Milliken pushes new polypropylene applications at Chinaplas

By Robert Grace
Associate Publisher & Business Development Director

Published: May 30, 2013 12:56 pm ET
Updated: May 30, 2013 3:50 pm ET

Image By: Milliken & Co. Wim Van de Velde

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Materials Suppliers

GUANGZHOU, CHINA — Shortly after firing an intellectual-property legal salvo at several Asian competitors, Milliken & Co. showcased a number of products and technologies at Chinaplas 2013 that focused on the sustainability benefits of its various polyolefin additives.

Shifting market dynamics — underscored by North America's abundant shale-derived natural gas supplies — also are creating new material-replacement opportunities for polypropylene for some applications traditionally dominated by polystyrene and polycarbonate, according to Wim Van de Velde, global product line manager for Milliken's plastics additives business.

Additionally, the Spartanburg, S.C.-based company said its partnership with French polypropylene producer Polychim Industrie SAS has yielded a new homopolymer PP that offers packaging thermoformers not only better aesthetics and quality but also up to 10 percent improved productivity via faster processing.

Aimed at clear and opaque applications such as food packaging, Polychim's homopolymer PP grade HA31XTF has leveraged the benefits of Milliken's nucleating agent, Hyperform HPN-600ei, to overcome the performance tradeoffs associated with the thermoforming of conventional nucleated PP homopolymers. The additive boosts transparency and reduces yellowing in the Polychim resin, and allows for both a high crystallization temperature and isotropic shrinkage behavior that avoids warpage. The resin is particularly suitable for deep-draw containers, noted Van de Velde.

The Polychim resin, however, currently is available only in Europe. Dunkerque-based Polychim, along with sister company Pinnacle Polymers LLC in Garyville, La., is part of the Beaulieu International Group. The Hyperform nucleator is available worldwide from Milliken.

Milliken also touted its Hyperform HPN-20E nucleating agent for high density polyethylene that can be used to produce a range of products, especially to counter shrinkage issues caused by pigments in close-tolerance caps and closures.

Van de Velde noted that while Milliken's Millad NX 8000 additive has been in the market for five years, the firm only recently has begun to promote its use at higher loadings to promote better clarity in clear PP containers. Previously it had touted its ability to run at lower temperatures, thereby reducing energy usage during processing.

But PP's improved pricing position vs. competitive resins is creating new opportunities, he said. Clear cup lids, for example, traditionally have been made from polystyrene, while polycarbonate has tended to be used for products such as food grinders, water pitchers and salad spinners. Now Millad NX 8000 can be used cost competitively at higher loadings in PP and can achieve the level of clarity needed in such applications.

"Wind is behind the back of polypropylene to try to capitalize," Van de Velde said.

Meantime, housewares and packaging manufacturers "expect more than excellent aesthetics and high performance from polyolefins," said Jean Hall, Milliken's plastics additives business manager. "They are looking for sustainability advantages as well," she said.

She also noted that Milliken's Hyperform HPR-803i synthetic, mineral-based reinforcing agent can reduce part weight while delivering high stiffness compared to traditional filled automotive components.

As for the series of previously reported lawsuits Milliken filed in mid-May alleging patent infringement of its Millad clarifying agents, Van de Velde said.

"We're an innovation company. We spend a significant amount of our sales on research and development," more along the lines of a pharmaceutical company than a typical chemical company, he said. The firm needs to protect that intellectual property, he said.

In the initial announcement, Milliken said only that it had "filed several lawsuits against a number of Asian companies located in a number of regions worldwide." When asked why the firm has declined so far to identify the companies targeted in the lawsuits, Van de Velde would say only that Milliken "didn't want to get into a mud fight" in the media. Instead of slinging allegations, he said, the goal is to get the activity in question to stop.

"Our customers need to be aware of this IP infringement … we are confident they do not wish to use products from companies that have engaged in patent infringement."


Comments

Milliken pushes new polypropylene applications at Chinaplas

By Robert Grace
Associate Publisher & Business Development Director

Published: May 30, 2013 12:56 pm ET
Updated: May 30, 2013 3:50 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Material Insights: PP production issues, preparing for NPE

January 26, 2015 1:38 pm ET

Production problems in Texas add more complication for polypropylene, Entek has new equipment ready to show compounders at NPE and we take a look...    More

Image

J6 Polymers to buy Stepan unit

January 26, 2015 12:22 pm ET

NORTHFIELD, ILL. — Stepan Co. plans to sell its specialty polyurethanes systems business to J6 Polymers LLC in a cash deal.    More

Image

UK legislators debate fracking

January 26, 2015 12:19 pm ET

LONDON — An influential group of members of Parliament has called for a moratorium to be imposed on fracking for shale gas as politicians...    More

Image

Oxo-biodegradable lobby slams 'scaremongering'

January 26, 2015 12:16 pm ET

Single-use plastic carrier bags made from biodegradable material should be exempted from the government’s proposed 5p-a-bag levy in England,...    More

Image

2014 leaves some resin firms in the black while others struggle

January 23, 2015 2:37 pm ET

On the financial side, 2014 was good for Hexcel Corp., so-so for Celanese Corp. and it could have been better for Omnova Solutions.    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

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

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

More Events