Additives for Polymers (v.2012, #10)

Malaysian company Emery Oleochemicals is investing an estimated E20 million in the expansion of its Loxstedt manufacturing facility in Germany, and the construction of a Technical Development Centre (TDC) at the site. Ground-breaking took place in mid-August this year and the expansion projects are scheduled for completion by the end of 2013.

BioSphere Plastic LLC of Portland, OR, USA, recently launched a new biodegradable plastic additive formulation that it asserts is superior to other such products already on the market in terms of both technological development and pricing. The company also claims that the new additive provides biodegradation at previously unseen rates.

Spanish pigment manufacturer Nubiola has recently launched a micronized black iron oxide pigment that is claimed to offer a ‘deep bluish undertone’ combined with ‘great tinting strength’. According to the company, a bluish undertone is a highly appreciated characteristic in grey or black colour shades but is uncommon for iron oxides.

US-based additive and colorants producer Techmer PM recently announced the international launch of Techflow to address the issue of flow lines in blow moulding applications. The new additive bolsters the company's existing ‘robust line’ of blow moulding products, but is the first to specifically target the reduction in flow lines associated with poor die surface.

SABIC's US-based Innovative Plastics business has introduced a new line of Noryl resins that can be used as additives for epoxy and non-epoxy thermoset systems. According to the company, these advanced new materials address ‘expanding requirements and regulations’ for printed circuit boards (PCBs), including the call for enhanced sustainability, and provide ‘exceptional overall cost control’.

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) of Norman, OK, USA, has developed two new grades in its SMW™ line of speciality multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). These materials are used as additives that enable higher electrical conductivity in polymer compounds and improved cathode performance in lithium ion batteries.

Japan's Kao Corp is increasing production capacity for fatty alcohols at its Filipino subsidiary Pilipinas Kao Inc (PKI) by a factor of approximately 1.4 times to meet growing demand for these chemicals centring on the Asian region. This production increase will reinforce Kao's supply system of oleochemicals for its downstream chemicals business. Construction work on the capacity enhancement is scheduled to be completed in August 2013, and the related investment is estimated at approximately ¥3 billion (c. E30 million).

Honeywell has announced that its new low global-warming-potential (LGWP) blowing agent for foam insulation has received final approval from the US Environmental Protection Agency under the latter's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) programme. The approval allows the company's Solstice™ Liquid Blowing Agent (LBA) to be used in foam insulation in refrigerators, spray foam insulation for residential and commercial buildings, insulated metal panels and other applications in the USA.

Ohio-based Flow Polymers, LLC, a producer of proprietary and customized chemical dispersions, process aids and homogenizing agents for rubber and plastics, has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with European distributor TER Group, based in Hamburg, Germany. The agreement relates in particular to Flow Polymers' SureFlo® line of thermoplastic processing aids. The two companies have already been working together for about a year, developing a strategy to market these products in Europe.

German chemical manufacturer Oxea GmbH has once again expanded its production capacity for carboxylic acids in response to growing demand. The production performance of its plant in Marl, Germany, has been successfully increased by 20%, double the planned target for the expansion, the company reports.

In the USA, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), part of the US Forest Service, has opened a pilot plant for the production of wood-derived cellulosic nanomaterials. Located in Madison, WI, the US$1.7 million facility is the first of its kind in the USA and establishes FPL as the country's leading producer of forest-based nanomaterials.

For the three-month period ended 30 June 2012, PolyOne Corp's revenues reached a new all-time quarterly record of US$792.0 million. The company also reports that it achieved record operating margins in all platforms during the quarter.

Switzerland's speciality chemicals major Clariant posted sales of CHF1.98 billion (E1.65 billion) in the second quarter of 2012, up 6% in Swiss francs from sales of CHF1.87 billion in 2Q 2011. In local currencies the sales increase was 8%. The sales growth came despite a weak performance in Europe, particularly in the south of the continent, Clariant says.

Performance materials company Ferro Corp posted net sales of US$482 million for the three-month period ended 30 June 2012, down 19% compared with net sales of $594 million in 2Q 2011. The company recorded a net loss of $2.8 million for the quarter, compared with net income of $19.4 million a year earlier.

Producers of thermoplastic concentrates in the NAFTA region (USA, Canada and Mexico) have faced a challenging business environment since the financial crisis of 2008 but in adapting to the ongoing volatility and market uncertainty new opportunities have emerged, according to a new report from AMI Consulting. Almost all the region's major players have survived through the downturn and ‘stronger, more-viable companies’ have emerged that are seeking to exploit opportunities for growth in both existing markets and in new areas, it finds.

The recently published second edition of Handbook of Plasticizers, edited by Dr George Wypych, contains a comprehensive review of information available in the open literature, such as published scientific papers, information from plasticizer manufacturers and patent literature, according to publisher ChemTec Publishing. The book contains material from the most-recent sources and updated information from the previous edition, which was published in 2003. The companion Plasticizers Database has also been revised, with the release of Version 3.0.