C21) sulfonic acid phenyl ester, the chemical component of Mesamoll II, does not pose a risk to humans when used to manufacture toys or in dry and water-based food packaging applications.

The Polymer Additives group of New Jersey-based Cytec Industries Inc is expanding its range of Cyasorb Cynergy Solutions® stabilizers for rotomoulded applications to meet the growing demand for rotomoulded plastics with improved properties and enhanced durability.

Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany, is developing a new product group of additives that significantly increases the scratch resistance of automotive coatings. Small, everyday scratches can be avoided or reduced by the addition of Tivida™, the company says. The first product in the brand family, Tivida AS 1010, has been developed specifically for high-gloss, solvent-based, two-component PUR coating systems.

BASF has reached agreement to sell its hydrophilic melt additives business for an undisclosed price to colour and additive concentrates maker Techmer PM, of Clinton, TN, USA. The hydrophilic melt additives are currently marketed under the brand name Irgasurf® HL. Elsewhere, BASF has signed a deal to purchase German renewable raw materials manufacturer Cognis.

Southampton-based Bac2 has expanded its materials portfolio to include solid CSR latent acid catalysts. The catalysts, which facilitate the low-temperature control of pre-polymeric mixes [ADPO, May 2010 & November 2009], were previously only available in liquid form.

UK-based Croda International has sold its site and associated business at Emmerich, Germany, to the Malaysian palm oil producer Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK) for €60.5 million. The operation, which becomes KLK Emmerich, produces fatty acids and glycerine.

Performance materials company Cabot Corp has officially opened its black masterbatch manufacturing facility in Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone in the United Arab Emirates. The plant has an initial production capacity of 25 000 tonnes per year with provision to expand to 75 000 tonnes in the future. Production is scheduled to commence in August 2010.

Speciality chemicals group Lanxess is responding to the strong rise in worldwide demand for iron oxide pigments by launching an investment programme. This year it plans to invest about €20 million in expanding capacities at its three production sites for these products – in Germany (Krefeld-Uerdingen), China (Jinshan) and Brazil (Porto Feliz). The company currently has global synthesis capacities of more than 350 000 tonnes/year for the production of Bayferrox products, which are used as colorants for concrete, roof tiles, plastics, coatings and paper, as well as special applications such as toners.

Rising costs for raw materials and energy, and unfavourable currency exchange rates are among the reasons behind the latest series of pricing changes introduced by manufacturers of a broad range of polymer additive and colorant products. As usual, all the changes listed are dependent on the terms of existing contracts.

Global speciality chemicals firm Albemarle Corp has opened a global shared services centre in Budapest, Hungary. Known as Albemarle's Center of Excellence (ACE), the facility was developed as part of the ‘Project One Albemarle’ initiative designed to standardize and streamline the company's global processes. Albemarle says the result will be one automated, scalable global platform for its business, which will reduce costs, improve productivity and better support long-term growth.

For the first quarter of 2010, Chemtura Corp reported net sales of US$603 million, up 30% from $464 million for the same period of 2009. The company recorded a quarterly net loss from continuing operations of $177 million compared to a net loss of $87 million for 1Q 2009.

South Korea's Songwon Group announced a net profit of KRW 6.3 billion (€4.093 million) for the first quarter of 2010, an increase of about 5%. Sales of KRW 124.4 billion were up 9% compared to the fourth quarter of 2009, driven again by a significant increase in sales volumes and a positive price development, the company says.

Colour masterbatch specialist Holland Colours NV, headquartered in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, has posted a net profit of €1.2 million for its fiscal year 2009/2010 ended 31 March 2010, compared to a net loss of €0.6 million for the previous year. The company attributes the improved performance to favourable turnover in the second half of the financial year and the impact of cost-saving measures.

UK-based Smithers Rapra has joined a 13-strong European consortium that will carry out research into the development of a hydro-acoustic radial cell decortication process for the clean, continuous and high-volume production of high-quality natural fibres. More than €1.7 million of direct financial assistance will be provided by the European Commission (EC) throughout the duration of the project, boosting the total fund available to more than €2.2 million.