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LANXESS brings color to the world of plastics
Leverkusen - At the K 2013 plastics trade show taking place in Düsseldorf, Germany, from October 16 to 23, 2013, specialty chemicals company LANXESS will be showcasing a wide range of inorganic pigments for coloring plastics. The Colortherm iron oxide and chrome oxide pigments specifically developed for the plastics industry come in yellow, red, brown, black and green. Numerous shades of the individual colors are available. “Our range includes both universal products and specialty products for special requirements. Each product has its own defining characteristics, such as thermal stability, tinting strength, lightfastness, weather stability and brilliance,” explains Ralf-Gerhard König, head of the Global Competence Center Plastics in the Inorganic Pigments (IPG) business unit.
Applications for Colortherm include packaging materials, tubes and connecting elements, cockpits and synthetic leather in the automotive industry, plastics in the electronics and electrical industry, synthetic running surfaces on athletic tracks, and WPCs (wood-plastic composites). The pigments used for coloring plastics must satisfy a number of exacting requirements. Given the short dwell times and relatively low shear forces in the processing equipment, they must have good dispersibility, i.e. they must be easy to dissolve so as to reach their final tinting strength quickly. They must also have high thermal stability, and their lightfastness and weather stability must be adequate for the intended application. Last but not least, they must not migrate.
LANXESS’ Colortherm iron and chrome oxide pigments meet these requirements. What customers appreciate about these pigments is their excellent lightfastness, weather stability and very high tinting strength. They are easy to process and their special micronization paves the way for high productivity, because the very fine powder is dissolved quickly in the plastic. Thanks to the pigments’ excellent thermal stability, they can be heated to temperatures of over 300 °C, depending on the grade, and suffer no adverse effects during the extrusion of the colored polypropylene fibers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also licensed the safe and eco-friendly Colortherm pigments as a raw material for coloring toys and food packaging.
An important application for Colortherm Yellow in conjunction with organic phthalocyanine pigments is coloring artificial turf, which is becoming increasingly popular and significantly reduces maintenance costs for stadiums with grass fields.
In urban areas in particular, colorful objects that do not require extensive maintenance work are in greater demand than ever before. The trend toward urbanization is driving the rising demand for premium, sustainably produced pigments.
Expanding the global pigment production network
LANXESS is expanding its global production network for inorganic pigments and building a new plant in China. A high-tech facility for iron oxide red pigments will be constructed at the Ningbo Chemical Industry Park on China's eastern coast.
Designed in line with the latest environmental standards, the plant will initially have an annual capacity of 25,000 metric tons. LANXESS is investing around EUR 55 million in this project and 150 new jobs will be created as a result.
“With the new facility based on leading German technologies, we are strengthening our position as a sustainable supplier,” says Rainier van Roessel, member of the Board of Management of LANXESS AG.
“The investment project further underlines the importance of LANXESS as one of the leading suppliers of innovative products for the megatrend of urbanization.”
Innovative production process supports sustainability
LANXESS will manufacture high-quality iron oxide red pigments at the new plant using an improved and highly sustainable Penniman process. “With our innovative production process, we're raising the bar worldwide, particularly in terms of water treatment, waste gas cleaning and energy consumption,” says Jörg Hellwig, head of the Inorganic Pigments business unit. “As the world's biggest producer of synthetic iron oxide pigments we can expand our leading position even more through the extended range of products and address the needs of our customers even more effectively in the future,” he explains. IPG will market the yellowish iron oxide red pigments worldwide for use in the plastics and construction industries and the paints and coatings sector.
The IPG business unit belongs to LANXESS’ Performance Chemicals segment, which achieved total sales of EUR 2.2 billion in fiscal 2012.
LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 9.1 billion in 2012 and roughly 17,400 employees in 31 countries. The company is currently represented at 50 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals. LANXESS is a member of the leading sustainability indices Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) World and FTSE4Good as well as the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI).