Technological watch

Color, care, clarity keywords at K 2019 for Milliken

Milliken Chemical will use its presence at the K 2019 show to demonstrate the many ways in which it is enhancing plastics with color, care, clarity, and performance. “Waste reduction and the recycling of plastics are necessary megatrends impacting today’s consumer products sector,” notes Herrin Hood, global product line manager of Milliken’s Plastics Additives business. “As we all work to limit excess plastics use, support the recycling of polypropylene and move toward a circular economy, Milliken is fully supporting these efforts with sustainable technological innovations that impact color, care, clarity, and performance.”

Companies that injection mold their packaging from NX UltraClear PP resin produced with Milliken’s Millad NX 8000 clarifier can display a UL ECV label such as this on their products, reinforcing their commitment to a circular economy. [Photo: Milliken & Company]

Milliken’s DeltaMax performance modifiers for PP help contribute to a circular economy by enhancing the impact strength and flow properties of recycled PP resins, blends and PP impact copolymers. [Photo: Milliken & Company]

Milliken (Hall 6/A27) has partnered with US company PureCycle Technologies to advance closed-loop recycling of polypropylene (PP) resin. Using technology developed and licensed by Procter & Gamble Co., PureCycle plans to open in Ohio by 2021 its first plant employing a patented recycling method that restores virgin-like quality to waste PP resin. This will enable the recycled material to become truly circular and be reused in its original application, as opposed to having to be downcycled into lower-value products.

Milliken also is continuing to forge additional partnerships with other global sustainability organizations with a goal to advancing circular-economy initiatives. Several of Milliken’s additive technologies are helping converters to manufacture more sustainably by reducing energy use, enabling the use of more mono-material packaging solutions, and promoting the recyclability of resins such as polypropylene or the use of a higher percentage of recycled PP in end products.

“Milliken has clear priorities to help create a circular economy for plastics,” Hood added. “Improving the recyclability of plastics for our customers, replacing single-use plastics with durable reusable plastics, and increasing the use of biopolymers by developing products that boost performance and aesthetic properties will help create a more sustainable plastics industry as we work to create a positive impact on the world.”

Milliken’s Millad NX 8000 clarifier for PP resin is a key component in nearly 80 percent of the world’s clear PP today, not only transforming PP into a lightweight, crystal-clear alternative to glass, but also boosts its sustainability by enabling converters to process the material at a lower temperature, resulting in both faster cycle times and energy savings for injection molders. Grades are available that have been optimized for various processes, including injection molding, thermoforming and blow molding.

LED penetration of the global industrial lighting market is projected to surpass 50 percent this year from virtually zero just a decade ago. Various performance factors are driving this shift, which has implications for the visual impact of plastics packaging on store shelves. Milliken is working with a leading global lighting supplier to better understand trends that affect the appearance of packaging and how it can address these implications with additive solutions.

Additionally, brand owners who use the NX UltraClear PP resin can display a UL Environmental Claim Validation (ECV) label on their injection-molded packaging to illustrate their dedication toward a circular economy and toward the all-important aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These proven benefits are driving strong demand for the additive, prompting Milliken to build a world-class clarifier plant its largest such facility ever in Blacksburg, South Carolina, that will boost Millad NX 8000 capacity by approximately 50 percent when it opens in 2020.

By enabling clear, transparent, Millad NX 8000-modified PP to replace alternative materials, brand owners and converters improve their options for producing more recyclable, mono-material products (for example, bottle or container, plus label and cap all in PP). Polypropylene is also lighter weight, has reportedly been shown to have a better recycling score than either PET or polystyrene, and additionally offers the possibility of closing the loop from NX UltraClear PP to NX UltraClear PP using PureCycle’s innovative, new recycling process.

Several Milliken additives serve to improve the performance of the polymers they modify, including Hyperform HPN nucleating agents for both PP and polyethylene. Hyperform HPN improves the performance of recycled polypropylene (rPP). It enables the production of stronger, lighter parts, increasing stiffness significantly when compared to conventionally nucleated PP. It also aids in processing productivity and offers balanced and tunable properties.

At K 2019, Milliken will be introducing its latest grade, Hyperform HPN 715, which will offer new opportunities for PP to replace more-expensive engineering resins in demanding applications. Hyperform HPN 715 delivers an optimized balance of various key factors, while also providing higher heat-deflection temperatures compared to other advanced nucleators. This allows PP to be used in microwaveable containers, under-hood vehicle components and in household appliance parts.

Milliken’s DeltaMax performance modifiers for PP, meanwhile, help contribute to a circular economy by enhancing the impact strength and flow properties of rPP resins, blends and polypropylene impact copolymers (ICPs). At K 2019, Milliken plans to introduce the latest addition to its DeltaMax family.

The DeltaMax melt-flow modifier can raise melt flow by as much as five times while maintaining impact and stiffness properties. This allows converters to increase operating efficiencies and create more innovative part designs with easier flow through molds. DeltaMax technology is also highly effective in modifying post-consumer and post-industrial recycled resins. It elevates impact strength and melt flow to the same levels as or better than those of virgin resin. This enables compounders and converters to incorporate up to 100 percent recycled PP without sacrificing performance or processing.

Publication date: 24/09/2019

Plastics Today


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.