A. Schulman ramps up products for K

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: October 16, 2013 1:00 pm ET
Updated: October 16, 2013 1:12 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials Suppliers, K 2013, Business News & Features
Companies & Associations A. Schulman Inc.

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — A challenging European economy isn't going to stop A. Schulman Inc. from showcasing several new products at K 2013.

Those products include flame-retardant masterbatch concentrates and a new nylon 6 powder for rotomolding, Schulman executive Heinrich Lingnau said in a recent interview at the firm's regional headquarters in Kerpen, Germany. Lingnau serves as vice president and general manager of the Europe/Middle East/Africa region for Schulman (Hall 8A/D12).

The nylon 6 powder can be used in rotomolded fuel tanks and is "a revolution for the industry," Lingnau said. Previously, only polyethylene and nylon 12 could be used in such rotomolding applications, he added. Schulman partnered with Dutch materials firm DSM NV to develop the material, which Lingnau said sells for less than similar materials but provides similar performance in fuel barrier and other properties.

New flame-retardant masterbatches are part of Schulman's Polybatch line. Also at K, Schulman will be unveiling new masterbatches that use the firm's Papermatch technology, which can provide the appearance and feel of paper in packaging for butter and other food products.

Schulman also has unveiled numerous new products in the last year, all of which are now commercially available. These include:

* A broad range of flame retardant compounds and masterbatches aimed at appliances and household products.

* High-impact grades of Schuladur-brand PET and PBT compounds for the solar and automotive industries.

* Sustainable grades of nylon/ ASA compounds used in e-bikes.

* Schulamid-brand XT nylon compounds that offer extreme temperature stability in auto parts, such as downsized motors and engines. These materials can withstand high temperatures for more than 3,000 hours without changing properties, according to technical customer service head Dirk Hansch.

* Light-weight hybrid Schulamid grades, including nylons blended with polyolefins such as specialty polypropylene.

* Schuladur PCR grades with high recycled content of PBT and PET. These include a 30 percent glass-filled PBT.

Schulman is based in Fairlawn, Ohio, but for many years the firm has generated most of its sales from Europe. Schulman now operates more than 1.5 billion pounds of annual compounding and concentrate capacity in its Europe/Middle East/Africa region. Combined with its resin distribution unit, Schulman handles more than two billion pounds of thermoplastics per year there.

That unit distributes for 14 resin makers, selling almost 900 million pounds of resin annually to 11,000 customers. The business handles virgin, near-prime and recycled grades of both commodity and engineering resins. Schulman's ICO-brand rotomolding powders unit operates five plants in the region and also does tolling work.

Schulman ranks as Europe's largest masterbatch concentrate maker — with nine production sites — as well as the region's largest non-integrated engineering resin compounder. In addition to its regional headquarters, the firm operates a technology and development center in Kerpen, as well as a compounding plant with more than 200 million pounds of annual capacity.

Schulman operates two other similar-sized plants in the region as well.

One of Schulman's major customers in the region is auto parts giant Bosch. Schulman's materials can be used in numerous interior and exterior automotive applications, including wipers, window housings, door handles, and under-hood parts such as motor covers, water pumps and other high-temperature parts.

"Our customers are in a situation where European demand is not super growth-oriented," Lingnau said. "So they need more innovation and better solutions."

Hansch added that most of Schulman's customers want the solution that works best for their application, rather than a specific material or resin.

With much of Europe working to pull itself out of an economic recession, Schulman's challenge has been readily apparent. "The European plastics market is looking at slow to no growth, and the magnitude of [resin price] volatility is increasing," Lingnau said. "Before the recession, demand growth was in the low single digits. It's been coming back in the last couple of months, but it's not back to pre-recession levels."

Longer-term, Lingnau said that Schulman "needs to be more cautious on cash flow," partly because of shorter lead times requested by customers.

In the first nine months of its 2013 fiscal year, Schulman's global sales grew 2 percent to almost $1.6 billion, but the firm's profit slipped almost 30 percent to $29.7 million.


Comments

A. Schulman ramps up products for K

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: October 16, 2013 1:00 pm ET
Updated: October 16, 2013 1:12 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Meredian merging with Danimer Scientific

July 24, 2014 1:59 pm ET

Bioplastics maker Meredian Inc. is merging with its sister firm, Danimer Scientific LLC.    More

Image

US Bioplastics receives funding to bring Gatoresin to the market

July 24, 2014 1:44 pm ET

Materials maker U.S. Bioplastics is hoping its Gatoresin product will take a bite out of the bioplastics market, thanks to funding from a state...    More

Image

BASF posts growth in second quarter

July 24, 2014 11:08 am ET

German chemical giant, BASF SE, has announced a 1 percent growth in sales for the second quarter of 2014 compared to the same period in...    More

Image

Bayer PC used for lightweight, durable luggage collection

July 24, 2014 10:52 am ET

Bayer MaterialScience has partnered with U.S.-based travel goods manufacturer Andiamo Luggage LLC to create a special plastic for suitcases that is...    More

Image

Asia to remain chemical giant but US shale will bring competition

July 23, 2014 1:00 pm ET

A new IHS Chemical report on global spending for chemical production predicts capacity additions will peak in 2014 at $120 billion and then will begin...    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

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

More Events