Additives for Polymers (v.2012, #6)

Ohio-based rubber and plastics additives firm Struktol Company of America has introduced a swathe of new products. The company says that the new additives have been designed to provide greater processing and performance capabilities for compounders, processors and end users. All the products were launched at April's National Plastics Exposition (NPE) in Florida.

Polyvinyl chloride additive manufacturer Galata Chemicals has introduced Drapex ® Alpha, a natural oil-based primary plasticizer technology. The company reports that the new plasticizer has been successfully market tested and is now commercially available from its production facilities in both Europe and North America. Galata also recently announced a collaborative effort with Georgia Gulf Corp to develop a line of flexible bio-based PVC compounds containing Drapex Alpha.

Switzerland's Clariant has launched a new generation of lubricant based on a renewable source to the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) processing community. The introduction of Licocare SBW11 TP supports the global trend away from lead-stabilized PVC processing compounds. The new lubricant made its European debut in Germany at the PVC Formulation 2012 and SKZ PVC-Folien conferences, and was also launched in Asia at ChinaPlas 2012 and in the USA at NPE 2012.

PolyOne Corp used the NPE 2012 event to introduce reFlex™ 100, a fast-acting bio-based plasticizer. This new technology is produced from rapidly renewable plant-based feedstocks, and was developed in collaboration with Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM). In addition, it is one of the first bioplasticizers to be awarded recognition by the USDA BioPreferred ® programme, which has granted reFlex 100 a 94% bio-based label, PolyOne reports.

Flame retardant manufacturer Albemarle Corp has become the third and final recipient of a licence from Dow Chemical for the latter's polymeric flame retardant (Polymeric FR) technology [ADPO, May 2011]. The technology is designed for use in the production of extruded polystyrene (XPS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foams, and Dow expects it to become the ‘new global industry standard’ flame retardant for these applications. The other licensees are Albemarle's competitors Chemtura Corp and ICL-IL [ibid, May 2011 & March 2012].

Minnesota-based 3M has extended its product line of high-strength hollow glass bubbles with the introduction of 3M ™ Glass Bubbles iM16K. The new lightweight filler is an injection moulding grade for polypropylene (PP) and polyamide (PA) systems that will enable manufacturers to produce ‘optimized resin formulations for lower-density filled plastics’ without compromising strength or other physical properties, the company claims.

Dow Plastics Additives revealed novel additive solutions for engineering polymers in the durables, electronics and transportation (DE&T) markets at new event PLASTIC JAPAN 2012 in April. Ultraloid™ anti-scratch additives and a new generation of Paraloid™ EXL optical modifiers were unveiled, with their commercial launches targeted for the second half of 2012 and 2013, respectively.

South Korean polymer additives specialist Songwon Industrial Group is commissioning an additional 7000 tonnes/year capacity for OPS (one pack systems) products to ‘extend its lead’ in this product area. The new capacity will double the current volume to 14 000 tonnes/year, exceeding the company's previous commitment to increase OPS capacity to 12 000 tonnes/year.

DuPont has introduced a new amine-free antistat solution for bi-axially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) and PP film for food packaging uses. According to the company, the new product – Grindsted ® AR100 – delivers a ‘unique combination’ that helps ensure safer chemistry for food packaging. The additive was launched at April's NPE 2012 exhibition.

In China, Cabot Corp and joint venture partner Risun Chemicals Co, Ltd, have broken ground on a new carbon black manufacturing facility in Xingtai, Heibei Province. The project, announced last year [ADPO, May 2011], is scheduled to be completed in mid-2013, and will further solidify Cabot's position as the world's ‘No. 1 producer of carbon black’, the company says.

A new plant for the manufacture of oxidized polyethylene (PE) waxes has started operation at BASF's site in Ludwigshafen, Germany, the company reports. The plant manufactures high-quality oxidized waxes according to BASF's own process. The new plant will improve the availability of oxidized PE waxes now and in the future, for use in plastics processing and other applications, BASF adds.

Germany's Evonik Industries recently held the opening ceremony for Evonik Tianda (Liaoyang) Chemical Additive Co, Ltd (ETL) in Liaoyang, in northeastern China [see also, ADPO, October 2010]. ETL, a joint venture between Evonik China and Tianda Electrical Co, produces triacetonamine (TAA) derivatives, which are essential building blocks for the production of hindered amine light stabilizers (HALS) for polymer protection.

In China, Cytec Industries Inc reports that its new production line located in Fengxian, Shanghai, started production in April. This new line will produce, among other products, Cyasorb Cynergy Solutions™ V703 stabilizer, the company's latest UV stabilization solution for automotive thermoplastic olefin (TPO) compounds [ADPO, December 2010 & September 2011].

US chemical giant Dow Chemical is implementing cost reductions in line with its commitment to actively manage its portfolio and in response to continued weakness in the European economy. Actions will include closing certain manufacturing plants in Europe, North America and Latin America, as well as cancelling a selection of capital projects and implementing workforce reductions. The announcement comes as the company reports flat sales and reduced earnings for the first quarter of 2012.

Bristol, UK-based Applied Market Information Ltd (AMI) has published a new report that details the size, strategy and performance of Europe's leading masterbatch producers, updating earlier research it carried out in 2006. Despite the economic downturn experienced in the interim, the report finds that a number of players have achieved significant growth.