Additives for Polymers (v.2013, #3)

US masterbatch firm Ampacet Corp has introduced Nuanced Blacks™, a new line of effect masterbatches featuring black accentuated with ‘subtle plays’ of colour.

Newfoundland-based Trinity Resources Ltd has introduced a new series of inert mineral reinforcing fillers and extenders – Altiplus™ and Altibright™. They are produced from the mineral pyrophyllite (hydrous aluminium silicate), which has the same monoclinic crystal structure as talc (hydrous magnesium silicate). The macrocrystalline platelet materials have a high aspect ratio and provide a number of ‘excellent properties’ including high brightness, stiffness and chemical resistance, according to the company.

Axel Plastics Research Laboratories of Woodside, NY, USA, has announced two new internal mould release additives for epoxy resin cured with dicyanamide (DICY): MoldWiz® INT-1322 and INT-1329. According to the company, DICY-cured epoxies are by nature among the most tenacious in their bonding properties, prompting many manufacturers to search for more-effective ways to release DICY epoxy resins, compounds, prepregs and laminates.

In Finland, the VTT Technical Research Centre has developed methods and product innovations to process the most rapidly renewable surface layer of peat instead of using it for energy production. The goal is to develop bio-based composite materials containing peat fibre, for example for the manufacture of consumer products and construction materials, at the same time reducing the use of oil-based raw materials in production. The advantages of products containing peat fibre are their biological origin, low cost, water resistance, impact strength, excellent fire endurance characteristics and biodegradability, according to VTT.

Switzerland's Clariant has published the eighth edition of its ColorForward™ colour and trend forecasting guide for 2014. Designed specifically for the plastics industry by the company's ColorWorks™ centres and based on ‘intensive research’ of influential societal trends worldwide, ColorForward aims to give manufacturers of all types of products a head start on potential consumer-purchasing decision drivers, according to Clariant.

New additive products from Bac2, AkzoNobel and DSM, and Huntsman are recent recipients of a string of awards for innovation.

Spanish inorganic pigment firm Nubiola and Tekniker, a technological centre based in Spain's Basque Country, are jointly leading the NANOPIGMY project funded by the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme.

German speciality chemicals company Lanxess is expanding its global production network for inorganic pigments in China. It is investing about €55 million in a new high-tech facility for red iron oxide pigments with an initial capacity of 25 000 tonnes/year. The plant will be located in Ningbo, China's second largest cargo port in the coastal province of Zhejiang. Construction work will begin in 2Q 2013, and production start-up is scheduled for the first quarter of 2015.

Malaysian oil and gas major Petronas and Evonik Industries AG of Germany have signed a letter of intent (LOI) to jointly embark on the development of production facilities for speciality chemicals within Petronas' Refinery & Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project in Pengerang, Johor, Malaysia. Under the LOI, the two parties will endeavour to form a partnership to jointly own, develop, construct and operate facilities for the production of hydrogen peroxide, C4 co-monomer and oxo-products.

In the USA, Chemtura Corp and an affiliate of private investment firm SK Capital Partners have entered into an amended and restated asset purchase and contribution agreement concerning the sale of Chemtura's Antioxidant and UV Stabilizers business.

Following the successful conclusion of a joint feasibility study [ADPO, September 2012], Germany's BASF and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) have announced that they are to establish a world-scale plant to produce the plasticizer feedstock isononanol (INA). Under the terms of the deal, the two companies are to form a new 50–50 joint venture (jv), BASF MPCC Co Ltd. The new plant will be built at MPCC's existing site at Maoming in Guangdong province, China, and the partners expect production to start around the middle of 2015.

For full-year 2012, Albemarle Corp reported earnings of US$311.5 million on net sales of $2.7 billion. In 2011 earnings were $392.1 million on net sales of $2.9 billion. The majority of the reduction in sales and earnings was caused by lower metals surcharges in the Catalysts segment, the company says. Excluding special items, earnings for 2012 were $436.2 million compared to $446.3 million for 2011.

In Italy, Reverdia, the joint venture between Royal DSM and Roquette Frères, has begun operations in Cassano Spinola at a commercial-scale plant producing Biosuccinium™ sustainable succinic acid [see also ADPO, December 2012]. The plant has an annual capacity of about 10 000 tonnes and is the world's first dedicated large-scale plant for the production of succinic acid from renewable resources, according to the company.

Net earnings attributable to Cytec Inc for the full year ended 31 December 2012 were US$188.0 million on net sales from continuing operations of $1708.1 million. This compares with net earnings for full-year 2011 of $207.8 million on net sales from continuing operations of $1415.9 million. If special items are excluded, Cytec's net earnings were 15% higher in 2012 than in the previous year.

Ohio-based PolyOne Corp reported revenues of US$679.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2012, a 6% increase compared to $640.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. Full-year revenues for 2012 increased 4.5% to $3.0 billion, compared to $2.9 billion the previous year. The company achieved record operating margins and operating profits in all three strategic platforms.

The European Commission is considering expanding its restriction on cadmium and its compounds in plastics from the current 16 materials listed in Annex XVII of REACH to all plastic materials. It has asked the Helsinki-based European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to examine the case for an outright ban.

In Germany, joint development work carried out by FILK Freiberg and Fraunhofer IST has created a plasma-based technology that allows the deposition of very thin films that are capable of providing an effective barrier to the migration of plasticizers in polyvinyl chloride (PVC).