Additives for Polymers (v.2012, #1)

Swiss speciality chemicals company Clariant has unveiled two low-dosage, non-halogenated flame retardants for epoxy resins to the electrical and electronics industry. Described as ‘pioneering’ and ‘cutting-edge’, Exolit® EP 150 and EP 200, which have been developed specifically for epoxy laminates, are said to set ‘a new benchmark’ in high-efficiency, halogen-free flame retardants for printed circuit boards.

A team at Swiss materials science research institute EMPA has developed a manufacturing process for nanocellulose powder. The researchers say the material can be used as an alternative to conventional cellulose suspensions in the creation of bio-based polymer nanocomposites that can be used, for example, in lightweight structures for the automotive industry and as a membrane or filter material for biomedical applications.

Ohio-based PolyOne Corp has launched new formulations in its WithStand™ Antimicrobial Solutions range based on Sanitized® MedX 200s active ingredients [ADPO, January 2011]. Targeting the healthcare industry in Europe, these new products were developed in association with Swiss antimicrobials specialist Sanitized AG to provide high-quality, customizable solutions for demanding healthcare and medical device applications. The products were introduced at Compamed 2011 held last November in Düsseldorf, where the two companies also announced their alliance.

In Louisiana, a collaboration between researchers from Albemarle Corp, Louisiana State University (LSU) and the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices (CAMD) has led to innovative new methods that will increase 3-D visualization of flame retardant and synergist components using element-specific X-ray tomography. According to the team, their study shows that it is possible to visualize key polymer additives in 3-D without damage to the polymer or test sample, which will aid future advances in fire safety solutions.

US firm PQ Corp has announced the launch of Advera® Ti for the partial replacement of titanium dioxide (TiO2) in coatings, plastics, paper coatings and other markets. According to the company, the new Advera product provides a cost-effective replacement for TiO2 with comparable performance.

Inorganic pigment firm Shepherd Color has added a new cobalt-based blue pigment to its range of Arctic® infrared-reflecting colours. Compared with previous red-shade blues, Blue 10C595 is said to have significantly lower surface area and resin demand, which results in higher gloss.

BASF has revealed plans to strengthen its position as a leading global chemical company as part of its ‘We create chemistry’ strategy. The company has set itself ambitious goals between now and 2020. It is also in the process of establishing the global headquarters of its Dispersions and Pigments division in Hong Kong.

In the USA, Chroma Corp and Evive have signed an exclusive agreement whereby Chroma will compound and supply biodegradable concentrates based on the patented P-life additive, which is supplied by Evive. According to the companies, the P-Life additive products are the only ASTM-approved masterbatches in the market today. Products made with the P-Life additive have reportedly been tested to prove that the products are 100% biodegraded.

Clariant is strengthening its presence in Asia with the opening of new regional headquarters and an ethoxylation plant. The Swiss-based company is opening a new Regional Headquarters for Southeast Asia & Pacific as well as a new Global Textile Chemicals headquarters, both located in Singapore.

Dutch company AkzoNobel is planning to invest €45 million in a new plant for dicumyl peroxide (DCP) at its Ningbo multi-site in China to meet a growing local, regional and global demand. DCP is widely used as a crosslinker for various polymers and copolymers, and can be found in products ranging from shoe soles to insulation for cable and construction applications.

France's Arkema has announced plans to spin off and divest its Vinyl Products activities and refocus on its speciality chemicals activities as encompassed by its Industrial Chemicals and Performance Products segments. The company says it believes that each of its speciality activities now require a differentiated strategy.

For the third quarter of 2011, Albemarle Corp posted net sales of US$723 million, up 24% from $585 million in 3Q 2010. Net income was also up 24% year on year, from $93.7 million in 3Q 2010 to $116.1 million for the same period in 2011. EBITDA for 3Q 2011 was $189 million and the EBITDA margin 26%.

Cleveland-based Ferro Corp posted net sales of US$546 million for the three-month period ended 30 September 2011, an increase of 3% from net sales of $529 million in the third quarter of 2010. Net income improved to $18.2 million compared with a net loss of $2.4 million for the same period a year earlier. Excluding charges, adjusted net income was $19.7 million in 3Q 2011 compared with $25.3 million in 3Q 2010.

Cytec Industries Inc achieved net earnings for the third quarter of 2011 of US$47.9 million on net sales of $778 million. Excluding special items, net earnings were $53.9 million. These figures compare with net earnings of $37.7 million on net sales of $700 million for 3Q 2010.

For the third quarter of 2011, Chemtura Corp reported net sales of US$773 million and net earnings from continuing operations attributable to the company on a GAAP basis of $9 million. For the same quarter of 2010, net sales were $710 million and net earnings $12 million. While net earnings fell 25%, the company comments that both 3Q net sales and operating profitability showed a year-on-year improvement despite the uncertain macroeconomic outlook.

Market research publisher Global Industry Analysts, Inc has released a new report examining the global markets for masterbatches. Markets are quantified according to end-use segments (automotive, packaging, construction and others), product types (white, black, colour and additive masterbatch) and region (North America, Japan, Europe, Asia Pacific and Rest of World). Annual figures and forecasts are provided for the period 2009 to 2017 as well as a six-year historical analysis of these markets. The report also profiles 140 companies including both key and niche players.