Milliken prepares to launch major clarifier plant

New SC plant set to boost Millad NX 8000 capacity by more than 50%

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Milliken
Milliken prepares to launch major clarifier plant. Photo Milliken

Milliken will begin production at its new clarifier plant soon in Blacksburg, SC. This significant additional capacity will address the strong worldwide demand for clarified plastic products. The company, a manufacturer with plastic additives and colorants expertise, says this new, facility will increase the production capacity of its market-leading Millad NX 8000 polypropylene clarifier by more than 50%.

“This represents the largest clarifier plant investment in Milliken history,” said 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% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) for each of the past nine years,” added Boiter. “Global clarifier demand grew by 16% in just the past two years,” outstripping the growth rates for global polypropylene (PP) resin. “All regions have contributed to the growth of clarified PP, with Asia leading the way.”

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A number of factors are driving this demand. Milliken’s own customer research underscores the importance of being able to clearly see the products they are buying. Millad NX 8000 provides close to 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 more with PP — shown by studies to be a more sustainable option. The current soaring energy prices, meanwhile, have also spiked interest in any resins or additives like this one, which can help converters to save energy during processing and improve production efficiency. As a result of these certified savings, brand owners using PP clarified with Millad NX 8000 Eco can display a UL environmental claim validation label on their injection molded parts.

Polypropylene is not only lightweight and durable. It also is one of the least energy-intensive polymers to make and recycle compared to other clear polymers.

“Brand owners and packaging producers are seeing how Millad NX 8000 can contribute to improved environmental and manufacturing results. It is one of the more important clarifier developments in recent memory,” said Global vice-president – Plastic Additives Wim Van de Velde.

Additionally, the pandemic has dramatically altered many consumer habits, perhaps permanently, in the case of booming eCommerce and the growing popularity of food-delivery services. Thin-wall injection molded containers made using clarified PP – with their lightweight, durable and transparent characteristics – have proven to be a popular solution to packaging challenges facing both the eCommerce and food-service industries. “We don’t see that changing,” said Van de Velde.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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