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

Ferro sells another piece of its plastics business

December 19, 2014 3:33 pm ET

Ferro Corp. has sold its North American polymer additives business to a private equity firm for $154 million in cash.    More

Image

The return of HPM's big presses

December 19, 2014 11:47 am ET

HPM is back in big injection molding machines.    More

Image

Antimicrobial polymers firm TiFiber launching pilot production in Ark.

December 19, 2014 10:58 am ET

TiFiber Inc., which makes synthetic compounds to control dangerous microorganisms, will locate a pilot production facility and its future company...    More

Smithers Group relocating some jobs to Ohio

December 19, 2014 10:05 am ET

Smithers Group will relocate its North American Information business unit from Portland, Maine, to Akron, Ohio, and as a result will move more than...    More

Image

Patel named LyondellBasell CEO

December 19, 2014 9:56 am ET

Bhavesh V. “Bob” Patel has been named CEO of Houston-based polyolefins producer LyondellBasell Industries NV, effective Jan. 12.    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

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

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

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

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

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events