AMI Conference on Polyolefin Additives

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Polyolefins lead the global commodity plastics markets in volume, applications and diversity of functions. Noru Tsalic of AMI Consulting will outline the market trends at the next AMI international conference on Polyolefin Additives and compounding 2015, which will take place from 20-22 October 2015 at the Maritim Hotel in Cologne, Germany. 

Polyethylene pipes are gaining sector share in construction, agricultural films are transforming the production potential in arid regions, polypropylene packaging is preserving foodstuffs and minimising waste and in automotive manufacturing the use of polyolefins as metal replacements is reducing weight.  The different properties of polyethylene and polypropylene materials are obtained by careful selection of resin, additives, reinforcement and processing methods.  A. Schulman is reviewing how to compound polypropylene to tailor properties and Lummus Novolen Technology has studied how to obtain advanced features in PP.  There are now many larger scale uses of PP compounds, particularly in automotive and Leistritz Extrusionstechnik has new equipment for upscaling the compounding process, while Automatik Plastics Machinery has top of the range pelletising technology. 

Polykemi in Sweden has developed a talc-reinforced PP for light-weighting in the automotive industry.  For interior applications Sinopec has studied additive formulations to minimise VOC emissions in PP and for exterior uses Croda has focused on additives to provide scratch resistance.  Kaerntner Montanindustrie provides functional minerals which can also be used to improve scratch resistance, alongside warpage reduction and reinforcement.  There are several new mineral developments this year including a new pyrophillite from Trinity Resources based in Canada.

AMI’s Polyolefin Additives 2015 conference brings together industry experts to debate the optimal compounds and resins for a wide range of applications from cables to packaging films. Kabelwerk Eupen will be describing the latest developments in flame retardants and Cytec will be looking at stabilisers, which are critical in construction products.  Borealis Polyolefine will be examining how to manage the optical properties of transparent films by careful compounding.  Polymeric additives like ionomers can improve compounds, such as the products from Cray Valley and Arkema. There is a particular focus this year on stabilisation, which ensures durability and extended performance: BASF has reviewed stabilisers for specific uses, Dover Chemical Corporation has new advanced alkylphenol-free polymeric phosphite stabilisers and Addivant has new solutions for LLDPE materials.  From Asia, Songwon has high performance stabilisers, while Everspring Middle East will give another perspective at this international event.

Sustainability is key to the future of the plastics industry and this year there is a paper on the compounding and performance of recyclate from Quality Circular Polymers (QCP), which is a new polyolefin recycling start up company in the Netherlands.  European legislation requires that increasing amounts of materials are recovered from end of life products including packaging, electrical goods and vehicles, so this is a hot topic.

For more information about the Polyolefin Additives 2015 conference, click HERE.

Insecticide substances in foamed plastics

imageThe Plastics Technology Centre AIMPLAS, Inesfly Corporation from Valencia and the University of Zaragoza are researching in order to be able to encapsulate insecticide substances in foamed plastic materials. The innovative material will allow the manufacture of soles of sandals and mats that repel insects that transmit diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis.

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Renewables and regulations in the PVC industry

The PVC compounding industry has been shaken up in recent years by changes in chemical regulations that have removed some traditional additives from the marketplace and put new emphasis on renewable aspects including bio-based plasticisers and recycling.  There have been many voluntary agreements within the PVC associations to make advances ahead of any legal requirement and this has made them a leader in areas like recycling.  This year in Europe there will be more changes in recipes as standard biocides used in protecting many outdoor applications such as waterproof covers will have to be replaced with alternatives.  There are also discussions as to whether some bio-based ingredients require a biocide to prevent degradation. 

Applied Market Information (AMI) has organised a forum to discuss the changes at the 5th international compounding conference PVC Formulation 2013, held from 12th-14th March 2013 in Dusseldorf, Germany.  This event brings together the global vinyl industry to review new PVC additives, recipes, technology, legislation and market drivers. Vinnolit has presented a review of the PVC market in Europe, followed by a look at the PVC market in the growing Turkish economy by Mr. Ali Murat Ayar.

The profile producer Deceuninck gave a keynote paper on the advances in responsible action on the theme reduce, reuse and recover.  Reagens is part of a group aiming for the sustainable use of additives and the CEO Dr Ettore Nanni will outline this project.  The European Union has legislated against the use of heavy metals and this has affected PVC stabilization with moves away from very effective lead formulation in profiles, to new products such as Ca/Zn.  Baerlocher is showing stabilization systems in the construction industry. Naturally occurring minerals are useful not only as fillers but also as active ingredients like flame retardants and this will be demonstrated by Minelco.  Phosphate esters have flame retardant effects and plasticising properties: Lanxess points to the effect of these additives on PVC compound properties in combination with antimony trioxide, zinc borate and fillers.

The status of the current plasticisers market will be presented by the European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates (ECPI).  There is a growing trend in the plastics industry for bio-based and natural materials. In the PVC industry this is mainly seen in the bio-based plasticisers.  In the US this gives a high percentage of renewable carbon for the USDA Biopreferred programme.  The South Americans have vast land areas for crop development and have taken a lead in supplying bio-plasticisers.  Varteco Quimica Iberica from Argentina will give an overview of this market, while PETROM – Petroquimica Mogi Das Cruzes of Brazil with its partner Proviron Functional Chemicals will show some of the new plasticisers. Hallstar has also developed natural products for this market. However, what are the effects on the rest of the recipe of this substitution?  Are these materials so biodegradable that they need microbicides to preserve the vinyl?  

The EU Biocides Directive is going to affect a commonly used ingredient: OBPA antimicrobials which are widely used in outdoor applications as a preservative will be banned. Akcros Chemicals will review the changes and the alternative formulations, and some of the provisional data on the potential need for biocides when using bio-sourced ingredients.  From Switzerland, Sanitized has studied antimicrobial protection for PVC with bio-based plasticisers.

PVC is widely used in food packaging particularly as film, and a producer and expert service provider Polycomply Hoechst will review the current standards.  From the flooring manufacturer’s viewpoint, James Halstead/Polyflor will outline the industry requirements. 

Many factors affect PVC compounding: Chemson will examine the effect and regulation of humidity. Impact strength alongside thermal stability will be the topic of Dow. Foaming is a growing technology to reduce material use and weight: Kaneka Belgium is looking at more foam with less additives.  Processing aids like PE waxes will be discussed by BASF.  Product appeal is enhanced with a good colour range and Holland Colours specialises in the PVC area.

What are the alternative additives for formulations?  What are the requirements of end-users? Are there improvements in PVC processing? How are PVC markets developing?  Is it feasible to incorporate recyclate?  These are some of the debating points at PVC Formulation 2013 conference.

New tiles based on biopolymer composites

image Even tiles can be based on renewable raw materials. Fraunhofer researchers are exhibiting how renewable, biostable raw materials can be used in architecture, interior design and the packaging industry at this year’s International Green Week in Berlin from January 18 to 27.

They consist of a mixture of linseed oil epoxy, various natural fibers and diatomaceous earth, a material that is procured from fossilized diatoms. New bio-based tile systems, like the ones designed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Halle (Germany), are environmentally friendly, lighter-weight and – depending on their manufacturing and material properties – more resource- and energy-efficient than conventional ceramic materials. “The composite is not hard as glass and brittle like conventional epoxy, but flexible and more pliable instead. This makes it easier to work with the tiles,” says Andreas Krombholz, scientist in the natural composites division at IWM. The new composites also put a completely new spin on architectural perspectives. In the molding process, they can be shaped on an entirely customized basis, and shaped into squares, triangles or circles, for example. Even patterns and colors can be tailor-made.

By adding fluorescent pigments to the blend, they are transformed into light tiles. This means they can be used both outdoors and indoors, serving as illuminated guideposts on floors and walls. The same bio-tiles can also be installed in kitchens and bathrooms and can serve as indoor floor coverings.

FRIMO and Huntsman cooperation for automotive PU composites

FRIMO and Huntsman Polyurethanes have signed a cooperation agreement to develop fiber composite solutions for the automotive industry. FRIMO offers a portfolio of tooling and equipment for polyurethane processing, as well as  Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) processing technology.  Huntsman Polyurethanes is a manufacturer of polyurethanes systems with many years of experience in the automotive industry. Huntsman has purchased a FRIMO pilot production unit at their technical center in Everberg, Belgium.  This equipment, specifically designed for PU systems allows Huntsman to expand its tailor-made testing and validation capabilities for a new range of matrix resins for automotive fiber composites, under the tradename VITROX®.

API invests in TPE/TPU capacity and research

image API Spa, Italy’s leading producer of thermoplastic compounds (TPE, TPU and Bioplastics), has announced significant investments in production machinery and R&D infrastructure. The investment plan includes a new production line for Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), bringing the total number of lines to five and increasing production capacity by 25%, 2 new lines for the production of Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE) and APINAT Bioplastics increasing production capacity by 15%, an integrated system for automated packaging and palleting, a new line dedicated to the production of MICRO-GRANULATED TPE and TPU, a new technologically advanced system of industrial SCALE-UP, a complete overhaul of the sample and masterbatch production departments, and new Research and Development labs.

LUVOCOM® with a touch of colour

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Lehmann & Voss & Co. (Hamburg, Germany) succeeded in bringing colour to LUVOCOM® carbon-fibre-reinforced compounds . The use of these coloured materials makes it possible, for example, to distinguish components that are very similar but made of different base polymers or to distinguish between left and right parts in a production process.