Featured Articles

Non-phthalate plasticizer cleared for greater use

By MPW Staff
Published: March 31st, 2010

Eastman 168 non-phthalate plasticizer, supplied by Eastman Chemical (Kingsport, TN), already had Food Contact Notification (FCN) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and now also is listed in EU Commission regulation (EC) No 975/2009 amending Annex III (the list of additives which may be used in the manufacture of plastic materials and articles) of Directive 2002/72/EC relating to plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs.

Process removes allergy-inducing proteins from latex, positions rubber to take on some plastics

By PlasticsToday Staff
Published: March 30th, 2010

A new multi-patented process produces a natural rubber latex material with virtually undetectable levels of the antigenic proteins that can cause latex allergy, with the natural material also taking aim at "synthetic" alternatives, including vinyl, styrene, nitrile, choloroprene, and polyurethane. Vystar Corp. (Duluth, GA) was granted U.S. Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearances for the use of its Vytex natural rubber latex (NRL) by Alatech Healthcare (Eufaula, AL) in condoms and exam gloves.

EPA joins the FDA in investigation of BPA

By PlasticsToday Staff
Published: March 30th, 2010

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will add polycarbonate (PC) precursor bisphenol A (BPA) to its chemicals of concern list and require testing related to environmental effects as part of a new action plan. The EPA will not examine BPA within food packaging, leaving that to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which in January announced that it had "concerns" about the potential human health impacts of BPA. Those concerns have led the FDA to study the potential effects and ways to reduce exposure to BPA in food packaging.

Shale gas a “game changer” for North American petrochemical industry

By Tony Deligio
Published: March 30th, 2010

North America will remain a net exporter of polyethylene (PE) for the immediate future, turning forecasts from as recent as last year on their head, thanks in large part to the rapid development of shale gas in the U.S. and its knock-on effect on ethylene production. Bill Sanderson, president of energy consulting firm Purvin & Gertz, summarized the new resource's impact at Chemical Market Associates Inc.'s (CMAI) World Petrochemical Conference (WPC; March 23-25; Houston). "U.S.

TPE North American resin pricing, March 22-26: PE down, PP up; slowdown in PE market expected; PP to race higher

By PlasticsToday Staff
Published: March 30th, 2010

Polyethylene (PE) spot trading was active and prices softened another $0.005/lb last week, easing along with the spot ethylene market. Resin prices had been as much as $0.07/lb higher in early March, according to spot plastics-trading platform, The Plastics Exchange (TPE), but they began to come down in conjunction with spot monomer. Spot PE prices are now $0.02/lb lower for March, but remain $0.16/lb higher since the beginning of 2010.

Carbon fibers could be key to helping German carmaker avoid carbon emissions

By Matt Defosse
Published: March 29th, 2010

At least one German luxury carmaker, BMW, is betting big that greater use of carbon fibers will help it cut its fleet's weight. The OEM last October formed a 51:49 joint venture to manufacture carbon fibers and fabrics for the automotive industry. This month, BMW officials said they plan to introduce an electrically powered vehicle in the next years, and greater use of carbon fiber—to cut vehicle weight enough so that battery power will suffice—is a critical part of this plan.

Metallocene polyethylene line expanded

By MPW Staff
Published: March 29th, 2010

Sustainability enhancement through downgauging and "outstanding processability" across a range of applications and extrusion equipment are among the benefits listed for a new metallocene polyethylene (mPE) grade. Enable mPE 35-05 from ExxonMobil Chemical targets tough, stiff, high-clarity films, with processing possible on both linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film-line equipment.

Global polyolefins industry absorbs initial new capacity wave, awaits the second

By Tony Deligio
Published: March 29th, 2010

Producer discipline, Middle Eastern start-up delays, and ravenous Chinese demand forestalled oversupply issues for polyolefins in 2009, but the global market could be overtaken by a second wave of capacity additions launching in 2010. That was the conclusion drawn by a number of presenters at Chemical Market Associates Inc.'s (CMAI; Houston) World Petrochemical Conference (WPC; March 23-25; Houston; Hilton Americas).

Market report: Belgian industry “cautiously optimistic” about 2010

By PlasticsToday Staff
Published: March 29th, 2010

Echoing a phrase often heard when talking to plastics industry officials, the Belgian Association of Manufacturers of Plastic and Rubber Products says its member firms, like so many around the world, also are "cautiously optimistic" regarding their prospects for 2010. Companies in the Association, which is known as Federplast (Brussels), expect new opportunities for growth from the increasing attention on energy saving and from emerging technologies for alternative production and storage of energy.

In automotive engineering, Lanxess sees bright future for new hybrid systems

By Matt Defosse
Published: March 29th, 2010

The lower beam of the front end of the new Audi A8 is the high-end proving ground for a new organic plastic sheet developed by plastics and chemicals supplier Lanxess. Hybrid plastic/metal composites have become firmly established in the automotive industry for the manufacture of lightweight, high-strength structural parts such as front ends, pedal support brackets and brake pedals.

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