Additives for Polymers (v.2014, #7)

French chemicals producer Arkema has announced that its new core-shell methacrylate-butadiene-styrene (MBS) impact modifier for engineering plastics, Clearstrength® €950, is now available commercially worldwide. The product was pre-launched in October last year at K 2013 [ADPO, December 2013] and has since been successfully used industrially by selected clients, the company reports.

Creavis, the strategic innovation unit of Evonik Industries, has been developing a solution to reduce the company's net greenhouse-gas emissions in Germany and beyond by employing carbon dioxide (CO2) as a feedstock. The development work has been on-going for several years as part of a publicly funded project called H2ECO2, supported by the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the European Union.

US-based colours and additives producer Techmer PM has introduced PM16888, an antistatic additive designed for applications requiring components that are sanctioned by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for food contact applications and are not reportable under California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65).

To make it easier for designers and engineers to find colour masterbatches that comply with key fire-resistance standards, Clariant is making its products available in UL's materials search engine, Prospector® (ULProspector.com). The Prospector search engine is the largest and most widely used informational resource in the plastics industry, with a database that includes more than 85 000 plastics and thousands of other materials.

UK firm Symphony Environmental Technologies plc – better known for its oxo-biodegradability additives – has launched a newly developed anti-mosquito and insecticide additive masterbatch within its d2p brand. The masterbatch is intended for applications in plastic packaging and netting and is designed in particular for markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the company says. Symphony is also currently collaborating with Janssen on the introduction of an antifungal and antibacterial masterbatch for plastics [ADPO, October 2013].

Israel's Fulcrum SP Materials Ltd, which specializes in nanotechnology solutions for enhanced composite materials, recently introduced SP1/CNT reinforcement products that are claimed to improve the mechanical properties of PAN/phenolic and fibreglass/epoxy composites.

South Korean polymer additives major Songwon Industrial Group and SeQuent Scientific Ltd of India have signed an agreement whereby Songwon will acquire SeQuent's speciality chemicals business. The acquisition includes SeQuent's entire polymer stabilizers business and one production site in Panoli, Gujarat, together with the local R&D team.

Masterbatch manufacturer Americhem Inc is expanding its plant in Suzhou, China, to better meet the needs of its customers in the Asia Pacific region. The expansion will double the size and the capacity of the plant. The building phase of the project was scheduled to be completed in June 2014 with the installation of new manufacturing equipment taking place by October 2014.

UK-based Colloids Ltd is setting up a new masterbatch manufacturing plant, Colloids Plastic (Suzhou) Co, Ltd, in Changshu, China, for an initial investment of US$6 million (€4.4 million). The new 3700 m2 plant, which will be the company's first manufacturing facility outside the UK, is scheduled to start operations in the third quarter of 2014. It will have an initial capacity of 3500 tonnes of masterbatch per annum but the company says that there is ample space at the site for future expansions.

Chemicals behemoth BASF reports that it has doubled production capacity for its non-phthalate plasticizer Hexamoll DINCH from 100 000 tonnes/y to 200 000 tonnes/y at its Ludwigshafen site in Germany by opening a second plant for the product. The successful start-up of the additional plant will strengthen supply security worldwide and satisfy growing global customer demand, the company says.

New US polymer additives major Addivant has marked its first anniversary as a standalone organization with the opening of its new headquarters in Danbury, CT, USA. Addivant was previously a business unit of Chemtura in Middlebury, CT, and became an independent portfolio company of SK Capital in May 2013 [ADPO, July 2013]. From its new HQ, the company operates 11 plants on five continents and nine technology and application testing centres worldwide.

UK-based Akcros Chemicals has established a new venture in India. In addition to a sales office in Mumbai, Akcros India has set up a dedicated independent production facility for local manufacture under the global Akcros brands.

For the first quarter of 2014, PolyOne Corp achieved an all-time high revenue of US$1 billion, a 25% increase compared to $801 million in 1Q 2013. The company says that its Specialty platform delivered record-setting growth driven by continued mix improvement and synergies from the Spartech acquisition [ADPO, December 2012]. Within the Specialty platform, the Global Color, Additives and Inks and Global Specialty Engineered Materials segments both delivered ‘milestone levels’ of operating income and profitability, PolyOne reports.

New Jersey-based Cytec Industries Inc reported net earnings for the first quarter of 2014 of US$55.9 million on net sales of $489 million. Excluding a one-off special item of after-tax net income, earnings from continuing operations were $52.0 million. Net earnings attributable to Cytec for 1Q 2013 were $35.6 million. Excluding special items, earnings from continuing operations were $38.9 million for the quarter on net sales from continuing operations of $477 million.

US speciality chemicals firm Chemtura Corp reported year-on-year improvements in both sales and profitability for the first quarter ended 31 March 2014. Net earnings from continuing operations on a GAAP basis were US$10 million for the three-month period, reversing a $18 million loss in 1Q 2013. The company's net sales in 1Q 2014 were $556 million, an increase of 5% from $528 million a year earlier. Operating income was $22 million compared to $2 million in 1Q 2013.

Worldwide consumption of plastic additives is estimated to have reached 12.6 million tonnes in 2013 and is expected to increase to some 17.1 million tonnes by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 4.4% during the 2013–2020 period, according to a new market report published by Allied Market Research (AMR) of Portland, OR, USA. The on-going replacement of metals by plastics in many application areas, the increase in environmental awareness and intervention by governments to promote non-toxic plastic additives are among the factors driving growth in the plastic additives market, according to the report.