PT Blog

Those of us that have been reporting on the industry for quite a few years have seen some pretty major shakeups in terms of mergers and acquisitions and spin-offs of a company’s business segments. Chemtura (formerly Crompton, among other names) is one such company. So, too, is LANXESS Corporation, formerly a subsidiary of the former Bayer MaterialScience, which has now completed its acquisition of Chemtura.

Starting around 2008, we saw Chemtura, this once-giant in plastic additives begin to spin off major parts of its business. A notable sampling includes: the sale of its proprietary OBS (organic-based heat stabilizers) for rigid PVC applications to Baerlocher; the sale of the rest of its PVC additives business to Galata Chemicals, now part of India’s Artek Surfin; and, the sale of its industry-recognized UV stabilizer and antioxidants business to Addivant. But, in terms of plastic additives, Chemtura held onto a relative gold mine—its Great Lakes Solutions business—a global leader in brominated flame retardant additives, bromine and bromine derivatives.

Read More

A little before mid-April, as I scrambled to put a finishing touch on our May issue’s resin pricing column, it appeared that PE prices could possibly rise this month once again, though a peak was also being projected, while PP prices had indeed reached their peak and were poised for a drop. Let’s take a look at how things might actually shake out at this stage for each resin:

Polyethylene: So, suppliers got the first part of their 6¢/lb price hike in March, and were aiming for the other half this month. Mike Burns, v.p. of client services for PE at Resin Technology, Inc. (RTi), noted that the implementation of the April increase was largely dependent on the speed of recovery of supplier inventories, which he thought would take place in May, if not earlier. He also ventured that if not implemented in April, this price hike had little chance for implementation in May.

Read More

Scientists claim that a caterpillar commercially bred for fishing bait has the ability to biodegrade polyethylene. So beehives aren’t a fan of these wax worms—the larvae of the common insect Galleria mellonella or greater wax moth—as these worms live as parasites in bee colonies (I never thought I would write about any of this). Apparently wax moths lay their eggs inside hives where the worms hatch and feed on beeswax—that’s where they get their name.

Here’s how it relates to PE: a chance discovery occurred when one member of the scientific team, Federica Bertocchini, an amateur beekeeper, was removing the parasitic pests from the honeycombs in her hives. The worms were temporarily kept in a typical plastic shopping bag that became riddled with holes.

Read More

Posted by: Matthew H. Naitove 25. April 2017

Focusing on People

“The future of the company is people,” says Mick Stielow, director of sales and marketing for custom industrial blow molder Agri-Industrial Plastics Co. (AIP) in Fairfield, Iowa. A profile of the firm in our May issue notes its pride in the knowledge and experience of its personnel, many of whom have 25 to 30 years in blow molding and “grew up in the business,” as Stielow puts it.

He adds that the company has an eye out for the next generation of blow molding specialists. Its in-house apprenticeship program grooms two to five new technicians at a time. “Many of our best setup technicians also own or work on family farms, so they they have the mechanical skill set to be successful at AIP,” Stielow notes. His firm also pursues outreach to a high-school career academy in the town, which has a focus on maintenance skills, and to a local community college, where robot technician is a popular curriculum.

Read More

Honoring Earth Day 2017 this past Saturday, PLASTICS, in partnership with the sustainability division of SPE, offered attendees $50 off of registration to its upcoming Re/Focus Sustainability & Recycling Summit using the code EARTHDAY, which will expire April 30.

This is the second annual such summit, which will be held June 27-29 at the Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando, Fla. The event, which aims to help the plastics industry take its sustainability goals from aspirational to operational, promises to be an information-packed affair.

Read More