Calif. additives firm sees promise in nanotechnology

By Roger Renstrom
Correspondent

Published: May 2, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Suppliers

ORLANDO, FLA. (May 2, 2:40 p.m. ET) — Specialized polymer additive advocate Consortium Corp. of Whittier, Calif., spread the word during NPE2012 about the potential for nanotechnology.

Technical Director George Gilbert took opportunities in Orlando to “discuss some real benefits from inclusion of carbon nanotubes or nanoclay” in compounds. While not representing an exhibitor, he talked to custom and toll compounders, chemical producers, end users and others primarily at booths in the north and south halls.

“A few people are interested, but [they are] cost conscious,” Gilbert reported. “We try to be shepherds of technology working through the issues” for processors of plastics, elastomers and paints/coatings.

The advantages can outweigh the costs, especially for users of engineering or high-temperature thermoplastics, Gilbert said. “Those are areas where the benefit of technology won’t affect the cost structure that much.”

Consortium, a small business started in 2009, envisions nanoclays and carbon nanotubes exponentially replacing some current additives such as carbon black, ketchen black, carbon fiber or bulk clay.

“We are not just a distributor pushing nanotubes,” he said. “A number of people have done that and failed,” often because of insufficient consultation and work with their clients.

Among contacts in Orlando, Gilbert met with representatives of a compounder and a coupling agent manufacturer. The discussion explored the dispersion of carbon nanotubes into nylon to improve the flow characteristics of polyamides.

Apart from NPE2012, among “a few people getting close” to trials is an industrial hose and tubing manufacturer seeking benefits from including nanoclay in thermoplastic polyurethane to offset environmental changes, Gilbert said. Fuel additive “ethanol tends to eat up TPU in hotter weather.”

Aerospace companies and public transportation agencies look at the technology for the beneficial characteristics involving flame retardance, control of heat release and avoidance of toxicity.

In North America, Consortium exclusively represents the nanoclay-focused Nanocor subsidiary of Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Amcol International Corp. and the carbon nanotube technology of Nanocyl SA of Sambreville, Belgium.

In addition, Consortium works with Biosafe Inc. of Pittsburgh for its antimicrobial product line and collaborates with additive maker Enso Plastics LLC and water bottle developer Enso Bottles LLC, both of Mesa, Ariz.

Many companies looked into nanotechnology several years ago, but the economic downturn led to the liquidation or watering down of some research efforts, Gilbert said. “Now, they are on a better economic plane” and can explore “how to create value.”

Those in Europe and Asia “have been more open and done more to put the technology to work,” he said. “The U.S. is catching up.” A learning curve of about one to two years is customary.

At NPE2012, “people were talking about real projects rather than imaginary projects,” Gilbert said. “People are just starting to get their arms around this technology.”


Comments

Calif. additives firm sees promise in nanotechnology

By Roger Renstrom
Correspondent

Published: May 2, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Huntsman closing four pigment plants

March 5, 2015 3:36 pm ET

Huntsman Corp. is closing four plants — three in the U.S. and one in Germany — that make pigments for plastics and other markets.    More

Image

Mold maker Moldworx building in Arizona to bring in more molding

March 5, 2015 10:13 am ET

Moldworx LLC has begun leasing more space in Gilbert, Ariz., to allow it to grow its injection molding business.    More

Image

Bayer to stop MDI production in Brazil

March 4, 2015 9:21 am ET

Bayer AG's Bayer MaterialScience plans to stop production of MDI polyurethane at its plant near Rio de Janeiro in July, removing 55 metric tons per...    More

Image

Best Places To Work: No. 6, Colors For Plastics

March 4, 2015 12:35 pm ET

Colors For Plastics, which now employs 115 people, started with one man who handled everything.    More

Image

Best Places To Work: No. 7, CMD Corp.

March 4, 2015 12:27 pm ET

There's a lot of innovating going on at the No. 7 company on Plastics News' Best Places to Work ranking.    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

North America represents about 30 percent of the global consumption of flexible packaging. Annual growth in this region is forecast at 4 percent during the next 5 years.

For more insight on growth opportunities, drivers of growth and the outlook for 2015, download this report.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events