Additives for Polymers (v.2014, #5)

Canada's Trinity Resources Ltd has introduced a new range of antiblock additives to the plastic film industry. Altiblock™ is based on the natural hydrous aluminium silicate mineral pyrophyllite, which is sourced from the company's large deposit in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland [see also ADPO, March 2013].

German family-run masterbatch producer Grafe Advanced Polymers GmbH is addressing the problem of the irritating noises that are frequently generated when plastic parts rub together. The company has developed a new additive that is able to ‘eliminate the annoying noises’ made by plastic components in household, health and technical environments, it claims.

Massachusetts-based biomaterials firm Metabolix Inc reports that it has developed new amorphous polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) compositions that are capable of modifying and improving the performance of polylactide (PLA) biopolymers, whilst also retaining clarity and compostability. Part of the company's Mirel™ range, the new bio-based modifiers can be used in PLA films, and in extrusion and moulding applications.

To assist compliance with new regulations that aim to improve indoor air quality, German polymer additives supplier Baerlocher GmbH has introduced a new generation of kickers that emit reduced levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The low-VOC Baerostab KK-432 products help to reduce organic emissions and fogging effects, enabling the automotive supply industry, flooring and wallpaper producers, and others to adapt to new challenges in their markets, the company says.

Denver-based glass fibre products manufacturer Johns Manville introduced new chopped strand glass fibre products for bulk moulding compound (BMC) and high-performance polypropylene (PP) applications at the JEC 2014 show in Paris, France. Belgian counterpart 3B also used the show to unveil its latest short fibre reinforcement grade for high-temperature resins.

Ohio-based Struktol Company of America has launched two new combination additive products suitable for use with recycled engineering plastics, including polycarbonate (PC), nylon compounds and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) compounds. Offering better processing, improved surface quality and, in some cases, better physical properties, the new additives are targeted for compounds containing 100% recycled material or materials with varying levels of post-consumer or post-industrial recycled content, the company says.

Oxo-chemicals group Oxea is planning to increase the European capacity for its dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) plasticizer Oxsoft GPO by 50 000 tonnes/year by the fourth quarter of 2015. The company reports that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with a third party to establish joint production of DOTP. DOTP is a general-purpose plasticizer used in a wide range of applications such as construction, automotive and flooring.

In Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia, the first phase of capacity expansions at Gulf Stabilizers Industries (GSI) has been completed. GSI is a joint venture between US-based Addivant and Zamil ChemPlast, a leading Saudi Arabian industrial manufacturing company. Once completed, GSI's production capacity for the hindered phenolic antioxidants Anox® 20 and Anox PP18 and phosphite antioxidant Alkanox® 240 will double to 10 500 tonnes/year, the partners report.

Leading additives manufacturer BASF SE has signed an agreement to divest PolyAd Services, part of its Plastic Additives business unit, to Edgewater Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Cleveland, OH, USA. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014. The parties have agreed not to disclose the financial details of the deal.

Following the announcement last year of its withdrawal from carbon nanotube (CNT) and graphene activities [ADPO, July 2013], Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) has divested the majority of its fundamental intellectual property (IP) in this field to FutureCarbon GmbH, a carbon nanomaterials specialist based in Bayreuth, Germany. The two companies were previously partners in the Inno. CNT development network. The financial details of the agreement have not been disclosed.

Speciality chemicals company Evonik Industries has completed the expansion of its Map Ta Phut production plant for precipitated silica in Rayong, Thailand, involving an investment in the ‘lower double-digit’ million Euros range. The plant's output serves the automotive, food, animal feed, paints and coatings industries. Evonik says the additional capacity will allow it to respond more quickly to increasing demand and to supply high-quality products. Growth in Southeast Asia is driven in particular by demand for fuel saving tyres and life science applications, it reports.

In Japan, Dow has converted its three Styrofoam™ extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam plants to the company's new polymeric flame retardant (PolyFR) technology [ADPO, May 2011]. The high molecular weight product is designed to be an alternative to hexabromocyclododecane (HCBD).

South Korean polymer additives major Songwon Industrial Group reported sales and profits growth in both full-year 2013 and its final quarter. Net profits of KRW22. 9 billion (c. €16.4 million) for the 12-month period showed an increase of 12.1% from KRW20.5 billion in 2012, boosted by a 59.7% rise in net profits for the fourth quarter to KRW6.38 billion from KRW3.99 million a year earlier.

For full-year 2013, Ferro Corp reported substantial gains in its annual earnings, posting net income attributable to the company of US$71.9 million, reversing a net loss of $374 million in 2012. The company attributes the increase in profitability to the successful execution of its value creation strategy. Ferro's 2013 net sales were $1.64 billion, down almost 6% from $1.74 billion in 2012.

For the year to 31 December 2013, Chemtura Corp posted a net loss of US$22 million on a GAAP basis, compared to net earnings of $103 million in 2012. Operating income fell 45% to $98 million, while net sales from continuing operations increased 2% to $2.231 billion in 2013 from $2.196 billion the previous year.

The global market for plastics additives was valued at US$43.4 billion in 2013 and is expected to reach $47.7 billion in 2015. The market is then forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.8% over the five-year period from 2015 to 2020 to attain a value of $60.3 billion by 2020.