Additives for Polymers (v.2015, #8)

German company Merck, a leading global manufacturer of effect pigments, has developed four new laser-marking pigments for plastics. According to the company, the new ‘market-ready’ products will open up further applications for fast, cost-effective and permanent laser markings. Merck has also launched innovative lustre pigments to enhance the visual appeal of rotationally moulded (rotomoulded) plastic products.

Boston-based carbon black major Cabot Corp has launched a new series of low polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) carbon black grades for rubber product applications. The Cabot LP series of reinforcing and semi-reinforcing carbon blacks is engineered to meet customers' stringent requirements for end-use product performance while reducing the PAH concentration to aid compliance with new regulations and quality certifications, the company reports.

Songwon Industrial, a leading producer of polymer stabilizers, has extended its portfolio with the addition of Songxtend® 1301 stabilizer. The additive is specially designed to protect the new generation of polymeric flame retardants (polyFR) in extruded polystyrene (XPS) applications, the company explains. Songxtend 1301 stabilizer was introduced at the AMI Masterbatch conference in Cologne, Germany, in June.

European masterbatch manufacturer Gabriel-Chemie has introduced a new range of colour masterbatches for the acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA) filaments commonly used as the plastic feedstocks in 3D printing. The newly developed family of 20 colorant products consists of ‘inspiring colours and some innovative special effects’, according to the company. ABS and PLA are the two dominant thermoplastics used for 3D printing in non-commercial or non-industrial settings, for example by home printers, hobbyists and schools.

Colour and additive masterbatch producer Americhem Inc has developed a line of scratch- and mar-resistant masterbatches for use with filled and unfilled polypropylene in automotive interior applications. According to the company, the scratch and mar formula ‘meets and exceeds’ approved automotive specifications for superior protection.

German firm BYK-Chemie, part of the Altana group's Additives & Instruments Division, has introduced BYK-P 9912, a liquid product specifically developed for use as a processing additive in polyurethane. The additive also possesses internal release properties and is suitable for use in unfilled, filled and fibre-reinforced ambient-curing polyurethane systems, the company reports.

In the USA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Trinity's Altiblock™ line of products [ADPO, May 2014] for food contact applications in plastic film. The FDA has also extended the food contact clearance granted to Addivant's Weston® 705 phosphite antioxidant [ibid., August 2014]. Elsewhere, PolyOne's ColorMatrix Ultimate UV390 light blocking technology has received approval for use in PET packaging for food and beverage in China.

The new Rhein Chemie Additives business unit of speciality chemicals company Lanxess has launched two innovative halogen-free flame retardants for use in flexible polymer foams. The new grades are based in part on a newly developed type of phosphorus chemistry, the company reveals. They are characterized by low fogging and scorching, making them ideal for use in the furniture and automotive industries, Lanxess claims.

US-based Huber Engineered Materials, a division of J.M. Huber Corp, has acquired the patented Safire™ nitrogen and phosphorus halogen-free fire retardant technology from Belgium's Floridienne Group and its wholly owned subsidiary Catena Additives. Huber says its goal is to integrate the acquired technology within its existing halogen-free portfolio of flame retardants and smoke suppressants, and then rapidly develop a line of commercial products.

In Poland, Solvay Silica has held an opening ceremony to mark the launch of production of highly dispersible silica (HDS) at its new purpose-built, state-of-the-art plant in Włocławek [ADPO, July 2013]. The plant's output will be used to address the strong and growing regional demand for energy-saving tyres, the company says. The use of HDS as a reinforcing agent for tyre rubber reduces a vehicle's fuel consumption by as much as 7%, Solvay claims.

German wax producer Völpker Spezialprodukte GmbH has acquired the montan wax business of BASF SE. The company is already a leading producer of montan waxes, which it sells under the Waradur brand name. BASF will in future focus on its polyethylene wax business.

DuPont has completed the separation of its Performance Chemicals segment through the spin-off of The Chemours Company as an independent, publicly traded corporation on 1 July 2015. From that date, Chemours began ‘regular way’ trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘CC’. Chemours is a global chemical company with leading market positions in titanium technologies, fluoroproducts and chemical solutions.

Masterbatch and compound producer A. Schulman, Inc is planning to move its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) shared service centre from Londerzeel in Belgium to Poznan in Poland. Plans call for this phased relocation to be completed by May 2016. The company expects the cost of this action to be approximately €7 million over the next 12 months. The move is expected to generate annual savings of approximately €5 million by fiscal 2017, when fully implemented.

New Jersey-based Sun Chemical Corp is to expand global capacity for the production of its ‘Benda-Lutz’ branded metallic effect pigments by more than 40%. These pigments are designed for use in coatings, plastics, autoclaved aerated concrete and printing inks. The expansion project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2016 and involves investments exceeding €8.96 million.

The European Flame Retardants Association (EFRA) has released the 2014 VECAP European Progress Report. VECAP – the Voluntary Emissions Control Action Programme – is a product stewardship programme that aims to reduce potential emissions of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) by promoting environmental best practices throughout the value chain. The 2014 progress update celebrates the programme's tenth anniversary by showing its success in the reduction of potential emissions of BFRs over the years.

For its 2014/2015 financial year (FY) ended 31 March 2015, Dutch masterbatch producer Holland Colours posted sales of €68.2 million, up 3.5% for the year as a whole compared to €66.0 million in FY 2013/2014. The company reports that the stronger US dollar had a positive effect on its sales and results in the second half of the year. Net profit for the 12-month period was €3.4 million, a small decline from €3.5 million the previous year.