CRAWLEY, UK - Users of titanium dioxide (TiO2) experienced dramatic increases in price during the surge in demand in 2010 and 2011, and in some cases difficulties in obtaining the product. Although there has been a softening in the situation in 2012, the importance of finding a suitable alternative is still high. Melrob offers HITOX as an option, a freely available and significantly less expensive TiO2 to replace, totally or partially, standard white TiO2.

TiO2 is mainly used in the coatings and plastics industries. Recently, TZ Minerals International released the third edition of the TiO2 Pigment Annual Review, which explores the market variations of the product. Previously, it analyzed the tight supply situation customers faced in 2010 and the global pricing increase – by almost 40 percent – in 2011, as well as the limitation of capacity resulting from poor investment in the industry in the past 20 years. In 2012, the market is still unstable – as a report published by ICIS reveals. In Asia, producers have to confront high raw material costs, while buyers are delaying purchases, expecting prices to fall.

TiO2 is a lifestyle product, and growth in demand tends to follow GDP. This being the case, the view of many expert commentators is that manufacturing capacity of TiO2, and equally significantly that of titanium ore mining capacity, will be insufficient to meet average growth in demand.

Melrob offer HITOX rutile titanium dioxide as an opportunity to manage the above risk. HITOX, from Tor Minerals, is a buff or grey shade titanium dioxide that can be used in most non-white applications. It is easily accessible and can reduce costs in two ways: the product itself is significantly less expensive than prime white TiO2 and there are often opportunities to reduce the requirement for expensive color pigments. TIOPREM, a higher heat stability version, is also available specifically for plastics applications.

Melrob is a leading specialty chemicals distributor headquartered in the UK, linking customers and chemical manufacturers through a proven distribution model. The company manages its business regionally with a presence in Europe and Asia.