APR/MAY 2020 | VOLUME 22/ISSUE 2
HIGH QUALITY AND DURABILITY: MEUSBURGER STRIKES WHILE THE IRON IS HOT
INPAK MAKINA’S MUSTAFA EREN DISCUSSES THE TURKISH COMPANY’S THERMOFORMING SOLUTIONS.
GOOD NEWS FROM BRUSSELS
PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST AT P&G GIAN DE BELDER BROUGHT GOOD NEWS TO PETCORE EUROPE.
EPPM SPOKE WITH OKLAHOMA ACES PROGRAMME MANAGER LESHIA PEARSON.
Our new DurethanÂŽ types for blow molding applications in the engine compartment offer you decisive advantages. This is because the specially branched PA 6 and PA 66 types are extremely resilient. They also stand out as extremely easy to machine. To complement this, our strong expert team offers you comprehensive services and application-related consultancy during every phase of component development and implementation. We are looking forward to new challenges! durethan.de
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IN THIS ISSUE APR/MAY 2020
Petcore Europe’s Communications Executive Sebastian Lemp highlights the virtues of transparency and innovation as the industry transitions to a circular economy.
AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS
The rapid spread of COVID-19 has already had a massive impact on trade fairs and conferences. It’s time we remember how to value scientific and industrial expertise.
Features for the Future Dirk Olberding and Dr Thomas Wagner of KRAIBURG TPE discussed the performance and environmental benefits of the new FC/CM Series of TPS materials.
INTENSE Meusburger takes the phrase ‘if you want something done right, do it yourself’ right to heart and has been relying on its own furnaces for around 30 years.
Profile pick EPPM headed to the picturesque city of Luzern, Switzerland, for the 2020 Swiss Plastics Expo, where HakaGerodur’s Anke Frommhold spoke about sustainability and innovation in extrusion techniques.
Form-idible EPPM spoke to Marketing and Business Development Manager at npak Makina Mustafa Eren to learn more about the Turkish company’s thermoforming solutions.
MES: Optimised EPPM spoke with bfa solutions' CEO Beat Kämpfer at the Swiss Plastics Expo in Lucerne.
Flying ACES EPPM spoke with Oklahoma Commerce Aerospace and Defense Manager and Oklahoma ACES Programme Manager Leshia Pearson ahead of this year’s JEC World trade fair.
Poised to prosper CHINAPLAS 2020 will focus on tapping into the potential of Asian markets.
Good news from Brussels Principal Scientist at P&G Gian de Belder brought good news for recycling to the annual Petcore Europe conference in Brussels.
he plastics industry faces uncertain times, and the latest discussions about EU and national plastics taxes could lead to a worrying situation for future investments. In a world that strives for a decrease in CO2 emissions, only plastic packaging is capable of providing the answer – it is not the devil it is often made out to be. Taxing plastic packaging, as well as other regulatory developments such as the Single Use Plastics Directive, puts the material at a disadvantage and brings the danger of careless material switches. Replacing plastic packaging with alternatives that do not perform as well from environmental, food safety and economical perspectives will not cut CO2 emissions. What it will cut, unfortunately, is employment and investment. However, the EU Green Deal proposes to enhance work towards a circular economy – wherein plastics and recycled plastics will be a key enabler – for this reason, there is light at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime, at Petcore Europe, the PET value chain association, we continue to work on recycling and stemming the negativity towards plastics by supporting the Circular Plastics Alliance. This initiative was established by the European Commission itself in order to turn 10,000,000 tonnes of recycled plastic back into new products, and transparency is key in this endeavour.
Sebastian Lemp, Communications Executive of Petcore Europe, explains why these uncertain times require transparent, circular actions, and positive, innovative solutions.
In a world that strives for a decrease in CO2 emissions, only plastic packaging is capable of providing the answer
The ‘poster child’ of recycling, the PET beverage bottle, needs to lead the way. At the same time, Petcore Europe is focusing on making PET tray to tray recycling a reality all over Europe by engaging in recycling projects for innovative applications. The recently launched PET Monomer Recycling Special Industry Group, which aims to establish a strong and sustainable value chain in the development of re-using the monomers from PET waste, as well as the PET white light barrier application Special Industry Group, represent just two of the very latest examples. Circularity, positivity and transparency in these contexts are exactly what the industry needs more than ever. With their ability to excel in the environmental, food safety and economical contexts, plastics play an essential role in the circular economy.
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Around the world in eighty days Dear readers, We first heard of it in January; by March it was officially a global pandemic, and it caused the cancellation or postponement of some of Europe’s – and the world’s – best known trade fairs and conferences. Beginning with Chinaplas, one by one the events in my diary were being crossed out: JEC World, Paris; Plastify, Vienna; PRSE, Amsterdam; VinylPlus Sustainability Forum, Florence. The travel element is certainly a perk of editing this magazine, but the desire to travel pales in comparison to looking after one’s health. Italy was hit hardest and earliest by the speed of the spread, and we continue to wish our colleagues there, and in all affected regions, the very best for an equally speedy recovery.
The travel element is certainly a perk of editing this magazine, but the desire to travel pales in comparison to looking after one’s health
The Coronavirus has travelled quickly, but I am convinced that the swift actions of event organisers and hosts has had some effect in maintaining the health of what would have been many thousands of people. We’ll be going around the world in this edition of EPPM for more positive and constructive reasons. I caught up with Petcore Europe’s Communications Executive Sebastian Lemp in Brussels, where he kindly agreed to provide the foreword. Our cover story comes from Austria-based Meusburger, after which we travel to France to learn about Pollen AM’s innovative ability to 3D print with ultra-soft TPE.
The Thermoforming feature takes us to Turkey, and machinery developments from Inpak Makina. For the Extrusion feature, I travelled to Switzerland for the Swiss Plastics Expo, where I learned about composites extrusion for the construction industry from HakaGerodur’s Anke Frommhold. Finally, we have some positive news coming from Petcore Europe’s Annual Conference, and some composites innovation for the EV and Aerospace industries, as we look forward to the rescheduled JEC World. We also hear from Chinaplas’ organisers as they continue preparations for this year’s Shanghai show. Returning home, where the UK has its own health, political and economic crises to face, we recognise that these are testing times that require a healthy combination of skill, spirit and science. Among my hopes is to see a return to the expertise of scientists and other relevant specialists as valued. Pandemics recognise no nationalities, relative levels of patriotism, political borders, or the comparative wealth of countries. Science, however, recognises both the skills and the spirit necessary to overcome such challenges. Stay well and enjoy the April/May edition of EPPM from a place of safety and comfort. Rob Coker, Editor
TPU FOR THE SHOE A 3D PRINTED SHOE MADE FROM TPU WAS AMONG THE PRODUCT-RELATED INNOVATIONS PRESENTED BY BASF AT SIMAC, THE INTERNATIONAL MACHINE AND TECHNOLOGY FAIR FOR SHOES IN MILAN IN FEBRUARY.
he sustainable, high-performance materials and BASF’s pioneering shoe concepts were launched in 2013 through the Infinergy brand – the world’s first expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (E-TPU). The closed-cell, elastic particle foam combines the properties of TPU with the advantages of foams, making it as elastic as rubber but lighter. Infinergy is now bringing this combination of lightweight, comfort, and long-term durability to occupational and dress shoes. The footwear industry is increasingly favouring 3D printing in manufacture, and the Ultrasint TPU01 from BASF is a multipurpose TPU for producing flexible parts with high throughput and excellent quality.
Typical applications are in sports footwear in which the required properties of shock absorption, energy return, and flexibility can be specifically tuned by design. BASF demonstrated this by 3D printing 50 pairs of sneakers using its TPU powder with both HSS and SLS technologies. The finishing touch was BASF’s flexible coating, which provided enhanced durability and outstanding aesthetics.
The closed-cell, elastic particle foam combines the properties of TPU with the advantages of foams
THE AQUILA RE05F GLOVE REPRESENTS THE PURPOSEDESIGNED PERSONAL PROTECTION APPROACH OF AQUILA FOR THE WASTE PROCESSING AND RECYCLING INDUSTRIES, WHERE THE RANGE OF RISKS VARIES FROM PROCESS TO PROCESS.
love development for these applications makes life safer and more comfortable for operatives – in the case of the RE05F, this is typically in a picking role at the conveyor belt stage where it provides extra protection from fast moving objects. The RE05F is cutresistant and doublecoated with foam and full flat nitrile, which provides excellent abrasion resistance.
With 100 per cent cutresistant yarn, followed by a two-stage foam and flat dip process, the glove is waterproof, chemical-resistant, and maintains excellent grip and dexterity to suit general purpose usage. Related Aquila products for the waste processing/recycling industries include much of their impact protection range featuring TPE on the back-of-hand and on the fingers for protection
against fast moving hard or sharp objects. The TOG4B gloves with Alkimos cut four yarn guarantee full cut resistance. An additional nitrile coating with sandy finish greatly aids grip in wet and dry environments, with excellent oil and chemical resistance. The TOG6W includes an extra comfortable brushed liner for added warmth – suitable for temperatures down to -30°C.
On your bike INTERNATIONAL COMPOUNDING GROUP HEXPOL TPE HAS DEVELOPED A CUSTOMISED BIOBASED TPE FROM THE DRYFLEX GREEN SERIES FOR VAUDE.
he material is used on the bicycle bottle mouthpiece by the outdoor equipment manufacturer based in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. With the ‘Bike Bottle Organic’, VAUDE has produced its first bicycle bottle developed from bio-based plastics.
Glove from above
The main challenge for HEXPOL TPE was to develop a suitable compound that meets the mechanical properties and processability requirements. HEXPOL TPE’s Kathrin Heilmann said: “The Dryflex Green TPE compound, developed individually for VAUDE, is based on more than 34 per cent bio-based materials, it can be processed using conventional production methods, as a dropin solution without the need for tool
modification. The raw materials used meet requirements for food contact according to EU 10/2011 and FDA.” Materials Manager at VAUDE Clément Affholder added: “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.”
TPE FOUNDED IN FRANCE IN 2013, POLLEN AM USES ULTRA-SOFT TPES FOR ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING IN ITS PAM SERIES P 3D PRINTERS. OPERATIONS DIRECTOR DIDIER FONTA EXPLAINS.
lexible materials, including natural and synthetic rubbers, made way during the 1970s following the creation of TPEs, which revolutionised industrial production due to its easy processing qualities, flexibility and ability to be injection moulded. TPEs have since become ubiquitous in everyday products such as toothbrushes, kitchenware and footwear. Including TPU, TPS and TPO, each member of the TPE category has properties and qualities suitable to specific applications – depending on their respective mechanical or chemical resistance. However, TPEs express properties over a wide range of hardnesses – that is, from very hard to ultra-soft in texture. A 95 Shore A type TPE can be used in a rubber caster, for example, whereas an 80 Shore A TPE may be more suitable for use in footwear.
The Pam series P is the only 3D printing machine in the world to print this extremely soft material
The Pam series is a technology inspired by micro-extrusion techniques, and capable of treating every polymer type. The process of treating a material in order to obtain functional 3D printed parts requires a vigorous validation process that can be more or less intensive depending on the material category. STEP 1: PROCESS VALIDATION The use of a specific material with Pam technology begins with introducing it to the extruder to confirm its extrudability, with non-degredation of the chemistry and consistency being the key points to look for.
ABOVE: THE NEW PAM SERIES P
The common elastic or rubber band is typically a 20 Shore A TPE and, for scale, chewing gum is measured below Shore A (i.e. Shore 00). This measurement is considered the definition of a ‘very soft’ material. For France-based 3D printing specialists Pollen AM, the good news is that no matter where the TPE sits on this scale, it can be used in the Pam series P additive manufacturing technology hardware. The company has even printed individual TPE parts with hardnesses running down the scale from 90 to 00. Saying that the Pam series P is the only 3D printing machine in the world to print this extremely soft material makes us just a little bit proud, we have to confess.
STEP 2: ELABORATION Printing with Pam technology is all about the correct slicing parameters. A new material type, following validation, implies iteration – known as a Printing Profile – with regards to temperatures, speeds or extrusion dimensions. Pollen AM delivers validated Printing Profiles that work for most applications with its TPE and other thermoplastics, including PEEK, PA6 and PA66, and PET. STEP 3: REFINING FOR DEDICATED APPLICATIONS Each application and part can be meticulously optimised due to the variety of levers in the slicer, and their ability to work on specific challenges such as optimising dimensional fidelity and improving mechanical properties. From standard to high-performance plastics, and even metal, Pollen AM’s Pam series is the only technology using industrial grade materials, and the company warmly invites enquiries regarding availability, processability, and knowledge transfer programmes.
COVER STORY MEUSBURGER TAKES THE PHRASE ‘IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DONE RIGHT, DO IT YOURSELF’ RIGHT TO HEART AND HAS BEEN RELYING ON ITS OWN FURNACES FOR AROUND 30 YEARS.
any of Meusburger’s products start their journey as iron ore and coking coal with various charges in a blast furnace. This results in crude iron, which – after several further steps – is used to produce the steel that is processed in various versions. Very high temperatures play a decisive role in most of these steps. They also play a role at Meusburger, where the steel, which is purchased from renowned steelworks, is heat-treated in one of three in-house furnaces. This reduces lead times, increases precision, results in cost savings and thus provides a competitive advantage in the long term. TRUST IS GOOD, CONTROL IS BETTER But why exactly is stress-relieving heat treatment necessary? During the production of steel sheets, tension grows in the material from various machining processes. Without stress-relieving heat treatment, there is warping during subsequent machining. Shorter service lives, longer machining times, and therefore higher costs, are just a few of the resulting disadvantages. However, Meusburger turns these disadvantages into advantages within just 24 hours by offering stress-relieving heat treatment. Recent tests have shown that the advantages of steel that has been heattreated for stress relief compared to non-treated or insufficiently heat-treated materials, are particularly significant when hardening, with three times less warping. The decisive factor here is that shape changes of the workpiece are rarely caused by the hardening process itself, but rather by existing tensions, which are released when heating to curing temperature and then cause warping to occur. This is precisely what Meusburger reduces to a minimum in its furnaces in advance. In addition, Meusburger steels achieved impressive
results during machining compared to steels from other manufacturers. The inhouse heat treatment process increases the service life by up to 20 per cent, especially for chromium steels. Before the sheet metal enters Meusburger’s in-house furnaces, it goes through an extensive quality check. Spectral analysis and the inspection of the specified material properties are also strategically and consistently carried out directly at in the company’s facilities. This way Meusburger guarantees high product quality. TENSION-FREE THE WHOLE WAY In order to reduce the tension in the material to a minimum, several factors are decisive: controlled heating, maintaining of the temperature, which is determined for each individual material up to 580°C, and uniform cooling. Only the slow and continuous cooling of 35°C per hour over 14 hours prevents the build-up of new tension. The strength is not changed, but the microstructure is homogenised. The entire process takes about 24 hours. With over 30 years of experience in the field of stress-relieving heat treatment, Meusburger guarantees the highest quality and durability of moulds and dies. THE RIGHT PLATE FOR EVERY PROJECT At Meusburger, customers can find a wide range of plates heat-treated for stress relief, which includes both high-quality P-Standard plates, as well as P-Special plates in varying dimensions and diverse variations.
The customer is guaranteed to find the right plate for every project, no matter how specialised This extensive selection is due to a large 18,000 square metre warehouse. With the offer of special plates that can be manufactured to particular requirements, the customer is guaranteed to be able to find the right plate for every project, no matter how specialised. HIGH PRICE RELIABILITY AND SHORT LEAD TIME To ensure that the right range of P-Standard plates for all customers is available, Meusburger reacts quickly to developments on the market and constantly expands its range with sizes in demand. Customers benefit from the P-Standard plates from Meusburger in several ways. P-Standard plates can be ordered via the web shop with just a few clicks, or in the offline shop where the price display before ordering means the customers can be sure of what exactly they are investing in, as well as how much.
Our over 30 years of experience in the field of stress-relieving heat treatment guarantees you the highest quality and durability of your moulds and dies
The plates are milled in width and length and segment ground in the thickness. They are available in numerous sizes and materials directly from stock. The resulting short lead time guarantees the customer absolute planning security for all projects. Since Meusburger stores the heat-treated for stress relief plates for its customers on a total of 18,000 square
metres, important warehouse space can also be saved. FLEXIBILITY IN ALL AREAS In addition to the P-Standard plates, Meusburger also offers maximum flexibility with the P-Special plates. With many different versions and variable dimensions, customers have the option of ordering plates customised to the respective project. Despite special machining, Meusburger guarantees fast delivery even for P-Special plates due to its cutting edge machinery. Since each individual plate in a special plates order is manufactured according to the customerâ€™s requests, the price for each order is recalculated after entering the dimensions, design and material. If a P-Special plate requested by a customer is available from stock as a P-Standard plate, the order is automatically converted to a P-Standard plate. This goes to show that regardless of whether one of the common sizes of the P-Standard plates is suitable, or more flexibility is required, Meusburger has the right plate for every project. And these are heat-treated for stress relief and in the usual high quality.
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Features for the future KRAIBURG TPE’S KEY ACCOUNT MANAGER DIRK OLBERDING AND PRODUCT MANAGER FOR EMEA DR THOMAS WAGNER DISCUSS THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THE FC/CM1 AND FC/ CM2 SERIES OF TPS MATERIALS WITH REGARDS TO MIGRATION TESTING AND RECYCLABILITY.
he FC Series is a group of materials that have not been especially optimised for contact with fatty foods, Olberding began. “They come with excellent adhesion to polyolefinic thermoplastics. Based on these features, the materials of the FC Series are especially suited to all kinds of food applications. Our FC/CM1 Series is available in hardness range from 40-80 Shore A. This series is especially optimised for contact with fatty foods with medium or large surface contact areas. In addition, we could achieve optimised organoleptic properties. These compounds fulfil the requirements of both regulation (EU) No. 10/2011 and FDR 21.” Not only do the materials come with
excellent adhesion to polyolefinic thermoplastics and smooth surface haptics, they are easily processed by injection moulding, blow moulding and extrusion. Based on these features, the FC/CM1 Series of TPS materials are especially suited for the sealings of food boxes, kitchenware and soft-touch elements. “Our FC/CM2 Series is also available in 40-80 Shore A,” Olberding continued. “This series is especially optimised for contact with fatty foods with small surface contact areas, and we could here also achieve good organoleptic properties. These compounds fulfil Regulations (EU) No. 10/2011 and FDA CFR 21 as compounds.”
The FC/CM2 materials come with the same adhesion properties, application areas and process techniques as the FC/CM2 Series. For a better classification of the FC/CM2 Series and their specific properties, KRAIBURG TPE has illustrated the migration potential, the idea of surface volume ratios, the organoleptic properties and the processing in injection moulding. “The migration potential of the FC Series is significantly higher than in the FC/CM1 Series, and lowest for the FC/CM2 Series. This means that only the CM1 and CM2 Series allow for products with unfavourable, small surface volume ratios. The best properties are achieved by FC/ CM2, but processing by injection moulding is most demanding for the FC/CM2 Series as well.” Wagner added that after so much information specific to materials dedicated to food contact, other benefits ought to be mentioned. One of the most important questions in the plastics world is that of recycling. Thermoplastics
are generally recyclable, and all TPEs – whether TPU, TPS, TPC – do carry the harmonised recycling code ‘07’, which means there is a technically feasible option for recycling and therefore products made of TPS can be either totally or partially discarded in regular recycling streams. “We are all allowed to discard of our TPE products in the normal recycling waste streams,” Wagner clarified. “TPS materials do have significant advantages over silicon elastomers, with most found at the processing stage. One advantage, however, directly relates to recycling. Silicon elastomers, being a fully crosslinked material, impede recycling. Any silicon elastomer that enters the normal recycling stream of thermoplastic material will act as a contaminant and diminish the quality of the recyclate. Alternatively, most TPS materials can be recycled easily and possibly even improve
TPS materials do have significant advantages over silicon elastomers, with most found at the processing stage the recyclate quality to some extent. They’re easy to recycle and they provide interesting alternatives to silicon in a multitude of applications.”
GN Form/Cut/Stack Series
Forming Area: 580mm x 465mm
Specializing in food, medical and industrial packaging High efficiency heaters High cutting tonnage GN800 Model
Forming Area: 830mm x 570mm
In-mould-cut capability Low electrical consumption
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THERMOFORMING NEWS PACCOR’s DeliTwist closure wins ‘Packaging Oscar’
THE ORGANISERS OF THE 12TH EUROPEAN THERMOFORMING CONFERENCE, THE SPE - EUROPEAN THERMOFORMING DIVISION, HAS DECIDED IN LIGHT OF THE CURRENT SITUATION TO POSTPONE THIS MAIN EVENT OF THE EUROPEAN THERMOFORMING INDUSTRY DUE TO THE INCREASE IN COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) CASES.
DELITWIST, AN INNOVATIVE THERMOFORMED SCREW-TOP POT MADE OF RPET, HAS BEEN AWARDED WITH THE PRESTIGIOUS DISTINCTION ‘OSCAR DE L’EMBALLAGE’.
European Thermoforming Conference postponed
warded in the Élysées Biarritz cinema at the legendary ChampsElysées in Paris, more than 200 invitees came to discover the winners of the 2019 edition of the ‘Packaging Oscars’. In the Consumption category, PACCOR was named the winner with its DeliTwist product – a sustainable solution for products that require a leak-resistant closure, and features a patented twist lid closure. Designed with customer functionality in mind, DeliTwist also integrates environmental consciousness as it can be reused. PACCOR’s post-consumer PET decontamination technology and monomaterial enable further sustainability.
he conference will be take place from 30 September to 2 October 2020 at the Starling Hotel in Geneva, Switzerland. This conference – deemed the sector’s most important platform for information and communications between decision makers, experts, suppliers and the
related scientific community – has established itself as the forum for thermoforming technology. Presentations, discussion workshops and an exhibition – where the focus will be on dialogue – all contribute to informing participants from Europe and
the US. The theme of the conference, ‘Thermoforming for a Green Future’, will act as a thread linking exhibitors, whether from the world of science, the supply sector or the applications business. The presentations will be comprehensive and all-encompassing in terms of the materials, processes and
IMAGE COPYRIGHT: OCPHOTO
applications that they cover. The attendees will consist of a significant cross-section of processors, end-users, material suppliers, tool makers, machine and allied equipment suppliers.
ALL-ROUND GROWTH FOR GN THERMOFORMING GN THERMOFORMING EQUIPMENT, A LEADING MANUFACTURER OF SERVO-DRIVEN, ROLL-FED THERMOFORMING MACHINES, HAS ANNOUNCED THE APPOINTMENT OF NEW AREA SALES MANAGER ALBERTO CAPODICASA.
orn in Venezuela and fluent in English, Spanish and Italian, Capodicasa has many years of experience in various sales positions. Speaking about the appointment, GN’s Sales and Marketing Manager Paul Phillips said: “We are thrilled to add Alberto to our sales and marketing team. Alberto will travel extensively and work on the ground with our local agencies in the Mexican, Central and South American markets. GN has a lot of thermoforming machines in the region and Alberto is wellequipped to support our agents and customers as we continue to grow.”
GN’s vision for expansion is happening on many levels by adding key strategic staff in various company departments, as well as increasing capacity and further developing its equipment. The GN580, the newest model in GN’s line of thermoformers launched at K 2019 and has been well received by the market. Phillips added: “We have responded to countless
inquiries and have sold multiple units since the show, with many more deals currently being negotiated. We’ve also been busy developing another new GN Thermoformer model which we plan to launch at the upcoming NPE in the spring of 2021.” Canada-based GN Thermoforming Equipment’s operation also includes a Technical Service and Sales Centre in Jihlava, Czech Republic. The
company has exported its equipment to 70 countries over the past 40 years.
Alberto is wellequipped to support our agents and customers as we continue to grow
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THERMOFORMING EPPM SPOKE TO MARKETING AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER AT INPAK MAKINA MUSTAFA EREN TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE TURKISH COMPANY’S THERMOFORMING SOLUTIONS.
Form-idible Inpak’s latest model TSR-800 In-mould Cutting Thermoforming Machine has received a lot of positive feedback. What does it have that its predecessors did not? Inpak has added the TSR-800 to its range of machines with added in-mould cutting capabilities. We have received positive feedback from our Turkish customers and as such we will be returning to Düsseldorf for Interpack*, running the TSR-800 with 0.5mm PET trays at 40 cycles per minute with a robot stacker. Inpak also brought to market the TS-1000, with a maximum mould area of 1000x750mm, during K 2019. What is the outstanding efficiency, output, and environmental features of the TSR-800? The aim of the TSR-800 is to get even longer lifetimes for the cutting knives, as well as smooth cutting quality for unique end-products, reduced sheet scrap ratio, and reduced investment costs with twostation machines by maintaining reliability and performance. The TSR-800 comprises a combined regenerative servo drive system, which utilises the braking energy of any servo axis internally for other axes. If it exceeds the internal needs, it returns the energy to the mains to power other elements. We have used Elstein low energy heating elements to reduce the main source of power usage in a thermoforming machine. Digitalisation is becoming more important, so we’re about to launch new developments in this field too. One of the modules of this package is about advanced process optimisation, and therefore increased process efficiency.
How versatile is the machinery with regards to material types and changeover times? Inpak machines can run fossil- or bio-based, biodegradable and nonbiodegradable materials such as PLA, PET, CPET, PP, PVC, PS, OPS and so on. These are all suitable for thermoforming and could be run on standard Inpak machines. We have customers who run high-volume productions with a single mould, and customers who require many mould changeovers. Therefore, ergonomics and flexibility are important for increasing net working times. Inpak provides fast changeover systems and complementary features with a focus on ease of use. In what ways does Inpak Makina engage and collaborate with other European players to optimise output? Turkey is the second biggest plastics converter in Europe. Since Inpak was established in 2006, the number of thermoforming machine users has increased remarkably in Turkey. There has been mutual support and close cooperation between Inpak and Europe-wide producers for years. With the growth of Inpak’s production capacity, almost 90 per cent of our machines are exported, and Europe is the strongest market for us.
What advantages do thermoformed products maintain over other manufacturing methods? Thermoforming machine investment costs can be relatively high, but tooling is cheaper compared to injection moulding. Productivity is much higher even compared to improved cycle times in injection moulding. In a market that requires high volumes of mass-produced plastic packaging, thermoforming is on top regarding efficiency. What challenges does the thermoforming sector face from other sectors – including consumers and recyclers? There have been campaigns against plastics around the world, even though plastics are lightweight and have lower carbon footprints in comparison with cradle-to-grave lifecycle assessments of alternative materials. Plastic is a miracle material, and end-of-life plastics are too valuable to be thrown away, so we expect plastics associations and converters to show the public the truth about the sustainability of plastics. Recycling is a must. The more we recycle, the more we will thermoform products made of reusable materials, but governments must take the lead through accessible recycling systems.
*The Interpack 2020 trade fair has been rescheduled for 25 February to 3 March 2021
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NORD extruder-type drives for plastics industry MANUFACTURERS IN THE PLASTICSPROCESSING INDUSTRY APPRECIATE THE LONG SERVICE LIFE, THE LOW MAINTENANCE AND THE HIGH ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF THE NORD DRIVESYSTEMS’ DRIVE SOLUTIONS.
or use in extruders, the company offers extruder-type drives that are optimised for heavy-duty operations. Extrusion has established itself as the most important manufacturing technique in the field of production and processing of thermoplastics. The high-performance MAXXDRIVE industrial gear units from NORD DRIVESYSTEMS ensure the required extruder drive. As a leading manufacturer, the drive specialist also produces
complete extruder-type drive solutions, enabling adaptation to almost all common connection dimensions. Due to generously dimensioned thrust bearings and safe absorption of process forces, a long operating life can be ensured. The extruder option can be customised to the customer’s shaft and optimally matched to the customer’s demands with several bearing variants. This gives plant constructors, manufacturers and processors of plastics the opportunity to develop safe and highly reliable drive units that are particularly versatile. Extruder types are available for the MAXXDRIVE industrial gear units in sizes 5 to 11 with rated torques from 15-75kNm.
Colines takes on the NPE challenge WHILE STILL EXPERIENCING THE TAILWIND OF ITS BIGGEST SUCCESS EVER AT K 2019 IN DÜSSELDORF, COLINES IS NOW LOOKING FORWARD TO TAKING PART IN A NEW PRESTIGIOUS SHOW – NPE 2021.
THE EUROPEAN POLYCARBONATE SHEET EXTRUDERS ASSOCIATION (EPSE) HAS EMPHASISED THE STRENGTH OF ITS CE MARKING AND QUESTIONED UNNECESSARY NATIONAL CERTIFICATION SCHEMES.
EPSE EMPHASISES STRENGTH OF CE MARKINGS
he CE-marking of construction products, including the sheets produced by EPSE members, is regulated by the EU Construction Products Directive 305/2011 and its amendments. EPSE members are currently CE-marking their sheets according to EN 16153 for multiwall polycarbonate sheets and EN 16240 for solid polycarbonate sheets. The marking indicates that the products meet EU safety, health or environmental requirements. It guarantees the free movement of safe products and is a key indicator of compliance with EU legislation. Through CE-marking manufacturers assure their products comply with the accompanying Declaration of
Performance (DoP). Thus, customers can rest assured they are buying high-quality polycarbonate sheets. Nevertheless, some countries, e.g. France and Germany, sometimes ask for additional marks or certificates, which leads to additional – and expensive – testing. EPSE members argue that this practice goes against the spirit of CEmarking, which stands for a harmonised, unified market without extra national requirements. A recent EPSE press statement
read: ‘national public authorities cannot and should not ask for any additional marks or certificates, let alone additional and expensive testing.’
main exhibitions in the extrusion industry and we are confident that our commitment will be beneficial both to us and the fair as well. In what way? We will be exhibiting a running cast line, which is something never seen at the NPE show so far.” The company’s booth will be the W8361 in the main West Hall,
where Colines will be showcasing something really special, according to Marketing Director, Gabriele Peccetti: “We will run a very innovative line. Something that is going to hit the market all over the Americas and beyond. We look forward to taking on this new crucial and gamechanging challenge for our company.”
olines has decided to put on a terrific show at the upcoming NPE 2021 in Orlando, US, from 17-21 2021, having booked a 900 square metre exhibiting space. Executive Commercial Director Anthony Michael Caprioli said “It will be the biggest booth ever for Colines. NPE is one of the
EPSE members argue that this practice goes against the spirit of CE-marking, which stands for a harmonised, unified market
EXTRUSION NEWS Guill presents single-point concentricity extrusion tooling GUILL TOOL & ENGINEERING HAS INTRODUCED A NEW SINGLEPOINT CONCENTRICITY EXTRUSION CROSSHEAD THAT USES MICRO-FINE ADJUSTMENT SCREWS FOR PRECISE CONCENTRICITY ADJUSTMENT.
his single-point concentricity adjustment is a unique Guill innovation for the extrusion of thinwalled jacketing and precision ID/OD tubing. One adjustment bolt controls 360 degrees of adjustment. Features of the single-point crosshead include a patented cam-lock deflector for quick changeovers, with a residence time of one minute at 0.5lb/hr (~227g) material flow, optimised usage with extruders, and a max die ID of .250”.
Additionally, the Guill single-point crosshead offers great flexibility. It not only accepts both vacuum and micro-air accessories, but is suitable for pressure and sleeving applications. Fluoropolymer designs are available upon request.
NORDSON BARRIER/MIXING SCREW SOLVES REJECTS PROBLEM.
new Xaloy screw designed by Nordson Corporation has put an end to a long series of issues on a pipe extrusion line that had defied numerous attempts at a solution. The line, operated by US-based pipe manufacturer Polyethylene Technology Inc., would exhibit wide fluctuations in throughput caused by surging and, for heavy-wall HDPE pipe, consistently exhibited variation from the target wall thickness. Brad Williams, Senior Manufacturing Manager at Polyethylene Technology Inc., said: “We looked for problems with the
motor drive and the puller, tested four or five alternate resins, and finally got a new screw and relined barrel – all with no success. Our gravimetric extrusion control showed fluctuations occurring every five or ten seconds. We couldn’t get a good mix, and there were always areas of the pipe with too little carbon black.” Polyethylene Technology turned to Nordson within months of receiving the screw from another supplier. Nordson Regional Sales Manager Brad Casale said: “We recommended our Xaloy Efficient barrier screw with a Nano mixer in the metering section. By preventing
Experience Quality Reliability www.extrusionhead.com
1. Outer Layer - Virgin & Color 2. Middle Layer - e.g. PCR & Regrind 3. Inner Layer - Virgin
The beneﬁt of our ReCo-Technology: • Material cost savings through the utilization of regrind material • Conserving resources when using PCR, a foamed middle layer or bio-based materials • Reducing the need for virgin and masterbatch material results in additional cost savings
premature break-up of solids and increasing melting rates, the Efficient screw has enhanced mixing and increased throughput in the Polyethylene Technology extrusion line. The Nano mixer has provided intensive dispersionary mixing of the carbon black.” As well as solving the problem and delivering an homogeneous melt, the Xaloy screw increased output by 12 per cent, according to Williams.
EXTRUSION EDITOR ROB COKER HEADED TO THE PICTURESQUE CITY OF LUZERN, SWITZERLAND, FOR THE 2020 SWISS PLASTICS EXPO, WHERE HE MET WITH THE HEAD OF THE PROFILES BUSINESS UNIT AT HAKAGERODUR, ANKE FROMMHOLD, TO TALK ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY AND INNOVATION IN EXTRUSION TECHNIQUES.
Profile pick A
small, Gossau-based company consisting of four business units – profiles (and tubes), floor heating solutions, construction pipes, and geothermal heating systems – HakaGerodur’s booth was among the smallest there, but the space was used in such a tidy and efficient way as to incorporate product samples into the walls. Impressed, I asked which materials I was looking at in the profiles. “Everything is W-PVC wood-plastic composite,” Frommhold said, “but we specialise in profiles for decking, sliding doors and special window frames. We take the wood-plastic composite and transform it with one, two or three components, depending on the texture or finish required. Specialised mostly for window builders and Switzerland-based customers who have smaller projects, the profile business unit is largely technical polymers, although we also use TPU, PVC, ABS, and PPE, as well as PA and PC in all its forms – with or without glass fibres. Over the last two years, we’ve looked into flame-retardant technologies, which are very important in today’s construction market.”
By over-extruding a metal tube with polymers and inserting the PA12 tube in it, we can contribute to longer lifecycles in a single, ready-made end-product
SWISS STANDARDS When it comes to sustainability, HakaGerodur uses recycled materials – usually PVC from old windows – and the reuse of scrap which is milled and reground in-house. But the Gossau-based business is by no means a plastics recycler. “The extrusion process is all we do,” Frommhold explained. “When it comes to energy consumption, efficiency is all in the cooling unit. We had a brandnew cooling unit installed last year to ensure water remains at seven degrees. It’s also about the technology and how you use it. Some materials require heat, some require cool water. We invested in
As well as adding extra strength and durability, the wood composite reduces plastic raw material use by 50 per cent. “The wood needs to be very dry and well encapsulated in the polymer matrix,” Frommhold continued, “otherwise it will swell post extrusion and make the product bigger than it should be. So, you really need to find the right combination of materials.”
this cooling unit because the very latest in standards is important to us.” Frommhold consistently emphasised the importance of standards, I noted, and so pressed her on how the company ensures quality is achieved and maintained. “You must keep control of the process,” she said. “In principle, we are led by our customers because quality is what they expect. They come to us because we can deliver – whether through our ability to produce smaller sizes, or through our flexibility and speed of service. We’re able to deliver products within three weeks, so this is a very valuable thing in the market.” HakaGerodur, Frommhold added, is able to transform fluoropolymers and technical polymers too, which is rare because extrusion companies are often highly specialised. “For the other business units, it’s often the same every day, but for us in the profile extrusion business unit, it’s really very versatile. Customers come to us and say ‘we have this part, we want to extrude it, can you do it?’. We will then say as of, for example, 3,000 metres, it makes sense to produce it; otherwise, and if it would be too expensive, we will say so. We offer advice on extrudability and material choice, and our polymer experts will tell them what the best material would be – even recommend a different material or a different shape if necessary – as well as how we could optimise the process. “They come to us because they are sure that we know what we’re doing. We have huge experience in polymers, and 20 years of knowing extrusion in and out … We know polymers, and that’s the advantage. There are a lot of different materials out there and it’s difficult to keep up.” CONSTRUCTION AND INNOVATION Curious about the differences between extruding for profile and pipe applications, I asked about the tools and methods involved. “In principle,” Frommhold continued, “the extruder
is the same – melting the material and pushing it out. The tool is different for tubes and profiles. For profiles, the tool is composed of multiple segments: the die and two to four calibration units. The calibration is where the profile gets its shape; the vacuum applied on the outside pulls it into its final form. The inside of the profile cannot be calibrated in standard extrusion. For tubes, you’d have a round-shaped die, with a round calibration in the water tank for hard materials, giving the tube its final dimensions. “We also specialise in over-extruding, which is a bit like over-moulding. We over-extrude metal pipes with a mesh or braiding. We’ve even managed to have an over-extruded metal pipe injected with a PA12 tube. We make a certain length and then we take a PA12 tube and inject it in there.” Designed specifically for the construction industry, the largest of these tubes would have a diameter of 25-26mm, into which a smaller diameter tube is injected – “It’s a tube within a tube,” Frommhold clarified. “It’s challenging, but by over-extruding a metal tube with polymers and inserting the PA12 tube in it, we can contribute to longer lifecycles in a single, readymade end-product, resulting in fewer
THE BOOTH WAS USED IN SUCH A TIDY AND EFFICIENT WAY AS TO INCORPORATE PRODUCT SAMPLES INTO THE WALLS.
extra protective products. It makes it a lot faster for construction industry stakeholders, bringing instalment times down and reducing their carbon footprint because it’s more compact. As well as having better shipment and transportation costs, the space required to store excess parts would also be reduced.” To conclude, I asked Frommhold about the Swiss reputation when it comes to innovation, to which she succinctly replied: “We’re the guys that find the solutions that you didn’t think possible in such a varied industry.”
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EXTRUSION GNEUSS KUNSTSTOFFTECHNIK GMBH SHARES ITS EXPERTISE IN RETROFITTING EXTRUSION TECHNOLOGIES AND PACKAGING SOLUTIONS RECYCLABILITY.
or the processing of recycled materials, an investment in new production facilities is not always necessary. Gneuss’ expertise in plastics recycling offers innovative technologies and system solutions for retrofitting. With the replacement of individual key components within the extrusion line, decisive key elements that make the existing line fit for the recycling cycle are supplied, with the focus on cleaning the plastic melts through the Gneuss Rotary Melt Filtration Systems for efficient and economic filtration, and Gneuss MRS Extruders for efficient degassing and decontamination for direct food contact. The Gneuss processing unit is a modular configuration of different Gneuss products and includes the MRS Extruder with vacuum technology, the Rotary Filtration System and the Online Viscometer VIS. By replacing individual components
The Gneuss MRS Extruder has been used for the recycling of highly contaminated recycled materials
or integrating the complete Gneuss processing unit, existing production processes can be made fit for the recycling cycle. SYSTEM SOLUTIONS Gneuss offers turn-key lines for the production of thermoforming sheet from recycled material, as well as for the pelletising of all types of plastic waste. One area in which MRS extrusion technology is particularly successful is PET sheet extrusion. More than 30 tailormade Gneuss sheet lines were installed worldwide in recent years. The enormous flexibility of the lines, which process both virgin and recycled material, has convinced many processors. PCR IN PLASTIC PACKAGING When post-consumer and industrial waste is processed, the recycled plastics contain chemical additives – e.g. dyes, carrier oils, solvents and more. For the use of recycled material in contact with food or skin, purity requirements set by food authorities apply. All organic and inorganic potential toxins must be removed, which is achieved with a high decontamination performance during the degassing phase.
For more than a decade, the Gneuss MRS Extruder has been used for the recycling of highly contaminated recycled materials such as post-consumer waste, polyester industrial waste from fibre and film production, and polystyrene, nylon and other hydrophilic polymers. The MRS Extruder is based on a conventional single-screw extruder combined with a multiple screw section in the degassing zone. The melt surface area available for degassing is increased many times over due to the multi-screw element with eight individual satellite screws rotating against the extruder barrel. Furthermore, vacuum degassing with a simple vacuum of 25-30mbar brings extremely effective removal of volatile impurities, oils and odours. The demand for the increased use of recycled materials in plastic products requires sufficient and regular availability. As a consequence, the focus is increasingly shifting to more obscure raw material sources. In order to meet quality requirements, technological modification is becoming more and more necessary. Gneuss will be exhibiting its range of packaging, recycling and extrusion retrofitting solutions at Interpack 2020 in Düsseldorf, Equiplast in Barcelona, and at FIP in Lyon (dates to be confirmed, Ed.).
EXTRUSION CONAIR’S VICE-PRESIDENT OF EXTRUSION ERNIE PREIATO SHARES HIS THOUGHTS ON RECENT TRENDS IN THE SECTOR, AND THE FACTORS BEHIND INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY.
ven with more than 30 years’ experience in the business, Preiato continues to be amazed by the pace at which tubing extrusion technology has advanced: “It wasn’t so many years ago,” he said, “that a processor needed one operator for every one or two extrusion lines. Today, we see processors running as many as 12 lines with just one operator.” What accounts for these huge differences in productivity? The short answer, beyond the extruder itself, is that downstream extrusion equipment, measurement devices, and controls are dramatically more accurate and capable than ever – up to a hundred times better than just a decade ago. The digital control and feedback loops that link these elements enable them to interact with speed and precision, starting as the extrudate leaves the extruder and at every point in the process. Adjustments that once required significant operator attention are now are made automatically. Adjustments such as diameter control and wall thickness? Yes. A typical control loop involves a multi-axis laser gauge that continuously measures the diameter of a hollow profile and compares it to a process setpoint. If the diameter is undersize, the controller signals the vacuum tank to slightly increase the vacuum level, so the profile expands accordingly, or contracts for oversized tubing. Extruders have always made these corrections,
but digital technology makes it vastly more controllable. Previously, processors struggled to hold vacuum levels; today’s digital controls can hold vacuum levels to within a tenth of an inch of mercury. To track wall thickness, processors may use an ultrasonic gauge that continuously bounces a signal off the OD and ID of the profile. If the wall is thinning, the gauge signals the puller to slow down. Again, this is the same sort of correction that extruders have made, but today’s digitally controlled servo drives make far more subtle and precise speed changes. They achieve speed regulation accuracy up to ±0.01% – a hundred-fold improvement over what was possible even 10 years ago. How is modern extrusion technology improving speed and distance regulation? Precise digital logic, together with the speed and accuracy of servo drives, enables unprecedented precision in speed and distance measurement. Let’s say an ultrasonic measuring head is positioned down the line, perhaps 30 feet (~9m) from the vacuum tank: If your line is running at 60 feet per minute, and that measuring head has just signalled the puller for a line-speed adjustment to correct wall thickness, your system’s speed/ distance logic is going to know to wait about 30 seconds to see the impact of the correction before attempting further adjustment. Meanwhile, wall-thickness measurement continues so that if a
length of profile somehow goes out of spec, it will be tracked and automatically cut and rejected. That kind of accuracy was impossible with old analogue drives. What does this mean for future extrusion processes? The big idea behind all these control improvements is greater long-term process stability. More and more automated quality adjustments are made downstream, more subtly and accurately than ever, without the need to touch the most sensitive element of the process – the extruder. That’s the first element to get right, and the last one that anyone should be adjusting during production. Advances like these, driven further by the ingenuity of processors, are why extrusion lines are running faster, delivering higherquality products, and requiring less intervention. If the past is any guide, we’ll be joking a few years from now about how these improvements pale in comparison to the advances that lie ahead.
The big idea behind all these control improvements is greater long-term process stability
PROCESS CONTROL NEWS
Kistler: practical, simple, smart KISTLER’S COMONEO PROCESS MONITORING SYSTEM SUPPORTS USERS DURING THE SET-UP PHASE AND WHEN RECOVERING INJECTION MOULDING PROCESSES THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN SUCCESSFULLY VALIDATED.
omoNeoGUARD also offers reliable support with defining scrap boxes, and with avoiding loss of time when restoring a process (after a machine changeover, for example). ComoNeoGUARD is a tool that generates and positions the monitoring boxes for good/bad evaluation itself – guiding users quickly and seamlessly to the scrap limits. The results define the evaluation types and the relevant limits. Due to this approach, parts can be monitored and segregated with high precision. Furthermore, this process monitoring system from Kistler provides support for the definition of the correct scrap limits, which eliminates the need for specific previous knowledge when
setting up full process monitoring. The automated method requires an existing established process with good parts. Taking this as the basis, ComoNeoGUARD selectively changes the machine parameters to trigger a new cavity pressure profile, changing the part’s characteristics. Thus, the user can measure, assess and evaluate the produced parts, before deciding whether the relevant cavity pressure profile is good or bad. Systematic changes make it possible to work through the process window within a short time and then to repeat the steps performed until sufficient information is available for automatic placement of the EOs (Evaluation Objects) to monitor the parts. Users themselves can decide when to discontinue EO evaluation. The more test cycles are completed, the more accurately the EOs can be placed.
STARLINGER’S GRAFIT 4.0 IS A COMPLETE SOFTWARE SOLUTION FOR CENTRAL PRODUCTION MONITORING AND DIGITAL PROCESS OPTIMISATION USED ON STARLINGER MACHINERY AND ENABLES THE OPERATOR TO MONITOR THE COMPLETE MACHINE PARK IN REAL TIME, ANYWHERE.
STARLINGER’S GRAFIT 4.0 SOFTWARE OPTIMISES PRODUCTION MONITORING
igitisation, product tracking, IoT, and AI involves using machine data to optimise and automate processes. Modern software solutions such as GRAFiT 4.0 present the data of all connected machines in a clear, accessible form, and make it available to the operator for use and analysis. The central monitoring of the entire machine park offers numerous advantages such as higher productivity, less scrap and lower costs. The system is available for the complete Starlinger product range, but machines from other manufacturers can be integrated through
standardised interfaces. Worldwide, around 2,000 lines are currently connected to GRAFiT 4.0. The software solution possesses a clear data structure that will be geared towards machine learning – meaning the system can be trained to detect errors early. Such predictive maintenance leads to higher machine uptime, increased efficiency, reduced scrap and lowers costs. Furthermore, the smartView app features a user-friendly interface, and online tutorials are available for operator training. GRAFiT 4.0 is an elaborate system perfected
in co-operation with Starlinger’s customers. With the founding of the independent subsidiary GRAFiT in 2018, the Starlinger Group placed the product on a new platform that guarantees continuous development and comprehensive technical support. In 2017, rTRACK, a software for batch tracking in the entire recycling process, was added to the portfolio.
A new platform that guarantees continuous development
EXTRUSION PROCESS CONTROL GERMANY-BASED EXTRUSION SPECIALIST GERODUR COUNTS ON SIKORA MEASUREMENT TECHNOLOGY.
erodur MPM Kunststoffverarbeitung GmbH & Co KG, a subsidiary of HakaGerodur AG, specialises in plastic products for piping systems. Since 2017, the company has been using millimetre wave technology from SIKORA AG for wall thickness, diameter and sagging measurement during extrusion.
pipe circumference, diameter, ovality, wall thickness and sagging, thus enabling fast centring of the extrusion tools.
The co-operation is based on a futureand practice-oriented solution for an automatic inline quality control to ensure high pipe quality and optimal processes.
“It is our goal to receive reliable and accurate information about the pipe dimensions as early in the process as possible,” Richter added. “An early measurement of the wall thickness is of significant importance considering that pipes with large diameters and large wall thicknesses are being produced at a line speed of 0.5 metres per minute.”
Gerodur has been producing first-class plastic pipes with the focus on the highest product quality, optimal processes and profitability. For the internationally operating manufacturer, the application of innovative measuring and control technology in extrusion lines is a matter of course. The first contact with SIKORA was made several years ago. At that time, Gerodur was looking for measuring technology for smaller product dimensions, and found the solution in X-ray technology. For the past three years, the company has been using a new technology from SIKORA based on millimetre waves applied during the extrusion of large plastic pipes. Andre Richter, Gerodur Piping Systems Team Leader, said: “There are several methods for quality control on the market. The newly developed millimetre wave technology convinced us with its smart measurement principal. Especially for the measurement of large pipes in the dimension range of 250-630mm and wall thicknesses of up to 60mm, we see significant benefits.” The CENTERWAVE 6000 system was installed directly after the first vacuum tank. It measures over 360 degrees of the
BELIEVE THE PIPE Ultrasound technology also measures pipe diameters but, due to its temperature dependency, can only be applied later in the process.
At Gerodur, the production of high-quality products and process optimisation will remain at the top of the agenda. Axel Mantey, Managing Director of Technology at Gerodur, said: “Besides technical innovation, industry 4.0 and digitalisation will be long-term challenges.” In extrusion lines, various machines, devices and systems are integrated that supply different data. A particular challenge is to evaluate and process these amounts of data that have to be intelligently reduced to be perceivable to humans. “Thus, cooperation with machine manufacturers and manufacturers of measuring devices, like SIKORA, will play a key role.” Mantey
concluded. “If we achieve more process reliability by using measuring technology and produce a perfect pipe at the end of the production line, not only our customers will be satisfied, but we will be too.”
It is our goal to receive reliable and accurate information about the pipe dimensions as early in the process as possible
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PROCESS CONTROL AT THE SWISS PLASTICS EXPO HELD IN LUCERNE IN JANUARY, EPPM HEADED TO THE SUMITOMO (SHI) DEMAG BOOTH TO SPEAK WITH THE CEO OF BFA SOLUTIONS LTD., BEAT KÄMPFER.
MES: OPTIMISED Switzerland has long enjoyed a leading position in technological developments across numerous sectors. What’s new in bfa solutions’ contributions to this? bfa solutions is committed to problem solving, our innovative MES PiSolutions ensures a long-term benefit with the fastest tangible pay-back results. We work closely with our customers to make sure they get the best out of our equipment. This philosophy is extended to our UK and Irish customers from our exclusive agent, Plastech Solutions Ltd, with their highly skilled technical team. And how does bfa solutions’ process control software help to maintain that leading status in manufacturing? bfa has many years of experience in the field of vertical and horizontal connectivity, which makes it possible to connect different types of equipment, such as injection moulding machines, assembly lines, packaging machines and peripheral devices.
How does collaboration with machinery manufacturers such as Sumitomo (SHI) Demag help drive the innovation process? bfa offers tailor-made solutions to interface with any brand of equipment, we work with our customers that often have different make machines and equipment in their production facility. For this reason, we work closely with each supplier to make sure we offer innovative solutions to the industry. We work with industry bodies too. For example, we were involved in the design of the latest EUROMAP77 interface for plastics and rubber machinery. The beneﬁts of automation and Industry 4.0 software for manufacturers speak for themselves, but how do they beneﬁt bfa customers individually? Our latest MES PiSolutions is a modular system where the customer can add and enhance the system with building block
modules, each tailored to suit the needs of the customer as their business grows. At which stage of the value chain is bfa solutions’ products most beneﬁcial? bfa products provide real-time data capture to the workforce, which enables immediate, effective intervention whenever problems arise and before their supply chains are significantly interrupted. With our products, we guarantee a stable and high-end performance data handling and data management interface between the shop floor and the business software systems. Swiss Plastics Expo is ﬁrst in the trade fair calendar. Where can we expect to see bfa solutions exhibiting next? bfa exhibits at all the major trade shows, with the next event being Interplas in Birmingham, UK (alongside Plastech Solutions), and then you can find us at Fakuma in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
We were involved in the design of the latest EUROMAP77 interface for plastics and rubber machinery
SHOW FEATURE - PETCORE PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST AT P&G GIAN DE BELDER BROUGHT GOOD NEWS FOR RECYCLING TO THE ANNUAL PETCORE EUROPE CONFERENCE IN BRUSSELS.
FROM BRUSSELS sorting of food and non-food packaging, multilayer packaging and even black plastic packaging, which will no longer be excluded from recycling streams.
uring this year’s annual Petcore Europe conference, many things PET, packaging and recycling were discussed. Speakers re-emphasised the importance of design for recycling in order to increase consumer activity, as well as product recyclability, and – perhaps most importantly – the need to continue to collaborate and innovate along the value chain. Sustainability and Circular Economy Scientist at P&G Gian de Belder, who also sits on the Petcore Europe Board, explained that people need access to high-quality packaging solutions and standard collection and deposit facilities. “The other necessary parts are the consumers themselves,” he said. “Our role is to educate consumers to do a much better job at recycling, and HolyGrail 2.0 will help in consumer motivation. With these pillars in place, we can now talk about high-quality and high-quantity recycled resins that P&G will use in our packaging (linked to our 2020 goals of doubling the amount of post-consumer recyclates), whilst innovating in the areas of collection and sorting.” HolyGrail 2.0 is a project founded by de Belder that embeds invisible digital watermarks into packaging. “This allows us to make the packaging intelligent,” he added. “The next step is to ensure sorting machines can read that intelligence. TOMRA has therefore developed a high-speed camera that can
© HORSTWAGNER.EU - PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST AT P&G GIAN DE BELDER IS JOINED ONSTAGE BY LARRY LOGAN OF DIGIMARC
read and sort things in ways we were never able to do before.” Recently featuring in a BBC documentary highlighting such innovative recycling initiatives, de Belder was happy to see plastics packaging players represented by a major media corporation in a positive way following years of ‘plastic bashing’. “We have to work collectively and not as competitors,” de Belder told the BBC, “in order to decide how packaging and recycling can become smarter.” The digital watermarks were developed by Digimarc. It enables completely new ways of sorting, including fast and smart
Holy Grail 2.0 will help in consumer motivation
Understandably, brand owners and converters are taking note of the project’s success. In fact, it has become so big that de Belder has decided to step aside as leader to focus on his work for P&G. The HolyGrail 2.0 project currently has 175 confirmed interested stakeholders* signed up, including 40 brand owners and 25 retailers – which was not easy to achieve, de Belder admitted. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy has signed up as the first mirror group representative, and the project was recently granted the ‘Efficient Solutions’ label from Solar Impulse founder Bertrand Piccard. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, where the HolyGrail technology was listed as one of the 1,000 innovations that will change the world, Piccard said: “HolyGrail is more than a technology – it’s a process; a smart way to use technology to make recycling very valuable.” In 2021, the HolyGrail 2.0 technology will go live in Germany via P&G’s Lenor Beads, Unstoppables and Fairy brands with the aim of increasing consumer participation and improved sorting in the circular economy. *figures updated 30 March 2019
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SHOW COVERAGE - JEC WORLD PREVIEW EPPM SPOKE WITH OKLAHOMA COMMERCE AEROSPACE AND DEFENSE MANAGER AND OKLAHOMA ACES PROGRAMME MANAGER LESHIA PEARSON AHEAD OF THIS YEAR’S JEC WORLD TRADE FAIR TO FIND OUT WHAT THE US STATE IS DOING TO ATTRACT MORE BUSINESS, ADDRESS SKILLS GAPS, AND BOOST INNOVATION IN AEROSPACE COMPOSITES.
Lightweight, ﬂame-retardant composites for the aviation and automotive sectors are driving innovations globally. Amongst this gathering ubiquity, what is it about Oklahoma’s contributions that sets it apart? Easy access to raw materials and a high concentration of aerospace manufacturers and companies involved with wind energy generation. These have been contributing factors to the establishment of a pole of excellence in composites in Oklahoma. Companies are also helping develop nextgeneration materials. McClarin Plastics, for example, is a premier manufacturer of highly engineered thermoformed plastic, fibre glass-reinforced plastic, composite products and complex assemblies. Based in Oklahoma City, McClarin produces PP and composite fibre glass products and custom parts for numerous industries – including aerospace, construction, and transportation. And what is it about Europebased trade fairs that US-based organisations find so appealing? Attending industry events such as JEC World represents a key way for Oklahoma to meet leaders in the composites industry, all in one place. We can be more efficient with our time and energy, and ensure the message gets to the key players. Which US or state institutions are available to those seeking entry to Oklahoma’s materials development industry? Oklahoma’s universities, community colleges and CareerTech all play a unique role in building a pipeline of workers with material development skills, whether
via STEM programmes, research and development, or partnerships. Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma both offer top material development graduate programmes, while our community colleges, CareerTech and workforce development programmes put these theories to work. Academia, working with industry partners, are looking to the future by investing in schools, composites training, materials research, composite and 3D printing technologies, speeding the adoption of Industry 4.0. How is Oklahoma’s ACES helping to catalyse materials innovations in high-end applications? The Aerospace Commerce Economic Services (ACES), a state legislated programme dedicated to growing Oklahoma’s aerospace industry, is helping raise awareness among aerospace executives about the value that Oklahoma can offer, as well as build connections between composite companies and Oklahoma aerospace companies. If you couple this with Oklahoma’s reputation for innovation and ingenuity, its skilled engineering workforce, and its growing composites sector with its newly established Automotive Engineer Workforce Tax Credit, Oklahoma is helping create new business opportunities for European composite companies. Aerospace and defence is Oklahoma’s second largest industry. In what ways has composite materials facilitated this? Oklahoma is home to more than 1,100 aerospace entities, ranging from giants such as Boeing, Nordam, Spirit Aerosystems, American Airlines, AAR and the largest military MRO operation at Tinker Air Force Base, to SMEs such as
Vertical Aerospace, Aircraft Specialties Services, and Covington Aircraft. A key factor to Oklahoma successfully attracting aerospace companies has been its unique Aerospace Industry Engineer Workforce Tax Credit, which benefits both employers and employees. Now that the same terms are available to automotive players, the hope is that this will attract new companies. So why are aerospace companies having to scramble to fill these positions? Low unemployment; persisting resistance to trade certifications; and the lingering reputation of mechanical occupations as ‘dirty jobs’. But there’s a new generation in Oklahoma realising the value of those jobs. There are new efforts to fill the talent pipeline before it’s too late. Thanks to ongoing efforts throughout the state, there’s a growing awareness of opportunities related to professional certifications Oklahoma is on the front line of addressing this workforce shortage.
JEC World represents a key way for Oklahoma to meet leaders in the composites industry, all in one place
Leadership changes at KraussMaffei DR FRANK STIELER WILL RESIGN FROM HIS OFFICE AS CEO OF KRAUSSMAFFEI GROUP GMBH ON 31 MARCH 31 2020, WITH DR MICHAEL RUF, PRESENT COO, TAKING OVER THE POSITION FROM 1 APRIL.
he KraussMaffei Group GmbH has been part of KraussMaffei Company Limited, a public company listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, since 2018.
Unique technologies, innovative solutions, comprehensive technical support, high expertise in all kinds of plastics applications.
Under the leadership of Dr Ruf the company will streamline its organisation. This is to enable further rationalisation in dealing with present challenges, including the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Pressure and process constant
In others words: typical Gneuss.
Dr Ruf said: “We are ready to face such challenges. I enjoyed working with Dr Frank Stieler [and] thereby creating the concepts for the changes together. I am grateful that he developed the company to this level. Chairman of the Board Bai Xinping added: “Dr Stieler has refocussed and repositioned KraussMaffei as the plastic industry pioneer … We thank him for his work and wish all the best for his future.“
SHOW COVERAGE - JEC WORLD PREVIEW
RAMON RODRIGUEZ IRIZARRY HAS WORKED WITH IDI COMPOSITES INTERNATIONAL SINCE 1985, TRAVELLING THE WORLD RESEARCHING THE EV AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY. AFTER A 14-YEAR TOUR OF CHINA, THE HOTSPOT FOR EV DEVELOPMENT, HE WITNESSED HOW THE EV MARKET GREW, AND HOW THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT PUT ITS GREAT MIGHT BEHIND IT. HERE HE SPEAKS EXCLUSIVELY TO EPPM AS IDI PREPARES FOR ANOTHER YEAR AT JEC WORLD.
THERMO-SETTING THE E-MOBILITY TREND
raffic in China’s mega cities was absolutely horrendous,” Irizarry remembered. “In the 2005-2006 timeframe, the pollution was absolutely unbearable. EVs are therefore a kind of godsend. For the people especially because they were able to see the benefits – CO2 emissions began to clear, and the pressure on the government was relaxed somewhat.” When Irizarry became VP and Group Director of EV Market Development in 2018, there were some 487 EV OEMs registered in China. “Everybody and his brother wanted to make EVs,” he said. “Now there are not as many due to the government clamping down on standards. They wanted to make sure nobody could just hang a sign on their door saying they were an OEM. The 487 has come down, but for those operating during the peak it was pretty chaotic.” What Irizarry found shortly thereafter was that Japan had the lion’s share of the EV battery market, with Korea’s market on the rise, and with China scrambling to compete. The key was the battery and energy storage function: “Whoever controlled that,” Irizarry said, “controlled the IP of the vehicle, and one of the things
we found early on was the dilemma of the designer regarding which materials to use, where to use them, and how to design them around the energy storage function – i.e. the battery pack and ancillary equipment.” By this time, the West was keeping an eye on Chinese developments, talking to Chinese players, and creating some headaches for the designers of battery packs. “Most were being very safely designed with steel, followed by aluminium. Of course, steel’s weight burden is incredible; aluminium is good, but expensive and much fabrication is required. The only other material to perform well enough was carbon fibre – although I say that very carefully because there are many who still don’t understand how to process it. Choosing which particular fibre to use is very difficult when you get to 24k-50k tow. To be able to mould it is almost impossible.” THE DOOR TO COMPOSITES This is where IDI Composites found what Irizarry called “a little wriggle room”. A family business headquartered in
Indiana, US, with manufacturing locations in China, Mexico, France and the UK, IDI entered the EV market with a thermoset composite that it began to sell into the cover applications of battery packs in China, primarily for OEMs. “They were very interested in the thermoset composite as an alternative to steel, aluminium and carbon fibre. That gave us a good background and we learned a lot trying to understand the different ways that designers approached their tasks. Some never wanted to touch anything other than carbon fibre, but the market economics caused them to look for a more economical alternative.” “That is where FLAMEVEX came from. We made it in that particular market segment because of the thermal requirement of the battery pack, where the biggest risk is thermal runaway. The OEM wants to ensure structural integrity and fire containment, of course, so they started to create this global standard.
What we’re taking to JEC World is a proven material, and we feel very good about it
Our material – used in battery pack applications and assembled with covers made with FLAMEVEX – was able to pass. The door then opened because it was considered a reliable material.” Because of IDI’s reputation as a global company, the Asian markets embraced its technology. As did the European and US markets soon after. Once an OEM specifies the material, it goes through the validation process at IDI’s innovation and development centres in North America and Europe. Simply moving the technology from any one of IDI’s platforms can immediately satisfy the need of another facility of the same OEM, perhaps located on the other side of the world. “They don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time they start a new project in a different region of the world,” Irizarry continued. “It’s very easy for them to talk to us and arrange to use a material developed in France, currently made and used in China, and now needed in any of the three global commercial clusters, Americas, Europe, and Asia, for a new project. We’re very excited about this capability and feel it offers a unique value to the rapidly developing EV market. FLAMEVEX is a composite that makes sense for a regional or a global electric vehicle.” VERSATILITY AND VALIDITY FLAMEVEX can be used in different types of resins to fit a specific design need. This is because IDI has the ability to custom-formulate FLAMEVEX to a battery pack design from a particular OEM. For example, if an OEM wants the battery pack located in the centre of the vehicle, its cover may demand the compound to have a different flow to fit a given shape. FLAMEVEX thermoset composite can make the enclosure fit within the area of the car that the OEM wants to put it. “In order to achieve that,” Irizarry clarified, “you have to make a translation from the geometry and mechanical requirements into the chemical formulation used for the part. This is what IDI materials experts are able to do jointly with the OEM and Tier 1 suppliers. IDI not only makes
composite materials but formulates and compounds a thermoset composite that’s easy to use. We don’t want to put anything at risk regarding density or flame-retardance, but our formulators and application engineers know how to maximise efficacy.” IDI’s place within the EV market involves first agreeing with OEMs on the match of a formulation and a set of performance requirements. Then the focus turns to developing and validating a material, while always taking into consideration the processing specifics. Working side by side, the processor (moulder) and assembler make sure the thermoset composite continually matches the inherit variation of these processes. Such a global mentality results in good value for the upstream supply chain. “Unlike other materials,” Irizarry concluded, “moulding compounds such as thermosets ought to be compounded close to where they’ll be transformed. This is because thermoset composites have a shelf life. Globally speaking, you will not find others like IDI Composites capable of managing development and technology transfer between global locations. We understand the supply chains in the different regions of the world. For example, IDI has been present in China since 1998. We’ve got pedigree.” IDI’s experience exhibiting at previous JEC World events informed its decision to launch FLAMEVEX at the 2020 edition.* The objective was to provide design engineers, OEMs and suppliers with accurate information, processes and materials. “We don’t want to feed the market a dream that cannot be delivered,” was how Irizarry phrased it. “We’ve been making this material for some time, and we’re ready to showcase it. What we’re taking to JEC World is a very proven material, and we feel good about it. The only way we can continue to work with our customers is to constantly get the message out there, and ensure we have the availability and the capability of our resources.” *JEC World will now take place in March 2021
CONTRY FOCUS - CHINA CHINAPLAS 2020 WILL FOCUS ON TAPPING INTO THE POTENTIAL OF ASIAN MARKETS.
Poised to PROSPER
s the global economy faces mounting downward pressure and uncertainties, the global plastics and rubber industries are at crossroads. The challenges are steering investments to become more conservative as companies adjust their strategies. Growth outlook for Asian markets, However, remains strong – especially in the region’s emerging economies. CHINAPLAS 2020 takes a ‘local, regional and global’ approach by providing a platform of cost-effective, advanced solutions that fit the needs of new markets for both upstream and downstream players. ECONOMIC VITALITY Asia has become the largest cluster of emerging economies in the 21st Century, boasting more than half the world’s population, an expanding middle class, increasing consumption, and continuous industrial transformation. Asia’s rise remains attractive despite economic slowdown as the region represents more
than a third of the global economy, and as its self-reliance continues to strengthen – pan-Asian trade far exceeds the total of Asia’s trade with other regions, and foreign investment continues to grow. According to by the BoAo Forum for Asia’s ‘Progress of Asian Economic Integration Annual Report 2019’, investments are retreating from developed economies, and into emerging Asian markets. China’s Ministry of Commerce announced in November 2019 that China is gaining more foreign investment, despite the sluggish global investment scene. During the first three quarters of 2019, China established more than 30,000 new foreign-invested enterprises and utilised 683.2bn yuan of foreign investment – up 6.5% year over year.
STRONG GROWTH Asia’s emerging economies are continuously introducing new policies to help companies transform and attract foreign capital. Combining that with their domestic market potential, the manufacturing sector is growing exponentially. Vietnam, for example, is a rising star in the region. According to the nation’s General Statistics Office, its GDP grew by 6.98% YOY in the first nine months of 2019, the highest rate in the past nine years. Furthermore, the plastics industry there has averaged annual growth of 1520% in the last decade. Among Vietnam’s advantages is its demographic dividend that features a large pool of low-cost labour, combined with competitive costs of land, energy, and taxes. In addition, its ports and stable currency have supported the growth of its export-oriented manufacturing sector. Many multinational brandowners have an established footprint in
Vietnam, and Chinese plastics machinery manufacturers, such as Haitian, BORCH, Yizumi and JWELL, have also set up production bases. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and India, for example, are also delivering solid growth, each with strong focuses. Dubbed the ‘Detroit of Asia’, Thailand is becoming an automotive capital, and its packaging industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.2% between 2017 and 2020. In Indonesia, the food and beverage market grows by 3.7% annually and supports the expansion of the plastics industry. Automotive investment has been active too, with Hyundai investing in an electric car plant, and an investment consortium from South Korea, Japan and China building a $4bn EV battery plant. India boasts demographic dividends, a massive and expanding domestic market, and rapidly growing construction, automotive and chemical industries. CHINA RISES The global appeal of China’s enormous market is self-evident. The nation continues to see advancement of urbanisation, release of purchasing power, a thriving digital economy, leading 5G and blockchain technology, and connected mobility. The sheer size of its domestic market volume, booming exports, and strong investment are driving China’s economy on a high-quality growth path. In spite of the global economic slowdown, foreign-invested enterprises in China remain optimistic about the Chinese market and continue to invest at these critical times. As the world’s largest producer and consumer of chemicals, there is no slowdown in the investment of foreign plastics machinery and materials suppliers, who are increasingly setting up regional headquarters, production bases, and/or R&D centres in China.
Regardless of geographical origin and business scale, visitors will benefit from products and solutions, reduced production costs, breakthroughs in product development, and environmental sustainability German chemical giant BASF is investing in an integrated production base in Guangdong, a brand new innovation park in Shanghai, and a comprehensive surface treatment site in Zhejiang.
that meet production needs and are costeffective at the same time. As of now, our production has not reached the stage of full automation, and high-end machinery does not suit our current particular needs.”
ExxonMobil, Lanxess, Solvay, Dow Chemical, Shell, Saudi Aramco and many more well-known multinationals are also expanding their investment with major petrochemical projects.
Tran Ngoc Linh, Director of Manutronics in Vietnam, said: “I come to CHINAPLAS mainly to find new business and new partners. Since we are now focusing on one-stop solutions, we are looking for materials for electronic components. The show is massive. I’ve spent two days on the show floor, but still haven’t been able to visit all of the suppliers that I’m interested in.”
GROUNDED IN ASIAN MARKETS To seize the opportunity with rising Asian economies, the plastics and rubber industries must not miss the upcoming CHINAPLAS 2020. As the leading global trade show in the industry, CHINAPLAS was launched in 1983 and has witnessed the sector’s development along with China’s economic transformation. CHINAPLAS will present more than 3,900 exhibitors, 11 country/region pavilions including Germany, Italy, U.S., and Japan, and 19 theme zones centring around innovative solutions. In Asia, especially Southeast Asia, machinery and materials from China fit well the current needs of the industry. Song Yew Eng from Malaysia’s Chuan Weng Plastic SDN BHD said, “I found the right machinery at CHINAPLAS to make up for our labour shortage. There are lots of options for semi-automatic machines
CHINAPLAS has deep roots in China, but has tasked itself with serving the Asian markets to the fullest. Regardless of geographical origin and business scale, visitors will benefit from products and solutions, reduced production costs, breakthroughs in product development, and environmental sustainability. CHINAPLAS is scheduled to return to the National Exhibition and Convention Center, in Hongqiao, Shanghai, on 3-6 August. This iconic industry event is expected to present 340,000 square metres of exhibition space, and host more than 3,900 exhibitors and more than 180,00 visitors as they unite to overcome the challenges, and together create a prosperous future.
DOMO Chemicals investing in China DOMO CHEMICALS, A LEADING PRODUCER OF HIGH-QUALITY ENGINEERING MATERIALS FOR A DIVERSE RANGE OF MARKETS, HAS ANNOUNCED PLANS FOR A NEW STATE-OF-THE-ART PLANT IN ZHEJIANG, CHINA.
he new plant will be capable of producing 50,000 tonnes of sustainable and innovative engineered nylon compounds each year. The company signed a new factory project through ‘cloud contract’ with PingHu DuShan port Economic Development District on 20 February. Production is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of this year. DOMO Chemicals will
invest €12m in the new plant, and the company plans to install multiple production lines at the first stage of development, which would offer an estimated capacity of 25,000 tonnes per year. The move is in line with the company’s global growth strategy with a strong focus on APAC. Speaking during a video ceremony of the signing, Vice President Global Engineering Plastics, Ludovic
FIRMER FUTURES SUPPORT CHINA’S LOCAL PVC MARKETS DALIAN, LIAONING PROVINCE, CHINA. COPYRIGHT - SHUTTERSTOCK
Tonnerre, said: “We are confident that China will lead the world in embracing a future generation of sustainability and e-mobility solutions. We are very grateful to the government and relevant departments for their patience and assistance and are confident in our long-term co-operation, relationships and mutual opportunities.” The factory will integrate R&D, production, and sales,
and It will mainly develop and produce modified engineering plastics such as nylon 6, nylon 6.6* and high temperature nylon (HTN). These products meet the rising market demand for modified materials for the automotive, electronics and consumer industries. DOMO will implement measures that exceed the requirements for environmental protection for the equipment, processes
ACCORDING TO THE CHEMORBIS PRICE INDEX, LOCAL PVC MARKETS IN CHINA HAVE BEEN INCREASING SINCE LATE OCTOBER. TIGHT SUPPLIES AND STRONGER FUTURES WERE CITED AS THE MAIN FACTORS THAT ARE SUPPORTING THE MARKETS.
ocal PVC prices followed futures higher during the first week of December, pushing sellers to maintain their firm pricing. January PVC futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange increased CNY 185 per tonne (€25) or nearly 2.8% on the week as of 3 December. SHUTDOWNS RESULT IN TIGHT LOCAL SUPPLY Supply levels for both ethylene and acetylene-based PVC in the local market have been reportedly tight given maintenance shutdowns at major plants at the end of 2019. Speaking to ChemOrbis’ reporter Pınar Polat, a Chinese producer’s spokesperson said: “Local PVC prices have jumped as inventory
and technologies used at the new plant. The company will be investing in new air and water treatment technologies, and in the reduction of water and energy consumption. This is in line with the overarching DOMO Philosophy, ‘Caring is our formula’.
levels are low following shutdowns. Meanwhile, we think that the firming trend in the local China PVC market may influence a major Taiwanese producer’s January announcement to Asia.” Harsh winter conditions have also been disrupting transportation in China, according to market players. Apart from the certain impact of shutdowns, this factor has also deepened supply issues across the country. Buying interest for PVC applications has remained scant despite recent uptrends. The uncertainty over the US-China trade war and economic concerns over a global-scale have also weighed on demand.
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EUREKA SPECIAL C
ovestro is using carbon dioxide to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, for example, with mattresses among the products in the pipeline.
CHINA-BASED SPECIALTY CHEMICALS COMPANIES ARE COMING AROUND TO THE IDEA OF A CIRCULAR ECONOMY, IN THIS CHINA-FOCUSED EUREKA SPECIAL.
Finding such positive uses for carbon dioxide is one way the specialty chemicals stakeholders are embracing circular economy concepts that seek to eliminate waste and return resources to the value chain.
Zhu Ji, President of the China division of US-based specialty chemicals company Cabot Corp, added: “The circular economy will be the next significant trend and core focus of the chemical industry.”
Speaking to Shine journalist Yuan Luhang, Covestro China President Holly Lei said company research and development specialists have spent nearly ten years working on ways of using carbon dioxide as a raw material to produce plastics instead of relying on petroleum feedstock: “The circular economy and digitalisation are the focus of the company’s future development, But the circular economy requires the co-operation of an entire industry.” Joining Covestro in such cutting-edge technology development is the Chinabased division of Methanex Corp. of Canada. A leading methanol producer, Methanex China is producing methanol from carbon dioxide in Iceland and is currently in discussions with China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to help introduce the technology to China – specifically to Shaanxi and Guizhou provinces – as a clean, alternative fuel.
The concept has been embraced by Chinese authorities as part of the goal of achieving more sustainable development. Solvay CEO Ilham Kadri agreed: “In the next ten years, the overall economic development situation will be very different from what it is today. Solvay wants to be a very important part of it. We believe that China may be a leader in circular economy.”
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The chemical and plastics industries are well-placed to adopt and exploit the opportunities of a circular economy in China
The chemical and plastics industries are well-placed to adopt and exploit the opportunities of a circular economy in China, as Lei added: “Chemical products make our lives more beautiful, but in order to solve the new challenges facing the industry, we are spending time and energy on researching how to recover things through chemical methods.”