Additives for Polymers (v.2013, #10)

Talc specialist Imerys Talc has expanded its portfolio of micro-lamellar and high aspect ratio products for plastics applications with new antiblocking and nucleating agents. The inert materials are derived from natural minerals and are ‘infinitely recyclable in the end product’, according to the company, making them a sustainable option for ‘greener’ polymers. All Imerys talcs are certified for food contact applications.

The Masterbatches business unit of Clariant has commercialized a new generation of Hydrocerol® chemical foaming agents (CFAs) [see also ADPO, February 2011 and July 2001]. The new CFA masterbatches are designed particularly to help automotive manufacturers reduce the mass of many plastic interior car parts without adversely affecting their appearance or performance. Hydrocerol technology is standardized globally, with production in North America, Europe and Asia, backed by local technical support.

Germany's BYK-Chemie GmbH has introduced a solvent-free wetting and dispersing additive to reduce the viscosity and improve the homogeneity of aluminium trihydroxide (ATH)-filled compounds for closed mould applications. The Altana group company says that BYK®-W 9012 was especially designed to achieve ‘a dramatic viscosity reduction’ in sheet and bulk moulding compounds with a medium to high loading of ATH fillers.

UK-based Symphony Environmental Technologies has signed a five-year supply and marketing agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutica, a division of Johnson & Johnson, concerning the introduction of an antifungal and antibacterial masterbatch. Janssen and Symphony have been collaborating for the past two years to develop and bring to market a masterbatch that can be put into plastic products at the manufacturing stage to control dangerous bacteria, including MRSA, E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, Pseudomonas, and fungi such as Aspergillus niger, M. piriformis and P. roqueforti.

Axel Plastics Research Laboratories of Woodside, NY, USA, has launched two process aid additives that are claimed to improve the injection moulding of nylon cable ties and other mechanical parts. In recent evaluations, these latest additions to the company's MoldWiz® range were reported to lower injection temperatures, reduce production cycle time and enhance the physical properties and appearance of the moulded nylon parts.

US automotive giant Ford Motor Co has announced that rice hulls, a by-product of rice grains, are to be used as a natural reinforcement in the electrical harnesses of its 2014 F-150 trucks. The rice hulls replace a talc-based reinforcement in a polypropylene composite made by compounder RheTech, of Whitmore Lake, MI, USA.

In the USA, Emerald Kalama Chemical, a business unit of Emerald Performance Materials (EPM), has completed the latest capacity expansion for its K-Flex® brand of non-phthalate plasticizers at its Kalama facility in Washington State. The company has also revealed plans for further enhancements at the site by the end of the year to support the growth of the K-Flex platform.

Swiss speciality chemicals major Clariant and Tasnee, one of the largest industrial conglomerates in Saudi Arabia, have signed an agreement to establish a masterbatches joint venture (JV) in Saudi Arabia. Under the terms of the deal, Tasnee will acquire a 40% stake in Clariant Masterbatches (Saudi Arabia) Ltd via its 100% subsidiary Rowad National Plastic Company Ltd. The JV will be operational following completion of customary merger control clearance procedures and will keep its main focus on the Arabic peninsulas core market.

UK company Croda International has acquired a 65% equity interest in Sichuan Sipo Chemical Co Ltd, a non-listed natural speciality chemicals manufacturer based in Mianyang City, Sichuan Province, China. Completion of the transaction followed receipt of regulatory approval from the Chinese authorities. The transaction increases Croda's presence in emerging markets and strengthens its Performance Technologies business.

Japanese speciality chemicals company Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha, Ltd (ISK) has announced that it is to close the titanium dioxide (TiO2) production plant of its 100% subsidiary ISK Singapore Pte Ltd, and consolidate the production of TiO2 products into its existing plant in Yokkaichi, Japan. The company says the move is part of the on-going reformation of its inorganic chemicals business portfolios.

For the second quarter ended 30 June 2013, Ferro Corp reported net sales of US$435 million, compared with net sales of $476 million in 2Q 2012. The company posted a net loss attributable to common shareholders of $2.1 million in 2Q 2013, compared with net income of $1.9 million in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted for special items, which totalled $14.3 million in 2Q 2013 largely as a result of restructuring and divestments, net income from continuing operations was $12.1 million in 2Q 2013, up from $8.6 million in 2Q 2012.

Taiwan's Rich Yu Chemical is investing in the construction of a new polymer additives plant in the Chang Bing Industrial Zone, on the country's west coast. The new facility will be the company's third production plant and will double its total capacity. Completion is scheduled for mid-2014. The plant will produce a range of high-performance antioxidants, UV absorbers, nucleating agents and clarifiers for polypropylene.

UK-based Akcros Chemicals and Dow Chemical business Dow Microbial Control (DMC) have agreed to extend their strategic relationship for plastics biocides [see ADPO, January 2013] into a global partnership. Under the terms of the new agreement, Akcros will now become DMC's exclusive global channel partner for plastics biocides. In its turn, DMC will provide Akcros with additional expertise in the manufacture of solid products and regulatory data to enable the latter to provide an enhanced line of isothiazolone-based biocides for the protection of PVC and polyolefins under the Intercide™ brand name.

Chemtura Corp reported net sales of US$735 million for the second quarter of 2013, down 1% from $741 million in 2Q 2012 as a result of lower selling prices and negative currency effects. Net earnings from continuing operations attributable to Chemtura on a GAAP basis were $47 million, an 11% decline from $53 million recorded a year earlier. Operating income was down 15% year on year to $66 million.

Tennessee-based Eastman Chemical Co reported sales revenue for the second quarter of 2013 of US$2.44 billion, a 32% increase compared to $1.85 billion in 2Q 2012. The 2013 figure includes sales revenue from the Solutia businesses acquired in July 2012. Pro forma combined sales revenue increased 3% due to higher sales volume across most segments, the company says.