2016: The year's biggest Chemicals Technology stories

Bostik expanded production capacities of its cementitious product at its Seremban plant in Malaysia, and PPG Industries announced an increase in the production of precipitated silica at its plant in Louisiana, US. Chemicals-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from 2016.

BASF and Petronas starts construction of HR-PIB plant in Malaysia

Global chemical company BASF and Petronas Chemicals Group started constructing a highly reactive polyisobutene (HR-PIB) production plant at the site of their existing joint venture, BASF Petronas Chemicals, in Kuantan, Malaysia.

Part of BASF and Petronas Chemicals' joint venture, the new plant is expected to start production in the fourth quarter of next year.

Claimed to be the first of its kind in South East Asia, the plant will have the annual capacity to produce 50,000t of HR-PIB.

Bostik expands manufacturing capacities at Seremban plant in Malaysia

US-based specialty adhesive producer Bostik expanded production capacities of its cementitious product at its Seremban plant in Malaysia, to meet the growing demand for the product in Sabah and Central and North Malaysian regions.

The company uses Polymer Modified Binder (PMB) technology to manufacture cementitious products at its Seremban plant.

The expansion of the plant will help speciality adhesive producer to strengthen its position in the Malaysian market, as well meet the demands of its construction clients from Kuala Lumpur, North Malaysia and Sabah.

PPG to expand precipitated silica production capacity at Louisiana plant in US

US-based speciality chemical group PPG Industries announced an increase in the production of precipitated silica at its plant in Louisiana, US, more than 10,000t per year.

The expansion, which is a part of the company's debottlenecking project, is expected to be operational by the second half of this year.

With the proposed capacity increase, PPG expects to meet the growth in demand for precipitated silica.

Lockheed Martin to provide automation system to ExxonMobil refining and chemical facility

ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (EMRE) selected Lockheed Martin to design an automation system control, and optimise refining and chemical manufacturing facilities.

Under the deal, Lockheed Martin, along with EMRE, will provide the advanced processing design that will be used in the process industries.

EMRE research and development vice-president Vijay Swarup said: "We continue to challenge ourselves by looking at existing processes and finding new and more innovative ways of working using both internal and external ideas.

A Schulman expands plastics compounding capacity in Germany

US-based high-performance plastic compounds, composites, powders and resins provider A Schulman expanded its compounding capacity by adding two new production lines at the Kerpen plant in Germany.

Additionally, the company has invested in a fully automatic packaging line.

A Schulman Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) senior vice-president and general manager Heinrich Lingnau said: "The additional compounding capacity will address the continued growth in high-performance compounds.

ChemPoint and Dow Corning sign master distribution agreement for Molykote specialty products

ChemPoint, a subsidiary of Univar, signed a master distribution agreement with Dow Corning for Molykote specialty products in the US and Canada.

As part of the deal, ChemPoint expects to manage order placement, fulfilment as well as provide technical support for Dow Corning's Molykote brand of products including compounds, greases, pastes, anti-friction coatings, dispersions, and oils for industrial assembly and maintenance markets in the Americas.

Molykote specialty products, an industrial lubricant, are said to provide chemical resistance, less vibration and wear, corrosion protection, and extended lubrication intervals, as well as consistent performance against tremendous pressure and across various temperature ranges.

NEC develops bioplastic material using plant-based resin

Japanese information technology company NEC collaborated with Kyoto Institute of Technology and Japan's lacquerware artist Yutaro Shimode to develop a bioplastic material.

The new material is developed using resin produced from grasses, trees, and other non-edible plant resources. These feature a traditional colour of Japanese lacquerware, Urushi black.

NEC's IoT devices research laboratories research fellow Masatoshi Iji said: “In response to the depletion of resources and food shortage problems, the need for non-edible-plant-based plastics is increasing.

Solenis agrees to buy two Dutch specialty chemical firms

Solenis signed an agreement to acquire shares in two Netherlands-based companies Lostris International and Wester Blend, which are focused on supplying specialty chemicals to the pulp and tissue and towel markets.

Subject to receipt of customary regulatory approvals in Germany, the transaction is expected to be complete in the second quarter of this year.

Lostris is focused on producing defoamer formulations, pitch dispersants and scale control chemistries for the pulp market.

Maroon Group buys US specialty chemicals distributor Cadence Chemical

US-based Maroon Group acquired national specialty chemicals distributor, Cadence Chemical, based in Stamford, Connecticut.

Led by John Wilson, the management team of Cadence Chemical will continue to operate and actively manage the business.

Maroon Group president and chief executive officer Mark E Reichard said: “We’re pleased to complete this acquisition and welcome Cadence to Maroon Group.

Clariant opens polypropylene catalyst plant in Louisville, US

Specialty chemicals company Clariant opened its new polypropylene (PP) catalyst production facility at Louisville, Kentucky, US.

The new plant is developed in cooperation with CB&I. With it, the Louisville site becomes Clariant's largest US production hub for catalysts.

The site includes sales, technical service and centre, R&D, pilot plants and production sections.