Additives for Polymers (v.2012, #9)

In the USA, a new, four-part training programme has been developed within Clariant ColorWorks™ to help product/packaging designers and engineers understand the art and science of colouring plastics so they can achieve better success in the marketplace. The training is offered at the ColorWorks centre at Clariant's North American headquarters in Holden, MA, or at a customer site.

German chemical firm Oxea has launched the latest additions to its Oxsoft product range of phthalate-free and non-VOC plasticizers [ADPO, July 2011]. Marketed under the names Oxsoft Duo 1 and Oxsoft Duo 2, the new products are specifically designed to help manufacturers tackle the challenges concerning the migration of plasticizers, according to the company. They are already commercially available with samples obtainable for testing.

In Japan, Showa Denko KK (SDK) has decided to focus on its VGCFTM-H grade of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in an effort to strengthen its CNT business for resin composite applications. The grade, which has a fibre diameter of approximately 150 nm, is additionally used as an additive in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and the company says it also intends to continue expanding its business in that sector.

German high throughput experimentation company hte AG and US renewable speciality chemicals firm Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc have formed a research collaboration for the development of bio-based speciality lubricants. The initial emphasis of the development work is on applications in polymers and lubricant base oils, the partners say.

After several months of speculation and rumour, French chemicals major Arkema has confirmed that it plans to sell its tin stabilizer business. The company intends to divest the operation to PMC Group, a producer of performance chemicals and plastics headquartered in Mount Laurel, NJ, USA. The move is part of a refocusing of Arkema's activities on fast-growing core speciality businesses.

Vancouver, Canada-based Klean Industries Inc has commenced full-scale production of high-grade carbon nanotubes and fullerenes using feedstock derived from the pyrolysis of waste and scrap tyres. The company has also formed fully owned subsidiary Klean Carbon, to produce and market the advanced nano carbon products. The firm claims to be the first to commercially mass-produce nano carbons from scrap tyres.

A new long-term contract has been signed between BASF Plastic Additives Middle East and Astra Polymers that will see the two companies continue to work together to produce customer specific blends (CSB) of polymer additives in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The partners say that this cooperative agreement combines their expertise, bringing two complementary form-giving technologies for additive blends to customers in the Middle East region.

Ester chemistry expert The HallStar Company has acquired the TP-series product line of speciality plasticizers from The Dow Chemical Company. The deal incorporates both the trade names and proprietary manufacturing technology of this globally established brand of plasticizers, the company says. No financial details of the transaction have been disclosed.

Leading Chinese global supplier of organo phosphorus flame retardants Jiangsu Yoke Technology Co (Yoke) is reported to be planning a large-scale expansion of capacity to satisfy demand from end users switching away from brominated products. Phosphorus-based flame retardants find wide usage in resins such as polycarbonate and polyurethane.

New Jersey-based Sun Chemical and its parent company DIC have purchased Benda-Lutz Werke GmbH, a leading manufacturer of metallic effect products based in Austria. Following the signing of a definitive acquisition agreement on 1 June 2012, the deal has now closed. The terms of the transaction were not revealed.

Duisburg-based Sachtleben, the German joint venture between Rockwood Holdings Inc of the USA and Finland's Kemira Oyj, is to acquire the titanium dioxide (TiO2) production assets and inventory of crenox GmbH from the insolvency administrator Eberhard Stock. Subject to completion of due diligence, government approvals and other conditions, the acquisition was expected to close by mid-July. The terms have not been disclosed.

In Germany, Evonik has revealed plans to expand production capacities at Wesseling for its high-quality crosslinking boosters tri-allyl cyanurate (TAC) and triallyl isocyanurate (TAICROS®). The expansion is scheduled for the end of 2013, and will make it possible to produce TAC and TAICROS ‘in significantly larger quantities’, the company says.

For the second quarter ended 30 June 2012, Albemarle Corp reported net income of US$37.7 million on net sales of $685 million. Before special items, net income was $111.3 million. For the same period in 2011, net income was $114.2 million on net sales of $742 million. The company took a one-time pre-tax charge of $94.7 million ($73.6 million after tax) in 2Q 2012 related to the previously announced planned exit from its phosphorus flame retardants business [ADPO, July 2012].

In its quest to identify possible substitutes for the flame retardant chemical decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE), which will be phased out of production in the USA by December 2013, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a draft report on alternatives. This comprehensive assessment, developed with public participation under the EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) programme, profiles the environmental and human health hazards of 32 alternatives to decaBDE.

Cytec Industries Inc of Woodland Park, NJ, USA, announced net earnings attributable to the company for the second quarter of 2012 of US$35.7 million on net sales from continuing operations of $404 million. Earnings from continuing operations were $8.6 million while earnings from discontinued operations (which now include the Coating Resins segment) were $27.5 million.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the latest VECAP (Voluntary Emissions Control Action Programme) European Annual Progress Report shows further progress in cutting emissions of decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) and other brominated flame retardants.