Switch to non-lead PVC stabilisers prompts investment

PVC additive makers are stepping up their commitment to non-lead stabilisers in the face of the impending Reach programme, the voluntary phase-out and the soaring price of lead.
The combination is prompting strong growth in the demand for calcium based additive products, says PVC stabiliser maker Baerlocher, which has responded with a series of investments totalling some €8m to provide additional supplies of product, it says.
Heading the programme is a 7,000tpa increase in capacity for calcium one packs at the company’s Lingen site, in Germany, scheduled to come on stream in January. It will be followed by the provision of additional capacities for making calcium-based products in other forms such as the novel pastille types.
Baerlocher has already started up new dedicated production lines for calcium-based products during the course of this year at Seremban in Malaysia and Dewas in India.
Also investing to meet non-lead stabiliser demand is Netherlands-based Kisuma Chemicals, which recently completed a €20m programme in capacity for its Alcamizer speciality magnesium compounds.
The company, which warns of an imminent shortage of these synthetic hydrotalcites used in non-lead heat stabilisers, will now raise the capacity of its Veendam plant to 30 000tpa in a two phase programme costing €50m. The first stage will be completed before the end of next year.
Meanwhile additives leader Chemtura says it is enjoying rapid growth in demand for its organic heavy metal-free stabilisers. Having seen demand double in the past year, the company expects to quadruple sales in the next three years, says additives vp Marcus Meadow-Smith.

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