Additives for Polymers (v.2016, #6)

At Chinaplas 2016 in Shanghai, speciality chemicals major Clariant International launched two further AddWorks solutions [ADPO, March 2014] designed to give the flexible packaging industry in Greater China and Southeast Asia new options for ‘improving productivity, functionality and sustainability’, the company says. Clariant also used the event to unveil additions to its well-established Exolit® OP flame retardant and Licocene® wax ranges.

Silicones specialist Dow Corning has launched a new masterbatch designed to reduce the coefficient of friction (COF) in high-speed form-fill-seal (FFS) packaging operations. Described as ‘a leading-edge technology’, Dow Corning® MB25-035 Masterbatch was developed as an alternative to organic slip additives, whose effectiveness is known to degrade over time and at elevated temperatures, such as those experienced when exposed to hot foods.

Israel's Tosaf Compounds Ltd has extended its portfolio with the addition of two new masterbatches developed to modify polycarbonate (PC) for applications such as multi-wall and solid sheets for construction and other applications. New product FR7607PC increases flame retardancy even at low sheet gauges, whilst IR5980PC provides an enhanced infrared (IR) selective effect and thus acts as a highly effective heat reduction masterbatch, according to the company.

A new family of nucleating and clarifying agents from US-based sealed additive producer Riverdale Global enables processors of polypropylene (PP) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) to shorten cycle times whilst obtaining the cost and accuracy advantages of liquid additives over pellet concentrates, the company claims. The +Speed additives are effective at minimal use levels, according to Riverdale. Let-down ratios range from 0.1% to 0.5% for three of the new grades of nucleating agents and 0.2–1.0% for a fourth grade that serves as both a nucleating and clarifying agent.

BASF Plastic Additives has launched two new specialized liquid antioxidants that improve the efficiency of polymerization in rubber and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), offering greater freedom of design for products made of these materials. In addition, the company has extended its family of Lumina® Royal interference pigments with a new green gold shade that is suitable for use in a wide range of media, including plastics.

In addition to its processability and performance characteristics, Perstorp asserts that ‘new advantages’ are emerging for its Pevalen non-phthalate general-purpose plasticizer for flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used in close-to-consumer applications. Researchers at the company report that its polyol ester product provides enhanced flame retardant properties compared to competitive plasticizer diisononyl phthalate (DINP).

Ohio-based Michelman Inc has introduced Hydrosize® Connect, a new family of polymeric compounding additives designed to optimize the interfacial adhesion between fibres and the resin matrix by targeting fibre surface chemistry. Added at the compounding stage, these additives improve wetting, adhesion and impregnation of fibres in resin, resulting in composites with higher performance characteristics.

UK-based Akcros Chemicals has been acquired by Valtris Specialty Chemicals, a manufacturer of polymer additives and chemical intermediates headquartered in Independence, OH, USA. The financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed. Formed from the carve-out of the North American polymer additives business of Ferro Corp [ADPO, February 2015 & August 2014], Valtris is a portfolio company of global private equity investment firm H.I.G. Capital (HIG). It operates five manufacturing sites within the USA and one each in Mexico and the UK.

Global plastics additives manufacturer Baerlocher continues to invest in its Changzhou plant for the production of calcium-based stabilizers. The company says it is actively supporting the Chinese plastics industry in its ongoing transition from lead-based stabilizers to sustainable Ca-based alternatives for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) applications.

US-based colour and additive masterbatch producer Techmer PM is expanding its 80 000 ft2 (7400 m2) plant in Batavia, IL, USA, as part of ongoing investments ‘to support increasing marketplace demand for advanced solutions and rapid response from operational efficiencies’, the company reports. The c. US$2 million expansion project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2016 and will result in a 30% increase in the plant's net capacity.

In Suzhou, near Shanghai in China, colour and additive solutions provider Americhem Inc has commissioned its new customer concept centre. The company says that the facility gives customers a ‘practical and innovative space’ to develop products and collaborate with its technical experts. Americhem has also renovated and reopened the laboratory at its Suzhou site, which this year is marking its tenth anniversary [ADPO, November 2005].

Ground-breaking has taken place in Shanghai, China, for Evonik's latest facility for the production of organically modified speciality silicones. The company reports that its investment in the project is in the high double-digit million euro range. Completion of the facility is scheduled for mid-year 2017.

Biopolymers specialist Metabolix, based in Cambridge, MA, USA, has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with South Korea's CJ CheilJedang Corp concerning a strategic commercial manufacturing arrangement for speciality polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). Under the terms of the non-binding MOU, the companies have agreed to work together towards concluding definitive agreements that would see CheilJedang fund, construct and operate a 10 000 tonnes/year PHA production unit, based on Metabolix's PHA technology and located at CheilJedang's Fort Dodge, IA, USA, facility.

For the first quarter of 2016, Swiss speciality chemicals major Clariant International reported sales from continuing operations of CHF1.478 billion (c. €1.36 billion), up 1% compared to sales of CHF1.465 billion in 1Q 2015. However, this corresponds to sales growth of 3% in local currencies, driven by higher volumes. EBITDA before exceptional items from continuing operations reached CHF229 million in 1Q 2016, up 16% in local currencies year on year. The EBITDA margin before exceptionals increased to 15.5%, well above the previous year's level of 14.1%, Clariant reports.

In the quarter ended 31 March 2016, PolyOne Corp achieved net income attributable to the company's shareholders of US$39.1 million on revenue of $847 million. This compares to net income of $30.2 million and revenue of $873 million in 1Q 2015.