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Eastman Experts Offer Adhesives Industry New Solution for Isoprene Shortage, Discuss Proposed EU Regulations at AFERA

Published on 2006-04-18. Author : SpecialChem

Kingsport, Tenn., U.S.A. -- Challenges abound in today's increasingly competitive chemical industry. The current global isoprene shortage is compelling tape and label manufacturers to seek alternative ingredients for their hot-melt pressure sensitive adhesive (HMPSA) formulations. Proposed European Union regulations may force drastic changes in how chemical companies operate. Both issues were addressed by Eastman Chemical Company officials at AFERA Technical Seminar and Exhibition in Brussels on April 5-7, 2006.

AFERA is the European Association for the Self Adhesive Tape Industry and comprises 115 members from 18 European countries with wide-ranging industry expertise.

A New Solution to Mitigate Isoprene Shortages

The isoprene issue most acutely affects end-users of SIS (styrene-isoprene-styrene) block copolymers, an essential part of most hot melt pressure sensitive adhesive formulations. To help mitigate this shortage, Eastman offered a new formulation strategy, which can reduce the use of isoprene by more than 50 percent in HMPSA's.

Entitled "A New Generation of Hotmelt Tape Formulations, Using Blends of SIBS and SBS Block Copolymers and New Hydrocarbon Tackifying Resins," the paper includes performance data and sample formulation tables.

The technical study reports that depending on the specific performance demands of a given HMPSA application, it is now possible to provide substantial substitution of isoprene monomers in an adhesives formulation by using Eastman's Piccotac 7590-N hydrocarbon resin in combination with a blend of SIBS (styrene-isoprene-butadiene-styrene) block copolymer and SBS (styrene-butadiene-styrene) block copolymer. This formulation provides a cost-effective alternative without sacrificing performance.

"The research we've presented allows packaging tape and label manufacturers to meet the specific challenges presented by the current shortage without sacrificing HMPSA performance," said the paper's author, Chrétien Donker, a product application manager for Eastman. "Building on our past innovations and knowledge, Eastman will continue assisting tape and label manufacturers for all future needs."

An Analysis of REACH

The European Union is currently considering new regulations known by the acronym REACH (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorisation of Chemicals). The proposal encompasses an 11-year program requiring chemical manufacturers to formally register the nearly 30,000 commercially available substances listed in 1981's European Inventory of Existing Commercial Chemical Substances (EINECS). The registration process requires manufactures and importers to report to the European authorities detailed physical-chemical, toxicological and ecological properties of these chemicals as well as downstream uses.

The White Paper, "REACH: The New Chemicals Policy in Europe," explores the potential economic costs and benefits to the proposed regulations, which are due to become law no earlier than 2007.

Utilizing a survey of economic impact studies, necessary changes to formulations, and the material and human-resource costs of studying and classifying the existing chemicals, the paper estimates that implementing the regulations would cost the European chemical industry about 8.5 billion euros over a period 15 years and would result in a GDP decline of one to three percent.

"The European chemical market is among the safest and one of the most highly regulated in the world," said the paper's author, Eastman's Leon Rodenburg, manager, product issue management, EMEA region. "The industry strongly supports the human health and environmental protection goals of REACH, but we believe that the current risk-based approach is far more timely, focused and balanced."

About Eastman

Eastman Chemical Company (NYSE:EMN) manufactures and markets chemicals, fibers and plastics worldwide. It provides key differentiated coatings, adhesives and specialty plastics products; is the world's largest producer of PET polymers for packaging; and is a major supplier of cellulose acetate fibers. Founded in 1920 and headquartered in Kingsport, Tenn., Eastman is a FORTUNE 500 company with 2005 sales of $7 billion and approximately 12,000 employees.

Source: Eastman

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