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TiO2 | additives


Titanium dioxide is the mainstay white pigment for the global plastics industry. Mark Holmes speaks to three leading international consultants to find their views on the current market for this vital product and the key trends influencing developments


Keeping whiter than white Titanium dioxide (TiO2 ) is the most important white


pigment used in the plastics industry today offering a higher reflective index than any alternatives along with good chemical stability. Grades of TiO2


are used in a


wide range of polymer applications and the global TiO2 market for plastics compounds is a highly significant


one. “Unlike paint, which is a more seasonal product, plastics products have more steady demand with approximately 80% of applications not directly tied to seasonal applications like construction. Market


conditions in 2016 have been very strong from a TiO2 producer standpoint, with supply to customers tight in most regions. Numerous smaller customers remain on allocation,” says Eric Bender, vice-president, Americas of independent consulting company TZMI. “From a pigment supplier’s perspective, the overall


market has improved since the start of the year due to tighter supplies of general purpose pigment. Prices have risen over the year, including plastics grade pigment. Many plastics need a high-end TiO2


, for example


consumer electronics which requires a higher degree of optical stability, and these markets have held up well. Commodity grade products are also doing well due to the supply/demand tightness affecting the global market. TZMI estimates that more than 85% of TiO2


consumed in


plastics applications is used in polyethylene, polypropyl- ene, polystyrene and PVC applications,” he says.


www.compoundingworld.com According to TZMI, the aggregate plastics market


will be responsible for 1.4m-1.5m tonnes of TiO2 demand in 2016, which is approximately 25% of total


TiO2


volume consumed globally. “The majority share is used in PVC and polyolefin products,” adds Bender.


“From a sector perspective, packaging dominates TiO2 volume, responsible for 35-40% of consumption over the past five years. The construction sector has consumed approximately 15-20% of TiO2


volume sold


into the plastics market in the past five years. Automo- tive and other durables are other large sectors.” TZMI views the TiO2


market for plastics in three


major segments: l PVC: TiO2


is typically compounded with lower than average loadings. l Polyolefins and other commodity plastics: TiO2 in many masterbatch applications.


l Engineering plastics: Speciality plastics applications, for which TiO2


loading levels vary significantly by


application and end use. Commenting on geographical variations, Bender says that China is predominantly supplied by sulphate TiO2


chloride market. Europe and parts of Asia are split between chloride and sulfate products.


October 2016 | COMPOUNDING WORLD 37 is


usually applied via a masterbatch at higher than average loadings. TiO2


loading levels can exceed 30%


Main image: TiO2


is the


white pigment of choice for plastics


applications


accounting for global


demand of


around 1.5m tonnes


products, while North America is a predominantly a


s


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