The new products include two new grades of SURPASS polyethylene resins for the rotational moulding market, which are produced with Nova Chemicals' proprietary single-site catalysts. ARCEL, a high-performance foam resin used in packaging has also been developed along with DYLARK FG, a new styrenic-based copolymer developed specifically for microwavable food packaging.
Nova Chemicals, a leading producer of basic chemicals and plastics, produces 1.7 million tonnes of polyethylene resins and 1.5 million tonnes of styrenic polymers annually. The new launches build on a fairly solid year, despite the significant rise of raw material costs.
The cost of natural gas and petroleum, the starting point for the production of many types of packaging resins, have increased consistently this year.
Benzene, which is directly affected by oil prices, is used to make styrene. The price of benzene has now reached historically high levels - prices have been rising steadily since the start of the year, and are now double what they were six months ago.
This has had an inevitable knock-on effect on the cost of manufacturing packaging materials.
Resin manufacturers have been passing these higher costs on. Nova increased the price of its styrene monomer by $0.10 per pound, the price of polystyrene resins by $0.12 per pound and the price of expandable polystyrene resins by $0.10 per pound from the middle of August 2004, in addition to all other previously announced price increases.
Many US producers also enforced a $.05/lb price increase for September, and producers have nominated another $.06 for October. Resin prices are therefore poised to move even higher.
In any case, the company will be launching these new packaging polymers at K 2004 in Dusseldorf, Germany. Nova Chemicals' business, technology and licensing representatives will be at KM747, a private venue designed exclusively for meetings during K 2004.
KM747 will be open for customers and the media - as well as anyone interested in learning more about Nova Chemicals - on 20 to 22 October and 24 to 26 October.
NOVA Chemicals is a commodity chemical company that produces ethylene, polyethylene, styrene monomer and styrenic polymers, which are used in a wide range of consumer and industrial goods.
The company manufactures its products at 18 operating facilities located in the United States, Canada, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
The global plastics industry is huge. The United States is the largest consumer and producer of plastics in the world - in 1996 the plastics industry in the US was worth $274.5 billion in shipments. Packaging represents a quarter of this market.
Europe on the other hand represents the world's largest packaging market, valued at $129 billion, and there remains considerable scope for growth. However, the recent fluctuations reveal how closely tied the industry is to the energy market.