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British Plastics

and Rubber

bp&r jan/FEB 2020

SO FAR IN THE FUTURE, WE’RE ALREADY THERE. FASTER, FITTER, FUTURE FOCUSSED Run this dryer for one week using the same energy as your existing dryer uses in one day. STREAMING AHEAD The R&D Factory on why the year ahead holds exciting promise

MATERIALS REVIEW AND OUTLOOK The monumental moments of 2019 and future trends expected for 2020

COLLABORATE TO ACCELERATE Why value chain cooperation is needed to solve packaging challenges



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editor’s letter

One Direction www.britishplastics.co.uk

It is important to note that we are all heading in the direction of Interplas, the UK’s leading trade show for the plastics industry, taking place from 29 September to 1 October this year.

head of content: Leanne Taylor

T: +44 (0) 1244 952 371 E: leanne.taylor@rapidnews.com Assistant Editor: GRACE NOLAN

T: +44 (0) 1244 952 375 E: grace.nolan@rapidnews.com

Assistant Editor: Tom Walker

T: +44 (0) 1244 952 370 E: thomas.walker@rapidnews.com head of media SALES: Lisa Montgomery

T: +44 (0) 1244 952 372 E: lisa.montgomery@rapidnews.com Senior Sales Executive: MANDY O’BRIEN

T: +44 (0) 01244 952 519 E: mandy.obrien@rapidnews.com ART: SAM HAMLYN

T: +44 (0) 1244 680222 E: sam.hamlyn@rapidnews.com SUBSCRIPTIONS:

T: +44 (0) 1244 680222 E: subscriptions@rapidnews.com PUBLISHER: duncan wood

T: +44 (0) 1244 680222 E: duncan.wood@rapidnews.com PRINT SUBSCRIPTION Qualifying Criteria UK – Free Europe – £249 ROW – £249 FREE digital issues available to view and download online British Plastics & Rubber is published monthly (8 times/year) by Rapid Plastics Media Ltd, Carlton House, Sandpiper Way, Chester Business Park, CH4 9QE T: +44 (0) 1244 680222 F: +44 (0) 1244 671074 © 2020 Rapid Plastics Media Ltd While every attempt has been made to ensure that the information contained within this publication is accurate the publisher accepts no liability for information published in error, or for views expressed. All rights for British Plastics & Rubber are reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. ISSN 0307-6164 Incorporating Polymer Age and Rubber and Plastics Age.

PEFC Certified This product is from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources PEFC/16-33-254



ne direction. Not the teen pop boy band that enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame following a stint on a popular UK singing competition; but what is needed from the new Government in order to allow the plastics industry to survive and thrive in the 2020s.

and the opportunity to compare and contrast equipment in one place; crucial for those looking to invest in new technology, meet new suppliers and make new contacts. The show is now over 85 per cent sold and is expecting over 500 exhibitors once full and roughly 14,000 visitors.

The new decade brings immense change. Not least in the country’s confirmed exit of the European Union and the nature of our future trading relationship – the details of which are so keenly anticipated by those in the industry feeling the effects of ongoing uncertainty – but also with the move to more sustainable use of materials and resources, as well as major infrastructure and investment projects.

It is an ideal opportunity to attend the flagship event for the industry and find solutions to problems, ask pertinent questions to experts in attendance and learn more about the latest issues affecting the industry through the conference programme. As the headline supporting media partner to the show, the BP&R team will all be on site and look forward to meeting as many of you as possible.

With the upcoming publication of the much-anticipated Environment Bill, clear direction also needs to come from Government to ensure that the targets outlined within it allow a level playing field for the industry to enable it to not only achieve (and indeed, exceed) them, but to do so in a way that allows growth and prosperity in the industry; not job losses and the detrimental effects of solving one problem by creating another. Readers will be kept fully up to date over the course of the year with the latest developments in relation to changes directly affecting the industry, both here in the magazine and daily on the website.

Enjoy the issue.

It is important to note that we are all heading in one direction towards Interplas, the UK’s leading trade show for the plastics industry, taking place from 29 September to 1 October this year. The show will showcase live working machinery, demonstrations

Leanne Taylor, EDITOR AND head of content

the big story Dryers 2020:




hen it comes to efficiency gains, most plastics processors would list saving time, money and energy as fundamental priorities to target. So, when Mike Jordan saw some of the headline statistics about the new range of Ultra polymer material dryers from Maguire, he realised that he’d found a technology capable of some stand-out potential.

THREE-STAGE PROCESS Working on a unique, patented drying technology, stage one of the process sees the material preheated for around 35 minutes – much less than the traditional 2.5-to-four hours heat history. The heat at this stage provides the catalyst to efficient moisture release, creating an efficient temperature differential.

“When, working with Maguire, I discovered that these low-energy vacuum dryers are proven to dry all types of polymer materials six times faster and with 85 per cent less energy than desiccant dryers, I knew we were talking about something pretty impressive. There’s also the added bonus of no desiccant to maintain,” he explained.

The second stage, the main drying element, is done by vacuum. Under vacuum, moisture boils at 56°C, resulting in less heat stress on material and fast removal of moisture, a process that happens typically within 15-20 minutes.

“Running this dryer for one week uses the same energy as an existing, conventional dryer uses in one day. That’s an unbelievable saving.” MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE There are four ‘Ultra’ models of dryer to choose from in the range, and three ‘LPD’ models, together catering for both small and large kg/hr throughputs. Jordan explained that regardless of the model chosen, the dryers feature a number of benefits to make the process simple, smart and efficient. “If some of those big numbers aren’t enough to convince processors that these dryers are the most efficient, they additionally utilise Maguire’s expertise to offer further advantages still in terms of quicker materials changes and contamination prevention,” he continued. The dryers offer smart drying, which sees the load cell control match the drying rate to the material process rate. The control function of the cell also ensures no material is left in the dryer once a production run stops, meaning the next production run can start immediately.

Finally, the material passes to a heavily insulated retention hopper with a transparent shroud to protect it. For hygroscopic materials, a membrane purge option is available. “Being able to ‘cherry-pick’ the very best equipment from industry suppliers is the biggest asset when it comes to providing the technology needed by plastics companies in order to meet the challenges of cost, energy and time savings,” Jordan explained. “Having worked with Maguire for many years and knowing the capabilities of its products, I was excited to bring these dryers into Summit’s portfolio for the UK and Ireland. We’ve now got customers in the market using this technology and seeing the full range of benefits it can bring, so we can prove that the huge percentage savings offered are achievable.” www.summitsystems.co.uk

For full operator visibility, the dryers also come with optional intuitive touchscreen controls, which use icons for ease of operation. Users can view all drying features from one central screen, start a batch, conduct a clean-out or set drying parameters from one location.



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on the cover

DRYERS 2020: FASTER, FITTER, FUTURE FOCUSSED When it comes to energy efficiency of polymer material dryers, reductions in consumption of as much as 85 per cent could once only be considered a futuristic dream. However, Mike Jordan, Managing Director of ancillary equipment provider, Summit Systems, spoke to BP&R about the technology available that is making these figures a reality for plastics processors in the here and now. SEE PAGE 4


Editor’s Letter



CAN COBOTS SOLVE THE UK PRODUCTIVITY PUZZLE? Richard Mawson, Specialist in End of Arm Tooling & Collaborative Applications at OnRobot, writes for BP&R on the benefits for business and workers alike when it comes to embracing automation and robotics to increase productivity in the plastics industry.




POLYMER RAW MATERIAL PRICES REPORT: 2019 REVIEW AND 2020 OUTLOOK In our exclusive annual materials review, our regular commentator, Mike Boswell, looks back at 2019 and reviews a year with major transformations, monumental moments and price volatility in the polymer markets, and also looks to the year ahead to assess whether UK processors can expect the same over the course of 2020.



STREAMING AHEAD It was at Interplas in 2011 that BP&R first met the team behind Deeside-based The R&D Factory and its ‘Streamoulding’ process. Nine years on, and following a recent award win, Tom Walker caught up with Director, John Heaton, to find out how the company’s novel waterbased technology for injection moulding has developed in that time and why the year ahead holds exciting promise.




COLLABORATE TO ACCELERATE Where there is no quick fix to the challenges around plastics packaging, acknowledge industry leaders, the tide is starting to turn. Leanne Taylor reports from the recent ‘Plastics Packaging’ conference organised by the BPF in London, during which there were numerous calls for complete value chain cooperation in order to turn a ‘think tank’ into an ‘act tank’.




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INDUSTRY | NEWS BPF online resource highlights how plastic helps achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) has developed an online resource relating plastics to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The project highlights areas where the plastics industry has made a valuable contribution towards realising a number of these goals. In 2015, all member states of the UN agreed an agenda to achieve better sustainability by 2030, and this comprised of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which are considered a call to action for both developed and developing nations, providing a framework to reduce inequality and spur economic growth while tackling climate change and other major environmental issues. The online resource from the BPF covers ten of the Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on those where the plastics industry has the most significant role to play. Philip Law, BPF Director General, said: “Sustainability is an integral part of the plastics industry’s thinking. We welcome submissions to the BPF online resource from our member companies about their contributions to achieving these economic, social, and environmental goals. Preserving and expanding the myriad benefits that plastics bring to our everyday life, while reducing to reduce plastic waste, is one of our industry’s most important objectives.” The online resource can be found on the BPF’s website.

Shropshire manufacturer invests in sustainable solution with HSBC UK funding A Telford manufacturer of pallet and shrink film has invested in innovative new technology to reduce its environmental footprint, following a £1.5 million equipment finance deal with HSBC UK. Eurofilms Extrusion has installed a new type of multi-layer extrusion line that can produce thinner film, while maintaining the strength and durability required by the company’s existing 600-strong customer base. With the growing market and consumer demand for more sustainable wrapping products, the new extrusion line offers reduced use of plastics while also substantially reducing the energy used during the manufacturing process, with all products produced by the company being fully recyclable. The investment will also increase capacity, allowing the company to grow its existing customer base in Europe and the UK by 10 per cent and add a further 15 jobs within the next 12 months. “We’re really proud to be first to market in the UK with this type of extrusion technology. The installation of an energy efficient, state of the art extrusion line allows us to

reduce our carbon footprint,” said Will Humphreys, CEO at Eurofilms Extrusion. “In turn, the thinner, more technologically-advanced film characteristics offer enhanced strength and puncture resistance, enabling our customers to reduce their environmental impact by using thinner films to pack their goods, without increasing wastage.” David Ramsden, Area Director at HSBC UK South West Midlands Corporate Banking, said: “The funding provided by HSBC UK has enabled Eurofilms to evolve and adopt the latest industry technology to help fulfil increasing pressures on the industry to satisfy complex demands including environmental concerns, reduced costs and improved efficiencies.”

The team with the new installation at Eurofilms Extrusion, Telford

Aston Martin Lagonda opens manufacturing plant in Wales Aston Martin Lagonda has opened its new manufacturing facility in St Athan, Wales. The opening ceremony was attended by Group CEO, Dr Andy Palmer, and Wales First Minister, Mark Drakeford. When the plant commences full production, which is expected in the second quarter of 2020, the company will have created up to 600 new highly skilled jobs, rising to 750 at peak production. Palmer said: “Opening our new manufacturing facility at St Athan today is a pivotal day for Aston Martin and a vote of confidence in the UK, with the facility projected to employ

An Aston Martin DBX1 outside the new facility in Wales

up to 750 highly skilled workers at its peak. “St Athan is a critical step in delivering our new car, DBX, which will be built in the new facility. The opening of St Athan is a hugely important milestone in the company’s growth plan and integral to our ambitions as a global luxury brand with a presence in all major sectors of the market.”



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Mondi Group to close factories in Deeside and Nelson

BASF to move UK headquarters to Stockport

forward to moving to this exciting new connected location later this year. “We want to establish a high-performance organisation to enable us to be successful in an increasingly competitive market environment. The move to Stockport is part of an ongoing Future of Work project, which will deliver a better workplace experience through improved digitalisation, increased flexibility and empowered leadership.”

BASF will be moving its UK headquarters to Stockport town centre later this year, after signing to take 21,500 square feet at Stockport Exchange. BASF has 13 locations across the UK, with eight of them being manufacturing sites. Richard Carter, Managing Director of BASF in the UK and Ireland, said: “We are looking

Sustained growth sees Bunting Magnetics expand Redditch site Following several years of sustained sales growth, Bunting Magnetics is expanding its manufacturing plant and offices at its Redditch site, just outside Birmingham. The investment programme covers three separate areas and has a completion date of Autumn 2020. Initially, the entire roof of the existing manufacturing plant is being replaced, followed by two separate building projects to increase manufacturing and office space. By extending the existing manufacturing building, Bunting intends to increase the factory floor space by 50 per cent. At the front of the facility, there will be an additional third floor of offices, increasing the overall office floor space by over 50 per cent.


The whole office layout is being overhauled to accommodate a growing internal team and a new ‘Centre of Excellence’ laboratory. “We design and manufacture large equipment for the mining, mineral processing and recycling industries, and the demand for such magnetic separation technology continues to grow, so we needed to rethink our manufacturing strategy,” explained Adrian Coleman, General Manager of Bunting-Redditch. “The increased manufacturing floor space will result in improved productivity

Mondi has announced plans to close two of its factories, which could lead to up to 208 job losses. Mondi’s factories in Deeside, which employs 167 people, and Nelson, which employs 41, are expected to close by the second half of 2020. Peter Oswald, Mondi’s CEO, will also step down by 31st March. A statement said: “Mondi remains fully committed to flexible plastics packaging and will continue to serve its customers from its wide network of production facilities across Europe.”

Mondi’s Deeside factory (Credit: Google)

with the aim of shortening production lead times.” The expansion, added Coleman, is driven by increased demand. “As mineral and raw material reserves dwindle, companies are forced to exploit less pure reserves and process recycled materials,” he continued. “Our equipment separates the impurities from such materials or recovers the valuable metallic constituents, and we are seeing a significant increase in both enquiries and orders.”


The building work is set for completion by Autumn 2020

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Nolato plans to close Portsmouth factory Producer of primary plastic pharmaceutical products, Nolato, plans to consolidate the operations of its UK-based division, Nolato Jaycare, in 2020. This will result in one of the company’s production plants, in Portsmouth, being closed by December 2020, when the current tenancy agreement expires. Much of the customer base will be transferred to Nolato’s other UK production facility, in Newcastle, with the estimated cost of closure being around SEK 35 million (approx. £2.8 million GBP), with 115 jobs expected to be lost.

Chister Wahlquist, President and CEO of Nolato, said: “Our Portsmouth plant has mainly produced standardised pharmaceutical packaging with relatively low added value. We have a modern, well-invested facility in Newcastle focusing on more complex operations that has gradually increased produced capacity,

including through new cleanrooms. “The aim is to transfer much of the customer base to this facility. That will provide us with a more integrated offering across the business area, and we also see a number of synergies that will boost efficiency and earnings capability over time at Nolato Jaycare.”

Dr Declan Devine with members of the project team

AIT leads global effort to tackle plastic pollution and develop nextgeneration materials

Dellner Bubenzer Group acquires Silentbloc UK Sweden’s Dellner Bubenzer Group has complemented its polymer engineering company, Dellner Woodville, with vibration control specialists, Silentbloc UK. The move is part of the Group’s strategic drive to pursue growth and new opportunities for its polymer solutions business. The new Dellner Polymer Solutions division, incorporating Dellner Woodville and Silentbloc, will provide technologically advanced rubber fabrication and bonding solutions for a global market, in sectors including rail,

industrial, defence, as well as oil and gas. Dellner Woodville and Silentbloc are based just five miles away from each other, in Swadlincote and Burton-on-Trent respectively, with the new Polymer Solutions division having its headquarters in Burton-onTrent. Marcus Aberg, CEO of the Dellner Bubenzer Group, said: “With Dellner Woodville’s pedigree in polymer fabrication and Silentbloc’s expertise in rubber-to-metal bonding, this is the perfect partnership for us.” He added: “The two companies are geographically close and also share a strong focus on technological innovation and excellent customer service. ”

Researchers from the Athlone Institute of Technology’s (AIT) Materials Research Institute are spearheading a major EuropeanChinese research effort aimed at tackling plastic pollution. The Horizon 2020 research innovation project, BioICOP (Bio Innovation of a Circular Economy for Plastic), will seek to develop sustainable, environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional (oil-based) plastic. The €5 million project (approx. £4.3 million GBP) which will span four years, will be led by the AIT, while fellow Irish third-level Institutes, Trinity College Dublin and Limerick Institute of Technology, will also partner on the project. Dr Declan Devine, Director of the Materials Research Institute, said: “Our researchers have long been at the forefront of plastics research and development and have been working on solutions to the global crisis of plastic pollution for more than ten years in association with Enterprise Ireland.”



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RECLAMATION AND RECYCLING | NEWS Co-op commits to 100 per cent recyclable packaging and plastic film recycling scheme

The Co-Op has committed to new recycling initiatives

IW Capital announces £2 million investment in Impact Recycling Private investment and alternative finance specialist, IW Capital, is making a £2 million investment in Impact Recycling Limited. The investment will be used as development capital to drive growth by upgrading Impact’s existing equipment at its site in Newcastle, increasing the level of shift patterns, employing additional staff resource, and funding the initial licence opportunities. Impact Recycling has developed a plastics recycling technology that separates the components of postconsumer, mixed plastic waste to recover two consistent streams of PE and PP, each with over 95 per cent purity. The water-based, density separation process – known as Baffled Oscillation Separation System (BOSS) – is a driver to divert significant quantities of PE and PP away from landfill and incineration. The mixed plastic that Impact uses as feedstock accounts for 70 per cent of plastics produced and makes up 60 per cent of the plastic currently sent to landfill or incineration in the EU. David Walsh, CEO of Impact Recycling, said: “This investment


will allow us to accelerate the growth of our breakthrough BOSS technology, significantly increasing the amount plastics recycled in the UK and paving the way to a circular plastic economy.”

OSO Polymers opens recycling plant in Leeds OSO Polymers has opened a new facility in Stourton, South Leeds, with the aim of increasing UK reprocessing of waste plastic. The facility currently has the infrastructure to reprocess waste


Co-op has announced a new commitment to only use 100 per cent recyclable own-brand packaging, which will lead to the largest ever UK-wide scheme to recycle plastic film. Co-op has also banned black plastic packaging from all its products and – by the summer of 2020 – is aiming to have phased out all non-recyclable plastics to replace them with those that can be reused, or easily recycled. All the supermarket’s packaging will be easy-to-recycle, whether via kerbside collection or a closed loop in-house scheme. The move will be facilitated by the largest ever UK-wide scheme to recycle plastic film. Co-op makes over 750 million pieces of plastic film each year and will make it easy to recycle by developing its own national collection programme for the material. After a spring store trial, the scheme will be rolled out nationally across the retailer’s store estate by the summer. Jo Whitfield, Co-op Food CEO, said: “Now is not the time to rest on our laurels, it’s the time to double down on our efforts. That’s why we’re committed to reducing unnecessary packaging and why our long-term vision is to be a carbon neutral business.”

LDPE and will begin to reprocess HDPE and PP by early 2021. The waste plastic is processed into polymer pellets that are used as raw material for new packaging. The factory currently processes 10,000 tonnes of waste per year from two production lines, but the planned changes for 2021 will see a further six lines being installed.

www.ultrapolymers.com | Your partner from design to production

Cromwell Polythene purchases compatible operation to expand recycling expertise Cromwell Polythene is expanding its recycling capabilities following the purchase of Alfreton-based Moorgreen Flexible Packaging from Duo Plastics Limited.

INEOS and Viridor partner to produce new hybrid plastics range INEOS and Viridor have announced they are joining forces in a UKbased project that will see the production of a new range of highspecification polymers with up to 50 per cent recycled content. The hybrid polymers will be produced by INEOS using recovered plastics from Viridor’s new £65m post-consumer polymers recycling plant at the Avonmouth Resource Recovery Centre, near Bristol. The plant is the UK’s largest multipolymer recycling and reprocessing facility. It is powered by Viridor’s £252m energy recovery plant, which puts non-recyclable waste to work to produce electricity and heat. INEOS Olefins & Polymers CEO, Rob Ingram, said: “Plastic is a valuable resource. So much so that we want to encourage the increasing collection and recycling of plastic materials after their initial use. “Our commitment to take material from this project helps to support investment in a new, state-of-the-art recycling facility. Using our polymer expertise, we will engineer a new range of polymers to incorporate

The sale was made to VickersLee Holdings Limited, owners of Cromwell Polythene, and will enable all parties involved to enhance their sustainable solutions for customers. It follows Cromwell Polythene’s recent move into its purpose-built headquarters and distribution facility at Sherburn-in-Elmet. Whilst the trading name will change to Cromwell Plastics Recycling, the Moorgreen business

will continue to trade as previously, with the transfer of all business interests from Duo. All staff have been retained and some new jobs will be created with the addition of new conversion lines for bagmaking. James Lee, Managing Director of Cromwell Polythene said: “We have enjoyed a good business relationship with Moorgreen for over 20 years. The business is a good fit with the Cromwell group, they have excellent operations and employees are committed to the business. We are looking forward to more investment in the Alfreton site, to strengthen our UK recycling and manufacturing, furthering our ambitions to help grow the circular economy.”

high levels of recycled plastics. These new materials will meet growing demand for increased levels of recycled content without compromise to product performance and quality.” Viridor is using the latest technologies to sort, clean and recycle the post-consumer plastics to the highest standards achievable with recycled plastics. INEOS will apply its material science expertise to boost and tailor the properties of the new hybrid polymers so that they perform in the same way that customers demand. Viridor MD, Phil Piddington, said the partnership “reflects Viridor’s emphasis on working with consumer

brands and plastics companies to significantly contribute to the creation of new circular market for plastics.” INEOS Olefins & Polymers Business Director, Liz Rittweger, explained that INEOS’ development of a range of polyolefins which contain up to 50 per cent recycled content without sacrificing on performance is not a simple technical achievement. “However, it is a very important milestone and demonstrates to the market that plastics can be successfully recycled and re-used in value applications,” she added. The new range of polymers will be available across Europe.

Avonmouth Resource Recovery Centre artist’s impression



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AUTOMATION AND ROBOTICS | NEWS My Gripper is a unique approach to sourcing end-of-arm tooling components

Sepro introduces new products for more accessible automation Sepro group has introduced new systems, robots and services to make buying, using and tailoring automation easier for plastics processors. The new products launched at the K Show include a new solution for moulders to design and build robotic end-of-arm tooling (EOAT). ‘My Gripper’, as it is called, gives moulders access to over 700 components and represents a unique approach to sourcing structural parts, vacuum cups, cutting elements and a whole range of tooling accessories made by Sepro and two other leading suppliers, Gimatic and AGS. EOAT is the mechanism that customises a robot to handle a specific part or family of injectionmoulded parts. Not only is it used to remove parts from a mould but, using a number of specialised components, it can also perform other functions inside and outside the mould space. Tooling may be custom-designed and built in special situations, but in many applications, it can be assembled with standard

“2020 must be year of automation” says FANUC MD UK manufacturers must tip the balance in favour of automation in 2020 to avoid falling behind international competition, according to FANUC UK’s Managing Director, Tom Bouchier. A recent report from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS)

components, such as those offered by the My Gripper platform. “The added value of My Gripper is rooted in Sepro’s knowledge of the plastic injection-moulding process,” said Xavier Lucas, Sepro’s Chief Sales Officer. “By selecting components adapted to the needs of plastic processors, we make it easy and efficient to design and manufacture end-of-arm tooling. We are very happy to be working with the two leading component providers, Gimatic and AGS, to provide a onestop-shop for our customers.” Also during the K Show, Sepro unveiled a prototype of a new, 5-axisservo robot solution as part of a programme to redesign its popular ‘Success’ range of general-purpose Cartesian robots. Called the Success Line X, the 5-axis units will combine the redesigned Success 3-axis platform with a 2-axis servo wrist codeveloped with Yaskawa Motoman. The robot will be available from Q3 this year (2020). Sepro says the new Success Line X brings new levels of flexibility to general-purpose robotic automation on plastics injection-moulding machines from 20 to 700 tonnes. “The full servo wrist on Success

Line X robots is a feature previously found only on more technological robots,” explained Claude Bernard, Product Marketing Director. “Among other advantages, the servo wrist can be easily adapted with simple digital commands, guaranteeing greater flexibility and faster production changeovers — approaching Single-Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) methodology. We believe this represents the future of Cartesian robots.”

highlighted the extent of the challenge, arguing that if the UK does not make a concerted effort to transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution it will miss a pivotal opportunity for growth. “One of the arguments against automation is that it is too expensive, a belief especially pervasive amongst those that need it most – SMEs. But when you consider that we are around 30 per cent less productive per hour than a German manufacturer, then the financial impact of not automating is clearly far greater,” explained Bouchier. “This misconception is underpinned by a lack of awareness surrounding automation. Features such as the ‘I am not a robot’ button on websites are indicative of the general mistrust of automation, and UK manufacturers need to work to

overcome this mindset in order to boost productivity.” One of the major arguments in favour of automation, according to Bouchier, is the opportunity it represents to upskill and train employees, essentially futureproofing careers and creating more fulfilling jobs. “Automation brings a wealth of exciting opportunities for everyone in manufacturing. By being open about the value that it provides, British manufacturing can secure its own future, and help British businesses to compete on a world stage,” he continued. “Automation should not be viewed with suspicion because it drives productivity and is therefore not a risk to jobs. Failure to automate is a failure to increase productivity, which ultimately poses a much more real threat to UK businesses.”




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Can cobots solve the UK productivity puzzle?


Richard Mawson, Specialist in End of Arm Tooling & Collaborative Applications at OnRobot, has 13 years’ experience in engineering and sales, and held positions at companies including SP Technology and Lambert Automation Systems.


ritain’s productivity levels aren’t growing as expected, with a minute 0.3 per cent annual increase since 2008 on average. The result? Stilted wages and hindered economic expansion. A recent report from MPs has revealed that the UK’s robotic adoption is likely to be behind this deficit. While regions like Denmark experienced crippling labour shortages and turned to technology to support their industry, British businesses enjoyed a seemingly inexhaustible pool of talent and traditionally preferred hiring hard-working people rather than deploying machines. Today, the UK manufacturing sector faces a serious shortage of skilled workers, which stands in the way of its success. Meanwhile, Denmark’s small working population doesn’t prevent it from being the fourth most productive country in the world, partly thanks to its pioneering use of robotic process automation. The missing piece in Britain’s productivity puzzle may very well be an increased, strategic implementation of robots, to help mitigate the skills gap, aid the depleted workforce and enhance production output. WHAT’S IN IT FOR BUSINESSES Change can be intimidating – particularly when it comes in the form of large, expensive industrial equipment set to revolutionise the way a business works. It’s no wonder that some plastics businesses are taking longer to embrace automation. While cost tends to represent a barrier to robotic adoption for smaller companies, more established organisations may have the budget but still require reassurance of the ROI of such an investment. Recent studies show that industrial robots can streamline mundane, repetitive tasks, performing them faster and more accurately than human workers, thereby significantly boosting productivity. Moreover, the reduced size of modern collaborative robots makes them less costly and enable an even more meaningful profit increase. Cobots can deliver further benefits to businesses when accompanied by end-of-arm tools – sensors, grippers and tool changers which can flexibly adapt to different products handled or functions performed. This empowers manufacturers to, for example,

automate diverse production lines with a single machine, making the most of their robotic equipment. WHAT’S IN IT FOR WORKERS – AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Industry experts have long called for a cultural revolution that would cause workers’ perception of automation to evolve from negative to positive. We think this may be happening as we speak. A recent report by Advanced showed that 77 per cent of employees would welcome a robot colleague if it meant having to carry out fewer manual tasks. It’s not hard to imagine that employees of factories and warehouses would rather not perform tedious, repetitive jobs and would appreciate a little help from automated, intelligent machines – just as long as they don’t end up replacing workers entirely. PREDICTED 50 PER CENT GROWTH Collaborative robots have been taking the industrial sector by storm, and, are forecast to see a 50 per cent yearly growth until 2025. Their brilliance lies in the fact that they are intended to work in conjunction with, not instead of, humans, taking over low-value jobs like the assembling, lifting and sorting as we mentioned; thus enabling employees to focus on more complex matters like deciding which parts to assemble and where to position outgoing orders – or simply dealing with customers, managing people and so on. Working alongside a cobot also means having the opportunity to learn new abilities, such as programming. Ultimately, an engaged employee who gets to do interesting work and develop into a more skilled professional performs better and is less likely to leave. Enhancing worker satisfaction and mitigating employee turnover allows manufacturing businesses to spend their resources on growing, producing, selling and innovating, rather than locking them in recruitment efforts. As robotic process automation becomes the norm in more and more businesses, British companies and workers are waking up its huge benefits – so much so that the UK may not be the least automated G7 country much longer. Automation, driven by collaborative robots, could deliver the perfect combination of enhanced speed and efficiency, production flexibility and workforce support needed to get the UK out of its productivity puzzle.



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Who is ‘Polymerman’?

Mike Boswell is Managing Director of UK materials distributor, Plastribution, as well as the Chairman of the British Plastic Federation’s Polymer Compounders and Distributors Group and its ‘BREXIT Committee’. He has a broad knowledge of both materials and the issues affecting the wider industry, with over 20 years’ experience in the field.

Polymer raw material prices report: 2019 review and 2020 outlook

2019 REVIEW There were several factors that provided an important backdrop to price action in 2019. Firstly, slowing down of the global economy was clearly evidenced in the demand for passenger vehicles and other ‘big ticket items’, such as domestic appliances. To some extent, the US/China trade dispute influenced the diminished rate of global economic growth and appears to have significantly influenced the Chinese economy, where GDP growth remained in single figures. Here in the UK, Brexit continued to be a major influence on the economy and affected both key exchange rates. It also boosted demand in Q1, as supply chains prepared for the first Brexit deadline at the end of March 2019. The economic impact of the second Brexit deadline at the end of October was far more subdued, as skepticism mounted, and, in the case of the plastics sector, buyers took comfort from a market which appeared to be much better supplied than was the case in the first quarter. The UK General Election at the end of 2019 resulted in the GBP becoming stronger against key currency as political uncertainty was superseded by a Conservative Government with a clear mandate to “get Brexit done.” MAJOR TRANSFORMATION In comparison to the period 2015 through to 2018, the engineering polymers marketplace witnessed a major transformation, and such was the reduction in demand that even Nylon 66, which was thought to be structurally tight, became quite readily available. Whilst the graph on the right appears to show some price inflation leading up to the summer period, this effect is attributable to exchange rates and, in reality, most UK buyers of engineering polymers were unaffected as sellers wanted to avoid the risk of losing any precious volumes to competitors who might be prepared to adopt a more long-term view on exchange rates. The more commoditised engineering polymers clearly depicted the weakness of the market, and none more so than polycarbonate, where prices in Europe weakened to the extent that many Asian producers were unwilling to overcome duty and shipping costs to compete in the European market. However, the absence of these sources of supply was of no significance in a market of such abundance.

VIOLENT SWINGS Again, in the case of styrenic polymers there was a close correlation with Styrene monomer, and for Polystyrene the month-on-month price movements were typically quite violent in nature, with swings of £50 - £100 per tonne being quite a common occurrence at certain points in the year. It is notable that whilst Benzene has some correlation with Styrene monomer, the effect of Benzene prices on Styrene monomer are dampened and Benzene is not consistently either a lead or a lag measure. ABS prici ng tended to follow a similar trend to prices in the engineering polymers market.

For UK buyers transacting in GBP there appears to have been a significant increase in price volatility. However, when account is taken of GBP:Euro exchange rate variation, the underlying level of volatility is very similar to levels observed in the two prior years. It should be noted that UK polyolefin prices are primarily derived from European Euro based prices.



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2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019





GBP Volatility






Euro Volatility 17%






24% 10%










































2019 proved to be an interesting year in terms of polyolefin price action. Initial expectations were that the crossover in PE and PP pricing that took place in mid-2018 would be further enhanced due to a significant amount of European C3 Propylene capacity being offstream in the first half of 2019 due to planned maintenance of Naphtha Crackers – and that whilst any shortfall in Polyethylene availability could be made up through imports from other regions – the more insular nature of the PP market would result in restricted availability and therefore higher pricing. In reality, weaker economic conditions in Europe resulted in lower demand for PP and even the reduced level of supply was adequate to meet the local demand for the typically more specialised requirements of European processors.

Regardless of these geo-political influences, the reality is that there has been an unprecedented increase in global polyethylene capacity and that a significant amount of competitively priced US origin material arrived in Europe and the UK in the second half of 2019.” A MONUMENTAL YEAR For polyethylene, 2019 proved to be a monumental year and witnessed significant volumes of material being imported from the US at very competitive prices. Whilst there is little doubt that the import duties that China imposed on the imports of PE from the US as part of the US-China trade dispute has been influential, account should also be taken of the subsequent diversion of Middle East cargoes previously bound for Europe that were subsequently diverted to China to take advantage of more favourable import duties. Regardless of these geo-political influences, the reality is that there has been an unprecedented increase in global Polyethylene capacity and that a significant amount of competitively priced US origin material arrived in Europe and the UK in the second half of 2019. The arrival of these volumes – and the subsequent erosion of prices –has caused major ructions amongst polyethylene producers with plants in Europe, to the extent that at least one speciality producer decided to extend a planned shutdown, citing unacceptable economics as the justification.


CALM FOR CRUDE A relatively calm year in terms of crude oil pricing and improvement in the first quarter of 2019, prices fell away until the final quarter; at which point geo-political issues between the US and Iran came to be of some influence, although by early January 2020 these have already appeared to have eased. Whilst feedstocks tracked the price of crude oil in the first part of the year this was no longer the case after the mid-year point. In the case of Ethylene C2 and Propylene C3, plentiful supply coupled with downward pressure from the polymers resulted in a downward trajectory as these feedstocks struggled to find sufficient demand. Benzene continues to demonstrate its own volatility, with a subsequent but subdued influence on Styrene Monomer SM and styrene-derived polymers including Polystyrene and ABS.

TALKING MONEY Political events foreshadowed the performance of the GBP against all major currencies, with both Brexit, change of Prime Minister and a General Election all proving to be of influence. The prospect of Brexit happening at the end of March caused improvement in the value of GBP, but the subsequent delay caused weakness until the prospect of a new Prime Minister came to the fore in the late summer; since when the GBP has continued to strengthen.


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There was less anecdotal evidence that both the devaluation of GBP following Brexit and regulatory uncertainty continuing to reduce import penetration – combined with slowing demand and Brexit uncertainties – appear to have led to lower levels of CAPEX in the plastics processing sector.

Despite this recent recovery in the value of the GBP, it is notable that its value languishes far below the pre-Brexit Referendum level. Although the inflationary pressures associated with this significant devaluation should now have been entirely absorbed, in part this inflation has been disguised by falling commodity prices resulting from the global economic slowdown.

From the perspective of polymer producers, 2019 was challenging. Although the economics were better in the first part of the year, by the time of the tri-annual K-Show in October the outlook of most producers was rather sombre, with lacklustre demand, falling prices and poor margins all featuring as part of their woes. The market conditions since K-2019 have – if anything – deteriorated and, with plenty of material available, even significant geo-political events have so far done nothing to change market sentiment.

2020 OUTLOOK From a processor perspective, the year ahead looks quite benign, with the prospect of plentiful supply and, as a consequence, strong competition from suppliers for available volumes. Given the extent to which most material prices have already eroded, any further reductions are likely to be gradual and moderate in scale and these conditions tend to favour plastic converters who are typically able to delay the passing through of raw material cost savings. In contrast, producers appear to be preparing for what is likely to be a challenging year ahead. In many cases producers are giving serious consideration to idling capacity, with particular attention to those plants that perform less well. Even the dramatic move of cutting production will take some time to have influence on a market where high inventories will need to be depleted in order for the supply/demand balance to move back into the favour of the producers. Bearing some witness to the current market circumstances is the rollover of C2 Ethylene and C3 Propylene prices from December into January, in spite of a clear increase in the cost of Brent Crude. (Source Bank of England https://www.bankofengland. co.uk/monetary-policy/the-interest-rate-bank-rate)

UK ECONOMY The UK economy continued to grow in 2019, albeit the rate of growth slowed compared to its pre-Brexit state of being one of the fastest growing economies in the G7. Whilst employment levels remain high, consumer confidence is lacking in both the both automotive and non-food retail sales sectors. CPI Inflation fell back from 2.3 per cent at the end of 2018 to around 1.5 per cent at the end of 2019 and, on this basis, the decision of the Bank of England to maintain base borrowing rates at 0.75 per cent looks justified.


Change (Contract)

C2 (Ethylene)


C3 (Propylene)






Brent Crude


SUSTAINABILITY INFLUENCE A further factor that will be of influence relates to sustainability and, in particular, the use of plastics in single-use applications such as food packaging. In the initial aftermath of Blue Planet there appeared to be little initial effect on plastics demand, however, there now



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appears to be more evidence of substitution of plastics by other materials including paper, glass and metal. Furthermore, the adoption of plastics with sustainable credentials is very much set to increase and here prices are likely to escalate as demand is likely to outstrip supply; a factor already evidenced by some producers of PLA being sold out and more generally by the increasing price of recycled products. CHINA, USA AND BREXIT Geo-politics are likely to have some influence. In particular, a resolution of the China US trade dispute could enhance demand for products manufactured in China – and subsequently – the plastics that typically constitute a major proportion of these products. Here in the United Kingdom the Brexit negotiations are likely to have a significant effect on the economy and will be of some influence on the remaining 27 members of the European Union. The initial view on Parliament passing the Brexit legislation by the end of January has been positive, although the requirement to negotiate a trade deal between the UK and the EU by the end of this year looks ambitious and there remains the possibility of a ‘hard Brexit’ if agreement cannot be made by this deadline – or, if as the Government is currently signalling – that there will be no request to extend the negotiations. ENGINEERING POLYMERS: A “CHALLENGING” YEAR AHEAD? The outlook for engineering polymers looks quite challenging and all materials appear to now be in surplus. The possibility of some producers idling capacity is looking probable and it is possible that European prices for materials such as POM and PC may increase in order to come back into line with the higher levels currently present within Asia. The availability issues affecting Nylon 66 appear to have passed and processors are likely to enjoy good availability and competitive pricing across the full range. STYRENICS: VOLATILITY REMAINS The Styrenics polymers group, including polystyrene and ABS, is likely to remain volatile, with Benzene and, consequently, styrene monomer prices being a driving force. Increasing global ABS capacity is likely to make for lower pricing at least in the short-term. The most significant factor that will continue to impact the polyolefins sector will be the increase in shale gas-derived polymers from the USA. The capacity that has already come on stream, coupled with need to sell in an alternate to China, is causing the supply/ demand balance to dominate price action as material will continue to flood into the European market. PP prices are very likely to depend upon the supply/demand balance and here sectors such as automotive and white goods are likely to be of significance.

The graph below clearly depicts the strong historic correlation between oil, feedstock and standard polymers pricing. The year 2015 continues to look exceptional with a ‘normal’ relationship restored since about October 2016. It now appears that the influence of more polymer feedstock that is derived from natural gas, including shale gas, is starting to be of significance. The early evidence for this paradigm shift is the relative reduction of polyolefin prices compared to crude oil.

FINAL WORD In addition to the expectations outlined above, there will of course be the ‘unexpected’ events to contend with. However, we hope to repeat the fairly reliable forecasts that have been provided in prior years and so enable you and your business to be better equipped to deal with the challenges of sourcing your polymer raw material requirements in the year ahead.


This report is produced based upon the following fundamentals: • EURO based pricing for feedstock and polymer pricing • Conversion of Euro and USD based prices at prevailing exchange rates • Product baskets weighted according to UK consumption Acknowledgements Thanks to the following organisations: - PIE (Plastics Information Europe) www. pieweb.com HM Treasury www.hm-treasury.gov.uk Disclaimers The information provided in this report are based upon data available from both external an internal sources, and whilst care is exercised in producing this report we give no guarantee of accuracy. Furthermore Plastribution and British Plastics and Rubber accepts no liability for purchasing decisions based upon the information provided, as the petrochemical market is complex and volatile.


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INJECTION MOULDING | NEWS ENGEL’s reactive unit now available in two sizes

The dry-cycle times of the Netstal Elion have been reduced by up to 0.2 seconds across the entire model range

KraussMaffei optimises clamping unit for faster Nestal Elion machines A “substantial optimisation” of the dry-cycle time of KraussMaffei’s Nestal Elion series of injection moulding machines has been achieved thanks to an adjustment to the clamping unit controller. According to the Group, the adjustment means dry-running times are sped up by up to 0.2 seconds across the entire model range, leading to what it describes as significant output increases in series production. “This update for the Netstal Elion series incorporates the latest controller technology insights, which we had already applied to the Netstal Elios series,” said Renzo Davatz, CEO of KraussMaffei HighPerformance AG. The additional speed is made possible through optimisation of the acceleration and deceleration ramps for the clamping unit drive. This results in the maximum moving speed being reached faster than previously – and being maintained longer – before the moving mould plate decelerates and the toggle lever mechanism transitions to building up the clamping force. However, a shorter dry-cycle time does not automatically mean a faster cycle under real production conditions. Davatz says this is why the new control algorithm takes into account the potential tool weight based on the set installation height and incorporates it in the control of the acceleration and deceleration process. “This allows our customers to further speed up the production

Even before the update, the Netstal Elion already provided our customers across the globe with the highestperformance solution for closure applications. Thanks to the optimised clamping unit control, users now benefit from additional increases in the effectiveness of the machines

cycles on their Netstal Elion and, as a result, achieve further productivity increases,” he explained. In practice, this means that a Netstal Elion 4200 model with a 96-cavity mould producing type 29/25 HDPE closures weighing 1.23grams each could see the cycle shortened from 2.77 seconds to 2.6 seconds thanks to the optimised control. The hourly output in this instance would increase from 124,750 to 132,920 closures, which equals an increase in productivity of 6.5 percent. “Even before the update, the Netstal Elion already provided our customers across the globe with the highest-performance solution for closure applications. Thanks to the optimised clamping unit control, users now benefit from additional increases in the effectiveness of the machines,” concluded Davatz.

Engel has expanded the options offered by its reactive unit designed for the preparation and injection of ε Caprolactam, by offering it in an additional size. Used as part of in-situ polymerisation in the production of fibre-reinforced plastic components with a thermoplastic polyamide matrix, the unit ensures process efficiency and quality of the end product. The range of applications for in-situ polymerisation extends from small parts with thin wall thicknesses through to large, highly stressed structural elements in lightweight automotive engineering, automotive electronics, technical moulding and sports equipment manufacturing. Engel says the new size helps cover an even wider range of applications, meaning it can support its customers from product and process development, through scale-up to series production. The new smaller reactive unit is able to handle matrix volumes between 10 and 600 cm3, offering flexibility within testing facilities in the production of test parts, specimens and parts up to weights of one and a half kilograms. The second, larger unit can produce matrix volumes of up to 1500cm3. Both sizes of the reactive unit can be combined with Engel injection moulding machines from all series. A retrofitting option is available for injection moulding machines with the CC300 control unit. Complete control integration ensures that the entire process can be managed centrally on the machine display. Optionally, the reactive unit can be operated as a stand-alone system with its own CC300 control unit.

Engel has expanded the options offered by its reactive unit



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celebrating 180 years Q: How does the dedusting of granulate work? For the production of high quality parts, fine dedusting of the material may be required at the end of the conveying process, even if the material is virgin material. In this case, a so-called inline dedusting unit on the machine with a dedusting attachment installed on the material loader is advisable. The material is dedusted while it is being conveyed in the material loader. When the granulate enters the dedusting module the material speed (see image, fig 1) is reduced due to the larger cross section at the inlet. The granulate then falls through a perforated pipe (see image, fig 3). The vacuum air circulates around this pipe, causing the material to move circulate in a cyclone-like movement (see image, fig 2). This separates the granulate from the dust particles, which are then sucked away through the perforated pipe (see image, fig 4). The dedusted material falls into the material loader (see image, fig 5), while the dust particles are conveyed via the vacuum output to the central filter before the vacuum pump.

METRO-G valve dedusting

Wittmann Battenfeld UK continues relationship with Linear Plastics Linear Plastics ended 2019 with an order for two new production cells supplied by Wittmann Battenfeld UK. The new injection moulding cells will help the South Wales-based business handle the recent increase in its order book and are built using machines from the SmartPower range, as well as Wittmann robots and automation. Daniel Williams, Wittmann Battenfeld UK Director, said the SmartPower machine range is enjoying “iconic status” currently, and going from strength to strength with plastics processors. “We are delighted to see Linear reaping the rewards of its hard

An alternative version is a material loader without filters. Here, the material containing dust is decelerated with an integrated reflector. The material falls due to gravity into the precipitator, while the dust is sucked up by the air flow and is also collected in the central filter. The central filter protects the vacuum pump. Regular cleaning is important here, the same as with all filters. Automated implosion purging is common, because neither air nor dust is released into the environment. The central filter is connected to the vacuum pump via the air outlet. The dusty air is sucked in from the material feed lines and the material loaders via the air inlet. The tangentially arranged inlet creates a cyclone effect, which already separates some of the dust particles that then fall into the dust collection bin. The filter cartridge separates the remaining dust from the vacuum air before it leaves the central filter. In order to clean the filter cartridge, the material inlet valve of the central filter closes. This causes vacuum to build up in the filter. Next, a bypass valve is opened, so that air from the environment enters abruptly, causing an implosion that cleans the filter. This cleaning process normally occurs after every conveying cycle. Central filters are often equipped with pressure control. This measures the pressure difference between air inlet and air outlet and therefore monitors the state of the filter cartridge.

work and further investing in the SmartPower capability,” he explained. “Not only do we deliver at a good price point, but, unlike the competition, all our machines may have options retrofitted at any later point in time if the customer so wishes.” Andrew Harrison, Linear Plastics General Manager, said: “Our latest purchases not only give us the benefit of the one-stop-shop approach, we also gain from the synergies between all pieces of equipment.” He added: “The exceptionally wide mould tool area allows us to make the very most of our two new machines, enabling to punch far above the 120-tonne weight.” Where the robots are concerned, Harrison said the Wittmann offering

in line with expectations. “The R8 and B8 controls are intuitive and easy to operate and the standard Servo Motor is very welcome,” he said. “A small footprint and a very energy efficient operation also adds to the benefits.”

The two new production cells ordered by Linear Plastics



© Stäubli 07/2019 - GettyImages/Westend61

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Q: What makes LSR so different to other moulding materials? A: LSR is a fairly unique material in that it remains flexible and elastic down to -50°C, yet also retains its properties up to 200°C. This is why LSR is starting to be used more extensively in encapsulated electronic components, cables etc. where insulation is required for user safety. Additionally, LSR stands up well to UV and chemical exposure. Because of all these features, LSR is a good material for automotive electronic components, such as headlight components, sealings and engine components. It also enables manufacturers to achieve geometries and technical features not previously possible, such as the moulding of complex optical surfaces onto a light guide for a matrix headlight, something demonstrated recently by Sumitomo (SHI) Demag at K 2019 in October We are starting to see high transparency grades being used in environments with powerful LED lighting, such as street and stadium lighting, as well as vehicle headlights, particularly in premium cars. Q: How can LSR be used in medical applications? A: For many years LSR has been used in the baby care market, for pacifiers and bottle teats. Now, LSR is being used to create implantable devices, wearables to track blood pressure or heart rates, as well as smaller medical devices with more intricate designs and micro parts. One of the key characteristics of LSR is its biocompatibility and the fact it is bacteria resistant, hydrophobic and odourless and can withstand repeatable sterilisation at high heat. All of which lend the material well to healthcare applications. Q: Can you overmould with LSR? A: Yes, overmoulding works extremely well for a number of devices that require special aesthetics, for example a comfortable soft touch grip on tool handles or disposable razors. The ability to add adhesion to the material assists with this, and helps to reduce the number of production steps for a moulder. Critically, LSR can be moulded onto both bondable and non-bondable materials, including metal, glass and ceramics. This assists with manufacturing efficiency, helping to reduce the number of individual components and consequently reduce assembly costs. Q: How does the processing of LSR vary to other materials? A: The low viscosity of the LSR material requires

high precision processing. Compared to polymer granules, LSR is almost honey-like in consistency. In that respect it behaves in the opposite way to conventional polymers during the moulding cycle. To keep LSR in its semiliquid state before it arrives in the mould, the injection barrel is water-cooled. Once it arrives in the mould, the LSR is heated and cured. Q: Is specialist equipment required? A: Yes, in order to mix and process the Sumitomo material, you do need specialist equipment (SHI) that can deliver the stability required to handle Demag an optical grade silicone material. Although demonstrated there are examples where traditional moulding the process machines have been adapted with an LSR of moulding injection unit, moulders may find that part a matrix quality or efficiency is compromised. light at For this reason, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag recently launched a ready-to-use precision IntElect LSR injection moulding package. Unveiled at K 2019, the all-electric IntElect 130 is equipped with a special screw, a non-return valve, vacuum pump and toggle technology. The cell was developed in collaboration with a number of partners that are dedicated to the LSR marketplace, including Nexus.


Q: Do I need a cleanroom? A: Typically, a standard all-electric moulding machine is an enclosed cell and therefore holds little risk with regard to cleanliness. However, parts being produced for the medical and life sciences sector are governed by stricter manufacturing hygiene guidelines. These instances may require investment in a certified cleanroom, limiting exposure to airborne particulates, contaminants and pollutants. Q: Are any other applications suited to LSR? A: Pet chew toys and other canine products, such as collapsible water bowls and slow feeders are just a few of the products being marketed now that use LSR. Primarily, the material is chosen for its durability. It’s reliable and stands up well to chewy teeth, making it safe for pets. It’s also visually appealing, as texture and nodules can be easily incorporated into designs. Food grade silicone rubber is also used a lot in baking and homeware. Its not-stick nature lends the material well to kitchen utensils, as well as gaskets and seals.





celebrating 180 years




he patented Streamoulding process involves the lightweighting of materials using a piece of retrofit equipment that injects a small amount of water into the polymer as it is processed through the nozzle of an injection moulding machine, a method that can save up to ten per cent in weight while also reducing cycle times, energy costs and the use of polymers. The R & D Factory, which recently won the ‘BPF Award’ in the 2019 Horners Award for Design and Innovation in Plastics, has steadily but surely perfected the technology, and the opening of a new decade provides the perfect time for the company to cement itself as a serious option for injection moulders. John Heaton, Director of The R & D Factory, said: “Over the years whilst developing Streamoulding, we came up against challenges for which there were no precedents or readymade solutions. We had to design our way around the problems, so it was quite a long gestation period to get to a working prototype.” He continued: “During this period, we’ve worked with a number of companies who made available production time on their machines to make sure that the design of Streamoulding was robust, consistent, and had all the qualities needed to be a viable commercial proposition. “We’ve been through that process now, and in the last two years we’ve started to launch the technology with confidence, and we’re now gaining traction on a commercial basis.” A RADICAL IDEA As Heaton mentions, the technology did have challenges in its infancy, mainly centring around the radical idea of involving water in the injection moulding process. He said: “Injection moulders always try and stay away from any moisture in the polymer, so we were turning this normal practice completely

The R&D Factory’s John Heaton (left) receiving the BPF Award for Streamoulding


on its head. It was important for us to gauge the reaction of our potential customers, as well as exploring how successful Streamoulding would be in a normal production situation. “Getting feedback was imperative, and we made changes to our original prototype on the basis of what some very helpful people, partners, and companies said to us. “Unusual or not, this process was the right thing to do to try and get something that is completely new to the market as a truly commercial product, and we can now be confident that we’ve tested it in a practical way, rather than developing what we thought might be the best solution and then finding out it was not commercially acceptable.” EASE OF USE One benefit of the Streamoulding process is its ease of use, whereby the nozzle can be universally retrofitted to any injection moulding machine on the market. Heaton said: “The time it takes to fit to a moulding machine can be as little as an hour, and all that it involves is just removing the old nozzle, installing the Streamoulding mixing nozzle, and connecting up to our control unit. “You can also mould normally through the Streamoulding mixing nozzle, meaning you’ve got the versatility of doing Streamoulding or traditional injection moulding on the same machine, and the flexibility of moving the equipment to another machine. “The technology works well with a wide range of virgin and recycled materials, which is obviously extremely important and, again, there’s versatility with it because the Streamoulded products can also be recycled as well.” SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION The use of recycled materials is something that has been part of the technology since its inception, albeit not with the prominence it holds at the current moment, especially regarding forthcoming legislation. “When we began, it was on my agenda, yes, but at the time it wasn’t as high up as it is now. Originally [the product] was driven by cost-saving, but there are other benefits, such as reduced cycle time, reduction in energy use, ease of recyclability, and of course the green element of it,” Heaton explained.




celebrating 180 years

Our process has something to offer to both moulding companies and their customers, which is to be greener at a reduced cost, which is a very good position to be in.”

He added: “I’ve been in touch with a number of retailers who absolutely love the green aspect of Streamoulding, but in most cases the priority for moulding companies is to control operating costs to maintain profitability. It’s a bit of a dichotomy. “Our process has something to offer to both moulding companies and their customers, which is to be greener at a reduced cost, which is a very good position to be in.” AUTOMOTIVE ASSESSMENT As 2020 begins, it provides a key time for R&D to move forward towards one of its major objectives; achieving approval for use of its technology in the automotive sector, for which it has already partnered with a well-established company, Heaton said: “We’ve signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Rosti Automotive, a major first tier supplier to the automotive industry. They are in the middle of a 12-month technical assessment of Streamoulding, which is due to be completed in the middle of 2020. “Once that project is finished, they’ll have already identified a significant number of applications for the Streamoulding technology within their product range, so that’s very exciting for us.” He continued: “On a commercial basis it will be significant, not only because we’ll sell them quite

Streamoulding nozzle

a bit of equipment, but because they are also sharing all the technical and testing information with us. “This is key, because it gives us a clear marker for what our technology can achieve, and it’ll be a major manufacturer providing the data, which adds a huge amount of credibility when you’ve got a new piece of technology in the marketplace.” A BIG YEAR Partnering with other UK plastics industry players is enabling the company to grow and develop, making for an interesting year ahead. “To further help us commercially we have formed close relationships with Ultrapolymers, who offer us advice on materials and processing, and Romi Machines. We have a further exciting development project planned for later in the year,” Heaton explained. “With these building blocks in place we’re expecting to see a really strong increase in our commercial activity to make it a big year for The R & D Factory,” he concluded.



PACKAGING | NEWS New WRAP report shows where UK Plastics Pact members stand against targets WRAP has published its first annual report and baseline data for The UK Plastics Pact, giving a clear indication of members’ starting position towards the four targets, as well as where the biggest challenges lie. The 2018/19 report and data shows that one billion problematic and unnecessary single use plastic items are to be eliminated by the end of 2020, and that Pact members are over halfway towards all their packaging being recyclable, with the UK itself over halfway towards recycling 70 per cent of plastic packaging.

Retaining the valuable role plastic packaging plays, especially in preventing food waste, is crucial. We can’t gamble with the climate in our desire to tackle plastic pollution.”

WRAP says the figures show members are committed to the targets for plastics packaging (Credit: WRAP)

Members are also a third of the way towards an average of 30 per cent recycled content in their plastic packaging, but the report shows that some highly complex challenges remain, such as developing a recycling system for films and flexible packaging. WRAP says meeting the Pact’s four targets by 2025 will not only result in a circular economy for plastics, but also a reduction in virgin plastic production. This will be achieved not solely through increasing the levels of recycled content in packaging and products, but also as a result of refill solutions and moving away from problematic or unnecessary plastics. Marcus Gover, CEO of WRAP, said he is proud of the progress that the Pact has made so far. “But there is no magic wand, we’re unpicking a highly complex and well-established system

Trinseo and Greiner Packaging to advance implementation of recycled polystyrene in packaging Trinseo has announced a collaboration with Greiner Packaging, to advance the implementation of recycled polystyrene used in packaging applications. The joint project aims to demonstrate the circularity of polystyrene by utilising recycled material to develop and test recycled polystyrene packaging. Nicolas Joly, Global Business Director for Polystyrene and

Trinseo and Greiner Packaging will collaborate to produce recycled polystyrene for packaging

Feedstocks at Trinseo, said: “We are pleased to announce this collaboration with Greiner Packaging and are encouraged by the great

and making sure that we don’t simply displace the environmental cost elsewhere,” he explained. “Retaining the valuable role plastic packaging plays, especially in preventing food waste, is crucial. We can’t gamble with the climate in our desire to tackle plastic pollution.” Gover said the Pact members have shown that they’re committed to the challenge at hand and that the report demonstrates the breadth of action so far on tackling plastic waste. “These aren’t token gestures, changes like these require a huge amount of investment and innovation. It shows that our members are working collaboratively towards the same goal,” he added. “Moving forward we face significant challenges, particularly around films and flexible packaging, increasingly recycling, and development of re-use and refill models.”

momentum it will bring to close the loop with recycled content.” Trinseo is already involved in several partnerships related to PS recycling, including building a chemical recycling facility in Europe and planning to offer an average 30 per cent recycled content to customers for PS packaging in Europe by 2025. Gernot Desch, Category Manager for Plastics at Greiner Packaging, said: “We are aware of our responsibility and therefore focus on sustainable actions and solutions for a circular economy at all product groups. With our strategy, we want to show that sustainability and plastics do not conflict with one another.”



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Britvic to invest £5million in UK rPET manufacturing facilities

Following the opening of its Silverstone site ePac will open a second UK facility

ePac Flexible Packaging announces second UK site Digital flexible packaging specialist, ePac Holdings Europe, has announced its latest plans to extend its reach, including a second UK site for serving customers in the North of England. This follows the opening of the company’s Silverstone site in the Midlands, which is now operational and successfully producing digitally printed pouches and roll stock. John Peat, Managing Director and Managing Partner of ePac UK, said: “I’m very pleased to say that we are in the process of establishing our second site in the UK, scheduled to open in the second half of 2020. Right from the start, it has been the plan to cover each region with its own facility. We have the ability to replicate this flexible platform and service model anywhere but mould it to fit the different regions and countries.” He added: “Building on the huge success in the US and the first site here, we will continue to roll out across the UK and into Europe. For the time being, the UK sites will serve Europe as we build up our customer base, with the view towards setting up shop in other countries as demand continues to grow.”

Macfarlane Group announces acquisition of Armagrip Macfarlane Group, the UK’s largest distributor of protective packaging, has announced the acquisition of Teeside-based Armagrip. Armagrip is a well-established protective packaging distribution

Soft drinks giant, Britvic, has announced it will provide £5million of investment support for the construction of new UK rPET manufacturing facilities. The announcement comes as Britvic unveiled a long-term agreement with plastics packaging manufacturer, Esterform Packaging, which will see it become the preferred supplier of rPET in Great Britain and Ireland. The investment, which is part of Britvic’s sustainable packaging strategy, will be concentrated at Esterform’s site in Elmet, Leeds. “At Britvic, we are committed to making a positive difference to the world around us and our partnership with Esterform is another important step forward for our business and our efforts to reduce the environmental impact of plastic waste,” said Trystan

At Britvic, we are committed to making a positive difference to the world around us and our partnership with Esterform is another important step forward for our business and our efforts to reduce the environmental impact of plastic waste.” Farnworth, Group Sustainability at Britvic. “It provides us with a secure supply of rPET at a time when the resource is scarce in the UK, while sourcing it from this country rather than abroad has clear benefits for our carbon footprints.”

Britvic, which owns soft drinks brands such as Robinson’s, is investing in UK rPET facilities

business, focusing on customers in the industrial sector across the North from its operating base in Durham. Macfarlane has acquired the inventory of the business for an undisclosed consideration, and all eight employees of Armagrip will transfer across to Macfarlane.

Peter Atkinson, Chief Executive of Macfarlane, said: “Armagrip is a successful, profitable business with a loyal customer base and an experienced team of people.” “I am confident that this acquisition with further strengthen Macfarlane’s business in the North of England.”



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Buxton moves to 100 per cent recycled plastic Nestlé Waters has announced that its Buxton Natural Mineral Water brand has launched 75cl and one litre bottles made from 100 per cent recycled PET. The UK launch of rPET bottles is the latest in Nestlé Waters’ efforts to increase the use of recycled plastic to 35 per cent worldwide by 2025. The rest of the Buxton range, currently made with a minimum of

Klöckner Pentaplast secures five-year supply of PCR PET with Viridor Klöckner Pentaplast (kp) and Viridor have agreed a transformative fiveyear collaboration, locking in an annual supply from Viridor of 8,000 tonnes of post-consumer recycled PET to kp. The parties say the agreement strengthens a long-standing partnership and common commitments towards a sustainable and circular economy for food packaging. The five-year agreement will be fulfilled by Viridor’s new £65 miilion Avonmouth Resource Recovery Centre, which will make kp its largest rPET flake customer and, subsequently, its largest buyer of rPET flake in the UK. Adam Barnett, President of the Food Packaging division at kp, said the company was “thrilled” to announce the extended agreement with Viridor. “We have celebrated the first successful year of our Positive Plastics Pledge and are proving that plastic is a valuable material and when managed responsibly through the right infrastructure, can be collected, sorted, and recycled into sustainable, recyclable packaging, while maintaining food safety, kp has secured a five-year supply of PCR PET from Viridor

20 per cent recycled plastic, will follow by the end of 2021. Michel Beneventi, Business Executive Officer for Nestlé Waters UK, said: “We are incredibly excited to be able to put our commitments to sustainability into practice. The high-quality recycled material retains the same all-important properties as PET, resulting in a product that is lightweight, durable, resilient, and still 100 per cent recyclable.”

We are engaging consumers through our on-packaging messaging, advising them that the food they buy is packaged with protective material made from 100 per cent rPET, and is recyclable.”

security, and ultimately preventing food waste,” Barnett explained. “We are engaging consumers through our on-packaging messaging, advising them that the food they buy is packaged with protective material made from 100 per cent rPET, and is recyclable.” Simon Hicks, Managing Director of Recycling at Viridor, added: “Viridor has listened to the feedback it has received in its annual UK Recycling Index which tracks public sentiment on recycling. UK residents want their recycling efforts at home rewarded with clear evidence that plastic waste which has been designed to be recyclable can be returned to the economy. This is what the partnership with kp will accomplish.”

Nampak sells European packaging business to Bellcave Packaging manufacturer, Nampak, has sold its European plastics division to UK-based Bellcave Limited. The move comes as Nampak Plastics Europe battled with rising materials prices and decreasing UK sales volumes in the dairy sector, a key market for its HDPE bottles, of which it held a 34 per cent share. Nampak CEO, André de Ruyter, said the sale is in line with the company’s ongoing strategy to “sharpen our focus on strategic substrates.” Nampak Plastics Europe was put up for sale on 28 August 2019 under an accelerated disposal process. The sale, terms of which were not disclosed, is effective immediately and includes the pension fund liability. Bellcave Limited, owner effective of 12 December 2019, is owned and backed by investment group, Greybull Capital.




Collaborate to Accelerate


ollowing an unprecedented year which has seen a swell of activity around packaging, the BPF-organised seminar looking at the progress made in addressing some of the challenges and capitalising on the opportunities came at a pivotal time. Held in London in late November, the seminar looked back at the turbulent period since the airing of Blue Planet II, as well as forward into the new decade and the new regulations directly impacting the industry. Opening proceedings, Barry Turner, Chair of the BPF’s Packaging Division, said that since the focus had intensified in respect to plastics packaging there had been “lots of great initiatives” but was steadfast in his message of not solving one problem by creating another. “I think the tide is starting to turn and there’s realisation that alternative materials may not be the ‘silver bullet’ that people are after,” he explained. “Ultimately it comes down to minimising waste and the amount we consume, whilst minimising climate change impacts and making sure the world is still being fed. Where packaging is necessary to ensure that these ambitions are fulfilled, it must be made from the most suitable material for the purpose.” Turner explained that the ‘Packscore’ design tool unveiled by the BPF late last year is just one initiative the Federation has worked on to help designers and specifiers understand which packaging materials and formats are the most appropriate when considering packaging that is both fit-forpurpose and is as sustainable as possible at end-of-life. Where recycling is concerned, Turner

highlighted a number of forward-thinking new projects and pointed to exponential growth in the number of partnerships along the value chain that are striving to divert plastics from landfill, as well as initiatives across the country looking at behavioural change, increasing collections and consumer education. “I am really passionate about the circularity of plastics,” he added. “We’ve got a real opportunity now.” “THE BIG NEWS OF THE YEAR” Following Turner, Amanda Balada, Business Development Manager at Terracycle Europe outlined the firm’s strategies for addressing the plastic packaging challenges that she said were undoubtedly the “big news of the year.” She highlighted the company’s ambition to add a new option for the collection of materials currently not collected by local authorities to give them a second life. “Our business model offers logistics, solutions and value,” she explained. “We collect these materials from our customers and then move them downstream to create new products – these are materials that would otherwise end up in landfill.” The second initiative Terracycle is piloting is ‘Loop’, a reuse system that focuses on packaging as an asset and is based on refillables for common household items. “OUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE IS COLLECTION”

The BPF’s Barry Turner discusses plastics packaging use

Where flexible packaging is concerned, Liz Morrish of CEFLEX said it is seen “as the final challenge” in terms of recyclability, but by collaborating as the whole value chain it aims to make all flexible packaging in Europe circular by 2025. “Our ‘Mission Circular’ project is taking a forward-looking approach,” Morrish explained, adding that much work has been done to complete Phase One design guidelines thanks to stakeholder input. These guidelines are expected to be launched following consultation in Q1 of this year, with Phase Two to follow. OLD MATERIAL, NEW LIFE Dr John Williams of Aquapak said he believes tweaking existing materials to increase end-oflife options is “a credible option for addressing the situation at hand.” Williams explained that Aquapak takes Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) and changes both the processing and the chemistry to widen the application possibilities. The material, which is inherently biodegradable in an industrial



ambitions,” she told delegates, highlighting the ways in which action has been taken to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging items through redesign, innovation or alternative (reuse) delivery models. Shrewsbury said that the next steps for the Pact include new information on compostable set to be published in early 2020, as well as a roadmap for flexible packaging recycling that is being worked on in collaboration with CEFLEX. Alongside member action and infrastructure and capacity increases, she also underlined the importance of working with the citizen as a significant part of meeting the Pact targets. “NO MATERIAL HAS GOT A MONOPOLY OF VIRTUES” Laura Fernandez from Marks & Spencer made a passionate call to action urging the move from “a think tank to an act tank” to create longterm change when it comes to the way we use materials for packaging. “No material has got a monopoly of virtues,” she continued. “What we’ve got to do is use the material that ticks the majority of the boxes in terms of a cradle-to-cradle approach. We also need to start reusing more.

Ultimately it comes down to minimising waste and the amount we consume, whilst minimising climate change impacts and making sure the world is still being fed. Where packaging is necessary to ensure that these ambitions are fulfilled, it must be made from the most suitable material for the purpose.”

or home composting environment, is in a number of commercial trials at present, with applications including garmet bags for a major clothing brand. EMBRACING INNOVATION Nick Brown, Head of Sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners, highlighted the volume of change happening within both his own company and in the industry at large. He acknowledged the amount of media attention on innovation and gave insight into when he believes the different types of change brought by such innovation will come. “I see a phased approach,” Brown explained. “There’s what we have now, where companies are innovating on the pack formats they currently use, to make what they have more efficient. Then, slightly longer term, we’ll see industry collaborating on better collection and better reprocessing infrastructure. Finally, companies will look at completely different models for their products and services, such as refillables.” Brown used examples from his own company to illustrate the work being undertaken as part of each innovation phase, as well as delivering some key figures to highlight the reduction in virgin plastics use as a result. Concluding, Brown said the level of innovation, in particular from the beverage industries, will bring some “really interesting future opportunities” for new packaging formats and that “collaboration throughout the industry” is key. DECISIVE ACTION Also outlining the importance of collaboration, Claire Shrewsbury, Head of Government and Communities at WRAP, gave an update on the progress of the UK Plastics Pact. “Members have taken decisive action to adhere to the plan’s

Recycling is not the answer in the long term.” Fernandez outlined Marks & Spencer’s actions to reduce the amount of packaging it uses and ensure that the packaging it does use is reusable or recyclable. She also reiterated the message of many other speakers in that full collaboration, both along the supply chain right through to the customer, is key to solving the issue at hand. FUNDING INNOVATION Nick Cliffe of Innovate UK announced details of the new, Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge, a £60million plastics research and innovation fund for solutions that create a more circular economy for plastic packaging. The aim of the Challenge, he explained, is to establish the UK as a leading innovator in smart and sustainable plastics packaging for consumer products, delivering cleaner growth across the supply chain, with a dramatic reduction in plastic waste entering the environment by 2025. “This competition will support the creative mindsets in this country,” Cliffe said. “THE SOLUTIONS OF TODAY ARE NOT THE SOLUTIONS OF TOMORROW” Didier Houssier of Kuraray outlined how the company’s ‘Plantec’ line of biopolymers fit within the context of a circular economy. The material, a thermoplastic starch, offers a high barrier alongside composability and is used to produce semi rigid sheet used for packaging chilled items such as meat, fish and fresh pasta. Kuraray has done much research on both the functional barrier of the material and its recyclability, through use of both recycled materials and the packaging’s effect on waste streams. “The solutions of today are not the solutions of tomorrow,” Houssier said.



MASTERBATCH AND ADDITIVES | NEWS Clariant sells Masterbatches division to PolyOne Clariant is to sell its complete Masterbatches business to PolyOne for approximately $1.6 billion USD (approx. £1.2 billion GBP). The sale is part of Clariant’s restructuring announced in 2015, which will see it divest business units outside of its non-core areas of Care Chemicals, Catalysis and Natural Resources. It sold its Healthcare Packaging business in October 2019 to Arsenal Capital Partners. The deal with PolyOne comprises two separate transactions. The global Masterbatches business is sold in a deal valued at $1.5 million USD (approx. £1.1 million GBP) and separately, the sale of Clariant’s Masterbatches business in India valued approx. $60 million (approx. £46 million GBP). “This announcement is a significant milestone on our path to focussing on businesses with abovemarket growth, higher profitability and stronger cash generation,” said Hariolf Kottmann, Executive Chairman of Clariant.

Ampacet introduces new masterbatch to enable recycling of co-mingled scrap

“As announced, we are confident that we will execute the remaining divestment of our Pigments business in 2020 in order to build the new, more focused and stronger Clariant by 2021,” he added. Clariant’s Masterbatches business offers colour and additive concentrates and performance solutions for plastics. In the financial year 2018, the total masterbatches business generated sales of around CHF 1.181 billion.

Colourmaster adds biodegradable additive for blow moulded PET to portfolio Colourmaster NIP Ltd is expanding its offering of the Biosphere range of additives that are designed to accelerate biodegradation of plastics in landfill, compost and marine environments. The new grade, BioSphere 203, has been developed specifically for use in blow moulded PET applications and is said to maintain the clarity of the PET, rather than showing a haze, as is the case with the general purpose 201 grade. BioSphere 203 is being particularly targeted at blow moulded bottles which will contain substances that would be incompatible with recycling. Colourmaster says that BioSphere does not need any special conditions in order to work, such as an industrial composting facility, and can be added to almost all conventional polymers. 44

Adding the additive does not change the physical properties of the plastic part, enabling products to maintain their normal shelf life and tensile strength, whilst benefiting from enhanced biodegradation. Biosphere additive is also food safe, and has been tested to, and complies with, several international standards including ISO 14021:2016, ISO DIS 15985 and EU Directive 84/62/EC as well as several ASTM standards for anaerobic systems and aerobic systems. As with all biodegradation there are bi-products from the process. These are CH4, CO2, biomass, and water, which is the same as with any other organic matter. www.britishPLASTICS.co.uk

Ampacet has added a new masterbatch to its portfolio that combines a blend of functional additives that can reduce the amount of material sent to landfills by allowing post-industrial and post-consumer barrier films to be reprocessed back into the polyolefin recycling stream. The new ReVive Compatibiliser masterbatch is a blend of functional additives and is part of Ampacet’s ‘R3 Sustainable Solutions’, a portfolio of masterbatches designed to support the global circular economy. “ReVive helps to minimise the environmental impact of barrier film packaging, and can help CPG brands use more recycled materials in their packaging to achieve sustainability goals,” explained Doreen Becker, Ampacet’s Sustainability Director. Ampacet says ReVive maintains good flow properties with letdown ratios of three to five per cent of the total film structure in recycled materials containing Nylon and/ or EVOH, which leads to improved processing. Independent tests demonstrated that ReVive improves optical properties: for example, adding five per cent to a PE/Nylon blend reduces haze from 55 per cent to 18 per cent and increases gloss from 18 to 43 Gloss Units, compared with a PE/PA recycle stream with, and without, ReVive. This improves flow and mechanical properties, resulting in improved gloss and lower haze. There are three ReVive grades available for UK processors: ReVive 311 E for polyolefin barrier films; ReVive 962 E for EVOH-based polyolefin barrier films; and ReVive 676 E for EVOH-based polyolefin barrier films with excessive moisture content.

The new ReVive Compatibiliser masterbatch is part of Ampacet’s R3 portfolio

“Companies don’t want plastic

to look like plastic” WORDS | GRACE NOLAN



ilvergate Plastics, a producer of masterbatch based in Wrexham, North Wales, has been actively developing a number of products designed to help not only overcome common processing issues, but also to provide innovate solutions that respond to the ‘war on plastics’ debate and address new legislation coming into place. One of the manufacturer’s latest innovations includes the introduction of a new white masterbatch, which has been launched in anticipation of the Government’s proposed plan to impose a tax on plastic packaging that does not include a minimum of 30 per cent recycled content within its formulation. As the UK Government sets out its plans, brands and manufacturers operating across all sectors are seeking sustainable alternatives to virgin polymers. Silvergate is the first masterbatch manufacturer to introduce a prime performance masterbatch that contains 30 per cent recycled content, which behaves exactly like a virgin product. Whilst initially developed for high volume whites, this new range is available in any colour. GREENER SOLUTIONS To support the efforts of manufacturers seeking to implement greener solutions, Silvergate has also launched a consistent batch-to-batch colour match service for customers using recycled raw materials. This provision overcomes any variation in the base colour of recycled feedstock, and additives can also be incorporated to combat heat degradation and processing inconsistencies. Emma Cank, Silvergate’s Sales Executive, explained: “As a responsible plastics manufacturer, it is paramount that we embrace the change within the plastic industry. We are working closely with our customers to develop products and technologies that address trends within the market as well as the upcoming legislation proposed by the Government.” She added: “As well as developing a prime performance 30 per cent recycled content masterbatch and launching a new service to colour match most recyclates, we have also developed a range of natural and textured finishes, which are proving to be very popular with manufacturers of consumer goods.”

Cank said that more and more customers – both existing and new – are specifically requesting this type of look. “Companies don’t want plastic to look like plastic,” she said. “Natural special effects are becoming increasingly popular, particularly paper effects.” THE RIGHT PRODUCT, FOR THE RIGHT PURPOSE Cank explained that the company’s approach to developing new products is to operate responsibly with innovation. “As the debate about plastics continues, manufacturers and brand owners know they need to respond and take action. However, plastic is a valuable product and both manufacturers and end users have to be considerate about its life cycle and end of life options,” she continued. “Our aim at Silvergate has always been to identify the right product for the right purpose at the right price. This approach remains steadfast as we work towards achieving a sustainable future for plastics.” TAILORED FOR FILM As well as focusing on its sustainability portfolio, Silvergate has also been developing new solutions for the film market. Last year, Silvergate launched a standard colour collection specifically for film manufacturers, along with a new masterbatch specifically developed for exceptionally thin gauge film. Having been approached by a number of film manufacturers experiencing problems with pigment performance, the company set to work to find an affordable solution. By working with its customers, the masterbatch manufacturer found a build-up of pigments was clogging machines, which in turn was slowing cycle times and disrupting overall production. This range of masterbatch has been developed specifically for the production of thin gauge film and is available in any colour. Paul Kitson, Silvergate’s Business Development Manager, has been working closely with film manufacturers to develop the new range. He said: “When we realised processors were facing similar challenges within their production processes, we quickly set about finding an appropriate solution. This new range focuses on the quality of ingredients within the formulation whilst achieving the right price points for our customers.”

Silvergate’s recycled coloured plastics



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Branson Ultrasonics

colour masterbatch

When it comes to matching colour, no one gets closer.









• Polymer Specific and Universal Colour & Additive Masterbatches • Fastmatch matching service • 1mm Easysperse Micropellets to 4mm Maxipellets

ultrasonic welding

InControl Ultrasonics Ltd (FFR Ultrasonics Ltd)

50mm high and 35mm

PO Box 10380, Sileby, LE12 7ZX T: 01509 621992 E: enquiries@ffr-ultrasonics. co.uk W: www.ffr-ultrasonics.co.uk W: www.incontrolultrasonics.co.uk

• We want to bring your colour inspiration to life.

Find your perfect match with:

• We develop amazing new colours and special effects for some of the worlds leading brands.


• Performance is built-in, and cost designed out. • Any colour, Anywhere, Anytime.


www.abbeymb.com Tel: +44 (0)161 308 2550 K Email: aml@abbeymb.com

black masterbatch

Call 01274 731 552 or email sales@eclipsecolours.com www.eclipsecolours.com


158 Edinburgh Avenue, Slough, Berkshire SL1 4UE T: 01753 756675 F: 01753 551270 E: bucuk.sales@emerson.com W: www.bransoneurope.eu

Telsonic UK Ltd

Performance Masterbatches Telephone: +44 (0)1495 310583 Email: customer.service@pmb.co.uk


cleaning materials

since 1982

Unit 3 Vitrage Technical Park 27 Witney Road , Nuffield Industrial Estate, Poole, Dorset BH17 0GL T: 01202 697340 F: 01202 693674 W: www.telsonic.com Blog: telsoniccuk.wordpress.com

vibration welding

Branson Ultrasonics

STOCKISTS & DEALERS OF ENGINEERING THERMOPLASTICS PA6,66,610,612,1010 PMMA, PBT, PET, TPE, PC, ABS, PPGF, ACETAL 00 44 (0)1428 723 900 sales@chcinternational.com


158 Edinburgh Avenue, Slough, Berkshire SL1 4UE T: 01753 756675 F: 01753 551270 E: bucuk.sales@emerson.com W: www.bransoneurope.eu


Purging Compounds Release Agents Mould Maintenance


www.ChemTrend.com www.UltraPurge.com

vekacompounds.com +44(0)1933 427 750

Motan Colortronic Ltd

Matilda House, Carrwood Road, Chesterfield Trading Estate, Chesterfield S41 9QB T: 01246 260222 F: 01246 455420 E: sales@motan-colortronic.co.uk W: www.motan-colortronic.co.uk




infrared welding

UK Manufacturers est. over 60 years

Shredders Plastic separation Conveyors | Bailers Full recycling systems

01943 875104 sales@wrightsltd.co.uk


   

Infrared Welding Ultrasonic Welding Hot Plate Welding Heat Staking



Make the WRIGHT choice


Find your perfect joining method.


pulse staking

CONTROL SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT quality monitoring control Kistler Instruments Ltd

T: 01256 741550 F: 01256 741551 E: sales.uk@kistler.com W: www.kistler.com Pressure transducers and associated monitoring/control equipment for new and existing injection moulding applications.


Motan Colortronic Ltd

Matilda House, Carrwood Road, Chesterfield Trading Estate, Chesterfield S41 9QB T: 01246 260222 F: 01246 455420 E: sales@motan-colortronic.co.uk W: www.motan-colortronic.co.uk

DEHUMIDIFIERS Motan Colortronic Ltd Cavity pressure measurement systems and sensors for control of the injection moulding process and automatic hot-runner balancing, provides zero-defect production with 100% quality control. T: F: E: W:

Matilda House, Carrwood Road, Chesterfield Trading Estate, Chesterfield S41 9QB T: 01246 260222 F: 01246 455420 E: sales@motan-colortronic.co.uk W: www.motan-colortronic.co.uk


01256 741550 01256 741551 sales.uk@kistler.com www.kistler.com






induction heating for platens and tools


MF Induction Heating

hot runner controllers

Unit 5, Martindale, Hawks Green, Cannock, Staffs, WS11 7XN Replacement Coils New platens T: 01543 570642 E: sales@mfinduction.com W: www.mfinduction.com

MATERIALS HANDLING AND STORAGE gravimetric/ volumetric blending

Motan Colortronic Ltd




and dosing



imm projects

Motan Colortronic Ltd

Servicing & Maintenance Commission/Decommission Robotics Projects Planning Servo Kit Installations Component Supply Training - Any Level Beston Sales

Matilda House, Carrwood Road, Chesterfield Trading Estate, Chesterfield S41 9QB T: 01246 260222 F: 01246 455420 E: sales@motan-colortronic.co.uk W: www.motan-colortronic.co.uk

14 Years’ Engel Experience

www.buntingeurope.com /magnetic_separation_and_metal_detection/

info@immprojectsuk.com 07432 275730 www.immprojectsuk.com

Tel: 01952 671918 Fax: 01952 608579 Email: connectors.uk@staubli.com



Wanted Rubber Manufacturing Company

As part of our ongoing strategy we are looking to aquire an additional business ideally with a current turnover of between £1-3m PA In the first instance email us on rubberukp3@rubber.today



Matilda House, Carrwood Road, Chesterfield Trading Estate, Chesterfield S41 9QB T: 01246 260222 F: 01246 455420 E: sales@motan-colortronic.co.uk W: www.motan-colortronic.co.uk

HOPPER LOADERS Engineers to the Plastics & Rubber industries, specialising in the following:

www.magog.co.uk Design, Manufacture, and Refurbishment of Screws & Barrels for the Plastics and Rubber Industries. • Screw design • New manufactured Screws, Barrels, Feed Sections & Liners • Proven wear resistant specifications for screws • Nitrided and Bimetallic barrels • Refurbishment and repairs • Condition monitoring and wear checks Contact us to find out how we can help you Magog Industries Ltd, 10 Crane Mead, Ware, Hertfordshire, SG12 9PY T: +44(0)1920 465201 E: enquiries@magog.co.uk


Screw & Barrel Manufacture Screw & Barrel Refurbishment Tie Bar Repair & Manufacture Screw Tip Assemblies Feed Liners, Plain & Grooved 100 Tonne Screw & Barrel Press Bimetallic Barrel Blanks up to 50 mm In Stock Please e-mail or phone Karl for more info. E. info@tws-mail.co.uk T. 01706 655402 W. www.tws-ltd.com Technical Welding Services (Rochdale) Ltd

FILTRATION ALUMINIUM MATERIAL STORAGE BINS Off the shelf or made to order with very competitive pricing! Standard sizes available: 80l, 200l, 420l, 830l. Contact us today on 01827 265800 or visit www.summitsystems.co.uk Prices start from £428 10% reduction with offer code:


Matilda House, Carrwood Road, Chesterfield Trading Estate, Chesterfield S41 9QB T: 01246 260222 F: 01246 455420 E: sales@motan-colortronic.co.uk W: www.motan-colortronic.co.uk


Motan Colortronic Ltd

Matilda House, Carrwood Road, Chesterfield Trading Estate, Chesterfield S41 9QB T: 01246 260222 F: 01246 455420 E: sales@motan-colortronic.co.uk W: www.motan-colortronic.co.uk


Cooper Plastics Machinery

8 Lyall Court, Flitwick, Bedfordshire MK45 1UX T: 01525 719850 E: Cooperplastics@gmail.com W: www.cooperplastics.co.uk Extruders, water baths, haul-offs, fly knife cutters, conveyors/tip tables, in-line punches, coilers etc. New and used. Repairs, servicing or rebuilds. UK agent for Lyons Electronics.

DTL Machinery UK

- We buy / sell all makes / age / sizes of Plastic Injection Moulding Machinery & Ancillaries equipment. - We also buy redundant, nonrunners & faulty machinery. - Machinery repair and maintenance services available. T: 01925 596170 M: 07838138342 E: info@dtlmachinery.co.uk E: douglastrading@gmail.com




Precision injection moulding specialist


Ref: KM/583

Southern England. £3million T/O. Profitable. Services attractive markets and clients. Accredited to highest standards. Contact Paul Holohan in complete confidence on 07798 530684 or info@Kingswoodbusinesssales.co.uk

Technical Mouldings in

Silicone, FKM, EPDM, Neoprene, NBR Contact

WWW.MEADEX.CO.UK kingswoodbusinesssales.com

Refurbished machines with fault and leak free guarantee. We buy & sell all manner of plasscs equipment. Visit our workshop in Wellingborough, Northants. 01933 272747

sales@stvmachinery.co.uk www.stvmachinery.co.uk

Single Machines to whole plants purchased Tel: David 07540 633552 info@plasticinvestments.co.uk www.plasticinvestments.co.uk

Ultrasonic Plastic Welders New & Used

We manufacture 100% recycled film rolls for bags, 80 gauge onwards

For Sale &

All sizes up to 64 ins and different colours available


Branson - Mecasonic - Telsonic Sonotrodes (Horns) all Frequencies Fixtures, Repairs, Service, Parts Sub-Contract Welding, Hire & Consultancy

We make builders bags any mu And buy scrap polythene at top rates

Plastics Processing Machinery Bought & Sold, Thornhill, South Marston, Wiltshire SN3 4TA T: 01793 827666 F: 01793 823826 E: sales@transxl.co.uk W: www.transxl.co.uk




TransXL International Ltd


Gammadot Rheology Testing & Consultancy Services

Unit 5C, Leaton Industrial Estate, Bomere Heath, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY4 3AP T: 01939 291677 E: enquiries@gammadot.com W: www.gammadot.com Providing independant testing solutions to all your quality control, failure analysis & flow simulation data needs

hardness - IRHD and shore

MAPRA Technik Co — BAREISS For Bareiss of Germany IRHD & SHORE hardness testers, Abrasion & Rebound testers. T: 020 8508 4207 F: 020 8502 5107 E: info@mapra.co.uk W: www.mapra.co.uk

Tel; 01258 459257 Tel; 07730 413197

t: 07925 004000/ 07588 728754 e: suku@subaltd.com w: www.subaltd.com

als.ultrasonics@gmail.com www.als-ultrasonics.co.uk

inspection & measurement

MAPRA Technik Co – DOSS




3D Printing

For DOSS visual solution of Italy – Inspection & sorting machines for O’rings, Seals, Gaskets. T: 020 8508 4207 F: 020 8502 5107 E: info@mapra.co.uk W: www.mapra.co.uk


in Plastic & Rubber

printers of plastic mouldings Total Print Ltd

Specialist Pad Printers Station Road, Gedney Hill, Lincolnshire PE12 0NP T: 01406 330122 F: 01406 330123 E: info@totalprintltd.com W: www.totalprintltd.com Sub-Contract Pad Printers to the Plastics Industry

Tel: 01420 88645




Mould Tool Design CAD CAM software


Tel: 01420 88645


Contour Marking Co Ltd Albert house, Gledrid Industrial Park, Chirk ,Wrexham, LL14 5DG T: 01691 770093 F: 01691 770023 Sub Contract Tampo, Screen & Foil Printing to the plastic moulding industry E: sales@contourmarking.com W: www.contourmarking.com









he New Year has started with a new Government. Whilst this initially has injected some much-needed certainty – particularly with regard to Brexit and also because it is encouraging investment in manufacturing – there are strong signs that we are not out of the woods yet. Sajid Javid’s announcement that post-Brexit there would be no regulatory alignment, and the subsequent partial back tracking, doesn’t give cause for confidence and you wonder if the Government really does get the consequences for costs, competitiveness and trade of a failure to align with the EU. Also, one hopes that the Government is getting a move on with its preparations for negotiating a trade deal with the EU. Yet there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of this so far beyond rhetoric. Who precisely will be our negotiators and what mandate will they have? There seems to be too much concern for a trade deal with the USA when for most manufacturers the key trading zone we need to attend to is the EU. There’s talk of a Ministerial reshuffle and we might even see a re-casting of Departments. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is a potential candidate for change. Logic dictates the removal of Energy elsewhere and re-insertion of Trade, effectively a reversion to the old ‘Department for Trade and Industry’. Big decisions need to be taken with the fate of HS2 and 5G to be soon decided. On both we are likely to see a fudge, with both projects likely to be broken down into discrete components with separate funding. On infrastructure, the Government really does need to get on with delivery on the ground, something, in fairness, which successive Governments have not been good at either. We now have 140 new Members of Parliament. BPF will be making contact with each to brief them on the benefits of plastics and the crucial role of plastics in the economy. One conduit for doing this will be regional meetings with

We now have 140 new Members of Parliament. BPF will be making contact with each to brief them on the benefits of plastics and the crucial role of plastics in the economy.

MPs such as the one held by us on Teesside late last year which attracted three MPs. We have just released a great tool to help us with this. It’s a microsite featuring the United Nation’s 17 Sustainability Goals with a commentary on how the plastics industry assists in the achievement of each. BPF Member firms will be able to upload details of their own sustainability innovations to provide an enlarging picture of the plastics industry’s massive contribution (you can find out more by going to the BPF website: www.bpf.co.uk/sdgs/home Also helping us get off to a flying start this year was the BPF’s stand at Plastivision in Mumbai on 16th - 20th January. This featured eight companies, including the BPF itself, which took over 150 trade enquiries which will be passed on to relevant BPF members. It was the fourth time BPF had exhibited there. Joining us were Astropol, DIT India, Farrel Pomini, Fraser Anti-Static Techniques, Grafine, Nextex and Tinius Olsen. Our next major event will be our seminar on ‘Sustainability’ on 12th February at the BPF in London. For more information contact Paul Baxter at pbaxter@bpf.co.uk


of exhibitors said they made a sale directly related to Interplas.


of visitors found a new supplier or technology they were not aware of before.

Exhibit with us NEC BIRMINGHAM, UK | 29 SEPT - 01 OCT 2020

Register now




Since the last Interplas event in 2017, such change means the UK’s plastics processors now NEC BIRMINGHAM, UKto|ensure 29 SEPT - 01 the OCT 2020and needs of need new technologies, solutions and ideas they meet demands a changing marketplace – and they will come to Interplas to find them. Interplas is the only UK plastics show covering the full spectrum of plastics processing machinery, materials, software, services and ancillaries in one place. New features at the show in 2020 will be a greater focus on Sustainability, in response to the current changes facing the industry in the transition to a circular economy. Plus there will be a brand-new focus on extrusion machinery, materials and associated technologies, after a surge in demand from exhibitors in this area. If you offer a Equipment | Software | Materials | Services solution then you should have Interplas on your show schedule for 2020.

Book your stand at www.interplasuk.com @InterplasUK


MORE THAN MACHINE ENGINEERING. WE ALSO PROVIDE DIGITAL SOLUTIONS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY. With our complete digital solutions for increasing efficiency, monitoring production, and controlling processes, we are paving the way for you to the future of plastics and rubber processing. Find out more now: kraussmaffei.com/digitalization

Profile for BP&R Magazine

BP&R January/February 2020  

BP&R January/February 2020