Clariant has launched a new line of masterbatch concentrates aimed at the medical and pharmaceutical market, and also plans to double capacity for non-halogenated flame retardants at a site in Hurth-Knapsack, Germany, by 2012.
The new medical/pharmaceutical line will be sold under the Mevopur trade name, officials with Muttenz, Switzerland-based Clariant said during a news conference at K 2010 in Dusseldorf. Initial grades now available are based on polyethylene and polypropylene, while additional grades based on a variety of engineering resins are in development, according to masterbatches business head Hans Bohnen.
Mevopur will create a recognizable product range in Clariant's vast portfolio, Bohnen said. And it will give our customers freedom to design to meet current and future trends.
The Mevopur line will be made at Clariant plants in the United States, Sweden and Singapore. They are expected to find uses in inhalers and similar products.
In Hurth-Knapsack, Clariant is debottlenecking current production lines for Exolit-brand non-halogenated flame-retardant additives. It plans to build a second industrial-scale plant at the site, according to additives business head Michael Grosskopf.
The combined effect of the debottlenecking and new plant will be a doubling of Exolit capacity by 2012. Grosskopf said more capacity could be added in 2014.
Sales for Exolit were down in 2008, but have bounced back in a big way, as environmental and safety concerns from customers in the electrical/electronics sector have led to demand that is almost triple its previous level, Grosskopf said.
Clariant generates 40 percent of its total sales from pigments, additives, masterbatch concentrates and compounds.
Pigments Vice President and General Manager Marco Cenisio said plastics now make up 30 percent of sales for Clariant's pigments business. It is an important and growing segment, he said.
The demand for plastic goods is expected to grow significantly, he said at K, held Oct. 27 to Nov. 3.
The unit most recently opened a plant in China in October making a high-performance pigment for plastics, inks and coatings. The unit also operates plants in Germany, France, Korea and India. It closed its only North American site, in Rhode Island, in 2008.
The business now generates almost 45 percent of its sales from emerging markets in Asia and Latin America. Moving ahead, Cenisio sees trends toward higher pigment loadings and some positive trends in consumption.
Clariant at K 2010 also unveiled its Mevopur color masterbatches and compounds for the medical and pharmaceutical sectors.
Bohnen addressed the need to provide customers with materials made under highly controlled conditions at sites in Lewiston, Maine; MalmÃ¶, Sweden; and Singapore.
The demanding regulatory environment spurred Clariant's need for a dedicated business for medical and pharmaceutical. But Bohnen said the firm will benefit from development opportunities from this approach, not just in medical and pharmaceutical but other sectors as well.
Looking at growing regulatory demands in food-contact packaging and toys, Clariant will use the same approach in those sectors too, he said. That will be achieved by forming factories within factories at sites such as the three making Mevopur products.
Clariant is pursuing product stewardship, Bohnen said, which means the firm is concerned with the life cycle of its products, from the raw material down through how consumers use the end product.
Steve Duckworth recently appointed to head Clariant's marketing in the consumer goods and medical said there will be flexibility in the production of Mevopur products, from custom compounds in small-lot sizes of 55 pounds up to bigger product lines in the area of 44,000 pounds.
Duckworth said Clariant started with PE and PP as carriers for Mevopur because of large-scale demand in those resins, for example in pharmaceutical packaging. Expanding into other resin carriers will be a methodical business because of the need to select raw material suppliers carefully and work with them on compliance. It has already launched Mevopur standard color products in polyether block amide and thermoplastic urethanes.
There is also a standard color range for Eastman's Triton copolyester, which is finding growth in medical applications. Also, Clariant will soon launch Mevopur for Topas cyclic olefin copolymer. Duckworth said the firm has the capability to do the same for polystyrenes, ABS and polycarbonate.
Clariant is actively targeting Mevopur at designers of medical-device and pharmaceutical packaging, he added.