Additives for Polymers (v.2013, #1)

In Germany, a collaborative project led by the nova-Institut GmbH claims to have resolved the feeding and dosing problems typically encountered in the injection moulding and extrusion of natural fibres though the development of hemp fibre pellets. The pellets are manufactured by Badische Naturfaseraufbereitung GmbH (BaFa), and have been evaluated by Bremen's University of Applied Sciences (HS Bremen, Bionik) and trialled by a number of industry partners.

US company PolyOne Corp has introduced reFlex™ 300 bioplasticizer, the latest addition to its portfolio of sustainable solutions. Derived from rapidly renewable feedstocks and certified to contain 99% bio-based content, this non-phthalate alternative provides a one-for-one replacement for general-purpose plasticizers used in flexible vinyl formulations, according to the company. The new material was developed to help customers meet their sustainability goals with a non-phthalate, bio-derived solution, it says.

Switzerland's speciality chemicals major Clariant is offering tailor-made light stabilization solutions to improve the durability of greenhouse films. The ‘innovative technology’ was unveiled at the AMI 2012 Agricultural Films conference held in Madrid, Spain, in November.

Speciality chemicals and performance materials producer Cabot Corp has developed CAB-O-SIL Duramold 2150 fumed silica, a new performance additive that the company claims is specifically tailored to deliver ‘maximum performance’ in high-temperature vulcanizing (HTV) silicone elastomer applications where high optical performance and mechanical reinforcement are key requirements.

In a move designed to streamline its business portfolio and improve the margins of its Industrial Performance Products segment, Chemtura Corp has entered into an asset purchase agreement to sell its Antioxidant and UV Stabilizers business to an affiliate of US-based private investment firm SK Capital Partners. The transaction, which was expected to close around the turn of the year, includes dedicated manufacturing plants in the USA, France and Germany.

South Carolina-based glass fibre manufacturer AGY has introduced a new glass fibre with a tensile modulus of 99 GPa (14 359 ksi), a level the firm says has not previously been seen in commercial glass fibre products. Called S-3 UHM glass, this ultra-high modulus material was developed using the company's advanced modular direct melt (MDM) production technology and utilizes a unique formulation of S-Glass raw materials to achieve the mechanical properties.

BYK Additives & Instruments, part of Germany's Altana Group, has broken ground on the construction of a new three-storey production building on newly acquired land at its BYK USA site in Wallingford, CT, USA. The company says it is investing approximately € 36 million in the overall project. Completion and commissioning of the new facility are expected to occur in 2014.

Speciality chemicals group Lanxess has invested € 5 million in its phosphorus chemicals production network in Leverkusen, Germany. One of the largest of its kind in the world, this network is the foundation for ‘efficient production, global availability and high supply reliability’, the company says. Starting with elemental phosphorus, Lanxess produces a variety of derivatives for use in numerous fields of application, including the synthesis of flame retardants.

In China, Baerlocher Plastic Additives (Jiangsu) Co, Ltd has officially opened its plant in Changzhou in the country's Jiangsu Province. Wholly owned by the Baerlocher group, the plant has a capacity of 40 000 tonnes per year and will produce Ca-based and Pb-based stabilizer systems for polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The project represents the largest investment by the group in the past five years.

UK additives manufacturer Akcros Chemicals has formed a strategic alliance with Dow Microbial Control (DMC) in North America. Under the terms of this agreement, Akcros will become DMC's exclusive partner in the USA and Canada for oxybisphenoxyarsine (OBPA) and isothiazolone biocides for the polymer markets.

Plastics additives specialist Galata Chemicals has opened its latest Technical Center in Navi Mumbai, India. The company is committed to ‘investing in technology and bringing innovative solutions to our customers in the region’, according to president and COO Steven McKeown.

Following close on the news of the formation of joint venture Songwon Additive Technologies AG [ADPO, December 2012] comes the announcement that the jv is itself establishing a new manufacturing company with founding partner Polysys Industries of Abu Dhabi. Polysys Additive Technologies ME will produce one pack systems (OPS) for the Middle Eastern market and is to build a new plant for the purpose in Kizad (Khalifa Industrial City of Abu Dhabi). Songwon Additive Technologies is a jv between Songwon Industrial, Pan Gulf and Polysys.

For the third quarter of 2012, speciality chemicals company Clariant reported sales of CHF1.923 billion (c. € 1.55 billion), up 3% from CHF1.865 billion in 3Q 2011. However, further deterioration in the global economy weakened demand, particularly in Europe, resulting in a 7% decline in quarterly EBITDA pre-exceptionals and a 40% slump in net income compared to the same quarter in 2011.

After a ‘solid’ first half year, BASF reports that it maintained good business performance overall in the third quarter of 2012. Sales rose by 8% to € 19 billion, mostly due to higher volumes. At just under € 2.1 billion, income from operations (EBIT) before special items was 5% above the level achieved in 3Q 2011, although earnings in the chemicals business declined.

Cleveland-based Ferro Corp reported a net loss of US$316 million on net sales of $415 million in the 2012 third quarter. This compares with net income of $19.3 million and net sales of $546 million in the third quarter of 2011. The company recorded restructuring and impairment charges of $199 million during 3Q 2012.