Additives for Polymers (v.2015, #2)

Swedish firm Nexam Chemical, a specialist in heat-activated crosslinkers for polymers, has introduced Nexamite® PBO, a new multifunctional additive that is claimed to offer strong performance in many application areas. Its primary intended use is as a chain extender and crosslinker but the additive is also reported to be an effective compatibilizer and acid scavenger in the manufacture of virgin polymer blends and engineering plastics, and in the recycling of mixed plastics.

Germany's BYK-Chemie GmbH, part of the Altana group's BYK Additives & Instruments Division, has launched new additives for use in various fibre-reinforced plastics. SCONA TPPP 9212 FA/GA is designed for use in polypropylene (PP) compounds while BYK-P 9920 is particularly recommended for use in epoxy resin and vinyl ester composites.

Switzerland's speciality chemicals company Clariant reports that it has developed a new oxygen-scavenging masterbatch for use in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging applications. The latest addition to its Cesa®-absorb product range, the novel masterbatch has an integrated active oxygen barrier that ‘optimally protects’ sensitive packaged goods from oxygen-induced degradation, thereby extending shelf-life and reducing food and beverage waste, the company says.

US bio-based chemicals specialist Myriant Corp has signed a three-way joint development agreement with Taiwan's UPC Technology Corp and Sojitz Corp of Japan to promote plasticizers based on bio-succinic acid. UPC, a global producer of plasticizers and other speciality chemicals, will utilize Myriant's bio-succinic acid [see also ADPO, April & June 2014] in the manufacture of bio-based, phthalate-free plasticizers.

International safety science company Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has expanded its plastics certification programme to include optional EU Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and non-halogenated ratings. Both new optional ratings for the plastics ‘yellow card’ use industry-leading test methods based on globally recognized standards, and enable the ability to communicate compliance clearly and credibly from UL's iQTM and Prospector® certification databases, the company says.

Ferro Corp has completed the sale of its North American polymer additives business to Polymer Additives, Inc, a wholly owned portfolio company of private equity firm H.I.G. Capital, LLC (HIG). Subject to customary working capital and other adjustments, the purchase price is approximately US$154 million in cash.

German company Nabaltec AG is planning to expand the production capacity of its Nashtec joint venture with Sherwin Alumina in Corpus Christi, TX, USA, by approximately 40%. The company reveals that the investment is in response to the constantly growing demand for fine precipitated hydroxides, mainly in the US market.

Following its recent US$1.1 billion Rockwood acquisition [ADPO, December 2014], Huntsman Corp has announced a comprehensive restructuring programme designed to improve the global competitiveness of its pigments and additives business. As part of the plan, the company will reduce its workforce by approximately 900 positions worldwide. Annual cost savings are expected to be in the region of $130 million and will be achieved by the middle of 2016, Huntsman says.

In Germany, Evonik has started up two new units for the production of crosslinking additives at its multi-user site in Wesseling. Triallyl cyanurate (TAC) and triallyl isocyanurate (TAICROS®) are described as ‘high-quality crosslinking activators’ for use in plastics and rubber. The new units are backwardly integrated with an existing plant at the site for the production of cyanuric chloride, one of the starting materials for both TAC and TAICROS.

Masterbatch manufacturer A. Schulman, Inc has commissioned a new production line at its facility in Dongguan, China, to accommodate increasing demand in its Masterbatch Solutions business. The plant's additional output will serve the needs of the packaging and personal care & hygiene industries in China, the company says.

Imerys Graphite & Carbon reports that it has successfully commissioned a second production line for conductive carbon blacks at its Willebroek facility in Belgium. The expansion effectively doubles the plant's production capacity. Imerys has reportedly invested some €20 million in the expansion project, which also included updating key plant infrastructure such as the steam management system.

Boston-based Cabot Corp reported year-on-year increases in net sales for both its fourth quarter and full fiscal year (FY) ended 30 September 2014. In 4Q 2014, the company achieved net sales of US$911 million, up 1.7% compared with net sales of $896 million the previous year. For FY 2014, net sales rose 5.5% to $3.65 billion compared with $3.45 billion a year earlier.

Italy's boron chemicals manufacturer Società Chimica Larderello SpA (SCL) has acquired Quimicos Essiod SA, an Argentine company with a 16 000 m2 state-of-the-art production facility located in Mar del Plata, in the province of Buenos Aires. The acquisition will allow the creation of a number of important synergies with SCL's existing business, the company says.

For the third quarter of 2014, Eastman Chemical Co achieved sales revenue of US$2.41 billion, a 3% increase compared with $2.34 billion in 3Q 2013. Excluding certain items, operating earnings for 3Q 2014 were $427 million compared with $405 million a year earlier, primarily due to increased earnings by the Advanced Materials and Adhesives & Plasticizers segments. The company's reported third-quarter 2014 operating earnings were $338 million compared with $479 million for the third quarter of 2013.

According to a new study published by Texas-based MarketsandMarkets, the global market for plasticizers is forecast to reach a value of US$19.367 billion by 2019, expanding at a firm annualized growth rate of around 6.35%. The new report, Plasticizers Market – Trends and Forecasts to 2019, defines and segments the plasticizers market according to type (low and high phthalates, and non-phthalates), sub-type (DOP, DINP/DIDP, DOTP, bio-based and others) and geography, with analysis and forecasting of the consumption volume and value.