Spartanburg, S.C. – In April, Milliken & Company will begin building the largest clarifier plant in its history in Blacksburg, South Carolina. The world-class plant is due to begin operations in 2020 and will boost capacity of Milliken’s Millad® NX® 8000 clarifier by approximately 50 percent. The expansion is needed to meet fast-growing global demand for this polypropylene additive that is helping users to realize significant sustainability and performance advantages.
“Brand owners and packaging producers are clearly seeing how Millad NX 8000 can contribute to improved environmental and manufacturing results. It is one of the most successful products in the history of plastic additives, and arguably the most important in the past 30 years,” according to Allen Jacoby, vice president for Milliken’s Plastic Additives business. Unprecedented global demand for the technology has prompted Milliken to expedite the construction of its new facility by two years.
Demand for Millad NX 8000 is growing in every geographical region and across many end-use markets, with the strongest growth in Asia. Milliken’s investment will enable the company to better serve its customers worldwide and meet dynamic market requirements.
Significant environmental advantages
Millad NX 8000 offers many sustainability and performance advantages over previous polypropylene clarifier generations for plastic molders and brand owners who use it. “In contrast to previous generation clarifier technologies, Millad NX 8000 has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions for plastic manufacturers,” says Zach Adams, global product line manager for Milliken’s Plastic Additives business. “Our propriety technology improves the aesthetics and processability of polypropylene, a plastic which is lightweight, has a low carbon footprint and almost always performs better than less sustainable plastics in a life cycle analysis.”
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has validated that the processing of resin containing Millad NX 8000 requires lower energy consumption than other polypropylene that uses third-generation clarifiers, allowing the UL eco-label to be used on those products. Lower processing temperatures are benefitting users with energy savings.
“Brand owners are increasingly recognizing the value of adding the UL eco-label to their products, given that polypropylene clarified with Millad NX 8000 has been shown to provide energy savings of 8 to 15 percent in their injection molded, transparent products,” Adams notes. “These firms also see the use of this UL label on their packaging as enhancing their brands at a time when sustainability has never been more important.”
Millad NX 8000 creates opportunities to replace less sustainable plastics such as polystyrene and PVC with NX UltraClear™ PP, a type of polypropylene that can only be produced using the Millad NX 8000 clarifier.
“Millad NX 8000 clarifier technology represents a step forward in both environmental and product performance,” Jacoby notes. “Milliken is asking other companies in the plastics supply chain to join us in stepping up to the plastics end of life challenge.”
Increasing market demand for Millad® NX® 8000 clarifier prompts Milliken to boost production capacity by 50 percent.
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