Developments from the Compounding World

Excerpt: Here are the news and developments from the Compunding World

Borealis opens new polypropylene compounding plant in US

Borealis has opened new polypropylene (PP) compounding plant in Taylorsville, US. The 50,000 sq. ft. facility, with rail siding in place, adds an initial 66 million pounds of capacity to strengthen Borealis' and Borouge's global supply capability for thermoplastic olefin (TPO) and short-glass fiber (SGF) compounds.

Borealis leaders and local community representatives celebrate the opening of Borealis compounding facility in Taylorsville, USA.

Among the first compounds produced in the new facility are those used to make automotive interior and exterior parts for major OEM and Tier customers.

Coming on stream on schedule early in the first quarter of 2019, Borealis has been supplying compounds from this new facility since February 2019.

The plant is ideally located in the southeast region of North America to meet the growing needs of customers. Borealis worked diligently with state and local authorities in North Carolina to execute a brownfield investment with the possibility for further expansion that will benefit both the local economy and the automotive industry. In addition to compound manufacturing, the facility also features state-of-the-art, in-house testing and product development capabilities.

“Borealis has long been committed to the global automotive industry. Adding a compounding facility in North America helps drive our growth while also benefiting our customers through regional supply and product development capabilities,” said Roland Janssen, Managing Director, Borealis North America. “The industry is further supported by an experienced commercial and technical team with representatives in both the southeast and the Detroit area. The team is ready to introduce Borealis solutions and support customers in their technical implementation of new vehicle programs,” continued Roland Janssen.

LANXESS successfully completes plant expansion for Macrolex dyes

Specialty chemicals company LANXESS has successfully completed the expansion of its Macrolex dyes production plant at the CHEMPARK Leverkusen. With an investment of more than EUR 5 million, the capacity was increased by around 25 percent. The expanded plant was officially put into operation at the beginning of May.

“By expanding the plant, we are responding to the increased global demand for high-quality dyes in the plastics industry,” says Philipp Junge, head of the LANXESS Rhein Chemie business unit (RCH).

“With the expanded capacity, we can now continue to grow, especially in sensitive application areas such as high-quality plastics packaging. Here, the solvent dyes under the Macrolex brand meet very high standards,” says Dominik Risse, Vice President Colorant Additives Business at RCH.

The investment is also a clear commitment to the Leverkusen site. “With the expansion of our colorants business at the CHEMPARK Leverkusen, we were able to create six additional jobs,” adds Dr. Axel Lache, Head of Production of Colorant Additives at RCH. The soluble organic dyes marketed under the Macrolex brand are mainly used to color high-quality plastics products such as beverage bottles, electronic equipment, car tail lights and children's toys.

The portfolio of LANXESS's colorant additives business comprises a total of 150 products and, in addition to Macrolex dyes, other high-quality colorants for use in a wide range of demanding applications, from LCD screens to colorants for writing instruments. The business line supplies dyes and pigments to more than 800 customers worldwide.

BASF to build engineering plastics and thermoplastic polyurethanes plants at new Verbund site in Zhanjiang, China

BASF plans to build an engineering plastics compounding plant and a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) plant at the company's proposed integrated chemical production (“Verbund”) site in Zhanjiang, China. These will be the first production plants to come onstream at the site.

By 2022, the new engineering plastics compounding plant will supply an additional capacity of 60,000 metric tons per year of BASF engineering plastics compounds in China. This will bring the total BASF capacity of these products in Asia Pacific to 290,000 metric tons per year. As part of the company's plan to implement a comprehensive smart manufacturing concept at the Verbund site based on cutting-edge technologies, the new plants will utilize automated packaging, high-tech control systems, and automated guided vehicles.

“Less than a year after we signed the first MoU, we are delighted to announce the first plants to be established at our smart Verbund site in Zhanjiang,” said Dr. Stephan Kothrade, President Functions Asia Pacific, President and Chairman Greater China, BASF. “The project is moving forward swiftly and customers in southern China will soon benefit from these innovative products to meet their immediate needs.”

General facilities for the Zhanjiang Verbund site will also be built along with the two new plants. BASF Integrated Site (Guangdong) Co. Ltd (BIG), BASF's new wholly-owned subsidiary, has been officially founded. This entity will oversee the operations of the new Verbund site, underlining BASF's commitment to the southern China market.

“We want to improve our support for customers in the southern China market and around the world. We will do this by establishing the new plants close to growing customer industries, and through improvements in efficiency realized from our smart manufacturing approach. This will increase our speed of innovation and the efficiency of our services,” said Raimar Jahn, President of BASF's Performance Materials division. “In particular, electric and electronics companies and automotive manufacturers are turning to BASF to help them address trends such as the electrification of cars and miniaturization of electronic devices.”

The growth of the TPU market, in particular for high-end applications, is driven by several factors including increasing regulatory requirements and growing customer expectations for enhanced sustainability performance in such areas as e-mobility, lightweight and automation. BASF solutions support this growth with safety-enhanced cables and wires for automation and automotive, as well as lightweight materials for consumer goods. With customer needs evolving rapidly across the world, BASF is ramping up its investment in emerging markets to address local requirements while continuing to invest in developed economies. BASF signed the first Memorandum of Understanding for the Verbund site with the Guangdong Provincial Government in Berlin in July 2018, and in January 2019 the company signed a Framework Agreement setting out further details of the plan. The Verbund site in Guangdong would be BASF's largest investment, estimated up to US$10 billion upon completion, and would be operated under the sole responsibility of BASF. The integrated value chain will connect upstream and downstream plants from basic chemicals to more consumer-oriented products and solutions, serving growth sectors like consumer goods or transportation. The site would ultimately be the third-largest BASF site worldwide, following Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Antwerp, Belgium.

SANITIZED AG invests in customer-specific development of antimicrobial masterbatches

A specially developed twin-screw extruder in the SANITIZED AG TecCenter allows even faster development of new masterbatch combinations and the manufacture of test amounts of polymers with individual antimicrobial additives. This investment especially allows the targeted, customer-specific development of antimicrobial masterbatch qualities in nearly any type of polymer.

The selection of the appropriate antimicrobial active ingredients depends on the defined protection goals, on their compatibility with the relevant processing methods of the semi-finished product suppliers or final customers and/or if they have an impact on the manufacturing procedure. The application testing of the antimicrobial products on the basis of the customer-specific formulations in laboratory quantities on the same processing machines is thus highly beneficial: Time and cost intensive tests on industrial systems are not required. The laboratory becomes a real-life situation.

This is where SANITIZED AG supports its customers. A new twin-screw extruder has begun operating in the TecCenter for processing standard polymers (bulk plastics) as well as technical polymers (engineering plastics). Masterbatches of low to high-melt polymers in different formulations and the finished compound can be manufactured. Two nozzle plates allow the extrusion of polymer strands and tapes for further examination of the antimicrobial effectiveness in the SANITIZED microbiology laboratory.

“Biofilms, fungi, pink stain or hospital pathogens: the protective aims for polymer products are highly individual, as are the production conditions,” explains Renaud Houy, Head of Sales Polymer at SANITIZED AG. “We are helping polymer processors to outline the entire production cycle and to test the antimicrobial efficacy.”

SANITIZED AG is the leading worldwide producer of antimicrobial hygiene function and material protection for textiles and plastics. For over 80 years, the company has been undertaking pioneering work in this field and has become an established specialist in comprehensive hygiene concepts. In addition to effective products, the range of services also includes advice on marketing and technical issues, diverse testing services, as well as a well-founded brand and license concept. SANITIZED AG only uses scientifically researched antimicrobial active ingredients that have undergone strictest risk assessments for people and the environment in internationally recognized procedures.

Further information from: SANITIZED AG Lyssachstrasse 95 CH-3401 Burgdorf, Switzerland +41 34 427 16 16; sanitized-ag

SONGWON at Chinaplas 2019 with a strong portfolio of high-performance solutions

Global chemical specialties leader and the 2nd largest manufacturer of polymer stabilizers in the world, SONGWON Industrial Group, presented its broad range of high-performance solutions at Chinaplas 2019 in Guangzhou, PR China. In line with its ambition to build a leading position in China while serving the specific needs of the Chinese market, SONGWON demonstrated its innovative strength with sustainable solutions for automotive, agricultural, injection molding applications and more.

One of SONGWON's product highlights at this year's show was especially designed to help manufacturers in the automotive industry meet their application challenges while addressing the stringent demands for emissions reduction. Automotive compounders not only face managing a very aggressive process that involves extreme heat and high shear, they seek a long-term stabilization solution which is combined with low-VOC processing to boost stabilization throughout the process to protect the PP resins during compounding and molding.

SONGWON's cutting-edge response is its innovative stabilization package, SONGXTEND® 1103. Highly compatible with, and readily soluble in the polymer matrix, it ensures that it remains in the polymer. By optimizing compounding conditions and providing compounders more production flexibility, it also prevents polymer degradation into lower molecular-weight chains that can increase VOCs. Reducing the need for degassing, this leads to an overall improvement in quality of air in cars ultimately making them more pleasant for vehicle users. SONGXTEND® 1103 is suited for PP compounds that are used for automotive interior parts like ventilation grids, door panels, and dashboard parts.

SONGWON also presented an innovative and robust light stabilizer system that matches the increasing sophistication of farmers in China which has led to the demand for more pesticide-resistant greenhouse films. SABO®STAB UV 216 was especially developed for agricultural applications. With its outstanding thermal and UV protection, it provides greenhouse films with proven resistance to agrochemicals even when higher concentrations of sulfur are present. SABO®STAB UV 216 can also increase a film's lifetime by 2 or more years and is widely used to stabilize PE based greenhouse covers.

In addition to these innovations, SONGWON will also be showcasing its strength and long-standing expertise in Tin Intermediates, PVC Additives, and Polymers.

SONGSTAB™ BP-90NE and SONGSTAB™ BP 490 are solid CaZn stabilizers for light pigmented cable formulations which confer outstanding heat stability to 90-105°C and 105-125°C PVC cable compounds respectively. Apart from their excellent electrical properties and minimal water absorption, they also provide high values of Congo red.

The PVC stabilizers, SONGSTAB™ CZ-73P and SONGSTAB™ BZ-900P which supply outstanding heat and color properties to flooring, wall paper and deco sheet applications while reducing TVOC emissions will also be among SONGWON's range of products at the show.

Another highlight was the new SONGSTOMER™ Polyether-TPU product families P-3200A10/P-3200-A10U/P-3200-D10 which are well-suited to a number of applications such as cables, tubes, films, profiles, compounds and masterbatches. Their ability to secure higher mechanical property stability, including less discoloration under long-term heat aging and thermoplastic processing and their high resistance to hydrolysis and microbe attack, make them products of choice for compounding.

Presenting its expertise in the area of TPU/POM compounds, SONGWON presented two new products from its SONGSTOMER™ Polyester-TPU offering. Both SONGSTOMER™ P-3175A and P-3180 A can be processed using injection molding and extrusion and are ideal for injection molding parts such as engineering buckles, clips for tubes, sports gear or leisure goods. Their smaller granule size enables even faster and easier melting and subsequently higher compounding productivity. With impact modification of POM (polyoxymethylene), they provide low melt viscosity based on customer requests and high welding line mechanical performance of TPU/POM compounds for injection molded parts.

For further information contact: Songwon Industrial Co., Ltd. Walzmühlestrasse 48, 8500 Frauenfeld Switzerland +41 52 635 0000

Compounders to play an increased role in sustainability story: US Survey

Compounders will play a key role in recycled plastics in the more circular economy of the future because they can target materials for specific end-use applications, according to exhibitors at a trio of trade shows in Cleveland, USA. The show, held May 8-9, brought together compounders, recyclers and companies through the event that served as the Compounding World Expo, Plastics Recycling World Expo and Plastics Extrusion Expo. Applied Market Information LLC organized the trade show.

Wojtek Zarzycki, CEO of Frontier Plastics in Laredo, Texas, said the recycler works with compounders to supply finished material. "They can kind of reverse engineer what the end user's need is, and they compound to meet that need," he said. Janos Kozma, vice president of Modern Dispersions Inc., a compounder and color masterbatch maker in Leominster, Mass., said his company has been using recycled plastics for some compounds for more than 30 years. "I agree that it's a good outlet for recycled materials to go into compounds and tailor it to certain applications where suitable," Kozma said.

Modern Dispersions' booth at the AMI show featured end markets served by the company's materials, including wire and cable, pipe, agricultural film, food packaging, electronics, automotive, printing and toll compounding.

Some markets are demanding recycled content, but the recycled material often has to meet the specifications of virgin resin for specific applications, he said. "It's a driver from the customer base, especially in automotive, to utilize as much recycled content," Kozma said. "And when properties are met, recycled materials are in demand."

Martin Baumann, vice president of sales at recycling equipment company Erema North America Inc., said the plastics recycling industry needs active participation by compounders. China's National Sword crackdown in 2018 banning imported scrap plastic has roiled the U.S. recycling industry — putting urgency to sell more material in the United States. That has led to investments in technology and more efforts to link with compounders, exhibitors and industry officials said.

"You've had more supply in the domestic market. It's pushed prices down in the market," said Zarzycki of Frontier Plastics. He said Frontier and other recyclers are investing in technological innovation. "It's pushing the need to do something with it. It makes more sense now that there's more material."

Martin Baumann, vice president of sales at recycling equipment company Erema North America Inc. of Ipswich, Mass., said the China ban is now starting to drive investments. "There was a bit of an expectation in the beginning of the China ban that immediately, big investment plans would spring up. But the reality is, in the about a year [since it was imposed], we're seeing actually truly new plants now, where some of the investment that we've seen for the past year was just sort of expansion of existing capacities, to some degree," he said. "Now we're seeing new installations. We see a tremendous interest in PET recycling. We're not collecting enough, and we need to solve that problem eventually too."

In addition to investments by existing recycling players, Baumann said new players are getting into the sector. "There's a tremendous movement right now. We get so many requests we almost can't keep up," he said.

Baumann agrees that the plastics recycling industry needs active participation by compounders. Historically in the United States and Canada, he said, much of the recycled plastic went into fairly simple products like plastic lumber or was shipped in bales to China. "What we're seeing now is actually new plants springing up actually that go from wash line to pelletizing for film. And that's new. But they're just starting up now, or being requested now," Baumann said. He thinks recyclers also need to evolve, with the help of compounders.

"Recyclers are actually material suppliers, when you really think about it. But they don't behave like material suppliers," Baumann said. "A lot of the relationship on the recycler side is one-on-one. They're more like a toll processor. 'I get some material in, I process it for you.' I sell it to my relationship. But when you think about an Exxon Mobil or a Chevron, they have a catalog, a spec, and everybody can look at that spec. They can distribute their material much more broadly. We as recyclers have to become closer to that, where we can make to spec. I see a tremendous value if more people would be going down that road."

When part designers can pull up CAD drawings and Moldflow documents and see detailed properties of specific recycled material, that would greatly spread its use, he said. "So we need to 'level up,' and I really believe that compounding can play a key role because one of the beauties of compounding is they make spec to recipes based on the materials," Baumann said.

At the Processing Technologies International LLC booth, Sushant Jain said the new integrated extrusion systems from sheet line maker PTI and compounding machinery maker Farrel Pomini, which continuously compound material directly into sheet, can compound recycled material. Both companies are targeting packaging, automotive and industrial sheet.

Recycling is becoming more urgent as public outrage grows over plastics in the oceans, said John Standish, director of the Association of Plastic Recyclers, in a presentation at the trade show. "You just have to look at the news — sometimes every day it seems, certainly every week. And we see negative publicity dealing with plastics. Plastics in the ocean is the biggest one. More recently we have microplastics," Standish said. "And in the past, the pace of change impacting plastics recycling has gone at a graceful and deliberate speed. As a result of all this negative publicity, the pace of change in our industry's picking up remarkably."

Standish discussed the APR Design Guide for Plastics Recyclability, which he said is an important document for boosting true recyclability of packaging, up front, during product design.

Standish described the sorting technology at modern materials recovery facilities (MRFs). A near infrared optical sorter can detect the type and material of a bottle and automatically sort them from a stream of mixed plastic. But problems can happen such as black bottles that have no reflective signal, which can be sent to the MRF trash pile. Consumer product makers can use a brighter shade of plastic or design in a special black colorant that can be detected, he said.

Another problem: packaging such as spaghetti sauce, in plastic packaging, but with a metal lid. He said that lid may register the entire package as metal and go into that pile, wasting the value of the plastic packaging. APR advocates educating consumers to remove the metal lid on plastic packages but leave on lids that are plastic.

As MRFs move to super-high throughputs, Standish said technology is advancing quickly. The Max-AI sorting robot uses sophisticated vision systems to pick and sort much faster human workers. The robot gives continuous feedback to plant personnel.

Perstorp's non-phthalate PVC plasticizer, Pevalen, obtains FDA approval for food contact applications

As of May 28 2019, Perstorp has obtained FCN 001967 (Food Contact Notification) from the FDA for the use of Pevalen as a plasticizer in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) polymers for use in repeated‐use food contact articles.

“The food contact notification will further strengthen the offer to the North American market which we believe will be a major growth region for a product like Pevalen, as it helps flexible PVC producers design products that meet the highest national regulatory requirements, without sacrificing performance or quality”, said Jenny Klevås, Product Manager, Perstorp.

Pevalen (pentaerythritol tetravalerate or PETV) is Perstorp's high-performance, true non-phthalate plasticizer. It is the perfect choice for sensitive applications and products in direct human contact, e.g. apparel and accessories, sports & leisure products, automotive interiors or other indoor applications such as furniture, floors or wall coverings in both homes and public spaces. Pevalen has a unique performance not matched by any other general-purpose plasticizer with high plasticizing efficiency in combination with low migration and volatility.

“Global demand for non-phthalate plasticizers is predicted to continue to grow at about 100.000 tons per year”, said Markus Jönsson, Vice President Plasticizers, Perstorp. Based on this forecast, Perstorp is substantially expanding the production capacity of Pevalen from 2019 onwards. Perstorp has entered into a long-term production agreement with the Italian company Alcoplast Srl.. The new partnership more than doubles current production capacity, bringing it in total to 50.000 tons per year.