ExxonMobil has introduced Achieve advanced PP, featuring new products that offer a significant step beyond traditional polypropylene performance. Now customers can rethink what is possible in a range of applications, including: automotive parts, rigid packaging, nonwovens, and appliances.
Achieve advanced PP eliminates trade-offs associated with conventional polymers. For example, improving the stiffness and toughness balance in automotive applications is possible; in rigid packaging, stiffness and processing efficiency can now be increased together; and, in appliance parts, high gloss can be attained economically.
“Achieve advanced PP specifically addresses our customers’ desire for innovation and growth. Through collaboration and our combined expertise, these advanced PP solutions can unlock new business opportunities,” says Cindy Shulman, ExxonMobil vice president of Plastics and Resins. “Our Achieve advanced PP launch further demonstrates our commitment to the industry, complementing our recently announced plans for a PP investment on the U.S. Gulf Coast.”
Achieve advanced PP sets the benchmark for tremendously comfortable nonwovens, according to the company. It allows brand owners to challenge reality by providing outstanding barrier properties and up to 15% higher fabric strength that can be tailored to meet the needs of diapers, wipes, adult incontinence, and feminine care products.
Today, three Achieve advanced PP nonwovens grades are available – one spunbond and two meltblown. Converters can use the newest meltblown grade to produce higher strength nonwoven fabrics. Or, they can blend the two meltblown grades to optimize the strength and softness balance of the fabric. Brand owners no longer have to choose between strong or soft, they can customize fabrics to meet product and application needs.
Pulcra Chemicals Expands Offerings
Pulcra Chemicals is a leading developer and manufacturer of innovative specialty chemicals for the fiber, textile and leather industries. Pulcra has recently installed a pilot scale spray bar applicator at its Rock Hill, SC, facility. Its pilot line allows nonwoven roll good producers and end users to study potential finishing effects onto their substrate. To complement its application capabilities, Pulcra also offers an array of testing equipment that supports the hygiene market, such as Liquid Strike Through test, Rewet test and a nonwoven Runoff test.
In addition to its nonwoven application and testing capabilities, Pulcra Chemicals announced that it is expanding its fluorochemical product line, with a focus on medical and filtration end uses. Its range includes a nonionic product that provides excellent alcohol repellency with minimal impact on hydrahead.
With its extensive experience in the fiber markets, Pulcra is able to provide solutions that meet and exceed its customers’ requirements.
Ashland Introduces Conarom B Aromatic
Driven by the need to solve increasing consumer demands for sustainable multifunctional ingredients, Ashland has introduced Conarom B aromatic. It offers a unique flowery-to-spicy fragrance while contributing to the preservation of the wipes products. This aromatic product is based on naturally derived hops extract and the nature-identical phenylpropanol.
Conarom B aromatic is easy to use. It is offered as a liquid form, and contributes to the microbial protection of various product when used at dosages of 0.2% – 2.0% over a wide range of pH values (4 – 8). Specifically, Ashland has shown that the addition of 1% Conarom B aromatic to a baby wipes formulation containing nonwoven (pH 5.2 – 5.4), was effective in preventing the growth of mixed bacterial and fungal inoculums (inoculum strength of about 107 cfu/ml), within the 21-day challenge test. These wipes also offer a unique gentle aroma that could help differentiate the wipes product in the market.
Ashland offers many other solutions for the optimal preservation of wipes and the company has recently launched an intuitive web-based preservative selector tool so formulators and manufacturers can easily identify which preservatives are best suited for their global needs in this fast-changing regulated environment. The preservative selector tool can be access from any desktop computer or mobile device at http://www.ashland.com/selectors/preservative-selector.
Techmer PM Develops Customized Solutions
Techmer PM is a materials design company that works with OEMs, brand owners and processors to deliver customized solutions to their end needs. In the nonwovens space, Techmer offers products for the spunmelt process—spunbond and meltblown—as well as for the staple fiber industry where its solutions are used for needlepunched nonwovens in industrial and automotive applications.
For the spunmelt processes, Techmer provides additives, colorants and solutions to the melt, known as melt-blendable additives. This means the products are actually embedded into the polymer during extrusion, rather than being applied topically. The company’s key markets for spunmelt are medical and hygiene, but it has also worked with spunmelt for construction and industrial applications.
Specifically, Techmer specializes in surface modifiers, including hydrophilic additives, hydrophobic additives and softeners. “These are additives that essentially migrate to the surface and change the surface energy of the nonwoven,” explains Fernando Pena, nonwovens market manager.
Under this line Techmer produces a branded product called Techsurf, a melt-blendable hydrophilic. “It’s a high-performance hydrophilic where you have a higher usage rate and a more effective hydrophilic compared to topical treatments,” Pena says.
Techmer also provides products that protect the polymer stabilization, including UVs for agricultural use, or stabilizers for recycling. Nonwovens producers that want to put scrap back into their system would use recycling stabilizers.
According to Dr. Bhushan Deshpande, director of R&D, the stabilizers can be used for edge trim, as well as for the recycling of bico fibers where polyethylene and polypropylene are used. As a result, the amount recycled can be increased and the producer will be able to get the same type of fiber.
Meanwhile, Techmer’s colorants fall under its Techsperse line. “We have a very strong team that supports the regulatory compliance aspect of some of these colors, specifically for the hygiene and medical markets where the industry is changing very quickly in terms of what they’re allowing to be used in these products,” Pena says.
Anti-static additives are another solution Techmer offers, especially in the medical space, including in medical gowns to prevent static charge. According to Dr. Deshpande, a static charge can cause a spark, which could then cause a malfunction in the medical equipment or a medical device while a surgery is going on. “You don’t want a spark getting on a patient in surgery, so everything that is used in a hospital has to meet some kind of anti-static specification,” he says.
Steve Loney, director of market development, points out that one article of finished product can contain multiple Techmer solutions. “For example, a medical gown could contain the Techsperse blue colorant, a hydrophobic that might repel blood on the fabric, and the anti-static additive to keep the charge down.”
For needlepunched nonwovens, many of Techmer’s customers incorporate colorants, UV additives and flame-retardants into their substrates. Another unique product for automotive applications is a DNA tracer additive that’s used for anti-counterfeiting. The additive is a plant-based DNA that is embedded into the polymer. According to Loney, if a company is worried about any liability, if their product is not being used correctly, or a competitive material is being used and they’re being held accountable, a piece of the fabric can be sent to Techmer where they will test and analyze it for that specific DNA and verify if the marker is indeed embedded in the polymer.
Americhem’s UV-Stabilizing Products Expand Reach
As a result of strategic acquisitions, ongoing research and continuous improvement efforts, Americhem is now adding lasting UV resistance to more products in more markets with their proven functional additives. The global designer and manufacturer of custom color masterbatch, functional additives, engineered compounds and performance technologies is building upon three decades of providing UV protection for the fibers market as they now leverage their expertise across a wide range of chemistries.
Americhem began providing UV protection in the commercial carpet space in the 1980s, but changes in building trends—e.g., more windows used in commercial construction—have increased the need for longer-lasting resistance to the sun’s rays. While driving weathering performance improvements in this space, Americhem has also applied technical expertise to protect surfaces in applications such as marine carpets and boat covers, awnings, synthetic turf, automotive part manufacturing and much more. Across differing polymer chemistries, environmental conditions and surface properties, the company is ensuring manufacturers have the UV stability their base materials need to succeed in the marketplace.
“We are constantly pushing the limits of what our UV-resistant Nduramax technology can provide,” says Vaman Kulkarni, director, Technology and Business Development, Extrusions for Americhem. “For example, we work with manufacturers of floor mats, seat fabric, soft-touch dashboards and door panels in the automotive market. All of these products are comprised of different materials and have varying thicknesses, but they all need UV stability. Given our breadth of service and experience, we are able to provide formulations that suit the needs of every application—and the needs of many others in diverse industries.”
OMNOVA Offers New Innovative Nonwovens Technology Platform for Enhanced Functionality
Current popular web bonding technologies for wipes, such as spunlace and airlaid, do not by themselves do enough to impart differentiated features that capitalize on the rapidly evolving wipes market. In response, OMNOVA has introduced a new technology platform consisting of a unique finishing treatment and compatible specialized binders. The platform will help create properties that enhance wipes performance and deliver differentiated features in cost-effective and environmentally friendly ways. According to Makarand Gawade, global marketing manager – Nonwovens and Textiles Enhancements at OMNOVA, “The list of possible enhancements through this technology platform include thinner, softer, more absorbent, durable, lint-free wipes as well as significant advantages in substitution of substrate components without impacting performance. “
OMNOVA’s new wipes technology platform is a three-part solution that includes special Sunbond and Acrygen binders and the innovative SoftWick SF20 surface treatment. Sunbond improves dry / wet strength, helps create lint-free substrate, and provides reduced quaternary absorption. Acrygen improves softness, hand/feel and significantly improves abrasion resistance. SoftWick SF20 imparts best in class wicking performance, excellent hydrophilicity, and significantly improves liquid absorption capacity, while adding softness.
The technology platform is ideal for use on polypropylene, polyester, PLA and multi-fiber component substrates, and it opens the door to substitution or rebalancing of substrate components. “Current viscose market dynamics encourage substitution, however with reduced viscose content, spunlaced wipes may lose absorption capacity and softness. With SoftWick finishing treatment, a wipes producer would be able to reduce quantity of viscose fibers and yet achieve similar or even improved performance,” says Gawade. “And because there is strong ionic compatibility between all the platform elements, the individual OMNOVA products can be used standalone or in tandem, based on the performance requirements.”