Additives for Polymers (v.2016, #3)

Massachusetts-based biomaterials firm Metabolix is launching a new line of amorphous polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) grades to be used as performance additives for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polylactic acid (PLA). The company reports that production of the new materials is underway at a US pilot plant, which will ramp up to 600 000 lbs (c. 272 000 kg) annual nameplate capacity during 2016.

Colour forecasting has taken off in the 21st century, with many major producers of pigments and colorants for plastics, coatings, textiles and more publishing yearly colour trend guides to assist and inspire product designers and developers.

US-based Riverdale Global, a manufacturer of sealed liquid colorants and additives for the plastics industry, has introduced the GlobalPlus™ product line. This includes a full range of polymer additives, each supplied as a single-additive dispersion in a container that stays sealed throughout storage, handling and metering into the process, and during return to Riverdale for replenishment. The range uses the same ‘never-see-a-drop’ total system originally developed by the company for its liquid colours.

Austria-based masterbatch producer Gabriel-Chemie GmbH is pursuing a strong expansion of its business in southern Europe, with the establishment in quick succession of two new subsidiaries in Spain and Italy. Both countries have sizeable plastics markets and offer the company good prospects for future growth, it reports.

US-based polymer additive manufacturer Addivant has announced a multi-million dollar expansion programme at the company's Morgantown, WV, USA, manufacturing facility to meet increasing demands for its Weston® 705 antioxidant. The expansion will more than triple Addivant's capacity for production of the nonylphenol-free liquid phosphite product. The schedule for the project has not been disclosed.

Five of the six largest manufacturers of oxo-biodegradable additives worldwide have combined to form an industry coalition focused on oxo-biodegradable plastics. The Oxo-Biodegradable Plastics Federation (OBPF) will enable operators in the market to speak with one voice, the group says.

Polysys Additive Technologies Middle East, the company formed by the joint venture between Polysys Industries, Pan Gulf Holding and Songwon Industrial Group [see also ADPO, January 2013], reports that its new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Abu Dhabi, UAE, is now operational. Located in Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad), which is owned and managed by Abu Dhabi Ports, the facility is dedicated to manufacturing one pack systems (OPS). The level of investment in the project has not been disclosed.

German plastics additives producer Baerlocher reports that it has completed a second phase of expansion at its oleochemical plant in Americana, Brazil. The project will enable Baerlocher do Brasil to swiftly supply customers across diverse industries within Latin America, the company says.

In South Korea, PMC Biogenix, a wholly owned subsidiary of PMC Group, is investing in the expansion of its manufacturing capacity for fatty amide slip agents at its production facility in Gyeongju (also known as Kyungju). The project will increase PMC's manufacturing capacity at the site by 30%. The expansion will become operational during the first half of 2016.

PPG Industries is increasing production capacity for precipitated silica by more than 10 000 tonnes per year at its manufacturing plant in Lake Charles, LA, USA, in response to growing demand. The company reveals that it will achieve the capacity increase through debottlenecking projects that are already underway. The additional capacity is expected to come online in the second half of 2016.

Nippon Aerosil Co, Ltd (NAC), a joint venture between Evonik Industries and Mitsubishi Materials, has opened a new facility for the production of Aerosil-branded surface-modified fumed silica in Yokkaichi, Japan. According to Evonik, the Yokkaichi plant is its largest facility for the production of fumed silica in Asia and one of the largest speciality fumed silica plants in the world. With this new capacity on stream, Evonik's global annual production capacity for precipitated and fumed silicas, metal oxides and matting agents now exceeds 550 000 tonnes.

For its fiscal 2016 first quarter ended 30 November 2015, Akron-based A. Schulman, Inc posted net sales of US$649.2 million, an increase of 5.6% compared with $615.1 million in the same quarter a year earlier. Foreign currency translation negatively impacted the total by $62 million, or 10% of sales. Net sales from the acquired Citadel Plastics business contributed $111.1 million of revenue during the quarter. Excluding the acquisition and currency effects, net sales declined by 2.4% as the company experienced lower volumes in its US and Canada (USCAN) segment's commodity product and service offerings.

For full-year 2015, global speciality chemicals company Eastman Chemical Co achieved net earnings of US$854 million on sales revenue of $9.65 billion. Compared to the previous year, net earnings were up almost 13%, from $757 million, while sales increased by 1% from $9.53 billion as lower selling prices partially offset additional sales from acquired businesses.

The global market for plastics additives was valued at US$48.2 billion in 2015. This market is estimated to grow from nearly $50.6 billion in 2016 to $64.6 billion by 2021 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.0% for the 2016–2021 period, according to a new research study published by US-based BCC Research.

The Helsinki-based European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has added five further chemicals to the Candidate List of substances of very high concern (SVHC) for authorization under the European Union's REACH regulation. Of the five additions, two are UV protection agents for use in the plastics, rubber, coatings and cosmetics industries. The SVHC Candidate List now contains 168 substances.