Crompton Buys Basell’s Interloy
Crompton Corp., Middlebury, Conn., has acquired the Interloy business and non-exclusive rights to Hivalloy technology from Basell Polyolefins, Wilmington, Del. Interloy copolymers of PP/PS and PP/PMMA are based on Basell’s Hivalloy resin technology but are intended for use as modifiers to compatibilize PP with other polymers for applications that require outdoor weatherability, gloss and color retention, as well as low-temperature impact and scratch/mar resistance.
Crompton will produce and market Interloy products worldwide. It will also license to other firms the compounding technology used to make Hivalloy products. Interloy has been off the market, but Crompton plans to reintroduce it before the end of the year.
AEC Merges Five Divisions
AEC Inc. in Wood Dale, Ill., will merge its five divisions that offer auxiliary equipment. AEC equipment formerly produced under the Whitlock, HydReclaim, Nelmor, Application Engineering, and Automation Engineering brands will now all bear the same AEC name and label.
Antimony Oxide Prices Climb Relentlessly
The past year held bad news for compounders and users of flame-retardant plastics. Great Lakes Chemical Corp. in Indianapolis and Dallas-based Laurel Industries, div. of Occidental Chemical, have issued at least six price hikes for antimony trioxide and other antimony-based synergists since March. The increases have grown steadily larger—from 7¢/lb in March to 50¢/lb for the latest hikes, which were effective in October and November. These increases add up to $1.22/lb. Similar actions have been taken by two European-based suppliers, Campine and SICA. Further price increases are likely through the second quarter of 2003.
This surge in prices is linked to the run-up in prices of antimony metal. Since January, the metal’s world price has soared 290%, reflecting the impact of several mine and smelter shutdowns in China, following accidents and flooding at major locations in two provinces. China is the world’s primary source of antimony metal. A similar scenario occurred in 1994, when the price of antimony metal skyrocketed to nearly twice today’s level.
Says Bill Neagle, v.p. of business management for Great Lakes Chemical, “The amount of metal and antimony oxide coming out of China has been significantly reduced. Thus far, the raw-material shortage has not affected finished product [antimony oxide], although the material’s supply has become tighter as the Chinese stockpiles of raw material have been depleted.” Great Lakes has diversified its raw-material sourcing through a joint venture in South Africa and other sources in that region. Up to now, Neagle says, potential sources of antimony metal in Australia and Russia have not proved economically viable, though that may change if the price remains high enough. Antimony oxide prices are not expected to subside until some of the large mines in China reopen, which could come in the second quarter of 2003.
Wittmann Changes Name
Wittmann Robot & Automation Systems, Inc. in Torrington, Conn., has changed its name to Wittmann, Inc. The name change is meant to reflect that Wittmann now offers a wide range of auxiliary equipment besides robots, including granulators, materials-handling equipment, chillers, and water-temperature controllers. Its granulator division, formerly called CMB Wittmann, is no longer a separate entity. The exception is the Nucon Wittmann line of materials-handling equipment, which continues to be marketed under that name.
SB Copolymer Plant Comes on Stream
Septon Co. of America, a Kuraray subsidiary in Pasadena, Texas, has started up a 26-million-lb/yr plant for hydrogenated styrenic block copolymers. Trade-named Septon and Hybrar, these TPEs reportedly offer rubber-like properties and perform over a wide temperature range. Tel: (281) 909-5800, www.kuraray.co.jp/en