Nova Chemicals resin offers up to 50% higher moisture barrier

(Plastics Today) -- Nova Chemicals (Pittsburgh, PA) has introduced a new ultrahigh-barrier high-density polyethylene resin for cast film and extrusion coating, promising up to 50% higher moisture-barrier improvement over conventional technology.

SURPASS EX-HPs667-AB resin allows package redesign and improved sustainability for barrier packaging in markets such as snacks, beverages, dairy, pet foods, and lawn and garden applications.

Nova says processors can co-extrude the product and reduce film gauge to satisfy customers' performance and sustainability objectives. Alternatively, they can co-extrude or blend the product to enable lamination consolidation and performance enhancement.


US ethylene margins sustain uptrend on supply, lower feeds

(ICIS) -- US ethylene margins remained at their highest level in seven months during the week ended 19 November on tight monomer supply and lower feedstock prices, the ICIS margin report showed on Monday.

Ethylene margins were at 26.06 cents/lb ($575/tonne, ┬420/tonne) last week, up by 7% from 24.39 cents/lb in the week ended 12 November, using ethane as a feedstock. Mont Belvieu ethane ended Friday at 63.00 cents/gal, down by 5% from 66.00 cents/gal a week earlier.

The drop in the feedstock price was accompanied by a 2% gain in the price of spot ethylene.

November ethylene traded at 53.50 cents/lb in the week ended 19 November, up from an average 52.50 cents/lb a week earlier, as the market continued to deal with constrained supply caused by recent cracker outages.

December ethylene prices were steady at 51.00-52.00 cents/lb, while first-quarter material was transacted at 45.75 cents/lb, up from 43.00 cents/lb a week earlier.

US ethylene spot prices surged by nearly 30% in the first week of November, after INEOS experienced a major disruption at its Chocolate Bayou complex in Texas. The company's two crackers at the site went down on 1 November following a lightning strike. INEOS began to restart one of the units on Friday, but the second cracker will not resume operations until mid-December, according to market sources.


Europe PS buyers pay higher prices due to tight supply

(ICIS) -- European polystyrene (PS) buyers have been forced to pay increases of around ┬50/tonne ($68/tonne) in November due to the tight supply in the market, sources said on Monday.

The increase was short of initial targets, which were as high as ┬100/tonne, but it covered the increase in the upstream styrene monomer (SM) contract for November.

General purpose PS (GPPS) prices were trading at a minimum of ┬1,300/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) to smaller and medium-sized buyers, while large buyers enjoyed discounts. In July, GPPS prices were at ┬1,220/tonne FD NWE, but have risen steadily since then.

Some producers now saw PS as structurally undersupplied in Europe after permanent closures in 2009, which followed an earlier cull of installed PS in 2006. PS demand had picked up, supported by improved applications in the insulation sector, and some production problems coupled with good demand had tightened availability.

In spite of the tight supply situation in the PS market at the moment, styrene remained the main driver for PS pricing. Styrene monomer spot prices had fallen in November, leading to industry expectations of a drop in the December monomer contract price. Most PS sources expected any price erosion to be transferred to the PS market.


Weiss joint venture builds new plant in Hungary

(PRW) -- A German/Hungarian joint venture company has begun to construct a new injection moulded technical plastic parts plant at Gyor in north-west Hungary. At a launch ceremony at Gyor Industrial Park, company executives and local officials formally broke ground for Weiss Hungaria's ┬2.3m moulding and tooling facility earlier this month.

The plant, offering 3,500 square metres of production and office space, will include investment of ┬500,000 in new machinery and other equipment. Weiss Hungaria expects to expand production on the site in due course.

Weiss Hungaria is a partnership formed in 2007 by Weiss Plastics of Illertissen, Germany (60% stake) and the Hungarian company CBSZ (40%). The partners bought the 10,000 square metre site at the industrial park in 2008. As well as producing components for the German market, the Hungarian operation will improve Weiss's expertise in Eastern Europe, according to its CEO Jurgen Weiss.

The Gyor plant is due to start up by June 2011. This year, Weiss Hungaria is aiming for annual sales of around ┬4m and this is expected to rise in 2011 to between ┬5m and ┬6m, said the group.


With new line Russian pipe extruder extends its large-diameter capability

(Plastics Today) -- The supplier of the equipment, battenfeld-cincinnati, says the purchase by Russian pipe processor ZAO Tehstroi will be the first installation in the country of an extrusion line for large high-pressure plastic pipe.

With its order for a complete extrusion line to extrude high-pressure pipes sized up to 1600 mm in diameter, ZAO Tehstroi (Kazan) will virtually double its own production capacity and also extend the overall range of pipes produced for the Russian market in Russia.

At the beginning of 2011, the machine manufacturer, battenfeld-cincinnati (Bad Oeynhausen, Germany and Vienna, Austria), will install this extrusion line, the first in Russia able to extrude HDPE high-pressure pipes with diameters ranging up to 1600 mm. For ZAO Tehstroi, this will be its fifth extrusion line, with the four in place also from battenfeld-cincinnati.

Tehstroi has been producing pipes at its own facility for only about three years, but it has quickly climbed to a position among the country's leaders in the market for gas and water pipe with an annual throughput of some 22,000 tonnes. This new line will increase the processor's production capacity to about 45,000 tonnes/yr and its market share in Russia to more than 20%.