SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Milliken Chemical will start a new line in June to make clarifying agents used in polypropylene. The firm said its fourth line making Millad 3988 will increase its capacity by at least 50 percent. Reed Walker, product line manager, said it will be the largest of its kind in the world, but he would not disclose capacity figures or costs.
Milliken is installing the line at its Blacksburg, S.C., plant. Blacksburg and Inman, S.C., are where it now runs three plants making PP clarifying agents, which are based on sorbitol acetals.
Walker said in a telephone interview that clarified PP is making inroads in several markets as a replacement for other clear materials such as PVC, polystyrene and PET. Housewares, medical devices, thin-wall packaging, thermoformed cups and blow molded bottles are among the growth sectors, he said from Milliken's head office in Spartanburg.
Milliken also said it will open a new applications laboratory at the Spartanburg facility by late summer. It will include pilot-scale equipment for sheet extrusion, thermoforming and blow molding. Walker said the new lab will speed product development and study new uses for clarified PP.