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Resins & Coatings

News Review


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UV/EB technologies' future in the EU

Although UV technologies were first introduced around 20-30 years ago, it is still not considered as a mature sector. Plenty of innovations are needed to overcome barriers to greater efficiencies.
Over the last few years growth in demand in Europe for UV - as well as electronic beam (EB) - has been around double that of the coatings market as a whole, according to industry analysts. Now the gap could be widening further as UV/EB moves into higher value and higher margin areas.
Among the main driving forces have been the lower energy costs of radiation curing, fast curing speeds which raise productivity and the desire for surfaces with a high gloss and color intensity. "The big technological challenges are how to find ways of achieving the same performance while lowering costs in UV coatings", explained Stefan Van Den Branden, technology director at Belgium-based resins producer Allnex Group (formerly Cytec Industries Inc). "Then there are more specific performance demands like hard coats with improved scratch and abrasion resistance and surfaces with a soft touch. A lot of innovation is also being driven by regulatory constraints, like restrictions on materials of concern because of their possible toxicity. These are imposed not just by the EU and governments, but also by companies like IKEA, the furniture chain, which is setting its own standards, for instance in tin-free resins, which go beyond what legislation is prescribing".
Across Europe, the main fields of application (about 45%) are printing inks and industrial coatings, according to figures from Radtech Europe, the UV/EB industry's trade association in Brussels.
In industrial coatings, the main segments are wood coatings, mainly furniture and flooring, plastics, metals and electronics. Radiation curing is increasingly being used on casings for smart phones and laptops, because of its effects of brilliance and shine. But it is also now being applied to give matte finishes to a variety of products, after the development of alternatives to the conventional matting materials of silica and wax particles.
Powder coatings has been a sector which at one time looked promising for UV. But now it is struggling to make further inroads. "The high operational costs and limited application robustness makes UV technology in powder coatings only useful for niche applications", said Marcel Schutte, new business development manager at DSM Coating Resins in the Netherlands. "Despite huge development costs, only a very few UV-curing lines survived. We have to conclude that it has not found a breakthrough in the powder coatings sector".
UV-LED however, looks likely to become a success story. By 2023, UV-LED's share of the market for radiation curing lamps has been expected to rise from 13% to 35%, according to Radtech Europe. More chemical companies are becoming involved in the development and production of the resins and photoinitiators required to raise UV-LED's performance.
(Coatings World)

CARGILL & GENOMATICA collaborate on renewables

Genomatica and Cargill have entered into a collaboration agreement to accelerate the production of renewable chemicals for industrial applications.
The collaboration will give chemical producers, distributors and users access to a reliable, cost-effective source of carbohydrate feedstocks, co-location support services and production partnerships, based on GENO process technologies.
The companies will co-market Cargill's feedstock and production services to current and prospective Genomatica licensees, and chemical users and distributors. To further strengthen the companies' collaboration, Cargill made an equity investment in Genomatica and secured rights to make additional investments.
"As Cargill continues to strategically expand its presence in the industrial biotechnology space, our collaboration with Genomatica broadens our portfolio of sustainable production solutions", said Cargill Corn Milling vice president Brian Silvey. "Companies will be able to produce or distribute chemicals used for industrial applications faster, more reliably and more cost-effectively".
(Chemical Engineering)

BASF forms new pigments GBU

BASF SE will form a global business unit (GBU) combining all of its pigments activities effective January 2016.
The new GBU will likely be headquartered in the Ludwigshafen area. In the second half of 2016, BASF intends to carve out its pigments business and establish separate legal entities.
BASF's pigments business serves a variety of industries including paints & coatings, printing & packaging and plastics. The portfolio comprises of color pigments such as phthalocyanines, high performance pigments, azo pigments, effect pigments, inorganic pigments, dyes and pigment preparations.
"We have achieved and maintained a leading position in the pigments market through acquisitions and a series of successful restructuring measures. The new global business unit will fully concentrate on the pigments business and thus be even more focused on supporting the needs of our pigments customers", said Markus Kramer, president of BASF's Dispersions & Pigments division.
With sales of about EUR 1 billion in 2014 and 2,500 employees globally, BASF holds a leading position in the pigments market, offering the broadest portfolio of products and technology.
(Chemical Engineering)

BASF and PETRONAS build polyisobutene plant

BASF SE and Petronas Chemicals Group (PCG) will build a new world-scale production plant for highly reactive polyisobutene (HR-PIB) at the site of their existing joint venture, BASF Petronas Chemicals, in Kuantan, Malaysia.
BASF and PCG founded their joint venture BASF Petronas Chemicals in 1997. BASF Petronas Chemicals operates an integrated complex situated at the Gebeng Industrial Zone, Kuantan, Pahang.
The plant, which will be the first of its kind in South East Asia, with a total annual capacity of 50,000 MT/year of HR-PIB, is expected to start production in the fourth quarter of 2017. HR-PIB is an important intermediate product for the manufacturing of high performance fuel and lubricant additives, including additives for sludge prevention.
BASF Petronas Chemicals' fully integrated Kuantan site is one of BASF's two Verbund sites in the Asia Pacific region. According to Fischer, the joint investment with BASF's partner PCG at the Kuantan Verbund site will further increase security of supply for HR-PIB, especially for the Asian market. The new plant will further strengthen the global footprint of BASF as the leading supplier of this product.
BASF has over 70 years of experience in the manufacturing of HR-PIB. Besides the new plant in Asia, the company operates production facilities for HR-PIB at its Verbund sites in Ludwigshafen, Germany and Antwerp, Belgium, and within a joint venture with Sinopec YPC in Nanjing, China.
(Chemical Engineering)

DOW's margins continue to expand

Dow Chemical Co reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as the company's operating margins rose for the eleventh quarter in a row, helped largely by low raw material costs at its plastics-making business.
The U.S. chemical maker's plastics business has benefited from easy access to cheap shale gas, which is stripped down into ethane to make ethylene - a key component of plastics and many chemicals. Dow's margins have held steady due to its cost-cutting efforts. The company cut 3% of its global workforce in May, as part of a broader plan to reduce costs by USD 1 billion over 3 years. The company's margins rose nearly to 19% in Q2, from 15% a year earlier.
Dow has moved its focus to more lucrative businesses, such as performance plastics and electronics, to lower its exposure to commoditized chemicals. Dow has sold assets worth USD 7.0-8.5 billion since 2013, including a USD 5 billion sale of a bulk of its chlorine business to Olin Corporation in March.

INEOS reports strong Q2

Group Ineos has seen a rise in quarterly underlying earnings. The company, which operates one of the UK's largest manufacturing sites at Grangemouth, said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation reached EUR 610 million during Q2.
That was up on the EUR 447 million, recorded in the same period last year and the EUR 503 million during Q1 this year.
Ineos reported that North American markets remained strong, while it has benefited from a weaker euro in Europe. However, Asian markets were said to be subdued.
(The Herald)

KEMIRA reports improved Q2 results

Kemira had a strong Q2, with 15% revenue growth and improved operative EBITDA margin of 12.6%.
Revenue increased to EUR 594.8 million, supported by the acquisition of AkzoNobel's paper chemicals business, completed on May 4, and favorable currency exchange rates. Operative EBITDA increased 24% to EUR 74.7 million.
Organic growth in the paper segment continued above-the-market at 4%. Growth was driven mainly by higher sales volumes across continental Europe and increasing pulp chemical deliveries to the new Montes del Plata pulp mill in Uruguay.
In the Oil & Mining segment, sales volumes have been impacted by the significant reduction of shale drilling and fracking activity in the US. However, despite the decline of sales volumes, absolute operative EBITDA contribution remained at the level of the comparable quarter. In EMEA, Kemira started first polyacrylamide shipments for the chemically enhanced oil recovery.
Kemira's President and CEO Jari Rosendal said that "he is satisfied with Kemira's progress in the first half of the year. Kemira's businesses delivered solid results, despite the current slowdown of activity in shale operations in the U.S."

LONZA reports solid first half

Lonza Group reported first-half results, that were better than expected. The company is also maintaining its 2015 guidance of higher sales and core EBIT growth of at least 5%, despite dramatic fluctuations in the Swiss franc, that have affected the firm.
Lonza's revenue increased 5.8% to CHF 1.90 billion and core EBIT grew 7.9% to CHF 260 million, with continued margin improvement being driven by particularly strong performance from the more profitable pharma and biotech segment.
Lonza's cost-control measures address the competitiveness of its Visp facility in Switzerland, that continue to drive its margin expansion.

EMERALD-KALAMA to add benzoic acid capacity

Emerald Kalama Chemical, a business group of Emerald Performance Materials, approved the plan to add a second benzoic acid purification and finishing process at its facility in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
The new process will add an additional 100,000 MT/year capacity of high purity benzoic acid (Purox B) and also provide an increased production capability for benzaldehyde. The project is slated for completion in late 2016. The company has been producing benzoic acid at its Rotterdam and U.S. operations, for more than 50 years.
The company previously announced it had begun engineering the expansion in April, which would focus on high purity benzoic acid to support growing demand for the company's Kalama and Purox brands of benzoic acid flakes, sodium benzoate granules and liquid benzoic acid, which it provides for food and beverage, personal care, pharmaceutical and a variety of industrial applications.
The main products from the company's reactor train - benzoic acid and benzaldehyde - are key intermediates used for the production of important downstream products, notably K-FLEX plasticizers and the Kalama aroma chemical line.
"Reassessing our long-term strategic plan for our key intermediates, our expectations for benzoic acid continue to show strong growth and track according to plan", said Hubert Degens, Vice President of the Emerald Kalama Chemical Benzoates and Intermediates business. "In addition, our recent acquisition of Innospec Widnes Ltd.'s aroma chemical business - and growth plans for that platform - are in line with our increased production capacity for benzaldehyde".
(Coatings World)

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News are listed from various sources, as quoted above, aggregated by agents ANDRIANOS Chemicals, Athens, Greece.