Clariant opens DEPAL flame retardants unit
Expansion targets E&EE sector
Clariant has opened a second production unit for its Exolit OP flame retardants (FRs) at Hürth-Knapsack, near Cologne in Germany, thus doubling capacity for FRs based on diethyl phosphinic acid aluminium salt. The company has made Exolit OP there since launching the product line in 2004. The total investment was described as “a double digit million sum”.
Exolit OP is mainly used in the electronics and electrical engineering (E&EE) sector, where there is increasing demand for non-halogenated FRs for use in plastics that is expected to continue strongly. The company claims that “a relatively small dose is sufficient to meet the strict fire protection regulations applicable in these market segments, as well as to comply with all environmental legislation”.
Key applications for Exolit FP are found in engineering thermoplastics such as polyamides (PAs) and polyesters for switches, plugs, PC fans, structural and housing components, smartphones, washing machines and aircraft parts. Others include thermosetting, cable sheaths and insulation made from thermoplastic elastomers.
In addition to Exolit OP, Hürth-Knapsack also makes the Exolit EP range of non-halogenated FRs for epoxy resins in printed circuit boards. The range is completed by Exolit AP, which is based on ammonium polyphosphates, which is also for E&E applications in steel and building structures, red phosphorus-based Exolit RP for various formulations and dosage forms for PAs and Exolit 5060, used in viscose fibres for protective and safety clothing.
Separately, shortly before announcing that its Californian operations had reached ten without an accident, Clariant Oil Services had broken ground on a new global headquarters at The Woodlands, about 55 km north of Houston. The campus, which should be complete by Q3 2013, will include two 3,000 m2 two-storey buildings containing offices for both the global business unit and North American operations, the global and regional Oil Services technical centre, a regional Mining technical centre and an employee training facility. Employee numbers there should double by 2015.
Clariant has also invested €8 million to expand its Nuva range of fluorochemicals for fabric repellency treatments, at its site in Gendorf, Germany. Based on C6 chemistries, these are increasingly being used in preference to traditional C8 chemistries, the company said, as they are free of perflurooctanoic acid and offer comparable performance. The latest addition to the range, Nuva N1811, has also been unveiled, using microcapsule technology for a softer hand, with no negative impact on abrasion resistance and tear strength.