Additives for Polymers (v.2015, #4)

Global functional additive manufacturer Total Cray Valley has introduced a new class of additives that improve polyolefin properties such as tensile strength, heat deflection temperature (HDT) and flexural modulus. The ionomeric additives, part of Cray Valley's Dymalink® series, were launched in February at the 2015 SPE International Polyolefin Conference in Houston, TX, USA, via the show's exhibition and a presentation from the company's global business development manager Anthony Marozsan entitled ‘Improving Polyolefin Performance with Ionomeric Additives’.

Israeli additive, masterbatch and compound producer Tosaf has introduced UV4120PE, a newly developed masterbatch that can considerably extend the service life of UV-absorbing greenhouse films even in small amounts, the company claims. Comprehensive accelerated weathering tests on conventionally stabilized films yielded ‘significant results’, Tosaf reports.

Belgium's Solvay Silica has launched Efficium®, an innovative highly dispersible silica (HDS) reinforcing filler for automotive tyres. The new product allows for higher productivity and greater flexibility in producing ‘green’ passenger car and truck tyre compounds, the company says. The launch took place at February's Tyre Technology Expo in Cologne, Germany.

US-based Americhem Inc, a manufacturer of custom colour and additive solutions for polymers and synthetic fibres, has extended its nDuramax® range of UV stabilizers with new products for applications in polymeric films. The new stabilizers received their debut in March at NPE2015 held in Orlando, FL, USA.

Swiss-based Clariant has added new opaque and transparent colours in polycarbonate (PC) resin to its ISO/USP range of Mevopur® standard masterbatches and compounds. The company has also extended the range with a new line of ‘animal-free’ standard masterbatches. The new offerings were launched concurrently in February at the MD&M West trade show in Anaheim, CA, USA, and Pharmapack Europe 2015 in Paris, France. Introduced in 2010 [ADPO, December 2010], Mevopur-branded products are specifically designed for use in medical device and pharmaceutical packaging applications.

Essen-based Evonik Industries reports that, in future, it will be able to produce the plasticizer alcohol 2-propyl heptanol (2-PH) much more efficiently at its Marl site in Germany. This has been made possible by optimization of the catalyst system used in the company's production process as a result of its development of new catalyst ligand OxoPhos 64i. According to Evonik, the new ligand increases the efficiency of the process and allows longer plant runtimes with lower maintenance, thereby effectively boosting its 2-PH capacity.

German chemicals giant BASF SE has announced plans to significantly increase its production capacity for bismuth vanadate pigments at its Besigheim site, near Stuttgart in Germany. The additional capacity is scheduled to come on-stream in 2017. The group is also joining forces with its joint venture (JV) partner Petronas to construct a new world-scale manufacturing plant for 2-ethylhexanoic acid (2-EH acid) in Kuantan, Malaysia, which is expected to start operations in 4Q 2016.

Huntsman Corp, one of the world's largest producers of titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigments, is planning to reduce its European TiO2 capacity by approximately 100 000 tonnes/year, representing 13% of its TiO2 capacity on the continent. According to the company, the plan will generate approximately US$35 million in annual savings.

For full year 2014, Albemarle Corp posted net sales of US$2.45 billion, up 2% versus $2.39 billion in 2013. Strong demand in the company's Catalyst Solutions segment was partly offset by lower volumes and pricing in Performance Chemicals and unfavourable currency exchange effects. Adjusted EBITDA grew 1% to $562 million. However, net income attributable to the company fell heavily by 68% to $133.3 million in 2014, compared with $413.2 million the previous year.

Indian masterbatch company Plastiblends India Ltd is reportedly investing around US$10 million in a new manufacturing plant in Surat in the state of Gujarat. The new masterbatch facility will be the company's third, alongside its existing factories in Daman, in western India, and Roorkee in the northern state of Uttarakhand.

Production capacity for Solvay's Neolor® rare earth pigments has been increased by 50% across the company's three French plants. The extra capacity is the result of significant kiln investment and process debottlenecking, and will allow Solvay to serve the fast-growing market demand for high-stability inorganic pigments, the company says.

Speciality chemicals group Clariant International reported full-year sales from continuing operations of CHF6.12 billion (c. €5.95 billion) in 2014, a rise of 5% in local currencies and of 1% in Swiss francs from CHF6.08 billion the previous year. The increase was largely due to 4% higher sales volumes. The company's net result from continuing operations dropped 27% to CHF235 million in 2014 compared to CHF323 million a year earlier, mainly as a result of a favourable one-time tax benefit in 2013.

The ICL Industrial Products (ICL-IP) operating segment of Israeli minerals and chemicals concern ICL posted sales of US$1.337 billion in 2014, an increase of about $40 million or 3% compared with 2013. However, the segment posted an annual operating loss of $62 million, compared with operating income of $115 million the previous year. Excluding one-off items, ICL-IP reported operating income of $128 million in 2014 versus a similarly adjusted operating income of $150 million in 2013.

Global demand for flame retardants is projected to expand by 4.6% per year until 2018 to reach a volume of 2.8 million tonnes, valued at US$7.0 billion. Advances will be stimulated by an acceleration in manufacturing output, especially in the USA, Japan and Western Europe, as they recover from the recession-impacted 2008-2013 period.