Additives for Polymers (v.2015, #6)

Leading glass fibre manufacturers Johns Manville and Owens Corning both used the recent JEC Europe 2015 composites show in Paris, France, to present their latest glass fibre reinforcements, including new chopped strand products for use in polyamide (PA) applications. In addition, Johns Manville and fellow producer AGY Holding Corp have announced investments to expand their glass fibre manufacturing capacities.

Austrian masterbatch specialist Gabriel-Chemie GmbH has developed a hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD)-free flame retardant concentrate for use in foam insulation boards made of extruded polystyrene (XPS). The company says that this will enable insulation producers to make the switch to ‘an ecologically sound solution’ in advance of ‘the sunset date’ for HBCD flame retardants in Europe later this year.

Oxo chemicals specialist Oxea reports that it has received the ‘2014 European Non-Phthalate Plasticizers Product Leadership Award’ from Frost & Sullivan. Based on recent analysis of the European plasticizers market, the award recognizes Oxea for its consistent high product quality, performance and supply reliability, as well as for continuous product development and innovation.

Family-owned US company Carolina Color Corp has extended its product offering with the introduction of its new G3 line of colorants. The new range ‘offers pigment loadings that eclipse any other colorant technology’, the company claims.

Performance materials firm Ferro Corp has signed a definitive agreement with the shareholders of Barcelona-based speciality inorganic pigments producer Nubiola Pigmentos to acquire 100% of the equity of Nubiola. The agreed purchase price is €146 million, on a cash- and debt-free basis. The acquisition will improve Ferro's position in inorganic pigments by expanding both its product portfolio and its geographic footprint. Subject to the customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close by the end of June.

Masterbatch manufacturer A. Schulman, Inc has revealed plans to establish a new masterbatch production plant in Turkey. When fully operational, the new facility will produce approximately 40 million lbs (c. 18 000 tonnes) annually of the company's premium additive, white and breathable masterbatches for food and industrial packaging customers in Turkey and other fast-growing countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

US masterbatch producer Americhem Inc has recently completed the installation of two small-lot manufacturing workcells at its Cuyahoga Falls plant in Ohio. Designed to upgrade service to its customers, these workcells, plus other improvements to the plant's manufacturing area, will add three million lbs (c. 1400 tonnes) of capacity to the facility, the company reports. The expansion is in response to increasing demand for smaller lot sizes of its masterbatches, according to Americhem.

Emerald Kalama Chemical, a business group of Emerald Performance Materials, has announced approval for final design engineering and the initial purchase of key process equipment with long lead times for the addition of a second benzoic acid purification and finishing process at its facility in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Final approval for full construction is expected in the third quarter of 2015. The investment supports growing market demand for benzoic acid, non-phthalate plasticizers and benzoate preservatives, the company says.

Chemicals major Solvay has broken ground in Gunsan, South Korea, for the construction of a new plant for the production of highly dispersible silica (HDS). With an annual capacity of more than 80 000 tonnes, this latest expansion of its global footprint will address growing demand in Asia for energy-saving tyres and develop innovative HDS grades, the company says. Solvay expects the plant to be operational in the next two years.

French plant-based chemicals firm Roquette has launched a new industrial-scale unit for the production of isosorbide at its site in Lestrem, Pas-de-Calais, France. The new facility has a capacity of 20 000 tonnes/year and is equipped with the latest high-performance technologies to produce isosorbide of very high purity in response to the quality requirements of its customers, the company reports.

Industrial minerals supplier Sibelco UK Ltd has taken a 25.1% shareholding in UK-based Glassflake Ltd. The move will see the two businesses working together to further develop glass flake technology, in particular converting this work to commercial products and scalable manufacturing.

Malion New Materials of Shantou in China's Guangdong Province has commissioned its third production plant, taking its total capacity from 27 000 to 37 000 tonnes per year. The new facility will specialize in manufacturing white masterbatches.

Germany-based chemicals firm Evonik Industries AG reports that it plans to invest in excess of €4 billion on research and development over the next decade as part of its efforts to drive sustained value creation through innovation. The intention is to turn Evonik into ‘one of the world's most innovative companies’, says executive board chairman Klaus Engel.

Swiss speciality chemicals producer Clariant reported first quarter 2015 sales from continuing operations of CHF1.465 billion (€1.403 billion) compared to CHF1.492 billion in 1Q 2014. The 2% decrease in Swiss franc terms corresponds to an increase of 4% in local currencies. Organic sales growth of 4% was driven by 5% higher volumes offset by a decrease in prices of 1%.

For the first quarter of 2015, Cytec Industries Inc posted net earnings of US$42.5 million on net sales of $515 million. Included in the quarter for continuing operations are several special items that total $17.1 million of net expense after-tax; excluding them, earnings from continuing operations were $59.6 million. Net earnings for 1Q 2014 were $55.9 million ($52.0 million excluding special items) on net sales of $489 million.