Adding value has never been tougher," says Ron Babinsky, business manager for Townsend''s Polymer Services & Information Inc. (Houston, TX), "yet it''s all about what value can you add to what you do." Babinsky gave the keynote address at Additives 2005, April 2 to 6 in New Orleans, LA.
Babinsky notes that using additives can help processors develop high-value-added niches that can in turn produce better profit margins and secure customer relationships.
Additives are being developed to help processors reduce costs and offer alternatives, such as clarified PP, which is now an alternative to PET in bottles. "The additive companies are moving toward value creation," Babinsky says. "They are engaged in selective new-product development-products that offer lower loading levels and higher processing cycles, which in turn lowers costs to the next guy down the chain."
New additives are being developed to address a range of requirements from a variety of industries. Here are some highlights of where the action is:
International Specialty Products (Wayne, NJ) offers a variety of products to treat WPCs to extend product life and broaden protection claims. The company''s industrial biocides offer protection of wood-natural fiber composites used in decking, roofing, windows, doors, garden structures, patio furniture, railing, and fencing.
Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corp. also offers a range of products to prevent staining and microbiological growth in WPCs. It is often difficult to distinguish between chemical staining and fungal staining in WPC decking.
Multiwall carbon nanotubes are being used as a conductive additive not just for engineering thermoplastics but more recently in thermosetting fluoroelastomers to make O-rings for automotive fuel systems. "There''s a growing mandate from the car manufacturers for a continuous conductive pathway in the fuel system from fuel tank to engine," says Mark Hyman of Hyperion Catalysis International Inc. (Cambridge, MA).
Polymer-clay nanocomposites are playing an increasingly vital role in flame retardancy (FR) for plastics. Benefits include acting as a barrier formation, providing enhanced FR properties, elevated heat distortion temperature, and improved mechanical properties, notes Charles A. Wilkey of the Department of Chemistry at Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI). "However, nanocomposites are just another tool for FR, not the final answer," he notes. "Clay can act as an anti-plasticizer in some cases."
Clare Goldsberry [email protected]