Eastman announces new LLDPEs

The debate over metallocene technology continued at the National Plastics Exposition '97 when Eastman Chemical (Kingsport, TN) announced two new linear-low-density polyethylenes.

Company executives unveiled Mxsten(TM) and Tenite® Hifor(TM) polymers that are based on proprietary gas-phase technology. Both are designed to become high-performance films that will command a price equivalent to metallocene materials. Phillip Griswold, vice president and general manager of Eastman's flexible plastics, told PW that the technology was protected by patents and trade secrets. Mxsten is said to be geared to food overwrapping, while Hifor will allow downgauging in industrial applications. When asked about the future for PEN resins, Eastman vice chairman Wiley Bourne and James Lewis, vice president for container plastics, had differing opinions. Lewis noted that Eastman's homopolymer PEN is the only resin thus far to receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but questioned whether PEN would be a contender as a high-volume container material. "These materials will [likely] have their greatest impact in the films and fiber." Bourne was less pessimistic. As applications grow, he feels the costs of the "ingredients" will decline so that "PEN can find a place in relative commodity-type containers."

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