Additives for Polymers (v.2011, #5)

Dow Global Technologies LLC (DGTL), a subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company, has announced the invention and development of a new, high molecular weight brominated polymeric flame retardant. The company says it expects the new product to be the ‘next generation industry standard’ flame retardant for use in both extruded polystyrene (XPS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation applications globally. It is intended to provide a more-sustainable replacement for hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD).

The Engineering Plastics Division of Lanxess' subsidiary Rhein Chemie has introduced a new range of additive solutions to enable ‘the production of renewable, bio-based polymers for durable applications with a lower environmental impact’. The BioAdimide™ product line of plastic additives was unveiled at the recent Bioplastics Compounding & Processing international conference in Miami, FL, USA in late March.

Manufacturers of medical devices and packaging who choose newer plastic materials such as Eastman's Tritan™ co-polyester and Topas® cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) now have readily available colour options that are pretested and compliant with key standards governing materials used in medical and pharmaceutical applications, including USP parts 87 and 88 (Class VI devices) and the international standard ISO 10993. Available from Clariant Masterbatches under its new Mevopur® brand [ADPO, December 2010], these colour concentrates and precoloured compounds are produced under specially controlled conditions in ISO 13485 certified plants, using raw materials that have been biologically evaluated and spectroscopically analysed on delivery.

Masterbatch specialist Ampacet of Tarrytown, NY, USA, has introduced DeNestur™, a de-nesting additive masterbatch. The new product is claimed to provide processing benefits for thermoformers and injection moulders, faster line speeds and less waste for packagers and processors, and quick and easy single-serve food and beverage tray and cup separation for retail operators and consumers. The company has also recently launched a further range of colour masterbatches.

Minnesota-based thermoplastics compounder RTP Company has added customizable special effects to its product line of colour masterbatches for film and sheet applications using engineering resins. According to the firm, the new masterbatches satisfy growing consumer demand for stylish products in medical, packaging, sporting goods, automotive, construction and consumer goods applications.

Leverkusen-based Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) reports that it has developed a versatile technology for the addition of fillers into reactive polyurethane (PU) blends. With the solid injection by air stream (SIA) method, the solids are transported in a gas stream and only injected into the mixing chamber during the blending phase, which is said to offer several advantages over the existing batch method. The development was presented at the Paris JEC 2011 show in March.

A clear impact modifier masterbatch for use with polylactic acid (PLA) bioplastics provides substantial increases in impact strength while sustaining the excellent clarity of the base resin, according to the Bioplastics Division of Teknor Apex. FDA-accepted for loadings up to 20%, the Terraloy™ 90000 Series masterbatch can be used for flexible and thermoformed packaging, extrusion coating and food service disposables, the company says.

BASF reports that its Uvinul® 4050 FF monomeric hindered amine light stabilizer (HALS) is registered for food contact in polymer applications. The product is a direct replacement for the chemically identical Uvinul 4050 H additive [ADPO, December 2006] but is presented in an improved product form with low dust levels and improved flowability during dosing, the company explains.

Boston-headquartered Cabot Corp is planning to invest more than US$180 million between now and 2013 to expand manufacturing capacity for carbon black in some of the fastest-growing regions of the world, as well as in Europe. The plans include a joint venture agreement with Risun Chemicals Co, Ltd to construct a state-of-the-art carbon black facility in Xingtai, China.

Tennessee-based Eastman Chemical Co has successfully completed a further expansion of the manufacturing capacity for its Eastman 168™ non-phthalate plasticizer at its Kingsport, TN, USA, facility. The company says the capacity increase is in response to growing demand for alternatives to ortho-phthalate plasticizers. It has also announced that it will end the production of two of its own ortho-phthalate products by year-end.

South Korea's Songwon Industrial Group has implemented a new organization in order to better meet the growing global demand for its polymer additives, the company says. Effective from 1 January 2011, the changes involve the establishment of six global functions, including R&D and logistics, and a group-wide executive committee.

Germany oxo intermediates and derivatives producer Oxea GmbH is planning to build a new carboxylic acids unit at its Oberhausen site. The new unit will boost the company's global carboxylic acids production capacity by an additional 40% on top of the already announced, ongoing capacity expansion projects that are due to be completed by the end of 2011 [ADPO, April 2011].

Kerala Minerals & Metals Ltd (KMML) reports that it is taking steps to increase its annual pigment production capacity from 40 000 tonnes to 60 000 tonnes. Plans for the necessary plant debottlenecking and expansion to achieve this increase are currently being worked out, it says. The company hopes to increase its production to the planned new level within two years.

During the fourth quarter of 2010, Chemtura Corp emerged from its Chapter 11 restructuring ‘leaner, fitter and with a much stronger balance sheet’, according to CEO Craig Rogerson. Debt has been significantly reduced, creditors' allowed claims satisfied, cost structure improved and a considerable number of environmental and other liabilities resolved, he says.

Chemicals major BASF SE achieved a profit of €1.1 billion in 2010, more than double the figure of €455 million for 2009, on sales up 26% to €63.9 billion. The chemicals business, in particular, was able to take advantage of the unexpectedly strong economic recovery in 2010. Income from operations (EBIT) before special items increased 68% year on year to €8.1 billion for 2010.

For full-year 2010, The Dow Chemical Company had sales of US$53.7 billion, up 26% versus 2009, with sequential sales gains throughout the year. Net income from continuing operations was $2.32 billion, up from $566 million the previous year.

Germany's speciality chemicals company Lanxess posted strong 2010 year-end results. Sales in the 12-month period grew 41% year-on-year to €7.1 billion, driven by both vigorous volume growth and price increases. Net income jumped nearly tenfold from €40 million in 2009 to €379 million last year, while EBITDA pre-exceptionals nearly doubled to €918 million, above the company's own forecast.