Additives for Polymers (v.2014, #10)

Israeli firm Tosaf Compounds Ltd, a manufacturer of plastic additives, masterbatches and compounds, has introduced IR8783PE, a new cooling masterbatch for greenhouse film applications. Designed to support optimal plant growth in hot climate zones, films produced with the new masterbatch allow most of the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) required for healthy plant growth to pass through unhindered while blocking ‘a significant amount’ of the near infrared radiation (NIR), which would otherwise heat up the greenhouse interior particularly strongly, the company says.

Dutch company Polyscope Polymers, the manufacturer of the Xiran® brand of specialized maleic anhydride functionalized copolymers and terpolymers with applications as polymer modifiers among others [e.g.ADPO, August 2013 & April 2010], has broadened its portfolio with the introduction of the Xeran® range of compatibilizers. The company says that the maleic anhydride functionality in the new Xeran products makes them ‘extremely suitable’ as compatibilizers and coupling agents in many applications.

PolyOne GLS Thermoplastic Elastomers has announced that its Versaflex™ CE TPE soft-touch materials for consumer electronics are now available in combination with the company's recently introduced Percept™ Authentication Technologies [ADPO, January 2014]. The company says that this newly available ‘formulation of technologies’ has been developed to help brand owners combat counterfeiting and reduce the risks associated with fraudulent goods such as phone cases, smart watches, headphones, earbuds and other wearable electronics.

US-based advanced materials firm Momentive Performance Materials Inc (MPM) has introduced Niax flame lamination additive, FLE-500. According to the company, the new product can help manufacturers meet strict fogging and emissions specifications for flame and heat lamination of polyether foams by improving the total emission levels of finished foam goods. The additive was launched at UTECH Asia in Shanghai, China, in September.

Finnish producer of functionalized superhard materials Carbodeon reports that it can now achieve a 20% increase in polymer thermal performance by using as little as 0.03% by weight of its nanodiamond filler at an overall 45% thermal filler loading. This enables increased performance at a lower cost than with traditional fillers, the company claims.

Flame retardant manufacturers Albemarle Corp and ICL Industrial Products are planning to establish a joint venture for the production of their GreenCrest™ and FR-122P polymeric flame retardants. Based on technology licensed from Dow Chemical [ADPO, March & June 2012], these products are designed as replacements for hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD). HBCD has been the leading flame retardant used in expanded and extruded polystyrene (EPS and XPS) foam applications, but is being phased out in the European Union (EU), Japan and other countries.

Germany's Lanxess AG is pressing ahead with its restructuring plans by merging business units and trimming its workforce. The company has defined a three-phase realignment programme designed to lower costs and improve the competitiveness of its business and administration, operations and portfolio. Under the first phase of the ‘Let's Lanxess again’ initiative, several business units will be merged to reduce their number from 14 to 10, and administrative functions will be consolidated.

Speciality chemicals firm Clariant is constructing a new plant in the greater Sydney area in Australia. The new factory, which will mainly serve the domestic market, will produce a full range of colour and additive masterbatches ‘to meet the growing local needs’, the company says. Construction of the plant is currently underway, with commissioning planned for the fourth quarter of 2014.

Australian materials company TenasiTech Pty Ltd reports that it has secured almost a million dollars in investment to drive the commercialization of its range of nanotechnology-based plastics additives products. A consortium of ‘angel’ investors from Brisbane and Melbourne have committed A$485 000 in equity capital, and original investor Uniseed is providing another $450 000. TenasiTech has developed performance-enhancing additives for thermoplastics and elastomers.

US masterbatch manufacturer AmTopp, a division of Inteplast Group, is planning to increase production to meet the shorter lead times being demanded by the market. The company is installing a seventh compounding line at its 11 150 m2 concentrates plant in Lolita, TX, USA, taking its capacity to 31 000 tonnes/year (68 million lbs/year). The new capacity is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2015.

For the second quarter of 2014, South Korean polymer additives major Songwon Industrial Group reported sales of KRW172.91 billion (€127.5 million), comparable with sales of KRW172.96 billion for the same quarter of 2013. The company therefore reversed the sales decline experienced in 1Q 2014 [ADPO, July 2014]; however, the quarterly net loss deepened to KRW6.71 billion compared to KRW4.89 billion in the first three months of the year. Songwon posted a net profit of KRW518 million in 2Q 2013.

Berkshire Hathaway company Johns Manville (JM) is merging its American, European and Asian Engineered Products activities into one global business unit. Among the product ranges manufactured and marketed by the company's Engineered Products business are reinforcement glass fibres for composites, and glass and polyester nonwoven products for the building and construction industry. According to JM, the reorganization enhances its ability ‘to serve increasingly global needs’ in the composites, filtration and energy storage markets.

Switzerland's Clariant posted net income of CHF83 million (c. €69 million) for the second quarter of 2014, a 17% rise from CHF71 million in the previous year. EBITDA before exceptional items from continuing operations rose 9% in local currencies to CHF214 million, compared to CHF211 million in 2Q 2013. The corresponding EBITDA margin improved to 14.0% versus 13.7%.

Chemtura Corp posted net earnings from continuing operations on a GAAP basis of US$43 million on net sales of $609 million for the second quarter ended 30 June 2014. The earnings figure was up 59% compared with $27 million in 2Q 2013, while net sales increased 3% year on year. The company reported operating income of $52 million in 2Q 2014, a 16% rise from $45 million a year earlier. Excluding expenses connected with the sale of Chemtura AgroSolutions, the company's adjusted EBITDA was $91 million compared with $83 million in 2Q 2013.

US-based Ferro Corp reported income from continuing operations of US$13.91 million for the second quarter of 2014 compared with a loss of $5.1 million a year earlier. Net profit attributable to the company's shareholders was $9.9 million in 2Q 2014 versus a net loss of some $2 million a year earlier. Although a purchaser for the company's Polymer Additives segment has not yet been disclosed it is being reported as a discontinued operation in the second quarter results, alongside substantially all of the Specialty Plastics segment, which is being divested to A. Schulman Inc [ADPO, August 2014].