Your Business in Brief - April 2003

DuPont Buys Some Eastman Polyesters DuPont Engineering Polymers in Wilmington, Del., has purchased a portfolio of high-performance polyesters from Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tenn.

DuPont Buys Some Eastman Polyesters

DuPont Engineering Polymers in Wilmington, Del., has purchased a portfolio of high-performance polyesters from Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tenn. Product lines covered by the deal are Eastman’s liquid-crystal polymer (Titan LCP), PCT polyester (Thermx PCT), and reinforced PET compounds (Thermx EG). DuPont says these materials broaden its existing offerings for automotive and electrical-electronic sectors.

Paul Kalicky, DuPont’s v.p. of strategic planning, says the acquired Eastman LCPs are being incorporated into DuPont’s Zenite LCP product line. According to Kalicky, Eastman LCP materials crystallize more slowly than DuPont’s current products, translating into higher toughness and weld-line strength for thin-wall connectors and circuit boards processed at elevated temperature.

Thermx PCT materials give DuPont a specialty polyester with heat resistance beyond that of its Crastin PBT and Rynite PET lines. PCTs have HDTs from 482 to 532 F @ 66 psi.

DuPont also acquired Eastman’s PCTA resin, a modified PCT that has approval for direct food contact (e.g., in housewares). DuPont plans to incorporate the Thermx glass-reinforced PET compounds into its Rynite line.


PPS Supplier Expands As Market Needs Evolve

Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. in Houston is expanding capacity for Ryton PPS resins and compounds to take advantage of 10% annual growth rates expected for PPS over the next few years. Growth is highest in automotive under-hood parts, which make up 30% of current usage.

CPChem’s new 15-million-lb/yr compounding plant has just come on stream in LaPorte, Texas, expanding the firm’s worldwide capacity by 55% and giving the company a stronger U.S. presence. CPChem’s other Ryton compounding capacity is in Europe and Asia.

Plans are moving forward to double Ryton resin capacity by building a 22-million-lb/yr PPS resin plant that would start up in late 2005. The site has not been set. The plant would incorporate a new process capable of making a far broader range of high-molecular-weight PPS resins than the existing facility in Borger, Texas.

Trends that favor PPS use in automobiles include rising under-hood temperatures, a shift to 42V electrical systems, and adoption of methanol-containing fuels, which are too chemically aggressive for nylons, PBT, and other materials, says Ryton product manager Robert Goodman. Conversions to PPS in fuel-injector rails, throttle bodies, and fuel-system components are under way in Europe and also anticipated in the U.S.

More than 90% of PPS is compounded, mostly with glass and glass-mineral combinations. CPChem’s Ryton group reports new technical breakthroughs in optimizing the glass-fiber diameter and surface sizing to achieve improved stiffness-toughness balance and moisture resistance. New PPS alloys are also in development, including one incorporating rubber to double the impact strength and elongation. This material has potential in pipe and fuel tubing.


PolyOne & Noveon Share ESD Know-How

PolyOne Corp. and Noveon, Inc., both in Cleveland, have created an alliance to develop and distribute a line of electrostatic-dissipative (ESD) compounds for electronics. PolyOne will distribute Noveon’s Stat-Rite inherently dissipative polymer alloy products for business equipment, telecommunications, and medical applications. Noveon’s Static Control business unit gets exclusive rights to market and distribute PolyOne’s Stat-Tech line of electrically conductive products for hard-disk drive, semiconductor, and electronics packaging and handling applications. Also, Noveon will utilize PolyOne’s manufacturing capabilities in Asia, Europe and North America to meet customer requirements.

The alliance creates a complementary product line that includes Stat-Rite alloys and Stat-Tech electrically conductive compounds for injection molding and sheet for thermoforming, as well as a broad ESD technology base including carbon powder, car-bon fiber, stainless-steel fiber, carbon nanotubes, and polymer alloys. Noveon and PolyOne plan to coordinate R&D efforts on ESD compounds.


Husky Opens Mexican Technical Center

Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd., Bolton, Ont., has added Mexico to the regions served by its network of Technical Centers. The newest facility, located in Mexico City, opened in September. It has 18,000 sq ft of production space and an overhead crane capacity of 10 tons. Thirty people work at the center, which offers mold tests, audits, production trials, and training. A PET mold-refurbishing area provides complete cold-half conversions, rebuilds, and component repair. Hot-runner refurbishment, rebuilds, and preventive maintenance will also be available.


ACS Offers Chemical-Free Water Treatment

ACS Group, Wood Dale, Ill., has an exclusive distribution agreement with Innovative Water Technologies (IWT), Comstock Park, Mich. Under this agreement, ACS can offer TowerKlean chemical-free water-treatment system for process cooling through its AEC and Sterling operations.

Mergers Alter Line-Up of Fluoropolymer Suppliers The January purchase of Solvay Fluoropolymers Inc. in Houston by Dyneon LLC, St. Paul, Minn., completed an international realignment of fluoropolymer suppliers. The other major element of that realignment was the acquisition of Italian-based Ausimont by Solvay Group of Brussels. The combination of Ausimont and Solvay’s European fluoropolymer business is now called Solvay Solexis, whose U.S. headquarters is in Thorofare, N.J. The main effects on these companies’ fluoropolymer product lines are the following:

Solvay is now a broad-based supplier of a variety of fluoropolymers. Before, it produced only Solef PVDF. In addition to many others, Solvay Solexis now has two PVDF families produced by different methods for different application areas: Solef suspension resins for extrusion and molding, which are made in France; and Hylar emulsion resins, primarily for coatings, made in Thorofare. The only other supplier of PVDF for both types of applications is AtoFina Chemicals, Inc. in Philadelphia, with its Kynar products.

Dyneon, which already had a varied line-up of fluoropolymers, now has PVDF extrusion and molding resins, thanks to its acquisition of a Solef production facility in Decatur, Ala. Dyneon is now selling those resins under the Dyneon brand.


Avery DennisonGets Out of Heat-Transfer Labels

Multi-Color Corp. in Cincinnati, one of the world’s largest printers of consumer-product labels, has acquired the Decorating Technologies (Dec Tech) Div. of Cincinnati-based Avery Dennison Corp. Dec Tech, based in Framing ham, Mass., makes heat-transfer labels for post-mold application on bottles. The acquisition makes Multi-Color the leading provider of both in-mold and post-mold heat-transfer labels. Multi-Color reportedly developed the in-mold label for bottles and consumer products in the early 1980s. Avery Dennison’s Performance Films Div. in Schererville, Ind., retains its formable paint films and formable printed films for in-mold decorating of plastics.


Compounders Add Capacity

Four compounding firms recently expanded their production capacity. First, Ampacet Corp. of Tarrytown, N.Y., has completed a $10-million expansion of its Heath, Ohio, plant for making custom color concentrates. Much of the addition is devoted to colorants for bottles, and the plant is installing a three-layer coextrusion blow molding machine. The expansion, which includes additional twin-screw extruders, doubles the size of the Heath facility.

Also, LNP Engineering Plastics, Exton, Pa., has added a $2-million “white room” compounding facility at its Columbus, Ind., plant. The new facility is designed to produce “critically clean” compounds for healthcare applications. The room has positive air pressure to exclude airborne contaminants. LNP borrowed applicable “best practices” for the facility from parent GE Plastics’ Mt. Vernon, Ind., plant, which produces optical-quality products.

Meanwhile, Westchester Plastics in Nesquehoning, Pa., has boosted capacity by adding two new twin-screw extruders. Both are ZSK Megacompounders from Coperion Werner & Pfleiderer. A 92-mm model was installed in Nesquehoning and a 70-mm unit at a plant in Wapakoneta, Ohio.

In addition, A. Schulman Inc., Akron, Ohio, has started up color-concentrate production in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The plant—Schulman’s first in Mexico—has two lines capable of making 5 million lb/yr of concentrates for film, packaging, consumer, and automotive uses. The facility was recently expanded to 40,000 sq ft.