bp&r JUL/AUG 2020
New era in polymer distribution ALBIS HAS SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED ITS LONG-TERM PLANNED STRATEGY AND GROWTH PROGRAMME ANNOUNCED IN 2019 â€” SEE PAGE 4 A NEW CHAPTER Women in Plastics set for growth as it enters a new phase of its journey
SYMPHONY OF ALL SORTS Tomra Recycling launches its latest advanced sorting solutions to the market
RISING POPULARITY Why masterbatch is proving an asset in multiple plastic products
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complement As exciting as the developments are, there was full recognition that there is a long way to go, with Carlos Monreal from Chemical Recycling Europe admitting that “we are at the beginning of a journey.” However, the ambition and determination to make chemical recycling an intrinsic part of waste management was unwavering. In a recent webinar I joined looking at the status and future of chemical recycling, one thing was clear; these technologies promise to occupy an important space in UK waste management options for used plastics in the medium-to-long term. Described as “the perfect complement” to mechanical technologies, and predominantly aimed at those plastics that are unrecyclable, or difficult to recycle, the emerging systems offer a promise to sit alongside current infrastructure and capture a waste stream that has for so long been the stumbling block to achieving full circularity. Not only was there insight from UK and EU-based stakeholders discussing the rollout of projects, commercialisation developments and overseas expansions, but there was also thoughtful input from retailers about the role they can play from both a collections and consumer perspective. As exciting as the developments are, there was full recognition that there is a long way to go, with Carlos Monreal from Chemical Recycling Europe admitting that “we are at the beginning of a journey.” However, the ambition and determination to make chemical recycling an intrinsic part of waste management was unwavering.
throughout the worst of the pandemic, the progression of developments towards increasing recycling, minimising waste and making best use of resources has been constant. Indeed, in this issue, we look at the latest technologies unveiled recently by Tomra Sorting Recycling. In spite of the virus causing the cancellation of the event at which it planned to launch its new systems, the company hosted an online digital event celebrating the breakthroughs its new products offer. You can read more on page 25. Enjoy the issue, Leanne Taylor, EDITOR AND head of content
Throughout the last few months, as the plastics industry has grappled with the dramatic and disruptive events brought about by the Coronavirus, one thing has remained unchanged; the industry’s ongoing work towards achieving sustainability. Looking back through BP&R’s news coverage
the big story A NEW ERA
IN POLYMER DISTRIBUTION
AS IT SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES THE STRATEGIC PROGRAMME OF CHANGE ANNOUNCED IN 2019, KEY TEAM MEMBERS FROM ALBIS DISCUSS THE COMPANY’S NEW ERA IN POLYMER DISTRIBUTION.
LBIS has successfully completed its long-term planned strategy and growth programme announced in 2019. The company is opening a new chapter in the over 100-year history of the Otto Krahn Group that sees not only the distribution and compounding business now operating as two separate companies on the market, but one that sees all companies within the group operating as part of the new Otto Krahn Group Holding. While the distribution business will operate under the globally established ‘ALBIS’ brand, the compounding business will be newly established under the independent ‘MOCOM’ brand. The Otto Krahn Group Holding, which includes ALBIS and MOCOM, and also the KRAHN Chemie Group and the plastics recycler, WIPAG, defines the group-wide strategy and, at the same time, takes on the role of a professional service provider. Horst Klink, former Vice President of Distribution at ALBIS, will take over the management of the new Distribution Business. “ALBIS focuses on sales as an independent consultant with one of the market-leading and most comprehensive product portfolios,” explained Klink. “With our strong sales network and our passion for the best solution, we are accelerating growth for our distribution partners and customers across countries and industries.” COMMITMENT TO THE UK MARKET Josephine Bagnall, Managing Director of ALBIS (UK), says the company remains committed to the UK market. “We have successfully transformed our UK business over the past few months and are now able to fully focus all of our efforts on pure distribution of polymer raw materials to our customer base across the UK and Irish markets,” she told BP&R. “We maintain a strong local technical sales force, including specialist industry-focused application development engineers. The UK business has one of the strongest product portfolios on the market and continues to offer a first-class local service with its extensively stocked in house and third-party partner UK warehouses.”
SIMPLER AND LESS COMPLICATED Philip O. Krahn, who is taking over the role of CEO of the Otto Krahn Group Holding, said the new structure is “good for our customers, good for our distribution partners and good for us as a group.” He continued: “We have reorganised historically-grown structures and are benefitting from clearer responsibility for results and costs, shorter decision-making paths and further increased professionalism and efficiency across all divisions. Our customers continue to have access to all products in our comprehensive portfolio and benefit as usual from our independent consulting know-how and technical understanding. At the same time, their business with us will become even faster, simpler and less complicated.” BUILDING ON A STRONG HISTORY Ian Mills, who is familiar to many UK and Irish customers as the former Managing Director of ALBIS UK, continues to progress within the Group. After he took the role of Chief Sales Officer in 2016, Mills will now take on a new position, as the Head of the MOCOM compounding business, with immediate effect. Commenting, he said: “We see ourselves as an innovative service provider who develops highquality and sustainable solutions at competitive prices in close cooperation with our customers and who is able to supply specialties of a consistently high quality level worldwide. With MOCOM, we are building on our strong history with a tradition of over 50 years, but we are concentrating on our future on our own feet.” A SUCCESSFUL TRANSFORMATION Behind the companies, the family-run Otto Krahn Group has more than 13,000 customers and partners in the plastics industry and maintains business relationships that, in some cases, have grown over decades. “Our new structure puts us in a position to develop successfully in an increasingly global and changing competitive environment and to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitisation,” continued Philip O. Krahn. “It lays the foundation for continuing the growth course of recent years. The fact that we have been able to implement this comprehensive and long-term transformation programme successfully and despite the challenging times is largely due to the dedicated commitment of our employees.” www.albis.com | www.mocom.eu
DISCOVER AMPACET SUSTAINABLE MASTERBATCH SOLUTIONS HELPING TO REDUCE, RECYCLE & REUSE!
on the cover
As it successfully completes the strategic programme of change announced in 2019, key team members from ALBIS discuss the company’s new era in polymer distribution. See page 4
As Volkswagen looks to attract the digital generation with new light designs for its vehicles, it chose polymer innovations from materials manufacturer, Röhm, to achieve both visual and functional demands. BP&R looks at the concept in more detail.
A new era in polymer distribution
3 EDITOR’S LETTER 13 FEATURE
Women in Plastics sets sights on growth as it enters new chapter
On June 22, WIP unveiled completely refreshed branding, a new monthly newsletter and brand-new website as part of the initiative’s ambitions to both scale-up and broaden its reach. As part of a new, ongoing partnership with Women in Plastics, BP&R looks at the new developments in more detail.
09 INDUSTRY NEWS 15
As Covid-19 continues to change the way in which events are held and new products are launched, Tomra Recycling chose to unveil its latest sorting solutions to the market with a digital celebration. BP&R’s Assistant Editor, Grace Nolan, attended the online event.
Symphony of all Sorts
30 Feature Rising popularity
Whether imparting colour, texture, or – more relevant now than ever – anti-bacterial properties into a plastic component, chances are masterbatch is likely to be used in the mix. With the global masterbatch market set to increase in value to USD 15 billion by 2026, Thomas Catinat, Operations Manager at Broanmain Plastics, explains for BP&R readers just why it is gaining such popularity.
Regulars and Features
Recycling Machinery 27
Masterbatch & Additives 33 TPES 37 POLYMERMAN 38 SOFTWARE GUIDE 39 BUYERS’ GUIDE 42 NEWS FROM THE FRONTLINE
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INDUSTRY | NEWS Pedal power scoops design prize A third-year product design student from London South Bank University has won first place in the 2020 Design Innovation in Plastics (DIP) competition. Kristen Tapping attempted to tackle one of the most pressing problems of the modern urban age with her ‘Rolloe’, a bicycle wheel with pollution filters that uses movement to actively purify the air. The judging panel said Tapping’s product, with further support and development, could be “a viable prospect for the market” and “perfectly fulfilled the brief” of a plastic product to enhance urban living. A full interview will be featured in September’s edition of BP&R.
The Rolloe (via Sara Bartlett photography)
bp to sell petrochemicals business to INEOS for USD $5billion bp has agreed to sell its global petrochemicals business to INEOS for a total of $5 billion (approx. £3.96bn GBP), in a move it describes as “the next strategic step in reinventing the company.” bp says the decision to depart from petrochemicals will further strengthen its balance sheet and deliver its target for agreed divestments a year earlier than originally scheduled. The transaction is expected to complete by the end of 2020. Bernard Looney, bp’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “This is another significant step as we steadily work to reinvent bp. These businesses are leaders in their sectors, with world-class technologies, plants and people. In recent years they have improved performance to produce highly competitive returns and now have the potential for growth and expansion into the circular economy.” “Strategically, the overlap with the rest of bp is limited and it would take considerable capital for us to grow these businesses. As we work to build a more focused, more integrated bp, we have other opportunities that are more aligned with our future direction.” In total, the businesses included in the transaction currently employ over 1,700 staff worldwide. These staff are expected to transfer to INEOS on completion of the sale.
WRAP warns of missing UK Plastics Pact targets unless flexibles are “urgently addressed” Urgent cross-sector action is required to develop a recycling system for soft flexible plastic packaging, such as plastic bags and wrapping, according to WRAP. The call-toaction comes as the sustainability not-forprofit, which leads The UK Plastics Pact, publishes a roadmap to galvanise action across the plastics supply chain, entitled ‘Creating a Circular Economy for Flexible Plastic Packaging’. UK Plastics Pact members, who account for around 85 per cent of plastic packaging on UK supermarket shelves, are working towards all plastic packaging being reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and increasing the amount that gets recycled to 70 per cent. But while flexible plastic constitutes a quarter of all UK consumer plastic packaging by weight, only four per cent is currently recycled. The new roadmap sets out five key areas where efforts should be focused in order to develop a circular economy for
flexible plastics. These are: simplifying the design of packaging so it is easier to recycle; capitalising on the front of store collection points already provided by many supermarkets; implementing collection directly from people’s houses across all local authority areas; investing in sorting and reprocessing capacity and capabilities; and ensuring recycled flexible plastic packaging has strong and stable end markets. Peter Maddox, Director of WRAP UK, said that developing a recycling system for flexible plastics is “undoubtedly the biggest challenge” that it and the UK Plastics Pact members face in order to meet the Pact’s targets by 2025. He said: “Our starting point will always be to identify where our members can remove unnecessary plastic packaging. But where flexible plastic packaging serves an important purpose, such as preserving food or for hygiene reasons, it is imperative that we have the means to recycle it. “This will require
significant investment and innovation across the entire supply chain. “It’s a tall order and we’re at the start of a challenging journey, but our members are fully behind the ambition we have set out in the roadmap, and together we are tackling it head on.”
Our starting point will always be to identify where our members can remove unnecessary plastic packaging. But where flexible plastic packaging serves an important purpose, such as preserving food or for hygiene reasons, it is imperative that we have the means to recycle it.
d as calle WRAP h action on t n e rg for u plastics ﬂexible
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New report highlights key role of plastics recycling in achieving carbon net zero targets
The word from Hird
When recycled properly, plastics can provide the lowest carbon emissions of available materials
A new report entitled ‘Examining material evidence - the carbon fingerprint’, highlights the importance of plastic as a material compared to alternatives when examining carbon emissions. The report, commissioned by Veolia and published by Imperial College, analysed over 70 lifecycle assessments to evaluate the environmental impacts of packaging alternatives over their lifetime, including impacts from mining, manufacturing, logistics, usage and end-of-life management covering recycling or disposal. By assessing many different studies with different assumptions, the report delivers the concluding message that plastic can provide the lowest carbon emissions of available materials providing it is recycled
As a company that is here to reduce human impact on society, it’s important that we point out the impact of using different materials on the planet.
properly – effectively debunking the growing movement to switch away from plastic in all scenarios. Richard Kirkman, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Veolia UK and Ireland said: “As a company that is here to reduce human impact on society, it’s important that we point out the impact of using different materials on the planet. As we look to build the green recovery and achieve a net zero carbon world, this report helps to emphasise that plastic has a key role to play as a material, but only if it is responsibly minimised, produced, used and recycled. “With only nine per cent of plastics being recycled worldwide, there is still a lot to do to improve things. We have done it for paper, metals and glass which are widely recycled, but plastic is a newer material and so we need the right policy drivers in place, backed by consumer and manufacturer awareness, to allow us to build the new recycling infrastructure. This will provide new green jobs and deliver all the advantages that plastic can offer, whilst making significant cuts to global carbon emissions”
ICHARD HIRD, CHAIRMAN OF THE POLYMER MACHINERY MANUFACTURERS AND DISTRIBUTORS ASSOCIATION (PMMDA), WRITES FOR BP&R ON THE FEEDBACK FROM MEMBERS ABOUT THE JOURNEY TO RECOVERY FOR THE UK PLASTICS INDUSTRY AND LOOKS AT WHERE GREEN SHOOTS ARE STARTING TO EMERGE.
here has been so much said and reported about how the economy is going to emerge from lockdown, with many commentators forecasting a recovery to pre-lockdown growth taking up to three years. On listening to the views of PMMDA members, we see a clearer picture. Mark Marshall of Flegg Projects, a provider of machinery logistics, lifting and engineering services, recently said: “The reality is that the future is difficult to predict, but we stand prepared for the next stage – determined to remain positive and to work closely with all customers who need to install, relocate or remove capital assets.” The company, which offers its services across a wide range of industries, has continued to operate and provide vital support to businesses manufacturing plastics and medical equipment throughout the lockdown period. Marshall acknowledges that the past few weeks have been “very challenging” and says the company would not have been able to achieve so much for its customers (many of whom are well known in the industry) without its “hardworking and diligent staff” who have had to adapt to a very different working environment. Flegg Projects are not alone in supporting customers in delivering a vital service to customers who have been at the forefront in supplying key components to the medical and food industry. Following the completion of a central conveying system, including silos, blenders and a central cooling system for a food packaging company over the last few months, Tim Peet of plastics ancillaries provider, Labotek, observed that there is “other similar projects starting to re-emerge as lockdown is eased, all of which are encouraging green shoots of recovery, albeit slow growing.”
Based on wider feedback from our members, the industry has been learning how to be more inventive, productive and adaptable over the last few months and is preparing to be in a stronger position than ever.”
Based on wider feedback from our members, the industry has been learning how to be more inventive, productive and adaptable over the last few months and is preparing to be in a stronger position than ever. However, Government support in investment, comparable to that by other European countries, is required for the industry to remain efficient and competitive.
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sets sights on growth as it enters new chapter
ON JUNE 22, WIP UNVEILED COMPLETELY REFRESHED BRANDING, A NEW MONTHLY NEWSLETTER AND BRAND-NEW WEBSITE AS PART OF THE INITIATIVE’S AMBITIONS TO BOTH SCALE-UP AND BROADEN ITS REACH. AS PART OF A NEW, ONGOING PARTNERSHIP WITH WOMEN IN PLASTICS, BP&R LOOKS AT THE NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN MORE DETAIL.
Women in Plastics (WIP), the professional initiative that stands to recognise achievement, encourage development and support diversity across the plastics industry, is on course for growth as it enters a new phase of its journey. On June 22, WIP unveiled completely refreshed branding, a new monthly newsletter and brand-new website as part of the initiative’s ambitions to both scale-up and broaden its reach. The new platform will enable the initiative to carry more news, interviews and profiles of women in the plastics industry, but will also enable WIP to showcase its digital offering, including a new series of videos, podcasts and events. It will also act as a resource for the next generation of talent looking for a career in the plastics industry to find information, inspiration and insight. Leanne Taylor, Founder of Women in Plastics, said: “Women in Plastics has grown a strong and active following since it launched in 2014. “Over the years we have curated some fantastic content, met some amazing women and hosted and participated in successful industry events. Now the time has come for us to take WIP onto the next stage in its journey. “We’re still the same professional initiative that stands to recognise achievement, encourage development and support diversity across the plastics industry, but now we’ve got a brand-new platform from which to do it. “This isn’t just about a new look or an updated website, but progress in developing our ambitions and broadening our reach to include as many individuals as possible.”
Commenting on the new initiative, Gabby Day, Communications Manager at Pentagon Plastics, said: “I think that Women in Plastics is a great initiative, it is a really positive platform for sharing insight and initiatives and celebrating the incredible work of the women in the industry.” Those interested in signing up for the latest news, updates and opportunities with Women in Plastics can visit: www.womeninplastics.com/subscribe
BP&R is proud to announce a new, ongoing series in partnership with Women in Plastics that will see one of its inspirational interviewees featured in every issue. If you would like to be considered for an interview with Women in Plastics, or know someone that would like to be, please contact Leanne Taylor on email@example.com
This isn’t just about a new look or an updated website, but progress in developing our ambitions and broadening our reach to include as many individuals as possible.
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celebrating 180 years
MACHINERY | NEWS Sumitomo (SHI) Demag opens sales and support office in Ireland Sumitomo (SHI) Demag has opened a service and support office in Limerick, Ireland, in a move it says underlines its commitment to its “burgeoning” Irish customer base. Senior Support Engineer, Kris Thacker, recently relocated to head up the new office, providing customers in Northern and Southern Ireland with on-the-ground preventative and reactive machine maintenance and troubleshooting support. With a large proportion of customers in precision markets, such as medical and electronic components and packaging, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag says it recognised the need to provide access to high-level, in-country technical support for its installed base of predominantly all-electric machines. According to Polymer Technology Ireland, the polymer sector currently comprises 230 enterprises employing 7,000 people. With major R&D and manufacturing hubs in Athlone, Limerick, Galway, Sligo, Dublin, Cork and Waterford, and annual exports exceeding €1.62 billion (approx. £1.47bn GBP), the Covid-19 pandemic is anticipated to further strengthen Ireland’s medical polymer value chain, says Sumitomo (SHI) Demag UK Managing Director, Nigel Flowers. “The polymer knowledge pool and maturity of the market in Ireland means it is well placed to take advantage of future economic opportunities. Being part of the Eurozone will clearly be an export advantage. Additionally, Ireland has attracted a large number of multinational organisations in recent years, especially clusters of US pharma, technology
Talisman expands machine fleet to increase production capacity and flexibility Malvern-based Talisman Plastics has invested in an advanced injection moulding cell to support its product development programme
for biodegradable and recycled plastic security seals, as well as increasing overall production capacity and flexibility.
Shaun Champion, Managing Director at Talisman Plastics
With R&D hubs in medical and biotechology, Irish moulders are well-placed to take advantage of future economic opportunities.
and electronic firms with their EMEA operations located here. Continuing investment shows no sign of slowing,” Flowers said. At the end of 2018, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag appointed material handling and dosing specialist, TSM Control Systems, as its machine sales agent. Since then, the partnership has made significant
inroads into the injection moulding market – which purchases approximately 200 machines every year, of which 60 per cent are all electric models. “The dominance of medical plastic injection moulding in the Irish market means there is high demand for cleanroom specification, all electric machines. TSM has an excellent
reputation in Ireland for sales and commissioning, but we recognised the need to underpin that with advanced technical support and a very swift turnaround on parts. The appointment of Kris to head up our new service and support office guarantees a more timely response,” added Flowers.
The company has invested in a new generation Haitian Mars injection moulding machine that it says provides major improvements in production flexibility thanks to its energy efficiency and repeatability. The machine, which uses servo hydraulic technology, is designed to deliver shorter cycle times and very precise tolerances on security seal products. To create a work cell capable of 24hour production of high quality, precision security seals in a variety of materials and with custom finishes, a new three-axis Sepro robot and Keyence laser printer have also been
installed alongside the Haitian 160-ton injection moulding machine. Shaun Champion, Managing Director at Talisman Plastics, said: “We have seen prolonged increase in demand for Talisman specialist security seals in sectors such as healthcare, retail and logistics. This investment ensures we have the capacity needed to continue supporting the recent increase in NHS requirements, particularly for products such as our clinical waste seals. “Flexibility in manufacturing and above-average savings in costs are in demand today more than ever. This investment delivers on these key criteria and provides us with
the advanced injection moulding capability necessary to deliver new, high performance and cost-effective security seal products made from recycled or biodegradable plastics.” Mr. Fi Nanhong, Chief Engineer of Haitian International, added: “The sophisticated design of the injection unit in combination with a powerful servo drive system benefits from independent algorithm modules. Thanks to their fast, accurate calculations and highly efficient mathematical models, the stability of the injection process is now much higher, whether for extremely fast or slow injection. The improvement is significant.”
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Demand for servo-drive machine range sees new appointment at Borche UK Borche UK has appointed Dean Meynell to the role of Sales Engineer, following a continuous increase in demand for its machines. Meynell has over 25 years’ experience within the plastics industry and, in particular, within the field of injection moulding. Meynell joins Borche from his the most recent contract with Xandor Automotive, with his past experience also including spells with Plastic Omnium, Magna, Denso Manufacturing and Koito, together with a notable period within the medical Industry with Becton Dickinson. Terry O’Reilly, Sales Director at Borche UK, said: “Dean will bolster the existing sales team at Borche UK in Kingswinford and fill a vacancy in which has been created by the continued increasing popularity and demand for the Borche Servo Drive range of moulding machines.”
celebrating 180 years
Engel’s tie-bar-less technology hooks in order for five new machines at UK plastics site Tie-bar-less technology has convinced a large UK plastics manufacturer to invest in Engel injection moulding machines for the first time. Breaking tradition by not repurchasing from its standard supplier, RWC (UK), formerly John Guest Ltd, ordered five new IMMs after undertaking a market research project. The firm, which specialises in plastic push-fit fitting technology for sectors including plumbing and automotive, currently operates 175 injection moulding machines at its UK site in West Drayton, Middlesex. The machines at RWC run on a 24/7 operation and the firm operates a vertically integrated supply chain – from initial concept through to manufacture. The company has started to implement a programme of
replacement for the older models at its site and after research and testing of a range of options – chose Engel machinery on the basis of its tie-barless technology being particularly suitable for its needs. Engel says the tiebar-less model chosen by RWC allows greater efficiency and economy for moulders. Its lack of tie-bars simplifies mould changes, as the moulds can be removed and mounted extremely quickly without hindrance to access. It also provides excellent mould protection. Richard Horn, Project Lead at RWC (UK) commented: “Tie-barless technology provides us with great agility. It provides easier access for our setting staff and will save us time. “The reduced energy consumption of the Engel machines has also been
RWC has invested in new Engel IMMs
a factor in our choice. Engel UK provided us with a 50-tonne machine on trial and so we were able to test its capabilities against our requirements. “It was obviously important to us that there should be no compromise in part quality. “We have seen that it does not matter if the cavities are located at the centre or at the edge of the surface of the
mould mounting platen, they all are subject to exactly the same level of clamping force, providing consistently high-quality parts.” RWC (UK) have praised the customer service it has received from Engel UK and says it is confident that the online support offered by Engel’s ‘e-connect.24’ remote access platform will provide the firm with any technical back-up it may need.
Boston Matthews fulfils order for multiple extruder units in Covid-19 fight Extrusion machinery manufacturer, Boston Matthews, has produced and supplied multiple extruders to be used by a customer to produce products in the fight against Covid-19. The extruders will be used by a worldrenowned manufacturer of medical devices to produce vital components for use in intensive care units and other respiratory care environments in hospitals in more than 120 countries around the world. Boston Matthews Managing Director, Simon Brookes, said:
“The order was placed earlier this year when the majority of the world was either in lockdown – or about to enter it – a very strange and uncertain time which I think everyone will empathise with. “However, it was of vital importance to the customer that we were able to maintain our production levels and commit to fulfilling this extremely sensitive order on time. “Knowing how important this order was, especially in the middle of a pandemic, it was also of vital importance we maintained
The select team at Boston Matthews that worked on the extruder order
production for our existing machine order obligations.” Brookes said the company undertook a huge internal planning initiative, involving all aspects of the supply chain, production levels and personnel availability, in order to accommodate the order.
He added: “As a result, a select team was chosen specifically to handle this new order from start to finish. “I am very pleased to say they performed professionally and diligently throughout and the entire project was completed ahead of schedule.”
of exhibitors said they made a sale directly related to Interplas.
of visitors found a new supplier or technology they has not known of before.
Exhibit with us NEC, BIRMINGHAM, UK | 29 JUNE - 01 JULY 2021 @InterplasUK
2021 is an Interplas year, meaning the UK’s largest plastics industry exhibition is back – the only event covering the full spectrum of plastics processing machinery, materials, software, services and ancillaries in one place. It’s also the only plastics event in the UK where visitors can see working machinery LIVE on the show floor and where they come to compare, contrast and buy. With an expected 14,000+ attendees across the three-day event, as well as new features and an expanded floorplan, now is the time to position yourself as a company that can offer solutions, showcase innovation and offer expertise to an audience known for its quality and purchasing power.
E & E | NEWS Clariant and Lavergne develop compounds for electronics based on recycled ocean-bound plastics
Clariant has teamed up with Lavergne, a world leader in the production of sustainable engineering resin from recycled plastic, to develop halogen-free flame-retardant polyester compounds made from ocean-bound plastics. With the first grade already commercialised, the advance is supporting demand from major electrical and electronics brand owners for flame retarded post-consumer recyclate grades for equipment parts. The first new flameretardant compound, Lavergne VYPET OBP-FR, has 30 per cent glass fibre reinforcement and UL 94 V-0 flame rating at 0.8 mm thickness, which makes it suitable for many electric and electronic (E&E) plastic applications, like aesthetic and structural parts. This fully recyclable OBPbased compound has already successfully passed moulding trials at part manufacturers and is commercially available. Clariant’s halogen-free Exolit OP flame retardants were chosen for their environmental and health profile, as documented by the Clariant ‘EcoTain’ label and a GreenScreen Benchmark 3 assessment for the key phosphinate ingredient. Adding to
the circularity of the innovation, Exolit OP grades have been confirmed as suitable for various recycling processes without losing their flame-retardant properties. Furthermore, as a contribution to less fossile resource consumption, Clariant announced in October 2019 that selected Exolit OP grades will also become available as ‘Terra’ types, based on renewable carbon sources. Intensive liaison and development work was required by Lavergne’s and Clariant’s experts to develop the right flame retardant and synergist formulation for this particular resin grade and also optimise the processing conditions of the compound. Because of the original compound’s success, the solution has now been extended to more than a dozen product lines, with each programme undergoing additional testing prior to commercialisation. “We clean the oceans of plastics and turn the plastic wastes into highend products. I am proud to be a part of Lavergne Green Innovation Team,” commented Davood Bagheri, Polymer Scientist at Lavergne.
Brüggemann’s new heat stabilisers overcome performance limits of polyamides Brüggemann says new additions to its additive portfolio for polyamides offer “exciting opportunities” for the compounding industry. New Bruggolen TPH1607 and Bruggolen TP-H1805 are antioxidant blends that the company says allow polyamide materials to exceed current performance limits. Bruggolen TP-H1607 is a proprietary copperbased stabiliser package that significantly extends long term mechanical property retention of polyamides to limits unmatched by existing classic copper saltbased antioxidants. Tests demonstrate that Bruggolen TP-H1607 enables heat stabilisation of unreinforced PA 6.6 beyond 5000 hours at 150°C, significantly outperforming conventional copper saltbased stabilisers which level off at 3000 hours at this temperature. The efficiency of Bruggolen TP-H1607 offers the opportunity to dramatically reduce copper and halogen content. In PA6.6 at 150°C, the copper concentration in the compound was reduced by a factor of more than five and still matched the maximum performance level of existing copper salt-based products. This capability allows cost savings and opens applications in the E&E sector, such as switch housings and sensors, where a comparative tracking index CTI of 600V is required. Significantly, trials revealed that Bruggolen TP-H1607 exhibits no greater influence on electro-corrosion than
Top: Bruggolen TP-H1607 outperforms conventional copper salt-based stabilisers Bottom: Bruggolen TP-H1805 enables glass ﬁbre reinforced PA6 to be used continuously up to 200°C and PA6.6 beyond 200°C.
conventional phenolic/ phosphite stabilisers used extensively in E&E. With the new Bruggolen TP-H1805, Brüggemann has developed an easily processable high heat stabiliser package, which stretches the limit for continuous-use temperatures - up to 200°C in the case of glass reinforced PA6 and beyond 200°C for PA6.6. Bruggolen TP-H1805 does not require prior activation and is also effective at temperatures below 200°C. Thus, compounders have the opportunity to produce cost efficient aliphatic polyamide-based materials for border line applications previously reserved for higher priced polyphthalamides or other high-
performance polymers such as polyphenylene sulfide. In addition, Bruggolen TP-H1805 may offer the opportunity to substitute, in certain applications, PA6.6 for the less expensive PA6. Both stabilisers are supplied in pellet form and are easy to dose and disperse during compounding. Dr. Klaus Bergmann, Head of Polymer Additives at Brüggemann, said: “Our goal is to offer heat stabilisers for polyamides across all temperature ranges and all application areas. With the introduction of these new products we are further extending our portfolio of high-performance stabilisers to provide even more value to our customers.” 19
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AS VOLKSWAGEN LOOKS TO ATTRACT THE DIGITAL GENERATION WITH NEW LIGHT DESIGNS FOR ITS VEHICLES, IT CHOSE POLYMER INNOVATIONS FROM MATERIALS MANUFACTURER, RÖHM, TO ACHIEVE BOTH VISUAL AND FUNCTIONAL DEMANDS. BP&R LOOKS AT THE CONCEPT IN MORE DETAIL.
dit: lf 8 (Cre The Go ) G A n e g Volkswa
s one of the world’s bestselling cars, the VW Golf has amassed sales of over 35 million cars since it launched to market. Now, as automotive manufacturers look to a new generation of vehicle to attract a younger, more digitally-focused consumer, Volkswagen has equipped some of the models in its Golf 8 family with an innovative light design and creative elements. The new additions are produced using Plexiglas polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) moulding compounds from materials manufacturer, Röhm.
Models in the Golf 8 family feature new LED lighting (Credit: Volkswagen AG)
“LIGHT IS MORE EMOTIONAL THAN CHROME” The GTI, GTD, GTE and the topline models in the Golf 8 family are equipped with an LED light strip spanning the width of the front of the car. This bar is an illuminated link between the LED headlights and the ‘VW’ emblem positioned in the centre of the radiator grille.
SPECIALIST MATERIALS FOR THE FRONT OF VEHICLES “Our special Plexiglas Resist AG 100 and Plexiglas Hi-Gloss NTA-5 moulding compounds represent a new class of modified impactresistant materials which offer greater performance than other types of the polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) brand. These materials were developed specifically for the demands of automotive construction,” explained Uwe Löﬄer, Head of Automotive in the Business Unit Moulding Compounds at Röhm.
“The light line is part of the innovative welcome and farewell scenario offered by the Golf 8. We want to use this to excite the young generation of drivers for the topic of light, as light is more emotional than chrome,” explained Sandra Sturmat, who is responsible for the Exterior Light Design unit in the User Experience Design Team at Volkswagen. INTERPLAY OF TWO HIGH-PERFORMANCE MOULDING COMPOUNDS The world’s largest car manufacturer relied on Plexiglas moulding compounds for the successful design of the front lighting elements on the Golf 8. “The material must satisfy the desired form and function and look good at the same time – and for a very long time,” explained Dr. Eugen Fichter, Materials Technology Expert at Volkswagen.
IMPACT-RESISTANT AND WEATHERPROOF The cover of the LED light strip on the Golf 8 is made of Plexiglas Resist AG 100, which Röhm describes as an extraordinarily impact-resistant moulding compound with increased heat deflection temperature, as well as an excellent UV and weather resistance, which retains outstanding optical properties.
Fichter is the person responsible for bringing the illuminated vision designed by his colleagues to life with a suitable material. For the Golf 8, the choice consisted of two Plexiglas moulding compounds with special properties for use in the vehicle front.
Fichter chose Plexiglas Resist AG 100 for several reasons: “The front of a vehicle is subjected to enormous stresses over its life. Dirt and small stones kicked up by vehicles ahead can make life difficult for the material over time, and excellent impact resistance is essential here if the component is to last for many years. Then there is the additional strain caused by chemicals such as cleaning and de-icing agents. To withstand all of this, the material must feature excellent stress cracking resistance.”
“The trend towards individual lighting design, especially for the front ends of vehicles, is greatly expanding the freedom of design. Automotive designers can now also accentuate the major features of the car with complex shapes,” added Siamak Djafarian, Head of the Moulding Compounds business unit at Röhm GmbH.
An additional demand on the material is its weather resistance, in particular when it comes to UV radiation. This causes many plastics to turn yellow and become brittle. While other plastics have an additional coating applied to achieve a comparable UV resistance, it is possible to produce components made of Plexiglas Resist AG 100 in a single process step, which saves time and costs during production. “PMMA benefits from the fact that its chemical structure imbues it with an inherent and life-long UV protection,” Fichter concluded.
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recycling machinery | News “Innovative technical features” are the hallmarks of new KraussMaffei recompounding line
Veka Recycling Completes Key ‘Phase two’ Of Plant Development VEKA Recycling Ltd has completed the installation of plant at its new Wellingborough PVC-U recycling facility, the crucial ‘Phase Two’ of a twoyear site development programme. The new installation, costing £2.5 million, is the crucial initial stage of the recycling process that accepts post-consumer frames collected from installers around the country, removes metals and hammers the old frames into manageable fragments before further refinement. The installation, that includes site preparation, a purpose-built housing, silo, heavyduty conveyors and the machinery that breaks down the frames, has been completed on schedule, despite the Coronavirus lockdown and in time to receive the first batch of frames
Bunting launches new Electrostatic Separator Bunting has launched a new electrostatic separator in response to enhanced material separation requirements from industries including recycling and plastics. The new separator uses tungsten electrode wire to generate electrostatic charges to separate dry liberated particles. Bunting says the new technology “significantly broadens separation capabilities”, opening up new opportunities for
as the company’s gates reopen again. Due for completion later this year, the facility, which will have cost more than £10 million in total, will become the most advanced of its type when fully operational. The company is already supplying high-grade recycled polymer for remanufacture into window frames, electrical accessories and building components, but will be totally self-sufficient when completed. The result of a continued commitment to the UK by VEKA Group, the plant has been built from the ground up after a long search for an appropriate site.
Simon Scholes, Managing Director of VEKA Recycling Ltd, and who has managed the project throughout, says this has been a most exciting period, even though the Coronavirus lockdown meant the firm was reduced to minimal staff for a month. “Despite this, our engineers have managed to complete the construction work and plant installation on time,” he explained. “When we lifted the first frames on to the conveyor in what is a very noisy and violent process, it was music to our ears,” Scholes concluded.
The new electrostatic separator
KraussMaffei has made available its latest compounding line for customer trials at its R&D centre in Hanover, Germany. The ‘Edelweiss’ compounding line is designed to demonstrate the latest technology advancements based on KraussMaffei’s existing process for recycling post-consumer waste – which prioritises excellent recompound quality with high throughput rates – which has now been optimised and extended. “The Edelweiss compounding line is now available for customer trials in our R&D centre and convinces not only by its innovative technical features, but also by the turnkey concept,” explained CarlPhilip Poepel, Director of Product Management for Extrusion Technology at KraussMaffei. The new compounding line is composed of two ZE 65 BluePower twin-screw extruders and designed for a maximum output rate of 2,000 kg/h. The benefits of this solution, says KraussMaffei,
include high degassing capacities, efficient odour removal, ideal dispersive and dispersing mixing effect, gentle melt treatment – and with almost no limits in terms of throughput rate. Another new feature of the Edelweiss line is the cutter-compactor unit, which is ideal for light fractions that need further processing, such as fibre and film scrap with high input moisture contents. Lastly, the Edelweiss compounding line installed in the R&D centre is completely integrated into a turnkey module. KraussMaffei says benefits for the owner include installation without any preparation, rapid set-up and start-up and well as flexible use.
the edelweiss compounding line convinces not only by its technical features but also the turnkey concept
KraussMaffei has invested in a new Edelweiss compounding line which is now ready for customer trials.
recovering materials from waste and optimising mineral reserves. The Bunting electrostatic separator is available as a single or double staged system in feed widths of 500mm, 1000mm and
1500mm to suit a specific application. Bunting’s Centre of Excellence based in Redditch, UK, has a laboratory-scale model of the new electrostatic separator available for testing.
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Symphony of all sorts Tomra recycling unveils latest sorting solutions with online launch
AS COVID-19 CONTINUES TO CHANGE THE WAY IN WHICH EVENTS ARE HELD AND NEW PRODUCTS ARE LAUNCHED, TOMRA RECYCLING CHOSE TO UNVEIL ITS LATEST SORTING SOLUTIONS TO THE MARKET WITH A DIGITAL CELEBRATION. BP&R’S ASSISTANT EDITOR, GRACE NOLAN, ATTENDED THE ONLINE EVENT.
Tomra’s Volker Rehrmann making the welcome address
omra Sorting Recycling was not going to allow Covid-19’s disruption of the global events calendar to stop it from launching its latest advanced sorting solutions to the market. The company originally planned to unveil its new products at the IFAT trade event in Munich, however, following the cancellation of that event in light of the global pandemic, it adapted its plans and instead launched the new products on a digital platform. Under the theme of ‘Symphony of all Sorts’, Tomra formally launched two brand new products – its new-generation technology Autosort and Autosort Speedair – as well as outlining plans for the forthcoming launch of a third new solution, Autosort Cybot. Experts from across Tomra’s global teams delivered presentations about the latest products to approximately 1000 digital delegates worldwide, including representatives from a number of international and regional press titles, including BP&R. HIGH LEVELS OF INTEREST Tomra said it anticipates “high levels of interest” in the most advanced model of its new generation Autosort system. The model is an ultra-compact, sensor-based sorting system that can be used across a vast range of material sorting applications. The new Autosort offers flexibility and versatility, as well as being upgradable, and has been designed to deliver advanced accuracy of complex sorting tasks at high throughput rates. The system can be easily integrated into any existing or new sorting processes, and Tomra said “a great number” of initial pilot projects have confirmed. Being equipped with the broadest range of sensors and using data to classify objects, the machine is capable of separating materials which are difficult, or even impossible to separate, using conventional technologies. Incorporated as standard in the latest Autosort is Tomra’s ‘Sharp Eye’ technology, which increases light efficiency while maintaining the same energy consumption, enhances sorting sharpness and improves the separation of difficult-to-target fractions. The unit also incorporates the latest and improved version of Tomra’s patented ‘Flying Beam’ sensing technology, which it says delivers a range of benefits. Better light efficiency enables higher performance at low operating costs; compact design enables flexible and easy installation; and enhanced light signal efficiency results in improved detection. Tomra says as a result of the integration of the Sharp Eye and Flying Beam technologies, the latest Autosort is able to “consistently deliver high performance” in terms of sorting
accuracy across all target fractions – even in the most complex of applications. STABILITY FOR PLASTIC FILMS Delegates of Tomra’s digital launch event also found out about another new product development – Autosort Speedair – an additional component to Tomra’s Autosort range. Autosort Speedair is a highly customisable system designed to stabilise light materials such as plastic films on a highspeed conveyor, therefore generating a higher throughput and enhancing sorting quality. With industry demand resulting in the need for higher speed conveyor belts, Autosort Speedair incorporates speed-controlled, fan-driven air inlets that generate a constant air stream over the conveyor belt to prevent material on it from moving. By doubling the speed of the conveyor belts up to six metres per second, throughput is much higher and the output quality is consistently high. Tomra says customers benefit from a better return on investment, as well as lower installation and running costs. Additionally, as the first system on the market with no belt cover, access to the unit for maintenance is much faster and the likelihood of a material blockage is much lower compared to conventional high-speed systems in the market, as is the risk of machine downtime. HIGH DEMAND FOR AUTOMATION Looking beyond the launch of the new generation Autosort and Autosort Speedair, the third and final product mentioned at the event was the forthcoming launch of Tomra’s first robot, the Autosort Cybot. The system comprises a new-generation Autosort scanner, an electromagnetic sensor and a robot arm. It is the first robot on the market that combines four technologies at once: Near Infrared (NIR) and Visible Light (VIS) spectroscopy; ‘Deep Laiser’, a sharper object recognition system; and, if required, induction for ferrous and non-ferrous metals recovery. Autosort Cybot’s robotic arm is capable of simultaneously sorting material into four different streams or fractions depending on the infeed material size, colour and criteria of the target fractions. Tomra says with sorting and recycling plants demanding even higher levels of automation than ever before, the Autosort Cybot is another value-added component. Valerio Sama, Vice President and Head of Product Management, commented: “The addition of a robot arm to our Autosort system opens up a wealth of new opportunities for highly automated applications within the sorting process and will deliver an even higher level of quality control of recyclables such as HDPE, PET and PP.”
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masterbatch & additives | News Ampacet creates new masterbatch collection for both style and sortability Ampacet has launched a new range of masterbatch aimed at the packaging market, designed to provide a stylish aesthetic as well as enabling sortability. The new ‘Silky Bliss’ collection has been created to provide a silk-like surface effect on PET and rPET packaging applications, as well as being near-infrared (NIR) transparent to allow sorting with near-optical sensors in recycling
facilities. Ampacet says the new range offers a “sophisticated, modern look, enabling brand owners to increase product shelf appeal and consumer interaction with the packaging”, as well as optimisng recyclability of a product. The Silky Bliss collection is designed to provide a simpler, faster, more flexible and affordable way to impart a contemporary
PolyOne is now Avient
cost reductions. The Silky Bliss collection features a very low light reflection for better readability of packaging graphics and text and includes
The ‘Silky Bliss’ collection
six shades. The product range can be customised with an unlimited number of colours.
Addmaster seals biggest ever pan-European plastics alliance
PolyOne rebrands as Avient following Clariant Masterbatch acquisition PolyOne has rebranded to ‘Avient’ following the acquisition of the colour masterbatch businesses of Clariant and Clariant Chemicals India Ltd. The entry into the agreement to acquire the Clariant Masterbatch business was originally announced in December 2019. The Clariant Masterbatch business includes 46 manufacturing operations and technology centres in 29 countries and approximately
delustering effect to plastic packaging. It does not require mould changes, which therefore results in shorter run times, increased production capacity and
3,500 employees, who will join Avient’s Colour, Additives and Inks segment. Robert M. Patterson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Avient, commented: “We proudly welcome our newest associates and valued customers from Clariant Masterbatch. “Under this new brand, we bring two global leaders together to create a speciality company focused on sustainable solutions for our customers, being a great place to work for our associates, and creating value for all stakeholders.” The combined net purchase price of Clariant and Clariant Chemicals India Ltd is $1.44 billion (approx. £1.14bn GBP).
Addmaster has announced an extension to its partnership with the Ravago Group to include Resinex – Europe’s biggest supplier of raw materials to the plastics industry. The Stafforsdshire-based firm says the expansion of its partnership with the Ravago Group comes as a result of the growing interest in its Biomaster antimicrobial technology since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to existing European distribution centres, Addmaster’s alliance with Resinex will open new markets in France, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia. Addmaster’s Managing Director, Sandrine Garnier, commented: “Demand for antimicrobial products has
been growing steadily but has risen exponentially in the last few weeks, so it is with great pleasure that we welcome this collaboration with Resinex. “It will give us even more reach for our business throughout Europe thanks to the local support and expertise of the continent’s leading supplier of polymers.” Resinex is a member of the Belgianowned Ravago Group, specialising in the supply of raw materials to plastic moulders and converters around the world and currently Europe’s largest provider. Addmaster already partners the Ravago Group-owned plastic distributors, Ultrapolymers, based in Warrington.
Addmaster’s partnership with Resinex will open up new European markets
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Broadway Colours launches new antimicrobial additive Broadway Colours has introduced a new additive to its portfolio developed to provide antimicrobial resistance to a wide range of plastic products. New ‘Supra-Guard’ can be used in a broad range of items for end markets across healthcare, household, office, sports and public spaces and is specially formulated to control the potential buildup of fungi and bacteria on the surface of plastic products. The additive is easy to include in low addition rates during the manufacturing process and is available in either masterbatch or rotational powder formulations to suit a wide range of
plastics. Broadway says SupraGuard is safe, non-toxic and fully compliant and can effectively inhibit the growth of microorganisms, often eliminating dangerous bacteria throughout that product’s lifespan. Based on Silver ions, the additive can achieve a 99.9 per cent reduction in the spread of surface bacteria and prevent discolouration and odours from developing further. Chris Bird, Sales Manager at Suffolk-based Broadway, commented: “As we continue to live in an ever-connected tactile world, hygiene – and in particular – effective measures to counter
the spread of harmful viruses, have never been more important.” He added: “We continue to develop products aimed at providing customers with solutions to counter a wide range of problems. In addition to Supra-Guard, our Process+ Supra Technology range also includes mould release agents, UV protection, anti-static and fraud protection to add real value to products.”
New ‘SupraGuard’ adds antimicrobial resistance to plastic products
Home and consumer trends inspire Silvergate’s latest colour collection
Colourmaster achieves ISO9001:2015 standard in lockdown
Silvergate Plastics has taken inspiration from the latest trends in homewares and consumer products for its latest collection of coloured masterbatch. The new ‘natural’ colour collection is the result of a close collaboration between Silvergate’s Sales Executive and Consumer Goods Specialist, Emma Cank, and the company’s colour-match technicians. The collection includes muted tones and heritage hues, which are currently popular with interior designers and online influencers. Designed to complement cool greys and classic whites, these colour palettes give producers of consumer homewares a convenient way to select colours. Commenting on the new collection, Cank said: “Whilst Silvergate
UK-based masterbatch and additives supplier, Colourmaster Ltd, has achieved ISO9001:2015 despite the challenges of lockdown. The company, which is best known for being the UK authorised distributor for Clariant’s ‘Omnicolor’ masterbatch and the ‘BioSphere’ biodegradable additive, was able to take the necessary steps to successfully comply with the standard, even with
is known for developing bespoke colours and working directly with customers in our onsite colour-match studio, we are also aware that many customers need colour choices very quickly. “By putting together this collection, we have carried out a lot of the investigative work and can offer a practical way for time-stretched manufacturers to colour their products using an on-trend colour palette.” Cank said the aim of the collection is to offer a convenient way for processors to get new products to market quickly and easily by being able to easily select a colour shade. “We are able to develop these colours in a range of natural effectives, including those that replicate the appearance and texture of paper and wood.
Alternatively, we can bring some ‘bling’ to a product with the addition of glittery effects,” she continued. “So, whilst this is a standard colour collection, it can still be adapted to suit individual needs.”
a high proportion of staff working remotely during the assessment period. Colourmaster’s Director, Hilary McCarthy, commented: “I am very proud of the effort from the whole team who have implemented what was required in a short period of time. This award confirms what our customers already know about us – we deliver great products and excellent customer service.”
Colourmaster’s Director, Hilary McCarthy
A selection of colours from Silvergate’s new natural collection
W HETHER IMPARTING COLOUR, TEXTURE, OR – MORE RELEVANT NOW THAN EVER – ANTI-BACTERIAL PROPERTIES INTO A PLASTIC COMPONENT, CHANCES ARE MASTERBATCH IS LIKELY TO BE USED IN THE MIX. WITH THE GLOBAL MASTERBATCH MARKET SET TO INCREASE IN VALUE TO USD 15 BILLION BY 2026, THOMAS CATINAT, OPERATIONS MANAGER AT BROANMAIN PLASTICS, EXPLAINS FOR BP&R READERS JUST WHY IT IS GAINING SUCH POPULARITY.
Masterbatch is commonly divided into five segments: black, white, colour, additive and fillers. Each formulation offers different functions that, when distributed evenly through the polymer mix, give it its unique plastic fingerprint.
Achieving a special effect, such as chrome, wood grain, stone, marbling and even sparkle is also possible. These types of compounds are often used to boost consumer appeal and mimic heavier materials.
Colour masterbatch is a highly concentrated pigment. Supplied in pellet form rather than powder or liquid, it is blended into plastics to create a range of end-use applications, for example food and beverage packaging, appliances, automotive and pharmaceutical packaging.
READY-MIXED OR CREATED ON DEMAND? Compounded mixes might be purchased in bulk when creating larger quantities of components. But for many end customers, masterbatch is often the most cost-effective way for moulders to create the perfect recipe time and again.
Additive masterbatch offers improved performance of plastic products, for instance illumination, UV resistance, anti-oxidants, antimicrobials or anti-static. Filler masterbatch is used to create better properties such as stiffness or a lighter weight polymer. Chalk, for example, is used to bulk out the plastic. Specific fillers can also be added to make a component fire retardant. Black and white masterbatch are typically used in building and construction, automotive, consumer goods and domestic appliances.
Blended in-house, moulders use volumetric dosing units to automatically mix the material ready for processing. Using granular masterbatch can be a lot less messy than powders or liquid, with fewer health and safety risks from dust or spillages. The ability to maintain a low stock holding and call up a specific blend when required from an external supplier can be more economical, helping to keep production costs down on short runs.
About the author Thomas Catinat is Operations Manager at Broanmain Plastics, a specialist technical trade plastic moulder based in Dorking, UK. Broanmain supports a wide range of industries and supports customers with prototype development, tool trials, right through to high volume production runs. 30
Universal masterbatch offers convenience, are more readily available from suppliers and work with most polymers. The downside is not all universal masterbatches are compatible with all base materials. Conversely, polymer-specific masterbatches are formulated using the same base polymer that it will be blended with. These tend to be bespoke and customised to suit a specific customer’s requirement for pigment colour, as well as special properties like heat stability. JET BLACKS AND BRIGHT WHITES For a number of components, such as electronics, producing the deepest blacks and the purest whites can be more challenging that some think. It requires a high pigmentation concentration, especially to make contemporary products, such as mobile phones, really stand out. Achieving uniform colour is critical. And although there’s usually a standard range of around 40+, there can be over 1000 different masterbatch formulations. Typically, a white masterbatch is used to add opaqueness or whiteness into plastic products. Different grades of titanium dioxide (TiO2) are applied to reflect or scatter light. As well as outdoor applications, some whites are suitable for food contact plastics. One of the key advantages of the white masterbatch is it has a high rate of dispersion, so can easily incorporate other colourants. Black masterbatch is good for electro-static conductibility, durability and exposure to extreme weather. That’s why black is used in a lot of functional outdoor plastic applications, such as construction pipes, as it is stronger and lighter than coloured equivalents. Performance enhancing additives are often added to both black and white masterbatch COLOUR MATCHING Picking the perfect colour is one thing, but ensuring consistency batch-to-batch is quite a science. Everyone sees colour differently. While Newton divided the spectrum into seven named base colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, according to psychophysicists we see tens of millions of different hues and shades. Given this, the human eye cannot be relied upon to match samples accurately.
One thing is certain, masterbatch has become integral to modern day plastic processing. Out of all the product types, colour masterbatch is experiencing heavy global demand. This robust growth can be attributed to brand diﬀerentiation trends in packaging, FMCG, furniture, construction, agriculture and aerospace. plays a big role in minimising colour and product performance variations. Most recipes detail the percentage by weight of masterbatch to be applied. Yet, discrepancies can occur. Changing the host polymer or switching suppliers is typically when this might happen. For this reason, moulders tend to stick with the same supplier. As with all plastic processing, stability is essential. Thermal resistance and durability need to be factored in. It’s precisely for this reason why most processors avoid using a high percentage of recycled plastic mixes for the base polymer. The more plastic is reprocessed, the greater the molecular structure changes. This loss of chemical properties affects the composition and therefore is likely to affect the compatibility of all the ingredients within a blend. Aesthetics aside, understanding the environment in which the end component will be used is critical. For example, components exposed to direct sunlight will need to use a specific masterbatch to prevent discolouration. The chemistry of some colour pigments may be incompatible with the chemistry of some base polymers. Additionally, other agents, such as fillers, could impact the fusion. One thing is certain, masterbatch has become integral to modern day plastic processing. Out of all the product types, colour masterbatch is experiencing heavy global demand. This robust growth can be attributed to brand differentiation trends in packaging, FMCG, furniture, construction, agriculture and aerospace. Likewise, black and white masterbatch is being extensively utilised by automotive manufacturers for lightweighting and to improve fuel efficiency.
Out of all the product types, colour masterbatch is experiencing heavy global demand.
Once a specific masterbatch has been created, specific formulation details, including colour pigments, raw material ratios, notes and directions are held on a recipe card. A moulder can call up these instructions at any time to ensure production consistency. Should a recipe card be unavailable, physical samples can also be matched using a light box or spectrophotometer. Homogenisation of a blend, including the dispersion of the masterbatch during dosing, 31
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TPes | news Bicycle bottle goes green with biobased TPE Outdoor equipment supplier, Vaude, is using a thermoplastic elastomer from Hexpol TPE to produce its first bicycle bottle developed entirely from biobased plastics. The TPE, which is used for a soft component on the mouthpiece of the ‘Bike Bottle Organic’, is made from a custom blend compound from Hexpol’s Dryflex Green series in order to complement Vaude’s ‘Green Shape’ portfolio of functional, eco-friendly products made from sustainable materials. “The Dryflex Green TPE compound, developed individually for Vaude, is based on more than 34 per cent biobased materials. It can be processed using conventional production methods as a ‘drop-in’ solution without the need for tool modification,” explained Hexpol’s Kathrin Heilmann. “The raw materials used meet requirements
Covestro’s expanded TPU marks the end of flat tyres
The soft valve on the ‘Bike Bottle Organic’ uses biobased TPE (Credit: Vaude)
for food contact according to EU 10/2011 and FDA. The TPE can be coloured, it adheres to PP and PE and is fully recyclable, as well as being dimensionally stable and UV-resistant.” Commenting, Clément Affholder, Manager of Innovation, Materials and Plastic Engineering at Vaude, said: “For Vaude, the idea behind the bicycle bottle was to shift reliance from fossil to renewable resources. We want to support a biobased circular economy and improve
the ecological footprint of an article that all frequent bikers need to have. Thanks to Dryflex Green TPEs, Vaude was able to manufacture a technical component, in this case a soft valve, from biobased material. “It is an important step forward that helps minimise the environmental impact of consumer goods and at the same time shows that renewable resources can be used in high-performance products.”
Taiwanese company, Air Fom, has developed and patented a solution that could mark the end of flat bicycle tyres, thanks to materials solutions from Covestro. The company’s ‘airless’ tyre is based on the combination of a special technology and expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (eTPU) from Covestro. Air Fom says it overcomes the drawbacks of previous airless products as, unlike widely-available solid rubber tyres (which offer a puncture-proof solution but do not provide a lightweight riding experience, low cost, or recyclability), this latest product offers a solution to these shortcomings. With the help of particle foam casting, expanded TPU is moulded into the specified shape and ‘inflates’ the tyre before being applied to the rim. Air Fom says the tyre insert is just as lightweight and elastic as an air-filled tyre, can be fitted quickly and firmly on standard rims, is maintenance-free and, most importantly, recyclable – unlike the butyl rubber tubes that are used in conventional tyres. Air Fom says not only does the product prevent punctures from causing flat tyres for the rider, but that it will also appeal to larger-scale bicycle rental companies that need to ensure a constant optional readiness for their fleet of cycles. The Air Fom ‘airless’ tyre uses eTPU for its innovative solution
Huntsman’s TPU elastomers help in the frontline fight against Covid-19 Huntsman’s thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) elastomers have been selected by a medical device manufacturer for Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE). BioThane, a manufacturer of coated webbing based in the US, is producing the waist belts that hold battery packs in place for powered air purifying respirators (PAPR).
PAPR is a type of breathing apparatus that provides frontline health care workers a very high level of protection against viruses such as Covid-19. The batterypowered PAPR purifies contaminated air through a filter mounted on a PAPR blower unit that delivers clean air through a lightweight breathing hose into the wearer’s head covering. BioThane uses Huntsman’s ‘Irogran’
TPU to coat the webbing, ensuring the durable belts are easy to clean thoroughly. Additionally, BioThane uses the same TPU-coated webbing to create systems for other patient transfer applications where scrubable materials are vital. Tony Hankins, President of Huntsman’s Polyurethanes business, added: “We are pleased to be helping in the fight against COVID-19 and honoured to be a critical
The rolls produced by BioThane
supplier to BioThane. This is the latest effort in a series of initiatives we’ve undertaken across the world in response to the pandemic, including the donation of our polyurethane systems to
manufacture insulation panels for pre-fabricated quarantine hospitals, and to our customers producing spandex for medical PPE, such as masks, protection suits and shoes.” 33
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Skin-friendly TPE used for lightweight safety headset
rotos The P t d a e h se
The headband inside an innovative new safety headset is being manufactured with a skin-friendly TPE in order to deliver maximum comfort for the wearer. Austria-based product developer, Westcam, selected a highperformance compound from Kraiburg TPE’s VS/ AD/HM THERMOLAST K range for its ‘Protos Helmet Integral’ safety hat. The material, which is injection moulded to form the headband, provides both excellent processability and a comfortable, lightweight and practical design for environments where such personal protective equipment is necessary. In addition to its velvety surface (VS), outstanding adhesion (AD) and high mechanical (HM) properties, this high-tech material also offers a wide range of design freedom and allows cost-effective processing. “The main challenge
was to mould the relatively large headband for the headset in a dimensionally accurate way and with high repeatability in the shortest possible cycle times, while ensuring a clean, homogeneous impression without sink marks,” explained Reto Huber, Managing Director of Huber Kunststoff AG, producers of the moulded component. “The excellent flowability of the Kraiburg TPE material perfectly matches these requirements and provides flawless surfaces directly from the mould.” The selected THERMOLAST K compound combines a hardness of 60 Shore A with high tensile strength, tear strength and breaking strength. The wear-resistant surface also has long-term resistance to sebum, creams and common household detergents. In addition, the TPE meets
the requirements of ISO 10993-10 for irritationfree tolerability of materials for applications that are in contact with skin.
THE main challenge was to mould the relatively large headband for the headset in a dimensionally accurate way and with high repeatability in the shortest possible cycle times, while ensuring a clean, homogeneous impression without sink marks.
Teknor Apex launches new series of TPEs for the medical device market Teknor Apex Company has developed advanced chemistry to produce a new series of thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) designed for the medical device market. New Medilast MD30000 are TPEs for over-moulding that exhibit “excellent adhesion” to engineering plastic substrates, while meeting the stringent requirements for use in medical products. The new series of medical TPEs bond effectively to polycarbonate, ABS, PC/ ABS, CoPe, PET, PBT, ASA, SAN, PMMA, POM, PA, and PS, with each compound in the series chemically modified for adhesion to specific substrates. Processable in either multi-shot or insert moulding, the compounds are for use in wearable devices, ‘softtouch’ or cosmetic grips for device housings, handheld devices, instruments, as well as seals and gaskets. The new series includes grades with enhanced softness, translucence, low compression set for effective sealing properties, and resistance to lotions and other chemicals encountered by wearable devices. Unlike liquid silicones,
over-moulded TPEs do not require the use of a primer, have a shorter cycle time due to avoidance of a curing process, and can be processed on conventional injection moulding equipment. Three of the Medalist MD-30000 Series compounds were introduced earlier this year after Teknor Apex successfully completed a joint project with Covestro LLC, in which the materials were overmoulded onto medical grades of polycarbonate and PC alloys and tested for adhesion, processability, and chemical resistance. “Over-moulding Medalist TPEs onto rigid substrates enhances the ergonomic and aesthetic properties of medical devices, adds new functionalities such as moulded-in seals and cushions, and provides the design freedom and cost savings associated with parts consolidation,” said Ross van Royen, Senior Market Manager for Teknor Apex. “The Medalist MD30000 Series is the latest addition to a large portfolio of TPEs developed by Teknor Apex for over-moulding applications in medical devices as well as in the consumer product and automotive industries.”
Medical instrument with soft-touch feature
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where are polymer prices headed next as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact markets around the world
IN THIS EDITION OF HIS REGULAR COLUMN, OUR RESIDENT MATERIALS EXPERT, MIKE BOSWELL, LOOKS AT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE GLOBAL POLYMER MARKETS AS A RESULT OF THE ONGOING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, AND ASSESSES WHAT THE RESULTS MAY MEAN FOR DEMAND IN THE COMING MONTHS.
Prior to speculating about the future of polymer pricing, it is worth reflecting upon the recent history of the plastics market and, in particular, what has been influencing pricing since the last global economic crisis. For those in the plastics industry prior to 2008, many will recall episodes where there were often gluts of material, which lead to fierce price competition as sellers fought for market share in a buyers’ market. In the immediate aftermath of the banking crisis, access to funding was limited and this resulted in inventories being tightly controlled. As a consequence, sellers have largely dominated the price action and, although the driver for this change in producer behaviour was extrinsic, the benefits of a more disciplined market have led to a situation where production is more closely matched to demand, rather than one where polymer plants are run at rates irrespective of demand. One of the consequences of this closer matching of supply and demand has meant that any events that restrict availability, either as a result of supply disruption and/ or increased consumption have dramatically affected pricing, such as was the case back in 2015. It is also notable that the increases in polymer production capacity, first in the Middle East and more recently in the US, have largely been absorbed without the dramatic impact that many people thought would be the case. However, the Coronavirus epidemic has delivered a seismic shock to the global economy that has significantly impacted crude oil prices as depicted in the graph below.
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’. ‘Polymerman’ is the title used for announcements made via his Twitter account. This column is compiled using data from PIE (Plastics Information Europe) www.plastribution. co.uk | www.pieweb.com
Perhaps what is surprising is the speed of recovery since the lows reported in April and May – given that the Coronavirus pandemic shows few signs of abating. Here, we need to again look at the fundamentals of supply and demand in the context of global markets and the complexities of oil and petrochemicals markets. One important factor is the relative flexibility of US Shale production, and here output rates have been significantly curtailed because of the poor economics. Another significant factor is dramatical reduced consumption of transport fuels with the consequence that the availability of petrochemical feedstocks from the oil refining process has also been reduced. This is the likely explanation for the significant price increase, and protracted negotiations, in the European C2 Ethlyene contract settlement at the beginning of July. SUPPLY/DEMAND BALANCE Supply demand balance is also a key factor across all polymer groups, and whilst some producers have been able to adjust outputs to better match surging demand in sectors such as primary packaging and healthcare, those whose output is focused on big ticket consumer items, such as white goods and cars, face much bigger challenges as competition intensifies for the available demand. The building and construction sector could prove to be quite volatile, as a combination of pent-up demand and significant Government expenditure could lead to an unexpected surge in demand.
A DRAMATIC SITUATION The impact on polymer feedstock prices was equally significant and the table to the right – which covers the last 10 years and details price action since the start of 2020 – clearly shows how dramatic the situation has been, with record decreases and record, or near record, lows being reported.
Finally, it is worth considering that there may not be the traditional lull in plastics demand this summer, as many converters may decide to take advantage of strong order books for items such as single-use packaging, PPE and medical applications and not shut down for seasonal holidays.
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NEWS FROM THE FRONTLINE
IN THE LATEST INSTALMENT OF HIS EXCLUSIVE COLUMN FOR BP&R, DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE BPF, PHILIP LAW, OUTLINES THE POTENTIAL SAVINGS FOR PLASTICS PROCESSORS AS A RESULT OF THE RECENTLY RE-OPENED CLIMATE CHANGE AGREEMENT, LOOKS AT THE BEST BITS OF THE ‘MINI BUDGET’ AND HIGHLIGHTS THE WORK BEING DONE TO BUILD A ROBUST DOMESTIC RECYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE.
t’s important for companies to know about a cost saving opportunity which has recently emerged; the Government’s recent reopening of the Climate Change Agreement (CCA) for plastics processors. Many businesses in our industry pay a climate Change Levy, which is added to energy bills. If you are a participant in our BPF Energy Climate Change Agreement, then you will receive a discount on the Levy. Participation entails striving to meet energy efficiency targets agreed between the industry and the Government. This helps your company reduce carbon emissions and improves the environmental profile of your company and its products. Companies with a CCA benefit from exemptions on their Climate Change Levy (CCL) of up to 92 per cent for electricity and 81 per cent for natural gas. Average savings per year equate to £56,000 for electricity and £7,500 for gas. For a full list of eligible processes, please visit: www.bpf.co.uk/bpf-energy/cca/home. In short, you must be a plastics processor of semifinished or finished products by the application of heat and pressure, or by a chemical reaction using plastics powder, granules, shredded waste or liquid. BPF Energy helps to administer the CCA for the plastics industry and advises that for applications to be financially viable, a company’s electricity spend should ideally be greater than £2000 per month at 10p per kWh. If you are interested in learning more, please get in touch with Yolanda Starkie at ystarkie@bpf. co.uk A BUDGET FOR BUSINESS Recent weeks saw the delivery of a ‘mini budget’, which we judged to be helpful to business. Coming on top of Prime Minister Johnson’s commitment to infrastructure, the Government announcement of a £2 billion Green Homes programme and support will serve to stimulate wider demand within the construction sector. Indeed without plastics, the Government will have great difficulty in meeting energy efficiency targets within buildings. Assistance to the hospitality sector, which has been disproportionately affected by the Covid19 pandemic, was certainly needed. Plastic packaging plays a vital role in keeping down CO2 emissions as food is transported, and in ensuring it arrives in a fresh condition for the catering world. The creation of job opportunities for young people, including increasing the number
of apprenticeships, is to be applauded. Manufacturing – and in particular plastics manufacturing – desperately needs fresh talent, although we have to be mindful that many jobs, sadly, are currently being lost from the sector. The plastics industry, current travails aside, can offer terrific career prospects, with international horizons. In recent months we’ve had a breath-taking flurry of Government announcements, all about expenditure. In fact, Covid-19 is likely to cost the UK Government some £300 billion between April 2020 – April 2021. But we haven’t had one word from the Government about how we are going to pay for all this. Watch this space with some trepidation! For the plastics industry, the stark challenges are twofold – investing in the recovery from Covid-19 is one thing, but also there is the possible outcome of a Brexit without a trade deal imposing six percent import tariffs on raw materials and a generally increased cost of doing business with the EU. IN PRAISE OF PLASTICS PACKAGING There was further affirmation of plastics packaging recently in an Imperial College report entitled ‘Examining material evidence – the carbon fingerprint’, which, on the basis of some 70 LCAs found that plastics packaging, as long as it is sensibly recycled, is responsible for lower emissions of CO2 than other forms of packaging. Viewers of the recent BBC TV coverage of UK plastics waste illegally dumped in Turkey will recognise that the operative words are ‘responsibly recycled’. Such dumping is reprehensible and emphasises how we need to rapidly and decisively move away from exporting plastics waste and shutting down illegal operators. The BPF has done an enormous amount to point out the need for greater investment in recycling in the UK in terms of capacity build-up and improving the collection and sorting of used plastics. For years we have called for urgent reform of the legislation governing packaging waste (the ‘PRN’ system) in order to incentivise domestic recycling and to reduce reliance on exports. The Government must now act. There will be a great temptation to absorb revenues from the projected plastics packaging tax into the general pot, but there is a crying need and an obvious specific destination for these monies. www.bpf.co.uk
MORE THAN WORDS. WE HELP MAKE YOU MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY BY LISTENING CLOSELY AND FINDING THE RIGHT SOLUTION FOR YOU. For over 30 years, we have been pursuing the advancement of plastics recycling for you. In doing so, we not only find ways to increase energy efficiency and profitability, but also develop solutions to reduce packaging waste. Find out more now: kraussmaffei.com/circulareconomy
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