Milliken Readies Startup of Major Polypropylene Additive Clarifier Plant
Milliken & Co. will begin production at its new clarifier plant soon in Blacksburg, S.C. The facility will increase capacity for Millad NX 8000 polypropylene clarifier by more than 50 percent and address strong global demand for clarified plastics products.
A number of factors are driving demand. Milliken’s customer research underscores the importance of consumers being able to clearly see the products they are buying. Millad NX 8000 provides near glass-like clarity in PP packaging, which improves customer confidence during their buying process, especially for food products. This clarity enables brand owners to replace PET, polystyrene, polycarbonate and other resins with PP.
The current soaring energy prices, meanwhile, have spiked interest in resins or additives like this one, which can help converters save energy during processing and improve production efficiency. As a result of these certified savings, brand owners using PP clarified with NX 8000 ECO can display a UL Environmental Claim Validation label on their injection molded parts.
PP is not only lightweight and durable, but also one of the least energy-intensive polymers to make and recycle compared to other clear polymers.
Additionally, the pandemic has dramatically altered many consumer habits, especially in e-commerce and food-delivery services. Thin-wall injection molded containers made with clarified PP, with lightweight, durable and transparent characteristics, are proving to be a popular solution to packaging challenges facing the e-commerce and food-service industries.
“This represents the largest clarifier plant investment in Milliken history,” says Cindy Boiter, president of Milliken’s Chemicals Business. “Engineering is complete, and we are in the process of commissioning the plant. When we launch production in the fall, it will allow us to address both current market needs and increasing demand for these products well into the future.”
“Global demand for Millad NX 8000 clarifier has grown at an 11 percent compounded annual growth rate for each of the past nine years,” adds Boiter. “Global clarifier demand grew by 16 percent in just the past two years,” outstripping the growth rates for global PP resin. “All regions have contributed to the growth of clarified PP, with Asia leading the way.”