Additives for Polymers (v.2012, #5)

Illinois-based Plastics Color Corp (PCC), a supplier of colour concentrates, additive masterbatches and speciality compounds for the plastics industry, has announced the launch of its new LiquiSol™ colour and additive system for polymers. LiquiSol ‘is not a product’, rather it is a full system designed to ‘integrate liquid into our customers’ operation, not as a replacement to colour resin concentrates, but as alternatives for specific manufacturing processes', VP of business development Tim Workman explains.

Swiss speciality chemicals firm Clariant used the recent JEC Europe Composites Show in Paris to unveil its two new Exolit® EP non-halogenated flame retardants – Exolit EP 150 and EP 200 – to the transport and construction sectors. Designed for use with epoxy resins, the new products are described by the company as ‘a novel, sustainable solution to achieving high fire safety levels’ in these applications.

Resin producer Cray Valley USA LLC of Exton, PA, has developed a new range of formulated styrene maleic anhydride (SMA) concentrates that are optimized to improve polyamide performance, it says. According to the Total chemicals company, the SMA® 9000 series pellet masterbatches are designed to improve the melt strength of post-consumer, post-industrial and virgin polyamides, and are ideal for extrusion and compounding.

Belgian fibreglass company 3B has launched a new and eco-responsible milled fibre powder grade developed from the by-products of Advantex® glass manufacturing. MF 01 ER (Eco-Responsible) combines reinforcement with flammability control, making it particularly attractive for automotive and electrical and electronics (E&E) applications, the company suggests. It is commercially available worldwide.

Custom colour and additive solutions provider Americhem Inc has launched the nBalance™ range of sustainable solutions to address issues of compostability, renewability, reusability and degradability. Using ASTM standards as its guide, this product line comprises colour and additive masterbatches that reduce impact on the environment, it says. The company is also introducing nFinity™ custom-formulated masterbatch packages for synthetic turf.

Glass fibre specialist Owens Corning has pioneered a new solution to help kitchen appliance and food processing equipment manufacturers comply with impending European Commission (EC) regulations on glass fibre used in materials for food and drinking water contact. The company's FoodContact™ range for reinforced plastics is designed for use in consumer appliance and food manufacturing products such as kitchen utensils and kitchenware; coffee machines; food preparation equipment; ingredient holding tanks; and drinking water systems.

In China, Clariant has inaugurated a new pigment preparations production plant in DaGang, in the city of Tianjin, to support the growing regional market. The facility, which came on stream at the end of 2011, is a joint venture between Clariant and Tianjin Bohai Chemical Industry Co with a total investment of CNY120 million (ca. €14.9 million). In other news, Clariant recently started building its new innovation centre in Frankfurt, Germany.

Global silicones manufacturer Momentive Performance Materials Inc is expanding its manufacturing facility and application development centre in Chennai, India. Spanning more than 15 acres, the state-of-the-art facility, which opened in 2009, focuses on manufacturing high-end speciality silicones to serve the growing needs of customers in India, the Middle East and South Asia.

Germany's chemicals giant BASF is realigning its research and focusing even more strongly on the market and global customer industries, it says. Alongside the further development of its established business portfolio, the company's main research emphasis is being placed on growth and technology fields that address social challenges and offer BASF relevant business potential.

Indian company Binani Industries, which is part of the Braj Binani Group, has acquired a 100% equity interest in Belgium's 3B from Platinum Equity. The group says that the €275 million acquisition forms part of its strategy to expand its footprint in the global fibreglass market, and further augments its technological and marketing capabilities in this business.

Berkshire Hathaway company Johns Manville (JM) is investing in expanded glass fibre production capacities at its European facility in Trnava, Slovakia. According to the company, the investment involves replacing and expanding a furnace, which is expected to be operational by the end of September 2012.

Speciality chemicals company Lanxess continued to grow in 2011, reporting record sales and earnings figures. Sales climbed by 23% to €8.775 billion, which the company attributes to its price-before-volume strategy, successful acquisitions and focus on the emerging markets. In addition, EBITDA pre-exceptionals improved by 25% to € 1.146 billion, exceeding €1 billion for the first time, while net income rose disproportionately, improving by 34% from the previous year to €506 million.

For the year ended 31 December 2011, Chemtura Corp reported net sales of US$3.03 billion, up 9.6% on the annual total of $2.76 billion for 2010. Net earnings from continuing operations attributable to Chemtura on a GAAP basis were $119 million in 2011 compared to a net loss of $586 million the previous year.

Ohio-based performance materials company Ferro Corp achieved net sales of US$2.16 billion for the year ended 31 December 2011, an increase of 2.6% compared with $2.10 billion in 2010. Net income was $31.5 million in 2011 compared with $5.0 million the previous year. The improvement was driven by significantly lower restructuring and impairment charges, reduced losses on extinguishment of debt and lower interest expense, partially offset by reduced gross profit and higher income tax expense.

In 2011, BASF SE posted record sales of €73.5 billion, up 15% from 2010, with all regions contributing. Income from operations (EBIT) before special items improved by 4% to €8.4 billion and EBIT increased almost 11% to €8.6 billion, the company reports.

Dutch chemicals and coatings company AkzoNobel and its compatriot DSM have officially launched the BluCure™ umbrella brand covering innovative cobalt-free resin curing technologies and products. At the recent JEC Composites show in Paris, the two companies also unveiled the BluCure quality seal, which offers the composites industry a way to distinguish products that are based on 100% cobalt-free BluCure technology.