Materials supplier Milliken & Co. announced that it will begin production this fall at its new clarifier plant in Blacksburg, SC. The world-class facility will increase production capacity of its Millad NX 8000 polypropylene clarifier by more than 50% to address global demand for clarified plastic products. It’s the largest clarifier plant investment in Milliken's history.
“Global demand for Millad NX 8000 clarifier has grown at an 11% compound annual growth rate for each of the past nine years,” said Cindy Boiter, President of Milliken’s Chemicals Business. “Global clarifier demand grew by 16% in just the past two years,” she added, outpacing growth rates for global polypropylene (PP) resin. “All regions have contributed to the growth of clarified PP, with Asia leading the way.”
Millad NX 8000 provides near glass-like clarity in PP packaging, which improves customer confidence during their buying process, especially for food products. This clarity enables brand owners to replace PET, polystyrene, polycarbonate, and more with PP, which is a more sustainable option, according to Milliken. Lightweight and durable, PP is one of the least energy-intensive polymers to make and recycle compared with other clear polymers.
Soaring energy prices have also spiked interest in these types of resins or additives, which can help converters to save energy during processing and improve production efficiency, said Milliken. As a result of these certified savings, brand owners using PP clarified with Millad NX 8000 ECO can display a UL Environmental Claim Validation label on their injection molded parts.
“Brand owners and packaging producers are seeing how Millad NX 8000 can contribute to improved environmental and manufacturing results. It is one of the more important clarifier developments in recent memory,” said Wim Van de Velde, Global Vice President, Plastic Additives.
The pandemic has dramatically altered many consumer habits, perhaps permanently, in the case of booming e-commerce and the growing popularity of food-delivery services, added Milliken. Thin-wall injection molded containers made using clarified PP have proven to be a popular solution to packaging challenges facing those industries. “We don’t see that changing,” said Van de Velde.