Additives for Polymers (v.2013, #9)

To address the potentially severe problems caused by the electrostatic charging of plastics, BASF has developed an antistatic thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) granulate. Available now, the Elastostat® masterbatch opens up large fields of application, the company says, particularly for industrial packaging such as big bags and plastic drums or cans. Other application sectors are the automotive industry, and packaging and transport systems for electronics.

Ohio-based GSDI, a PolyOne Corp subsidiary, has launched Silcosperse™ 500 dispersion to improve the heat resistance of high consistency silicone rubber (HCR) in specialized, high-temperature applications. The company says that providing customers with the ability to improve the thermal stability of their products will allow them to capture new high-margin opportunities and increase profitability.

Scientists at the Empa research institute in Switzerland have produced organic phosphorus-containing compounds that they claim could replace conventional halogenated flame retardants in polymeric foams.

Japan's Teijin Ltd reveals that is has developed a new carbodiimide antihydrolysis agent for plastics. The product is claimed to exhibit ‘superior antihydrolysis properties’ to improve durability. The company reports that the new product is suitable for use in a variety of polymers, including polylactic acid (PLA), polyesters, polyamides and polyurethanes.

New Jersey-based Infinity Compounding has introduced a new line of antimicrobial concentrates and compounds. The new Inhibit additives are based on silver-functionalized clay and are claimed to prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms in a variety of applications. The range was launched at the MD&M East show in Philadelphia in June.

Environmental plastics solutions company ENSO Plastics of Mesa, AZ, USA, reports that it has developed a technology that accelerates the natural biodegradation of synthetic rubber in landfills. While the issue of plastic waste has generated a lot of attention and action in recent years, there has been no parallel attempt to address the problem of the increasing amount of landfilled rubber and latex waste, the company points out. This is now becoming ‘an imperative concern’ for government entities and environmentalists worldwide, it says.

Malaysian additives manufacturer Performance Additives Sdn Bhd has expanded its comprehensive range of processing additives for the wood–plastic composites (WPC) industry, with the development of a new product, Ultraplast™ WF 109 AF. The new additive is claimed to offer greater processing improvement than the company's original Ultraplast WF 109 product.

Through its wholly owned subsidiary Rhein Chemie, Lanxess has officially opened its first Russian production facility in Lipetsk. The plant will produce the Rhenogran line of pre-dispersed, polymer-bound rubber additives. The company has also announced plans to rationalize its rubber chemicals business.

German speciality chemicals firm Lanxess has started building its new premium iron oxide red pigments facility in Ningbo, China [ibid., March 2013]. It is investing €55 million in the plant, which is expected to come on-stream in 2015 and will supply new pigments to both local and global markets. The company has also recently relocated its global headquarters in Germany.

In China, BASF has opened its world-scale tertiary butylamine (tBA) production plant at the Nanjing Chemical Industry Park. The 10 000 tonnes/year plant is wholly owned by BASF and is integrated into the production facilities of BASF-YPC Co Ltd, its joint venture with Sinopec. The new tBA facility will support the growing rubber chemical and tyre industries in China and is also a ‘vital element’ in BASF's new growth strategy for the Asia Pacific region, the company says.

For the second quarter of 2013, Albemarle Corp reported earnings of US$82.7 million, compared to 2Q 2012 earnings of $50.1 million. Excluding special items and non-operating pension and other post-employment benefits, 2Q 2013 earnings were $81.8 million, compared to $115.3 million for the same quarter of 2012. The company posted net sales of $634.2 million in 2Q 2013, down 7.4% from net sales of $684.9 million in the second quarter of the previous year.

Swiss speciality chemical major Clariant is proceeding with a 50% expansion in capacity at its azo pigments and pigment preparations plants in Roha, India. The company says this recently approved investment underlines its commitment to provide customers in the region with high-quality products specifically tailored to their needs. The expansion will also enhance the capabilities and output at the site in a sustainable manner by reducing energy consumption and expanding the range of low VOC-containing pigment preparations offered to the market.

The global market for calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is projected to reach 94 million tonnes by 2018, according to a new study Calcium Carbonate – A Global Strategic Business Report (MCP-2033) published by Global Industry Analysts (GIA). The forecast growth will be driven by rising consumption in the paper and plastic industries and the growing demand for both precipitated and ground calcium carbonate in Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East.

New Jersey-based Cytec Industries Inc announced net earnings attributable to the company for the second quarter of 2013 of US$34.6 M on net sales from continuing operations of $514 M. Earnings from continuing operations were $62.6 million, while discontinued operations posted a loss of $28.0 million.

Global demand for carbon black is expected to rise dynamically until 2019, according to a new market study from Ceresana Research. By 2019, market volume is expected to increase by more than 3.1 million tonnes from 2011 levels. The major share of consumption is in the production of tyres of all sorts; this segment consumed >7.8 million tonnes in 2011. Carbon black is used as a filler in tyres and numerous rubber products. In other industrial sectors such as plastics, paints, varnishes and printing inks, carbon black is used as a pigment.

In the USA, section 108 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) prohibits certain products from containing six specified phthalates. A new ASTM International standard under the jurisdiction of Committee D20 on Plastics provides a method for the identification and qualification of these phthalates.