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News

'Customizer' technology - titanium dioxide white pigments with additional functionality

Du Pont Engineering Polymers : 31 March, 2004  (Company News)
DuPont Titanium Technologies has strengthened its position in Europe by installing a new facility for the production of customized titanium dioxide (TiO2) products in Antwerp, Belgium. DuPont
This kind of composition reduces cost and improves quality because selected additives are precisely coupled to the custom TiO2 being compounded. Although initial market focus for DuPont is the polymer industry, other market segments, such as the coatings or paper industry, are being assessed.

Initially, the TiO2 feedstock will be sourced from DuPont’s North American facilities, although the Antwerp facility is also capable of utilising colourless or white inorganic fillers with particle sizes from 0.2 to 1 µm, e.g. calcium carbonate, mica or clay, from European sources. The process is suitable for tailoring small-lot quantities of 20 tonnes and upwards.

Proximity to the leading polymer producers in Europe, as well as the company’s commitment to the European market, are key factors in the choice of location. DuPont anticipates duplicating the facility in other regions of the world, benefiting from the learnings to be gained in Antwerp.

As part of the DuPont business plan for its customizer technology, proprietary agreements are made with customers to develop unique TiO2 products tailored to their individual needs. Already DuPont has approached leading companies in the polymer, coatings and paper industries and is actively seeking further potential projects.

Currently, six proprietary development projects are at varying stages of development. The first commercial product is designed specifically for use in polyethylene films, with a major focus on white LLDPE or HDPE film. Whilst LLDPE is renowned for superior strength, it can often be difficult to process thin films at the high speeds and temperatures demanded by today’s manufacturers. “We believe that our new customized product is the best surface-modified TiO2 for thin white film processing, providing unique advantages and ease-of-use for those film processors wanting to further improve quality and productivity,” says Dr. Bernd Zimmermann, global market manager for the customized products venture.

DuPont is also working on concepts focused on engineering plastics and laminating materials, developing customized products with added aesthetic and functional attributes. “Our message to customers is clear: If your product contains TiO2 or other inorganic white or colourless fillers, we would like to work with you in tailoring your product to your benefit, and that of your customer’s. From improvements in opacity, durability and abrasion to new attributes such as antimicrobial and self-cleaning effects, DuPont has the science and expertise to create your competitive advantage,” concludes Zimmermann.
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