Polymer producers SABIC (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) and ExxonMobil Chemical (Houston, TX) have penned an agreement to plan a new elastomers project at their existing petrochemical joint ventures Kemya and Yanpet in Saudi Arabia. If the deal gets off the ground, it would establish production of more than 400,000 tonnes/yr capacity carbon black, rubber, and thermoplastics specialty polymers for both domestic and export markets. The project would also include a vocational training institute and product application development/support center.
Pipe processor Uponor (Vantaa, Finland) is eliminating 80 staff members at its Ochtrup, Germany plant in a company-wide move to cut costs.
Vistamaxx, a specialty elastomer family for flexible and rigid food packaging applications, has achieved approval from the U.S. FDA for use in food-contact applications. The grades, used in both compounding and films, are also compliant with the compositional requirements for food contact of the European Union’s EU-Directive 2002/72/EC. The material is based on the company’s proprietary Exxpol metallocene technology.
Darmstadt, Germany-based Schenck Process, makers of feeding and measuring equipment, has been awarded first prize in the “World Market Leader” category of the “Hessen-Champions 2008” competition by the state of Hesse’s ministry of economics. The competition is held to recognize companies within the state for advances in research, development, and application.
Polymer maker LyondellBasell Industries (Rotterdam, Netherlands) is launching its Alastian web-based polyolefins order business in China, India, and Vietnam. Alastian has served customers in Europe and Turkey for the last five years and now also offers the online service in both Russia and the U.S.
Targeting environmental and cost efficiencies, automotive provider Honda has opted to source high content recycled polypropylene (PP) copolymers for its Civic 3 and 5 door models. Louth, England-based Luxus Ltd. is supplying Honda with two grades of UV stabilized PP, the first of which is grade 16283 a talc-filled compound with 45% recyclate content and the second, 16275, a 60% recycled content color-matched compound. The materials are delivered to Tier 1 molders that supply parts for Honda’s U.K. production site at Swindon, England. Molded parts include luggage compartments, lower cabin trim, and tailgate moldings.
PVC compounder Dugdale (Sowerby Bridge, England) says it has investment more than £200,000 (euro 237,614) in a high-speed mixer in response to growing demand for product and to improve lead times. The company says sales have almost doubled since the company was acquired in 2003 because it has concentrated on value-added vinyl materials such as low temperature Ducafreeze and antimicrobial high-performance technical compounds.
Tenter frame manufacturer Brückner Maschinenbau (Siegsdorf, Germany) has acquired the main product range of sister company Brückner Formtec so that both film-stretching lines and cast-film technology will be offered from a single supplier starting the beginning of next year. Brückner says the asset acquisition within the Brückner Group became necessary in view of the trend toward wider working widths and higher output of cast film lines. These two demands are also reflected in the demands for stretching lines, says the company.
Germany’s Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV; Aachen) recently acquired an X-ray micro computed tomography system (micro-CT) from Skycan (Kontich, Belgium) that allows non-destructive 3D imaging of a sample’s complete internal structure at high resolution. Institute Director Walter Michaeli says characteristics of heterophasic polymeric materials such as foams, composites, and fiber-reinforced plastics parts depend on their microstructure, which until now were analyzed with two-dimensional imaging based on optical or electron microscopy. The disadvantage is that only the sample’s surface can be analyzed and to see internal structures samples need to be cut. The non-destructive imaging is available for industrial research for OEMs and processors participating in IKV projects. More information is available at: www.ikv-aachen.de.