Additives for Polymers (v.2011, #12)

France's Arkema has enhanced its Lotader® and Orevac® ranges of impact modifiers for polyamides 6 and 66 (PA6 and PA66) with the introduction of two additional grades. Both new additives are reported to impart flexibility and impact resistance to the polyamides at even lower temperatures than existing products, while maintaining high fluidity for good productivity.

Polymer additives major BASF SE has introduced Tinuvin® 1600, a novel UV absorber that is said to provide ‘extremely long-lasting’ protection for high-performance thermoplastics. According to BASF, the new product has been specifically developed for the protection of thin-layer applications for exterior uses, allowing plastic sheets, films and fibres to retain their mechanical properties, colour and transparency for extended periods of time. For outdoor applications, a life expectancy of up to 20 years is claimed.

Ohio-based A. Schulman is expanding its range of speciality antibacterial and antimicrobial masterbatches in order to meet ‘a wider variety of application needs’ in the packaging, consumer products and medical markets. In other news, the company posted improved net sales and adjusted net income for its fiscal year ended 31 August 2011.

German liquid colorant specialist Novosystems has developed the Novopearls microgranulate line to combine ‘the best features of liquid colours and conventional granulate batch material’. Novopearls is a solid material possessing the characteristics of the company's liquid colours yet making a higher degree of coloration possible and offering cost savings in comparison with conventional colour batches, Novosystems claims. The product received its launch at October's Fakuma show in Friedrichshafen.

After the successful introduction of combination package Holcomax 69969 and Holcobatch 935299 by Holland Colours' Division Americas, the company is now launching this American development in Europe.

Greenlite™ from France's Porcher Industries is a new generation of high-performance, renewable reinforcements for the composites industry. The materials are based on pure cellulose fibres, the most abundant and renewable biomass on earth. Greenlite materials are biodegradable and highly compatible with bio-based resins, making them suitable for the production of 100% bio-based composites on a large scale, according to the company.

Nebraska-based Laurel BioComposite has introduced Bio-Res, a patent-pending product for the moulding market. According to the company, the material was developed to cost-effectively raise the renewable content of plastic products by as much as 40%. Bio-Res is derived from corn-based distillers grain, a readily available, non-edible by-product of ethanol production.

In two moves that will significantly expand its colorants business, PolyOne has reached agreement to acquire liquid colorants specialist ColorMatrix Group for US$486 million, and has additionally formed a joint venture to build a colour concentrates plant in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Honeywell Specialty Materials has launched the Solstice™ brand name for its low-global-warming-potential (GWP) materials. The brand will be used for the family of stationary and mobile refrigerants, blowing agents, propellants and solvents that the company continues to develop and commercialize for its customers.

Lanxess, which already offers a substantial portfolio of phthalate-free plasticizers, is strengthening its global asset base for these environmentally friendly products with the acquisition of Unitex Chemical Corp of Greensboro, NC, USA. In addition, the company has signed a joint development agreement with sustainable chemistry firm BioAmber to develop renewable, succinic acid-based plasticizers that can exceed the performance of phthalates at competitive prices.

As part of its commitment to its core additives business, Chemtura Corp has created a new Centre of Excellence for the product development of its Polybond® coupling agents and Royaltuf® impact modifiers. Located at the company's site in Morgantown, WV, USA, the state-of-the-art facility incorporates compounding and analysis laboratories, application development and technical support teams.

German chemical company Oxea has announced that it will build its first plant for the production of oxo derivatives in Nanjing, China, in 2012. Scheduled to go on-stream in 2013, the state-of-the-art plant will serve the fast-growing demand for oxo derivatives in China and Asia, the company says. The investment will establish ‘a new production platform’ for the company in China and is part of its overall strategy to expand into growth regions, Oxea explains.

Lanxess subsidiary Rhein Chemie is investing approximately €10 million in a new production facility in Porto Feliz, Brazil, as part of its ‘rigorous growth strategy’. Elsewhere, the company's recently introduced BioAdimide™ additive for bioplastics [ADPO, May 2011] has been recognized with a Global New Product Innovation Award from Frost & Sullivan.

In Tennessee, Eastman Chemical Co is to increase manufacturing capacity for Eastman 168™ non-phthalate plasticizer at its Kingsport site by approximately 6000 tonnes annually. The additional manufacturing capacity from this expansion is scheduled to be on line before the end of 2011.

For the third quarter of 2011, AkzoNobel NV posted revenues of €4.05 billion, a 5% increase from €3.87 billion for 3Q 2010. However, weakening market conditions in the quarter affected volumes, while rising input costs outpaced selling price increases, with a consequent 12% fall in EBITDA to €507 million. As a result, the company has launched a performance improvement programme to boost competitiveness and growth and reduce its cost base.

Boston-based producer of carbon black and masterbatches Cabot Corp reported sales of US$3.10 billion for its fiscal year ended 30 September 2011, up 14% from $2.71 billion in fiscal 2010. Fourth quarter sales were up nearly 19% year on year to $832 million. Net income for the year was $235 million, jumping 52% from the FY 2010 figure of $154 million. Net income of $49 million in 4Q 2011 represented a 40% increase year on year.