Additives for Polymers (v.2011, #9)

Ohio-based Americhem Inc introduced new masterbatch technologies at the HBA Expo 2011 tradeshow, held in New York City. These included photochromatic masterbatches, which respond to ultraviolet (UV), and a new coloured soft-touch technology. The company has also added capacity at its Manchester plant.

Germany's Oxea has introduced Oxsoft GPO, the latest addition to its recently launched Oxsoft product range of phthalate-free and non-VOC plasticizers [ADPO, July 2011]. According to the company, the new product offers one-to-one substitution for traditional, general-purpose plasticizers such as DOP (1-dioctyl phthalate) and DINP (diisononyl phthalate).

Illinois-based Elevance Renewable Sciences and the Additives business unit of Clariant International Ltd have signed an agreement to cooperate within the field of renewable products. The companies intend to couple Clariant's ‘strong market knowledge and formulation development capabilities’ with Elevance's ‘unique renewable products’ and patented process technology to commercialize new renewable additives for plastics.

Speciality chemicals company Buckman, headquartered in Memphis, TN, USA, has unveiled the latest addition to its Flamebloc GS line of bromine-free flame retardants. Flamebloc GS 602 is a powdered product specifically designed to impart char formation in applications where powdered products are desirable, the company says.

NanoBioMatters (NBM), a Spanish manufacturer of engineered clay-based polymer additives, reports that its BactiBlock® antimicrobial polymer preservatives has been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in the USA. According to the company, the product is a very durable and cost-effective solution based on silver-functionalized clay and is designed to suppress the growth of algae, mould, mildew, fungi and bacteria, which cause deterioration, odours, corrosion and stains in polymer-based products.

Ohio-based Flow Polymers, LLC, a manufacturer of proprietary and custom chemical dispersions, process aids, homogenizing agents and performance additives for rubber and plastics, has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant of US$143 984 by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop novel nanofiller technology for the inner liners of tyres.

Polymer additives major BASF is significantly expanding its presence in the Middle East region by building a state-of-the-art plant for customer specific antioxidant blends (CSB) in Bahrain. Construction of the facility was scheduled to begin in September 2011, with operational start-up expected by the end of 2012. The company has also revealed plans to build a second production plant for its phthalate-free plasticizer Hexamoll® DINCH at its main Ludwigshafen site.

Cytec Industries Inc is setting up a new production line for its Cyasorb Cynergy Solutions™ stabilizers at its manufacturing site in Fengxian (Shanghai), China. Start up of the new production line is expected in the first quarter of 2012.

Japanese chemical company Kaneka Corp, through its European subsidiary Kaneka Belgium NV, has acquired the acrylate-based plastic additives and plastisols businesses of Evonik Röhm GmbH, part of Germany's Evonik Industries AG Group. Both parties have agreed not to disclose the selling price.

Speciality chemicals company Vertellus Specialties Inc is establishing a more-centralized applications development research centre in Ledgewood, NJ, close to its Parsippany office, as part of its aggressive growth strategy. The company says that the new lab will enable it to pursue opportunities that have recently emerged in a number of market sectors for several of its core products, including its Citroflex® citric acid ester-based polymer additives.

As part of its globalization strategy, India's Sudarshan is upgrading its pigments manufacturing facility at Roha in the state of Maharashtra with an investment of Rup 1 billion (c. US$20 million). According to the company, the key developments include new high-performance pigment plants, capacity expansion for pearlescent effect pigments, a 120 000 ft2 (11 150 m2) warehouse with a storage capacity of 1600 tonnes, and expansions in R&D and application laboratories.

Clariant posted sales of CHF1.870 billion (€1.531 billion) in the second quarter of 2011, compared to CHF1.894 billion for the same period of the previous year. This includes Süd-Chemie sales of CHF216 million for May and June. In local currencies, sales growth amounted to 14% on the back of ‘solid business fundamentals’ and price increases. Due to the massive appreciation of the Swiss franc against most major currencies, sales were 1% lower in Swiss francs year-on-year.

For the first six months of 2011, BASF's business remained ‘dynamic’ and exceeded the previous year's ‘excellent results’, the company reports. Both net sales (€37.8 billion) and EBIT before special items (c. €5 billion) for the half year were up 19.4% compared to the same period in 2010. Net income increased by 74.7% to €3.865 billion.

For the quarter ended 30 June 2011, Albemarle Corp posted record earnings for the second consecutive quarter of US$114 million, up 39% compared to $82 million in 2Q 2010. EBITDA was $178 million and the EBITDA margin 24%. Net sales of $742 million were also a quarterly record, up 25% from the figure of $592 million a year earlier.

Under new rules laid out by the European Commission, all remaining applications of cadmium in plastics, jewellery products and brazing sticks marketed and used in the European Union will be banned from December 2011 because of health and environmental concerns. The ban will be adopted as an amendment under REACH.

Continued growth is forecast for the global pigments market, with revenues expected to increase to more than US$45 billion by 2018, according to the latest study released by market research specialists Ceresana Research. Published in July, Market Study: Pigments is a newly updated, in-depth study on the global pigments market, the company says.