Additives for Polymers (v.2016, #4)

Major global talc producer Imerys Talc has introduced a new product for the plastics compounding industry. Sourced in North America, Nicron™ 674C talc is described as a platy, high-density, dry compacted microcrystalline talc with excellent top-size control. This latest addition expands the company's portfolio for polypropylene (PP) and thermoplastic olefin (TPO) polymer compounds, and is reportedly ideal for packaging, appliance and automotive applications.

Emerald Specialty Polymers, a business group of Ohio-based Emerald Performance Materials, has extended its established family of Nychem latex emulsions with the introduction of Nychem® Poly4000 latex, a specialized waterborne, poly-butadiene homopolymer. The new product is the softest polymer in the product line and can be used to modify the impact resistance of more-brittle engineered thermoplastics, a new end-use application area for this range of latex polymers, the company reports. Nychem Poly4000 can also be used to enhance low-temperature performance in applications such as speciality adhesives.

Speciality chemicals major Clariant has introduced a new liquid additive masterbatch that minimizes the yellowing and greying of polyester terephthalate (PET) polymers caused by the introduction of post-consumer recycled resin (PCR). The use of such recyclate tends to cause discoloration and reduction in PET's clarity. However, Clariant claims that its new PET-enhancing additives can help to offset these deleterious effects. Elsewhere, the company has extended its Mevopur® range of compliant masterbatches for medical and pharmaceutical applications with the addition of special-effect colours.

Global functional additive manufacturer Total Cray Valley (TCV), headquartered in Exton, PA, USA, has introduced a new processing aid for rigid polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Cleartack W-110 is a non-acrylic product that reportedly offers improved thermal stability and performance properties.

Struktol has launched novel processing additive Struktol® HT 750, the first in a new series of additives for diamine crosslinked polymers such as ethylene acrylate (AEM) and polyacrylate (ACM) elastomers and hydrogenated nitrile rubber (HNBR). Such polymers are a challenge because their physical properties are often compromised due to the high loading of additives necessary for processing, the company explains. Struktol HT 750 was developed to overcome these negative effects, while achieving ‘excellent processability’, it says.

Colorant company Plastics Color Corp (PCC) and X-Rite subsidiary Pantone LLC, the leading provider of professional colour standards for the design industry, have recently announced their top colour picks for 2016. PCC's ‘Colour of the Year’ is a bright, reddish hue while Pantone for the first time has chosen a blending of two shades.

Atlanta-based Axiall Corp, an integrated chemicals and building products company, has sold certain assets of its Solucor compound additives business, including its manufacturing facility located in Bradford, Ontario, Canada, to Galata Chemicals of Southbury, CT, USA. The transaction became effective on 29 February 2016. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Japan's Toyo Ink SC Holdings, the parent holding entity of the Toyo Ink Group of companies, and its wholly owned US subsidiary LioChem, Inc, have expanded their production footprint in the Americas by co-establishing a plastic colorant manufacturing and sales base in Guadalajara, Mexico. The new subsidiary, Toyo Ink Mexico SA de CV, was created in November 2015 as a base for supplying custom colorants to the growing packaging, consumer and automotive markets throughout Mexico and neighbouring countries. It is 60% owned by Toyo Ink SC Holdings, with the remaining 40% stake held by LioChem.

German functional fillers and ceramic materials specialist Nabaltec AG is further expanding its operations in Asia with the formation of a wholly owned subsidiary based in Tokyo, Japan. Established in the first quarter of 2016, Nabaltec Asia Pacific KK will engage in marketing and sales activities for Nabaltec's entire product portfolio, working closely with regional sales partners, the company reports. Nabaltec says that this new presence will advance its business in the Asian market.

Construction work has begun on a new, state-of-the art masterbatch production unit in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. The new manufacturing site belongs to Clariant Masterbatches Saudi Arabia [ADPO, October 2013], a joint venture between Switzerland's Clariant and Rowad National Plastic Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Tasnee, one of the largest industrial conglomerates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The new unit is expected to be commissioned by early 2017. No financial details have been disclosed.

Advanced materials company Momentive Performance Materials Inc has announced a strategic expansion of its Leverkusen site in Germany as part of its global initiative to expand production capabilities serving the automotive markets. The company reveals that it will invest approximately US$30 million to expand its NXT silane manufacturing capacity at Leverkusen. The facility is expected to begin production in late 2017.

Clariant Masterbatches has announced plans to invest more than CHF7.5 million (c. €6.8 million) in specialized equipment and facilities to expand its capabilities and capacities for the production of colour and additive masterbatches for use in engineering resins and high-temperature plastics such as PEEK (polyether ether ketone). The largest investment has been earmarked for plants in Shanghai, Singapore, and at two plants in the USA.

For full-year 2015, polymer materials, services and solutions provider PolyOne Corp reported sales of US$3.38 billion, down about 12% from the figure of $3.84 billion achieved in 2014. Fourth quarter sales were also down year on year, from $869 million in 4Q 2014 to $776 million last year. The company reports that significant unfavourable foreign exchange effects were compounded by revenue declines as a result of the ongoing integration of Spartech and lower selling prices in Distribution and Performance Products and Solutions due to lower raw material costs.

Albemarle Corp posted full-year 2015 earnings of US$334.9 million on net sales of $3.65 billion. This compares to earnings of $133.3 million on net sales of $2.45 billion in 2014. The increase in annual sales was driven primarily by the acquisition of Rockwood, partly offset by the impact of lower sales volumes, unfavourable price and mix impacts in certain businesses, and unfavourable currency exchange impacts, the company reports.

The European Commission has granted temporary authorizations to 13 companies in Europe for two applications of the brominated flame retardant chemical hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD). The flame retardant is a candidate for authorization under the EC's REACH regulation. The review period of the authorizations will expire on 21 August 2017.