Additives for Polymers (v.2014, #4)

German oxo-chemicals specialist Oxea GmbH has expanded its family of phthalate-free plasticizers with the launch of the new bio-based ‘Oxblue’ range. The first two offerings in the new line are a dioctyl succinate, Oxblue DOSX, and an acetyl tributyl citrate, Oxblue ATBC, which reportedly combine the advantageous features of conventional petroleum- and bio-based chemistries.

Boston-based Cabot Corp has launched two new carbon black products for tyre tread applications. Targeting long-haul and short-haul vehicle applications respectively, the first new product in the Propel ™ range provides reduced tyre rolling resistance while the second improves tyre tread durability.

Speciality chemicals company Clariant has introduced black masterbatches that are formulated to reflect heat-generating near-infrared (NIR) rays and are also suitable for use in fine fibres, so that carpeting and other textiles incorporating the new products stay cooler. The company has also extended its Mevopur® range for healthcare applications [ADPO, December 2010] with a number of colorant and additive masterbatches designed for use in pharmaceutical packaging.

Germany's Sachtleben Chemie has developed Sachtleben R630, a new titanium dioxide (TiO2) product with an optimized, tailor-made inorganic coating that makes it possible to greatly reduce the discoloration caused by such factors as build-up and lacing, the company claims.

UK-based solid masterbatch producer Silvergate Plastics has launched Optiblo™, a range of colour masterbatches that it claims can ‘revolutionize’ blow moulding processes. The range is designed to significantly reduce cycle times and improve the surface finish of blow moulded parts, the company says.

UK company Croda International has expanded its line of processing aids for polyolefins with the launch of slip additive Incroslip™ SL. The new product provides high slip performance comparable with erucamide, combined with the stability of behenamide, the company says.

UK–Israeli masterbatch supplier ADDmix has introduced large-sized, special effect masterbatch tablets, which are said to enable users to apply random or repeatable effects during injection moulding, extrusion and extrusion blow moulding.

New polymer additives player Addivant has completed the first stage of a planned series of capacity expansions at its production facility at Pyongtaek, South Korea. Further expansion work is currently underway. Elsewhere in Asia, the company has announced that it is to open a customer formulation centre in Shandong, China later this year.

BASF SE has signed a contract to divest its liquid masterbatch business in Clermont de l'Oise, France, to Audia International, a large global supplier of polyolefins and colour masterbatches. The transaction is expected to close by the middle of the year. Financial details of the agreement have not been disclosed.

Ohio-based compounder and masterbatch manufacturer A. Schulman, Inc has purchased Prime Colorants Inc of Franklin, TN, USA, for approximately US$15.1 million. The purchased company is described as a ‘significant manufacturer’ of custom colours and additive concentrates.

Spanish pigments producer Nubiola has announced a ‘significant investment’ to increase production capacity for its zinc ferrite Nubifer K Series by around 33%. The company says that the expansion will be fully implemented in the last quarter of 2014.

The joint owners of Galata Chemicals have reached a definitive agreement whereby Indian family-owned firm Artek Surfin is acquiring the shares held by its current co-owner, New York-based private equity firm Aterian Investment Partners. The transaction was expected to close in March. The company will continue to operate as before with the same organization in place.

In full-year 2013, Clariant saw profits from continuing operations grow 59% to CHF323 million (c. €265 million) from CHF203 million in 2012. The increase was driven by a better operating result and lower interest costs. However, the company's overall sales were essentially flat at CHF6.076 billion, up 1% from 2012 in Swiss francs. The divestment of several businesses during 2013 reduced its net income to CHF5 million, but will improve its profitability in future, Clariant believes.

For the full year ended 31 December 2013, net earnings attributable to Cytec Industries Inc were US$173.5 million on net sales from continuing operations of $1.935 billion. Earnings from continuing operations were $171.7 million, after the deduction of special items totalling $21.2 million after tax. Net earnings attributable to Cytec in 2012 were $174.9 million on net sales from continuing operations of $1.708 billion. Earnings from continuing operations were $75.7 million including charges of $85.8 million after tax.

In Germany, Orion Engineered Carbons (formerly Evonik Carbon Black [ADPO, November 2011]) has started up a new production line for speciality carbon blacks at its Kalscheuren plant. Several million euros have been invested in new production technology. The company says that the investment scales up capacity to enable it to serve the growing global market for speciality grades of carbon black, which are used in inks, paints, coatings and plastics among other applications.

The European Commission (EC) has re-evaluated the restrictions on plasticizers DINP (diisononyl phthalate) and DIDP (diisodecyl phthalate) and concluded that the use of these high molecular weight phthalates is safe in all current consumer applications. In particular, it finds that their use poses no risk to infants in toys and childcare articles that can be placed in the mouth.