Dow Freeport reports emergency shutdown at PE unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A polyethylene unit operated by Dow Chemical Co. in Freeport, Texas, was shut down April 3 after a release of ethylene feedstock, said Plasticsnews.

No one was injured in the incident. The cause of the release is under investigation. According to an April 3 report with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the site’s process control computer initiated an emergency venting shutdown of the reactor.

Dow has more than 1.5 billion pounds of annual high/linear low density PE swing capacity in Freeport and 850 million pounds of low density PE capacity there. It was unclear if the unit shut down — Polyethylene 4 — made one or both of those materials.

A Dow spokeswoman said in an April 6 email that the unit "experienced a process upset." She added that Midland, Mich.-based Dow does not provide comment on the duration of maintenance activities.

It’s unclear how the event will impact regional PE supplies. North American PE prices have fallen in recent months as demand has softened and lower oil prices have affected the broader market.

As MRC informed before, Dow Chemical began construction on 30, June 2014 its previously-announced world-scale ethylene production facility in Freeport, Texas. This represents a prominent milestone in the company delivering on its strategy to invest in a performance-based portfolio of technology-enabled businesses.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, United States. Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene, polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene (PP), and synthetic rubber. The company's more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 188 sites in 36 countries across the globe.

PolyOne launches new, innovative vibration damping technology

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PolyOne Corporation has launched a new overmolding technology based on its Versaflex VDT thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), developed for vibration and impact damping applications, reported the company on its site.

The new Versaflex VDT solution enables a better end-user experience in a wide range of products for which manufacturers seek increased comfort and resilience.

"Customers familiar with our Versaflex VDT material have asked for an overmolding variation that expands their design freedom and facilitates their product development processes," said Craig Nikrant, president, Global Specialty Engineered Materials, PolyOne Corporation. "To address their unique challenges, we created this new solution that demonstrates our ongoing investment in breakthrough specialty technologies to benefit customers."

The new innovative material, which offers excellent bonding capability to rigid polymers, reduces vibration that can cause discomfort and potentially lead to muscle and joint damage. The new Versaflex VDT solution can also help reduce noise by minimizing vibrations transmitted from motors and pumps. Applications range from sports and leisure equipment, lawn and garden tools, and consumer electronics cases to kitchen appliances and power tools.

As MRC wrote before, last year, PolyOne Corporation announced the addition of new capabilities to its OnColor HC Plus portfolio. These expanded offerings add medical-grade LDPE, nylon, PEBA, PS and PVC to the globally available palette of specialty healthcare colorants, and are pre-certified to meet or exceed biocompatibility requirements for ISO 10993 and/or USP Class VI protocols.

PolyOne Corporation, with 2014 revenues of USD3.8 billion, is a premier provider of specialized polymer materials, services and solutions with operations in specialty polymer formulations, color and additive systems, polymer distribution and specialty vinyl resins.

New AkzoNobel powder coating can reflect up to 30% more light

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AkzoNobel has launched an ultra-reflective powder coating which can increase the effective output of commercial lighting fixtures by up to 30%, reported the company on its site.

Developed by the company’s Powder Coatings business, Interpon ReFlex delivers outstanding levels of light reflectance which make it very cost-effective. What's more, because the product is solvent-free (like all powder coatings), it also has a lower environmental impact than competing materials used in the lighting market.

"Interpon ReFlex allows you to obtain more light from a specified power input for any light source, including halogens and LEDs," explained Mark Reekie, Global Marketing Manager – General Industrial at AkzoNobel Powder Coatings.

He added that as well as its performance and sustainability benefits, Interpon ReFlex also offers easy application and use compared with other non-coating alternatives. Additional key features include excellent impact resistance and flexibility, as well as good corrosion and UV resistance.

Due to be introduced globally during the course of 2015, Interpon ReFlex has already been proven at major lighting manufacturers throughout North America.

As MRC informed previously, in September 2014, AkzoNobel announced that it would establish a new organization for its Performance Coatings Business Area in order to drive leading performance.

Akzo Nobel N.V., trading as AkzoNobel, is a Dutch multinational, active in the fields of decorative paints, performance coatings and specialty chemicals. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company has activities in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 55,000 people.

April prices of European pipe grade HDPE rose by EUR130-170/tonne for CIS countries

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Despite the relatively small increase in the April price of ethylene, European producers has announced a major increase in prices of pipe grade high density polyethylene (HDPE). Some producers altogether refused to ship material to the CIS markets in April, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

The April contract price of ethylene in Europe was agreed by EUR55/tonne higher than in March, which led to the same increase in the polyethylene (PE) production costs. However, European producers announced an increase of EUR130-170/tonne from March in export prices of pipe grade HDPE. Such a significant rise in prices was caused by strong demand and tight supply of material in the market, which was due to a number of force majeure shutdowns at some plants and a slump in imports.

The April price rise is the second major increase in export prices of pipe grade HDPE in Europe. European buyers of material had to accept price increases of EUR120-170/tonne in March.

Negotiations over April shipments of coloured PE100 were held in the range of EUR1,280-1,370/tonne FCA last week. Deals for coloured PE80 were negotiated in the range of EUR1,280-1,340/tonne FCA.

Many companies reported that some European producers refused to ship them pipe grade PE in April, citing the lack of available quantities.

Production at Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd comes back onstream

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Production at Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) plant has come back onstream at full throttle, as per Plastemart.

With this, demand of downstream processing units is being met, that had been under pressure of higher priced raw materials, after HPL's shutdown in July last year.

HPL's closure had not only created a shortfall of polymer products - different grades of polypropylene and polyethylene - but also forced many processing units to cut production.

As MRC informed before, in mid-July 2014, the manufacturing plant of Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd was shut down after the naphtha cracker unit developed a technical snag. Earlier, the Haldia plant was running at 50% capacity for long due to working capital crunch.

Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd is a modern naphtha based petrochemical complex at Haldia, West Bengal, India. Haldia has played the role of a catalyst in emergence of more than 500 downstream processing industries in West Bengal with a capacity to process more than 3,50,000 TPA of polymers, among which are polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).