The closing of the one remaining commercial production plant globally of AMAC (acrylonitrile methyl acrylate copolymer latex) opened a void for many consumers unable to find alternative polymers. To fill that void and meet customer needs, MSM POLY is beginning production of both pellet and powder forms of AMAC under its brand name ANOBEX™ (AcryloNitrile + OBEX, the Latin word for barrier). MSM contracted Tiarco of Greenville SC to polymerize the base latex into an aqueous solution (AMAC). Over the past year, Tiarco produced more than 75 batches of Anobex to finalize the polymerization process. MSM currently dries these batches at third party toll drying facilities and then compounds the dried powder into pellets.
During this development process MSM applied recent technical innovations in polymerization to produce a polymer product with properties equivalent or better than the discontinued resin, and these innovations will be built into the dedicated manufacturing lines when complete in 2017. Specifying, ordering and installing production equipment and finalizing facility planning is well underway with the expectation that initial manufacturing in MSM’s own facility for drying and post-drying processes will start in early 2017. MSM will manufacture polymer in pellet form for casting or blowing thin films, for extruding sheet typically used for thermoforming operations, and for injection molding and/or blow-molding of containers and other articles that benefit from its unique chemical barrier and ease of forming, and in powder form for calendaring and color compounding.
Market Sectors Today and in the Future
AMAC is used in a number of barrier-demanding applications, with Healthcare packaging being the most common sector today. AMAC resin is processed into thin films, extruded into thick sheet and thermoformed, and injection and/or blow molded into bottles and other packing shapes to provide excellent shelf life for a number of products where chemical resistance, oxygen and gas barrier, flavor and odor protection are critical. Key applications by sector are described below.
Healthcare: There are a broad range of applications where AMAC is used today and there are few or no alternatives that meet material performance and regulatory requirements. Applications are in both medical and pharmaceutical products, and include the following:
- Transdermal patches, including for nicotine, Alzheimers, narcotic/nonnarcotic pain meds, anti-nausea, steroids and schizophrenia drug delivery
- Unit dose cough syrup
- Ointments and Topical lotions
- Medical waste bottles
- Veterinary / pet products
- Denture base material (MMA mixing cartridges)
- Bone Cement (MMA mixing cartridges)
- Heart catheter trays
- Laboratory equipment
- Blood tubes
- Drug delivery devices (drug reservoirs, IM pump assemblies, inhalers)
Personal & Cosmetic: This is a growth area for Anobex™ in the future. Sensitive perfumes and scents require shelf life difficult to obtain in non-glass plastics. Anobex™ offers the barrier advantages of glass, is not easily broken, and can be precision formed into a number of sizes and shapes.
Food and Beverage: While AMAC's use in some of these applications decreased over the years, replaced by lower barrier laminates that provide adequate shelf life for less demanding applications, new applications exist that require AMAC's properties and performance.