Archive for January, 2002

Basell: Plans to quit UHMWPE

Thursday, January 24th, 2002

Basell is planning to sell its ultra high molecular weight polyethylene business to Polialden Petroquimica of Brazil. Polialden already has UHMWPE interests, alongside being one of the biggest HDPE producers in South America, and plans to set up a new subsidiary in Wilmington, Delaware, USA to run the merged UHMWPE business. Polialden is controlled by Copene, which is owned by Mitsubishi Chemicals and Nissho Iwai of Japan, and is one of the companies which will be merged soon to form the largest petrochemicals company in South America, Braskem. Not included in the sale is Basell’s UHMWPE plant at Lake Charles in the USA. This is to be closed at the end of this month as part of a restructure at Lake Charles, which will also see the mothballing of a polyethylene plant at the end of March because of the US overcapacity in polyethylene. Basell is, however, planning to invest in the two polypropylene plants at Lake Charles to maintain their long term competitiveness.

Marshall and Williams: MDO systems for breathable films

Thursday, January 24th, 2002

Marshall and Williams Plastics, a division of Parkinson Technologies, introduces their latest generation of machine direction orientators (MDO) for producing breathable films and expanded nonwovens. Arranged in a vertical stack, this MDO is ideal for use with blown or cast polyolefin films. Integrated into an existing production line, or coupled with winding equipment for a stand-alone system, this MDO provides valued enhanced products.

Featuring an adjustable draw gap, and individually controlled temperature zones, this machine offers the flexibility to run a wide range and volume of products. Options are available that allow for compression roll and multiple stage film drawing for even higher orientation rates, as well as for film embossing. High temperature drawing and annealing is available with oil or electrically heated rolls. This MDO unit is part of a complete line of orientation products that Marshall and Williams Plastics has developed for MD and CD orientation of breathable films. The company’s biaxial orientation lab facility in Providence, RI allows customers to develop and produce saleable quantities of film.

W & H : New blown film line concept

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2002

The VAREX blown film line from Windmöller and Hölscher, which was on show at K 2001, represents a new configuration for the system. It featured a number of innovations and upgrades in the areas of the die, film cooling, and film gauge profile control. The VAREX three-layer blown film system is designed for extremely fast resin throughput and is being demonstrated with output rates in excess of 500 kg/h. In relation to the 280 mm die diameter, this translates to an increase in output of 1.8 times that normally achieved. The VAREX has a working width of 1600 mm and is equipped with three extruders. The die at the heart of the blown film line has been totally redesigned by integrating a new star predistributor, which drastically reduces marks on the film. Minimised melt volumes and short residence times reduce exposure of the melt to the very minimum, while also facilitating cleaning. The system on show also featured the new generation of W&H OPTIFIL P3 gauge profile control system, which dispenses with any maintenance intensive mechanical components.

AT Plastics: Sale of packaging business

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2002

AT Plastics Inc., Canada, has completed the sale of its packaging business to Smurfit- Stone Container Inc. in Montreal. The packaging business manufactures specialty industrial flexible plastics packaging. AT Plastics’ packaging business was part of the company’s Films & Packaging business segment. The remaining portion of this segment, the Films business, located in Edmonton, Alberta, will now operate as an independent business segment, along with the Company’s Specialty Polymers business.

Formosa Plastics: Shutdown of LLDPE plant

Monday, January 21st, 2002

Taiwanese polymer producer Formosa Plastics has announced plans to close an LLDPE plant with a capacity of 240,000 t/y due to poor margins caused by low selling prices. At current price levels the company said it is operating in the red. Market observers believe the move by Formosa could also influence developments on other Asian plastics markets.

Rogers Corp.: Acquisition of sheet business

Monday, January 21st, 2002

Rogers Corporation, USA, has acquired certain product lines of Cellect LLC. Sales of the purchased business were approximately US$14 million in 2001. Cellect develops and manufactures plastomeric and elastomeric polyolefin foams. Its sole manufacturing facility is located in St. Johnsville, N.Y. Under the terms of the agreement, Rogers will acquire the intellectual property of all the elastomeric product lines as well as the products and equipment for the continuous-sheet product lines. This includes exclusive licenses to 18 U.S. patents and related applications in Europe and Asia. The acquired products are crosslinked polyolefin foams.

Bayer: PVC modifier receives EPA approval

Friday, January 18th, 2002

Baymod PU-MOD, an aliphatic polyester urethane modifier for PVC has received an Environmental Protection Agency Notice of Compliance with the Toxic Substances Control Act. The notice allows Pittsburgh-based Bayer Corp. to market the chemical in the U.S. The modifier has been sold in Europe for 15 years. Baymod PU-MOD is a thermoplastic urethane polymer that acts as a permanent plasticizer for PVC. It confers enhanced resistance to heat, abrasives, solvents, and fuels, as well as heat and light stability. The modifier is used in petroleum-resistant hoses, computer cables, conveyor belts, specialty boots and work shoes, floor coverings, chemical- and fog-resistant films, and coatings for conveyor belts, folding containers, and fabrics.

Exxon Mobil: New range of mLLDPE extrusion coating resins

Friday, January 18th, 2002

ExxonMobil Chemical Co., USA, has introduced the first of a new family of very low-density linear polyethylenes produced with its Exxpol metallocene technology for extrusion coating and laminating. These new Exxco products are said to have “plastomer-like” properties and to significantly outperform conventional extrusion- coating resins in sealing ease (194 F seal initiation), hot-tack and seal strength, tear strength, puncture resistance, and adhesion to OPP film.Recommended uses involve blending with about 20% LDPE or EVA for coating paper and paperboard. The initial grade, Exxco 012 has 0.912 g/cc density and 12 MI.

Western European Plastics Pipe to grow 2,4% per year

Thursday, January 17th, 2002

Plastic pipe consumption will grow 2.4% annually in Western Europe through 2005, and 5.4%/yr in Central/Eastern Europe during that time period, for a 3.1% growth rate overall. According to Thermoplastic Pipe in Europe—2001, a new report from Philip Townshend Associates, Inc., Houston, the fastest-growing pipe resins in Europe are polypropylene and crosslinked PE (PEX). The firm expects to see over 9% annual growth in PP pipe because of new grades that can replace both PVC and non-plastics in building and sewer applications. Growth of PEX, estimated at over 5.5%/yr, will be driven by indoor heating and plumbing uses.Main applications across Europe for pipe are sewage (30%), water distribution (16%), and building pipe (15%). The fastest-growing uses are gas distribution, cable conduit and building pipe. The report predicts nearly 5%/yr growth in gas pipe, driven by increased use of higher- pressure HDPE grades replacing steel.

Ajedium Film Group: New film producer

Thursday, January 17th, 2002

Axess Corporation of Greenville, USA, has formed Ajedium Film GroupInc., a business dedicated to manufacturing high-performance thermoplastic films. Production is planned for second quarter 2002. Plant and warehouse space of over 25,000 sq ft include areas for twin-screw compounding and pelletizing, flat-die extrusion, and an analytical laboratory for testing and evaluation of developmental resins. Ajedium Film Group will be directed by Empower Materials CEO Pete Woloson. Richard J. Giacco, president of Axess Corp., says the company’s focus will be production and sales of developmental and specialty high-performance films for major end users in the aerospace, electronics, medical and semiconductor industries.