Additives for Polymers (v.2015, #5)

French multinational chemicals manufacturer Arkema has developed Orevac® 18341, a new maleated polyethylene coupling agent for the production of halogen-free flame retardant (HFFR) compounds used in cable applications. The company has also acquired Oxido, an Italian company specializing in the formulation of organic peroxides for the crosslinking of synthetic rubber and plastics.

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment producer Cristal has extended its range with the introduction of new chloride grade TiONA® 288. Describing the new blue-tone rutile product as ‘super-efficient’, the company claims it is the ‘ultimate solution’ for high-end, high-temperature white and tinted masterbatch. It is being marketed initially throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including China, Thailand and Australia.

Dutch-based material and life science company DSM has introduced Beyone 820-H-01, an additive for sheet moulding compound (SMC) formulations that enables low shrinkage in combination with homogeneous pigmentation. The additive is intended for the manufacture of components used in electrical and transportation applications where dimensional predictability and processing consistency are very important. Such components are also often used without painting and consequently need to have superior surface quality and aesthetics. Beyone 820-H-01 was launched at the recent JEC 2015 show in Paris.

The non-phthalate plasticizer portfolio offered by speciality chemicals major Eastman Chemical Co has been expanded by the addition of Eastman VersaMax for the European market. According to the company, the new plasticizer is ‘an innovative solution’ that provides improved dry times, better efficiency and a broader formulation window in flexible PVC and plastisol applications when compared to traditional ortho-phthalate and other, non-phthalate plasticizer options.

UK-based Croda International reports that it has developed a range of polymer additives for reduced scratch visibility and low visible bloom in automotive applications. These additives reduce scratch width and visibility, while their ‘superior stability’ results in reduced blooming on the surface, the company explains. This combination of benefits makes the new additives ‘perfect for use’ in a variety of plastics, used in applications such as automotive interior parts, it claims.

Koch Industries subsidiary Invista has launched Novadyn transparent polyamides, which can also be used as differentiated blend additives to improve traditional nylon performance. According to the company, the Novadyn products are ‘highly versatile’ semi-aromatic polyamides with ‘a unique combination’ of performance, cost effectiveness and recycled content.

In the USA, PolyOne ColorMatrix unveiled ColorMatrix Select, a cloud-based liquid colour selection and supply service, at NPE2015 in March. The new service combines advanced liquid colorants, web-accessed software and automated dispensing technology to offer a complete package that enables brand managers, converters and designers to ‘take greater control of their colour development and supply chain’, the company says.

Production of valeraldehyde and 2-propylheptanol and associated chemicals has begun on time at a major extension to Perstorp's main plant in Stenungsund, Sweden. Valeraldehyde and 2-propylheptanol are key raw materials for the company's general-purpose PVC plasticizers. Prime material was reportedly being produced soon after start-up.

A new series of masterbatches for polylactic acid (PLA) bioplastic increases the heat distortion temperature (HDT) and impact strength of the resin and substantially reduces its cooling time in injection moulding, reports producer Teknor Apex Co. These advances make possible semi-durable and durable applications that until now have been closed to standard PLA, the company explains. The company's Bioplastic Division introduced the new Terraloy® masterbatches at NPE2015 in March.

US-based speciality chemicals firm Albemarle Corp has announced that it is streamlining its portfolio of mineral flame retardant products and refocusing its efforts and resources on further development and growth of key product grades. The company says that these changes support the evolution of the global mineral flame retardant market and allow it to place greater emphasis on innovation for technologies designed to meet the future needs of customers.

As part of its previously announced plan to significantly restructure its global Pigments and Additives segment [ADPO, February & April 2015], Huntsman Corp has revealed its intention to rationalize its Color Pigments business. The initial phase of restructuring will include site closures, redundancies and other cost-reduction initiatives, which are expected to contribute US$20 million in synergies by the middle of 2016.

German speciality chemicals group Lanxess AG reports that it has improved its operating result and net income in the year ending 31 December 2014 despite ‘a challenging market and competitive environment’. Earnings (EBITDA) pre-exceptionals increased by 9.9% to €808 million from €735 million in 2013, with all segments contributing to the increase. Year-on-year net income improved by €206 million, thereby converting a net loss of €159 million in 2013 into a profit of €47 million last year.

Imerys has completed the acquisition of the main activities of S&B, a major player in industrial minerals, from its shareholders, the founding Kyriacopoulos family and investment fund Rhône Capital. Established more than 80 years ago, S&B achieved revenue of €412 million in 2014. Imerys says that the transaction will accelerate its development by broadening its speciality offering.

For the year ended 31 December 2014, Chemtura Corp reported a net profit on a GAAP basis of US$771 million from continuing operations on net sales of $2.19 billion. The company therefore successfully reversed the net loss of $22 million from continuing operations recorded in 2013. However, the 2014 net sales figure was down some 2% from $2.23 billion achieved the previous year, although combined sales from Chemtura's core Industrial Performance Products and Industrial Engineered Products segments were $5 million higher than in 2013 at $1.787 billion.

Texas-based MarketsandMarkets has published a new report providing analysis of global trends and forecasts to 2019 for the plastics additives market. The market is examined according to additive type, plastic and application sector. Market size is provided in terms of both volume and value. A second recent report, from Frost & Sullivan, confines its scope to opportunities for additives in engineering plastics in the European and North American markets.