Additives for Polymers (v.2011, #8)

Colorant specialist Holland Colours has extended its family of petroleum-free Holcobatch products suitable for use with biopolymer resins with the addition of its new Natural Colorant Palette. In addition to the non-polymeric, non-petroleum-based carrier systems that typify Holcobatch colorants and additives, this new range of pigments features non-petroleum-based pigments and an organic bio-derived carrier to provide colorants made entirely from renewable resources, it says. According to the company, biopolymers have historically been coloured with petroleum-based pigments.

In response to the growing call for traceability in food, beverage, drug and cosmetic packaging, New York-based firm Ampacet has introduced AmpaTrace™ molecular tracers that add distinct security signatures to packaging components used by consumer package goods companies. The tracers allow flexible and rigid plastic packaging to be evaluated at points in the supply chain to help resolve security, counterfeiting, liability and other issues, even at the retail store level, according to the company.

Southampton-based Bac2 has developed its CSR family of latent acid catalysts [ADPO, August 2010 & November 2009] to create formulations suitable for the production of storage-stable phenolic and furan-based pre-polymeric mixes. These inherently flame-retardant bulk and sheet moulding compounds (BMCs and SMCs) maintain good mould-flow characteristics and can be cured rapidly at 120°C or more slowly at temperatures above 50°C, the firm says.

A new grade of high-performance reinforcing agent from Milliken & Co is reported to yield finished parts with higher stiffness and impact resistance but lower weight than talc-filled parts. It also has improved feeding and handling characteristics for compounders and yields whiter compounds, allowing users to cut back on colour masterbatch, the company says.

OnColor™ HC Plus colorants developed by PolyOne Corp for healthcare, medical device and pharmaceutical applications [ADPO, April 2011] now meet USP Class VI and ISO 10993 biocompatibility requirements when used with medical grades of Eastman Tritan™ copolyester, the company reports. PolyOne has also separately announced that the colorant line has now been formulated for compatibility with Dow's range of HEALTH+™ polymers.

UK-based eco-mineral specialist RockTron and French compounder Eurostar Engineering Plastics (Eurostar EP) have announced the launch of a new grade of polypropylene (PP) containing RockTron's 100% recycled, high-performance mineral fillers [ADPO, December 2009]. The new grade, Starpylen ECR30K ECR: PP 30% Glass Bead Reinforced, contains 30% of RockTron's MinTron™ alumino-silicate solid glass spheres and is part of a new range of thermoplastic compounds made with 100% recycled, low carbon reinforcing agents, developed as a result of customer pressure.

In The Netherlands, a collaboration between compounder Resin (Products & Technology) BV and partners photovoltaic module developer TULiPPS™ Solar BV, industrial colorants producer QolorTech BV and Austrian plastic components manufacturer voestalpine Plastics Solutions has developed a family of long fibre thermoplastic (LFT) polypropylene (PP) composite materials.

Dutch company AkzoNobel has opened a new research centre in Deventer, The Netherlands, to house more than 200 top researchers from the company's Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) organization. The so-called Research Street complex will play a pivotal role in the company's ambition to drive future growth through pioneering innovation, it says. Elsewhere, the company has entered into a partnership in China with Quangxi CAVA Titanium Industry Co Ltd for the production and supply of titanium dioxide (TiO2).

Dover Chemical Corp, which increased the production capacity for its patented bis(2,4-dicumylphenyl)pentaerythritol diphosphite high-performance phosphite stabilizer Doverphos S-9228 by 100% in 2010, has again doubled capacity in a second expansion phase scheduled for completion by mid-2011. Available in a number of grades and blends, the additive improves colour and processing stability in polymers used in automotive parts, household appliances, electronics, powder coatings and packaging.

Polymer additives and colorants company Americhem is establishing a new US manufacturing site on more than 40 acres in Liberty, near Greensboro in North Carolina. Production is due to start at the new site this autumn. The addition of the new campus is Americhem's seventh capacity expansion in the past five years.

South American masterbatch producer Comai Ltda is increasing its production capacity for carbon black, white and additive masterbatches based on polypropylene, polyethylene and polystyrene by around 10 000 tonnes/year.

Global chemicals company Eastman Chemical Co has entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Sterling Chemicals, Inc, a single-site North American petrochemical producer, for US$100 million in cash, subject to modest deductions at closing as provided in the merger agreement. The transaction, which includes Sterling's idled plasticizer and acetic acid manufacturing assets in Texas City, TX, will enable Eastman to expand its non-phthalate plasticizer capacity to meet growing market demand.

German speciality chemicals company Lanxess reports that it achieved its best-ever quarterly result in the first quarter of 2011. EBITDA pre-exceptionals rose 38% year-on-year to €322 million, with all segments and regions achieving double-digit growth. As a result the company says it will exceed the €1 billion EBITDA pre-exceptionals mark for the first time in 2011.

For the first quarter ended 31 March 2011, Chemtura Corp posted net earnings from continuing operations on a GAAP basis of US$7 million on net sales of $699 million. This compares with a net loss of $177 million on net sales of $603 million for 1Q 2010.

Speciality chemicals major Clariant posted net income of CHF120 million (€105 million) for the first quarter of 2011 compared to CHF10 million a year earlier. Sales of CHF1.7 billion were up 5% in local currencies although, due to the appreciation of the Swiss franc against most major currencies, sales were 6% lower in Swiss francs year-on-year.