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

Sabic: Rapid demand growth led to Ultem shortage

December 18, 2014 12:06 pm ET

Sabic Innovative Plastics has been increasing production capacity for its Ultem polyetherimide but it still got caught short by increasing demand for ...    More

McCann expanding in Ohio

December 17, 2014 11:59 am ET

Compounding firm McCann Plastics will spend $1.2 million on an expansion project that will create 15 new jobs at its plant in Green, Ohio.    More

French firm acquires Zimmer-brand polymer technology

December 15, 2014 4:18 pm ET

The deal includes technologies for the processing of polyesters and nylons, and approximately 40 researchers and engineers.    More

Image

Bioplastics global production capacity

December 15, 2014 10:14 am ET

   More

Image

Israeli compounder building $13.1 million facility in North Carolina

December 12, 2014 1:14 pm ET

Tosaf USA, a subsidiary of Kfar Yona, Israel-based Tosaf Compounds Ltd., will build a compounding and masterbatch production facility in North Carolin...    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 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

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