Making Plastic Perform
By Michael Legault
Growth in additives used in plastic resins is expected to average about 3% for North America in 2005. This figure, however, could be as high as 7 to 8% for certain performance additives, such as light stabilizers and flame retardants, where these...
Growth in additives used in plastic resins is expected to average about 3% for North America in 2005. This figure, however, could be as high as 7 to 8% for certain performance additives, such as light stabilizers and flame retardants, where these chemicals are finding expanding uses in traditional automotive and electronic applications, as well as in fast-growing markets such as wood-fibre plastic composites. For users, pricing remains an immediate concern, as raw material costs are expected to remain at high levels at least until the fall of 2005. Higher costs aside, processors and masterbatch suppliers are reaping the gains of a K-Show year, in which many suppliers announced new product and technology introductions.
Great Lakes Chemical Corp. has introduced a new nickel-based UV stabilizer system, Lowilite Q21, for agricultural film applications. Nickel quencher additives have been used for years to extend the longevity of polyethylene agricultural film, which is subject to extreme climate and weathering conditions. Possible allergic reactions to nickel dust and cross-contamination issues related to powder have been an on-going concern with film manufacturers.
The Lowilite Q21 system is produced using a patented non-dusting blend (NBD) technology, which allows several additives to be incorporated into one, dust-free pellet. The physical form of the system eradicates the dust problem. A special blending chemistry solves other problems commonly found with nickel quencher additives, high melting temperature and poor dispersion. The Q21 system is actually a precise blend of two light stabilizers, Lowilite Q84 nickel quencher and Lowilite 22 UV absorber. The “alloy effect” between Lowilite Q84 and Lowilite 22 lowers the melting point of Lowilite Q21 to normal processing temperatures. Coupled with the pre-dispersion of the nickel quencher within the NDB, the lower processing temperature leads to higher productivity and film quality.
Baerlocher re-affirmed its commitment to its line of CaZn stabilizers at this year’s K Show. The company introduced a dust-free version of CaZn stabilizers in TX (pastilles) and SMS (flakes) product forms. The Baerostab product line has also been expanded to include liquid CaZn stabilizer systems suitable for use in PVC products. Typical applications include floor coverings, and wallpaper in conformity with VOC applications.
Dr. Michael Rosenthal, managing director of Baerlocher GmbH, said he believed the perceived disadvantages of CaZn stabilizers, for example higher cost and product form, will becomes less of an issue, especially in light of increases in the price of lead.
“We believe that CaZn stabilizers are currently the best alternative to Pb stabilizers both from a commercial and technical standpoint,” said Rosenthal.
Bruggemann Chemical has introduced a new generation copper stabilizer for nylon. In discoloration tests, a 0.03% formulation of Bruggolen H3373/ H3374 in nylon 6 outperformed other copper stabilizer systems. The stabilizer has long-term heat stabilization of up to 180C, and showed no tendency to leach or plate. The stabilizer is suitable for impact-modified nylons in electrical, automotive and tire-cord applications.
Arkema Inc. (formerly Atofina) has introduced two new heat stabilizers, Thermolite 140 and Thermolite 179. Thermolite 140 has outstanding dynamic-term stability and is designed for high-quality rigid PVC products at high output rates. Thermolite 179 provides excellent weatherability and color hold in high output extrusions of rigid PVC products.
Shifting trends in color/special effects
Color is the other key component of the stability/color package and suppliers have launched new color lines and coloring technologies to ensure plastics processors stay current with the market’s shifting aesthetic demands.
Teknor Color Company has introduced a series of new colors, PETek, designed to provide a sparkling, vibrant look to PET cosmetic, beauty-aid and personal-care packaging. The concentrates differ from the 0.125 in. pellets, liquid colorants and wax-based solids commonly used in PET packaging. Instead, PETek concentrates are micro-sized beads in which color is dispersed in a polymer system that is totally compatible with PET. The beads can range in size down to diameters as small as 0.05 in., depending on application requirements. As a result of tiny bead size and complete incorporation of the carrier in polyester, color disperses efficiently and uniformly, dramatically reducing swirl, haze and other defects.
“PETek colors provide crystal clarity in transparent bottles, vibrant hues in opaque ones and deep, beautiful effects in pearlescent or frosted containers,” said William K. Clarke, Teknor manager of national accounts and business development. “With the development of these concentrates, Teknor Color Company now supplies colors for all of the plastics widely used in the cosmetics and personal care industry, including polyethylene, polypropylene and PET.”
Engelhard’s Lumina Copper and Russet special effects pigments are the latest metallic-looking pigments in the company’s popular Lumina family of colors. Based on tight mica particle-size distribution and an exclusive multilayer coating technology, these pigments add rich, metallic earthy russet and copper effects to plastics packaging and luxury packaging. Other benefits include increased chromacity, advanced color purity and more brilliance.
Ciba Specialty Chemcials’ has established Ciba Color Services to help customers advance from a color concept to a color formulation, irrespective of the products they use. Color Services include Ciba’s Networks color management systems, technical assistance with color management processes and expertise in color and colorants.
Ampacet has introduced its 2006 directional color palette. The custom color categories are based on extensive research into consumer buying habits and color trends across numerous industries. Ampacet’s new introductions include the following color categories: Nouveau Luxe, jeweled tones for the upper echelon of society that draw on colors of rich heritage; Societal Vibrations, hybrid colors that reflect the younger demographics’ demand for radical colors; Global Reality, heritage colors that interpret the feel of luxury without density; Techtopia, visual energy colors that have variable, high-sheen pigments.
“The directional forecast from a younger generation reflects the demand for drastic colors,” said Linda Carroll, market development manager, Ampacet. “Information and stimulation overload has resulted in classic colors such as mainstream reds and blues being perceived by the consumer as muted or neutral.”
Clariant offers Hydrocerol chemical foaming and nucleating agents in masterbatch and powder form. Hydrocerol concentrates are specified worldwide to reduce weight, improve performance and optimize costs in products. Hydrocerol masterbatches can also be used to produce special surface effects and increase a product’s rigidity.
Great Lakes Chemical has extended its Anox Clearite line of nucleating and clarifying products with Anox Clearite NU 011. The new product is specially designed for semicrystalline polymers such as polypropylene, nylon, PET and PBT. Anox Clearite NU 011 decreases the polymer crystallization temperature by inducing and speeding crystal growth.
Techmer PM has released a new odor control additive with enhanced odor absorbing effectiveness for flexible packaging materials. Techsperse PM12162E111 is described as an efficient odor sponge that reduces or eliminates even strong pungent odors below the level at which humans can detect them. In addition to amines, the additive provides maximum odor control for several other chemical families. These include ketones, esters, ethers, organic acids and monomers. The compound has unusually high heat stability–up to 600F–yet it won’t affect a film’s heat-seal characteristics.
Croda has recently expanded its range of low taste, low odor slip additives, Incroslip, for sensitive
applications such as closures for ozonated bottled water, food packaging and medical plastics. The new offerings provide processors with a wider range of optimized combinations of slip and organoleptic stability to suit individual applications.
The company has also launched a new additive for improving the surface lubrication of PET bottle performs. IncroMax PET100 reduces friction leading to a lower incidence of scuff and scratch on performs, and easier handling of molded articles in automatic processing equipment.
Degussa AG announced it will offer its phenolic anti-oxidants, Ionox and Ralox, under the single brand name, Ionol. Phenolic anti-oxidants are finding increasing use in a variety of polymers, including polyolefins, ABS, nylon and rubber, as well as in printing inks.
NEW FLAME RETARDANTS FOR CONSUMER/ELECTRONICS MARKETS
The flame-resistance properties of plastic is a hot-button issue, no pun intended. Suppliers have responded to ever-more stringent requirements with a selection of new products.
Techsperse PM1356E25 provides a high level of flame retardancy and versatility to a wide range of polypropylene-based applications. These include extruded hose and ducts, thermoformable sheets, injection-molded cases for office equipment and home appliances and household items.
Great Lakes has conducted tests on the company’s Firemaster CP-44HF di-bromostyrene flame retardant in electronics applications that show superior results in lead-free solder systems to be introduced by the industry in 2006.
Great Lakes also announced the launch of Reogard 2000 intumescent flame retardant, a cost-efficient, halogen-free solution for polypropylene and other polymers. Reogard 2000 is especially well-suited to applications that demand a highly-efficient, halogen-free flame retardant such as extruded building parts and plastic components for electrical applications subject to the UL-94-V0 flammability standard.