JAN/FEB 2020 | VOLUME 22/ISSUE 1
More of the moulds
CAN PLASTICS CROSS THE GULF OF SPACE? GIVE GREECE A CHANCE
KOTRONIS K.PLASTICS SA USES SUMITOMO (SHI) DEMAG MACHINERY TO STAY AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION.
EDUCATE, INNOVATE, PARTICIPATE
PROFESSOR DR KIM RAGAERT BROUGHT AN ACADEMIC ELEMENT TO THE PRE ANNUAL MEETING 2019.
ADVANCE AMONG THE STARS
NASA LANGLEY RESEARCH CENTER'S DR JONATHAN RANSOM ON COMPOSITES FOR HIGH-END APPLICATIONS.
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IN THIS ISSUE JAN/FEB 2020
Managing Director of EPPA Charlotte Röber details the Circular Plastics Alliance and its influence on the industry’s agenda for the upcoming years.
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Give Greece a chance Kotronis K.Plastics SA uses Sumitomo (SHI) Demag machinery to stay ahead of the competition.
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THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME
“Let’s go” EPPM travelled to NeukirchenVluyn, Germany, for a peek at Cifra Recycling GmbH’s machinery and products. General Manager Jack Snijders had some positive things to say.
Educate, innovate, participate Professor Dr Kim Ragaert of Ghent University brought an academic element to the Plastics Recyclers Europe Annual Meeting 2019.
It’s time for plastics and politics to look to the future, as Editor Rob Coker introduces the first 2020 edition of EPPM.
Advance among the stars Dr Jonathan Ransom of NASA Langley Research Center speaks to EPPM about composite structures for high-end applications, and the vital roles of industry 4.0, collaboration and research.
Balkan falcon North Macedonia-based machinery and manufacturing specialist Mikrosam has supplied an automated fibre placement suite to aerospace giant GKN Fokker.
Get over it Injection moulding engineer at Basilius Inc. Kyle Keiser discusses the advantages of efficient design for moulding techniques.
Productos Climax is Spain’s leading manufacturer of personal protective equipment, and relies on Wittman Battenfeld machinery to protect the nation.
he new year has barely started, but the PVC window system industry is in full swing. In March, the Fensterbau Frontale, the world’s leading trade fair for windows, doors and façades, will further contribute in Nuremburg, Germany, where more than 100,000 trade visitors and decision-makers will roam the exhibition halls.
topics that will be of great interest to the industry over the next few years. The speakers will provide answers on how sustainable building products such as PVC windows contribute to climate protection and the Green Economy: A sustainable PVC window is not created by definition, but by investing in sustainable developments.
At the trade fair – and in general – the Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA) will be a core topic for EPPA in 2020. The European Commission initiated this platform for companies and associations of the plastics producing and processing industry to increase plastics recycling. The nearly 200 signatories, including EPPA, are committed to process a total of ten million tonnes of recyclate into new products by 2025. The CPA even found its way into the Green Deal published by the European Commission at the end of 2019. We can hence rest assured that the topic will remain high on the political agenda.
Visitors to Fensterbau Frontale are cordially invited to both EPPA’s booth and the forum, which takes place from 10:30 to 14:00 on Friday, 20 March 2020.
EPPA is actively participating in the CPA’s Working Groups by supporting other representatives of plastics and plastics applications on their journey. For more than 20 years, PVC system houses have consistently invested in the development of recycling technology for old PVC windows. Today, our industry does not only produce windows that can be and are being recycled, we use the PVC recyclate to produce
Charlotte Röber, Managing Director of EPPA, the European PVC Window Profile and related Building Products Association, details the Circular Plastics Alliance and its influence on the industry’s agenda for the upcoming years new window profiles. Thereby, and as part of the VinylPlus voluntary commitment, EPPA members are setting a good example and will continue to do so in the future. VinylPlus has committed to recycling and reusing 900,000 tonnes of PVC annually by 2025. SUSTAINABLE CIRCLES EPPA will keep focusing its activities on sustainability in the future. Regarding recycling, solutions are being developed in our Recycling Working Group to increase the collection volume of old PVC windows. This also requires the help of window manufacturers, who want to increase EPPA’s awareness.
Our Logistics Working Group oversees the implementation of our return system for stillages, which recently came into force. Returning this valuable and durable packaging and transport medium is an essential contribution to the circular economy. Regarding public relations, we work on raising awareness on the above topics to the entire value chain and external stakeholders. In this context, EPPA will host a forum during the Nuremburg trade fair and report exclusively on five key
EPPA members are setting a good example and will continue to do so in the future
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
The shape of things to come Dear readers, Let me begin by warmly wishing you a happy and prosperous new year, and by maintaining a friendly spirit of co-operation between us here in the UK and our continental colleagues, no matter what. There is a time for standing up and fighting for what you believe in, and a time to accept that sometimes standing and fighting were never enough. I mentioned in the December issue that we will be leaving the past in the past and choosing instead to focus on the future. So be it. And what does the future look like for plastics? Promising, if you speak to the delegates of the Plastics Recyclers Europe Annual Meeting, which I did in November. It’s worth noting that I’ve included only a handful of speakers, when many more had very interesting, passionate, and optimistic things to say too.
The future is in the mould. Once it has had time to cool, perhaps we can begin a closer inspection
Recycling and circular economy, like Industry 4.0, is viewed largely as an opportunity and a catalyst, rather than as a hindrance. As was the case for Jack Snijders of Cifra Recycling GmbH, which is why I visited his factory in Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany, to hear his thoughts.
Out of respect to our friends in China as they face difficult challenges there, the China Country Focus has been postponed, so we turn our attention to plastics in composites, which for me is where the future of plastics really lies – advanced engineering applications and space-based technology specifically – because who will complain about plastics if they can help put humans on Mars? This edition also takes a look at some of the innovative developments in packaging, and the injection moulding of personal protective equipment and safety gear – where, of course, plastics is currently irreplaceable. Again, who can complain about plastics if they help save a life? Whether in plastics or politics, some things never change; other things change slowly. The future, though, is in the mould. Once it has had time to cool, perhaps we can begin a closer inspection at what we’ve made, and whether it will be worth marketing. Rob Coker, Editor
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SYNTEGON TECHNOLOGY IS THE NEW NAME AMONG THE MARKET LEADERS IN THE PROCESSING AND PACKAGING INDUSTRY. KNOWN AS BOSCH PACKAGING TECHNOLOGY UNTIL LATE 2019, THE FORMER BOSCH DIVISION NOW PRESENTS ITSELF AS AN INDEPENDENT ENTERPRISE AT THE COMPANY HEADQUARTERS IN WAIBLINGEN, GERMANY.
yntegon’s business focus is on intelligent and sustainable technologies for the pharmaceutical and food industries, and extending the service range is a priority. Bosch disclosed plans to sell the packaging
machinery division, with the transaction completed and the company gaining full independence at the turn of the year. TRANSACTION WRAPPED UP New owner CVC Capital Partners aims to develop the company and expand intra-group synergies. Commenting on the closing of the sale, Marc Strobel, a partner at CVC, said: “CVC is delighted to see the transaction completed on schedule. Syntegon Technology has a strong presence in many market segments, great technological knowhow, and innovative power. We want to build on these strengths jointly with management and the entire workforce.” The name Syntegon stands for synergy, technology, and focus on the future. The new corporate colour underscores the importance of sustainability and health. The square in
the newly designed logo symbolises a package as well as packaging technology’s ability to protect products. Chairman of the Executive Board Dr Stefan König said: “Now more than ever before we are working on intelligent and sustainable technologies and embracing the collaboration with our business partners in the true spirit of partnership.” INTELLIGENT AND SUSTAINABLE Syntegon is pursuing two approaches to produce sustainable packaging – mono materials rather than conventional multilayer films, and paper packaging as an alternative to plastic. Syntegon Technology supports its customers on the path to a sustainable future with material testing, machine applications, and innovative packaging.
Image copyright: Vulp / Shutterstock.com
BOSCH PACKAGING TECHNOLOGY RENAMED SYNTEGON
COKE EXPLORES RECYCLED PET IN SWEDEN COCA-COLA HAS ANNOUNCED THAT IT WILL USE RECYCLED PLASTICS TO FORM ITS PET BOTTLES IN SWEDEN.
he soft drinks giant believes the move could replace 3,500 tonnes of virgin plastic and reduce the CO2 footprint of production by 25 per cent. Widely considered the most recyclable plastics material, 128 billion PET bottles are used by Coca-Cola worldwide each year, according to a spokesperson, and Sweden has one of the most efficient collection and recycling infrastructures in Europe, if not the world. Leaders in Stockholm announced in July that it would look into extending Europe’s single-use plastic ban,
which will go into effect in 2021. Coca-Cola’s bottled water, Dasani, has used 30 per cent ‘renewable’ plastics from sugarcane or corn and 70 per cent virgin PET. The announcement means Coca-Cola will also add 30 per cent rPET to Dasani’s bottle, which has a much larger market in the US than in Europe. Planned for Q1 2020, the announcement is the latest development in a joint initiative Coca-Cola and its bottling partner in western Europe, CocaCola European Partners.
Commission clears acquisition of Lotte UK by the Alfa group THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION HAS APPROVED, UNDER THE EU MERGER REGULATION, THE PROPOSED ACQUISITION OF SOLE CONTROL OVER LOTTE CHEMICAL UK LIMITED BY DAK AMERICAS EXTERIOR, SL OF SPAIN, ULTIMATELY CONTROLLED BY ALFA GROUP OF MEXICO.
otte UK is active in the manufacture of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin. The company produces two PET chip products offering glass-like transparency
and a ‘fast reheat resin’. Both are produced from a continuous polymerisation process to ensure high consistency. DAK Americas is part of the Alfa
Group, an industrial conglomerate, active in a range of areas including polyester, plastics and chemicals, aluminium automotive components, refrigerated foods, and
IT and telecoms. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given the limited horizontal and vertical overlaps between the activities of the companies. The transaction was examined under the
simplified merger review procedure.
Image copyright: Felix Catana / Shutterstock.com
PACKAGING NEWS IK: PLASTIC PACKAGING BANS SLOW DOWN INNOVATION IN AN INTERVIEW WITH DIE WELT, EU COMMISSIONER VIRGINIJUS SINKEVICIUS DISCUSSED A GENERAL BAN ON PLASTIC PACKAGING IN EUROPE. THE INDUSTRIEVEREINIGUNG KUNSTSTOFFVERPACKUNGEN (IK) CONSIDERS THIS IDEA COUNTERPRODUCTIVE AND CALLS ON SINKEVICIUS TO DO MORE TO ENSURE PLASTIC PACKAGING IS RECYCLED, NOT LANDFILLED.
fter the EU banned single-use plastic articles and packaging last year, Sinkevicius considers it appropriate to impose further bans. In his view, it is important to generally ban plastic packaging. The IK considers such statements irresponsible as they question the future of plastic packaging in a circular economy. IK Managing Director Dr Martin Engelmann (pictured) said: “The Commissioner should ask himself how his statement will be received by those who are about to decide on investments in recyclable packaging or recycling plants. If politicians exclude plastic packaging from the circular economy, these urgently needed investments will certainly not be made… “Some politicians are currently suggesting to consumers and voters that
blanket bans can be used to overcome the major challenges in environmental and climate protection. Unfortunately, they forgot to mention the contribution plastic packaging makes, for example, to CO2 savings and food safety.” The IK and the companies it represents expect the new EU Commission to make decisions based on facts and not on the trends of the zeitgeist.
A DIFFERENT SHAPE AND A CONVENIENT LID HAVE MADE THE SUPERLOCK POT FROM BERRY SUPERFOS A GREAT MATCH FOR A NEW RANGE OF OPTIMEL SALADS FROM FRIESLAND CAMPINA, PRODUCED BY THE DUTCH COMPANY ROYAL SMILDE FOODS.
OPTIMAL POT FOR OPTIMEL: A recipe for success
he three new varieties in the Optimel brand reflect growing popularity among consumers for healthy salads. According to Royal Smilde, the reason the packaging stands out is its round shape, which sets it apart from the square packs in which salads are usually sold in the Benelux region. Janine Schraa, Product Manager at Smilde, said: “We consider the packaging to be a very important part of our product concept − and its success.” Schraa added that end-users like the fact that the SuperLock packaging solution is
easy to open and reclose. Equally important, a ‘Plastic Hero’ logo is included in the InMould Label. In the Netherlands, used plastic is collected under the voluntary waste management system, which indicates ease of recycling.
This is the case for the mono-material SuperLock container and lid, making complex breakdown processes unnecessary. Though the timeline was short, Berry Superfos managed a tight planning phase and secured on-time delivery of the pots.
PARX AND PEPSICO SIGN CO-OPERATION AGREEMENT PARX MATERIALS (FORMERLY PARX PLASTICS) HAS ANNOUNCED THE SIGNING OF A MASTER SERVICE AGREEMENT WITH PEPSICO TO DEVELOP A SOLUTION PROVIDING A HIGH LEVEL OF MICROBIOLOGICAL REDUCTION IN HIGH-PERFORMANCE PLASTICS.
onversations with PepsiCo on applying the Parx Materials technology began in June 2016. Since then, parties have initiated tests and sample production. The agreement sets forth the terms and conditions of the joint development and cooperation. Based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Parx
specialises in developing and manufacturing polymers with antimicrobial properties. The technology does not feature synthetic chemicals, biocides, heavy metals or nanoparticles, and can be used with any plastic. Biocompatible, non-toxic, and non-diffusing, it also prevents microorganisms proliferating on surfaces with an
efficacy of 99.9% or higher within 24 hours. PepsiCo's vision to ‘Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose’ reflects its ambition to succeed sustainably.
A STUDY BY FUTURE M ARKET INSIGHTS PROJECTS GLOBAL PET PREFORMS M ARKET COULD EXPAND AT A PROMISING FIVE PER CENT CAGR DURING 2019-2029.
FIVE-STAR PERFORMANCE FOR MONDI
FMI: The future of PET preforms could lie in recycled PET
SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING AND PAPER SOLUTIONS PROVIDER MONDI HAS BEEN RECOGNISED AT THE WORLDSTAR PACKAGING AWARDS.
ET preforms continue to see sustained adoption, prominently owing to continued demand from bottled water industry and single-serve beverages sector. The food and beverage, pharma, and personal care and cosmetics industries would remain key consumers of the PET preforms market over the foreseeable future as the report analyses how the market will shape up in the backdrop of the recently imposed EUwide ban on SUPs and environmental concerns surrounding the use of plastic bottles by the packaging industry. The key takeaways from the study include PET preforms demand remaining prominent in packaging, the growing popularity of single-serve beverages pushing demand, and high functionality combined with lightweighting and recyclability. The multi-billiondollar PET preforms market has faced the force of the antiplastic movement, which has compelled manufacturers to take up sustainable material choices that offer similar properties to PET. With possibilities
of working with recycled PET, companies are working to enhance their brand images. EMERGING ALTERNATIVES Introducing alternative packaging solutions has reduced the demand for PET preforms to some extent. Moreover, brands are investing in innovations in their existing production lines to curtail the use of PET preforms in line with sustainability targets. Liquid cartons, for example, have gained significant traction due to their favourable disposability and
recyclability. A number of companies are thus favouring liquid cartons as a primary packaging application. More than 140 billion liquid cartons are manufactured every year, which is continuously diminishing the demand prospects of PET preforms. Other alternatives to PET preforms packaging include plant-based bottles made of eco-friendly resins such as PLA and PHA that deliver barrier properties similar to PET. These factors are projected to hamper the sales of PET preforms in the near future.
Introducing alternative packaging solutions has reduced the demand for PET preforms
he annual competition rewards achievements in packaging innovation and technologies with a focus on sustainability and convenience. While the judging process was hosted in November in Indonesia, the Gala Awards Ceremony will take place at the Interpack 2020 trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany. Armand Schoonbrood, COO Mondi Corrugated Solutions, said: “Our guiding principle ‘Sustainable by design’ is reflected in each packaging solution that has been recognised by the WorldStar Awards this year. It is very important to us to support all our customers to help with their bespoke packaging needs and assist them with reaching their individual sustainability goals.” The five winning Mondi products are UpliftBox and StripPouch in the Household category; DashV1Box and Protector Bags in the Transit category; and Stabilization Box in the Other category. Graeme Smith, Head of Product Sustainability for Flexible Packaging and Engineered Materials, added: “These awards underline that packaging can be
part of the solution in protecting products, and being fit for purpose while reducing material and transport needs. A fresh approach with reinvention and collaboration has shown we are at the forefront of sustainable packaging solutions.” Mondi’s approach centres around three actions to optimise packaging choices: Replacing less sustainable products following the ‘paper where possible, plastic when useful’ principle; Reducing the overall environmental footprint and volume of raw material; and Recycling through fit-for-purpose paper and plastic packaging solutions. Schoonbrood continued: “We have dedicated in-house design teams that work in close collaboration with our customers to deliver individual packaging solutions that add real value. We are proud that these teams have been recognised externally.”
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GIVE A CHANCE KOTRONIS K.PLASTICS SA IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST SUCCESS STORIES TO EMERGE FROM GREECE’S LONG-TERM ECONOMIC CRISIS.
ith global demand for Greek food accounting for 30 per cent of the country’s overall revenue, Greek packaging specialist Kotronis K.Plastics SA has the capacity to become an even bigger success with the addition of 21 El-Exis packaging machines and eight high-speed Sumitomo (SHI) Demag all-electric injection moulding lines. Kotronis invested in a state-of-the-art, high-speed injection moulding facility in Efpalio and secured its position as one of Greece’s leading manufacturers of premium plastic
containers for international markets. Producing 350 million packaging products for deli-salads, yoghurt, feta cheese, spreads, antipasti and ice cream annually, the company has a fleet of 50 injection moulding machines. In the past five years, turnover has doubled – as has its workforce, which currently numbers 160 people. To cater to the growing demand, the company has 21 El-Exis SP packaging machines, with five more on order. Eight all-electric IntElect machines with numerous integrated in-
mould labelling systems complete Kotronis’ impressive Sumitomo (SHI) Demag fleet and enable the company to deliver global marketing and promotional campaigns at the push of the button. Managing Director Augustinos Kotronis said: “High availability and high machine speed are the relevant factors that keep us ahead of the competition. When a large international supermarket chain wants to launch a ‘Greek Week’, we can deliver on the spot, even if special labels for this campaign are only released at the eleventh hour.”
ON SHELVES EVERYWHERE Founded in 1971, the family-run business has become widely regarded as an innovator for customerspecific food packaging. With its own in-house development and mould engineering departments, Kotronis installed its first IML system in 1998. Soon after, at the turn of
the century, Kotronis broke new ground with the introduction of tamper-evident feta cheese containers. Then followed a line of thermo-sealed packaging. By 2004, the innovative design for Hellmann’s salad cream redefined packaging for the product. Highlighting the critical role that packaging innovation plays in shelf appeal, Chair of the company’s board Giorgos Kotronis added: “Unlike the domestic market, where the packaging appearance of dairy products is deemed as rather irrelevant, international customers demand attractive and practical packaging with pleasant visual and tactile properties. Domestic customers repeatedly come to us as they seek assurance that their products are going to win the tough international competition for shelf space.” The market success of Greek-style yoghurts cannot be underplayed. Currently accounting for 7.3% of the share
of Greek products in the world market, Greece ranks fourth in the world’s largest yoghurt exporters, to which Kotronis has contributed significantly with the introduction of thin-wall injection moulded cups. With packaging aesthetics a critical influence, Kotronis continues to serve the €3bn export food market, as well as tackle global challenges such as food waste and plastics pollution. The company codeveloped a new packaging barrier that uses brine to extend shelf life without the use of preservatives and has embarked on bio-degradable packaging concepts that explore the viability of IML with an oxygen barrier. In order to make processes even more efficient, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag and Kotronis are exploring further robotics integration, automation equipment and solutions for visual mould control.
RECYCLING NEWS TOMRA RECOGNISES THE NEED FOR SPEED IN NEW REVERSE VENDING MACHINES REVERSE VENDING LEADER TOMRA HAS UNVEILED THE TOMRA R1 MACHINE WHICH ENABLES RECYCLERS TO POUR MORE THAN 100 EMPTY BEVERAGE CONTAINERS INTO THE MACHINE IN ONE GO.
arald Henriksen, Head of TOMRA Collection Solutions, said: “With alarming growth worldwide in plastic pollution and greater awareness of the problem, we wanted to make the recycling experience as convenient and enjoyable as possible. If more people are motivated to return their drink containers for recycling, more can be turned into new bottles again and again in a closed loop, reducing reliance on raw materials for producing new containers. The multi-feed concept transforms the recycling experience.” Recycling with TOMRA R1 is up to five times faster than at a single-feed machine. The solution reduces queuing and provides a mess-free experience. TOMRA R1 is currently available in Norway and Sweden, rolling out to the US and Germany this year. Fredrik Hallenstvedt, Store Manager at Meny Borreveien in Norway, said: “The machine is totally fantastic – customers love it and we definitely have customers coming to the store because of it.” TOMRA R1 has been in intense research
and development since 2015, with several prototypes tested in stores. The technology required a different technical approach for consumer use rather than a trained operator, and for fitting into a retail setting. TOMRA R1 also needed to handle a more rapid pace of returns than possible with previous reverse vending machines, so is equipped with air sorters rather than mechanical sorting. The new solution is equipped with the world’s first instant container recognition system, TOMRA Flow Technology, and connects to TOMRA’s IoT platform. Test stores showed an up to 60% increase in the number of consumer recycling sessions compared to the year before, and up to 218% more containers returned.
THE EUROPEAN OCEANETS PROJECT HAS COMMENCED RESEARCH TO ACHIEVE THE OBJECTIVE OF PREVENTING THE LOSS AND ABANDONMENT OF FISHING NETS AND FACILITATING THEIR RECOVERY FOR REUSE.
OCEANETS PROJECT TURNS FISHING NETS
he first tests were carried out on the GPS tracking tool, which fishermen use for preventive purposes to identify areas where they detect obstacles that trap their fishing gear, as well as areas where they have lost nets. The project’s work on land has also started with the first tests to develop innovative mechanical and chemical recycling methods to find new uses for recovered nets at the end of their lifecycles. The EU-funded OCEANETS project is led by AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre. Since the project started, the Port
of Vigo Shipowners’ Cooperative (ARVI) has contacted agents in the fishing gear value to gain information on the lifecycle of fishing nets, as well as the challenges posed by their loss and recycling at the end of their lifecycles. ARVI member ships are chartered to return disused nets to the port. The cooperative also works with waste managers and net makers that manufacture and repair fishing gear. Initial chemical recycling tests are being performed on polyamide nets to obtain fibres that can be used to produce sportswear. For other
kinds of fishing nets, AIMPLAS is researching in mechanical recycling and compounding processes to improve the properties of the material so that it can be used in different value-added applications.
Waste PVC used for Danish Urban Ga 25 SUSTAINABLE GROWING STATIONS CONSISTING OF WASTE PVC PLASTIC PIPES FOUND IN RECYCLING CENTRES FORMED THE FRAMEWORK OF A GREEN FESTIVAL IN AARHUS, DENMARK.
he project, titled ‘From Building Waste to Building Gardens’, is a collaboration between the City of Aarhus, architect Maja Sønderskov, and the PVC Information Council Denmark. The presentation at Langenæs Cultural Festival was the culmination of several years of sustainable work as confirmed by the University of Aarhus. The project is also undertaken in line with the visions of the
EU Waste Directive, which advocates that reuse should be prioritised over recycling. REUSE CONTRIBUTES TO CLIMATE SAVINGS Sønderskov said: “Essentially, we try to extend the life of building materials after they have become waste. We do this by changing the function of the building product and reusing it as a plant box. This will prolong the life of the materials, thus protecting the
climate.” In addition to the climate benefits of urban gardens, there are other obvious benefits of using waste for growing systems. For example, it is very affordable to build a garden with free building waste. The social and nutritional benefits of establishing urban gardens are also important. As there is a wellfunctioning collection and recycling scheme for PVC construction waste in Denmark,
GENERAL MANAGER AT CIFRA RECYCLING GMBH JACK SNIJDERS INVITED EPPM TO ITS FACTORY IN GERMANY, WHERE HE HAD A POSITIVE MESSAGE FOR PLASTICS.
C Other associations in the OCEANETS project include ECOALF, the Universidad de Vigo, Sintex and the Asociación Vertidos Cero. The project is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
ardens Project it is easy to get rid of the waste if the city gardens are decommissioned – The materials are quickly and simply recycled into new pipes, for example. The project is financially supported by the PVC industry’s sustainable development programme VinylPlus.
ifra Recycling GmbH began life as Gött Kunststoffrecycling GmbH, a small family company in NeukirchenVluyn, Germany, in 1996. In November, Cifra General Manager Jack Snijders, who became involved when Europlastic GmbH took over in 2016, invited EPPM to the site, which was established in 2018 with a capacity of around 1,500 tonnes per year of recycled plastics. There, Snijders described the opportunities and challenges of being a recycler in Europe. Cifra SA in Chateau Thierry, France, has a capacity of 12,000 tonnes per year of PCR plastics but, during the summer of 2019, the company completed an equipment improvement project to add another 4,000-5,000 tonnes. PVC Recycling BV, based in Veghel, the Netherlands, completes the Cifra Group and adds a further 5,000 tonnes per year to the overall output. “We took the decision to rebuild the machinery for bigger capacities as a result of the market changes brought
about by China’s ban on importing waste,” Snijders said, with the aim of boosting its Germany site capacity to 9,000 tonnes by 2021. The machinery at the Neukirchen-Vluyn site includes two singleshaft and two doubleshaft shredders, four grinders, a 90mm extruder, and two eight-tonne mixing silos. Shredding – a rough breaking of the materials to around 1520mm – precedes the grinding stage to pellets of around 10-12mm. “For soft PVC,” Snijders continued, “we have an Ermafa extruder. We filter it and sometimes put some masterbatch in to replenish the colour.” The raw materials Cifra concentrates on is production waste from extrusion companies and from sources that supply clean plastics:
“In Cifra Germany, we are not into postconsumer plastics, so we do a PVC soft which we buy and sell in the market ourselves. PVC rigid we sell back to Cifra France along with LDPE, HDPE and PP. “Our finished product is reground and granulated plastic toll. A lot of the granule, I can tell you, has an incredibly high level of quality. I often say that the people that use these granules will struggle to get better, but it can still be difficult to convince them that it’s the best way to use their own waste.” The current raw materials market has been influenced by changes in China, amongst other issues, but for Snijders, the whole situation is positive. Furthermore, he believes that it is right that Europe takes responsibility for the
waste it produces: “In terms of both capacity and quality, Europe is far behind. We need to get up to a good capacity and quality because the quality I see coming out of new plants is too low. I try to tell them that they will have a hard time selling it, and that many sites will not touch it, so a lot of suppliers and customers find themselves with extra stock. It therefore remains difficult for them to find a good solution. We have quite a network here at Cifra, and we have the solutions. We are ready – let’s go.”
A lot of the granule, I can tell you, has an incredibly high level of quality Jack Snijders
WE DRIVE THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY.
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Whether it is inhouse, postconsumer or bottle recycling: you can only close loops in a precise and profitable way if machines are perfectly tuned for the respective application. Count on the number 1 technology from EREMA when doing so: over 6000 of our machines and systems produce around 14.5 million tonnes of high-quality pellets like this every year – in a highly efficient and energy-saving way.
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RECYCLING PLASTICS RECYCLERS EUROPE PRESIDENT TON EMANS SAYS IF YOU WANT QUALITY RECYCLED PLASTICS, THE OPPORTUNITIES ARE OUT THERE.
t will not surprise you when I tell you that a lot of my colleagues are struggling to make profit,” was how Plastics Recyclers Europe’s President Ton Emans introduced his LDPE Working Group meeting on day one of the 2019 Annual Meeting. “There are many uncertain things in our business.” Those who know Emans, however, were not fooled by the apparent pessimism, and could perhaps sense a latent, realismbased caveat. “We need to discuss the issues,” he continued. “We need to collect more, and we need to sort more. We need to set standards and create more streams. You might think this is a bad start, but I will surprise you – there are opportunities and there will be investments. Investments that need to happen if these businesses wish to become stable businesses. They need to grow, and fast.”
There are now 160 LDPE recyclers in Europe, according to the Plastics Recyclers Europe President, and the availability of plastic waste materials – the opportunities which Emans was referring to – has become increasingly abundant since the ban set by China on importing waste from the West. “None of us can complain,” he added, meaning that if you want to produce the best quality recyclate from this waste, get on with it, and invest in the necessary machinery and technology. “We need to make the highest quality if we want to beat virgin raw materials. If you can’t, you will face problems. No customer will pay a high price for poor quality.” Crack that conundrum and Emans promises that the growth will come – and continue to come – which would mean more people available to attend his workshops and make him very happy indeed.
There are opportunities and there will be investments Ton Emans
TECHNOLOGY FOR TRUST DURING THE PLASTICS RECYCLERS EUROPE ANNUAL MEETING IN BRUSSELS, CHRISTOPHE WÖSS, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER AT EREMA, AND ANNA HORECICA-CSIKI, PREFORM SYSTEMS PRODUCT MANAGER AT SIPA, SHARED THEIR COLLABORATIVE SUCCESS STORY.
öss began by explaining how the Austria-based recycling machinery manufacturers are able to turn PET bottles into pellets for preforms before returning them to bottles again through the patented bottle-tobottle Vacunite system, which was introduced to the market at the Petnology Conference in November 2018. In January 2019, the first machine was sold. When Italy-based PET bottling specialists SIPA leveraged the EREMA technology – alongside co-collaborators Kyoei and Suntory (both of Japan) – it led to awardwinning success. “You already know what is happening in the world regarding SUPs,” Horecica-Csiki added. “The topic of my presentation is a system to produce pet preforms from 100 per cent rPET flakes. We
start with the washed flakes and finish with a food-approved rPET, which is moulded directly into preforms and then blown in a single- or two-stage machine.” SIPA’s Xtreme technology, an injectioncompression preform moulding system, produces the preform without the pelletising, cooling and crystalising, and secondary extrusion stages. Due to the elimination of one of the melting processes, there is no yellowing of the resin. Horecica-Csiki said: “It is not only a development born of the collaboration between EREMA and SIPA, but we have been involved in this development with recycling company Kyoei, which provides the flakes, and brand owner Suntory, which uses the preforms to provide the market with a food product made from 100
per cent rPET.” The collaboration was recognised with a WorldStar Packaging Award by the World Packaging Organisation (WPO) in the Czech Republic capital Prague in May.
Due to the elimination of one of the melting processes, there is no yellowing of the resin
EDUCATE, INNOVATE, PARTICIPATE PROFESSOR DR KIM RAGAERT OF GHENT UNIVERSITY BROUGHT AN ACADEMIC ELEMENT TO THE PLASTICS RECYCLERS EUROPE ANNUAL MEETING 2019.
These two recycling methods have the potential to be complementary pathways to a true circular economy for plastics, although the danger of them competing remains real for some – specifically those stakeholders who consider the latter to be a ‘silver bullet’, as Ragaert put it. FCA plastic packaging would be easier with chemical recycling since no EFSA approval would be required, but the long-term technical and economic validity of this method is yet to be confirmed. Again, this is where Ragaert’s point on effective design for recycling returned her argument to the overall theme of the event. Avoiding mixed materials and contaminants and reducing layers without losing functionality will go some way towards finding a solution, but – as we hear so often in the plastics industry – collaboration along the value chain, including societal and governmental contributions, is key. “Working together really is quite a feat,” Ragaert began, “but it gives us a certain critical mass and allows us to work along the entire value chain.” By way of example, Ragaert, a polymer processing engineer, highlighted a study performed alongside colleagues at the University of Wageningen, the Netherlands, on Dutch post-consumer packaging waste. Researchers counted
Professor Dr Kim Ragaert
ecycled Plastics Make the World Go Round was the original title of Ragaert’s presentation, but adding a ‘should’ in there seemed pertinent in order to highlight the areas where the sector is still lacking, despite, she added, the hard work and collaborations in design for recycling and models that enable decisions on composition, quantity and quality, as well as in ongoing discussions regarding the benefits of mechanical and chemical recycling.
all the plastics packaging put into the market, and therefore all the potential secondary plastics. They then counted the losses in the levels of collection, sorting and recycling, reaching the percentage of plastics packaging available as a secondary raw material – just 26 per cent, which isn’t great considering packaging is the type of product most actively sorted and recycled.
things are not going so well. We have a long way to go and a lot of uncertainties to face.” Some examples provided by Ragaert included the lack of a definition of ‘recyclable’ on the European legislative level, and an alternative proposal by Plastics Recyclers Europe, which says not only is it necessary to tackle recyclability in the lab, demand and infrastructure should also be made available.
31 per cent of plastics are recycled in Europe, according to ‘Plastics – the Facts 2018’ (42 per cent in 2019). This, in Ragaert’s assessment, needs to say 31 per cent is collected for recycling since in 2018 there was an amendment to the packaging waste directive that explicitly says you can no longer count ‘collected for recycling’ as ‘recycling’ as the actual figures would move farther from EU-set targets, as well as make more work for Europe’s plastic recyclers.
“I might invent an entirely new recyclable polymer,” Ragaert said, “but if it’s not collected and sorted, it’s not recyclable. We need this definition.”
“We definitely need to do something,” she continued. “It’s not all our fault that
MATERIAL ALTERNATIVES “People instinctively think plastics are bad,” Ragaert added, illustrating her point with the trends in UK supermarkets banning plastic bags and replacing them with paper: “I stand as a scientist in front of you and I am telling you that a paper bag is not lower in carbon footprint than a plastic bag. It isn’t. People don’t realise this – they have good intentions and they
I might invent an entirely new recyclable polymer, but if it’s not collected and sorted, it’s not recyclable want to do good, but they don’t know how. We need to educate them.” Furthermore, Ragaert mentioned the over-promotion of bio-based products without the necessary infrastructure in place, making an example of Ghent University’s own cafeteria where soup is served in a bio-based cup – of which the university is extremely proud, and which everyone throws in the bin, so biodegradability becomes irrelevant. Exchanging plastics packaging for their alternatives, she continued, would require much more material and use much more energy to process them. As a result, CO2 emissions would almost triple. Rather than replace plastics, Ragaert advocates we valorise them instead. But how does the industry get to where it needs to be? “Educate,” she concluded. “Inform people with facts. Don’t be tempted to swing the other way and over-promote your product with only good news. Give facts and even the not-so-happy news, but never give up. People want to know, but we have to tell them. “Innovate. This is why we are here. With new technology, new plastics, and new markers, we can keep the value and keep innovating. “Participate. In every form of debate at every level, make sure you have a voice in the legal developments and in the municipalities that are organising collection systems. These will be of a lower quality without the input of Europe’s plastics recyclers. Get involved. All this will take time, money and people. Start to invest now.” If Europe’s plastics recyclers fail to take these three actions, she warned, they risk being left behind in a dying industry.
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RECYCLING ORKLA GROUP’S PACKAGING INNOVATION AND SUSTAINABILITY CO-ORDINATOR FOR CZECH REPUBLIC AND SCANDINAVIA PAVEL KOMŮRKA OFFERED A BRAND OWNER’S PERSPECTIVE AT THE PLASTICS RECYCLERS EUROPE ANNUAL MEETING.
omůrka’s presentation shifted the discussion somewhat towards the perceptions of Orkla and its customers, and how they see recycling and waste management. The consumer goods company is based largely in Scandinavia, where every day three million items are packaged in plastic.
“You can imagine how much waste that generates,” Komůrka said, “but we are not selling waste. We asked what we can do to contribute to a better world, and we ended up with a kind of map – although everyone is doing the same thing; everyone is pledging similar targets – but we did that before we asked what it meant.” Questions seemed only to lead to more questions for Komůrka and his team. When they asked the designers to create recyclable or reusable packaging, for example, they were asked in return what exactly that meant. “We dug deeper and, when it comes to plastics, we looked at the history, at what’s going on currently, and at the recycling rates in different regions. Between 2005 and 2019 there was a nice curve in recycling rates, and then the EU came in with ambitious targets, so our question then became ‘what kind of miracle is going to happen here?’. But still, we found the trend interesting and we decided that we needed to contribute somehow.”
THE SCHEME S G OF THIN
Recycling and recycled components in food contact applications is challenging, Komůrka continued, specifically where Orkla feels complications in collection and recycling are relevant as they can affect all stakeholders and their attempts to reach targets: “Flexible packaging currently in use is a big challenge because the typical composition is multi-material combinations. So, what can we do to make it recyclable?” Again, one question led to more, such as ‘is it collectable?’, ‘is it recyclable?’, ‘how can we switch from multi-material compositions?’, and ‘will they still be collected?’. The answers, according to Komůrka, depend on the location: “The further north you go in Europe, the higher sustainability appears on the agenda, especially in Norway and Sweden where everyone is obsessed.” Komůrka is working at finding “something else”, as he put it, something universal in improving designs for sorting and recycling, including investing in new technologies and increased capacities, but collection, he added – and specifically low collection rates – is the issue in some regions. In others, it is due to a lack of design for recycling: “If we’re going to invest we need to switch to monomaterial structures. We are advised to choose PE structures, but we tend to prefer PP structures for our applications.”
The further north you go in Europe, the higher sustainability appears on the agenda
Industry knowhow will remain critical for setting up platforms for the exchange of information, and a number of stakeholders have been involved in a project focusing on the recyclability of an Orkla packaging product: “RPC bpi is now analysing what we are going to give them, and we will see what conclusions they draw, but we would prefer our plastic packaging to become plastic packaging again – if we can do this, perfect. More than 80 per cent of our products are for food, so we need food packaging to come back. But we are open to other suggestions too. For example, if we can help complete some construction projects with our recycled plastics, we will.”
Medics and materials INTEREST IN THE RECYCLING OF HOSPITAL PLASTIC WASTE IS GROWING AND THE COMMITMENT OF NURSES TO COLLECTING AND RECYCLING IS CRUCIAL, ACCORDING TO A RECENT PVCMED ALLIANCE WORKSHOP IN COPENHAGEN.
eld at the Danish Technological Institute on 25 November 2019, the opportunities and challenges of hospital plastic waste recycling were discussed by representatives from medical devices manufacturers, hospitals, nurses, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, the Danish Medicines Agency and PVCMed Alliance. Being the most widely used plastic material in hospitals, PVC was the focus for the workshop, and specifically the key role they play in modern healthcare. Ole Grøndahl Hansen, Project Manager of PVCMed Alliance, joined health and industry professionals in a joint commitment to the green transition of healthcare. Mette Skriver Revsbech, a Copenhagen University Hospital-based nurse pointed out how the amount of plastic waste generated shows that action on plastic waste is required and why it was easy to convince colleagues to participate in a project with the goal of collecting 2,000 used oxygen masks. The importance of nurses’ involvement was emphasised by Tobias Johnsen of PVCMed Alliance, who showed examples of healthcare plastics recycling from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Guatemala and the UK, and added that it was ‘striking’ that it was nurses who had initiated the collection schemes. Tobias Johnsen of PVCMed Alliance
Useful products are made from the recyclate. Just 20 IV bags are needed to make a pair of shoes for South African children living in deep poverty. DESIGN FOR RECYCLING The main challenge in plastic recycling is the many material types that make sorting and recycling difficult, and the industry-wide consensus states that products designed with recycling in mind are crucial. Annette Bitz from Ambu presented a new design manual with the main message being medical equipment should be designed in one polymer. Peter Sommer-Larsen from the Danish Technological Institute agreed and exemplified good and bad design in oxygen masks, which can be made either in PVC of varying softness, or of two different polymers. The second option means recycling is impossible due to the different melting points. NURSES VERSUS ROBOTS How to sort the plastic waste was another key discussion point. Bjørn Brix Pedersen from the Capital Region of Denmark said the region had chosen a solution in which the plastic is collected at the hospital without further sorting, which is done externally due to space restrictions. Robotics expert Jacob Kortbek from the Danish Technological Institute demonstrated how AI and robotic technology could potentially make sorting more efficient. PVCMed Alliance argued – based on ongoing medical PVC collection schemes – for a more low-cost solution wherein sorting and granulating could take place in the respective hospital departments, and
sufficiently large quantities of recyclate could then be sold to a recycler. Such a practice poses no particular risk of infection as hospital waste would be handled exclusively by professional nurses, and experiences from Copenhagen University Hospital show that incorrect sorting is extremely rare in medical environments.
Just 20 IV bags are needed to make a pair of shoes for South African children living in deep poverty
COMPOSITES NEWS AIMPLAS SUCCESSFULLY PARTICIPATED IN THE RECENTLY COMPLETED EUROPEAN MAT4RAIL PROJECT, WHICH DEVELOPED NEW MATERIALS AND COMPONENTS TO DESIGN THE ‘RAILWAY OF THE FUTURE’.
Travel light: AIMPLAS helps design railway of the future
he aims of the project included reducing weight by replacing metal components with composite materials whilst increasing vehicle capacity and passenger comfort. The project began in 2017 and was co-ordinated by CIDETEC. AIMPLAS’ role was to develop new hybrid resin formulations with improved resistance to flame propagation to be applied in fibre-reinforced polymers. Results are promising and the new
formulations can be of use in construction, automotive and aeronautics applications. Furthermore, the properties of these new materials were evaluated in structural parts in order to replace metal components. To this end, collaborative work was done to improve specific regulations on calculating fatigue requirements. The work involved participating in processes to standardise the design and calculation of
trams by means of sensor monitoring. Joins between materials (i.e. composites and metals) were evaluated with the aim of improving them. The project also involved modifying the design of cabins and seats by incorporating new technologies and communication systems. The goal was to increase safety, detect extraneous objects on the tracks, and improve intercommunication. Modular carriages were also developed to enable a range
of configurations through multifunctional panels with different connections for devices. Implementation of this project is expected to improve railway infrastructure in terms of costs, operations, reliability, punctuality, increased capacity and energy efficiency.
The MAT4RAIL project was funded by the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (S2R JU), a public-private partnership in the rail sector established under the EU Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020, grant agreement number 777595.
COVESTRO AND BÜFA THERMOPLASTIC COMPOSITES COOPERATE IN MAEZIO DISTRIBUTION COVESTRO HAS ENTERED INTO A DISTRIBUTION AGREEMENT WITH BÜFA THERMOPLASTIC COMPOSITES, A SUPPLIER OF RAW MATERIALS AND SEMI-FINISHED PRODUCTS FOR THERMOPLASTIC COMPONENTS.
he agreement grants BÜFA distribution rights for Maezio thermoplastic UD (unidirectional) tapes from Covestro. This first distribution partnership in Europe for the thermoplastic composite business of Covestro is a response
to the growing demand for materials designed for robust, lightweight construction. “We’re super excited to introduce BÜFA as part of our distribution network,” said Lisa Ketelsen, Head of the Thermoplastic Composites Business
at Covestro. “We want to nurture our mutual exchanges on market trends and customer needs in order to find the best possible solutions.” “We’re thrilled to add Maezio into our product portfolio,” added Dirk Punke,
Managing Director of BÜFA Thermoplastic Composites. “The tapes can be made particularly thin, but have a high stability and are especially light, which enables the production of complex and three-dimensional components in a wide
range of industries.” Maezio UD tapes are based on a thermoplastic matrix such as polycarbonate, which is strengthened with continuous, oriented carbon or glass fibres. The UD tapes can be laminated at different angles to form sheets for specific performance targets. Based in Oldenburg, Germany, BÜFA Thermoplastic Composites is a spin-off of the BÜFA Group specialising in the sale of raw materials and semifinished products from long and continuous fibre-reinforced thermoplastic components.
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Airborne delivers final JUICE XL substrate panels Airborne’s JUICE panel team
BÜFA COMPOSITE SYSTEMS, THE GERMANY-BASED SUPPLIER OF UNSATURATED POLYESTER RESINS AND FORMULATIONS, WILL ACQUIRE AOC (UK) LTD, THE LEADING UK SUPPLIER OF COMPOSITE PRODUCTS.
BÜFA EXPANDS UK PRESENCE
OC Aliancys will remain as the supplier of the resins portfolio and will trade as BÜFA Composites UK. With the purchase of AOC (UK) Ltd., BÜFA Composite Systems is not only expanding its presence in the UK market, but also consolidating its leading position as a specialty manufacturer for the composites market in Europe. Felix Thalmann, CEO of the BÜFA Group, said: “This will strengthen more than just our market activities. This is the coming together of two strong and complementary partners.” Resins from AOC Aliancys, who have supplied BÜFA Composite Systems for more than 50 years, are transformed into specialities by the Rastede-based chemical company. The
complete package also includes a longstanding sales partnership in numerous European markets. Joe Salley, Global CEO AOC Aliancys, added: “We are glad to strengthen our trusting, successful co-operation with BÜFA, and at the same time create a stronger company in the UK. This will serve our customers even better and create a bright future for our UK employees.” BÜFA Composite Systems MD Lothar Kempf concluded:“The AOC Aliancys portfolio will be offered through BÜFA Composites UK. In combination with the BÜFA specialties product range and already existing products, capabilities and fantastic team of BÜFA Composites UK, this will create a highquality, fully fledged solution provider for all composites customers.”
AIRBORNE HAS DELIVERED THE LAST OF TEN XL SUBSTRATE PANELS TO AIRBUS DEFENCE AND SPACE NETHERLANDS FOR THE SOLAR ARRAY OF ESA’S JUICE MISSION.
UICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) spacecraft engineers requested an exceptionally large solar array and, as European leader in solar array substrate panels manufacturing, Airborne was selected by Airbus to develop the carbon fibre and spacequalified epoxy resin panels. With a surface area of 85 square metres, the spacecraft will be equipped with the largest solar array – and the largest units manufactured by Airborne – ever flown
on an interplanetary mission. SUPERSIZING EXPERTISE Airborne modified the manufacturing equipment, including extending the maximum inside diameter of the autoclave, which enables further XL panels for aerospace customers. JUICE’s solar array is built with the new ARA Mk4 technology which enables a 20 per cent cost reduction and increase in robustness by expanding the temperature range and adding stiffness. As JUICE will be exposed to extreme conditions, the panels need to withstand temperatures as low as -240°C. The extreme temperatures near Jupiter made additional qualification necessary on the panel design and its interfaces. Airborne manufactured
160 qualification test samples and two fullsize panels which were delivered in January 2017. The ten substrate panels were completed in October 2019 for the next step in the manufacturing process. HIGH-PERFORMANCE SOLUTIONS Airborne CEO Arno van Mourik said: “JUICE is a great example of what we can do in terms of state-of-theart substrate panel technology … Combining our knowledge on high-end substrates with our capabilities in the domain of industrialisation of composites will allow us to provide the new space market with high performance, yet radically affordable solutions.” Launching in 2022, JUICE will spend three and a half years studying Jupiter and three Galilean moons.
COMPOSITES THE ENDLESS FIBRE-REINFORCED THERMOPLASTIC COMPOSITE MATERIAL TEPEX DYNALITE FROM LANXESS HAS MADE A MAJOR CONTRIBUTION TO THE SUCCESS OF THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT’S FUPRO PROJECT.
t the international trade fair for mobility 4.0 ‘eMove360° Europe’ in Munich, the project received the Gold Materialica Award in the Surface and Technology category. FuPro stands for ‘Design and process development for functionalized multi-component structures with complex hollow profiles’.
form highly integrative multi-component structures. The high application potential of the technology was demonstrated using the case of a belt integral backrest. The organic sheets are made from the semi-finished product Tepex dynalite 102RG600 based on roving glass fabric and a PA 6 matrix.
SIT BACK AND RELAX In FuPro’s innovative fibre-composite modular system, organic sheets, fibre composite hollow sections and injection moulding compounds were combined to
The LANXESS subsidiary Bond-Laminates in Brilon, Germany, manufactures these lightweight, highly resilient fibre composite semi-finished products.
Semi-finished products of the continuous fibrereinforced thermoplastic composites of the Tepex brand from LANXESS are ideal for structural lightweight design. As Tepex dynalite 102-RG600 they were also employed in the award-winning FuPro project. Copyright: LANXESS AG
The Materialica Award was presented in 2014 and 2017 for products in which Tepex was used. In both cases, the corresponding components are now being employed in series production. THE FUPRO PROJECT Within FuPro, an interdisciplinary team from industry and science developed a novel technology that integrates continuous fibre composite hollow profiles into hybrid organic sheet metal injection moulding structures. The project consortium included the Institute for Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology (ILK) at Dresden Technical University and Brose Fahrzeugteile GmbH & Co. KG, as well as Arburg, AUMO, DITF Denkendorf, Elring Klinger, GK Concept, gwk, Schmalz, PHP Fibers and Werkzeugbau Siegfried Hofmann. The objective of the project was to develop and analyse a novel, large-scale
production process for multi-component structures made from complex fibrereinforced plastics (FRP) hollow profiles, organic sheets and injection moulding compounds. The aim was to achieve a level of process, structural and functional integration that goes far beyond classic design methods and thus achieve significant weight reductions in automotive applications. LIGHTWEIGHT DESIGN AS A KEY TECHNOLOGY Lightweight design is a key technology and essential prerequisite for resourceefficient mobility. Highly integrative multicomponent engineering methods are particularly promising for the realisation of highly loadable lightweight structures. In addition, the use of FRP enables individual components to be optimised according to the force flow. Thermoplastic FRPs are predestined for mass production applications in the automotive industry, since cycle times of less than one minute are usually achieved in component production.
DR JONATHAN RANSOM OF NASA LANGLEY RESEARCH CENTER SPEAKS TO EPPM ABOUT COMPOSITE STRUCTURES FOR HIGH-END APPLICATIONS, AND THE VITAL ROLES OF INDUSTRY 4.0, COLLABORATION AND RESEARCH. With renewed interest in spacebased science and exploration, the public is getting excited again. In what ways is NASA Langley utilising plastic composites for such high-end engineering applications? NASA Langley is supporting the use of CFRP in both aeronautics and space applications, having recently completed the Advanced Composites Project (ACP) which focused on technologies that help reduce the development, certification and implementation time for advanced CFRP into commercial aircraft. We’re also beginning to develop the technologies and materials needed to increase aircraft production rates to meet future market demand. In space applications, Langley continues to develop CFRP that can be used to build lightweight launch vehicles and spacecraft to help reduce the cost of delivering humans and satellites to orbit. Langley continues to investigate new CFRPs with the right combination of properties to survive in this environment.
The fundamental understanding of material properties and performance is useful across many earthbound industries
Dr Jonathan Ransom, Deputy Director for Structures and Materials, NASA Langley Research Center
In what ways do you anticipate this research to impact industrial/domestic applications? While materials research at Langley is focused on aeronautics and space applications, the fundamental understanding of material properties and performance is useful across many earthbound industries. Industrial products based on NASA technologies but optimised for the public consumer are numerous. Manufacturing technologies for advanced materials that Langley is also developing often help lower costs and increase production rates. What conventional processes are used to transform the compound materials into parts or products? Injection and compression moulding have traditionally been used for applications that require low mechanical performance relative to aerospace applications. These processes can rapidly and cost effectively produce parts for industries, like the automotive industry, that have less demanding performance requirements and can use composites with short, randomly oriented fibres (including glass). Future work will investigate rapid manufacturing methods like these to build composites with discontinuous but highly aligned carbon fibres with significantly improved mechanical properties approaching those of continuous fibre composites. How are additive manufacturing, digital process control and Industry 4.0 accelerating the production processes? Additive manufacturing allows rapid prototype development and verification of complex designs. Its usefulness remains to be proven for rapid production and for high part count production of aerospacequality structural parts. Digital process control is necessary to ensure proper manufacturing parameters are within
specified limits to ‘guarantee’ quality and performance. Precise control and real-time knowledge of the manufacturing process is required for both speed and quality requirements and digital processes are key to delivering this information. Similarly, Industry 4.0 trends in automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies and processes (e.g. cyber-physical systems, the IoT, cloud computing, artificial intelligence) are also enabling speed and quality. In what ways are everyday manufacturers of plastic products connecting with Langley with regards to innovation and sharing best practices? As part of NASA’s ACP, the Advanced Composites Consortium (ACC) is a publicprivate partnership to help American industry retain a competitive advantage in aircraft manufacturing by reducing the time needed to develop and certify composite materials and structures. Consortium members participate in research in accurate prediction of the strength and life of composite structures; rapid inspection of composites; and efficient development of manufacturing processes. The ACC fosters shared innovation and best practices in composite structure performance, inspection and manufacturing, and connects a wide range of OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, materials suppliers, governments and academia. NASA researchers are involved in CMH-17 co-ordination meetings, as well as in the development of the Composite Materials Handbook. They are active in disciplinefocused national and international conferences such as the American Society for Composites, and extensively publish technical publications and articles to share innovations, as well as to interact and collaborate with manufacturers and research and development professionals.
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COMPOSITES NORTH MACEDONIA-BASED MACHINERY AND MANUFACTURING SPECIALIST MIKROSAM HAS SUPPLIED AN AUTOMATED FIBRE PLACEMENT SUITE TO AEROSPACE GIANT GKN FOKKER.
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Balkan Falcon: Mikrosam takes flight
KN Aerospace has 18 manufacturing sites across six European countries: the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Germany and Romania, and parent company GKN Fokker has selected Mikrosam to deliver advanced equipment for the development of aircraft parts with thermoplastic composites (TPCs). This suite includes Mikrosam’s latest automated fibre placement (AFP) machine, slitting equipment for thermoplastic prepregs, and a custom-engineered thermoplastic consolidating machine. When installed, this equipment will add to GKN Fokker’s advanced manufacturing and research and development capabilities to produce complex 3D parts for the aviation industry. Mikrosam offers a cost-competitive and proven AFP solution for thermoplastic composites and maximum productivity. Designed as an integrated, modular, and upgradeable AFP work-cell, the eightaxis robotic AFP machine is capable of automated and precise placement of thermoplastic fibres. The system uses a multi-material AFP head with bidirectional placement on open and closed 3D shapes and mandrel surfaces. Combined with an automatic head exchange system, customers can
obtain new multi-tow AFP or automated tape laying (ATL) heads or additional equipment for future use on the same work cell. Mikrosam’s AFP heads are designed with flexibility and time-saving features such as easy access to material spools and quick servicing of consumables with minimised downtimes, ensuring reliability, productivity and flexibility in advanced composites manufacturing. FLYING HIGH Thermoplastics – often considered the next generation of composite materials – are becoming a priority in the aerospace industry for increasing production rates. Using a laser heating source, precise temperature and angle control, and a closed-loop process, Mikrosam’s AFP machines have proven results for in situ consolidation of TPCs with better mechanical properties. Mikrosam’s extensive research and experience in development programmes with many aerospace and automotive customers provides a fast-track to production with recyclable thermoplastic composites. Mikrosam Sales Manager Dimitar Bogdanoski said: “The market demands better automated thermoplastics lay-up and higher utilisation of AFP machines. Our modular, upgradeable AFP systems give customers higher ROI with the ability to use multiple AFP or ATL heads on
the same configuration. Customers can reduce cycle times for parts and increase utilisation of the AFP work-cell. When combined with our sophisticated control for in situ consolidation of thermoplastic composites, our AFP machines provide excellent solutions for many industries.” To complement the AFP system, GKN Fokker will receive equipment for wide and narrow prepreg tape slitting and rewinding to prepare spools. The slitting and rewinding machine works with thermoplastic prepregs to produce spools of various sizes and re-winding styles, providing a cost-effective solution for integrating prepreg into narrow tape production and AFP process. Mikrosam will also supply a custom-engineered consolidation press for advanced products made of thermoplastic composites. The complete automation of the AFP machine is powered by MikroPlace – a CATIA-compatible solution for analysis and simulation of composite parts – and QCS (Quality Control System), which offers continuous improvement via data monitoring and traceability. This contract enables GKN Fokker to continue its advances in thermoplastics composites for aviation and presents a strong vote of confidence in Mikrosam’s capabilities.
COMPOSITES GLOBAL MARKET INSIGHTS DETAILS THE MAJOR TRENDS DRIVING THE GROWTH OF EUROPE’S PLASTIC COMPOUNDING MARKET BETWEEN NOW AND 2026.
DRIVEN BY COMPOSITES O wing to expanding applications in diverse sectors, Europe’s plastic compounding market size is likely to expand substantially. Compounding plastic involves transformation of base resin into preferred plastic products, with respect to key parameters such as uniformity, durability, and lightweight structure. Moreover, consumer inclination towards leveraging lightweight materials will reflect positively on plastic compounding. As per the latest research report compiled by Global Market Insights, Inc., plastic compounding market share will witness a CAGR of more than 6.2% between 2019-2026. A few factors fuelling these trends include the demand for lightweight vehicles, which will accelerate plastic compounding industry share in the near future. Plastic compounding market size is set to gain profits from strict policies and standards relating to reductions in vehicle emissions. To achieve this, stakeholders are using lightweight materials in automobiles and vehicle manufacturers have are opting for innovative material components that can help reduce vehicle weight.
Polyethylene possesses improved impact strength, durability and ductility, which is advantageous for its use in packaging and consumer goods. Furthermore, growing application of LDPE will drive segmental growth and further promote plastic compounding market trends. The consumer goods sector will likely enhance plastic compounding industry outlook over the 2019-2026 forecast period, and account for a considerable share in the global plastic compounding industry. The growth can be accredited to transforming consumer lifestyles and increasing per capita expenditure. Technical advancements have augmented the application of compounded products with significant reductions in environmental impacts. Additionally, benefits such as durability, lower cost, higher strength-to-weight ratio, and versatility are expected to upsurge packaging applications and enhance plastic compounding market trends.
The use of such products also helps reduce emissions and stimulate plastic compounding industry trends. THERMOPLASTIC POLYMER PROPELLER The plastic compounding industry has two polymer product segments, namely thermoplastics and thermosets. The forecast report estimates that thermoplastic polymers exhibit potential growth due to wide-ranging applications, lower manufacturing costs, and reusability. The textile sector, for example, has witnessed an upsurge in demand for polyesters owing to their capability to retain shape.
LDPE will drive segmental growth and further promote plastic compounding market trends
EUROPE’S SUBSTANTIAL CONTRIBUTION Europe contributed more than 20 per cent revenue in the global share of the plastic compounding market in 2018 through its numerous key automobile manufacturers, which has supportively impacted demand for compounded plastics. Increasing sales of electric vehicles is also predicted to favour Europe’s plastic compounding industry size growth. In 2018, manufacturing of commercial vehicles in France reached 506,000 units, with a growth rate of more than 7.4% in comparison with 2017. Adoption of compounded plastics will augment this figure owing to the region’s growing production capacities and manufacturing units, which will in turn contribute towards the growth of the plastic compounding market share. Reports estimate that the plastic compounding industry size is set to surpass $56bn (~€51bn) by 2026.
INJECTION MOULDING NEWS Guido Frohnhaus named Tech Director at Arburg
GUIDO FROHNHAUS HAS TAKEN OVER AS MANAGING DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY AND ENGINEERING AT ARBURG GMBH + CO KG IN LOSSBURG, GERMANY.
GUIDO FROHNHAUS HAS TAKEN OVER AS MANAGING DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY AND ENGINEERING AT ARBURG GMBH + CO KG IN LOSSBURG, GERMANY.
BASF EXPANDS ULTRASON P RANGE WITH IMPROVED FLOWABILITY
he 50-year-old engineer’s remit includes production, research and development, materials administration and technical administration departments. For many years Frohnhaus was employed at the Turck Group, one of the leading groups of companies in the industrial automation sector. As a Managing Director at Werner Turck GmbH & Co. KG, Frohnhaus was responsible for the Development and Production departments. Prior to this, he spent five years as Vice President of Technology at the Turck national subsidiary in the US, as well as several years
Arburg’s senior management team is now once again complete
working in management roles at an automotive supplier. TECHNOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT EXPERTISE Frohnhaus began his career by completing an apprenticeship as a toolmaker. He then went on to study mechanical engineering, specialising in manufacturing engineering at the University of Wuppertal. While working in the US, he also obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Capella University in Minneapolis. Over the past few months, the Technology and Engineering management division has been led on an interim basis by Managing Partner Juliane Hehl. Arburg’s senior management team is now once again complete where Frohnhaus is joined by Managing Partners Michael Hehl (Plant Development and Spokesperson for the Management Team), Juliane Hehl (Marketing) and Renate Keinath (Human Resources Management), Senior Consulting Partner Eugen Hehl and Managing Directors Juergen Boll (Finance, Controlling, IT), and Gerhard Boehm (Sales, Service).
t is thus possible to manufacture larger, complex-shaped components for catering and aircraft applications, meaning raw material use, energy consumption and component weight can be reduced. The tool also fills up at lower injection pressures and processing temperatures. Ultrason P 2010 is now available in transparent and opaque and combines the impact strength and stability of Ultrason P 3010 with high chemical-resistance, good hot steam
sterilisation at 134°C, and inherent fire resistance. The Charpy notched impact strength is almost ten times higher than that of other amorphous hightemperature materials. Even the combination of aggressive cleaning agents, water and extreme heat does not affect Ultrason P 2010. The transparent high-performance thermoplastic is approved for food contact in the EU and US. Ultrason is the trade name for BASF’s product range
of polyethersulfone (Ultrason E), polysulfone (Ultrason S) and polyphenylsulfone (Ultrason P). The highperformance material is used to manufacture lightweight components in electronics, automotive and aerospace, amongst other applications. The Ultrason brands can substitute thermosets, metals and ceramics.
KraussMaffei’s NETSTAL ELION series FASTER THAN EVER ‘SUBSTANTIAL OPTIMISATION’ WAS HOW KRAUSSMAFFEI DESCRIBED THE ACHIEVEMENT OF THE DRY-CYCLE TIME OF THE NETSTAL ELION SERIES MODELS FOLLOWING AN ADJUSTMENT TO THE CLAMPING UNIT CONTROLLER.
he dry-cycle times of the NETSTAL ELION have been reduced by up to 0.2 seconds across the range. The shorter dry cycles are available for all NETSTAL ELION models with aXos version 8.2.0. and upward. KraussMaffei HighPerformance AG CEO Renzo Davatz said: “This update incorporates the latest controller technology insights, which we had already applied to the NETSTAL ELIOS series.”
The additional speed is enabled through the adaptive optimisation of the acceleration and deceleration ramps. The maximum speed is reached sooner and can be maintained longer before the moving mould plate is harmoniously decelerated and the toggle lever mechanism seamlessly transitions to building up the clamping force – all without compromising mould protection.
4200 with a 96-cavity mould produces Type 29/25 HDPE closures, each weighing 1.23 grams. Due to the optimised control, the cycle can be shortened from 2.77 seconds to 2.6 seconds. The hourly output goes up from 124,750 to 132,920 closures – a 6.5% increase.
HIGH-PERFORMANCE A NETSTAL ELION
INJECTION MOULDING INJECTION MOULDING ENGINEER AT BASILIUS INC. KYLE KEISER DISCUSSES THE ADVANTAGES OF EFFICIENT DESIGN FOR MOULDING TECHNIQUES.
Get over it
s custom moulders, we see a lot of part designs requiring metal inserts and over-moulding operations. Both involve the same process of loading into a mould and injecting plastic into or over it to make a complete part. INSERT MOULDING Insert moulding is a common way to achieve a rigid thread or other feature. This can avoid a complicated mould, unscrewing mechanisms, or heat staking and other secondary operations. Insert moulding begins in the design phase, and there are two critical aspects for properly designing an insert tool: holding the insert so it does not shift, and designing the mould to seal against the insert. These ensure the insert is in the same location each time and that no flashing or extra plastic is moulded in the wrong areas. For example, holding an internally threaded nut in place requires a pin that protrudes from the tooling. Depending on the accuracy, we may use a springloaded core pin on one side, which can compress as the mould closes and allows for small variations. The core pins core into each other, whilst the taper allows a slight misalignment for operators or robotics when loading. When using robotics, we may also use docking pins for end-of-arm tooling.
features). Unlike insert moulding, where we use a purchased component, the substrate is manufactured. This is typically a harder plastic or one with a higher melting point to maintain structural integrity.
The injection moulding process does not usually change for insert moulding. We are still developing a process in the same manner, but there could be other considerations. When adding one or many inserts, we may need to allow for extra cycle time whether the components are loaded manually or robotically. Some cost implications include the insert itself and how it is loaded. For low-volume applications, we can have a full-time operator. For automated systems, there could be additional up-front equipment costs (e.g. for robotic tooling or bowl feeders). This is another aspect of custom injection moulding that is taken on a case-by-case basis. Like with choosing cavitation, we need to balance up-front investment with long-term savings. OVER-MOULDING PLASTIC SUBSTRATES Over-moulding is typically moulding a soft plastic over a rigid one (i.e. for aesthetics, ergonomics, vibration resistance, or mechanical
It’s possible to have a large mould run in a two-shot moulding machine wherein both substrate and over-mould are created at the same time. The substrate side may be rotated, otherwise robotic equipment could transfer it to the over-mould cavity. In the case of two moulds running separately on different machines, we will likely run a traditional process on a moulding machine to create the substrates beforehand. A vertical moulding machine is commonly used so the substrates remain in place and are easily accessible. OVER-MOULDING OTHER COMPONENTS The applications for over-moulding are seemingly endless – we can create threads, stand-offs and dowels by loading inserts into a moulding machine, and we can mould plastic over just about anything. From traditional applications like adding ergonomic grip points, to more advanced electronics or medical devices, it’s all in the realm of possibility, and these applications could provide cost savings for component assemblies by avoiding secondary operations.
MASIM Simultaneous Stretching Technology
Biax lines for Packaging and Specialty film
INJECTION MOULDING PRODUCTOS CLIMAX IS SPAIN’S LEADING MANUFACTURER OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT, AND RELIES ON WITTMAN BATTENFELD MACHINERY TO PROTECT THE NATION.
stablished in 1984, Productos Climax has been growing steadily due to its culture of dedication, experience and knowhow, enabling them to offer a perfectly adapted product that answers the needs of customers on the national market, and to overcome the complexities of international markets where workplace hazard prevention differs. Following the slogan ‘We work for your safety’, Productos Climax applies its business culture to its manufacturing processes, offering equipment that guarantees maximum safety and user comfort. Complying with the technical requirements demanded by the European CE regulation, the company strictly respects the requirements established by the laws of each country where its products are in use. Climax’s RDI department designs and develops all components, depending on the needs of each activity. All components are manufactured under strict quality control and verified twice in Climax’s laboratories, as well as in official approval centres, thus obtaining the necessary certification. After more than 30 years, Productos Climax has thus become a benchmark in the world of personal protective equipment, being active in more than 70 countries.
PARTNERS IN PROTECTION At its injection moulding plant in Parets del Vallès, Barcelona, Productos Climax has entrusted its plastics technology needs to the Wittmann Group. The factory contains a considerable array of Wittmann Battenfeld machines, accompanied by state-of-the-art Wittmann automation systems. The Spanish company’s production centre not only relies upon the award-winning Wittmann W8 robots, but on the latest peripheral equipment from the same manufacturer, including FEEDMAX loaders, DOSIMAX dosing equipment and DRYMAX dryers. Only last year Productos Climax commissioned two SmartPower 300-tonne servo-hydraulic injection moulding machines and a large MacroPower 650-tonne machine. Sales Manager Ismael García said the partnership has helped achieve “a real improvement in terms of productivity, significantly reducing the number of defective injection moulded parts”, and expressed his satisfaction with the technical and customer service offered by the Wittmann Group’s Spanish subsidiary, Wittmann Battenfeld Spain. García added that all expectations have been met, and all problems that occur
The partnership has helped achieve a real improvement in terms of productivity, signiﬁcantly reducing the number of defective injection moulded parts 32 WWW.EPPM.COM
when installing new injection moulding equipment and automation solved. Wittmann Battenfeld Spain expressed pride and gratitude to receive such a testimonial from a prominent customer, especially given the manufacturing process requires the very best in terms of precision, quality and reliability. Together, the two companies have achieved great success and loyalty from their customers. Climax is not limited to personal protective equipment for the working environment, producing a range of products servicing extreme sports, motorcycle helmets, and climbing gear such as harnesses and ropes. Much of this success is based on in-house production. From Productos Climax’s point of view, ‘Made in Spain’ is a real hallmark illustrating their efforts to ensure perfect identification as a manufacturer with each of their products. In order to achieve this quality standard, Climax has invested over the years in top of the range injection moulding machinery and ancilliary equipment from Wittmann Battenfeld.
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ur idea is to design a mobile container where microbes degrade plastic waste to valuable products such as fuels or chemicals,” said Kari Koivuranta, Principal Scientist at VTT. The aim is to develop a small, container-based factory that can be placed in an area where centralised plastic waste collecting or recycling is not possible or feasible. The container can be located on a beach or ship and the factory unit would get most of its energy for the process from renewable resources.
VTT TECHNICAL RESEARCH CENTRE OF FINLAND IS HELPING TO SOLVE THE GLOBAL PLASTIC WASTE PROBLEM BY DEVELOPING PLASTIC-DEGRADING MICROBES IN ‘PLASTBUG’ – A PROJECT INVOLVING A MOBILE CONTAINER UNIT TO REMOVE PLASTIC WASTE FROM MARINE ENVIRONMENTS.
A complete process is being engineered around the fermenting unit containing microbes – a small plant in which plastic is modified from waste to products. The aim is that the pilot unit will operate in the Baltic Sea in 2021, but funding still needs to be secured for the realisation of this plan.
During 2019, researchers in the PlastBug project studied microbes capable of degrading different kind of plastics, including PE, PP, PS or PET, and developed methods for the pre-treatment of plastics. Now researchers are using a three-stage screening method to screen microbes from different sources. Koivuranta added: “Some microbes have already passed through the first two stages of the screening. In the third stage, we will confirm whether they are able to consume and digest plastic. In the next step, if plastic degrading microbes are found, we will improve the ability of the most effective microbes to digest plastic, and we will develop plastic pretreatment methods further to ease the work of the microbes.”
Image: X1 - © VTT
If the process can be made to work effectively, PlastBug units can progress to commercial production and operate in different locations around the world. The Plastbug team took second place in the Meriroska (Marine Litter) Challenge arranged by the Finnish Environment Agency on 25 August 2018. This annual project is part of VTT’s iBEX programme, which aims to achieve rapid, bold solutions to the most serious societal challenges.
In VTT’s PlastBug projects, microbes are being screened through a three-stage process.
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