PRA January/February 2018 Issue

Page 1


A S l A ’ S L E A D l N G m aga z l ne f o r t h e p las t l c s and r u b b e r l nd u s t r y

In this issue

Volume 33, No 235

publlshed slnce 1985

A S l A’ S L E A D l N G m aga z l ne f o r the plastlcs and rubber lndustry

Features 焦 點 內 容

Publisher Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 Email:

13 材料: 生物塑料可否解決世界的垃圾問題? 16 Front Cover Feature – LANXESS’s “Quality Works” dictum explains why customers can rely on its high performance products from start to finish

20 Country Focus – India leads South Asia in forming a trade bloc to achieving greater economic ascendancy

24 Composites – Lightweight, yet, durable composites are scoring major success in the billion-dollar sports industry

Permits ISSN 1360-1245

6 Materials News

MCI (P) 046/08/2017 KDN PP 18785/08/2015 (034280)

10 業界新聞

Printer United Mission Press Sdn Bhd (Co. No: 755329-X) 25 & 27, Jalan PBS 14/14, Taman Perindustrian Bukit Serdang, 43300 Selangor, Malaysia.

Supplements 副 刊 With a broadening range of applications, 3D printing is taking shape in the advanced manufacturing segment Advancements in synthetic rubbers are contributing to tyres’ potential to enhancing fuel economy of vehicles

On the Cover


Writer Mohani Niza Email:

Circulation Stephanie Yuen Email:

2 Industry News


Senior Editor Angelica Buan Email:

Chinese Editor Koh Bee Ling

Regulars 概 要

Associate Publisher/Editor Tej Fernandez Tel: +60 3 4260 4575 Email:

LANXESS quality marks the difference – especially in the chemical industry! Quality enables it to distinguish between ordinary and unique products. Nanotubes, for example, enhance quality in a variety of applications. LANXESS says it lives quality. It is the core of everything it does. Its sustainable solutions improve the quality of daily lives and ensure the success of its customers. This is what it calls Energizing Chemistry.

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is published 8 times a year in Mandarin and English by Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this publication is correct, the publisher makes no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the nature or accuracy of such material to the extent permitted by applicable law. © 2018 Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or used in any form, or by any means, without specific prior permission from the publisher. PRA is circulated free to trade readers in the plastics and rubber industry. Airmail subscriptions are available at US$160 within Asia and US$250 to all other countries outside Asia.

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Industry News

M&As • Belgian speciality polymers supplier Ravago’s American unit has bought Polymer Technology & Services (PTS). It will become part of Ravago's Amco Polymers' business, a North American distributor of commodity, engineering, and speciality polymers. • Lotte Advanced Materials Co., the chemical unit of South Korean conglomerate Lotte Group, has acquired two acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) producers in Indonesia. The companies in question, PT Arbe Styrindo and PT ABS Industri Indonesia, which are the only producers of ABS in the country, had been facing financial difficulties. • US-based polymers company PolyOne Corporation has acquired IQAP Masterbatch Group, a privately owned provider of speciality colourants and additives based in Spain. • US-based speciality chemicals supplier Albemarle Corporation will sell its polyolefin



catalysts and components business, except for organometallics and curatives, to WR Grace & Co for US$416 million. It includes operations in the US and South Korea. • China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina) is seeking to list its machinery subsidiary KraussMaffei in China. KraussMaffei will become a subsidiary of Qingdao Tianhua Institute of Chemistry Engineering Co, which is listed on the Shanghai stock exchange and is a subsidiary of ChemChina. • US-headquartered Celanese Corporation is to acquire custom compounder Omni Plastics and its subsidiaries, including distributor Resinal de Mexico. • South Korean chemical firm SK Global Chemical, a unit of SK Innovation, has purchased Dow Chemical’s Saran polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) packaging product business. • US-based Reynolds Group Holdings,

a manufacturer of consumer food and beverage packaging, has sold the Asian packaging operations of Closure Systems International (CSI Asia) and Graham Packaging Guangzhou to Australia’s Pact Group Holdings for US$99 million. • US aerospace composites company Hexcel Corporation is to buy the Aerospace & Defense (A&D) business of Oxford Performance Materials (OPM) that produces carbon fibrereinforced 3D printed parts. • US-based private equity company Platinum Equity is to acquire for US$3.85 billion Ontario-based Husky IMS International from Omers Private Equity, the private equity arm of Omers benefit pension plan for Ontario’s municipal employees, and Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based investment firm. • German PU machinery maker Hennecke has acquired OMS Group. Hennecke is fully owned by Capvis Equity IV, a fund advised

by Swiss private equity firm Capvis Equity Partners. • German speciality chemicals company Evonik is to acquire 3M’s additive compounding business. • Japan’s Mitsui Chemicals is to acquire Asahi Kasei Corp.’s Sunvieo thermoplastic styrene elastomer (TPS) business based in Japan and China. • German chemicals company Lanxess is to acquire Belgian chemical company Solvay’s phosphorus chemicals business, including a US production site. • Thai chemical firm Indorama Ventures will purchase the 700,000-tonne/ year PTA assets of Artlant PTA in Portugal, as well as the utility assets of Artelia Ambiente Portugal, which has a capacity of 40 MW of electricity. • Germany’s SGL Carbon is purchasing BMW Group's 49% equity investment in the joint ventures SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers and SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers LLC (US) – together referred to as SGL ACF.


Capacity Expansions/Plant Openings • Speciality chemicals company Clariant and Tiangang Auxiliary Co, a privately owned producer of light stabilisers in China, have kicked-off their new production joint venture with the purchase of a site in the Cangzhou National Coastal-Port Economy and Technology Development Zone, Hebei province. • State oil giant Saudi Aramco and petrochemicals firm Sabic are to develop a US$20 billion fully integrated crude oil

to chemicals (COTC) complex in Saudi Arabia. It is expected to process 400,000 barrels/day of crude oil, which will produce 9 million tonnes/year of chemicals and base oils and is expected to start operations in 2025. It will be the largest COTC facility in the world and the first in Saudi Arabia. • Chemicals firm LG Chem will invest US$279 million to expand production capacities of crude acrylic acid (CAA) and super absorbent

polymer (SAP) by 180,000 tonnes/year and 100,000 tonnes/ year, respectively, in South Korea, by 2019. It expects its annual sales to grow by US$280 million. • Dutch company Teijin Aramid will increase production capacity for its Twaron super fibre by more than 25% at its plant in the Netherlands by 2022. • UK-headquartered chemicals company Ineos Oligomers will build a new worldscale, low viscosity

Polyalphaolefin (PAO) unit in Texas. It will have a capacity of 120,000 tonnes/ year and become the world’s largest single PAO train. It is scheduled to start-up in 3Q 2019. • South Korean petrochemicals company Hanwha Total, a 50-a50 joint venture between Hanwha Group and Total SA, will invest US$300 million to build a new PE facility in Daesan, increasing the site’s PE capacity by more than 50% to 1.1 million tonnes/year

Industry News

by the end of 2019. It will use the Advanced Double Loop (ADL) technology licensed by Total and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company. • Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics will expand its PVC production at its Baton Rouge, Louisiana, facility by 136,000 tonnes/year by 2020. • Russian petrochemicals firm Sibur is upgrading its terephthalic acid production in Polief Blagoveshchensk to expand capacity to 350,000 tonnes/ year by 2019. • US-headquartered Ascend Performance Materials, the world’s largest fully integrated producer of PA6 resin, is increasing production capacity across its intermediate chemicals and polymers portfolio by 10-15%. • US supplier of phosphite antioxidants, Addivant, has expanded production capacity by over 40% at its Morgantown plant. • Dutch chemicals firm DSM is expanding capacity of its speciality polymers plants in Emmen and Geleen, the Netherlands, for high temperature



polyamides (PAs) and thermoplastic copolyesters (TPCs). • UK-based materials maker Victrex has launched a £10 million facility to focus on R&D of PEEK polymer and other differentiated grades within the PAEK family of high-performance thermoplastics. • US-headquartered Trinseo has startedup its Magnum ABS production line in Zhangjiagang, China. • Brazil’s Braskem and Danish chemical company Haldor Topsoe are to partner the development of the MOSAIK sugar-tobiochemicals solution for production of MEG (monoethylene glycol) in Denmark, with operation slated to begin in 2019 and start-up of a commercial plant in 2023. • Germany’s Covestro has started up a new production facility for aqueous polyurethane dispersions (PUDs) in Germany and expanded production in Spain. It is also building a new facility in China, as well as planning to resume production in the US and at the same time modernising and expanding facilities there. • Austria’s Borealis will undertake a debottlenecking study

to significantly increase the capacity of its three PP plants in Belgium. Final investment decisions are expected in Q4 of 2018, with capacity increases coming on stream from 2020-2022. • Solvay has opened its Solef polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) plant in Changshu, China. It is used for applications such as lithium-ion batteries (li-ion) in hybrid and electric vehicles (xEV), for offshore oil and gas pipes and liners and in membranes for water purification. • German blow moulding machinery maker Kautex Maschinenbau has completed its new 5,000 sq m assembly hall at its Bonn. The plant will mainly be used for the assembly of KBBseries all-electric packaging machines as well as KSB machines. • Austrian recycling/ woven bag machinery company Starlinger & Co has opened a new building for its recycling unit. Previously, the division was operating from the head office in Vienna as well as from the Starlinger factory in Weissenbach.

• Switzerland’s Maag, a manufacturer of gear pumps, pelletising systems, filtration systems and pulverisers, has opened two new Chinese facilities in Shanghai and Guangzhou. In Shanghai, the facility will cater to production for Maag’s pumps and pelletisers as well as sales, service and after sales support. The second facility is a brand-new rotorregrinding centre. • Speciality materials company Celanese Corporation’s Ibn Sina joint venture with Riyadhheadquartered Sabic and its construction of a 50,000-tonne polyacetal (POM) manufacturing facility in Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia, has started up. The facility has completed performance runs for all POM grades and achieved full production rates, therefore, the facility has been officially declared commercially operational. As previously announced, upon successful startup of the POM facility, Celanese’s economic interest in Ibn Sina will increase from 25% to a total of 32.5%, providing further financial benefits for

INDUSTRY NEWS Celanese. Ibn Sina is a joint venture between Sabic and CTE, a company jointly owned by subsidiaries of Celanese and Duke Energy, which entered into the Ibn Sina joint venture in 1981. Construction of the POM facility is part of an extension of the Ibn Sina joint venture. Subsidiaries of Celanese and Duke Energy each currently hold a 25% ownership interest in the joint venture, with the remaining 50% held by Sabic. The facility will utilise methanol as feedstock, which is produced internally at Ibn Sina. • US firm CMT Materials has opened a new facility for its Hytac plug assist materials

for thermoforming, sales and customer service personnel, and cut-to-size services in Shenzhen, China. The new facility will provide same-day shipping to China, Taiwan, and several Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, reducing lead times and shipping costs. The full range of Hytac syntactic foam products is available in all sizes of rods and sheets. • German chemicals firm Evonik will begin construction of an additional line for compounding its Acrylite PMMA at its site in Osceola, Arkansas, US. The expansion will nearly double the production capacity of the Methacrylates

Business Line for the speciality moulding compounds produced at the site. Completion and start-up of the new compounding line is scheduled for the first quarter of 2019. The company says it is the only PMMA manufacturer in the world that has fully integrated MMA/PMMA production networks with downstream compounding in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The moulding compounds are used in applications for requirements of weather resistance, colourfastness, high brilliance and transparency as well as hardness and abrasion resistance. • Custom compounder of TPEs, Polymax

Thermoplastic Elastomers, which has its main operation in China, plans to increase the size of its production operation in the US, adding about 3,600 tonne/ year-capacity. The company has added a new compounding line to expand manufacturing of its line of TPEs including SEBS, SBS, TPO, and alloy products. The expansion is underway and will be fully operational by the first quarter of 2018. Polymax TPE is a sister company of Nantong Polymax Elastomer Technology Co., based in Nantong, China, both of which were co-founded by Dr Martin Lu. Nantong Polymax has about 13,600 tonnes/ year of TPE capacity.


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Materials News

Can bioplastics fix the world’s waste mess? The environmental impact of non-degradable plastic waste has made the world rethink of how we use and produce environmentally-friendly plastics, says Angelica Buan in this report.

China to stop taking plastic waste from developed countries The making of an environmental disaster is on the cards now that China has decided to stop the import of some 24 types of waste materials including plastics. With the ban coming in effect in March, more than 6 billion tonnes of global plastic waste will not be recycled in China. China, which has topped the rank of global plastic polluters, can hardly be blamed. It said it has to fix its own environmental issues. So what will happen since Europe and the US are two major exporters of waste to China? In a bid to nearly halve Europe’s plastic consumption by end of 2019 and by a further 80% by end 2025, European Union has stepped up its plastic bag taxation drive. The US, on the other hand, which ships nearly 1.5 million tonnes of plastic waste to China to be recycled, will have to rely on its capabilities to manage its waste and recycling. As well, what seems to be hoped for is that the rest of Asia will open its doors to recycling opportunities. This is ironic because the region is also contending with plastic waste troubles in its own backyard, with the top 20 polluting rivers found to be mostly in Asia, according to Dutch Foundation Ocean Cleanup. Asia as a bioplastics hub Against this backdrop, the push to use bioplastics is growing with research house Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence forecasting the global bioplastics market with a value of U S $ 4 3 . 8 billion in 2022, against US$17 Increasing use of degradable materials may fend off recycling woes



billion in 2017, growing at a CAGR of 20%. The same growth trajectory of 20%, driven by demand for biopolymers such as polylactic acid (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), was also cited in the European Bioplastics’ annual market data update recently. The Asian region is also flexing its capabilities on producing bioplastics with LuxResearch’s 2016 report pointing at Southeast Asia as a biochemical hub, given its local access to sustainable raw materials. Thailand has sufficient supply of sugarcane and, according to the 2017 data of USDA Gain, has produced 11.2 million tonnes of sugar to more than meet the country’s consumption and cater to exports. It is not surprising that large-scale bioplastics factories are coming up in the country. Total Corbion, a joint venture between Dutch PLA producer Corbion and French oil and gas company Total, is completing construction of a 75 kilotonne/year-PLA plant in Rayong, with start-up scheduled this year.

Corbion’s site in Rayong uses Bonsucro-certified sugar

The second half of the year will also see the company’s expansion of its existing lactide plant, also in Rayong, by 25 kilotonnes/year. The PLA polymerisation plant will be producing Corbion’s Luminy portfolio of PLA resins. Total Corbion says it uses Bonsucro-certified cane sugar (a global non-profit network that sets standards to ensure sustainability) as a feedstock that is converted to lactic acid through fermentation, which in turn is used as a base for PLA bioplastics. The company sources its raw materials from Bangkok-headquartered Mitr Phol, Thailand's biggest sugar and bio-energy producer, which has two Bonsucrocertified mills.

Materials News PTT Chemical and Cargill’s joint venture NatureWorks Asia Pacific is also expanding its footprint in Thailand with a planned US$143 million bioplastic plant. Over in Indonesia, reportedly the world’s second biggest plastic waste contributor, bioplastic alternatives, such as seaweed farming, are being pursued. Seaweed is not only sustainable but found to produce durable yet degradable materials. A local company, Evoware, is tapping on Indonesia’s abundant seaweed supply by using it for its patented seaweed-based packaging and also uplifting living standards of seaweed farmers, many of whom are from the poorest provinces in the country.

Evoware utilises Indonesia’s abundant seaweed supply by using it as bioplastic feedstock

The seaweed packaging is 100% biodegradable, dissolves in warm water and has a shelf-life of up to two years. It is printable and heat-sealable and, while application potential is broad, it is suitable for small-format food sachets and wraps, as well as for non-food based items. Malaysia’s palm oil, meanwhile, is being harnessed to produce PHA bioplastics. A 2,000 l-capacity plant, which

SIRIM’s bioreactor technology at the pilot PHA plant has integrated production processes and bioreactor facilities producing different PHA materials

started in 2011, was built through a partnership between SIRIM, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It is located in Shah Alam, Selangor. According to SIRIM, the plant employs a process that makes good use of the by-products of the palm oil industry, such as crude palm kernel oil (CPKO), palm oil mill effluent (POME), as well as solid biomass comprising empty fruit bunches (EFBs), mesocarp fibres (MFs), palm kernel shell (PKS), fronds and trunks. SIRIM says that the mills produce about 60 million tonnes of POME and 80 million dry tonnes of solid biomass, and these volumes could reach 70-110 million tonnes and 100 million dry tonnes, respectively, by 2020. In particular, POME, a waste liquid that has 100 times the oxygen-depleting potential of domestic sewage, is a major concern for the industry because of the environmental effects it has on soil and water when disposed, said SIRIM. With the bioreactor and synthesising technologies now on hand, POME as well as CPKO can now be viable sources of PHA-based bioplastics.

Materials News

Another Asian country, Vietnam, with a per capita plastic output of 41 kg/year in 2016, according to the Vietnam Plastics Association, expects that by 2020 plastic producers are likely to require about 5 million tonnes of materials for manufacturing, to satiate the growing consumption. Over that period, plastic waste will also grow exponentially. A project has been hatched so that by 2020, the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags, the biggest environmental polluter, will be reduced by more than half. Thus, Vietnam is building its first eco-plastic plant in an industrial zone in Long An province. The US$10 million-plant, a joint venture project between Vietnam Plastic House and a Guangzhou-based biodegradable plastics firm, will have a capacity of 3,000 tonnes/year of bioplastic bags. Reportedly, four more biodegradable plastic bag plants will be built in Vietnam and three similar plants in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. The HCM City Plastic Association, which is involved in the project, explained that the eco-plastic resin is made from cellulose, tapioca and additives, which enable the plastic bag to disintegrate after two years. Sweet success for sugarcane-based bottle and MEG France was the first country to completely wean itself off the use of plastic plates and cutlery. Innovations to counter the proliferation of oil-based plastics include a recent biobased bottle design by French firm Lyspackaging. The sugarcane-based Vegan Bottle is 100% biodegradable, and has improved mechanical and barrier properties, according to Lyspackaging. The eco-bottle can help reduce the number of oilbased bottles being used and discarded. Lyspackaging says 45% or 200,000 tonnes/year of plastic bottles are not recycled in France.

Elsewhere, Brazilian petrochemicals company Braskem and Danish firm Haldor Topsoe, specialising in catalysts and surface science, are to develop a pioneering route to producing monoethylene glycol (MEG) from sugar. MEG is a key component of PET resin. The deal also covers construction of a demonstration plant in Denmark that will start up in 2019. The project is based on a two-step process developed at Topsoe's laboratories along with its own catalysts, and focuses on the conversion of sugar into MEG at a single industrial unit, which will reduce initial investment in the production and boost the competitiveness of the process. The demonstration plant will conduct tests to validate the technology and confirm its technical and economic feasibility, as well as validate the technology in different raw materials, such as sucrose, dextrose and secondgeneration sugars. Deriving bioplastics from organisms Thinking out of the box, Arizona State University (ASU) has undertaken a study on producing fully biodegradable plastics using cyanobacteria (also called blue-green algae) that thrive in soil and water and can manufacture their own food. Lead researcher, Taylor Weiss, explained that for the study a symbiotic partnership between two bacteria was created, each specialising a specific task. “The cyanobacteria use photosynthesis to create sugar and are engineered to constantly excrete that sugar. A second bacteria, called Halomonas boliviensis, consumes the sugar to alternately grow and produce bioplastics in cycles. Additionally, the cyanobacteria are captured in hydrogel beads made from seaweed extract that are submerged in saltwater filled with the bioplastic-producing bacteria.�

Researchers at the Centre for Biological Research used predatory bacterium in its process to extract polymer from bacteria

The sugarcane-based VeganBottle is 100% biodegradable



There are challenges, such as using as little of the hydrogel as possible and for as long as possible to also help keep costs down, but Weiss says this bacteria-bioplastic process is industrially viable, with the two bacteria and the hydrogel already having been industrialised.

Materials News Lowering costs, especially if targeted for industrial scale, was also a concern of a research carried out by a team of scientists from the Centre for Biological Research (CIB-CSIC) in Madrid to produce PHA bioplastics. Surmounting the challenge of extracting polymer from bacteria, lead researcher Virginia Martínez said an innovative extraction method had been developed. “What we did was to use the predatory bacterium B. bacteriovorus as a lytic agent to kill other bacteria, specifically the natural PHA producer, P. putida KT2440, and recover the intracellular bioproduct. We also engineered the predator so that it doesn’t degrade the bioplastic accumulated by the prey.” With this novel system, bioplastic is thus recovered in a single step without requirement for complex equipment or toxic compounds. The findings of the study were published in Scientific Reports. PHA bioplastic from non-GMO feedstock Meanwhile, a company specialising in converting organic waste into bioplastics, Canada-headquartered Full Cycle Bioplastics (FCB), is manufacturing PHA bioplastic using a non-Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)-based process. It utilises organic and cellulosic waste as the feedstock, a novel option to commercially available PHA that is currently made from crop-based feedstock, such as food-grade sugar or seed oil. The FCB process uses food waste, agricultural by-products, cardboard and waste paper as raw materials. Even endof-life PHA products can be utilised as feedstock for the production of virgin PHA. FCB’s process involves organic waste being broken down and becoming feedstock for PHA. Once

FCB's PHA bioplastic is derived from organic and cellulosic waste as the feedstock

the feedstock is perfectly adjusted, it is dosed in an environmentally conditioned tank of naturally occurring bacteria, where it is consumed and converted into PHA, then dried and processed into a finished resin product, ready for compounding. FCB emphasised that its process significantly lowers production costs and eliminates the need for expensive laboratory-grade sterility or containment. Moreover, FCB said that licensing the technology can enable companies with large waste streams to produce PHA “to generate revenue and at the same time, curb disposal costs by creating the highest and best value from waste”. Thus, the looming issue on waste plastics has the upside of encouraging further development of bioplastics as an attainable and sustainable solution to controlling waste plastics.





新聞 業 界






以甘蔗为基础 的 Vegan Bottle 是 100%可 生物降解




生物研究中心的 研究人员在研究 过程中使用捕食性 细菌,从细菌中 提取聚合物

FCB 的 PHA 生物塑料 是以有机和 纤维素废料 作为原料

Front Cover Feature

LANXESS imbues quality in its business Global speciality chemicals company LANXESS has focused on its new “Quality Works” vision and identity since 2017. With this, the Germany-headquartered firm is tapping on its quality expertise throughout its products and solutions as well as its dealings with customers, the environment and society as a whole. More than just a catch phrase, Quality Works will complement LANXESS’s original “Energizing Chemistry” tenet. Meanwhile, harnessing the Quality Works platform, the company has turned its business around to drum up exemplary sales; and is on the road to a better future ahead.

Unmasking the “new” LANXESS Categorically, quality refers to a number of things, including but not limited to colour, shape, make, longevity, and other product characteristics. LANXESS offers a broader signification of the word. Claus Zemke, LANXESS’s Head of Corporate Communications, explains that quality is instrumental in shaping the products and services of the company. Quality is what the company delivers to customers with its high performance polymer solutions; and which create value and at the same time protect the environment. Through Qualityfocused R&D, LANXESS has formulated its Tepex dynalite materials; and through its HiAnt it provides Honda and parts suppliers with property testing services

“Quality is at the very heart of our work. We want our customers to be able to rely on us fully in all matters and at every stage of cooperation: from the first conversation to the perfect implementation. Fast, simple and efficient – fully in line with our motto.” Referring to the campaign, which was launched the year before last, Zemke says, “Quality is what we aim for, and it is also a promise to our customers, employees, stockholders and partners. Our new campaign makes this clear.” He further explains, “Quality can be tailored to fit all products and business units at LANXESS, such as ‘Quality lightens’ for lightweight plastics, ‘Quality colours’ for colour pigments, or ‘Quality protects’ for material protection products.” Recap of the previous year; manoeuvring strategies and mergers The years of unstable petrochemical prices, reduced global consumption of speciality chemicals, particularly from 2015-2016, amid the economic slowdown in China and other factors, have been succeeded by improved market conditions for the industry. The global speciality chemicals market is on a path of trajectory growth, estimated to reach more than US$575 billion by 2023, citing a forecast from US-based Crystal Market Research. LANXESS, which in 2016 posted sales of EUR7.7 billion, is pushing against industry headwinds by spawning strategies to increase sales in the coming years.



Front Cover Feature CEO Matthias Zachert explains, “LANXESS is pursuing even greater regional and industrybased balancing to further reduce the effects of market volatilities. This includes an increased share of sales in growth markets such as Asia and North America and an expanded presence in attractive customer industries, such as electrical/ electronic or energy, LANXESS CEO Matthias Zachert says the firm is with innovative product looking at increasing its applications.” share of sales in growth The company has markets such as Asia and consolidated its business North America portfolio, especially in high value-added speciality chemicals, with the acquisition of US chemical firm Chemours’s Clean & Disinfect business in 2016. In the same year, too, LANXESS joined forces with Saudi Aramco to form Arlanxeo, a synthetic rubber company that is headquartered in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, the EUR2.4 billion merger with US-based additives supplier Chemtura in 2017, said to be the largest acquisition in LANXESS’s history, has set off the latter to becoming one of the world’s leading additives supplier. The company expects an estimated EUR25 million cost savings for 2017; and EUR100 million in annual cost savings by 2020. The acquisition is expected to add on to LANXESS’s additives footprint in the North American region where it has 24 production sites. The region also accounts for 21% of the company’s global sales, up from 17%. Chemtura’s flame retardant and lubricant additives portfolio has been integrated with LANXESS's Rhein Chemie Additives business unit to form a new segment called “Specialty Additives”. As well, its urethanes and organometallics businesses will also be integrated with LANXESS’s Advanced Industrial Intermediates and Engineering Materials business units, respectively. LANXESS is also set to acquire Belgian chemical company Solvay's US-sited phosphorus additives business to broaden its clout in the North American and Asian additives markets. The deal is expected to be completed in the first half of 2018. The above acquisitions are what Zachert refers to as a “more balanced portfolio” for LANXESS, thus making the Cologne-based company “more stable and profitable”. He also regards the acquisitions and other strategic moves as a basis to further enhancing the company’s operational strength. Right positioning, stronger sales LANXESS had forecast an uptrend and registered positive sales across all segments in 2017. The company posted positive earnings during the first three quarters, with sales up by 25% to EUR2.4 billion in Q1;

by nearly 30% to EUR2.5 billion in Q2; and up by 25% to EUR2.4 billion in Q3. Overall, net income improved by 47% to EUR78 million. As well, its main segments namely Advanced Intermediates, Performance Chemicals and High Performance Materials have demonstrated strong performance over the reported periods. More and above, the integration of Chemtura’s additives business has contributed significantly. “Chemtura businesses are already making a significant earnings contribution, and the other areas of our speciality chemicals portfolio are also developing positively,” said Zachert.

LANXESS forecast an uptrend and registered positive sales across all segments in 2017

Plus, the Synthetic Rubber business, Arlanxeo, has raked in a robust performance each quarter. Sales in Q1 rose by 48% to EUR948 million from EUR640 million a year earlier. In Q2, sales were at EUR835 million, up by 24.6% from the previous year’s EUR670 million; while in Q3, sales rose by 6% or EUR42 million to EUR717 million, against EUR675 million from a year ago. Zachert summed up the company’s performance, “In the coming years, we intend to reach our full potential and transform LANXESS into an even stronger company with a highly balanced and stable platform, increased profitability and, last but not least, a company team-culture based on dedication and motivation.” Transforming with digitalisation Smart manufacturing and digitalisation may be taking over conventional manufacturing ecosystems in the near term. Global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co, in a 2015 report, placed the potential value that can be churned out from digitalised factory settings at US$3.7 trillion by 2025. These disruptive approaches are predicted to be among important game changers this year for a number of vital industries, including chemicals. Taking this cue, LANXESS has adopted an initiative towards group-wide digitalisation, setting up a department with 30 experts, for a start, in this area. JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018


Front Cover Feature Zachert pointed out the key areas of the initiative, which will include “the digitalisation of the value chain, the use of big data, development of digital business models and embedding of digital expertise among employees”. He comments that digitalisation will bring sustainable change to processes and business models in the chemical industry, including the company’s customer industries. “This offers us a multitude of opportunities, and requires a profound transformation within the company. We want to actively drive the digital transformation at LANXESS and capitalise on the potential of digitalisation at the right time,” he furthered. Expansions: growing share in the China market Capping 2017 with yet another expansion and, thus, securing leverage in China’s automotive and relevant growth markets, was the new EUR20 million plant for high-performance plastics in Changzhou. From the second quarter of 2019, the compounding plant is expected to produce up to 25,000 tonnes of Durethan and Pocan-brand resins for the automotive sector and the electric/ electronics industry.

In 2017, LANXESS announced another expansion at its compounding plant in Changzhou, China, securing leverage in China’s automotive and relevant growth markets

LANXESS also operates a plant for its highperformance Durethan and Pocan plastics in Wuxi. The automotive industry is pivotal for the company’s high-performance plastics. Durethan PA and Pocan PBT allow the moulding of components to replace metal parts in vehicles, thereby contributing to the reduction of fuel consumption and emissions, as well as staving off weight of vehicles by as much 50%. China’s foray into electromobility provides the groundwork for LANXESS’s expansion in the performance plastic segment and for the latter to achieve its annual estimated growth target of 9% till 2021 in China.



South Korea’s Hyundai-Kia Motors utilises Durethan for the front-end module of more than half of its models, including its top-tier sedan brand, Genesis, since the material is lighter than metal by as much as 50%

Commercial applications of LANXESS’s resins in hybrid and electric vehicles include components for charging systems, carriers and cell holders for battery systems; sensors and housing parts for electric motors. Aligning quality with environmental sustainability With the negativity surrounding the chemical industry and as a result of increased awareness for environmental safety across the chemicals supply chain, stricter environment regulations are being enforced to ensure that sustainability is inducted in this segment’s manufacturing ethos. Tying in environment sustainability with its Quality Works campaign, LANXESS heeds the call with high quality standards for products, processes and technologies to protect the climate and the environment and to improve people’s quality of life. Applying sustainability in its technologies, LANXESS, together with project partner Hehlenbased tannery Heller-Leder GmbH, developed a tanning process that recycles leftover leather. The EUR5 million project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, as part of its “r+Impuls – Innovative Technologien für Ressourceneffizienz – Impulse für industrielle Ressourceneffizienz, was launched in 2016. For the study titled Resource-efficient Manufacturing of Leather Chemicals (ReeL), the company’s leather business unit also partnered with Leverkusen-based research institute INVITE to develop a modular pilot plant that can use either waste leather shavings or organic biomass to produce X-Biomer retanning agents for manufacturing leather. Luis López-Remón, Head of the Leather business unit, explained that the equipment is designed for use directly on-site at tanneries. With this technology,

Front Cover Feature Summing up quality works All of the above resonate with LANXESS’s current upward trajectory and with what Zachert had forecast in 2017 as the company’s profitable growth path – a demonstration that ‘Quality Works’.

LANXESS is developing a completely new type of technology for tanneries making it possible to completely recycle residues from leather manufacturing to produce X-Biomer retanning agents

as much as 2 tonnes/day of shavings from a mediumsized tannery can be recycled into a comparable volume of liquid X-Biomer directly on site. The process will not leave any residue and does not generate any emissions. LANXESS is working on adapting and optimising procedures in its Leverkusen laboratory to perfect the chemical recycling process. A pilot plant was set up last year to test the production concept under real conditions; while feasibility tests took place at the Heller-Leder tannery in mid-2017. Furthermore, LANXESS is making environment sustainability an integral part of its corporate responsibility. It says it has cut 13 million tonnes of gas emissions over the last decade, which is equivalent to the level of CO² emitted by 600,000 cars registered in Cologne and Bonn over the same period. Meanwhile, complying with the national reduction requirement set by the German Federal Government for 2030, LANXESS has set long term targets and by 2025, its target is to reduce specific CO² and VOC emissions by 25%, from 2015 levels, and reduce specific energy consumption by 25%, by installing innovative facilities and technologies. These are being employed not only in Germany but also at it other sites in China, the US and Brazil. Moreover, between 2007 and 2016, the chemicals company saw an overall reduction of 53% in specific climate gas emissions (CO²e). As expected, the firm’s commitment to sustainability has been recognised. In October last year, LANXESS was cited among the top Climate A List companies rated by the non-profit global climate protection initiative CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) for environment-safety and low-emissions economy initiatives; and in support with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. LANXESS was also included for the seventh consecutive time in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index World the year before.

LANXESS is guided by the ISO9001 and ISO14001 international standards for quality and environmental management and ISO50001 for energy management, covering 48 companies with 80 sites in 23 countries

To better communicate its commitment to quality, the company has launched a digital platform (https:// com/) which collates stories demonstrating how LANXESS has contributed to improving people’s lives through innovative chemistry. The stories showcase a wide range of applications for products and solutions, from wheels for inline skates to wastewater recycling. “Quality also means assuming responsibility for the environment and society, as well as creating value together,” summed up LANXESS. To better communicate its commitment to quality, LANXESS has launched a digital platform JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018


Country Focus

India leads an empowered South Asia India is spearheading the South Asian region’s metamorphosis into a robust economy, says Angelica Buan in this report.

South Asia’s goal to economic growh Having been overshadowed by the growths of China and the ASEAN previously, South Asia, which comprises India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar, is now a power bloc with the formation of the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC). Home to 1.8 billion people, South Asia had its taste of the Asian crisis pains in 2008-2009, and the SASEC, which had brought it gains in the precrisis years, helped in sustaining the sub-region through recovery. Since the inception of the SASEC in 2001, already 46 regional projects worth over US$9 billion in the energy, economic corridor development, transport, trade facilitation, and information and communications technology sectors have been implemented, according to Manila-Based Asian Development Bank (ADB), which serves as the SASEC’s secretariat. The seven-country South Asian bloc has laid out a roadmap for cross-border connectivity to facilitate and enhance intraregional and trade with other sub-regions; as well as create synergies hinged on the member-countries’ natural assets. The roadmap, the SASEC Operational Plan, which spans from 2016 (the year the plan was approved) to 2025, frames the direction the group is moving towards. Particularly, the Economic Corridor Development is underscored in the plan to promote synergies and linkages between economic corridors across the SASEC countries to help optimise development gains in the subregion, including industrial growth and competitiveness, the creation The SASEC aims to fortify the key sectors of energy, economic of high-quality jobs, increased corridor development, transport, trade facilitation, and information and communications technology of the seven country members led productivity, and strengthening by India existing value chains. In other words, the successful implementation of the roadmap could make South Asia an economic force to reckon with. India’s attraction a push for infrastructure development A founding member of the SASEC, India has always been considered an attractive investment destination. In 2015, Ernest & Young’s attractiveness survey resulted in India being voted by 32% of respondents from global corporations as a top investment destination in the world, outpacing China, Southeast Asia and Brazil.



Country Focus The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2017 World Investment Report cited India as a “favourite FDI (foreign direct investment) destination”, after the US and China, based on responses of polled global multinational enterprises (MNEs). It was also ranked sixth “most promising home economies for 2017–2019” by investment promotion agencies (IPAs). Nevertheless, the country’s infrastructure pales in comparison with other developing Asian economies; and this has impacted the movement of goods and raw materials, communication, as well as trade and manufacturing costs, to cite a few inconveniences. Citing a 2013 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) report, The Opportunities and Challenge of India’s Infrastructure, the country was noted to have underinvested in infrastructure over the previous decades, resulting in “deficits in critical areas such as railways, roads, ports, airports, telecommunication and electricity generation”. The pressure to improve the country’s infrastructure surmounts as population increases, urbanisation expands, and now with the SASEC in place, trade boom is inevitable. The SASEC has paved the way for India’s US$25 million road project involving the widening of a 65-km road between Manipur’s capital city, Imphal, and Moreh, a town situated on the India-Myanmar border. The road project is a key component in a greater regional infrastructure scheme, known as the 2002 initiated Asian Highway network. A regional transport cooperation, it aims to up efficiency and development of road infrastructure in Asia, to support the development of Euro-Asia transport linkages and enable connectivity for landlocked countries. Backed by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the Asian Highway network comprises


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Steel Belts | Belt Systems | Worldwide Service The Asian Highway network comprises over 141,000 km of roads traversing 32 member countries

Country Focus over 141,000 km of roads traversing 32 member countries; and extends from Tokyo, Japan, to Kapikule, Turkey; and from Torpynovka, Russia, to Denpasar, Indonesia. Meanwhile, India, in a bid to enhance regional and global competitiveness, has proposed a US$1 billion line of credit for ASEAN projects focusing on sea, air, and road, and digital connectivity. According to Nitin Gadkari, Chief of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, projects between India and the ASEAN are underway, including a construction of a 120-km Kalewa-Yargyi road segment along the India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) Trilateral Highway. An extension of the IMT Trilateral Highway towards Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam has also been proposed. Meanwhile, there are talks on the ASEAN-India Maritime Transport Cooperation Agreement between India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam to explore the feasibility of shipping networks. The ASEAN-India Civil Aviation Task Force has also been established to optimise air connectivity, according to Gadkari. India also developed some infrastructure and as covered in the SASEC’s billion-dollar infrastructure projects financed from loans and grants from 20012017. To cite a few of the more recent projects, are the US$715 million 13-km Bihar New Ganga Bridge Project started in 2016 and the US$425 multi-tranche Road Connectivity Investment Programme started in 2014, which involved upgrading of 300 km of road sub-projects, and approximately 130 km of state roads extending the connection with Myanmar.

Bihar New Ganga Bridge Project will improve transport connectivity between north and south Bihar, India

Pooling of strengths The ADB projects South Asia’s economy to grow to 7.2% this year on course of the SASEC. The shifting government policies, which are more encouraging now for consumer spending and private investments than in previous decades, are favourable for the countries here. The policies are also expected to hoist the GDP growth of India, the sub-region’s largest economy, by 7.6% this year.



Myanmar's roads can serve as links between South Asia and Southeast Asia

The rest of the sub-region is imbued with industry assets, as well as policy changeovers vital for growth. Bangladesh, leveraging the strength of its garments industry, is likely to witness growth at 6.9% this year, according to ADB’s 2017 Asian Development Outlook. Bhutan’s clean energy assets will back the forecast growth of 9.9% growth in the year, as the country builds hydropower plants and sells the power it generates to India and other neighbouring countries in the region. This year, too, Nepal, which is recovering its earthquake-ravaged economy, is forecast to post 5.4% growth, backed by reconstruction spending and a revitalised agriculture sector. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s major economic reforms, according to the ADB report, are expected to improve the security situation, which consequentially will lead to a projected growth of 5.5%. Sri Lanka is also poised for a 5% growth this year, based on its growing tourism industry. Myanmar, which became a full member of the SASEC only in February last year, is expected to boost the connectivity goals of the SASEC. According to ADB, road corridors in Myanmar provide the key links between South Asia and Southeast Asia, while ports in the country can provide alternate routes and gateways to the landlocked north eastern region of India. Moreover, personal, commercial as well as cargo vehicles may likely be allowed to cross international borders with “less formalities”. For India, the integration of Myanmar into the SASEC will boost its exports further. India is Myanmar's 5th largest import source worldwide, with imports totalling nearly US$518 million, according to the ADB. Windfall for the rubber industry The SASEC leverages the natural resources of its member-countries, such as rubber, minerals, oil and gas, enabling the sub-region’s industrial potentials. Among the industries that are expected to gain from the SASEC, is rubber, which is fitting since India alone, the world’s sixth largest rubber producer, already accounts for 5% of the total global output.

Country Focus Tyres are a top market segment, accounting for 70% consumption of India’s natural rubber (NR). More so, the branding, Indian Natural Rubber, is creating broader opportunities for India and opening up new markets demanding quality rubber. Nevertheless, local production of NR has not compensated the brisk demand from tyre makers. According to the Rubber Board, India’s NR production has fallen short of its 800,000-tonne target for the year, or up 16% from the previous year’s 690,000-tonne output. In this regard, the industry assured tyre makers and non-tyre consumers of a production resurgence in the coming years. This is not a far-fetched projection because while India, which has been edged out by Vietnam and China in NR production, the country still remains a top exporter of rubber. Last year, it shipped 20,030 tonnes of NR, a whooping increase from 865 tonnes exports a year ago.

Shot in the arm for manufacturing India’s manufacturing sector is an economic pillar of the country. It has grown by more than 7% a year over the last three decades while accounting for between 16%-20% of India’s GDP, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF) latest Readiness for the Future of Production Report. The 2018 report also ranked India in the 30th slot in the global manufacturing index, and 45th in economic complexity. Both results imply that there is still room for improvement across the drivers of production for India. Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector can also gain from the SASEC’s connectivity targets; as well, the programme will also push the country’s Make in India initiatives. The latter aims to transform India into a “global design and manufacturing hub”, and aside from implementation of relevant SASEC programmes, will be made easier with the recent government’s move of easing policies on foreign ownership in crucial sectors. The development of economic corridors is an enabling step to push the Make in India initiative. The SASEC, likewise, covers the development of economic corridors, such as the US$358 million Visakhapatnam–Chennai Industrial Corridor, which involves widening and upgrading a 29.6 km road section in Samarlakota–Rajanagaram; and upgrading of seven power substations. The programme cited that implementation of this industrial corridor will help boost the Indian manufacturing sector’s contribution to the state level GDP, trade, and employment. The SASEC is obviously South Asia’s secret sauce in positioning itself amongst economic giants. Its scope and objectives are extensive, yet the sub-region is determined to participate as an equal player in a highly competitive global economic field. Banking on their assets, and mending their deficiencies, South Asia is on track to becoming a self-made model economy.

Sri Lanka’s rubber industry is expected to benefit from the SASEC

On the side lines, agriculture-driven economies in South Asia are bound to benefit from the SASEC synergistic strategy. For example, Sri Lanka, the world’s eighth largest NR producing country has seen a decline in rubber production in the past years. While it has its own rubber industry master plan in place, a leg-up from the SASEC can help to improve productivity of NR plantations, and additionally, enable it to export rubber products, inter-regionally. At the same time, Sri Lanka can provide value for other SASEC members. For example, Bangladesh may also benefit from Sri Lanka’s cost advantage to supplying vulcanised rubber; and may realise cost savings by buying triple super phosphate fertiliser and rubber products from Sri Lanka.

The US$358 millionVisakhapatnam–Chennai Industrial Corridor involves widening and upgrading a 29.6 km road section in Samarlakota–Rajanagaram JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018



Composites at play in sports Better performing composites, with lightweight features, are gaining traction in sporting goods, says Angelica Buan in this report.


ports events worldwide share common scenes: crowd-packed bleachers, chants wafting the air, and frenzy cloaking the stadiums. Sporting events never fail to lure crowds because of their camaraderie effect, amidst their competitive nature. The billion-dollar sports industry remains a lucrative arena. In the US alone, the sports market is expected to inch close to US$74 billion by 2019. Major events like the Olympics and Paralympics have generated an estimated US$25 billion for the UK economy, a recent report from the Sheffield Hallam University claims. The right sports equipment is a prized investment. Composite materials that are lightweight yet durable and design-flexible are becoming top choice for sports goods manufacturers. The growth of the sports industry boosts the global market for composites in sports equipment. Technavio, in its report covering 2017-2021, projects a CAGR of almost 7% for composites in sports goods manufacturing, with carbon/glass fibre composites taking the lion’s share. By 2024, analyst Global Market Insights projects market growth of carbon fibre composites to reach more than US$31 billion, with much of this growth driven by the sports & leisure segment, along with other highly sought after enduse industries.

Right shoes matter The right kind of footwear is crucial for athletes in many competitive sports. American sports shoe maker Nike, in its Breaking2 sub two-hour marathon event held in 2017, demonstrated how a well-designed pair of shoes crafted with the right materials is able to covet the win. The company customised its Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite shoes, featuring its “4%” system, and for the Breaking2, the shoes were worn by medalled runners Lelisa Desisa, Zersenay Tadese, and Eliud Kipchoge, who were picked for the challenge. The system used features ultra-lightweight and soft Nike ZoomX foam that is capable of providing up to 85% energy return; and an embedded full-length curved carbon fibre plate that increases stiffness to provide a sensation of propulsion, according to Nike. During the development of the prototype shoes, a study was carried out by researchers at the University of Nike's Zoom VaporFly features ultra-lightweight Nike ZoomX foam Colorado to gauge how Nike’s shoes fare and full-length curved carbon fibre plate against other brands in terms of running economy. It was found that the Zoom Vaporfly lowered the energetic cost of running by 4% on average, owing to the combination of the lightweight foam and the stiff carbon fibre plate. In another development, breakthrough graphene-enhanced running and fitness shoes are being launched this year. British sportswear brand inov-8 has teamed up with the University of Manchester and its graphene experts to pioneer in developing a sport shoe model that incorporates graphene, an atomthick material that is 200 times stronger than steel. The material is also flexible, meaning, it can be bent, twisted, folded and stretched without incurring any damage. According to the University, laboratory tests showed the graphene rubber outsoles of these shoes to be “stronger, more stretchable and more resistant to wear”.



Composites Hans deBot, President/Founder of deBotech, explained that the 15-year technology partnership it has with Solvay and USA Bobsled and Skeleton is hinged on its expertise in carbon fibre composite properties. The long-time tie-up is lauded by Richard Laubenstein, Crew Chief at USA Bobsled and Skeleton, who commented that the custom designed high-quality carbon fibre composite equipment will, “in addition to our incredible athletes, put us in contention for medals in 2018”.

inov-8 partnered with the University of Manchester to pioneer in developing a sport shoe model that incorporates graphene

Michael Price, inov-8 Product and Marketing Director, said that utilising the groundbreaking properties of graphene for the lightweight G-Series shoes can benefit off-road runners and fitness athletes who require a sticky outsole grip, either on wet trails or in sweaty gyms, to optimise their performance. “For too long, they have had to compromise this need for grip with the knowledge that such rubber wears down quickly. The new rubber we have developed allows us to smash the limits of grip,” Price said. Graphene is produced from graphite, which was first mined in the Lake District of Northern England over 450 years ago. In 2003, inov-8 also forged in the same area. The brand now trades in 68 countries worldwide. Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, from University of Manchester, said that when the graphene is added to the rubber in inov-8’s G-Series shoes it imparts all its properties, including its strength. “Our unique formulation makes these outsoles 50% stronger, 50% more stretchy and 50% more resistant to wear than the corresponding industry standard rubber without graphene,” he said, adding that it is a revolutionary consumer product that will have a huge impact on the sports footwear market. Carbon fibre glides in winter sports Belgium-headquartered Solvay and US-based deBotech tied up to provide custom-designed carbon-fibre composite equipment to USA Bobsled and Skeleton, a national federation for bobsled and skeleton in the US. Solvay says its prepregs are developed to offer maximum strength while remaining lightweight, and offer the ability to create distinctive complex shapes, giving performance equipment high aerodynamic efficiency. Carmelo Lo Faro, President of Solvay’s Composite Materials Global Business Unit, stressed how the company has always supported sports and athletes aiming to break records and leverage the strengths of its composite materials technology to their advantage, whether it is on water, in the air, in the velodrome, on the track or on snow.

Solvay and deBotech are providing custom-designed carbonfibre composite equipment to USA Bobsled and Skeleton

Meanwhile, students at the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) have developed and tested composite snow sled prototypes, each made of carbon fibre, basalt, or glass fibre composites. IACMI members, who include Mafic, Ashland Performance Materials, Huntsman, Polynt, Chomarat, Magnum Venus Products (MVP), and the UTK offered the material and equipment for students to conduct the research project.

IACMI developed and tested composite snow sled prototypes, each made of carbon fibre, basalt, or glass fibre composites JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018


Composites A vacuum assisted resin transfer moulding (VARTM) process was employed in creating the composites sled. A combination lay-up is used to reinforce a variety of fibres such as carbon fibre, basalt fibre and glass fibre with resins such as vinyl ester or epoxy. The fibre reinforced sleds are found to have higher mechanical performance and durability than conventional plastic sleds. Moreover, the composites reduce the weight of the sled, hence improving its aerodynamic performance. Meanwhile Hexcel, a US composites technology company, offers its HexPly M78.1 fast-curing prepreg; HiMax engineered multiaxial reinforcements, and Polyspeed pultruded components for skis, snowboards and other high-performance sports equipment.

A key supplier to the winter sports market for more than 40 years, Hexcel’s latest addition to its HexPly prepreg range has been utilised by ski manufacturers to reduce production cycle times

According to the manufacturer, the HexPly M78.1 cures in just 7 minutes at 120°C, yet has a two-week storage out life at room temperature, which means significant energy and time savings. The HiMax multiaxial fabrics offer significant weight advantages for manufacturers of skis and other sporting equipment. One of Hexcel's recent projects involved making a bespoke range of carbon triaxial reinforcements for a custom free-ride ski brand. The material contributed to the product’s lightweight, soft flex and reactive ride while retaining strength and durability. Hexcel’s Polyspeed pultruded profiles are used in several sports and marine applications including walking and ski poles, sail battens, stiffeners for skiffs and racing boats, kites, arrows, and stabilising and extension devices for bows and crossbows. Ultra-light superbike to hit the tracks Italian Vins Motors unrolled its ultra-lightweight carbon fibre monocoque motorcycle recently. Weighing barely 90 kg, the two-stroke Vins Duecinquanta, and soon the 86 kg Duecinquanta Competizione, can skid the road or tracks at 150 mph.

Vins's ultraweight superbike features carbon fibre monocoque chassis



According to its makers, the superbike, which is completely handmade, features an innovative electronic fuel injected two-stroke engine and double wishbone suspension, as well as a carbon fibre monocoque chassis with its hollow cross section and the inside, shaped as an air duct; and the front linkage assembly. Carbon fibre is also fielded in the bike’s single front and rear forks, as the rims to guarantee the best lightness solution. The lightweight feature of the bicycle warrants its performance, according to Vins, which also assures that the company employed the “Made-in-Italy” know-how in bringing to life this ultralightweight bike concept. Sustainable composites at race Undertaking closed loop recycling within the marine industry, UK-headquartered ELG Carbon Fibre is collaborating with British commercial sporting team Land Rover BAR (Ben Ainslie Racing) on carbon fibre recycling. ELG will become a technical supplier to the team and will process all carbon fibre manufacturing waste and end-of-use parts to recover the carbon fibre, which will be converted at ELG’s mill, the West Midlandsbased firm said. The fibres are used to make thermoset and thermoplastic compounds and non-woven mats. Land Rover BAR will use a recycled carbon fibre yacht for the America's Cup 2021

In preparation for the 36th America’s Cup in 2021, Land Rover BAR engineers will be working with ELG's Carbiso range to develop applications for the recycled carbon fibre for UK’s entry in the race. As explained, the Carbiso products will be made entirely from reprocessed Land Rover BAR carbon components such as hull moulds and hulls and foils from boats used in past race campaigns. Land Rover BAR is likely to increase the application of recycled composite materials during its next campaign. The demand for composites in sports matches athletes’ need for lightweight equipment that will endure high impact activities. The stakes are high, thus, sporting goods manufacturers ensure these needs will be met. In no time, composites will become a staple material in manufacturing sports goods as the demand inflates even further.


CHINAPLAS 2018 to launch Young Tech Hall


n line with unprecedented rapid development of technology, CHINAPLAS, after 31 editions of advancement, is evolving, in response to the needs of the industries, from a business platform for materials and equipment purchasing to an international showcase of high technologies. Booth space is still overbooked though CHINAPLAS will move to a larger show venue - National Exhibition and Convention Centre (NECC), in Hongqiao, Shanghai. Applications from over 4,500 companies, of which more than 1,000 are new to CHINAPLAS, were received before the application deadline in November. Despite the organiser’s efforts to maximise space, total area applied exceeds 40% of the hall space. It is expected that exhibition area will reach 340,000 sq m, an expansion of 100,000 sq m compared to the last edition held in Shanghai two years ago.

To f a c ilit a t e vi si to rs’ n eed o f so u rcing new CHINAPLAS suppliers, a “Young Tech Hall” will be newly introduced at CHINAPLAS 2018. This is a comprehensive exhibition hall, which will gather together new exhibitors from diverse fields. As the Asia’s no. 1 and world’s no. 2 plastics and rubber trade fair, CHINAPLAS is not only renowned for promoting cutting-edge technologies, but also famous for achieving a massive show scale. The massive show scale, 340,000 sq m of exhibition area, is a doubleedged sword. It takes longer time for visitors to search for specific types of products in mind, especially from new exhibitors. The solution – a Young Tech Hall. “Young Tech Hall is introduced to help visitors locate exhibitors and products by further segmentation,” explained Ada Leung, General Manager of Adsale Exhibition Services Ltd. “It’s a winwin solution. New CHINAPLAS exhibitors can seize the opportunity to strategically market their brands and new products to Shanghai, while CHINAPLAS itself can draw in new blood, fresh energy, and more advanced technologies,” Leung further added. The Young Tech Hall, to house over 350 new exhibitors in 10,000 sq m, is a comprehensive exhibition hall, will be presenting additive, colour pigments and masterbatch, testing equipment, die and moulds, extrusion machinery, injection moulding machinery, smart manufacturing technology, plastic packaging

and film technology. Exhibitors that have reserved their space include Beijing Yingzhourunzhang Technology Co. Ltd., Hunan Chinasun Pharmaceutical Machinery Co. Ltd., Hubei Efeng Mould Co.Ltd., Kaustik China Co. Ltd. and more. 3D printing empowers high-end applications On top of the Young Tech Hall, the mega show has been divided into 18 different theme zones to facilitate successful sourcing of buyers. “3D Technology Zone” and “Thermoplastic Elastomers & Rubber Zone” are two new theme zones to be debut at CHINAPLAS 2018.

Customisation and small-batch production are gaining momentum nowadays. High-end manufacturing, like aerospace, automotive, medical and consumer products, is in urgent need for 3D printing (additive manufacturing) solutions to expedite development cycle and reduce R&D costs. CHINAPLAS will set up a “3D Technology Zone” to group together the vendors and providers of 3D printing (additive manufacturing) technologies. Exhibitors that have reserved their space include Autodesk, Ureal, Cang Ming, dMac, ZWSOFT, Hanbang3D and more. Supernova Thermoplastic Elastomers to debut in new theme zone With the advent of a low-carbon economy, light, energy-saving thermoplastic elastomers with a wide range of applications have a promising prospect. Thermoplastic Elastomers & Rubber Zone, a new theme zone to the Chemicals & Raw Materials Zone, will gather 70 suppliers to demonstrate their latest products and solutions. Exhibitors that have reserved their space include Huntsman, Momentive, SIBUR, Top Polymer, Dawn, Huafon, Baoding Bangtai, Shin-Etsu, Coating P. Materials, Chinasound, and others. CHINAPLAS 2018 will be held at NECC in Hongqiao, Shanghai, China, from April 24-27, 2018. For walk-in visitors, RMB50 and RMB80 will be charged for a oneday pass and a four-day pass respectively. Visitors who pre-registered before February 11, 2018, can enjoy admission discount at RMB50 for a four-day pass, as well as receive a visitor badge in advance to enjoy express entry on-site. To pre-register, please visit www.ChinaplasOnline. com/prereg. For more information about CHINAPLAS 2018, please visit JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018


Injection Moulding Asia 3D Printing

No more a niche technology 3D printing or additive manufacturing (AM) is

unit. This, it says, will help customers find exactly the right materials and production systems for their applications. Plus, beyond SLA and DLP, DSM says it will offer a growing portfolio of materials for Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), including Novamid polyamide and Arnitel thermoplastic elastomer. It is also looking at developing new solutions for SLS, Multi Jet Fusion, Ink Jet and Binder Jet processes. DSM says it will initially focus on four market segments: healthcare, transportation, apparel, tooling and electronics. Meanwhile, speciality chemicals firm Clariant has set up a dedicated 3D printing business, leveraging what it says are years of experience in tailoring polymers for a broad range of end market applications with pigments, additives and masterbatches, to provide 3D printer filaments and specially made solutions.

considered a transformative technology and part of the new world of advanced manufacturing.

Based on an entirely new approach to industrial

design, it can help businesses by improving their products, manufacturing operations and opening up entirely new business models.


ccording to the 2017 Wohlers report, 3D printing is growing at a rapid pace globally, with over 28% average annual growth for each of the last seven years, and generating a total of US$6 billion sales last year. The sector has moved from a niche technology to an industry where unique products can be produced. For example, today over 90% of the plastic shells for in-the-ear hearing aids are manufactured using 3D printing (Wohlers Report 2017). 3D-printed products are often complex end-use parts such as air ducts, drones, lights, and parts for manufacturing equipment. These products can be enhanced with tailored high quality and ready-to-print materials that also withstand the wear and tear of prolonged usage. Materials companies expand into 3D market After two decades of establishing its Somos resins for stereolithography (SLA) and Digital Light Processing (DLP), Dutch materials firm DSM is now forming an integrated business, DSM Additive Manufacturing, and aligning all its related activities within the new

Clariant has set up a new business to focus on customised 3D printer filaments

The Swiss firm says it will work closely with customers on polymer, additive and colourant selections to address typical end-use conditions such as weathering (sunlight, UV exposure), flame retardancy and electrical properties. The 3D printing materials are manufactured by Clariant and are available in flexible lot sizes.

DSM has supplied its Somos material for TMG’s GT86 consumer racing series car that has end-use printed parts made of Somos, which includes a water reservoir and brake cooling inlet

More offerings from materials makers To cater to large format additive manufacturing, materials company Sabic has introduced eight new Thermocomp compounds, based on four of its amorphous resins, for use in large-format pellet-fed extruders. Based on ABS, PPE, PC and PEI resins, the compounds are also reinforced with carbon or glass fibres for added strength and for applications in the tooling, aerospace, automotive and defence industries. 1

JA N U A RY / F E B R U A RY 2 018

Injection Moulding Asia 3D Printing applications. The filament features toughness, as well as improved ductility at room temperature and at temperatures down to -30°C; and a heat deflection temperature of 140°C, which is higher than that of general-purpose ABS filaments. This makes it an alternative candidate for use in applications that operate at elevated temperatures. This year, the company says it plans to launch several more differentiated products, including filaments based on Ultem polyetherimide (PEI) and Extem thermoplastic polyimide (TPI) resins. The new filaments are designed for applications that require higher temperature performance. Elsewhere, Swedish firm Perstorp and 3D4Makers have developed a new generation 3D filament with improved strength, throughput, and mechanical qualities for a wide range of medical and manufacturing products. As the world’s first fifthgeneration 3D filament, Facilan enables applications previously unobtainable with other 3D printing materials, according to Perstorp.

Two materials from Sabic’s new Thermocomp AM portfolio were selected for a yacht hull from Livrea Yachts – a carbon fibre-reinforced PPE compound for the hull’s outer layer, and carbon fibre-reinforced PEI for the inner lattice support structure

Sabic says it is also evaluating new large format processes and compounds containing semi-crystalline resins such as PBT, PA, PPS and PEEK. At the Formnext show in Frankfurt, Germany, last year, Sabic showcased a section of a yacht hull from Livrea Yacht that was printed on the company’s BAAM machine in its Additive Manufacturing centre in Pittsfield, US. The hull is a result of a collaborative design effort between Sabic, Livrea Yacht and 3D design and engineering software provider Autodesk. Sabic applies the latter’s Fusion 360 design software on the BAAM equipment. The 3D printed hull is said to be lighter and stronger, and can be manufactured at a fraction of the cost and in half the time, giving Livrea Yacht a competitive breakthrough that would not be possible with traditional fabrication. Meanwhile, Sabic also launched a new Lexan EXL AMHI240F filament based on its PC copolymer technology. The company says it is designed for use on Stratasys’s Fortus Classic industrial printers, for aerospace, consumer electronics and automotive

Perstorp and 3D4makers have partnered to launch Facilan nextgeneration 3D printing filament, with the first soft touch grade

The companies say the new Facilan is to fill the gap of existing filaments that are not suitable for manufacturing, with users having reported many issues with the printability and mechanical qualities of printed parts. Problems include layer adhesion, warping, surface quality and misprints. Facilan is also said to be the world’s first soft touch 3D printing material, exhibiting better layer adhesion and boasting the “best” surface quality in 3D printing materials. The portfolio consists of Facilan C8, Facilan HT and Facilan Ortho. Stronger than ABS yet easier to process than PLA, Facilan C8’s surface quality and low warping give it the “best look and feel of any 3D printing material”, claim the companies.

Sabic’s new Lexan EXL AMHI240F filament is initially offered in black, with plans to launch additional colours, including white, in the near future

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Injection Moulding Asia 3D Printing Machine makers improve process German machinery maker Arburg, which was one of the first to launch a machine for additive manufacturing/3D printing, had its Freeformer on display at the Formnext trade fair last year in Frankfurt. A new feature at the stand was the additive processing of standard PP from Brazilian materials supplier Braskem’s CP 393 grade and the specially developed support material Armat 12 to produce functional cable clips. The delicate yet durable structures featured the click effect typical of injection moulded parts, says Arburg.

Based on the CAD data of the plastic part, the print data of the mould inserts can be processed accordingly and 3D-printers create the mould. Depending on the size of the components, this can be done within minutes, while longer processing times are required for larger designs. Nevertheless, these mould inserts are designed much faster and more cost-effectively than their “steel competitors”. Low mould costs, thanks to 3D-printed mould inserts as well as the fast implementation of modifications, are decisive advantages for users. However, Dr Boy says high temperatures of the materials and large injection pressures can affect the mould inserts more significantly, especially in the case of small batches and average quantities. A solution is offered in the form of 3D-printed metal mould inserts. Higher stability and the possibility of a partly required mould temperature control/cooling are provided with these metal mould inserts and thus they represent the next upgrade level of the additive production. As well, the layer-by-layer printing of the plastic or metal-mould inserts is clearly different in terms of preparation and planning. In the case of the metal mould inserts, a large number of additional elements have to be taken into consideration in advance. For complex and highly 3D-dimensional parts, temperature control channels and their connections must be provided during the planning stage of the mould inserts. In the case of the metal-printed moulds, the parting line has to be processed, since the structure of the surface of the moulding part comes from the printing process. For the achievement of a defined and desired surface, this additional processing step is necessary, adds Dr Boy. Dr Boy also says that during the design phase of the moulds or of the metal mould inserts, a decision should be made as to whether a metal mould insert or a conventional aluminium or steel mould be used. “The engineer should be familiar with the capabilities of 3D-technology to find a good and affordable mould in light of the additional possibilities,” it adds. The company is confident that the use of 3D-printed mould inserts will grow in the future, due to the lower cost, compared to conventional steel moulds.

At the Formnext show last year, visitors to the Arburg stand were able to try out different functional components for themselves, including parts made from standard PP, for the first time, at four interactive stations

The Lossburg-headquartered injection moulding machine company says it has thus expanded its material range for industrial additive manufacturing with a semi-crystalline material. The range also includes amorphous standard granulates such as ABS, PA and PC, as well as elastic TPE, the hightemperature plastic PEI, medical grade PLA and PC approved for the aviation industry. Arburg adds that its Freeformer and Arburg Plastic Freeforming appealed to many new customers and interested parties visiting the show. German machinery maker Dr. Boy GmbH says that over the past two years, 3D-printed plastic mould inserts have revolutionised mould manufacturing in the industry. These more flexible and cost-efficient solutions accord an alternative to complex construction of expensive steel moulds, especially for prototyping and individualising of components. Since the physical properties of a component differ significantly if produced on a 3D-printer and injection moulding, a solution is 3D-printed mould inserts where the plastic parts can be manufactured costeffectively in a cassette mould.

Dr Boy vouches for the growth of 3D-printed metal mould inserts

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Injection Moulding Asia Japanese Machinery & Technology

Japanese machinery makers introduce improvements Last year’s IPF Japan show saw a marginal

Meanwhile, to cater to the growth of insert moulding, Nissei was promoting its vertical tiebarless TNX100RIII8V, which was displayed with a six-axis, multi-jointed Kawasaki robot, 3D imaging and flexible insert system, without a transfer device. Another smaller vertical machine, with a clamping force of 19 tonnes, affords space saving features.

increase in visitors of 43,600 compared

to 42,900 from 2014, due to the country’s

improved economy. It would have seen higher visitor numbers over the weekend, if not for the impending approach of a typhoon, said an official from the organiser IPF Japan

Association. Major Japanese machinery makers

had new cells/machinery targeted at automotive parts manufacture from carbon fibre-reinforced

CFRP cell manufacturing JSW was showcasing a Nissei was showcasing an process to produce rigid insert moulding exhibit parts for the automotive sector by incorporating continuous unidirectional tape made of carbon fibre, supplied by Toray Industries, on a standard machine model.

plastics (CFRPs).

On its 100-tonne machine, JSW exhibited a newly designed blending system and screw/barrel for optimised processing of CFRP The number of visitors to IPF increased, over the 2014 show

The part was moulded on a J280ADS890HCFRTP/UD-tape injection moulding cell in a single-cavity mould with a cycle time of 48 seconds. JSW claims that the carbon fibre tape, which is added to the mould prior to moulding, can increase the rigidity of a part ten-fold. The tape, with a thickness of 0.5 mm, comprises up to 60% carbon fibre, with the remaining 40% made up of the same resin used for the part. Toray says this patented tape impregnation process, allows for a permanent bond in the part. Toray and JSW also jointly designed a new tape reel machine for unwinding the tape, which is incorporated with the manufacturing operation, but is controlled independently. Another Japanese machine maker Toyo Machinery was also demonstrating the production of a CFRP part on its latest all-electric, vertical rotary

Catering to large moulds on small machines Celebrating its 70th anniversary last year, Nissei Plastic Industrial displayed six machines. Its 220tonne NEX220IV all-electric machine, now available in the market, is a newcomer, designed to accommodate larger, more complex moulds, and a faster cycle time of 4.5 seconds. Another machine, also with the capability to accommodate larger moulds, is the prototype FNX220IV-50A, a 220-tonne hybrid machine able to cater to moulds that would normally be mounted on a 350-tonne machine. It was also displayed with the company’s N-SAPLI low pressure moulding system, which optimises the clamping force, boasting longer tool life and lower peak pressure, said Nissei. 4 JA N U A RY / F E B R U A RY 2 018

Injection Moulding Asia Japanese Machinery & Technology Toshiba Machine introduced its latest generation all-electric EC-SXII machine, to replace its current series, and displayed five models that demonstrated a range of capabilities from smart factory applications, twomaterial moulding and gas injection moulding. The machines also feature the new Injectvisor V70 control. Boasting increased Toshiba introduced the improved memory, updated Injectvisor V70 controller graphics and enhanced customisable settings and configurable machine sequences, it replaces the V50 control. To showcase lightweight moulding for the automotive sector, Toshiba displayed an EC180SXII model moulding a 330-g carbon fibre-reinforced PA66 component in a cycle time of 60 seconds, as opposed to a 660-g part made from aluminium. The company said that it is co-developing the process with customers. On another model, EC650SXII-26BP, it demonstrated gas injection moulding. The twostage machine features a continuous extruder and a plunger-type injection unit, with a special nitrogengas moulding device designed by Toshiba. A special software programme, also new from Toshiba, allows for synchronised nitrogen introduction and physical foaming of the part with the toggle clamp movement. The machine/technology is currently under development and the company exhibited the production of an automotive inner panel at the show. Meanwhile, a 100 tonne-model was moulding two materials (PC/ABS) on a standard machine, with a rotary table and secondary unit. Sumitomo Demag also introduced a high-speed all-electric injection moulding machine for thinwall packaging, caps/closure moulding. The 350-tonne SE350HSZ-Pack was shown moulding 26 g-PP cups in an eight-cavity mould and 4.5 second-cycle time, 0.4 seconds faster than before. Raising the bar for machine control, the SE-HSZ Pack series is equipped with Sumitomo’s Z Control, an easy-to-use PC-based control that is said to boast higher level of precision with low-pressure filling and reduced clamp force. The Z control features the patent pending Flow Front Control (FFC) system that optimises the flow front allowing control of internal pressure inside the cavity; Minimum Clamping Moulding (MCM)

ET-80II machine in a process it termed as “sheet insert moulding�. Features were: the cutting of the carbon fibre sheet is integrated into the moulding machine; foam moulding is undertaken with gas fed at the nozzle to allow for a lightweight part (5.4 g) of PP, in a cycle time of 30 seconds.

Toyo demonstrated the production of a CFRP part on its latest all-electric, vertical rotary

Utilising feed/auxiliary equipment for improvements Meanwhile, on the J100ADS-180U electric machine, JSW exhibited the moulding of a part from a 30% carbon fibre-PA6 material. Here, blending and feeding equipment is used to add the reinforcements at the feed throat. JSW designed the electric-weight blending system, as well as a new screw/barrel for optimised processing of the material. An advantage of this method is that the material can be mixed and injected in small lots for several types of products for the automotive sector, said JSW. Japanese/German machine maker Sumitomo Demag displayed its SL plastification system, which it launched at the K2013 show and which works without the usual compression zone and therefore, offers advantages in comparison with conventional plastification systems. The controlled operation results in the production of a homogeneous melt without variations in viscosity. As a result, process variations and thus variations in the product quality are reduced. It is currently available in serial production as an option for the fully-electric machines of the series SE-EV. It exhibited the system on an SE50EV model, which also had a camera from Japan-based CAM to monitor the colour changing process and detect rejects. According to Sumitomo Demag, colour changeovers are possible in 8 minutes. New all-electrics launched As a pioneer in the two-colour/material machine area, Nissei displayed the DCE140111-9E 140-tonne all-electric machine, shown moulding an automotive component prism in PMMA that was overmoulded with ABS resin. Nissei says that its machines are targeted at the automotive market for the production of headlamps and instrument panels. 5 JA N U A RY / F E B R U A RY 2 018

Injection Moulding Asia Machinery system, which helps avoid flash, burn spots and short shots and Simple Process Setting (SPS) system, for easier set up and operations. Meanwhile, tooling/EDM and machinery specialist Sodick, which has hybrid machines in its stable, debuted its first toggle-clamp allelectric MS series, available in 50, 100 and 200-tonne models. On show was the MS200 machine, moulding PP cups in a conformalcooled mould in a 4-second cycle time. Allaying high costs with tie-up While the Japanese machine makers are at the top of the industry with all-electric machinery technology, high production costs are beginning to influence the pricing and sales. Thus, Niigata Machine has formed a 50:50 joint venture with Haitian International Holdings, China’s largest manufacturer of injection moulding machinery. The joint venture will be based in Japan, in line with Niigata’s history of making all its electric machines in Japan. To showcase an example of how the joint venture will have its merits, at IPF, Niigata exhibited the new, lower priced CNS allelectric machine series, built using components, such as the clamp and frame, supplied by Haitian. “Haitian has knowledge of mass production and has access to cheaper supplies of components,” said Chris Unseth, Regional Sales Manager, adding that the CNS series will not be targeted at the Japanese market but Asian and US markets. “We are a conservative company but we have to keep up with the changing times and competitive market,” said Unseth, adding that the CNS series will cost 20% lower than Niigata’s MD series. But the new machine series will still be built at Niigata’s facility in Japan to ensure quality is maintained. It comprises six models with clamping forces ranging from 50-220 tonnes. In return for access to cheaper materials, Unseth said that Niigata will provide Haitian technology insights on know-how and quality control for Haitian’s all-electric machines. The two companies will have their own separate brands. At IPF, two models were on display: CNS50 shown moulding a 25-mm optical lens from a 7.8-g shot of PMMA in a 60-second cycle; and a 110-tonne model moulding a complex part for a printer from ABS in a two-cavity mould. The hollow part was produced using gas injection.

Niigata’s latest CNS series, made in a joint venture with Haitian, is lower priced than its MD series

Injection Moulding Asia Automotive

A “cleaner” drive with plastics Innovative plastics are being developed for the

Adapting to these rules, the automotive industry continues to seek ways to comply with fuel economy targets; and producing lightweight vehicles and components is one of those ways. It is estimated that every 10% reduction in the weight of a vehicle results in as much as 7% fuel savings. For this reason, use of plastics to replace metals and other heavier materials is the direction the industry is taking. An IHS Chemical report estimates that plastics will represent 25% of the average car by 2025. Apart from light weight advantage, plastics also provide the extra edge of design flexibility, functionality, and lower cost of manufacturing, to cite a few benefits.

automotive sector, in pursuit of fuel economy cars, details Angelica Buan in this report.

Vehicle sales up; keeping carbon emissions in check There is quite no stopping the rise in vehicle sales. This year, IHS Markit forecasts that global sales of light vehicles could be worth US$96 million, coaxed by the growing urbanisation and incremental disposable income, and lamentably, increasing buildup of carbon emission in the environment. A 2015 IEA (International Energy Agency) report cited that road vehicles contributed the most to the 25% global transportation accountability to combustion emissions.

Comfort takes the front seat Light weighting provides leeway to car makers to enhance functionalities of vehicles produced. It also helps them meet the emerging demand for comfort and luxury, which according to a report by P&S Market Research are driving the growth of the global automotive seat market. Adient, an Ireland-based automotive seating specialist, says, over the past few years, it has reduced the weight of its vehicle seats by 20-30%. It is working on reducing the seat structures by almost 10 kg by 2020, with the use of glass or carbon fibrereinforced plastics, magnesium, high-strength steel or aluminium in the seat. “Car seats will increasingly become multifunction supports with a wide range of electronic adjustments and technical equipment,” said Dr Detlef Juerss, Vice-President Engineering and CTO at Adient.

The automotive industry continues to seek ways to comply with fuel economy targets by producing lightweight vehicles and components

Keeping carbon emissions in check is a serious global undertaking. Since the 1990s, the European Union (EU) has enforced its emissions standards in phases, with reduction targets. By 2021, EU cars and vans are prohibited to go beyond the 95 g/km of CO² emission cap (or 40% from 2007 average of 158.7 g/ km); and in the years thereafter to 2030, are expected to cut their carbon emissions by 30%. The EU standards have become the tailpipe benchmark for many countries including those in Asia. The US, where carbon emissions from vehicles have been found to overtake the amounts generated by power plants, mills and refineries; has targeted a limit of 163 g/mile of CO² by 2025. China, which is the world’s largest vehicle market, is also trimming its vehicle emissions. It’s China VI emissions standards, which are based on the US and EU tailpipe regulations, require light vehicles to comply by 2020.

Adient’s Recaro Automotive Seating has unveiled a lighter seat for the Sportster GT luxury automobile

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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive This multi-material approach is featured in its Recaro Automotive Seating for motorsports, which it says is slim, “reduced to the max” version in a lightweight design. A second design features a carbon fibre-braided backrest structure, aimed at the top luxury segment. Adient added that the ultra-slim design of Recaro yields more space for vehicle interiors, provided by the bodyshaped composite seat structure and thin IntelliTech foam, which is a light, rigid and flexible foam Adient’s limited-edition SL shell seat, the that integrates lightest at 7 kg is targeted at future OEM attachments for programmes the complete seat application including spacers, optional ventilation, and others. It, thus, reduces weight up to 40% and is 50% thinner at 8 mm, compared to standard polyurethane foam. Meanwhile, the new limited-edition aftermarket shell seat Recaro Pole Position SL (street-legal) is a slim, one-piece shell seat made of glass fibre-reinforced plastic (GRP) that provides lateral and shoulder support at comfort levels. Its 7 kg weight makes it the world’s lightest street legal shell seat.

the supply of energy; it will generate beneficial economic ripple effects by creating new demand and new jobs; and, it can help in coping with natural disasters. Fuel cell cars generate electricity to power their motors using hydrogen from their tanks, and when disasters cause power outages, these vehicles can serve as large-scale movable generators. For the meantime, the high cost of required initial investment is a road block the bureau is tackling, with TMG working on setting up a US$348 million fund for hydrogen refuelling stations and other infrastructure.

A hydrogen fuelling station already built in Tokyo’s Shiba Park. The metropolitan government plans to have 35 such stations in operation by 2020 and by 2025 it aims to have 80 hydrogen stations in operation and 100,000 fuel cell cars on the roads

To set up a standard hydrogen fuelling station, it will cost an estimated US$4.3 million, which is five times the cost of an ordinary gas station, TMG said. Currently there are eight hydrogen fuelling stations already installed; with more coming up by 2020 to total to 35; and by 2025, with 80 hydrogen stations expected to cater to 100,000 fuel cell cars on the roads. About 6,000 fuel cell cars and more than 100 fuel cell buses are expected to operate ahead of the Olympics. Chiming in the clean energy goal, Japanese materials maker Toyoda Gosei has developed large plastic roof panels that will be used on a fuel cell bus to be launched by Toyota Motor Corporation this year. More than 100 buses will be fielded in time for the Olympics season in Tokyo. Toyoda Gosei says its plastic materials can be made thinner while also improving impact and heat resistance, making them suitable for use on vehicle exteriors yet with reduced weight.

Complementing renewable energy solutions with fuel cell cars Japan lives up to its name as a technological pioneer as it moves towards its “Hydrogen Society” target by 2020. The preparation is in sync with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, where novel technologies hinged on a cleaner, renewable energy mix are also expected to be showcased. Shifting to hydrogen as a major source of power is meant to achieve four major objectives, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG). Hydrogen use may ease the environment of carbon emissions. Considered a clean energy, hydrogen emits only water when burned; there is going to be diversification of energy sources as hydrogen can be produced with renewable energy sources, and its use will also promote stability in 8 JA N U A RY / F E B R U A RY 2 018

Injection Moulding Asia Automotive energy to propel the vehicle. The system discharges nothing other than water and heat. The French firm has recently acquired Fribourgbased Swiss Hydrogen, which specialised in the design and production of solutions for the management and control of energy in fuel cell systems dedicated to mobility; and Optimum CPV, a Belgian company based in Zonhoven, which specialises in the design and production of tanks in filament composite for the storage of pressurised hydrogen. Double-edged boon with bioplastics Plastic is no doubt a harbinger for fuel economy; and the use of biobased plastics double the benefits. Japanese car maker Mazda is harnessing these twin advantages in utilising the biobased engineering plastic Durabio, it developed with Mitsubishi Chemical, in the front grill of the Mazda CX-5.

Toyoda Gosei has developed a large plastic roof panel for a fuel cell bus

In addition to the new material, the company also relied on its technology for high precision moulding that gives a consistent thickness to large parts. These roof panels will be installed above the fuel cell stacks and high pressure hydrogen tanks, with a structure that allows them to be opened and closed for inspections and other purposes. The world’s quest for clean energy may soon catch up with Japan’s hydrogen initiative. France-based emission fuel and exhaust treatment systems specialist Plastic Omnium has its latest PHEV and hydrogen solutions; including a high-pressure hydrogen storage system. The hydrogen is stored in tanks, made of composite materials and plastics. Featuring a thermoplastic sealing liner of around 5-mm and a thick carbon fibre layer, it takes up the mechanical stresses created by internal pressure in the tank. Plastic Omnium also offers a fuel cell system to power electric vehicle motors. The cell converts oxygen and tank-stored hydrogen into electrical

In collaboration with Mazda, Mitsubishi Chemical has developed a new grade of Durabio biobased engineering plastic that is now being used for the front grill of the Mazda CX-5

Durabio is a polycarbonate resin derived mainly from plant-based isosorbide, which in turn is derived from sorbitol, a widely available natural feedstock. Previously, French automotive maker Renault adopted Durabio in the outer mask of the speedometer-tachometer combo used by the new generation Clio, launched last year. Durabio’s properties are engineering-like, with its transparent nature allowing it to be highly colourable, with pigment dispersion in coloured compounds of a level that obviates the need for painting. Further, impact strength and weatherability are said to be superior compared with 100% petroleum-derived engineering plastics, while high surface hardness imparts good scratch resistance. The new grade will also be used for future models from Mazda; while Mitsubishi Chemical says it intends to direct further development efforts at application of Durabio in large automotive parts. Thus, higher fuel economy and emissions standards will drive forward the automotive market in the future.

Plastic Omnium is working on alternative energy solutions such as hydrogen storage, fuel cells and supercapacitors

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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • Chinese tyre company Shandong Linglong Tire is to set up and invest US$450 million into Linglong Dandelion Science and Technology Development to research and produce dandelion rubber. • Malaysian company Top Glove Corp is to acquire the surgical glove producing company Aspion Sdn Bhd, a unit of Adventa Capital, for US$345 million. • Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has completed the acquisition of automated tyre inspection technology firm Ventech Systems to support its fleet services in Europe. • French tyre maker Michelin will sell 40% of its shares in the Chinese joint venture Double Coin (Anhui) Warrior Tire Co: 30% to Shanghai Huayi Group Corp. and 10% to Double Coin Tire Group Co. • Halcyon Agri Corporation is to acquire the Singaporebased Polymer Division of commodities trader RCMA Group for US$34 million, to create one of the world’s largest distribution hubs for latex and speciality tyre rubber. Halycon is also buying four Indonesian crumb rubber factories in West Kalimantan for US$105 million. The factories produce numerous grades of Standard Indonesian Rubber, with an export capacity of 132,000 tonnes. • Lotte Versalis Elastomers, a 50:50 joint venture between Italy’s Versalis (Eni) and South Korean petrochemical firm Lotte Chemical have opened a facility in Yeosu, South Korea, with a nameplate capacity of 200 kilotonne/year of elastomers (EPDM, SSBR and BR).

• Orion Engineered Carbons has started up a new carbon black production line at its plant in Yeosu, South Korea. • PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical and French tyre maker Michelin’s US$570 million joint venture in Indonesia, with a capacity of 120,000 tonnes/year of SSBR, is expected to operate in the first quarter of this year. • Semperit Group invested EUR20 million in the expansion of its facility in Czech Republic for hydraulic hose production. • Continental has broken ground on its new greenfield tyre plant in Rayong, Thailand, with an investment of EUR250 million for the production of 4 million/year passenger and light truck tyres by 2022. In Germany, Continental is also setting up a distribution centre near to the HanoverLangenhagen airport at the end of 2018, with an investment of EUR10 million in equipment and machinery. Continental has also broken ground on a EUR35 million R&D Taraxagum Lab in Anklam, Germany, to research natural rubber from dandelion roots. The Ministry of Economic will provide a state subsidy of EUR11 million. • Guizhou Tyre Co will invest US$400 million to build a factory in Longjiang Industrial Park in Qianjiang, Vietnam. The first phase to start up by 2019 will produce 1.2 million all-steel radial trucks, with an annual sales income of US$116 million. In the second and third phases, engineering car tyres, heavy truck tyres, large agricultural tyres and truck tyres will be produced. • In China, Munich-based chemical company Wacker Chemie is expanding its solid silicone rubber manufacturing facility in Zhangjiagang, as well as its

production capacity for vinyl acetate-ethylene (VAE) copolymer dispersions at its plant in Nanjing. • Weihai, a China-based maker of tyres, is to build a US$580 million plant in North Carolina, US, to produce 6 million tyres/year. • Quang Tri Rubber Company under the Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) has inked a land leasing contract with the Laos government for a rubber plantation and a rubber processing plant in the southern province of Salavan. The project is expected to help develop the economy in Salavan and generate jobs for local people and eliminate poverty. • AkzoNobel’s speciality chemicals business is investing EUR4 million to increase production capacity in Sweden for its Levasil CC surface-modified colloidal silica. • Swedish firm Nynas has launched an in-house rubber compounding and testing laboratory to gain additional hands-on application and formulation knowledge to better evaluate the performance of oils in rubber. • Henniges Automotive, a global supplier of highly engineered sealing and anti-vibration systems for the automotive market, has opened a 7,391 sq m facility in Suzhou, China, in the Taicang Port Economic and Technological Development Zone. • Chinese tyre company Doublestar has broken ground on a waste rubber “Industry 4.0″ recycling smart facility in Henan Province. The project costs 600 million yuan, covers 300 acres of land, and will have a capacity for 200,000 tonnes/year of waste rubber. The first phase will start up end 2018.

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Rubber Journal Asia Synthetic Rubber

Rubbers go the extra mile for green tyres Advancements in synthetic rubbers contribute

building and construction and automotive, to name a few, the tyre sector is the largest end-user segment of the synthetic rubber market.

to the tyres’ potential to enhance fuel

economy of vehicles, says Angelica Buan.

Lower rolling resistance, less carbon footprint The tyre industry is rebutting rising energy costs, rigorous government regulations, especially in Europe where tyre labelling has already been enforced; and growing environmental awareness among consumers with fuel efficient tyres. Of particular interest in this segment are the green tyres. Green tyres feature lower rolling resistance, or the energy spent by a tyre per unit of distance covered, and thus are more fuel efficient. Low rolling resistant-tyres play a vital role in promoting fuel economy of vehicles. A 10% reduction in tyre rolling resistance will translate to 1-2% improvement in vehicle fuel economy. German speciality chemicals company Lanxess’s subsidiary Arlanxeo, a producer of synthetic rubbers for green tyres, claims in an 18 month-test it conducted in 2015 with German energy provider, Rhein Energy, that low rolling resistant-green tyres enable fuel savings of up to 7% in urban traffic. The synthetic rubber producer also attributed the growing demand for this segment to the megatrend mobility. The company is a key supplier of Nd-PBR (neodymium polybutadiene) and SSBR (solution styrene-butadiene rubber) to global tyre manufacturers serving countries and regions where vehicle demand is high. Both products are essential to the production of green tyres that are more fuel efficient, safer and durable, than standard tyres, according to Lanxess, which also owns the world’s largest plant for Nd-PBR sited in Singapore.


yre sales continue to multiply year after year alongside robust vehicles sales. A report from Expert Market Research predicted that the global tyre market is set to cross a volume of nearly 4 billion units by 2022. The numbers favour synthetic rubber, which makes up 60% of a modern tyre. Hence, over that period, the synthetic market rubber will be worth more than US$37 billion growing at a CAGR of 5.5% from 2017-2022, referencing to a Markets and Markets report. Add on another year and the global synthetic rubber market would have achieved close to US$36 billion, Transparency Market Research highlighted in its 2015-2023 report. Synthetic rubber gives passenger car and motorcycle tyres good grip performance; makes tyres last longer; and provides rolling resistance. For the latter, the lower rolling resistance, the better the fuel economy of the vehicle.

Megatrend mobility spurs demand for fuel efficient tyres, according to Lanxess

More vehicle acquisitions mean larger consumption for synthetic rubber, which makes up 60% of a modern tyre

Synthetic rubber may have been, to say the least, a saving grace for many rubber-dependent industries, especially during the time of fluctuating natural rubber (NR) prices. Factors that affect price volatility of NR range from inconsistent supply of raw material or supply glut to high demand. On the other hand, synthetic rubber’s supply is more stable and thus enables cost benefit and increased profit margins for industrial consumers of rubber. Of the industries consuming synthetic rubber, including footwear, sports and leisure goods,

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Rubber Journal Asia Synthetic Rubber Development strides for SBR SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber), formed by a 1:3 ratio copolymerisation of styrene and butadiene, respectively, offers the value-added features of reduced rolling resistance and better grip, thus, it has a wide following among tyre manufacturers seeking to produce tyres that has lower carbon footprint and increased fuel efficiency. SBR is one of oldest synthetic rubbers, developed in the 1930s; and it has evolved since then using advanced processes. Today, SBR is the largest product segment of the synthetic rubber market, accounting for more than 30% share in 2014. SBR, which delivers better processability, heat ageing, and abrasion resistance, is primarily used in the manufacture of car tyres. Other applications of SBR include conveyor belts, gaskets, hoses, floor tiles, footwear, and adhesives. The emulsion-SBR and solution-SBR formulations are widely used for green tyres; and to meet the tyre labelling standards. The global SBR market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.36% from 2014-2019, according to Sandler Research in its report on the global SBR market. Meanwhile butadiene rubbers, synthetic and biobased, are predicted to top US$24 billion by 2024, owing to the expanding tyre industry size, according to Global Market Insights. Biobased butadiene is likely to reach a 13% CAGR from 2017-2024. Versalis (Eni), an Italy-based company, has a technology for green tyres that it had developed with Ecombine and EVE Rubber Institute, and is based on proprietary SSBR and Nd-HCBR technologies. The technology platform enables the development of new materials with enhanced mechanical performances and environment-friendly features, according to Versalis.

In 2013, it can be recalled that Versalis formed partnership with tyre maker Pirelli in developing guayule rubber, and can be considered to be among the pioneers that took keen interest in biobased rubbers. Versalis also formed a partnership with US-based biotechnology company Genomatica to develop the sugar-derived bio-butadiene (bio-BDE) technology and for which they had been recognised last year with an Environmental Achievement of the Year award at the European Tire Technology International Awards for Excellence and Innovation. Growing market for biobased EPDM The EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) market has huge demand from the automotive industry, accounting for a larger share of its market. EPDM offers high heat resistance, weather resistance, and vibration absorption, making it suitable for different applications. These include hoses, mechanical goods for under-the-hood applications, body sealing, weather-stripping, belts, engine mounts, brake parts, windshield wipers, and more, according to Markets and Markets in its report covering the US$7.2 billion EPDM market to 2020.

Biobased EPDM as alternative to fossil fuel-based synthetic rubber

For green tyres, biobased EPDM is opted amid the pressure on the industry to manufacture more vehicle tyres made from renewable raw materials. Arlanxeo also helps boost green tyre manufacturing with its range of Keltan EPDM products such as Keltan Eco EPDM rubber derived from biobased ethylene, supplied by Brazil’s Braskem. It was introduced as an alternative to conventional synthetic rubber from fossil raw materials. Accordingly, Arlanxeo has examined the combination of plasticiser oils and fillers for this bio-based rubber, to reduce the carbon footprint of the resulting compounds still further.

Versalis, together with Ecombine and Eve Rubber Institute created an innovative technology for high performance green tyres

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Rubber Journal Asia Synthetic Rubber Arlanxeo’s recent offering is a semi-crystalline EPDM grade with a very high Mooney viscosity for demanding rubber applications, particularly in the automotive industry. The first Keltan grade with five digits, Keltan 13561C DE, has a high product viscosity of 130 Mooney Unit (MU) – higher than any other current Keltan EPDM grade, Arlanxeo said. The new EPDM grade delivers improved mixing and fast extrusion behaviour with high elasticity and collapse resistance in high filled compounds, supporting the reduction of overall compound volume costs. When replacing existing EPDM polymers, Keltan 13561C DE can significantly improve the mechanical properties in EPDM compounds with the same compound loading. The new Keltan grade has been launched in China and South America.

and flavours. Isoprene, along with other unsaturated compounds, is used to manufacture polymeric materials, Transparency Market Research stated in its isoprene market report. It added that there is rising interest in the production of GMO isoprene. Tyres are the major application for bio-based isoprene. Moreover, it is also suited for other applications such as in footwear, medical appliances, mechanical instruments and sporting goods. Surgical gloves such as nitrile, vinyl and latex gloves are also manufactured using biobased isoprene. As well, transportation jets and jet fuels also make use of bio-based isoprene for its production. Meanwhile, in a recent development on isoprene, a team of researchers, led by the University of Minnesota, has invented a new technology to produce tyres from trees and grasses. The researchers claimed that the tyre from the biomass produced as a result of their study would be identical to existing car tyres with the same chemical make-up, colour, shape, and performance. The new study is published by the American Chemical Society’s ACS Catalysis journal. The new three-step chemical process is a patent-pending technology that is viable for commercialisation. “This research could have a major impact on the multi-billion dollar automobile tyres industry,” said Paul Dauenhauer, a University of Minnesota Associate Professor of chemical engineering and materials science and Lead Researcher of the study. The researchers explained that currently isoprene is produced by thermally breaking apart molecules in petroleum that are similar to gasoline in a process called “cracking.” The isoprene is then separated from hundreds of products and purified. In the final step, the isoprene reacts with itself into long chains to make a solid polymer that is the major component in car tyres. They said that biomass-derived isoprene has been a major initiative of tyre companies for the past decade, with most of the effort focused on fermentation technology (similar to ethanol production). However, renewable isoprene has proven a difficult molecule to generate from microbes, and efforts to make it by an entirely biological process have not been successful. “Economically bio-sourced isoprene has the potential to expand domestic production of car tyres by using renewable, readily available resources instead of fossil fuels,” said Frank Bates, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, of the University of Minnesota Regents. Existing and upcoming technology breakthroughs for bio-based synthetic rubbers are expected to make significant impact to the tyre and other rubberdependent industries to deliver their environmentalfriendly commitment to consumers.

Sustainable tyres with isoprene The growing rubber industry and demand for rubber products is the major driving factor of global biobased isoprene market. Isoprene is a key molecule in car tyres and can be obtained from plants, trees, grasses, or corn. The rising awareness for environmental friendly products is also expected to boost demand for biobased isoprene for a host of applications. Reducing the rolling resistance of tyres helps in reducing the energy expended by the vehicle while moving forward. Isoprene, a colourless volatile liquid produced by various plants such as oaks, legumes, eucalyptus mint, poplars and others, is gaining traction as a bio-based synthetic rubber. Isoprene is also known as 2-methyl-1, 3-butadiene is used as a chemical raw material; it is also used as a starting material for synthetic rubbers. A very small proportion of bio-based isoprene is used in the production of fragrance intermediates

Researchers developed a technology to produce bio-sourced isoprene

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