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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

業 界新聞 材 料 :“可食用”塑料席捲而來


In this issue

Volume 32, No 227

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 14 材料:“可食用”塑料席捲而來 17 Composites – Fibre-reinforced composites are rejuvenating modern innovations in buildings, infrastructure and boats

20 Processor Report – Vietnamese manufacturer of laminated flexible packaging Thanh Phu Plastic Packaging is keeping up with the trend for recycling of laminated packaging, with its new introductions

22 Indian Machinery & Technology – India’s machinery makers Rajoo Engineers and Mamata Machinery are metamorphosing into globally-inclined machinery makers that are able to cater to market trends 25 Country Focus – Indonesia’s packaging sector will help stimulate the plastics market, and ultimately the economy, with growth expected to be around 6%, albeit lower than a decade ago, but still in an optimistic mode this year, says Angelica Buan in this report, based on interviews with exhibitors at the P&R Indonesia show, held in Jakarta in November last year

Regulars 概 要

Publisher Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 Email: arthur@kenter.nl Associate Publisher/Editor Tej Fernandez Tel: +60 3 4260 4575 Email: tej@plasticsandrubberasia.com Editorial/Production Coordinator Angelica Buan Email: gel@plasticsandrubberasia.com Chinese Editor Koh Bee Ling Circulation Abril Castro Email: abril@taramedia.com.my Admin & Finance Manager Tean Arul Email: tean@taramedia.com.my

2 Industry News

Permits

6 Materials News

MCI (P) 127/08/2016

10 業界新聞

Printer United Mission Press

ISSN 1360-1245 KDN PP 18785/08/2015 (034280)

Supplements 副 刊 By 2020, plastics will find broader applications in the automotive sector to ensure passenger safety and convenience, as well as reduce manufacturing costs, against the pressure to adopt lightweight technologies that can help comply with increasingly stringent emission and fuel economy standards The synthetic rubber sector may be facing challenging times; but it still has a lucrative future with companies shoring up capacities and tying up resources to build up the market further DIGITAL+PRINT

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A S l A’ S L E A D l N G M A G A Z l N E F O R THE PLASTlCS AND RUBBER lNDUSTRY

On the Cover Vehicles may become smarter, flashier or more autonomous over the next few years, but light weight and fuel efficiency features will always remain in style

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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. © 2016 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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JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2017

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Industry News

M&As/Tie-ups • India-based car parts maker and engineering group Motherson Sumi Systems is to buy Finland’s PKC Group for EUR571 million. Headquartered in Helsinki, PKC is a global tier 1 supplier of wiring harness and associated components to OEMs in the heavy & medium-duty commercial vehicles segments across North America, Europe, Brazil and China. Motherson says the proposed acquisition of PKC supports in expanding its presence in the niche market of global wiring harness business for commercial vehicles. PKC established its first wiring harness factory in 1969, and had over 22,000 employees and revenue of approximately EUR846 million for the year 2016. • US materials company Celanese Corporation is acquiring Nilit Plastics, the nylon compounding division of independent materials supplier Nilit, but it will retain ownership of the nylon fibres and nylon

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polymerisation businesses worldwide, including facilities in Israel, the US, China, and Brazil. Nilit Plastics makes compounds based on PA6/PA66 as well as different types of partially aromatic polyamides, including PPA. It has compounding production facilities in Europe and China. • Japanese chemicals firm Teijin Limited has completed the US$825 million acquisition of US-headquartered automotive parts maker Continental Structural Plastics Holdings Corporation (CSP). CSP has operations on three continents and has more than 3,300 employees. • Machinery maker Kiefel, which belongs to Germany-based Brückner Group, has acquired the business of Michiganheadquartered Paragon Moulds Corporation in order to increase its automotive business in the US. Paragon develops and manufactures tools for the production of automotive interior components such as door panels, instrument panels and centre consoles

using a lamination process, as well as tools for foamed and back-foamed components. • Ube Machinery Corporation, a group company of Ube Industries, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Plastic Technology, a group company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), completed a transfer of shares relating to their respective businesses in injection moulding machines. As a result, Mitsubishi has relaunched operations under a new structure and a new corporate name: U-MHI Platech Co (U-MHIPT) while Ube has begun operations at a newly established entity, named U&M Plastic Solutions, which will market machines produced by both Ube and U-MHIPT. • Belgian chemical company Solvay has divested its US-based Technology Solutions’ Formulated Resins business to Elanta PDG, a supplier of speciality resins for the electrical and electronic industries and a division of German speciality chemicals company Altana.

• UK-headquartered foam maker Zotefoams has acquired its joint venture Kunshan Zotek King Lai (KZKL) from King Lai Group (King Lai), a manufacturer of sanitary piping and vacuum technology systems. Zotefoams, which owned 51% of KZKL entered into the joint venture with the Chinese firm, which owned 49% shares, in 2015 to manufacture and sell the company's T-FIT closed-cell foam insulation products. Manufacturing has now been established in a separate, purposedesigned plant in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province, China. • German chemicals firm Evonik Industries has acquired the speciality additives business (Performance Materials Division) of US company Air Products for US$3.8 billion. The acquisition is expected to increase the adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of Evonik this year. • Canada-based label and packaging maker CCL Industries is buying Innovia Group, which supplies


INDUSTRY NEWS the new UK plastic £5 note, for around C$1.13 billion, to allow CCL to significantly expand its portfolio into the security market. UK-based Innovia is a global producer of speciality, multi-layer, surface engineered BOPP films for label, packaging and security applications. The business has film extrusion, coating and metallising facilities across the UK, Belgium and Australia as well as high security, specialised polymer banknote operations in the UK, Australia and Mexico with 1,200 employees and sales offices in 16 countries around the world. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017. • UK packaging giant RPC Group is buying ESE World from Stirling Square Capital Partners for EUR262.5 million. ESE is Europe's largest "pure play" temporary waste storage solutions provider with wellknown regional and pan-European brands. The company services a broad customer base ranging from local municipalities to private waste service providers. ESE's manufacturing footprint comprises facilities in Germany and France and a R&D centre in Germany. Meanwhile, RPC will also acquire South African firm Astrapak Limited, a manufacturer of rigid plastic

packaging products and components for £79 million. Astrapak's manufacturing footprint comprises nine facilities in South Africa, employing approximately 1,100 people. RPC stated it will fund the consideration through its existing debt facilities. • German chemicals firm BASF’s coatings division, which manufactures automotive OEM and refinish coatings as well as decorative paints, has completed its acquisition of US-based speciality chemical company Albemarle’s global surface treatment business Chemetall. In a related development, BASF has completed the sale of its global industrial coatings businesses to Belgian chemicals firm AkzoNobel. The transaction includes technologies, patents and trademarks, as well as the transfer of dedicated production sites in UK and South Africa. With the transaction, AkzoNobel will now operate the global coil, furniture foil and panel coatings, wind coatings and general industry businesses acquired from BASF, as well as the commercial transport business in EMEA. These businesses generated sales of approximately EUR300 million in 2015.


Industry News

• US packaging provider Berry Plastics has completed the acquisition of New Jersey-based flexible packaging producer AEP Industries for US$297 million. Berry financed the cash consideration of the acquisition with a new US$500 million sevenyear term loan. Berry's market capitalisation has increased to US$6.5 billion. • Rigid packaging supplier Silgan Holdings is to acquire corrugated packaging firm WestRock

Company’s speciality closures and dispensing systems business for US$1 billion. The transaction is expected to close late in the first quarter of 2017. The acquisition will enable Silgan to expand into the global closure market that will include highly engineered dispensing systems for food, beverage, health care, garden, home and beauty products, in addition to Silgan’s current offerings in hotfill vacuum closures and coldfill closures.

• German extrusion machinery firm Reifenhäuser Maschinenfabrik has sold two companies: Reimotec Maschinen-und Anlagenbau and Reimotec Winding Technology to Dietze+Schell Maschinenfabrik, a producer of spooling, texturising, cutting and extrusion lines for applications in areas such as glass fibres, carbon, technical yarns and tapes, as well as artificial turf and strapping tapes. More recently, Dietze+Schell purchased Sima

New Plants/Capacity Build-ups/Office Set-ups • Canadian renewable materials company BioAmber and South Korea-based bioscience company CJ CheilJedang Corporation will establish a joint venture in China to produce up to 36,000 tonnes/year of bio-succinic acid and commercialise the output in Asia by 2018. CJCJ would own 65% of the joint venture and BioAmber 35%. As part of the proposal, BioAmber will be selling CJ bio-succinic acid manufactured at its Sarnia, Ontario plant, to enable CJ to undertake market 4

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development in China and South Korea in the first half of 2017. • Tokyo-headquartered Mitsubishi Rayon (MRC) is taking over SGL Carbon Fibres’s US plant, which is the carbon fibre (CF) production base of the German SGL Group, to expand its CF business in North America. MRC’s 100% subsidiary Mitsubishi Rayon Carbon Fibre and Composites plans to acquire all the shares of the production company from its present parent company SGL Technologies North America by April 2017.

• Braskem Americas has started up its new UTEC Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) production plant at its Texas site. UTEC is suited for a wide variety of applications in industries including automotive, oil & gas, textile, electronics, and more. • German injection moulding manufacturer, KraussMaffei has appointed KaranSimaFam (KSF) in Iran to support its sales and service for injection moulding

and Techno Plastic in Italy. Against this background a further consolidation was a strategically reasonable move for both parties to strengthen the new business unit by bundling competencies in this market, according to the firms. Dietze+Schell has production locations in Germany, Italy, the US and Czech Republic and generates average sales of over EUR100 million with a workforce of 300 employees.

and reaction process machinery. Construction of KSF’s new administration and service building in eastern Tehran is on-going. • German industrial firm Thyssenkrupp, which has developed its own manufacturing process for polylactide (PLA) bioplastic, is building the first commercial plant based on its patented PLAneo technology that converts lactic acid into PLA, in Changchun, China. The customer is COFCO Corporation, a supplier of agri-


INDUSTRY NEWS products offering a wide range of foodstuffs and services. Once completed, the new plant will produce around 10,000 tonnes/year of PLA. Commissioning is scheduled for the first quarter of 2018. Thyssenkrupp’s components technology unit is also building one of the world’s biggest production sites for steering technology in Changzhou, China. The 150,000 sq m-site will comprise a highly automated facility to manufacture steering components and complete electric steering systems. Thyssenkrupp is investing around EUR200 million in the first phase of the plant that will have an average production capacity of about 4 million electric powerassisted steering systems/year and will create around 800 new jobs in the coming years. • Brusselsheadquartered Solvay is partnering with investment company Marubeni Europe and Italy’s largest supplier for power generation plants and components Ansaldo Energia to invest in an energy efficiency project at Solvay’s facility in Rosignano, Italy.

The companies will operate a new gas turbine-sized 180 MW and a repowered plant with a total capacity of 350 MW of electrical power and total steam production capacity of 410 tonnes/hour.

a single 90 kilotonne/ year reactor. The new unit is expected to come on stream by mid-2019. At completion of this programme, Clear Lake's total acrylic acid production capacity will be 270 kilotonnes/year.

• Canadaheadquartered PE supplier Nova Chemicals has started up its new world-scale linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) gas phase reactor at its Joffre, Alberta site. This is the first new LLDPE reactor in the Americas in over a decade, according to Nova, bringing its capacity to total 25,000 tonnes. The increase allows Nova to meet the growing demand for flexible films used in food packaging, heavyduty sack and can liners.

• LyondellBasell says PRPC Polymers, a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysian petrochemicals firm Petronas Chemicals Group Berhad (PCG), has selected its Hostalen “Advanced Cascade Process” (Hostalen ACP) technology. The PE process technology will be used for a 400 kilotonnes/ year HDPE unit to be constructed at PCG’s Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) complex in Pengerang, Johor, Malaysia.

• French speciality chemicals company Arkema is investing US$90 million in its Texas site to replace existing acrylic acid production units with modern facilities using the latest available technologies. As part of its operational excellence programme, Arkema has launched a project, which will replace two 45 kilotonne/year acrylic acid reactors at the end of their life with

• German chemicals firm BASF has completed a capacity increase of its methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) production site in Antwerp, Belgium. The capacity increase brings the production of MDI in Antwerp from 560,000 tonnes/ year to 650,000 tonnes/year. MDI is an important component for polyurethanes. It contributes to

improved insulation, provides lighter materials for cars, and helps save energy in buildings. • Swiss speciality chemicals company Clariant will expand its plant in Lewiston, ME, in the US, and install a new compounding line to help meet growing demand for precoloured medical plastic compounds that are supplied under the Mevopur brand name. The new capacity will come on-line in Q4 2017. The new compounding line, built around a new 70-mm extruder, will be able produce larger batch sizes (e.g., 3,000 to 6,000 kg or larger) at high throughput rates. Production will focus on materials such as polyolefins, ABS, PC and PC alloys as well as speciality resins like TPU, and cyclic olefins. The EN-ISO13485 (2012) certified site in Lewiston is also being expanded to improve processflow and materialhandling. The Lewiston plant is one of three global sites designed and operated to produce materials used in medical devices and pharmaceutical packaging. The other two facilities are located in Malmö, Sweden, and Singapore. JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2017

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Materials News

Having your fill of “edible” plastics Bioplastics development is becoming more “appetising” with the innovation of food-based packaging materials, says Angelica Buan in this report. These are said to be safe when eaten by animals and marine life, and some are even safe for human consumption!

Plastics “food” in the sea The smorgasbord of plastics waste in the ocean may be an eyesore for humans but for marine animals the plastics stew is a gastronomic lure! A 2016 study published in Science Advances found that algae, which can thrive on waste plastics in the oceans, emit an odour of a gas known as dimethylsulphide (DMS). Marine animals (and even sea birds), with a keen olfactory sense, follow the scent that normally leads to a banquet of small crustaceans – their natural prey. However, with the oceans inundated with waste plastics, marine animals that follow the DMS trail are instead being led to a lethal buffet of plastics, instead of their natural prey! An estimated two-thirds of the world’s fish stocks ingest plastics, according to Australia-based Ocean Crusaders Foundation, feeding on largesse of some 46,000 pieces of plastics per square mile of ocean.

Curbing waste through bioplastics Waste management, particularly recycling, is a common and practical approach to curbing land-based plastic waste, a fair amount of which enters the waterways. However, technical, institutional, financial and social constraints, particularly in developing countries, hound waste management efforts. On the part of plastic producers and users, a doable solution is replacing conventional plastics that do not biodegrade on land or in water (unless additives are added to materials during production) with plant-based plastics/ bioplastics. The market for bioplastics is projected to grow at a CAGR of 28.8% or close to US$44 billion by 2020, a report from Future Market Insights (FMI) says. It will be mainly driven by a growing packaging industry. But even with the “promise” of being biodegradable, some experts are sceptical if bioplastics can solve the marine debris problem. An article published by US-based marine environment research organisation Algalita questions if bioplastics are able to degrade better in the environment than oil-based plastics, in reference to the two test standards that gauge biodegradation of plastics: ASTM and ISO. The latter tests distinguish key terms such as degradable, biodegradable and compostable.

The Ocean Cleanup is deploying its cleanup system, Pilot, later this year

Clean-up efforts have been started by some groups, notably the Netherlands-based The Ocean Cleanup, which is gearing for its large-scale clean-up of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by 2020. Later this year, the team will be launching and deploying the world’s first operational ocean clean-up system called Pilot. It utilises the natural ocean currents to catch marine debris, hence doing away with any external energy source, the organisation states. Nevertheless, even with such model technology in place, it may take decades to clean the oceans of waste plastics, or at least to that level when plastics consumption was not as wide-scale as it is now.

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Algalita mentions of bioplastic being presumed to break down better in the environment than conventional plastics

Meanwhile, New York-headquartered Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) also released a white paper on


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Materials News

biodegradability. It says that not all biobased materials are necessarily biodegradable, for example some forms of cellulose. It also suggests that the only way to know if the material or product is biodegradable or compostable is if it meets the ASTMD6400 (for compostable plastics) or D6868 (for compostable packaging). The test determines the percentage of the product that comes from renewable resources. Nonetheless, as developments for novel biobased materials continue to unfold, existing standards for biodegradability and compostability may have to be reworked, say experts. Biodegradable bag solutions on the table A new generation of compostable plastics and plastic substitutes made from food feedstock are claimed to be safe, so safe that they can be eaten. Even so, the so-called “edible” plastics, as palatable as it may sound, are not meant to be a main fare in anyone’s lunchboxes, but more for marine species in the ocean and insects in the soil. Made from all food-based feedstock, this generation of bioplastics are purported to be non-toxic, thus, safe for the environment. Indonesian chemicals company Inter Aneka Lestari Kimia launched in 2011 its starch-based Enviplast pellets and bags/ film. The company points out that the Enviplast bags are not similar to plastic bags, “even though the manufacturing process and appearance are similar to conventional plastic bags.”

cost lower, compared to other compostable plastic pellets available in the market, a factor that is seen to be a downside for the mass use of bioplastics, compared to conventional plastics. Another company promoting starch-based biopolymers is Avani. The Indonesia-based social enterprise says that its Avani ecobags are 100% compostable, biodegrade in a short period of three to six months, depending on soil conditions; and break down to carbon dioxide and water without leaving behind any toxic residue. Made from cassava and other natural resins, Avani ecobags dissolve completely over time and have also passed the Oral Toxicity Test certification, indicating that the bags are safe for marine species when ingested. Meanwhile, Envigreen Biotech India has launched a 100% biodegradable bag made from tapioca, potato, and vegetable oil derivatives and wastes. Claiming to be non-toxic and safe for the environment, animals, and plants, the patented Envigreen material can be dissolved in hot water (80°C) and softens in water at room temperature. When disposed, the company says its bags take less than six months to biodegrade, and thus are harmless to the environment or if eaten by animals. Avani ecobag made from cassava is edible and dissolves completely over time

However, in terms of cost, the EnviGreen bag is 35% more expensive than the cost of a regular plastic bag but significantly cheaper than cloth bags, according to Ashwath Hegde, the company’s founder. Enviplast bags are from cassava-based materials and do not contain PE, says Inter Aneka

"Enviplast bags are not plastic bags because they contain no PE at all," according to Sri Megawati, Sales & Marketing Executive for Enviplast. As proof, Megawati suggests several tests. "You may dissolve it in hot water or burn it and it will not leave any melted residue or release toxic fumes. Even if you place a hot iron on the surface, it will not melt, but will be scorched like paper," she said. Enviplast bags are also safe for the environment; and can be consumed by snails, insects, and other land and aquatic animals, she adds. The company also says that Enviplast’s oxygen barrier makes it suitable for use as a secondary or a multi-layer packaging. Additionally, the Enviplast composite pellets

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Plastic film created from milk protein Milk protein is the key ingredient of an edible plastic being developed by a team of scientists, according to the American Chemical Society (ACS). The packaging film is not only edible it also features better barrier performance, said to be up to 500 times more effective in barring oxygen from food, thus, helping prevent food spoilage, compared to thin films. The film is made of casein, a milk protein, making it edible, biodegradable and sustainable. Some commercially available edible packaging varieties are already on the market, but these are made of starch, which is more porous and allows oxygen to seep through its microholes. The milkbased packaging, however, has smaller pores and can thus create a tighter network that keeps oxygen out.


Materials News Developers of milk proteinbased film claim it is up to 500 times more effective in barring oxygen from food compared to conventional plastic

Although the researchers’ first attempt using pure casein resulted in a strong and effective oxygen blocker, it was relatively hard to handle and would dissolve in water too quickly. They made some improvements by incorporating citrus pectin into the blend to make the packaging even stronger, as well as more resistant to humidity and high temperatures. After a few additional improvements, this casein-based packaging looks similar to plastic wrap, but is less stretchy and better at blocking oxygen. Nutritious additives such as vitamins, probiotics and nutraceuticals could be included in the future. It does not have much taste, the researchers say, but flavorings could be added. The researchers are exploring its potential as a singleserve, edible food wrapper. Because single-serve pouches would need to stay sanitary, they would have to be encased in a larger plastic or cardboard container for sale on store shelves to prevent them from getting wet or dirty. The casein could also be used as a spray onto food to keep the crunchiness and coat containers since the US Food & Drug Administration recently banned perfluorinated substances that are used to coat containers. Funded by the US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, the scientists plan to keep making improvements, with casein packaging expected to be launched within three years. Discarded food powers in barrier solutions US company Apeel Sciences utilises agricultural by-products that are typically discarded (like grape skins from wine production, for example, or broccoli stems) and engineers them into a micro-thin, invisible, tasteless “barrier” that can be applied to fruits and vegetables. The company hopes to dramatically extend the shelf life, thus, cutting down on the amount of produce wasted and also allow growers to harvest produce at its peak ripeness. Apeel's Edipeel is a postharvest barrier solution against oxidation and water loss to preserve freshness of food longer

Application can be done in a variety of ways, Apeel said, including widely-used spray, dip and paint-on methods. Currently in the R&D phase are Invisipeel, created to protect crops at pre-harvest stage, and Edipeel, a postharvest barrier solution. This year, the company is fielding Edipeel for use by selected growers and producers, following testing success in field trials and on commercial applications in 2016. Another innovation that repurposes food waste has been developed by researchers at Brazil’s Embrapa Instrumentation under the Nanotechnology Applied to Agribusiness Network (AgroNano) project. The edible films can be made from spinach, papaya, guava, tomato and other fruits and vegetables; these are then dehydrated and mixed with a nanomaterial to bind it.

Researchers from Embrapa turn food like papaya into edible films

Chief researcher, Luiz Henrique Capparelli Mattoso, explained that food industry waste can be used to process the material, which then ensures two sustainability characteristics, namely, the use of food waste and the substitution of a synthetic packaging that would be discarded. He explains that the material is not only safe when ingested, but also endows physical characteristics akin to conventional plastic, such as resistance and texture as well as equal capacity of protecting food. Another tropical fruit, worth mentioning, has been developed into edible biomaterial. In a six-month study carried out in 2014, researchers at the Faculty of Agricultural Technology, Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia, made edible film and packaging using banana skin as a raw material. A horticultural crop, banana is abundant in Indonesia. Its skin, as a by-product of industrial processing, is no longer economically viable, yet as a raw material can be environmentally-friendly. According to the research team, banana skin contains the pectin compound, which has good gel properties suitable for producing edible packaging. The pectin is extracted from the peel. For the plastic to acquire elasticity, glycerol is added. As such, researchers all over the world are working on creating all-around better packaging solutions that are environmentally friendly as well. JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2017

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Composites

Building the world’s infrastructure with composites Fibre-reinforced composites are breathing life into modern innovations in buildings, says Angelica Buan in this article.

The ICEhouse, which utilises Sabic's Lexan polycarbonate sheet and systems,was set up at this year's WEF held in Davos

A

s the saying goes, there is always a first time for everything. In technology applications, the first time is almost always a beta stage, when hits and misses are encountered. But it is also the phase when the “Aha moment” is witnessed. Claims of “firsts” have marked important industrial milestones, such as the birth of Bakelite, the grandfather of reinforced plastic composites in the early 1900s, that has since ushered the use of better performing materials for wider applications. The development of fibre-reinforced composites (FRCs) has set the motion for more application segments to be tapped; and established more technologies with properties that outperform those of conventional materials. Today, FRCs are used as strategic materials in industries that demand weight reduction and high strength components. Transparency and Market Research in its FRC market analysis projects an increasing use of FRCs, from automotive to construction industries. FRC’s versatility and durability are expected to boost their market demand further. Hence, it is not surprising that some of the world’s industry breakthroughs feature FRCs as key elements. Pilot reusable house a model for circular economy Not an ordinary four-walled structure, the ICEhouse (where ICE stands for Innovation for the Circular Economy) is an architectural masterpiece for sustainability. Architect William McDonough, working with partners and Saudi Arabia-headquartered chemicals giant Sabic unveiled the ICEhouse at the 2016 World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Davos, Switzerland, recently. The structure is made of aluminium (the structural frame), polymer, aerogel, and PA6. It utilises several forms of Sabic's Lexan polycarbonate sheet and systems, including high-insulating, nanogel-filled Lexan Thermoclear multiwall sheet for thecladding. The Lexan multiwall sheet typically delivers a combination of high thermal insulation and climate-control performance to enhance energy conservation, as well as light transmission for enhanced aesthetics and comfort, says the firm. The nanogel-filled Lexan multiwall sheet used on the translucent walls and ceilings of the ICEhouse offers energy savings of up to 50% compared to monolayer glass, says Sabic. At this year’s edition of WEF, held in January, the ICEhouse was rebuilt, thus showcasing its structural design that enables fast assembly and disassembly on-site, and reuse in another location. Also playing a key part in the ICEhouse’s design is the WonderFrame: a flexible structural system that can be erected quickly and that is made of locally available materials wherever WonderFrames are deployed. The patentpending structure consists of elements connected using simple tools, says Sabic. The version assembled at Davos used aluminium for the frame material, but research is ongoing for using other feedstock as well such as plastics and bamboo. JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2017

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Composites First non-steel lift with a roomier design Singapore Lift Company (SLC), a joint venture between Far East Organisation, Woh Hup and Pronus (HK), recently unveiled the world’s first composite lift. Made of lightweight composite materials and not steel, the cabin is said to weigh 150 kg or ten times lighter than similar-capacity lift that weighs 1,500 kg. Installation of the lift known as 8, which is mostly assembled offsite, is also comparably easier. Thus, it can be installed in a day, compared to the usual five work-days required for conventional lifts, plus no special labour skills are needed to install and maintain the lift and materials required are fewer, says SLC. Alister Bennett, Managing Director of SLC, furthers that the composite lift does not require complicated shaft designs and the SLC unveiled the world’s substantial amount first composite lift in of structural support Singapore, made of in the form of lightweight composite concrete walls and/ materials and not steel or steel supports to bolt on brackets for the guide rails and landing doors, which are standard requirements in current lift construction. The composite materials used include carbon fibre-reinforced polymers (CFRPs), glass fibrereinforced polymers (GFRPs) and bioderived polymers. The non-steel innovation provides a solution to limited cabin space with the simplified structural design. The 8-cabin has been enlarged to be able to take on larger load. Noticeable, too, are the minimised overheads and pits commonly found in conventional steel-made lifts, points out SLC. Currently, the lift, which can be used for the physicallychallenged, for home use or as a passenger lift, has been approved by Liftinstituut, one of Europe's certification organisations for lift and escalator systems. Certification from the Singapore Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is also underway, SLC informs. The company intends to make the lift commercially available later this year. China’s first Disney resort is safely clad in FRP The Shanghai Disneyland, a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and Shanghai Shendi Group features themed-lands that have been built with fire retardant composite materials to ensure safety while having fun. One of the six themed lands, Tomorrowland, covering an area of over 2,300 sq m, is constructed from fire

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retardant (FR) gelcoated composite-moulded parts in several hundred different shaped and sized components. All of the FRP components used for Tomorrowland were manufactured by Shanghai-headquartered composites fabricator E-Grow using a fire-approved laminate system comprising UK chemicals company Scott Bader’s aluminium trihydrate (ATH)-filled urethane acrylate resin, with a fire-retardant gelcoat. Various sizes and shaped gelcoated FRP parts were produced by E-Grow including facades, passenger sections of a roller-coaster, parts of a character ride, a theatre, outdoor dining furniture and exterior cladding on the concourse and surrounding facilities. E-Grow says it used a unique, patented wax mould process to produce these parts. The company assures that all FRP used in the park had to meet the Chinese B1 “reaction to fire” classification for fully assembled composite parts, as stipulated and tested by the Chinese National Inspection and Testing Centre for Building and Engineering Materials. To ensure that the fire specifications were met, E–Grow says it used Scott Bader’s Crestapol 1212 acrylate loaded with 170 phr ATH as the backup resin. Also added were woven roving glass fibre reinforcements. It also met the requirement that all gelcoat be both fire-resistant and match the paint system so that should there be any damage to the paint surface the part would maintain its appearance. To meet these requirements, E-Grow used eight custom colours of Crystic Gelcoat 967 fire retardant pre-accelerated, thixotropic Iso-NPG polyester airless spray gelcoat. Scott Bader says the latter is used for the production of GFRP parts in the building and transportation industry in areas where fire resistance is a key requirement. Sailing breakthrough with composites French speciality chemicals company Arkema has made a splash in sustainable boat construction with its Mini 6.50 monohull made entirely from recyclable thermoplastic composite. Launched at JEC 2016 composites show last year, the 6.5-m prototype’s recyclable hull and bridge are constructed with Arkema’s carbon-reinforced Elium resin.

Arkema's Mini 6.50 monohull is made entirely from recyclable thermoplastic composite


Composites

The Lexus yacht's CFRP construction has made it nearly 1,000 kg lighter, compared to a similar yacht made from fibreglassreinforced plastic

The prototype is the result of the Open Innovation project involving Arkema and the Lalou Multi teams led by French navigator Lalou Roucayrol. Designed to race across the Atlantic Ocean, the boat is set to sail this year and is now being optimised. Meanwhile, Lexus, a division of Japanese car maker Toyota, has recently introduced its 42-ft open sport yacht for six to eight people. It is said to feature advanced styling, composite material construction and twin highperformance Lexus V8 engines. The upper deck and outer hull are seamlessly bonded around the inner structure; with each piece comprising a single massive hand-laid composite of two-part polyurethane (PU) epoxy resin reinforced with hand-laid woven carbon fibre cloth. The yacht’s CFRP construction has made it nearly 1,000 kg lighter, compared to a similar yacht made from fibreglass-reinforced plastic. The underwater hull design is fashioned in a stepped design to reduce resistance or drag and improve handling balance at high speeds. Powered by twin 5.0-l V8 gasoline engines, based on the 2UR-GSE high-performance engine of the Lexus RC F coupe, the GS F sport sedan and the new LC 500 grand tourer, the yacht, is a bespoke, one-off project and there is no intention to put it into production, says Lexus. Lightest composite strands for seismic-proofing structures In 2016, Japan was struck by more than 6,000 earthquakes, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. Being earthquake-prone country, it has become standard to employ seismic isolation technologies in Japanese homes, buildings, and other structures. Technologies, such as vibration dampers and rubber bearing bases, are some of the widely used earthquake-resistance measures. Existing structures are retrofitted with these technologies, but more often than not, spoil the buildings’ aesthetics. A novel seismic technology has been developed by fabric specialist Komatsu Seiren. It is not only lightweight, weighing 12 kg per 160 m length, so “light” that a roll can be hand-carried, it is also flexible and soft to touch and at the same time not aesthetically intrusive. The world’s pioneering composite seismic reinforcement called Cabkoma Strand Rod is a thermoplastic carbon fibre composite. It uses carbon fibre as the interlining, while its outer layer is covered

with synthetic and inorganic fibres. It is finished by impregnation with a thermoplastic resin. The rod has high tensile strength and strong structural body, while being the lightest seismic reinforcement in the world. The company worked with Japanese architect Kengo Kuma to drape a curtain of composite rods on the building exterior of its three-storey headquarters, the Komatsu Seiren Fabric Laboratory (Fa-bo) located in Nomi-city, Ishikawa. The composite strands are riveted from the roof to the ground to allow the Fo-ba building to move together during a tremor.

The Cabkoma Strand Rod, draped on Komatsu Seiren's building in Japan, is a thermoplastic composite seismic reinforcement

Pioneering carbon fibre tower in Asia Kuala Lumpur-based telecommunications infrastructure services company Edotco Group claims the badge for deploying Asia’s first carbon fibre telecoms tower. The ground-based tower was installed in August last year at Taman Tasik Prima, Puchong, in Malaysia. The carbon fibre structures, according to Edotco, weigh 70% less than conventional steel structures, hence reducing the foundation requirements by half, while providing high strength to weight ratio. A smaller footprint also requires fewer materials. The carbon fibre has high rigidity with tensile strength ten times than steel, allowing the structure to better withstand harsher forces of nature (especially wind conditions). Installation time is 40-50% faster, Edotco said. Moreover, due to its high durability and corrosiveresistance, maintenance cost over the lifespan of the structure is lower. This therefore translates to about 20% lower total cost of ownership (TCO). The company is aiming to lower TCO further by 40% as it becomes more experienced in the deployment of carbon fibre towers that will lessen customisation requirements. Edotco adds that the aesthetically pleasing tower is also a “green solution” as it emits less carbon dioxide during its production process. The company also installed a first ever rooftop carbon fibre tower in Bangladesh last year. The installation is expected to precede future deployments to enhance connectivity initiatives in Bangladesh in support of its digital roadmap to 2021. JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2017

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Processor Report

Vietnamese packaging maker expands boundaries Founded in 1992, Vietnamese manufacturer of laminated flexible packaging, Thanh Phu Plastic Packaging, is a newbie in the plastics packaging sector in the country. Yet, the company is adopting progressive trends, such as making it easier for the recycling of laminated packaging.

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ecycling of laminated packaging has been a long-standing challenge for the packaging industry because of the mix of complex materials that make up the structure. The cost and effort required to separate the polyolefin layer from the laminates, like PET, PA, EVOH or OPP, are complex and an issue for packaging recycling companies. Thus, to address the market’s demand for a more readily recyclable alternative to conventional laminated structures, Ho Chi Minh-located Thanh Phu collaborated with US materials firm ExxonMobil Chemical to push the boundaries for a 100% PE solution that can be recycled in the same collection stream as PE. Thanh Phu was able to produce the new packaging by using ExxonMobil’s new Exceed XP and Enable mLLDPE polymers and by applying its proprietary Veloflex film conversion technology. Especially suited for use in pouches, this full-PE film alternative is comparable to traditional laminated films in terms of aesthetics and integrity, say the firms. For instance, the full-PE solution exhibits outstanding mechanical properties, such as competitive modulus and bag-drop performance, compared to PA-laminated film at the same film thickness. It also features improved optics, such as high gloss and transparency. Plus, good thickness variation control is possible, compared to conventional PET films. “This is a true synergy between material science and conversion technology innovation,” says Alex Dam, Executive Vice-President at Thanh Phu. “We have changed the cradle-to-grave cycle into a more responsible cradle-to-cradle concept. Our aim is to have a full PE alternative to conventional laminated solutions without compromising performance, while maintaining an attractive cost-efficiency ratio.” Thanh Phu mainly manufactures flexible packaging, especially for food and hygiene, serving key global brand owners in the Asia-Pacific and OCEANIA regions. Example of laminated packaging It is also looking at applications at which the Thanh Phu expanding the usage of the solution is targeted all-PE packaging to seafood packaging to replace the current nylon/PE laminated packaging.

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Processor Report Shulman also said the new grades were launched after a survey with customers on the current trends and needs. “There are two mega-trends in the industry currently: quality and cost-effectiveness. And we work with partners to translate these onto the market.”

Stand-up pouch the company will launch in the market together with ExxonMobil

More recently, in a collaboration with ExxonMobil, Thanh Phu produced a 100% PE/PE laminated standup pouch, using Veloflex technology, for Unicharm Vietnam. To be able to produce the latest types of films, Thanh Phu has the latest blown film line from Germanybased Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H). It also has the latest printing technology from W&H: Heliostar S gravure press, installed in 2016. According to Dam, Veloflex technology is a turn-key solution that is offered to brand owners to meet their packaging recyclability requirements, and it involves all the steps “from extrusion to printing and downstream processing,” he adds. When asked how the Veloflex technology is used to produce better quality films, Dam replies, “The specific orientation of polymers under the extrusion process provides a good balance of mechanical properties for both MD and TD direction (this is different from the MDO process as normally seen in the market).” Furthermore, Dam says Thanh Phu is aiming at providing brand owners with 100% PE/PE solution to meet their packaging recyclability commitments while maintaining a competitive cost/efficiency ratio. Meanwhile, at the K2016 show last year, ExxonMobil launched two new grades of Exceed XP PE aimed at films for greenhouse, food lamination and softshrink applications. Another four new Exceed XP grades were launched at the Chinaplas show in Shanghai in April 2016. It also showcased Enable 40-02 performance polymers for compression packaging and geomembranes, as well as a range of low viscosity Vistamaxx performance polymers for home and consumer products and an array of other applications. “With new grades, we’re expanding our recently launched Exceed XP performance polymers portfolio,” said Cindy Shulman, Plastics and Resins Vice-President, ExxonMobil. “Customers will now have an even more powerful toolkit to grow their businesses.”

At the K2016 show last year, ExxonMobil also launched two new grades of Exceed XP PE aimed at films for greenhouses

Thus, the ability to replace conventional laminated packaging with packaging that can be recycled will allow the industry to take a significant step towards developing solutions with more benefits that consumers are demanding. “We hope to develop the Veloflex technology into a full scale solution to address the flexible packaging recyclability requirements of the market. The “new plastics economy” concept recently introduced at the World Economic Forum in Davos has given a true validation to our initiatives,” Dam concludes.

ExxonMobil introduced its latest Exceed XP aimed at food lamination applications JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2017

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Indian Machinery & Technology

India’s machinery makers embrace challenges The plastics industry is one of India’s major engines of growth that looks ahead to a year of increasing growth rate and expanding markets, adapting well to the flux as opportunities for varied applications for plastics continue to rise, all this against the background of a slowing GDP, the demonetising policies introduced last year and the impending implementation of GST this year.

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or many economies worldwide, the previous year, emblematic of events that challenge established beliefs and standardised political frameworks, has epitomised the axiom that the only permanent thing (on earth) is change. The new year brings a mixed bag of opportunities. On the one hand it has traces of the spillover impact of 2016, yet at the same time there are cues for a more optimistic outcome. Fortunately for the Asia-Pacific region, likewise vulnerable to global risks, it is able to maintain its momentum amid soft growth prospects. In the region and the world, India has become a benchmark for growth. But again, what has been “set in stone” for many years in the past has been challenged after the Indian government demonetised high value currencies (in a bid to crack down on corruption and terrorism) last year. Though the move, critics say, may keel over India’s “world’s fastest economic growth” claim, especially since the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded the country’s growth projection, yet there are more positive than negative outcomes from this strategy. Economists at the Moody’s Investors Service and India-based affiliate ICRA Ltd project that the disruption is only short-term; and by mid-year, India’s economy will start to pick up. As for the country’s plastics industry, consultancy firm Lucintel forecasts the plastic pipe market to grow at a CAGR of 10.4% from 2016 to 2021, owing to the growth of the building/ construction and infrastructure sectors. Engineering plastics have a potential CAGR of over 13% from 2015-2020 report, finds TechSci Research. It attributes this growth to demand from diverse industries including automotive, electrical & electronics, construction, and others. As well, the country has a lucrative demand for highperformance plastics, notwithstanding its burgeoning requirement for plastic packaging, forecast to reach US$73 billion by 2020, according to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Tata Strategic Management Group (TSMG). Metamorphosis to a global leadership Extrusion and thermoforming machinery maker Rajoo Engineers is an example of success that follows changes. The Gujaratbased manufacturer describes its more than three decades of providing technology solutions for the plastics industry as a “quick metamorphosis” from its modest beginnings in 1986 in the Gujarat town of Rajkot to its current global status with offices in India and overseas. Technology-driven, Rajoo Engineers ushers in 2017 with new developments that will help sustain the growth of the plastics industry.

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Indian Machinery & Technology Sunil Jain, President of Rajoo, says the company is contributing to skills development in the plastics sector by setting up an innovation centre

In an interview with PRA, Sunil Jain, President of Rajoo, when asked what Rajoo expects as well as aims for this year, replied, “At Rajoo, in 2017, our focus will be on highoutput barrier and nonbarrier films lines, in addition to high-output sheet extrusion lines. Thus, offering a complete barrier packaging solution to the industry, an application poised for exponential growth owing to the entry of organised retail in India. At the same time, our focus on exports will be further increased.” While Rajoo has forged strategic partnerships with firms like Italian pipe machinery maker Bausano, German blown film machine maker Hosokawa Alpine and Meaf Machines of Netherlands, Sunil says the company is continuing to chalk up other plus points. “Rajoo has several firsts to its credit, not now but since its inception. We have brought world-class affordable technologies to the industry in India, even in the past, and we continue to do so now. Offering import substitution to the industry has been our forte. Our sister company has successfully introduced machines for producing WPC (Wood Plastic Composite), which is a substitute for wood. Yet, another environment friendly technology offered by our company.” As regards plasticulture, Sunil says the firm is now executing a project for an Indian customer for a seven- layer barrier, 4.2 m-wide blown film line to produce agriculture films. “This will yet be another first in the industry in Asia from Rajoo. The slated output to produce barrier film is 1,50 0 kg/hour and is targeted for various applications – FIBC liners, canal lining and agriculture films.” Meanwhile, its other latest technology, Pentafoil five-layer barrier film line, introduced at the K2016, is specifically Rajoo’s five-layer Pentafoil line shown at K2016 last year

targeted to produce all polyolefin films for packaging, which are fully recyclable unlike films with barrier polymers. “It also offers benefits of down-gauging, thus reducing the overall usage of plastics. Energy consumption is yet another ecofriendly parameter and this line has been certified by TUV at a never before 0.3001 kwH/kg of film,” claimed Sunil. As for industry 4.0 or IoT-ready technologies, Sunil remarked, “From the perspective of Rajoo Engineers, there are two focus domains: automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies in making machines on one hand and our machines being automated and using cyber technology controls.” He adds that the firm has taken steps in both directions. “Cloud-based ERP for creating a virtual factory is already under implementation. Further, our customers using high-output blown film lines already get internet-based remote support. Similar technologies are also being introduced in our complete range of machines. However, bandwidth and speed for internet access continues to be challenge.” Dealing with skills shortages While the availability of technology is aplenty, India’s plastics sector has a downside though as explained by Sunil. “The skills pool to support the plastics manufacturing industry in India is scarce and it has reached a critical stage and is a major issue. While the government of India and our association – Plastics Machinery Manufacturers Association of India (PMMAI) – of which we are one of the founder members, have taken effective steps in this direction, Rajoo on its own has launched a unique initiative, a first by an Asian plastics machinery manufacturer in the blown film and sheet extrusion segment.” The company is in the midst of setting up the Rajoo Innovation Centre, based in Rajkot, to be up and running in the middle of 2017. “It will be equipped with a state-of-the-art seven-layer blown film line and a barrier sheet extrusion line and will impart training to develop a skills pool for the industry. In addition to contemporary testing facilities, it will also provide an impetus for development of barrier packaging materials,” revealed Sunil. While there are challenges on the horizon, Sunil is optimistic of the future. “The demonetisation drive launched by the government of India may have been disruptive but it is a bold step forward. We foresee it affecting the whole economy in the short term including the growth of the plastics industry. The introduction of GST, yet another major economic reform to be introduced in 2017, will positively enhance the “ease of doing business”. Our targets for 2017 will factor the above major initiatives in the country,” he concluded. JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2017

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Indian Machinery & Technology Mamata “exports” US technology to India Another Gujarat-based machinery maker, Mamata Machinery, which makes converting and extrusion machinery, is expanding in the North American market, where it has already installed 200 servodriven-bag and pouch making machinery. The company first entered the market with a 5,000 sq ft-sales and service centre for pouch making machinery in Illinois in early 20 0 0. Later, in 2010, it set up a 12,50 0-sq ft facility in Florida.

Mamata claims that its non-woven fabric bag making machine tops speeds that are the highest in the industry

“The US-based team of engineers designs and manufactures these packaging machines. We now offer horizontal form, fill and seal; high-speed pouch fillers; and multi-lane sachet packaging machinery in the US,” said Apurva Kane, Senior Vice-President. Speaking to PRA at the K2016 show last year, Kane, added, “The machines produced in the US are not only of a high speed but are produced in a high hygiene environment, making them suitable for use in the packaging of foodstuff, like dry products such as oatmeal and dry fruits and nuts.” Such machines have been installed at one of the world’s

A poster depicting the high-speed system for flat bottom pouches

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largest pistachio packer Growers Express’s facility in California, a co-packer for Green Giant, shared Kane. This technology is now being brought back to India. “Some of the major advancements in the packaging sector are taking place in the US. Our strategy is to hire design talent in the US to develop the equipment that is up-to-date and offer it to the rest of the world by leveraging the cost efficiency of producing it in India,” explained Kane. He also said that though the machines will be priced slightly higher than locally made-in-India machines, the company will offer greater valueadded technology to the market. The Ahmedabad-headquartered company also claims a first in the industry: the fastest bag making machine for non-woven reusable bags. “This machine is three times faster than the machines produced in China. It has an output of 160 bags/ minute, compared to the usual 40-50 bags/minute,” claimed Kane, adding that the prototype will be commercialised in the market soon.

The HDPE/PP woven-bag sack making machine is targeted at bulk packaging

At the K show, it had another first: a high-speed bag maker for converting PP woven fabric into sacks and pouches for bulk packaging of commodities. The machine is completely automated; with sheet-onroll, it forms side gussets and undertakes back seam gluing as well cuts to required lengths; folds and stitches the bags. “It is able to convert bags from 5 kg up to 25 kg size that can be used for packing rice, pulses and garden manure. With an output of 60 bags/minute, it is the fastest in the world.” As for future machinery launches, Kane said Mamata is researching into liquid packaging. “We are targeting the production of in-line machines for packaging with spouts, for normal liquid juices, edible oils and drinks,” he added.


Country Focus

Indonesia: an economy growing strong Asia’s fourth largest economy is looking towards brighter prospects ahead, even though it is expected to slow down this year, says Angelica Buan in this report, based on interviews with exhibitors at the P&R Indonesia show, held in Jakarta late last year.

Dismantling of TPP a boon for Indonesia Indonesia, one of Asia’s emerging economies, is undergoing an economic slowdown attributed to the global trade slump, slowdown in China’s economy and declining commodity prices as well as other internal factors. Currently, its gross domestic product (GDP) has eased from 5% in 2014 to an estimated 4.8% in 2016, according to the CIA Factbook data. Close to this figure is the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) growth forecast for this year, conservatively placed at 5.1%, amidst “slower pick-up in investments”. However, recent developments are indicating that the country’s economic situation will improve in the long term. For instance, against the fact that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement will be dismantled, following the withdrawal of the US from the deal, under the new administration of newly-elected President Donald Trump, Indonesia would be more competitive than its other ASEAN neighbours in terms of trading with the US, which is one of its main trade partners. The US accounted for 9.4% of Indonesian exports in 2015, according to GlobalEdge of the International Business Centre at Michigan State University, US. In terms of both domestic direct investments (DDIs) and foreign direct investments (FDIs), the country has also witnessed growth in these areas and expects to continue to perform well. The Investment Coordinating Board of the Republic of Indonesia (BKPM) stated that in 2016, DDIs raked in over Rp 58 trillion, or an increase of 25.8%, compared to the previous year’s Rp 46.2 trillion. Meanwhile, FDIs rose by 2.1% to Rp 101.9 trillion during the same period. Household consumption and sectors as growth drivers Indonesia’s economy is latched on to domestic consumption as well as on government spending, which together account for 70% of the country’s GDP. Being the world’s tenth largest economy by purchasing power, according to the US Department of State, the country has remained a sweet spot for global investors, banking on its rising middle and affluent classes (MACs). Household consumption, which contributes to more than 50% of Indonesia’s GDP, will be the main growth driver this year, according to Eric Sugandi, Chief Economist at SKHA Institute for Global Competitiveness (SIGC). He adds that direct investments and government spending will also firm up an otherwise sluggish economic performance. The manufacturing, trade, agriculture, as well as construction, transport and communications sectors, amongst others, will be the country’s building blocks from this year onwards. Indonesia’s huge population is undoubtedly its ace in boosting household consumption. Citing data by global financial group ING in its report titled International Trade Study Indonesia, the country’s current population of 260 million is forecast to grow an additional 20 million by 2030. According to the global trade study covering the period from 1997 to 2017, there are strong indications that the country will sustain its position as Asia’s economic hotbed. On the export front, Indonesia is poised to be the 21st largest exporter globally, with an expected growth of 15.2% a year to US$469 billion. This year, about 62% of the total exports will consist of food, fuel and other mined products. Meanwhile, the country is taking the 20th largest global importer spot with imports growing an average of 18.4% per year to US$487 billion this year. About 45% of its imports this year will mainly comprise fuel, industrial machinery, vehicles, transport equipment, and chemicals. JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2017

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Country Focus Rising middle class behind a thriving plastics industry Indonesia has the world’s fourth largest MACs segment, comprising 17.3 million households in 2014 (after the US at 25.3 million), that is forecast to expand to around 20 million households by 2030, according to Euromonitor International. In other words, MACs will double or reach 141 million individuals by 2020 (from 74 million in 2013), says the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Euromonitor also sized up Indonesia’s median disposable income that will reach US$11,300 per household by 2030. Armed with a strong purchasing power, this consumer segment not only wields opportunities in various product and service sectors, but also backs the domestic market for key industries, including plastics. The plastics industry, likewise, is buffered by strong demand from related industries that rely on plastics, such as food and beverage packaging, building/construction, household appliances, automotive parts, agriculture, and others. At the Plastics and Rubber (P&R) Indonesia show held November last year in Jakarta, Henky Wibawa, Executive Director of the Indonesian Packaging Federation (IPF), told PRA in an interview that the plastics industry is still a gainer. “We are still enjoying growth. But for the last three years, we have not grown at the rate that we have expected, such as how it was ten years ago when we could gain double digit growth such as 15%. In 2016, our growth rate is anticipated to be between 5%-6%.” Wibawa cited a few reasons for the slow growth: impact of the global crisis; currency depreciation; lack of infrastructure; dependency on imports. “In the industry, 40-50% of our materials are still imported. And while (Indonesia) is a crude oil producer, it is not in the downstream industry; unlike countries like Singapore where they have efficient petrochemical complexes producing all sorts of materials required by the plastics sector.” Nevertheless, economic reformation is being Henky Wibawa of IPF carried out to address observes that the plastics these issues, he said. industry has not grown at “We are also reforming the rate that is expected regulations to encourage more investments and more improved import/export performance to benefit the industry,” he added. Global confidence unchanged in Indonesia’s plastics market Despite the uncertainties on the economic front, Indonesia’s reputation as a strong investment hub remains untarnished. At the P&R show, the 21,500 sq m exhibition space teemed with 600 exhibiting companies from 28 countries, all tapping into Indonesia’s lucrative market.

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Citing a successful turnout for the event, which is in its 29th year, Wiwiek Roberto, Project Director for show organiser PT Pamerindo Indonesia, remarked, “The participation from leading technology and solution providers clearly endorses the underlining sectors potentials and fundamentals in Indonesia and the region.” Meanwhile, a number of the exhibitors shared their optimism for the Indonesian market. Azo, a German specialist in bulk material handling and plant automation equipment, attributes the fertile market on the country’s population and growing middle class. Wolfgang Hummler, Technical Area Sales Manager for Azo Asia, relayed Azo's Wolfgang Hummler that the company has attributes Indonesia's resilience had a representative to its growing population and office in Indonesia for middle classes seven years. “Since then we have focused on serving various applications for industries including plastics, as well as food, pharmaceutical, chemicals, and more. We specialise in raw material handling and solutions for companies to basically optimise and make production more efficient,” Hummler explained. Italian supplier of auxiliary equipment and automation Moretto is also eyeing opportunities in the growth sectors like automotive, medical and packaging, according to Camilla Gallato, Asia Sales Manager of Moretto. A frequent show participant, Moretto at last year’s event’s edition offered its latest DGM Gravix gravimetric batch dosing unit. It features a number of advantages like high precision (±0.001%), reaction speed (25 ms) and immunity to vibrations, which allows it to be installed on blow moulders. DGM Gravix can be installed as a floor-standing unit or on a dedicated frame and it is available also with castors, and a special suction tank. The suction Moretto looks at opportunities in the growth sectors like automotive, medical valve features adjustable and and packaging, according to Asia Sales Manager, Camilla Gallato fluidised probes.


Country Focus Similarly, Maag, Swiss manufacturer of gear pumps, pelletising systems, and melt filtration systems, has secured a niche in the Indonesian market. Samanyar Tongnat, Marketing Manager, and Pheng Huat Chew, Sales Manager for Maag, lauded the wide opportunities the market has unleashed to solution providers like Maag, which sees a gold mine in screen changers for PET, masterbatch and compounding. Pheng Huat Chew, Sales Manager, and Samanyar Tongnat, Marketing Manager for Maag, laud the wide opportunities the Indonesian market offers the Swiss company

The company was promoting its Pearloflex underwater pelletising system for frequent product and colour changes at up to 500 kg/hour. It has been specifically designed to process a wide range of polymers and thermoplastics and produces mostly spherical pellets.

“This most efficient and flexible system is, for example, applied in the production of compounds, masterbatches, engineering plastics, wood and natural-filled polymer composites, thermoplastic elastomers and in the field of recycling,� said Chew. F&B sector to feed advancements in packaging Meanwhile, Indonesia’s food and beverage (F&B) industry, which contributes to nearly 34% of the GDP, is forecast to grow at 8.5% this year, citing projection by the Indonesian Food and Beverage Association (Gapmmi). The burgeoning F&B sector is a lucrative area for FDIs in Indonesia; and this growth augurs well for the packaging sector. As observed at the P&R show, more visitors were flocking to stands where packaging machines were demonstrated. Italian extrusion machinery specialist Amut, which has observed steady improvements in the market over the course of five years of its participation in the annual trade fair, showcased its AMP thermoforming machine series for processing PP, PET, PVC, GPPS, HIPS, materials with barrier layers and general purpose thermoplastics, as well as its packaging film, printing and converting technologies.

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Country Focus Andrea Peretto, Amut Sales Manager & Process Engineer, together with Amut’s Indonesian representative Harry Nugroho, note Indonesia’s Andrea Peretto, Amut Sales Manager, and readiness for Amut’s Indonesian representative Harry efficient and Nugroho, note Indonesia’s readiness for price competitive efficient and price competitive machines machines such as Amut’s. “The market is aware of our machines offering advantages that are comparable to other European machines,” Peretto said, adding that water cup and cup sealing machines are selling strong in the country. “We have more than 16 lines in Indonesia, with each machine producing an average 40-50 million cups/month,” Peretto added. Lübeck-headquartered thermoforming machinery firm Gabler Group also vouched for strong sales for water cups in Indonesia, which it considers as currently one of the world’s and Asia’s biggest markets. Gabler was promoting its latest M100 tilt-bed technology machine, which it claimed is the world’s largest thermoforming machine to be featured at last year’s K2016 exhibition held in Germany. M100, which has already been sold in Indonesia, features an improved drive system, userGabler machines match friendly HMI touchscreen, Indonesia's demand for water cups, says Managing reverse-stacker automation, Director, Kay Schwarz SpeedFlow forming air system, and other features. “We have sold more than 60 Gabler machines in Indonesia; and a number of machines in other countries like Malaysia, Thailand, China and Australia,” said Kay Schwarz, Managing Director at Gabler, adding that the company has a service office located in Jakarta. Long-time Taiwanese exhibitor Keenpro promoted its EM 12 S2 high-speed blow moulding machine with 12-cavities at the show. This machine was first launched at the Taipeiplas exhibition in Edison Lee, Marketing Taiwan last year. Manager of Keenpro Edison Lee, Marketing says that energy-saving Manager of Keenpro, noted machines are well-received that energy-savings are an among Indonesian customers important aspect when it

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comes to machines marketed in Indonesia. “Our machines can provide energy savings of up to 40%, compared to other machines of a similar capability,” he said. The company is, likewise, banking on the growing packaging market for mineral water, juice, hot tea, and edible oil. Other machines that Keenpro is pushing into the market include the LM series PET automatic stretch blow moulding machine for small-batch bottle production lines; and the EM series PET automatic stretch blow moulding machine featuring integrated advanced functions. Yogurt cups, meanwhile, were an application focus for US manufacturer of machinery Milacron. For this application, Yogurt cups are an the company introduced its application focus for Milacron, according to Elektron 200 high- speed allDeputy Manager, Ajay electric injection moulding Prapajati machine, from the Elektron series, said Ajay Prapajati, Deputy Manager for Milacron. “Targeted for the production of round containers, it uses 60% less energy and 90% less water than hydraulic injection moulding machines, reducing operating costs substantially, for a better alternative for the packaging sector,” claimed Ajay. Positive prospects ahead for plastics sector Meanwhile, IPF’s Wibawa is pinning hopes on industries like packaging to help stimulate the market, and ultimately the economy. He emphasised the importance of developing packaging types to meet the standards of today’s consumers. “As we enter the middle class-economy, lifestyle changes will be inevitable,” said Wibawa. He said that such lifestyle transitions may also influence the choice for consumer goods, in terms of quality and convenience. “We have smart consumers now who want to see necessary (nutritional) information on the food packaging that they buy, or if what they are buying is healthy.” He also reiterated that consumer goods need proper packaging. “Packaging is a product differentiator that needs to also meet basic criteria such as consumer appeal, sustainability, and affordability.” “As far as IPF is concerned, our vision is to have better packaging in Indonesia,” Wibawa continued. “We need to educate the industry and the market, to understand the importance of packaging for a product, such as what benefits packaging gives to a product.” He said that the trade association is able to provide know-how through seminars and workshops, as well as collaborating in industry events such as the P&R exhibition. “Indonesia has bright prospects ahead, considering its population boom, urbanisation and young people who are well educated. These factors are opening up opportunities for growth. There are yet hurdles to overcome but we are optimistic of the future,” he concluded.


Injection Moulding Asia Automotive

Fuel economy sets in motion vehicles’ requirements In the future, cars may be smarter, flashier or

to take place, UNEP said), henceforth boosting the marketplace for fuel efficient cars. The use of plastics has supported the production of more fuel efficient cars. Three years from now to 2020, fuel efficiency is expected to remain the model for car development. Plastics, the backbone of light weighting in automotive, are foreseen to account for over US$40 billion in the passenger car market by 2020, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets. The market size for automotive plastics market for passenger cars is chiefly driven by the potential for maximum mass reduction of automobile and carbon emissions by decreasing the weight of the vehicle. A key application for automotive plastics is in the interiors, followed by exteriors and under-thehood, according to MarketsandMarkets.

more autonomous; but a few features, such as being lightweight and fuel efficient, may remain in style, says Angelica Buan.

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ehicles provide the canvas for the latest technologies and systems in safe, fun and efficient driving. The piecemeal evolution of cars, from the horse-powered carriages, to the first motorised Benz car to driverless and connectivityenabled hybrid cars, proves that engineering possibilities are almost endless. McKinsey & Company in its report on the global automotive industry by 2020 sees global profits for automotive OEMs to increase by nearly 50%, driven by growths in emerging markets. In the same token, the report projects four key challenges, which OEMs will have to comply with even beyond 2020 to ensure this growth. These are: cost and regulatory pressures, as well as complexity in arising platform sharing and modular systems; adaption to the changing regional and segment patterns of supply and demand; demand for connectivity, safety and ease of use; and the shifting industry landscape, whereby suppliers will add more value in alternative powertrain technologies and in innovative solutions for active safety and infotainment. In short, the growth of the car industry is anchored on continuous innovations and OEM’s capability for retooling their strategies. Nevertheless, what is crucial is how these strategies will impact the environment from hereon. Currently, the industry focuses on fuel economy. This impetus will augur the landscape for the automotive industry come 2020.

More plastics will find their way to automotive applications By 2020, plastics will find a broader application to ensure passenger safety and convenience, as well as overall manufacturing cost reduction, said MarketsandMarkets. UK-headquartered IHS Markit, additionally, suggests that carbon fibre will enjoy an increase in demand in automotive manufacturing, doubling from 2015 to 2020. Lead author Michael Malveda of the report: IHS Chemical Carbon Fibres, Chemical Economics Handbook, says that carbon fibre enables vehicles to be made lighter and more fuel efficient, in compliance with the global thrust to curb carbon emissions from improved fuel economy.

Fuel efficiency will continue to define market growth A benchmark of today’s generation of cars is light weighting for fuel-efficient driving, which has burgeoned as a result of rising oil prices. It is also a result of the call from global movers like the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for its climate change initiative to keep in check worsening vehicle efficiency (especially in non-OECD countries where 90% of the vehicle fleet growth is projected

Plastics used in modern cars have already made inroads in earlier vehicles such as the 1939 Pontiac ghost car with plexiglass shell from General Motors

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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Mazda has been listed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) in last year’s Light Duty Fuel Economy Trends Report, as having the highest overall Manufacturer Adjusted Fuel Economy in 2015. Its overall average fuel economy was 29.6 miles per gallon (mpg), an improved 0.2 mpg over the previous year, the report cited.

Vehicles in the coming decade will top the bill (alongside the building and construction sector) of the global consumption of 5 million tonnes of thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs), according to a Smithers Rapra report, The Future of Thermoplastic Elastomers to 2020. It predicts that automotive and other transportation applications will reach a share of 44% in the end-use market for TPEs. Persistence Markets Research, in its automotive plastic opportunities report, adds on to the roster of plastics that it forecasts will garner popularity in automotive components applications, such as in bumpers, seating upholstery, dashboards, fuel systems, body panels, under-the-hood parts, interior/exterior trims, electrical components, lighting, and liquid reservoirs. Plastics that are mainly used in these parts include PP, PU, PVC, PA, PS, PE, ABS, PC, HDPE, PMMA, PET, ASA, PBT and composites. Bioplastics will also be making inroads in future cars. Japanese car maker Mazda Motor has adopted biobased engineering plastic Durabio, developed by Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC). The new grade has been used for interior and exterior design parts of Mazda’s CX-9, Axela, and Demio since 2015, and it was first adopted for the Roadstar launched late last year. The Roadstar RF is the fifth model to use Durabio, and the new grade will be adopted for more models, says Mazda.

Use of metal components on the decline Modern cars, on an average, are made up of 50% plastic, yet that bulk contributes to only 10% of the total vehicle weight. Plastic-clad interiors and exteriors of cars have become a staple feature for fuel economy driving, even with concept cars that are expected to be seen more of in 2020.

Hyundai worked with BASF to develop the RN30 concept car from high performance plastic materials to achieve its aerodynamic design with reduced weight

German speciality chemicals company BASF and Korean car maker Hyundai Motor teamed up on a high performance concept car, RN30, which was launched at the 2016 Paris Motor Show and presented at the K2016 show in Dusseldorf, Germany, that same year. The RN30 features BASF’s expertise in developing high performance plastic materials to achieve the aerodynamic design of the race car with reduced weight and lowered centre of gravity by lowering the seats, removing redundant parts, and making the heavier parts sit in the lowest possible position. The use of plastics is what makes RN30 unique compared to most high performance cars that use carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRPs), according to Hyundai. These weightsaving innovations are light, highly durable and environmentally-friendly and are used throughout the new concept to help boost handling and acceleration, it adds.

Mazda’s Roadstar RF uses biobased engineering plastic, Durabio, developed by Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation

Durabio is a biopolycarbonate resin derived mainly from plant-based isosorbide but it is not biodegradable. Compared with conventional PC resin made from bisphenol A, it is said to feature high transparency, excellent optical properties, and outstanding scratch resistance. Its puncture impact behaviour is comparable to that of PC resin, says MCC. When mixed with a pigment, Durabio imparts a glossy and highly reflective surface, it adds. These properties mean that Durabio eliminates the need for a coating step, thereby reducing emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) inherent in any such process, MCC explains. 2 JA N U A RY / F E B R U A RY 2 017

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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Side mirrors may no longer be made of glass Gone will be the days of shatter-prone side mirrors and poor blind spot views. An innovation by a senior researcher from Future Industries Institute of the University of South Australia is reinventing side mirrors with plastics. Researcher Colin Hall says that plastic side mirrors propose several advantages over glass counterparts, including light weight, hence less vibration that results in higher quality images; break-resistance, versatility in shape as it can be injection-moulded to more complex shapes with high curves for better blind spot detection; and easy assembly since plastic mirrors require fewer parts. The downside, however, is cost. Using plastic mirrors, that are comparatively more expensive than glass ones, are nonetheless more cost-effective in the long term, Hall advises. SMR Industries (Adelaide), a subsidiary of the German company SMR Automotive Mirrors Stuttgart, is commercialising the mirrors. US car maker Ford has already used the plastic mirrors as optional tow mirrors for its F-series trucks.

like wheel trims, grills, and others parts that are traditionally made of metals. Largest rear quarter window in plastic Luxury cars are no longer symbols of “excess”, and instead the royalties of car brands are latching on to fuel economy designs. A recent innovation offering this advantage is showcased by Chinese SAIC General Motor (SGM), a joint venture between General Motors Company and SAIC Motor. The car maker has introduced the world’s largest PC rear quarter window for Buick GL8 and GL8 Avenir luxury multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) being sold in China.

SGM’s Buick GL8 and GL8 Avenir MPVs feature the the world’s largest PC rear quarter window

The new rear quarter window measures a recordbreaking 1,200 mm by 450 mm, and yet is 40% or 3 kg lighter as well as significantly more impact resistant than a comparable glass window, says SAIC. Materials company Sabic teamed up with Ningbo Shentong Auto Decorations, a long-time manufacturer of automotive plastic applications that also provided the design and other required technical assistance; SGM chose Shentong as its Tier One supplier for this key window part. Shentong invested in a new production facility in Yuyao City (China), which is also the first mass production PC glazing line in the country. The window is two-shot injection compression moulded at Shentong’s facility, using Sabic’s Lexan PC resin and Cycoloy resin, a PC/ABS material (used for the blackout area). This resin combination helps meet the specific needs of the part’s design and the tight dimensional tolerance requirements of the large rear quarter window. A silicone hard coat protects the part against abrasion and weathering.

SMR Industries markets automotive rear mirrors made of plastic with five layers of coatings

Hall spent two years to produce the desired outcome, which is for the plastic mirror to be “as good as glass.” Experimenting with different techniques, what finally transpired was a plastic with five layer of coatings: polysiloxane, a layer of silicon dioxide, a chrome alloy (for the mirror finish), another layer of silicon dioxide (for scratch resistance), and a hydrophobic or water repelling layer for easy cleaning of the mirror. The inventor is eyeing on developing metallooking plastics for use in automotive accessories 3 NJ O AV N EUM AB RE Y R/ /F E DB ER CU EM AR BYE R2 021071 6

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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive “In addition to significant weight reduction, PC glazing allows for greater innovation than is now possible in glass, like design and styling freedom, thermal efficiency and parts integration,” said Jun Luo, Shentong’s Deputy General Manager. SGM is offering five trim levels of the popular GL8 model, which has been a mainstay of the Chinese market since 2000 with more than 700,000 sold. The establishment of new PC glazing manufacturing capability in China comes at a time when automotive makers in the country and across the world are under pressure to adopt lightweight technologies that can help them comply with increasingly stringent emission and fuel economy standards, in addition to improving the driving range of electric vehicles. M e a n w h i l e , S a b i c ’ s L e x a n P C is used for the rear quarter window sported by Toyota’s special edition 68 GRMN sports car – the first production vehicle to feature the automotive part in PC material with a plasma-coated solution. The sports vehicle, exclusive to Japan, was exhibited at a Tokyo automotive show in 2016.

Toyota pioneered the plasma-coated PC rear quarter window for its 68 GRMN sports car

Because Toyota aimed to achieve regulatory requirements at a global level, it turned to Sabic’s Exatec plasma technology. The flexible glass-like coating is deposited on top of a base wet coat to enhance performance. The window is about 50% lighter compared to a conventional glass solution. Traditionally, rear quarter windows in PC use wet-coat solutions. Depending on vehicle type and passenger position, wet-coat solutions can meet industry requirements for weatherability and abrasion resistance at that window location. In some cases though, a higher level of performance is required to meet driver visibility needs, according to Sabic.

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ADVERTORIAL

Chinaplas to choreograph three concurrent events

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The medical industry is one of the key industries adopting 3D printing equipment/technology

his year’s edition of Chinaplas 2017 will be held in Guangzhou from 16-19 May. Not only will more than 3,300 exhibitors introduce innovative solutions for the plastics and rubber industries, but the organiser will also hold a wealth of concurrent events to meet the industry’s multiple needs. Focusing on the theme of “Intelligent Manufacturing, High-tech Materials, Green Solutions”, the organiser Adsale Exhibition Services Ltd, will administrate three big concurrent events during the exhibition: the 2nd “Industry 4.0 Conference”, “Design x Innovation”, and the “3rd Medical Plastics Conference”.

The conference will provide practical and operational solutions for enterprises targeting urgent manufacturing upgrade. Industry 4.0 will eventually move towards the direction of customised, small batch production, which are also the characteristics of additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology. At the 1 st edition of Industry 4.0 Conference, machinery maker Arburg introduced the technology of additive manufacturing, which will be presented again at the sequel in greater depth and breadth. The Industry 4.0 Conference held last year not only brought together world renowned enterprises such as Arburg, KraussMaffei, Engel, Wittmann Battenfeld, Beckhoff, Volkswagen AG, Haier, and SAP to give presentations, but also attracted nearly 600 local and overseas professionals. “The Industry 4.0 Conference was well received by members of the Association, and the delegates agreed that there was quite some useful details,” commented the Anhui Plastics Industry Association. Furthermore, the Smart Manufacturing Technology Zone, a showcase of cutting-edge automation technologies, will provide a boost to the movement from “Made in China” to “Smartly Made in China.”

Industry 4.0 is the prime focus China has quickly become the world’s second largest national economy, and labour costs have risen sharply. It is no longer a low-wage cost country – all kinds of cost pressures force businesses to opt for more automation equipment and advanced technology in the production processes.

The 2nd Industry 4.0 Conference, presented with the support from VDMA, the German Engineering Federation, will be held concurrently. The conference will provide practical and operational solutions for enterprises targeting urgent manufacturing upgrade

“Design x Innovation” enlightens the upstream and downstream sectors Enterprise transformation and upgrading calls for industrial design innovation. Since its inception, “Design x Innovation” has attracted a lot of attention. As visitors’ needs get more sophisticated, the event itself is getting more vibrant – “Innovation Gallery”, “Open Forum”, “Meet the Designers” – are programmes which introduce success stories of innovative industrial designs to visitors. At the “Design x Innovation” event in 2016, the “Innovation Gallery” showcased a wide range of creative products for use in everyday life, for example, in the stadium, and at transportation hubs, among which the e-floater received great attention. This solar-powered electric scooter could help solve the “Last Mile” problem when applied to short-distance travel in the city. Some 80% of its materials come from German materials maker BASF, thereby reducing weight and increasing flexibility in design.

According to Stanley Chu, Chairman, Adsale Exhibition Services Ltd, China is still a developing country, and has not yet fulfilled the necessary conditions for industrial 4.0. “Only a few companies are making use of networking production technologies. Industry 4.0 is still a vision for many Chinese companies, but an attainable one, and attainable in the foreseeable future, if it is desired that something be done to cope with cost pressures.” It is to this end that Chinaplas 2017 gives Industry 4.0 top priority. The 2nd Industry 4.0 Conference, presented with the support from VDMA, the German Engineering Federation, will be held in the afternoon of 16 May, in the morning of 17 May and in the afternoon of 18 May 2017, in Conference Room 1, Level C, Zone B, China Import & Export Fair Complex, Pazhou. 5 JA N U A RY / F E B R U A RY 2 017

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medical applications and solutions,” praised Shanghai Medical Device Industry Association. “At the same time, processing technology related to the production of precision medical polymer was introduced, offering enterprises knowledge of new materials and direction of development.” The 2nd Medical Plastics Conference lasted two days, attracting 600 professional visitors. Topics covered were: the latest medical polymer materials, 3D printing in clinical and surgical model applications, medical laws and regulations, as well as application of surgical models. For instance, Shanghai MicroPort Medical Group introduced the technology of precision medical polymer tube for invasive medical device, and Wego Holding explained the opportunities and challenges of biomedical polymers development in China under the “new normal”. Attendees included delegates from 3M China, GE Medical, Poppelmann, UEG medical, Touren, GM, Renolit, Suzhou Baxter medical and other major enterprises. The 3rd Medical Plastics Conference, to be held in the afternoon of 17 May and on the morning of 18 May 2017 in Conference Room 1, Level C, Zone B, will bring together the upstream and downstream sectors of the industry to discuss the latest applications of medical plastics and cutting-edge production technology.

Since its inception, “Design x Innovation” has attracted a lot of attention. “Innovation Gallery”, “Open Forum” and “Meet the Designers” are the programmes, which introduce success stories of innovative industrial designs to visitors

Other innovative products include Elastopave permeable pavement, Running track with ETPU+EPDM composite, artificial turf, air fryer and Volvo integrated leather PU engine sound absorbing decorative covering. In addition, nearly 400 professionals also participated in five “Open Forum” sessions, “tasting” the “delicious chicken soup” prepared by 16 “heavyweight” speakers. “Plastics, especially new materials, continue to emerge, providing enormous help to the designing process,” remarked one of the speakers, Lian Zhen, General Manager of LKK Design Co, Shanghai, in an interview after his presentation. “The ‘Design x Innovation’ open forum is a relatively new format, allowing exchanges between creative designers and technical personnel, through which different sectors manage to understand each other’s needs and demands, and leads to better co-operation. I learned a lot from them.” “Meet the Designers” provided more opportunities for interaction and cooperation between industrial designers and end-users. Many acclaimed designers were present. What wonders is “Design x innovation” 2017 going to bring to the industry this year? Stay tuned!

The concurrent event, Medical Plastics Conference, has been held successfully in the past two years, receiving positive feedback from the industry, according to Adsale

The conference will also be concurrent with a showcase gallery that will focus on exhibitors’ medical products of all types in order to help visitors quickly spot their targets among the massive amount exhibits. Chinaplas 2017 will be held at the China Import & Export Fair Complex, Pazhou, Guangzhou, China. The admission fee is RMB30 (one day pass) and RMB50 (fourday pass). To enjoy free admission, please visit www. ChinaplasOnline.com/prereg to pre-register before 9 May 2017. Visitors successfully pre-registering before 1 March 2017 will receive the visitor badge by mail in advance. Please follow Chinaplas 2017 on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest information of the trade fair and the plastics and rubber industry. For further details, please visit the official show website at www.ChinaplasOnline.com

3rd Medical Plastics Conference The growing demand for medical devices by the huge population in recent years, the rise of emerging markets and the ageing society is triggering a renewed growth of the medical device market. China’s healthcare industry is at a stage of abundant potentials, but is at the same time having a low level of technology, prompting manufacturers to find adaptive solutions to existing production lines and cost pressures. New and better materials are the key to the future development of medical enterprises. The concurrent event Medical Plastics Conference has been held successfully in the past two years, receiving very positive feedback from the industry. “At the Medical Plastics Conference, the technical experts shared the state-of-the-art technology of the industry and analysed development direction of 6 JA N U A RY / F E B R U A RY 2 017

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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • Bridgestone Europe has entered into an exclusivity agreement with the shareholders of Groupe Ayme for the acquisition of the largest independent tyre specialist in France. This acquisition will add 104 points of sale in France under the “Côté Route” brand. As a result, the Bridgestone retail network, consisting of First Stop, Speedy and Côté Route, will have more than 900 points of sale. • Austrian Semperit Group and Thai Sri TrangAgro Industry Public are demerging almost all of their joint ventures by March 2017, after 27 years of cooperation. Semperit will take over Sempermed, the joint distribution company in the US as well as in Singapore, China and Brazil and the majority interest in Malaysia’s Formtech (producer of ceramic moulds for the glove production). In the industrial sector, Semperit will fully take over Semperflex Shanghai with a hydraulic hose production site in China. The group will also increase its share in the Semperform business activities in China from 90%-100%. Semperit will continue with its 50% stake in Semperflex Asia (SAC), the Thai joint venture with Sri Trang that will also take over the glove production of Siam Sempermed Corporation in Thailand. • The Automotive Business Unit of China-based Zhuzhou Times New Material Technology (TMT) has been integrated with Germany-based BOGE Rubber & Plastics Group, a global supplier in the

field of vibration control and plastics solutions in the automotive industry, to form BOGE Rubber & Plastics Zhuzhou. TMT is mainly engaged in the operation of polymer composite material research and engineering application business. It is also the parent company of BOGE Rubber & Plastics. BOGE’s first Chinese plant was opened in Qingpu (near Shanghai) in 2008. The new BOGE plant, located in Zhuzhou (Hunan), focuses on automotive products for vibration control technology and components for acoustic insulation. • Yokohama Rubber Company is purchasing Komakiheadquartered Aichi Tire, which manufactures tyres for industrial machinery, including forklifts. It supplies its products that include solid tyres and press-on tyres to clients of industrial machinery manufacturers, mainly in Japan. The acquisition, which is part of Yokohama’s business expansion plans, is expected to be completed by March this year. • Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI) is acquiring UK-based Micheldever Group from Graphite Capital Management for £215 million. Through the acquisition, SRI aims to strengthen the market position of its Falken tyre brand in the UK. Micheldever is a holding company controlling Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS), a wholesaler and retailer of tyres in the UK. MTS, which accounts for sales to over 6,000 retailers and repair shops across UK, also owns and operates

about 100 tyre retail outlets under the Protyre brand. MTS generates sales of some 6 million tyres/year. • Japanese tyre and rubber products company Toyo Tire & Rubber is expanding its R&D base at its US facility, due for completion this year. With a production capacity of 11.5 million tyres/year, it supplies the North American market with tyres developed through its R&D headquarters in Hyogo, Japan, and manufactured using Toyo’s highly automated and proprietary ATOM (Advanced Tyre Operation Module) technology. The company, meanwhile, has created a North America business development division at its Osaka office recently. • Marangoni Retreading Systems, the division of Marangoni Group focused in the development and global distribution of systems, materials and technologies for the cold retreading of commercial tyres, has partnered with retreading firm in Salamanca Recauchutados Fidel. It operates a retreading plant in Santa Maria de Tormes and has another three dealers in the Salamanca province. The tie up with Marangoni will not only render quality retreading for bus and truck tyres, but can also help protect the environment, especially in areas like Castile and Leon, it says. • India’s largest private sector company Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and Russian petrochemical giant Sibur will set up South Asia’s first butyl rubber

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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News halogenation unit at RIL’s integrated petrochemical site in Jamnagar, Gujarat under the joint venture Reliance Sibur Elastomers Private Limited (RSEPL). The joint venture also owns a 120,000tonne/year butyl rubber plant, currently under construction at the same venue. Construction of the butyl rubber plant is in full swing at Jamnagar and its commissioning targeted for 2018. • Sri Lankan specialised tyre manufacturer Global Rubber Industries (GRI) broke ground on its advanced speciality tyre plant on a ten-acre land in Badalgama. The US$40 million facility will produce pneumatic tyres for agriculture, industrial, off the road and construction vehicles for the export market; and is targeted to be the largest speciality tyre plant and the first plant to produce radial agricultural tyres in Sri Lanka. The new plant is expected to commence trial production by the end of 2017. • Rigid Tyre Corporation, backed by a US$75 million investment from UAE-based Sri Lankan businessman Nandana Lokuwithana, is building a new tyre plant in the Board of Investments (BOI) Industrial Zone in Wagawatta, Horana, in Sri Lanka. Equipped with the latest technology licensed from Italy’s Marangoni Group, the facility is tipped to be the biggest fully integrated tyre manufacturing plant in the country. The tyre plant, being the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, is commissioned to manufacture the whole

gamut of tyres including off-the-road (OTR) tyres, passenger car radials, and truck and bus radials. The plant will also eventually expand into other divisions that will add value to the country’s rubber industry. There are already plans to manufacture high-density conveyor belts for the mining industry and high-pressure hydraulic pipes for oil fields. The venture is expected to create over 3,000 job opportunities, both direct and indirect. The venture’s investor Lokuwithana is the Chairman of Ceylon Steel Corp. and its member company MA Steel Lanka, as well as Chairman of Onyx Group, a diversified holding company in UAE. • Finnish tyre manufacturer Black Donuts Engineering is looking at constructing a rubber tyre manufacturing plant worth US$200 million in Mindanao, Philippines. Black Donuts set up a timetable of two years for the assessment of the rubber plantations in the said areas. If the assessment results are favourable, then the company will move forward with the investment. The tyre manufacturing plant would produce at least 4 million tyres/year for regular cars, pick-up trucks and other small-type trucks. Rubber production in the Philippines in 2016 grew by 10% to 110,000 tonnes from 100,000 tonnes in 2015. • Nexen Tire Japan, a subsidiary of South Korean tyre manufacturer Nexen Tire (51%) and a joint venture with Toyota Tsusho Corporation (49%), has opened in Japan. Nexen Tire has been providing its

OE to global automobile manufacturers such as Porsche, Volkswagen, Renault and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and is actively carrying on various activities for its diverse marketing. Tsusho, the trading arm of Japan’s Toyota Group, mainly exports automobiles and automotive parts. • German company Continental has selected Rayong, Thailand, for its greenfield facility for passenger and light truck tyres. The first phase comprises an investment of EUR250 million with a planned production of 4 million tyres/year by 2022. The start of the operations is planned for 2019 and will create 900 new jobs in Thailand. The 750,000 sq m site will allow for an expansion to up to 25 million tyres/ year. Continental expects the start of construction and ground breaking in the course of 2017. Since 1999, Continental has ramped up five greenfield tyre plants namely in Romania, Brazil, China, Russia and the US. The project in Rayong and the greenfield project for commercial vehicle tyres in the US will extend Continental`s global tyre production footprint of 21 tyre plants in 17 countries. In the APAC region, Continental currently is operating five tyre plants in China, Malaysia, India and Sri Lanka. The firm’s tyre division has invested more than EUR3 billion to further expand its production as well as R&D facilities worldwide. In 2016, Continental produced more than 150 million passenger car tyres and truck tyres.

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Rubber Journal Asia Synthetic Rubber

Synthetic rubber: down but not out rubber gloves that are made from various kinds of polymers and latex including nitrile rubber, vinyl and neoprene. With the current price dynamics of these rubber types, synthetic rubber (which is considered more stable in supply than natural rubber) suddenly becomes more expensive. Will this affect demand for synthetic rubber in gloves manufacturing? New York-headquartered Persistence Market Research (PMR) finds that high-grade nitrile (synthetic) rubber is even more increasingly replacing natural latex, in light of the increasing incidences of allergy with latex gloves use.

Mired by the current tight supply and high prices, brought on by an increase in oil prices, the synthetic rubber sector is facing challenging times; but it still has a lucrative future with companies shoring up capacities and tying up resources to build up the market further, according to Angelica Buan in this report.

High-grade nitrile rubber is found to be even more increasingly replacing natural latex, in light of the increasing incidences of allergy with latex gloves use

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he call from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to reduce oil output to 1.2 barrels per day (BPD) for six months starting January 2017 resulted in a rise in crude oil prices, according to the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC). The latter is an inter-governmental organisation comprising 11 members that together account for about 90% of global production of natural rubber: Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. The move levered up the Brent crude oil by 20.5% or averaging at US$53/barrel this year, from the previous year’s US$44/barrel, citing the recent Short-Term Energy Outlook released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). With oil price revitalised, prices of feedstock, including that of synthetic rubbers, being petroleum-derived products, are set to go up. It is said that a mere percent change in oil rates translates into 0.6% shift in prices of synthetic rubbers. The scenario, on the other hand, offers demand opportunity for natural rubber amid tight supply that is further riled by the recent floods in Thailand, which accounts for 37% of global supply of natural rubber. According to ANRPC, the increase in oil price has kindled possibilities for natural rubber to be filling in demand for synthetic rubbers, which are at the cusp of tight supply and high prices.

Market demand for rubber gloves is robust, and this will continue to surge, especially in the third and fourth quarter of the year, according to the Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma). Representing glove makers of Malaysia, which accounts for over 50% of the world market, Margma, while denying there is glut in rubber gloves production, admits to the rising production cost burdening gloves makers in the country. Adding to output cost woes is the rising cost to produce synthetic rubber, due to a looming shortage of its key ingredient butadiene. As expected, the remedy to sustain profit margins is to increase the prices of rubber gloves and add on the higher production cost to consumers. Producers have increased glove prices by US$1 to US$1.50 from September to December 2016. This year, against the back of higher raw materials cost, nitrile gloves prices may be adjusted by US$2.50 to US$3.50 per 1,000 pieces.

Domino effect on rubber gloves price/demand ncreasing prices of both natural and synthetic rubbers affect prices of rubber products such as

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Rubber Journal Asia TyreSynthetic Market Rubber Malaysia’s MIDF Amanah Investment Bank’s research team, in its report published in December, attributed the nitrile price surge to an increase in natural rubber’s price (primarily due to the annual wintering season for rubber trees from March until May); and to the temporary shutdown of petrochemical plants in China that produce nitrile butadiene. The latter, according to MIDF, may be due to maintenance and refurbishment works rather than shortage of the feedstock. Tyres priced up on tight butadiene supply utadiene, an intermediate petrochemical used for the production of styrene butadiene rubber (SSBR) used in tyres, is also in tight supply as demand from China’s tyre makers keeps surging, says a 2016 butadiene rubber report by Petrochemical Reporter. Other reasons for the tight supply are steam crackers shifting to lighter feedstocks such as the gas-fed crackers in the Middle East, which have little butadiene co-product; coal-to-olefins plants in China, which produce no butadiene, and the development of shale gas in the US. All these factors are consequently flaring up the cost of the raw material. Tyres are the largest end-user segment of the synthetic rubber market, accounting for more than 50% share in 2014. It is expected to be the fastest growing end-user segment, expanding at a CAGR of 4.3% from 2015 to 2023, Transparency Markets Research (TMR) said in a market report. With butadiene becoming more expensive, and to offset costs, rubber manufacturers are pressed to either defer production or use lower-grade butadiene, which is cheaper than the oft-preferred high-grade butadiene. Triggered by the higher production cost, a trail of price hikes for tyres have been announced and eventually implemented. French tyre maker’s US arm, Michelin North America, increased its prices up by 8% for passenger, heavy truck, earthmover, industrialhandling, agriculture and two-wheel tyre products across all of the company’ s brands in North America and Mexico. US-headquartered Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is also bumping up prices of its product range in North America by 8%. In January, Canadian Dynamic Tire implemented a price hike of between 5-8% for its Sailun-brand of passenger, light truck, medium truck and ST-type trailer tyres in North America. Other companies are waiting until 1 March as the target date for charging up prices. Tennessee-

B

Due to higher production costs, several tyremakers, including Bridgestone Americas, are increasing prices of tyre products

headquartered speciality after-market tyre OEM, Carlstar Group, is increasing prices by 8-12% for its Carlisle, Marastar, Marathon and Ultra CRT speciality tyre brands; adding on to the 5-8% increase for its ITP brand of tyres already in force. Bridgestone Americas is also setting an 8% price adjustment across its range of passenger, light truck, OTR and agriculture tyres and tubes in North America; and Nexen Americas is adding 5% increase on its tyre prices. Taiwanese tyre makers have also picked up on the trend. Cheng Shin Rubber, the producer of Maxxis brand, is mulling a price increase to take effect in the first quarter of 2017; Kenda Rubber, on the other hand, is upping prices by 3-5%. Rise of new plants to build up supply of raw materials ortunately, efforts are being exerted by some industry players to build up capacities and stabilise the supply of synthetic rubbers. For example, US-based global chemical materials firm Trinseo is increasing capacity of SSBR at its synthetic rubber manufacturing complex in Schkopau, Germany. With this expansion, adding 50 kilotonnes of SSBR, to meet growing customer demand for the product, specifically the Sprintan rubber products in performance tyres, the company’ s global SSBR production will go up 33%. This additional capacity is expected to be online in January 2018. Joint ventures among industry’s major players are also being set up. India-based Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and Russian petrochemical firm Sibur’s joint venture Reliance Sibur Elastomers Private Limited (RSEPL) will

F

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Rubber Journal Asia Synthetic Rubber build South Asia’ s first halogenated butyl rubber (HBR) unit at RIL’s integrated petrochemical plant in Jamnagar, expected to be commissioned by 2018. The facility will be producing 60,000 tonnes yearly of HBR, a key ingredient for manufacturing inner liners of tubeless tyres, as well as in the manufacture of pharmaceutical closures and tank inner liners. The joint venture is also constructing a 120,000 tonnes/year butyl rubber plant at the same site to provide necessary butyl rubber feed to the halogenation unit. Sabic and ExxonMobil’s US$3.4 billion joint venture, Al-Jubail Petrochemical Company (KEMYA), is expected to start commercial operations in the first quarter of this year as announced by the partner companies in October last year. The 50:50 joint venture plant has the capacity to produce more than 400,000 tonnes/year of halobutyl, styrene-butadiene, polybutadiene, thermoplastics and carbon black; and will be supplying markets in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. A synergistic partnership has likewise transpired between Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical and Zeon Corporation to integrate the two firms’ SSBR businesses. The Tokyo-located joint venture, ZS Elastomer (ZSE), with a start-up capital of US$4 million will carry out R&D, manufacturing and processing of SSBR; as well as buying and selling the material for the production of low rolling-resistance tyres. Zeon Corporation owns 60% of the joint venture, while Sumitomo Corporation owns the rest of the 40% share. The joint venture is expected to be launched in April this year. Last but not the least, Saudi Arabia stateowned petrochemicals firm Saudi Aramco and German speciality chemicals company Lanxess have also joined forces to form synthetic rubber

Hose compound based on Arlanxeo’s standard NBR

company Arlanxeo. The EUR2.75 billion joint venture is commissioned for the development, production, marketing, sale and distribution of synthetic rubbers used in tyres, automotive parts and an array of other applications. The Netherlands-headquartered Arlanxeo has recently established a rubber technology centre in China’s Changzhou National Hi-Tech District (CND), housing five laboratories, each with advanced facilities. The centre is aimed to hone China and the rest of Asia as “serious” players in terms of R&D into rubber. Thus, the consolidated efforts of industry players are securing a sturdy market for synthetic rubber, projected to be worth over US$45 million by 2023, amidst the challenges at its fore – for the benefit of end-users. Arlanxeo produces and markets synthetic rubbers used in tyres, automotive parts and an array of other applications

Various Arlanxeo rubber grades are used in a car

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January-February 2017