Additives for Polymers (v.2014, #6)

New York-based Minerals Technologies Inc (MTI), a manufacturer of speciality natural and synthetic mineral products, is introducing a new line of talc products for polyolefin markets. The new products will be marketed under the Ultratalc® and Microtalc® trademarks and will be commercially available by mid-year, it says. The company has also recently signed a merger agreement to acquire Amcol International.

At Chinaplas 2014 in April, Addivant – the former antioxidant, polymer modifiers and UV stabilizer business of Chemtura Corp [ADPO, July 2013] – announced three additions to its Polybond® polymer modifier product line. Polybond 7200 coupling agent is designed for use in natural fibre-reinforced polyolefin applications while Polybond 3249 and Polybond 3349 coupling agents are intended for wire and cable compounds using halogen-free flame retardants (HFFRs).

DuPont Fluorochemicals reports ‘significant progress’ in delivering a new foam expansion solution based on hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) technology for use in polyurethane (PU) foams. The company says that it has established ‘firm plans’ to begin small-scale production of HFO-1336mzz (1,1,1,4,4,4-hexafluorobut-2-ene) during 2014. The new product, which will be marketed as Formacel® 1100 foam expansion agent, is claimed to offer ‘breakthrough reduction’ in global warming potential (GWP) as well as energy efficiency benefits.

A new line of speciality additives for wood–plastic composites (WPC) has been announced by Croda Polymer Additives. Products in the Incroflo™ range act as lubricants to allow increased throughput of WPC during processing by increasing flow rate and dispersion. This allows for lower processing temperatures and pressures during manufacture, the company reports.

Speciality chemicals major Clariant has developed fragrance additives in liquid masterbatch form for use in polyolefin polymers. Marketed under the HiFormer® brand [ADPO, February 2014], the liquid masterbatches have been optimized for blown and cast film applications and are being used commercially. According to the company, thousands of fragrance options are available.

Kansas-based Green Dot reports that its Terratek® Flex bioelastomeric material can be used as an impact modifier for polylactic acid (PLA) without sacrificing its compostability. Terratek Flex is the market's first elastomeric bioplastic to be certified to meet US (ASTM D6400) and EU (EN 13432) standards for compostability in an industrial composting environment.

Turkish carbon nanomaterials firm Grafen Chemical Industries is introducing GMBTM-U, a thermoplastic graphene masterbatch that is reported to combine universal dispersibility in polyolefins with ease of handling. The masterbatch is targeted at industrial applications.

PolyOne Corp has introduced OnCap™ Light Shield additives for clear packaging. These new solutions effectively absorb both ultraviolet (UV) and visible light before either can reach light-sensitive contents such as food or pharmaceuticals, helping to reduce their degradation, the company says. In some cases, using OnCap Light Shield additives can also eliminate the need to have an extra coating or layer, reducing material usage for increased sustainability, it reports. The range was launched at Chinaplas 2014.

Milliken has revealed plans to undertake a major capacity expansion for its Millad® NX™ 8000 clarifying agent for polypropylene (PP) at its Allen facility in Blacksburg, SC, USA. The company says it will double production and add an additional redundant manufacturing line to ensure ample global supply of the product, which was introduced at the K show in 2007 [ADPO, September 2007]. The expansion is scheduled for completion in 2015.

In the USA, Eastman Chemical Co has announced plans for further expansion of 2-ethyl hexanol (2-EH) capacity at its Longview site in Texas. The expansion will increase capacity by approximately 20 000 tonnes per year. The company expects to complete the expansion in the fourth quarter of this year.

After a decade in charge of Germany's Lanxess group, Axel Heitmann quit his role as chairman of the board of management at the end of February by mutual agreement with the company. The group's supervisory board has appointed Matthias Zachert as his successor. Zachert is a former CFO of Lanxess who left the company in 2011 to take up the same role at Merck. The leadership change comes in the wake of disappointing results for Lanxess in recent quarters.

US-based Albemarle Corp reported first quarter 2014 earnings attributable to the company of US$56.6 million, compared to 1Q 2013 earnings of $84.0 million. Excluding special and non-operating items, 1Q 2014 earnings were $76.7 million compared to $82.7 million a year earlier. The company reported net sales of $656.7 million in 1Q 2014, up 2.3% from net sales of $641.6 million in 1Q 2013, driven mainly by higher volumes in both operating segments partly offset by lower pricing in Performance Chemicals.

Switzerland's Clariant reported a net loss of CHF48 million (€39.4 million) for the first quarter of 2014 compared with a net profit of CHF50 million for 1Q 2013. The loss was largely due to a one-off impairment charge related to the divestment of its ASK Chemicals joint venture, the company says. Sales from continuing operations amounted to CHF1.492 billion in 1Q 2014, corresponding to an increase of 5% in local currencies.

For the first quarter ended 31 March 2014, Ferro Corp posted income from continuing operations of US$17 million, up from $9 million in 1Q 2013. However, net sales of US$392 million for 1Q 2014 were down some 6% compared with net sales of $418 million a year earlier. The fall in sales was largely due to the impact of exiting business lines and deselection of phthalates in the Polymer Additives segment, the company reports.