Wednesday, May 25, 2011

DSM to globally increase prices for all liquid polyester resins, beads and urethanes

Effective June 1st or as contracts allow, DSM Coating Resins will increase prices in all regions for all its liquid Polyester Resins, Solid Thermoplastic Acrylic Beads and Urethanes both solvent and waterborne with significant amounts, depending on the dynamics of the specific raw materials.

The price increase affects the entire Coatings, Adhesives and Graphic Arts portfolio, including NeoCryl™ acrylic beads, NeoRez™ waterborne urethanes, NeoRez™, Uraflex™ and Solucote™ solvent borne urethanes, Uradil™ waterborne polyesters and Uralac™ solvent borne polyesters.

The increases are necessitated by the fact that prices for critical raw materials continue to rise significantly. This is in large part down to supply-demand imbalances caused by structural capacity constraints, soaring demand in certain value chains and outages driven by force majeures, such as the recent tsunami in Japan.

“Current raw material price rises continue to outpace our own mitigation efforts, meaning that margins at these products are now at unsustainable levels. By acting now to address this, we hope to ensure that we can continue focusing on our customers by delivering innovations and supply capabilities for the technologies of the future,” said Patrick Niels, Director, DSM Coating Resins.


Bibby Scientific Ltd Acquires Electrothermal Engineering Ltd

 As of May 17th 2011, Bibby Scientific Ltd. announced its acquisition of Electrothermal Engineering Ltd. from Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.

Electrothermal, an Essex based company founded in 1941, is a specialist in precisely controlled heating and cooling applications. Using this expertise the company has developed an extensive range of products including heaters and controllers for the research and teaching laboratory, reaction stations which are commonly used by the pharmaceutical industry for optimising reaction conditions and Vehicle Mounted Vessels which have widespread use in military vehicles for the heating of water and the provision of hot food and drinks for troops.

James Heffernan, CEO of Bibby, released the following statement: “The purchase of Electrothermal's specialist operations will enhance Bibby’s position as an industry leader in the manufacture of laboratory products, in particular, due to Electrothermal's proven track record and expertise in heating and cooling applications, the global attractiveness of their products and their outstanding quality and service. When coupled with Bibby’s sales channels and extensive complementary product range marketed under the brands Stuart, Techne and Jenway, we believe the new group creates a compelling offering for customers, both current and new. We plan to continue to support Electrothermal's reputation as a premium brand offering customers innovative, premium products in each of the markets it serves”.


Search for Advanced Materials Aided by Discovery of Hidden Symmetries in Nature

A new way of understanding the structure of proteins, polymers, minerals, and engineered materials was published in Nature Materials. The discovery by two Penn State University researchers is a new type of symmetry in the structure of materials, which the researchers say greatly expands the possibilities for discovering or designing materials with desired properties. The research is expected to have broad relevance in many development efforts involving physical, chemical, biological, or engineering disciplines including, for example, the search for advanced ferroelectric ferromagnet materials for next-generation ultrasound devices and computers.

Before the publication of this paper, scientists and engineers had five different types of symmetries to use as tools for understanding the structures of materials whose building blocks are arranged in fairly regular patterns. Four types of symmetries had been known for thousands of years - called rotation, inversion, rotation inversion, and translation - and a fifth type - called time reversal - have been discovered about 60 years ago. Now, Gopalan and Litvin have added a new, sixth, type, called rotation reversal. As a result, the number of known ways in which the components of such crystalline materials can be combined in symmetrical ways has multiplied from no more than 1,651 before to more than 17,800 now. "We mathematically combined the new rotation-reversal symmetry with the previous five symmetries and now we know that symmetrical groups can form in crystalline materials in a much larger number of ways," said Daniel B. Litvin, distinguished professor of physics, who coauthored the study with Venkatraman Gopalan, professor of materials science and engineering.

The new rotation-reversal symmetry enriches the mathematical language that researchers use to describe a crystalline material's structure and to predict its properties. "Rotation reversal is an absolutely new approach that is different in that it acts on a static component of the material's structure, not on the whole structure all at once," Litvin said. "It is important to look at symmetries in materials because symmetry dictates all natural laws in our physical universe."

The most simple type of symmetry - rotation symmetry - is obvious, for example, when a square shape is rotated around its center point: the square shows its symmetrical character by looking exactly the same at four points during the rotation: at 90 degrees, 180 degrees, 270 degrees, and 360 degrees. Gopalan and Litvin say their new rotation-reversal symmetry is obvious, as well, if you know where to look.

The "eureka moment" of the discovery occurred when Gopalan recognized that the simple concept of reversing the direction of a spiral-shaped structure from clockwise to counterclockwise opens the door to a distinctly new type of symmetry. Just as a square shape has the quality of rotation symmetry even when it is not being rotated, Gopalan realized that a spiral shape has the quality of rotation-reversal symmetry even when it is not being physically forced to rotate in the reverse direction. Their further work with this rotation-reversal concept revealed many more structural symmetries than previously had been recognized in materials containing various types of directionally oriented structures. Many important biological molecules, for example, are said to be either "right handed" or "left handed," including DNA, sugars, and proteins.

"We found that rotation-reversal symmetry also exists in paired structures where the partner components lean toward each other, then away from each other in paired patterns symmetrically throughout a material," Gopalan said. These "tilting octahedral" structures are common in a wide variety of crystalline materials, where all the component structures are tightly interconnected by networks of shared atoms. The researchers say it is possible that components of materials with rotation-reversal symmetry could be engineered to function as on/off switches for a variety of novel applications.

The now-much-larger number of possible symmetry groups also is expected to be useful in identifying materials with unusual combinations of properties. "For example, the goal in developing a ferroelectric ferromagnet is to have a material in which the electrical dipoles and the magnetic moments coexist and are coupled in the same material - that is, a material that allows electrical control of magnetism - which would be very useful to have in computers," Gopalan said. The addition of rotation-reversal symmetry to the materials-science toolbox may help researchers to identify and search for structures in materials that could have strong ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties.

Gopalan and Litvin said a goal of their continuing research is to describe each of the more than 17,800 different combinations of the six symmetry types to give materials scientists a practical new tool for significantly increasing the efficiency and effectiveness in finding novel materials. The team also plans to conduct laboratory experiments that make use of their theoretical work on rotation-reversal symmetry. "We have done some predictions, we will test those predictions experimentally," Litvin said. "We are in the very early stages of implementing the results we have described in our new theory paper." Gopalan said, for example, that he has predicted new forms for optical properties in the commonplace quartz crystals that are used widely in watches and electronic equipment, and that his group now is testing these predictions experimentally.


ALTANA acquires printing ink manufacturer Color Chemie

05-20-2011: The specialty chemicals Group ALTANA has signed an agreement to acquire the Color Chemie Group. The chemical company, which is headquartered in Büdingen, Hesse, Germany, mainly produces environmentally friendly, water-based specialty printing inks and offers related services to its customers. Color Chemie’s printing inks are primarily used for packaging boxes, but also on foils, carrier bags, gift wrapping papers and wallpapers. In 2010, the Color Chemie Group achieved sales of €46 million with about 150 employees. In addition to Büdingen, the company has production sites in Bonn, Germany, as well as in Austria, France and Poland. Color Chemie will be integrated into the ALTANA division ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants. The transaction is subject to approval by Germany’s Federal Cartel Office.

“Like ALTANA, Color Chemie focuses on products and services in technologically demanding niche markets and therefore fits excellently into our portfolio,“ stated Dr. Matthias L. Wolfgruber, CEO of ALTANA. Wolfgruber regards the acquisition as a large and important element in the context of ALTANA’s acquisition policy. “We want to continue our profitable growth. Besides our operating business, targeted acquisitions will make a decisive contribution to this growth course,“ continued Wolfgruber.

“The acquisition of Color Chemie will further strengthen our market position in the area of specialty printing inks for the packaging industry,“ underlined Dr. Guido Forstbach, President Division ACTEGA. He pointed out that against the background of ever increasing environmental protection requirements the waterbased products have a high market potential. “Color Chemie’s range of products therefore optimally complements our existing activities in the area of packaging printing. At the same time, due to the division’s global presence, ACTEGA opens up further growth opportunities for the products of Color Chemie.“

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