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additives | TiO2


can be greater, such as more durable PVC,” Waugh says. “TiO2


pigments used in plastics have always tended to be


both dustier and less free flowing than those used for coatings, so innovations which reduce this property will be of value. Over the last 10-15 years there has been an increased demand in coatings for products suited to water-based products rather than solvents because of environmental concerns with VOCs. There may be parallels in plastics, with product requirement driven by changing environmental concerns, such as lead removal from PVC potable water pipe applications.” In areas of technical development, Waugh sees two


Above: Opacity and UV stability are key pigment attributes for appliance applications


Waugh believes TiO2 growth is similar to overall rates of


pigment demand. “No segments seem to be in decline but some are growing faster, such as engineering plastics,” he says. “As environmental legislation continues to develop in the West it is possible that packaging and plastic films will decline, but it is likely to be compensated by increasing demand in Asia. Europe, North America and China each represent around 20% of global plastic production, but growth is fastest in China.”


Producer trends


Waugh cites a number of trends in the current TiO2 market for plastics. These include: reducing costs (to enhance margins and profitability); increasing flexibility (to reduce the number of grades); and improving efficiency (to offer the customer the opportunity to either use less or to improve throughput). “As plastics applications are less sensitive to pigment colour (whiteness and yellowness) chloride process product has little advantage over sulphate,” he adds. “It is likely that European producers with a significant


sulphate capability will increasingly target plastics grades as an opportunity to fill plants, dilute fixed costs and enhance margins. This will also increase moves towards the less commoditised markets where margins


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main areas of interest; reduced usage (meaning better opacity or UV stability) and increased customer throughput with better polymer compatibility and easier incorporation. “From a TiO2


manufacturers’ perspective,


there is a desire to reduce manufacturing costs while delivering additional value to the customer,” he says. “This inevitably puts focus on the final process stages of the pigment production process, although any steps to increase opacity would need focus on the base particle size distribution, possibly applying principles learned in the production of sulphate process ink grades.” For the future, Waugh predicts that coatings and


plastics will continue to dominate TiO2 demand. “While there will be an increasing market for pigment outside


of the standard particle size range to exploit other TiO2 attributes, such as photocatalysis or IR reflectance, these will remain relatively small in volume terms,” he concludes. “The overall market has historically grown at levels close to global GDP and there is no reason to suspect that this will change. However, China will become increasingly important from both a supply and demand perspective.”


Click on the links for more information: ❙ www.tzmi.comwww.innovativetio2.comwww.linkedin.com/in/petermwaugh


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