DuPont sells coatings business
US private equity firm Carlyle Group has paid US$4.9 billion to acquire DuPont Performance Coatings. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013. DuPont said after a careful review, the firm had determined that the coatings’ full growth potential would be best realised outside DuPont and through the sale to Carlyle. The business unit is expected to generate sales of US$4 billion in 2012.
BASF sets up TPU research
German chemicals firm BASF has set up a new research laboratory for thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) in the US. A multidisciplinary team of product developers, chemists and material scientists will work to discover new products for the American automotive, construction, sports and leisure industries. The initially five-person team’s main working area is TPU synthesis and processing. The aim is to customise key material properties such as stiffness, elasticity, transparency and UV stability to meet individual customer wishes by varying the manufacturing conditions.
Auto parts supplier expands in China
German automotive products supplier Mann + Hummel GmbH is expanding in China by acquiring Bengbu Haoye, a manufacturer of filters for the automotive industry. Located near Shanghai, Bengbu Haoye makes filter and filter elements for local OEMs, and had sales of around EUR13 million in 2011. Recently, Mann+Hummel opened a fourth plant in China for air intake manifolds, engine cam covers and air cleaners. The firm hopes to increase its Asian sales from the current level of 17% to 25% by 2018.
Emerald to expand in Europe
US-based Emerald Kalama Chemical is building a facility to manufacture environmentally friendly materials in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, at the plant it acquired from DSM in 2010. The facility is expected to come on stream in the third quarter of this year.The K-Flex line of non-phthalate plasticisers are designed for applications such as vinyl flooring, coatings, adhesives, sealants and caulks.
Mitsui sets up TPO unit in China
Mitsui Chemicals of Tokyo has established a company for functional polymeric materials in Shanghai’s Jinshan district. The company said it will manufacture and distribute Milastomer a thermoplastic olefinic elastomer widely used in glass run channels for automotive windows and in sheathing applications, and Admer, a polyolefin widely used as an adhesive for automotive fuel tanks and food packaging. This is to meet growing demand in China for Milastomer, in line with increased use of cross-linked thermoplastic elastomers in glass run channels of automotives and demand for more luxurious automotive interior materials.
PU partners extend alliance
Five years after Huntsman Polyurethanes teamed up with renewable resource-based polyol producer Alberdingk Boley to co-develop PU solutions for the coatings market. The two companies are taking their alliance to a new level by targeting applications in the adhesives and elastomers markets. Initially, the aim was to develop new concepts for two-component PU coatings free from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), based on advanced MDI Suprasec technology from Huntsman and Alberdingk’s Albodur range of polyols, castor oil-based and solvent-free products. The firms are now replicating this model across adhesive and elastomer applications, co-developing solutions based on renewable resources.
More PAEK in India
Solvay Advanced Polymers is upping capacity for its Spire polyetheretherketone (PAEK) by 70% at its Panoli, India, plant. The project, which is already underway, will be completed by 2013. Demand for the materials is coming from a range of sectors including aeronautic, automotive, healthcare, electronics and oil and gas exploration. Solvay has also announced that it is acquiring a controlling stake in Sunshield Chemicals, an Indian company specialising in surfactants.
Lanxess's first US high-tech plastics plant
In lieu of a growing lighter vehicles trend, Lanxess opens its first US$20 million (EUR 15 million) worth production plant for high-tech plastics plant in Gasronia in the U.S. state of North Carolina, to help meet the increasing demand for premium, lightweight plastics. The plant, which will be creating up to 45 new jobs will initially operate with a capacity of 20,000 metric tonnes a year. In the new compounding plant, basic polymers such as polyamide and polybutylene terephthalate are 15 mixed and refined with special additives and glass fibres, according to customer needs, to produce the well-known Durethan and Pocan brands. Due to their excellent properties, both high-tech plastics have a wide variety of applications, including body parts, oil pans, coolant pipes, battery housings, steering rods, pedals and pedal brackets. These highly innovative materials help to build much lighter plastic parts that can replace metal ones in motor vehicles, helping to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Furthermore, the materials enable automobile manufacturers and suppliers to achieve more freedom in design and considerable savings in production.