Additives for Polymers (v.2013, #7)

Ohio-based PolyOne Corp, through its liquid colour and additives subsidiary ColorMatrix, has launched a high-performance oxygen scavenging solution for PET packaging. Amosorb™ Plus is reported to offer enhanced container clarity to help customers achieve aesthetic and recyclability goals. The new product received its debut at Chinaplas 2013.

At Chinaplas 2013, held in Guangzhou in May, BASF introduced a new red-shade yellow pigment. Based on a new chemistry patented by BASF, Paliotol® Yellow K 1750 offers a cost- effective alternative to heavy metal and diarylide pigments, according to the company. The new pigment thus meets the demands of emerging international regulations, which restrict the use of some of these substances, BASF says.

UK-based Holliday Pigments Ltd and Cytec Industries Inc of the USA were among the non-Asian firms to unveil new products at Chinaplas 2013 in May (see also page 2). In a K show year, when previously companies tended to reserve their product launches for maximum impact at the triennial German event, this is noteworthy and indicative of the rapidly growing importance of the Chinese and Asian plastics manufacturing industries for international suppliers.

In France, Roquette has restarted its production unit for Disorbene® sorbitol-based polymer clarifiers at Lestrem. The unit uses an ‘efficient and environmentally sustainable’ production process, the company says. In addition, Roquette has launched a third-generation polymer clarifier, Disorbene 3.

New York-based firm Minerals Technologies Inc has launched a new calcium carbonate product for the reinforcement of plastics. Named Vicron® FRP, the reinforcement is intended for use in sheet and bulk moulding compound (SMC and BMC) applications and thermoset polyesters. The product was developed by the company's wholly owned mineral additives subsidiary Specialty Minerals Inc.

Israeli firm Tosaf Compounds reports its recent development of new anti-fog/anti-drip masterbatch AF0406PE for greenhouse films. The new product has been especially developed for hot climates, the company explains.

New York-based private investment firm SK Capital Partners closed its previously announced US$200 million acquisition [ADPO, January & March 2013] of the Antioxidant and UV Stabilizer Solutions business of Chemtura Corp on 1 May. Under the new name Addivant, the acquired business will operate as an independent portfolio company of SK Capital, offering a comprehensive portfolio of additives including antioxidants, antiozonants, inhibitors, polymer modifiers and UV stabilizers to enhance the production and performance properties of polymers, plastics and rubbers.

US firm Albemarle Corp is joining forces with bauxite and alumina producer Senze Meilu Co, of Shanxi, China, to establish a joint venture (JV) company – Albemarle Senze Chemicals (Shanxi) Co, Ltd – in Lvliang, Shanxi. Once the final approval from the relevant government authorities in China has been received, the JV will build and operate a new 50 000 tonnes/year facility to manufacture Martinal® fine precipitated alumina trihydrate (ATH) flame retardants. These products are based on proprietary Albemarle technology and are principally used in wire and cable applications.

European companies Solvay and Evonik Industries have both recently announced plans to expand their silica capacities via the construction of new production plants. While the products from the new facilities will serve a range of industrial and other applications, both firms cite the growing use of silica to reduce the rolling resistance of car tyres as a major factor in their expansion plans.

Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) is bringing its work on carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to a close due to a perceived lack of application opportunities in areas linked to its core business. According to BMS CEO Patrick Thomas, ground-breaking applications for the mass market relating to its own portfolio and therefore comprehensive commercialization ‘are not likely in the foreseeable future’. BMS says it has not yet determined precisely how its research results and know-how for the production and application of CNTs will be used further.

Switzerland's Clariant posted net sales of CHF1.526 billion (€1.24 billion) for the first three months of 2013, up 1% compared to CHF1.513 billion in 1Q 2012 as a result of organic growth. EBITDA for the quarter declined 1% to CHF209 million. However, net income from continuing operations was CHF38 million compared to CHF16 million in 1Q 2012 because of a significant drop in exceptional items.

For the first quarter of 2013, Ferro Corp posted US$418 million in net sales, compared to $460 million in 1Q 2012. The company's net income for 1Q 2013 was $0.8 million, down from $3.8 million for the same period in 2012.

According to a new publication from Smithers Pira, global demand for functional additives in plastic packaging is growing at a faster rate than the market for plastic packaging itself. The search by converters for lower-cost solutions, which additives can provide, together with the continuous replacement of traditional packaging materials by plastics are driving this growth in demand. The new market forecast considers additives alongside barrier coatings for plastic packaging and predicts that the combined value of these two sectors will be US$2.8 billion in 2013, rising to $3.7 billion by 2018.

Demand for speciality plastic additives in the USA is forecast to grow by 4.5% annually, from 3.2 billion lb (1.45 million tonnes) in 2012 to 4.0 billion lb in 2017 as the key construction sector rebounds. In value terms, the market will grow at 6.6%/year to US$7.3 billion in 2017, according to a new industry study from Freedonia, Specialty Plastic Additives.

The global plasticizers market has shown ‘remarkable growth’ in recent years, according to market intelligence company Transparency Market Research. The sector registered revenue of US$26 billion in 2009 and is expected to reach $36.7 billion by 2015, it reports in new publication Plasticizers Market – Global Scenario, Trends, Industry Analysis, Size, Share and Forecast, 2011–2018.