Additives for Polymers (v.2013, #4)

Illinois-based Plastics Color Corp (PCC), a supplier of colour concentrates and additive masterbatches for the plastics industry, has released its MicroBlok™ antimicrobial formulations for polymers. The company says the range is engineered to impede the growth of a wide spectrum of microorganisms on various plastic surfaces. MicroBlok was unveiled at the PLASTEC West tradeshow in Anaheim, CA, USA, in February.

Dutch firm Polyscope, a specialist manufacturer of styrene maleic anhydride (SMA)-based products, has launched two new grades with a lower molecular weight, to extend its existing portfolio of Xiran ® SMA copolymers [see also ADPO, April 2010]. Developed specifically to meet customer needs, both new grades have a significantly lower molecular weight compared to existing Xiran products, the company says.

CVC Thermoset Specialties, an Emerald Performance Materials company, has introduced two methacrylate-functional reactive liquid polymers (RLPs), Hypro™1300X33LC and Hypro 1300X43LC VTBNX. The new offerings extend the company's Hypro product line of 100% solids, functional polybutadiene and acrylonitrile-butadiene copolymers. These liquid rubbers have carboxyl, hydroxyl, epoxy, glycidyl ester, methacrylate and amine terminal groups, which, according to Emerald, will cross-link into thermoset polymer systems and substantially enhance key mechanical properties in the end-use applications.

A consortium comprising Linpac, Nextek, Sharpak and Faerch Plast, working alongside UK waste reduction organization WRAP, has developed black colorants that can be detected using near infrared (NIR) technology. Their use will therefore allow recyclers to separate out black plastic packaging from a mixed plastics waste stream. Until now this has been impossible, resulting in much black plastic being sent to landfill or incineration, the group says.

In Sweden, Paxymer AB's patented halogen- and antimony-free flame retardant for polyolefins has received a favourable environmental assessment from Jegrelius – the Institute for Applied Green Chemistry. Jegrelius’ report addresses the chemical risks, environmental impact and life cycle, and ‘strongly recommends’ the Paxymer ® product as a ‘green’ solution.

In the USA, performance chemicals and plastics producer PMC Group N.A., Inc has completed the acquisition of the global methyl tin stabilizers and solid lubricants business of Dow Chemical Co. The purchased business includes global organotin and heavy-metal-free organic polymer stabilizers, polymer lubricants and multicomponent package product lines sold under brand names including Advastab™, Advalube™, Advawax™ and Advapak™.

Speciality chemicals firm Clariant is extending its colour and special effects' testing services for North American customers in the packaging sector, one of the company's key markets. A new production-scale stretch blow-moulding machine has been installed at its ColorWorks™ Design & Technology Center in West Chicago, IL, USA, to allow developers of PET plastic containers to evaluate Clariant colour and special-effect masterbatches in full-size, three-dimensional bottles instead of flat injection-moulded chips.

Italy's Società Chimica Larderello SpA (SCL) has acquired UK-based Joseph Storey & Co Ltd, manufacturer of the Storflam brand of borates and stannates. The Storflam product range includes zinc borate and zinc hydroxystannate, widely used in polymers as flame retardants to meet increasingly stringent legislation.

Hong Kong-based iron and chrome oxide pigments producer Cathay Industries Group is joining forces with chemical manufacturer Tonghua Group to build a new, state-of-the-art production plant for yellow, red and black iron oxide pigments in Tongling, in China's Anhui Province. The joint venture facility will have a stage-one capacity of 100 000 tonnes/year. Expansion to 150 000 tonnes per year is expected in stage two of the planned development.

Finland's Kemira Oyj and Rockwood Holdings Inc of the USA have signed an agreement, whereby Rockwood is to buy out Kemira's 39% share of their titanium dioxide (TiO2) joint venture Sachtleben GmbH. The purchase price is E97.5 million, which will impact Kemira's cash flow positively in 1Q 2013. The transaction was expected to close by 19 February 2013.

In its financial year ended 31 December 2012, Switzerland's Clariant recorded sales of CHF6.038 billion (c. E4.97 billion) for its continuing businesses, an 8% increase in both Swiss francs and local currencies from CHF5.571 billion in 2011. The increase was largely due to the acquisition of Süd-Chemie in 2011, the company says, with flat organic growth and lower volumes than the previous year offset by 2% higher prices.

German market research institute Ceresana has recently published a new market study analysing the global market for titanium dioxide (TiO2) along the entire value creation chain, from raw materials ilmenite, leucoxene and rutile through processed products to end-use application areas. The company's market analysts expect the global TiO2 market ‘to experience dynamic growth’ and to record a volume of about 7.5 million tonnes in 2019. Global demand was reported to be about 5.3 million tonnes in 2010 [ADPO, August 2011].

South Korea's polymer additives major Songwon Industrial Group has announced unaudited total sales revenues for 4Q 2012 of KRW152 billion (c. E103 million), with gross profit of KRW31 billion and net profit of KRW4 billion. According to Songwon, this ‘solid performance’ contributed to ‘impressive’ annual figures for 2012.

Pinfa-NA (Phosphorus, Inorganic and Nitrogen Flame Retardants Association – North America) has been officially launched in Califon, NJ, USA. The organization was formed by leaders in the flame retardant industry that focus on non-halogen solutions and materials. Pinfa-NA is a sister organization of Europe's Pinfa, a sector group of Cefic (the European Chemical Industry Council).

The Bioplastics Council, a special interest group of the US plastics industry trade association SPI, has questioned the scientific validity of biodegradability claims made by producers of degradable additives for polymers. The concerns are raised in a recently published updated position paper from the council, which was also presented at the US Composting Council's annual conference in Orlando, FL, at the end of January.