Huntsman Pigments unveiled a new, ``lightly agglomerated'' titanium dioxide that it believes will simplify handling of the white pigment, reduce dusting and lead to improved dosing consistency.
The new pigment - Deltio 5X - is produced at the company's plant in Billingham, England. It is a completely physical modification of the company's titanium dioxide product - there are no chemicals involved so there is no risk of any pigment or additive interaction, said Huntsman Pigments global marketing director Rob Portsmouth at the K show, held Oct. 24-31 in Dusseldorf.
The new grade - the first in a line of Deltio easy handling pigments - was tested by Swedish masterbatch producer Delta Plast AB, which reports considerable improvements in operating efficiency.
Delta Plast production manager Marcus Persson said the easier handling of the material, the improved flow in the hopper, and faster color change allowed the company to improve production capacity by around 20 percent.
Titanium dioxide pigments are difficult to handle because of their very narrow particle size distribution - particles need to be in the range of 0.2-0.25 microns to act as effective light scatterers. However, narrow particle size distribution powders tend to block and bridge in conveyers and material handlers, making consistent dosing and feeding a challenge.
The new Deltio grades comprise weakly bonded agglomerates of particles with a range of agglomerate sizes, which eases flow.
Huntsman said those agglomerates are sufficiently robust to withstand the stresses of normal materials handlers such as conveyors and dosers, yet are dispersed easily during the compounding process.
The introduction of the Deltio grade, which is produced using a patented process technology, recognizes the big challenge of providing improved performance in the titanium dioxide sector, according to Portsmouth.
``We don't believe incremental optical improvements are going to have a big impact on our customers' products,'' he said.
``Customers have been asking us for more precision in metering, ability to clean down faster at product changeovers and the need to improve the working environment for employees.''
Huntsman's data shows the average mass transfer rate variation when handling the Deltio product is no more than 10 percent. Conventional pigments produce variations of up to 50 percent, the company claims.
Huntsman declined to comment on the cost of the new grade, but said there will be a premium over its existing pigment products.