Rhodia announced the launch of polyamide (PA) powders

(Rhodia) -- Rhodia is announcing the upcoming launch of polyamide (PA) powders for rapid prototyping and small series manufacturing by selective laser sintering (SLS). This is the first time that PA 6 powders are offered for direct part fabrication by SLS. The range will be extended to include PA 66 powders in the coming months.

Using SLS, designers and processors can produce complete families of fully functional prototype parts, each with different dimensions, one after the other, before they cut any metal for tooling. Once the design is validated, they can even use SLS for limited series commercial production.

Cutting-edge industries such as aerospace, automobile racing, robotics or medical prosthesis manufacturers have already adopted direct manufacturing technologies that aim to produce in a fraction of time customized design parts with properties similar to those made by traditional technologies.

Until now, growth of so-called ⌠time compression technologies beyond these sectors has been limited, partly because the choice of materials available for SLS is much more limited than it is for conventional molding. With the introduction of PA 6 powders, the same polyamides can be used for prototyping and for injection molding.


ConocoPhillips considers investment in Qatar

(Plastemart) -- Energy major ConocoPhillips is looking at opportunities to invest further in Qatar's LNG and petrochemical industries besides working with QP on joint energy projects abroad, global CEO Jim Mulva has said, adding that "Qatar is a high priority country for ConocoPhillips."

The company has successfully invested billions of dollars in liquefied natural gas and petrochemical projects. ConocoPhillips has collaborated with Qatar Petroleum since 1997 with the establishment of the Q Chem I joint venture. ConocoPhillips has since participated with Qatar in the Q Chem II and RLOC petrochemical ventures through its 50% ownership in ChevronPhillips Chemicals.


Ampacet plans new manufacturing plants in Brazil, India and Italy in 2011

(Plastemart) -- US based concentrates maker Ampacet is planning to open manufacturing plants in Brazil and India in early 2011, and add a new line in Italy by mid-2011. The Brazilian unit in Camacari is expected to produce 11-13 million lbs of black concentrates for blown film, blow moulding and injection molding applications annually.

In March 2011, the Indian facility in Pune will be opened with a production capacity of 24-29 million lbs of white and additive concentrates. Ampacet's North American projects include three new lines in DeRitter, among which two will be for colour and additive concentrates and the third to make black masterbatches. The projects also include single new lines in Cartersville and Kitchener, which will make similar white masterbatches using resins.


FRX Polymers opens commercial plant in Switzerland

(Plastics News) -- FRX Polymers Inc. opened its first production plant earlier this year, making its specialty flame-retardant polyphosphonate resin at a location in Domat Ems, Switzerland.

Chelmsford, Mass.-based FRX has operated a pilot plant in Chelmsford since 2007, but needed more production to handle larger requests for the material, research and applications vice president Jan-Pleun Lens said.

FRX's polyphosphonate was developed in the mid-1980s by Plastics Hall of Fame member Dieter Freitag, who was instrumental in developing polycarbonate for Bayer AG. Freitag purchased the rights for polyphosphonate ≈ which never had been commercialized ≈ after retiring from Bayer in 2000.

FRX's polyphosphonate is available as a homopolymer or copolymer resin and as an oligomer when used as an additive. To date, it's been effectively combined with polycarbonate, PC/ABS and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT).


Intertape to open Germany distribution center

(Plastics News) -- Intertape Polymer Group will open a European distribution center in Flensburg, Germany. According to a Dec. 10 news release from Montreal-based Intertape, the distribution center will supply customers with masking tapes, filament tapes, flatback tapes, aluminum foil tapes, double coated tapes, cloth duct tapes, and electrical and electronic grade tapes, as well as water-activated tapes.

The center's presence allows Intertape to make faster deliveries, and to have smaller minimum order quantities and less administration, Ralf Kausch, director of Intertape Polymer Europe, said in the release.

Intertape employs 2,000 with operations in 16 locations, including 13 manufacturing facilities in North America and one in Europe. For the third quarter of 2010, Intertape reported a loss of $4.6 million on sales of $187.1 million, compared to profit of $2 million on sales of $163.7 million for the year-ago period.