Additives for Polymers (v.2011, #6)

At the annual Paris JEC Composites Show in late March, Owens Corning announced two new grades of short glass fibre (GF) reinforcements for polypropylene (PP) specifically engineered for automotive applications. The company also introduced a chopped strand product for high-performance polyphenylene sulphide (PPS) composites.

Cincinnati-based Shepherd Color Company has extended its pigment range and also entered new colour space with the addition of Orange 10P320. According to the company, the new product helps bridge the colour space between conventional titanates, such as its Yellow 10P270, and lead- and chrome-based pigments. Orange 10P320 is reported to meet numerous regulations governing packaging, recycling and toys, including AP (89)1, EN 71.3, BfR, CONEG, RoHS, WEEE, ELV and TCLP.

Italy's Viba Group has developed several new masterbatches to improve the performance of polylactic acid (PLA) biopolymers whilst bypassing the ‘typical disadvantages' of these materials. The new Vibatan masterbatches have been formulated to improve mechanical properties in PLA, both in extrusion and in injection or blow moulding.

The latest antifungal additive from Techmer PM, designated PM14873, blocks fungal growth at loadings of just 7.5% in polyethylene (PE) films. The additive complies with US Food and Drug Administration requirements for food contact, and its active ingredient is on the Environmental Protection Agency's list of ‘minimal concern' chemicals that are exempt from registration under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act.

Oxygen scavenger HyGuard® and light-blocking technology Ultimate UV390 from US firm ColorMatrix have been recognized for their recyclability by both the Association of Post Consumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and the European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP).

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded the food contact clearance for Eastman Chemical's non-phthalate plasticizer Eastman 168™. Food Contact Notification (FCN) 1056 permits the plasticizer to be used in contact with all food types at levels up to 55% by weight of the finished plasticized polyvinyl chloride (PVC) formulations for repeated use articles.

Japan's Adeka Corp has established a joint venture company in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to expand its operations by developing a production and sales structure for polymer additives in the Middle East. Initial manufacturing will be of granular one-pack additive products, which can be tailored to the working environment, production management and other needs of customers. The company has also revealed plans for a new plant at its Chinese subsidiary.

Germany's Evonik Industries has signed an agreement to sell its carbon black activities to US venture capital company Rhône Capital LLC. The transaction is valued in excess of €900 million including the assumption of certain obligations. Subject to the approval of Evonik's supervisory board and the competent antitrust authorities, closure of the deal is expected during summer 2011.

In Sweden AkzoNobel is investing €30 million to boost capacity for its Expancel expandable microspheres in order to meet growing global demand. The extra capacity will be added at the company's site in Stockvik and is due to come on stream in early 2012. Part of the investment will also be used to further improve eco-efficiency at the facility and to implement several additional upgrades, the company says.

Akron-based A. Schulman, Inc is to add a manufacturing line at its Sao Paulo, Brazil plant to accommodate increased demand for the company's masterbatch and engineered plastics products. The company expects the line to be installed and operational by November 2011. The plant was acquired as part of Schulman's recent purchase of Mash Compostos Plasticos, a masterbatch additive producer and engineered plastics compounder [ADPO, December 2010].

German speciality chemicals group Lanxess is expanding its global presence and has established a dedicated company for the Middle East. The office of Lanxess Middle East GmbH is located in Dubai. Lanxess currently supplies customers in the region primarily with speciality chemicals, colour pigments for the construction industry, and high-tech plastics and rubbers.

PolyOne Corp, ranked as North America's largest manufacturer of compounds and concentrates, enjoyed a strong comeback throughout 2010, reporting a tripling of annual profits to almost US$163 million compared to 2009. Full-year 2011 sales of just over US$2.6 billion represented a gain of 27% compared to the previous year.

For the first quarter of 2011, Albemarle Corp reported earnings of US$106.6 million compared to 1Q 2010 earnings of $63.3 million, an increase of 68%. The company reported a record quarterly net sales performance of $696.5 million in 1Q 2011, up 20% from net sales of $580.3 million in the same period of 2010. All three operating segments also achieved all-time quarterly record income performance, the company reports.

The first edition of this handbook, published in 2005, was the first book ever written on the subject of antiblocking, release and slip additives, which are of high industrial importance. The recently released second edition includes all the new information that has become available in the six years since then, publisher ChemTec says.

A new report released by Global Industry Analysts (GIA), a market research publisher based in Rockville, MD, USA, forecasts that the global market for masterbatches will reach US$8.25 billion by the year 2017. Technology developments that help impart the desired colour and physical properties to polymers, simultaneously reducing their cost, will aid in ‘turbocharging' the market's growth in the medium- to long-term period, says GIA, especially given evolving demand among end-user industries for high-performance products with enhanced functionality.