(Sumitomo) -- In a move aimed at strengthening their respective alumina and aluminum trihydroxide (ATH) businesses, Sumitomo Chemical (Tokyo / Japan) has entered into a collaboration with Germany's Nabaltec (Schwandorf). In a first step, starting 1 December 2011, Nabaltec began supplying Sumitomo with its fine precipitated ATH grade for sale in East Asia.
Aluminum trihydroxide mostly is used as a flame retardant additive for polymers used in wire and cable, printed circuit board and building materials applications. Demand for the material has been rising amid new regulations curtailing the use of halogenated flame retardants, especially in Europe.
Although the Japanese group has expanded its production capacity for ATH at its plant in Ehime / Japan over the past few years, the rapid rise in demand meant Sumitomo was looking to secure additional supplies, which is where Nabaltec - one of the world's leading ATH producers with plants in Europe and the US - entered the picture. Both companies said they plan to explore additional areas of cooperation, including joint development of new advanced inorganic materials.