Leverkusen - Specialty chemicals group LANXESS is expanding the capacity for its premium products in the Mesamoll range, amid growing demand for these phthalate-free plasticizers. A mid-single-digit amount in million euros is being invested in expanding production facilities in Krefeld-Uerdingen by 40 percent. As part of this debottlenecking process, the technical equipment in the existing facilities is currently being boosted by new state of the art heat exchangers and reactors. The additional plasticizer capacity is due to be available at the end of 2010.
“Sales of our phthalate-free plasticizer Mesamoll are already growing at an annual rate of around 15 percent, making this sector stronger than the overall plasticizer market,” says Jorge Nogueira, head of the Functional Chemicals business unit. “Mesamoll, which many customers use as an alternative to phthalate-based plasticizers, has recorded above-average growth since 2005 and we expect this trend to continue.”
In chemical terms, the products from the Mesamoll range are alkanesulfonic acid esters that are particularly notable for their good resistance to saponification, outstanding solvating and migration properties and compatibility with a wide range of polymers such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), rubber and polyurethane. The approvals granted for food contact applications are another advantage. Mesamoll II has been classified by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as posing no risk to humans when used in food contact applications such as dry and water-based foodstuffs. This positive rating from the EFSA is the final step before European approval of the plasticizer for these areas of application, which LANXESS now expects to receive in fall 2010. Once approval is granted, Mesamoll II will be one of the few plasticizers to have received food contact approval in both the United States and the EU – a key factor for the toy, food and other sensitive industries throughout the world.
LANXESS also offers further products that enable users to switch to phthalate-free additives. These include Mesamoll TP LXS 51067 and bonding agent TP LXS 51099.
The new grade Mesamoll TP LXS 51067 is a fast-solvating plasticizer for PVC processing. It is particularly suitable for producing plastic floor coverings and wall coatings.
The bonding agent TP LXS 51099 is a product designed for use in manufacturing PVC advertising boards, dinghies and bouncy castles/moonwalks. “In the course of discussions on phthalates, we also saw a need for action here,” says Karsten Job, head of Marketing, Polymer Additives, in the Functional Chemicals business unit at LANXESS. “As far as we know, this makes us the only major, globally active supplier that offers phthalate-free bonding agents in large quantities on a commercial basis.”
The Functional Chemicals business unit is part of the Performance Chemicals segment, which achieved total sales in fiscal 2009 of EUR 1,530 million.
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