Milliken's Latest Clarifier-Colorant Combo Gets the Thumbs Up from Thumbs Up

Enhanced Quality (EQ) PP Resin with Millad® NX8000 Clarifying Agent and ClearTint® Polymeric Dyes Create Unparalleled Clarity Combined with Production Energy Savings in Top Molder's Containers

DÜSSELDORF, Germany - Leading British injection molder, Thumbs Up (Bury), Ltd. has launched a new line of food and domestic storage containers using colored polypropylene (PP) random copolymer compounds that provide unparalleled clarity. The compounds, which contain Milliken's groundbreaking Millad® NX8000 clarifying agent in combination with the company's ClearTint® polymeric dyes, are on display here at K Show 2010, Hall 6, Stand A27.

Millad NX8000 improves clarity and gloss in PP applications to levels comparable with "glass clear" polymers such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polycarbonate and acrylics and even glass itself. It is equally applicable in products made by injection molding, extrusion-blow molding and injection-blow molding. The innovative additive has also been demonstrated to help yield important energy savings and cycle time reductions for processors, thanks to solubility in PP that is much higher than conventional clarifiers. This allows a significant reduction in processing temperatures - around 30C in some cases - without having a negative effect on clarity.

"The tuneable property of Millad NX8000 in polypropylene random copolymer enables a wide spectrum of solutions ranging from what we term Enhanced Quality, or EQ, through to Ultimate Clarity or UC," says Sami T.K Palanisami, Milliken's market manager for Plastic Additives for Europe and the Middle East. "While UC indicates a step change in clarity and gloss to levels comparable with 'glass clear' polymers, EQ gives significant improvements in transparency and aesthetics together with a wider processing window and improved productivity. The achievements at Thumbs Up help demonstrate the potential of using Enhanced Quality resins containing Millad NX8000."

Thumbs Up produces several ranges of storage containers as well as other housewares and garden items. Chief Executive Officer John McGuinness says Thumbs Up, together with different suppliers of polypropylene, has put considerable effort into offering its major retailing clients high-quality food containers and home storage products.

One of Thumbs Up's prime requirements has always been the clarity of the finished product, which is being achieved by working with Milliken and the major resin producers. But it was the trials using an innovative range of random copolymers formulated with Millad NX8000 at the EQ level that, McGuinness says, "gave us not only further enhancements in clarity, but also production cost savings."

Explaining Thumbs Up's decision to use ClearTint together with Millad NX8000, McGuinness says, "Our own consumer research and discussions with major retailers related to our in-mold decoration process indicated that we needed to look at tints that would not negatively affect the advantages of the new clarified material, but would help further increase the consumer appeal of the containers."

ClearTint polymeric dyes are the perfect complement to Millad NX8000. Unlike more conventional dyes, they are non-extractable and suitable for food contact applications. Nor do they affect part shrinkage, which can be a problem with pigments often used in polyolefins.

McGuinness says the positive reaction from his potential customers when they saw prototype containers meant that choosing the new PP/NX8000/ClearTint combination was a simple process. The company has since begun production of containers ranging from 0.6 to 150 liters in a variety of colors for one major retailer. Strong interest from others is likely to be turned into orders for the home storage boxes and towers in the next few months.

He concludes, "I am certain that our cooperation with Milliken will help create a new market for us and enable the major retailers to see the commercial advantages that come with offering consumer design-led merchandise incorporating the latest color trends. We envisage that demand for random copolymer containing Millad NX8000 coupled with the Milliken ClearTint colors will grow substantially in the next 12 months."

Thumbs Up
Thumbs Up Bury is a leading injection molder of housewares which include an extensive range of domestic storage products, food storage containers, jugs and food preparation products. These are manufactured using prime, food grade polypropylene materials from the major European resin producers. The plant consists of close to 50 injection molding machines which incorporate the latest mold and thin wall technology and operates 363 days per year on a continuous 24 hour shift pattern.

About Milliken & Company
A leading international corporation, Milliken is a privately-held, technology-based company serving textile, chemical, and floor covering markets, and is dedicated to building a strong culture of integrity, innovation, and excellence.

Milliken Chemical, a division of Milliken & Company, specializes in developing and producing additives and colorants for the global plastics and household care industries. Milliken Chemical has application and development centers around the world dedicated to customer support.

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