Additives for Polymers (v.2012, #2)

Rhode Island-based Teknor Apex Co has developed a new melt strength enhancer in masterbatch form that is claimed to increase the pull force that can be applied to polylactic acid (PLA) by 300% to 500% over a wide range of drawdown ratios. This makes it possible to achieve higher throughputs in extrusion and thermoforming while reducing scrap rates, the company reports.

Chemtura business Great Lakes Solutions has initiated commercial production of Emerald™ 1000 at its manufacturing facility in El Dorado, AR, USA. The new polymeric flame retardant is a product of the business's greener innovation strategy and is one of four new flame retardant products in the Emerald product line of high-performing, greener fire safety solutions.

Plastics Color Corp (PCC), a US supplier of colour concentrates and additive masterbatches for plastics, has introduced a non-brominated flame retardant system for polypropylene. The product line, FlamaSol FR™, was developed at the company's Solutions Center located in Asheboro, NC, USA.

In Japan, Teijin Ltd and the Tokyo Institute of Technology report that they have co-developed a highly conductive carbon nanofibre (CNF) with an unusual elliptical cross-section consisting of well-developed graphite layers ordered in a single direction.

Ford Motor is continuing its research into the use of natural fibres and bio-based plastics by investigating the use of coconut coir as a composite reinforcement in collaboration with US garden materials company Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG). The aim is to produce moulded plastic parts that are lighter and more natural-looking while reducing the use of petroleum-based chemicals.

Speciality chemicals company Clariant International Ltd has announced the next stage in its on-going capacity expansion programme for Exolit® OP non-halogenated flame retardants, with the addition of a third production unit at its site in Hürth-Knapsack, near Cologne, Germany. Set to come on-stream in 2013, integration of this third production facility will result in an overall tripling of capacity since growth plans were first communicated in 4Q 2010 during K 2010 [ADPO, January 2011], the company says.

Korean additives major Songwon Industrial Group has acquired Germany's Additives Technology Greiz (ATG), one of Europe's largest manufacturers of one-pack system (OPS) products for the polymer industry. Separately, it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Pan Gulf Holdings and Polysys Industries to establish several joint ventures for the manufacturing and sales of Songnox® OPS in the Middle East.

On 31 March 2012, Cabot Corp is to close its Hong Kong masterbatch facility, and move the production to its recently opened Tianjin facility in mainland China. From that date, Tianjin will become Cabot's sole masterbatch production site in China. The company says that the move will strengthen its cost and technology position in Asia.

PolyOne Corp has extended production capabilities for its Stan-Tone™ speciality paste colorants to China. The company has incorporated production capacity for the well-established product line at its facility in Shenzhen. PolyOne says that the new capability has been added in response to growing demand in China for high-performance colorant dispersions used in thermoset polymers for building and construction applications such as sealants, caulks, flooring, and indoor and outdoor decking.

Titanium chemicals company Cristal Global has signed a letter of intent with Finnish minerals and metals processing specialist Outotec for the construction of a new plant to process ilmenite ore in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Located in Yanbu, the smelting plant is estimated to become operational in 4Q 2013.

The Color Pigments and Services business of Rockwood Holdings Inc is to build an advanced technology production facility in Augusta, GA for the synthesis of iron oxide pigments. This US$115 million investment will result in the first new iron oxide pigment production plant in the USA in nearly 35 years, the company says.

In Europe, masterbatch specialist Ampacet is opening a new headquarters for its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) operations at Dudelange in the south of Luxembourg. The site will also house additional masterbatch production capacity and a new European Innovation Centre to assist customers.

Leverkusen-based Lanxess posted a record third quarter in 2011 due to ongoing strong demand, especially for its synthetic rubbers and high-tech plastics. Sales increased strongly by 26.5% year-on-year, from €1.85 billion in 3Q 2010 to €2.34 billion, with the company reporting significant sales gains in all regions.

For the first half of its 2011/2012 financial year ended 30 September 2011, Dutch colorants firm Holland Colours NV realized a turnover of €32.0 million, which is comparable to the figure of €31.9 million reported a year earlier. In fact, turnover rose 3% in the first quarter of the company's latest financial year but fell again by 3% in the second quarter.

B&W Tek, Inc of the USA and UK-based Gnosys Global, Ltd have joined forces to develop PolymerIQ™, a new system offering real-time, non-destructive identification and quantification of the constituents of polymer compounds. The PolymerIQ system combines B&W Tek's high-resolution portable Raman spectrometer system, the i-Raman®, with expert PolymerIQ chemometric software from Gnosys.