Hollywood has proven that movie fans love sequels. A new materials firm is hoping that former buyers of Barex resin feel the same way.
The new firm is MSM Poly LLC of Wilmington, Del. The firm has begun lab synthesis of acrylonitrile methyl acrylate copolymer (AMAC) latex. The material is similar to Barex, a polyacrylonitrile (PAN) resin that Ineos Group is exiting. Ineos was the sole global supplier of the resin, which it made at a plant in Lima, Ohio.
Shortly after Ineos in October announced its plans to end Barex production, several Barex customers in the pharmaceutical packaging market contacted Montesino Associates LLC — a Wilmington-based consulting firm — about finding a replacement material.
Montesino managing director Peter Schmitt said his firm then contacted plastics industry veteran Patrick Mickle about finding a Barex replacement. Mickle founded medical custom extruder Kelcourt Plastics Inc. in 1982 and ran the San Clemente, Calif.-based firm until selling it to a private equity firm in 2010.
In an Aug. 7 phone interview, Mickle said that there was “a continuing need” for Barex.
“Ineos felt the volumes [for Barex] weren't sufficient, and we saw an opportunity to fill a need,” he added. “There's still significant demand for the product.”
Mickle said MSM Poly will begin commercial production of its AMAC material in early 2016. The new material will be produced for MSM Poly by Tiarco Chemical, a division of Textile Rubber & Chemical Co., at a plant in Greenville, S.C.
Ineos spokesman Charles Saunders said by phone Aug. 7 that the firm is still making Barex in Lima to fill customer orders, but its plans to exit the business are unchanged. The firm previously announced it would end Barex production in early 2015, but market sources said Ineos is still making the material in Lima until it can provide some customers with multi-year inventories.
Saunders added that there are no ongoing negotiations to license the technology.
Barex often is used as a barrier layer in packaging applications. One major Barex application was packaging for Oscar Mayer-brand bologna made by Kraft Heinz Co.
Packaging firms Amcor Ltd., Tekni-Films, Rollprint Packaging Products Inc. and Bemis Co. Inc. have been developing Barex replacement films.