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In this issue

Volume 31, No 220

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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 包裝: 新的包裝技術與食品安全 18 Front Cover Feature – US-headquartered Davis-Standard supplies extrusion and converting solutions to the global plastics and rubber processing industries. China and Asia are important markets for the company that will exhibit at Chinaplas, at Booth C01, Hall W1

22 Technology at Chinaplas – An update on technology and products to be displayed by some exhibitors at the Chinaplas show to be held in Shanghai from 25-28 April 28 Trade & Industry – TPPA and RCEP can open up more opportunities for ASEAN in key regional markets; yet at the same time test its indivisibility

32 Film/Sheet Extrusion Technology – A round up on some of the latest news in the industry

34 Packaging – Demand potentials for smart packaging are being unwrapped in response to growing concerns for food safety 38 Plastics Industry – Experts at the Asia Plastics Forum, held in Bangladesh, spoke about how the industry’s image has been tarnished and offered solutions on how it can be reversed

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 ISSN 1360-1245

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4 Industry News 8 Materials News 11 業界新聞

Supplements 副 刊

The photo, which appeared on pg 23 of the January/February issue, shows PhD students Akbar Vahidi and Tian Kaiyuan from the National University of Singapore, and not scientists from KU Leuven as originally captioned. We apologise for the error.

With 3D bioprinting, organ and prosthetics fabrication will never be the same again From self-healing and biobased to spherical designs, tyres have come a long way DIGITAL+PRINT

Associate Publisher/Editor Tej Fernandez Tel: +60 3 4260 4575 Email: tej@plasticsandrubberasia.com

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On the Cover

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. © 2015 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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Machinery maker Davis-Standard is bringing its Global Advantage™ focus to Asia

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Industry News

M&As/Tie-ups • Italian extrusion machinery maker Gruppo Colines has acquired another Italian company Torninova. Both companies make air bubble film and Colines also makes blown and cast film equipment. It also builds lines for making magnetic gaskets for refrigerators and freezers. Torninova also makes extrusion lines for stretch film, flexographic printing equipment, converting machines and lines for masterbatch and compounding. • Kiefel of Germany, part of the Brückner Group, is acquiring a 100% share in Mould & Matic Solutions, which currently belongs to the Austrian Haidlmair Group. Mould & Matic Solutions, located in Micheldorf, Austria, is a supplier of tools and of automation solutions to the packaging industry. Kiefel has also acquired a 100% share in Dutch company Bosch Sprang. It manufactures tilting moulds 4

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for use in the production of plastic cups. • US-based Thermoforming Technologies Group (TTG) has been sold to Tenex Capital Management by its owner Spell Capital. Tenex is a private equity fund that invests in middle-market companies. Terms were not disclosed. TTG was formed in July 2014 through the combination of thermoforming equipment manufacturers Brown Machine and Lyle Industries. Michiganbased TTG also owns Epco, a remanufacturer and repair service for injection moulding and die casting equipment. • Speciality label and packaging solutions provider CCL Industries has acquired Zephyr Company, a privately held company headquartered in Singapore, and its two Malaysian subsidiaries in Penang and Johore, purchasing 100% of the outstanding equity interest in the three

entities in both countries from multiple private shareholders. Zephyr is a label converter focused on customers in the electronics industry. Purchase price consideration is estimated at US$39 million and includes a large owned facility in Singapore. • US-based integrated chemicals and building products company Axiall Corporation has sold its window and door profiles business, a component of Royal Building Products, to OpenGate Capital. The Axiall compounding facility located in Concord, Ontario, is included. Axiall was recently in the news when it rejected a takeover bid of US$2.9 billion from compatriot Westlake Chemical. • US biomaterials firm Metabolix has tied up with South Korea’s CJ CheilJedang Corporation to manufacture its speciality PHAs (polyhydroxy alkanoates), including the newly launched amorphous PHA

(a-PHA). CJ will construct a 10 kilotonne PHA production unit at its Iowa facility based on Metabolix’s PHA technology. Metabolix will buy the speciality PHAs produced by CJ, and market and sell the materials. The companies also expect a larger scale PHA production and related commercial activities. In late 2015 and early 2016, Metabolix and CJ undertook a comprehensive feasibility study of CJ’s facility as a potential site. • Chemical firms Ineos and Solvay will end their 50/50 chlorvinyls Inovyn joint venture earlier than originally planned in the second half of 2016, upon closing of the transaction, with Ineos to become the sole shareholder. Ineos and Solvay formed Inovyn in July 2015, and Solvay's exit was originally planned for July 2018. Upon its exit, Solvay will receive a final exit price payment of EUR335 million.


Industry News

• Germany-based BASF and Dutch chemicals firm Avantium have set up a joint venture for the production of renewably-sourced furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), as well as marketing of polyethylenefuranoate (PEF), based on the new chemical building block. The partners will use the YXY process developed by Avantium at its pilot plant in Geleen, Netherlands, to produce FDCA. A plant with a capacity of up to 50,000 tonnes/year of FDCA will be set up at BASF’s site in Antwerp, Belgium. FDCA is the essential chemical building block for the production of PEF. • Covestro and Japanese firm Nanodax are to develop polycarbonate composites reinforced with glass wool, using Nanodax’s process. Conventionally, glass fibres are used. However, the new technology developed by Nanodax enables the use of glass wool. It has a small diameter and is more flexible than glass fibres. The joint

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development work will be performed primarily at Covestro´s Polymer Research & Development Centre (PRDC) in Shanghai, China. • The agreement between Canadian injection moulding machine maker Athena Automation and Italy’s blow moulding machine maker Sipa, entered into in 2012, has now expired. Under the agreement, Sipa partnered with Athena Automation, a company founded by ex-Husky (Canadian injection moulding machine maker) owner Robert Schad, to build a line of automated PET injection moulding and blow moulding machines. Sipa was also to make all the preform moulds for Athena machines. Athena now says it will support Sipa in shipping and servicing the remaining “Athena for Sipa” machine inventory. Athena will also take over the sales of its PET machines, alongside its nonPET machines. The latter company has a new 14,400 sq m plant in the early start-up phase.

Plant Set-Ups • Luxembourgbased plastics supplier Ravago will start up a production line for TPE in Zhejiang, China, to further expand its current global TPE business to a capacity of 75,0 0 0-tonnes at four production sites around the world. Its other facilities are in Turkey, US and Germany. • BASF and South Korean engineering plastics maker Kolon Plastics are setting up a 50:50 joint venture named Kolon BASF innoPOM in South Korea to manufacture polyoxymethylene (POM), with a capacity of 70,000 tonnes/year. It will be located at the existing manufacturing site of Kolon in Gimcheon, which already includes a POM production. The start of operation is scheduled for the second half of 2018 creating in total the world’s largest complex for the production of POM. Following the start-up of the new plant, BASF will discontinue production of POM in Ludwigshafen.

• Japanese firm Teijin is expanding its Technora para-aramid fibre production by 10% through increasing capacity in at its Matsuyama factory. Construction begins this June at a cost of 1.5 billion yen, with operation slated to begin from October 2017. • Munich-based chemicals group Wacker recently inaugurated its 1,500 sq m expanded technical centre in Singapore. A new laboratory has been built for developing and testing silicone elastomers for growing industries such as health care and electronics. At the same time, the laboratories for silicones and polymeric binders dedicated to construction applications have been expanded and newly furnished. • Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) has awarded Comet Biorefining, a grant of CA$10.9 million for the construction of an advanced biobased chemicals plant.


INDUSTRY NEWS Located in Sarnia, Ontario, the plant will use proprietary conversion technology to transform corn stover, an agricultural residue, into highpurity dextrose sugar. • Japanese-South Korean joint venture Mitsui Chemicals & SKC Polyurethanes inaugurated a bio-polyol joint venture in India with local partner Jayant AgroOrganics and Japanese firm Itoh Oil Chemical. Known as Vithal Castor Polyols (VCP), the joint venture has started producing bio-polyols at an 8,000-tonne/ year facility in Gujarat. VCP aims

to manufacture and sell biopolyol using Indian castor oil from non-edible plants as a main raw material since 80% of the world’s castor oil is produced in India. • Dutch chemicals firm Corbion has completed the pre-engineering for a PLA polymerisation plant and is entering the basic-engineering phase. Following strong customer interest in PLA, Corbion commenced with pre-engineering in 2015. The plant, with a capacity of 75 kilotonnes/year, will be located in Rayong Province, Thailand, at the

existing Corbion site. Corbion will also expand its existing lactide plant in Thailand by 25 kilotonnes/ year. Construction, which is expected to require capital expenditures of approximately EUR65 million for the PLA plant and EUR20 million for the lactide plant, is expected to start later this year with a targeted start-up in the second half of 2018. • Speciality chemicals maker Perstorp is working with MIDC (Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation) to evaluate the set up of a new world scale production plant for Penta (Pentaerythritol)

in India. Perstorp acquired the Penta business from Koei Chemical Company, a Japanese chemicals producer, last year. • China’s largest polyurethane adhesives maker Huitian New Materials expects to have full operation of its 10 kilotonnes/year single-component adhesives facility at its Xianggyang site by the end of 2016. Currently, the facility which took off in 2015, is running at 30% capacity. The new facility is said to be the world’s first fully automatic singlecomponent PU adhesives line.

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Materials News Hungry for PET Japanese researchers from Kyoto Institute of Technology and Keio University have found a specie of bacteria, Ideonella sakaiensis, which eats PET bottles. According to the study, the bacterium, also known as “polymer chompers”, could almost completely degrade a thin film of PET after six weeks at a temperature of 30°C. When grown on PET, this strain produces two enzymes capable of hydrolysing PET and the reaction intermediate, mono(2hydroxyethyl) terephthalic acid, to disintegrate the plastic and convert it to carbon dioxide and water. To find the bacteria, the researchers collected 250 PETcontaminated samples from a bottle recycling site. They screened the microbes living on the samples to investigate whether any of them were eating the PET and using it to grow. They found a consortium of microbes that appeared to break down PET, however, just one of the bacteria species, was responsible for PET degradation. Published in the journal Science, the discovery could be a breakthrough in managing PET bottle waste. But even though the organisms can proliferate fast, they eat slowly, hence recycling is, for now, the way to go in clearing up landfills of bottle waste. Mushrooms of possibilities What do you get when you feed oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) and the inedible Splitgill (Schizophyllum commune) with bite-sized plastics? More mushrooms that are edible! Concocted by designers Katharina Unger and Julia Kaisinger, along with scientists from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, Fungi Mutarium is a prototype incubator inspired by a 2013 study done by Yale University researchers as part of their annual Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory activity. The group found a rare mushroom, Pestalotiopsis microspore, in the Amazon forests that survives on polyurethane (PU), and breaks it down in an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment, similar to conditions in a landfill.

An incubator that creates edible mushrooms from plastics and mycelium


Materials News

Fungi Mutarium features a series of little white cups that are made from agar (seaweed) starch and sugar. Roots of the oyster mushrooms and Splitgill are dropped into the cups; slivers of UV light-treated plastic waste are also placed in the cups and serve as food for the mushrooms. In the experiment, new shoots of mushrooms started to grow in just a few weeks. After several months, the plastics were all eaten up, and the agar cups yielded edible white mushrooms, which, theoretically, are “safe” to eat. Packaging made from mushrooms, unlike the conventional foam

Presenting the other side of mushrooms as a non-edible biopolymer option, New York-based Ecovative Design has developed mycelium-based materials to provide a natural alternative to traditional plastics and synthetic packaging. Mycelium, the vegetative part of a mushroom fungus, binds with crop waste like seed husks and corn stalks to form a bioplastic. The mushroom-based material is home compostable (mushrooms can break down between a month to three months) and non-abrasive. Have your food and eat the wrapping, too Waste packaging infiltrating the environment is the result of poor disposal and poor waste management. But what if we do not have to discard the packaging, but instead are able to eat it? Algae are the superstar ingredients in a new edible bottle for water. The agar-made bottle prototype developed by Ari Jónsson, a product design student at Iceland Academy of the Arts, needs the water to hold up and stay in shape. After the water inside it is consumed, the jellylike bottle will start to decompose. Yet, it has the ability to keep the liquid naturally cool even in hot weather, Jónsson explained. Still in the design phase, the bottle features need finetuning, including its shelf life, taste, and tear resistance. One important challenge for the seaweed bottle is the length of time it would take to biodegrade.

Red algae powder combined with water to create a biodegradable water bottle

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Algae are also the key ingredients in glass-like eatable cups made by US start-up founders Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker of Loliware. Initially offering biodegradable and edible cups, Loliware is heading out to making a range of tableware. The two industrial designers say that the cup can hold a drink for more than 24 hours and has a shelf life of three months.

The so-called biodegr”edible” cups by Loliware are made from seaweed gelatin that gives it its structure, with all-natural sweeteners, organic ingredients and flavoured-colour derived from fruits and vegetables

Researchers at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, Embrapa Instrumentation, a state-owned company affiliated with the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, developed edible plastic films from dehydrated fruits and vegetables such as spinach, papaya, tomatoes and guava mixed with a nanomaterial. The dehydration process involves freezing the food feedstock into solid state then turning directly into gas but skipping the liquid phase, hence the nutritional value is kept intact. The film features similar basic properties such as resistance, texture and ability to protect food as with conventional plastics used in food packaging. Fortifying the packaging with chitosan, the outer skeleton of shell foods that has antibacterial polysaccharide, can prolong the shelf-life of food. French researchers have also come up with packaging called WikiCells, designed to mimic the “natural wrapper” of fruit and vegetables that protects yet is edible. Edible plastic made from papayas

Are we ready to encompass all the palatable possibilities edible packaging can bring? It is a novelty and bears a noble goal, yet is still a long way off to becoming a mainstream packaging option or to taking over biodegradable materials. Moreover, observers are sceptical whether the consuming public are willing to ingest the packaging, regardless if it’s deemed “safe” to eat. Nonetheless, it offers a sweet potential to enjoy our food from inside to out – of course, with the packaging and all. Bon Appétit!


業界新聞


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38_op.pdf 2015/10/28 2:31:49 PM


Front Cover Feature

Taking the global advantage to Asia A major player in the machinery segment, US-headquartered Davis-Standard supplies technologically-advanced extrusion and converting solutions to the global plastics and rubber processing industries. China and Asia, on the whole, are important markets for Davis-Standard that will exhibit at the Chinaplas show in Shanghai from 25-28 April, at Booth C01, Hall W1. For more information about DavisStandard’s Global Advantage™ prior to Chinaplas, visit www.davis-standard.com

I

high return of investment, which are timely considerations to outsmart challenges in production costs and quality, says the company. Not being lulled by China’s economic growth in 2016, which analysts say will be its lowest in 25 years, Davis-Standard has in fact expanded its Jim Murphy was laboratory at its subsidiary appointed President/ in Suzhou, to help clients CEO of Davis-Standard develop new medical tubing last year, taking over products and test resins. the position vacated by The 46,30 0-sq ft Suzhou Bob Preston who left the facility represents a core of company. Jim has been Davis-Standard’s footprint with Davis-Standard in Asia Pacific, since the for more than 25 years, progressing through region accounts for 30% of various leadership roles the company’s business. in sales and engineering Davis-Standard will also management promote the expansion of its film technology and aftermarket services with the recent acquisition of US extrusion machinery compatriot Gloucester Engineering Company (GEC). We gather more information on the company’s focus from an interview conducted with Jim Murphy, President, Davis-Standard.

n the next three years to 2019, global plastics processing machinery demand is expected to rise to 4% annually, to nearly US$36 billion, according to research firm Freedonia. It points to extrusion machinery as a strong contender in terms of clinching top grossing sales. In the Asia Pacific region, which would account for half of the global equipment output in 2017, the market maintains an upward trajectory for its plastics processing machinery shipments. According to Freedonia, China will boost sales and account for 59% of the total regional output. It is against this background that Davis-Standard will exhibit at Chinaplas, relying on its Global Advantage™ focus on its wide ranging solutions for key markets including food packaging, medical, electronics, energy, agriculture as well as construction and automotive. Davis-Standard is scoring in the One of its competitive edges is flexible packaging sector with providing equipment that is costits dsX flex-pack™ extrusion coating line effective, durable and offering a

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Front Cover Feature PRA: At Chinaplas, Davis-Standard will be promoting its new technology and regional capabilities. How has demand in Asia grown for the company in terms of equipment such as medical tubing technology and the dsX™ product line? Jim: Everything we’re promoting at Chinaplas represents a strong growth area for us in this market. We’ve especially seen strong demand for flexible packaging and medical tubing equipment. An example is the dsX flex-pack™ (extrusion coating) line. Asian converters are seeking the advantages of high-speed lamination, subsequent waste reduction and improved quality offered by this machine. The economical benefit of these 450 mpm machines is allowing many regional converters to separate themselves from the competition. The flex-pack™ is also built with an adaptable machine configuration to support a variety of end-use markets and that is advantageous. In fact, this machine is built for cost-sensitive flexible packaging applications, where fast and reliable production is essential.

It also includes a single-layer tubing line designed specifically for the production of FPVC tubing for IV and fluid delivery applications. Products ranging in size from 2 mm OD to 10 mm OD can be produced with an accuracy of +/- 50 microns at line speeds up to 10 0 mpm. Davis-Standard’s facility in Pawcatuck, Connecticut, also has a fully equipped medical tubing laboratory. PRA: Since opening a subsidiary in Suzhou four years ago, Davis-Standard now has a manufacturing base in China. How can customers in Asia benefit from this? Jim: The biggest advantage we’re able to offer is regional support. Our response and delivery time has improved and customers appreciate that.

“The biggest advantage we’re able to offer is regional support.” Furthermore, the flex-pack™ excels in price, performance and delivery. The economical benefits of these machines have surprised converters. To get 450 mpm, along with improved bonding strength and waste reduction, is a significant advantage. In medical tubing, we see the need for turnkey systems that offer materials versatility. Our systems are built to support extruder outputs up to 315 kg/ hour and line speeds up to 240 mpm for materials, including PLA, PLLA, PEEK, FPVC, polyurethane, nylon, PEBAX and FEP. To support this, we offer R&D trials at our laboratory in Suzhou, where we have two lines for product development and testing. The laboratory features direct-drive 19 mm and 24 mm single-screw extruders, each with a polymer melt pump, a sophisticated threelayer spiral flow tubing die, PLC line control with data acquisition, precision vacuum sizing tank for both rigid and flexible products, closed loop ID/OD control via an ultrasonic gauging system, a servo-controlled combination puller/ cutting system, and a transport conveyer with single-zone air eject.

The company is able to keep in tandem with the evolving Chinese market, offering feedscrew designs, control systems and modular technology

Last year, we grew our regional sales team in Asia and our staff in Suzhou to support our expansion in the region. We understand that to be competitive in China, we have to keep quality and value at the forefront. Our feedscrew designs, control systems and modular technology along with our longstanding reputation for quality and service give us a strong position now and as the Chinese market evolves. PRA: A strong market sector for Davis-Standard in China is medical tubing. How is the company catering to the demands of the market sector? MARCH / APRIL 2016

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Front Cover Feature packaging provides a lightweight package that is durable and often re-sealable – these are features that consumers desire. PRA: Are there new emerging trends in healthcare that Davis-Standard is considering breaking through?

The Suzhou facility offers R&D trials, where it has two lines for product development and testing

Jim: Our laboratory in Suzhou is a huge part of supporting that mark et sector. Customers are able to test new resins and processes prior to making a large capital investment. The ver satility of our systems is also essential. Again, to reiterate, we’re able to accommodate customer s with technology that addresses a variety of tubing.

Jim: Healthcare continues to grow in Asia and the need for medical products and devices grows with this demand. Plastics are a high performance material for the medical industry, providing disposable products that reduce the possibility of infections. We are seeing increased development of multi-layer structures and smaller diameter tubing to provide better physical property performance across a range of new applications. PRA: Davis-Standard works with US auxiliary firm Conair for medical tubing. How does this benefit customers in Asia?

PRA: W hat will be the expected trends in the packaging sector in Asia? Jim: Pack aging continues to grow in Asia based on strong demand for pack aged products and continued growth of the economy. Flexible pack aging is growing faster than the overall pack aging mark et due to the many benefits it provides. Flexible

In medical tubing, the company caters to the need for turnkey systems that offer material versatility

With automation, Davis-Standard says it is able to provide timely delivery

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Jim: We have worked with Conair for more than 20 years. Not only do we partner on system components, we do a lot of collaborative R&D work in our respective laboratories. The longevity of our relationship and the complementary aspects of our equipment benefit customers in Asia and around the world.


Front Cover Feature

“We finished 2015 stronger than 2014, and anticipate 2016 to be even better.” Jim: We have ridden out economic ups and downs before and this is no different. Our focus is to excel in price, performance, delivery and service and this will not change. If anything it will continue to make us better because you have to work harder to earn business. PRA: B riefly, how did Davis-Standard fare in terms of revenue/growth targets for 2015 and what is expected for 2016? Which countries/ markets sectors will the company be focusing on in 2016? It has a wide stock of spare parts to cater to clients' requests

PRA: What was the strategy behind DavisStandard’s acquisition of competitor extrusion machinery maker Gloucester Engineering Company (GEC)? What are the benefits offered by the addition of GEC? Jim: GEC has always been a market leader. Having their brand under our umbrella broadens and strengthens our product offering in blown film, cast film and foam sheet. Together, we offer industry technology that is going to be tough to beat.

Jim: We finished 2015 stronger than 2014, and anticipate 2016 to be even better. As far as geographic markets, we seek to be strong in every market where we have a presence. North America and Europe continue to be staples for us. China, the rest of Asia and South America continue to present growth opportunities that we will capitalise on. As far as applications, we can support all of them no matter where our customers are located. Film, extrusion coating, sheet and medical tubing are among our strongest areas worldwide.

“Davis-Standard will also promote the expansion of its film technology and aftermarket services with the recent acquisition of US extrusion machinery compatriot Gloucester Engineering Company.” In fact, the addition of GEC is especially exciting for our film customers because we are able to offer the largest installed base of film technology and aftermarket services under one roof, including opportunities to improve performance. PRA: With a general lull in the world economy, how does Davis-Standard expect to navigate this situation to maintain its market positioning/growth targets?

The company’s Super Blue extruder model is engineered for custom profile and tubing applications as well as fibre, sheet, and basic wire and cable processes. Advantages of this design include double reduction gearboxes with helical carburised gears, an integral high capacity thrust bearing, cast iron feed section, bimetallic barrel and heated clamp arrangement, DSBM-T barrier mixing feedscrew, integrated control cabinet, and digital speed and meters MARCH / APRIL 2016

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Technology at Chinaplas Materials • Chemicals firm BASF will exclusively co-host the Design x Innovation event, showcasing how innovative materials enable new product designs in the areas of mobility, sports and leisure, as well as building and living. In addition to product exhibits, the event will feature industry expert discussions at open forums. The focus of the event lies on plastics technologies that enable product designs, which address evolving customer needs, sustainability demands and regulatory requirements. • Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) specialist Kraiburg will focus on its Thermolast K UV/HF series, for automotive exterior applications requiring high UV resistance and high flowability. TPEs based on styrene block copolymers (TPS) have the advantage of production flexibility that are applicable to a diverse range of products and can be customised via the choice of additives, dyes and other thermoplastics. They are also less demanding in terms of processing parameters than other TPE materials, such as TPVs and TPUs. As a result, they do not experience significant loss of UV resistance at critical processing parameters, such as high shear rates or elevated temperatures. Besides easy flowability, the series has perfect adhesion to PP. It is tested according to PV3930 for outdoor use on applications such as cowls, gaskets, roof rims, water deflectors and window encapsulations

Kraiburg’s Copec has been tested on the flexible ear pieces of the new Astrospec 2.0 safety glasses from Uvex

Meanwhile, as the demand for wearable devices like ear pieces, eyeglass frames and watches increase, so has the demand for comfortable, silky soft, and irritation-free material. Kraiburg offers Copec, a TPE totally free of all latex, PVC and heavy metals. It is processed as part of dual-component injection moulding with polycarbonate (PC) using an approach that simplifies manufacturing, slashes cycle times and eliminates the need for additional work procedures. The material is colourable with colour stability to meet the diverse needs of the fast expanding wearable personal devices market.

• Soft-touch overmoulding technologies have radically changed the design possibilities for consumer and industrial products, by including tactile and non-slip features and expanded colour, texture

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and functional options. Thus, compounding group Hexpol will present new Dryflex TPE compounds for PA overmoulding. Due to its high strength, impact and high temperature resistance, PA is often used in power tools, with TPE adding safety features such as a non-slip grip or ergonomic handle. It offers grades with high bonding strength to PA6, PA66, PA12 and PA blends as well as reinforced PA with up to 40% glass fibre, with wide processing window from 200°C280°C. The compounds can be processed via insert and multi-shot processing technologies. Pipe Extrusion • Pipe machinery maker Unicor has introduced the UC36 G2 corrugator for manufacturing technical pipes with diameters up to 135 mm. It can achieve production speeds of up to 60 m/minute, and with 80 pairs of mould blocks can reach outputs for PVC corrugated pipes (cable conduit) of up to 250 kg/ hour. Unicor completely redesigned the mould blocks, with uniform cooling for four external sides of the mould blocks for even heat distribution. Adjustments have also become a thing of the past thanks to a mechanical allocation solution. Unicor’s latest US36 G2 corrugator

To guarantee a long lifespan with minimal maintenance, Unicor says it uses parts from German suppliers, such as the servomotor, gears and touch display. The basic version of the corrugator is equipped with 50 pairs of mould blocks. This can be expanded to 65 or 80 pairs to increase production capacity. The optional vacuum can also enhance the production of corrugated pipes for a wide variety of applications.

• Battenfeld-cincinnati (Foshan) Extrusion Systems will feature the largest of three extruders, the LeanEX 90, at the show. The single-screw extruders are built at its facility in China using European technology, selected European components and locally sourced screws, barrels, motors. It offers three available extruder sizes: 60, 75 and 90 mm with outputs ranging from 350-800 kg/hour for HDPE and from 280-600 kg/hour for PP-R. It will also show the twinEx 93-28D twin-screw extruder,


Technology at Chinaplas for profile/pipe as well as PVC sheet extrusion, with outputs ranging from 115 kg/hour-2,500 kg/hour.

properties. The newly introduced Aquacage can automatically adjust the bubble diameter for film widths between 750 and 1,250 mm, similar to conventional blown film lines.

Battenfeld-cincinnati will show the twinEX 93-28D twin-screw extruder, which was recently introduced in China The machine can be used for profile, pipe as well as PVC sheet extrusion

Film Extrusion โ€ข Windmรถller & Hรถlscher (W&H) will present the modular Aquarex blown film line with water cooling as well as the newly developed Aquacage, which allows automatic adjustment of the bubble diameter and thus increases the form flexibility of the line. The demand for new, innovative films is increasing in all areas of application and industries. Asian customers as well appreciate the high quality and the innovative properties of films produced with water cooling, says W&H.

W&H will present the modular blown film line Aquarex with water cooling

The Aquarex blows film downward and uses water instead of air to cool the bubble, allowing for rapid cooling of the melt, thus keeping crystallinity of the film low and maintaining its amorphous molecular structure. The resulting positive film properties are high clarity and gloss as well as good sealability, puncture resistance and favourable thermoforming MARCH / APRIL 2016

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Technology at Chinaplas • Brückner Maschinenbau will focus on battery separator film lines with a working width up to 4.5 m. It will also show a new solution called “decentralised electric”. All power switches, motor control units, frequency converters, inputs for sensors and outputs for actuators are directly linked to the machine components. With this plug-and-play solution the commissioning time can be optimised, allowing for cost reduction and the availability of an energy monitoring for each machine unit. • Lindauer Dornier will focus on polyester condenser film plants, available for thickness down to 1 micron and a trimmed width of 5.5 m. For thick film application, Dornier provides production lines up to a maximum film thickness of 400 microns and a width up to 7 m. For production of packaging films lines with a thickness range of 8-125 microns, a trimmed width of 10.6 mm and speeds up to 600 m/minute are the norm. For PP applications, its production lines are designed for a thickness of 10-50 microns, a trimmed width of 10.5 mm and speeds of 600 m/minute. The company also supplies lines for BOPET film production, for optical film for LCD displays. Auxiliary Equipment • Nordson Corporation will supply 16 units of its process-patented BKG CrystallCut pelletising systems for a mega-scale PET resin plant scheduled for start-up this year by Jiangyin Chengold Packaging Materials, a part of the Chengxing Group, in Jiangsu Province, China. The big project reflects the intensified focus on pelletising systems for the Asian marketplace. The system uses the thermal energy of the molten polymer in PET pelletising for subsequent crystallisation, allowing for energy savings. In the Chengold facility, the CrystallCut systems will deliver PET pellets to EcoSphere solid state polycondensation (SSP) systems built by Polymetrix of Switzerland, which contracted the use of the CrystallCut units. Chemtex Group from the US is the prime contractor for the entire bottlegrade PET resin plant. CrystallCut system integrates underwater pelletising, drying, water filtration and direct crystallising at temperatures of up to 180°C and crystallinity up to 40%. Nordson BKG will also supply 16 condensation systems for the water recovered from the hot air in the process, for additional savings through reduction in water filling. • ProTec Polymer Processing's focus will be on the production of long-fibre-reinforced thermoplastics (LFT) by pultrusion and on the new generation ProTec tumble reactors. These SSP (solid-state post-condensation) reactors are ideally suited to improving the properties of flowable plastics. ProTec's headquarters in Bensheim (Germany) has a pultrusion line for application-specific customer testing. It features a compounding extruder equipped with a Somos Gramix S gravimetric dosing system capable

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of dosing and mixing up to nine components. Thus, it allows for a wide range of individual formulations, including recycled material and additional fillers. • Following the takeover of the two companies, Gala Industries and Reduction Engineering Scheer, last year, Switzerland-headquartered Maag will be exhibiting the company’s expanded product portfolio for the first time. It will introduce the new Pelletizer MAP6, with knives adjusted by means of a handwheel so that the operator can monitor the knife wear visually. The new valve that diverts the polymer stream between starting and production position switches in less than one second. Maag’s manually adjustable pelletiser

Centrifugal dryers, like the Centro 150, are used to dry pellets after underwater pelletisation. It is designed for an output of up to 22,000 kg/hour and consumes up to 40% less energy. It will be on show together with the PWS25 process water treatment System. The Centro was designed in Germany, and thanks to local production in China can be offered at a good price/ performance ratio. It will also show a new design of the Baoli strand pelletiser, the 200 S, and the new Generation 6 Extrex extrusion pumps, which can be operated at lower speeds while achieving the same throughput.

• Maguire Products says it is on course to shipping its 50,000th gravimetric blender. On exhibit will be a copper-plated version of the company’s MicroBlender, the smallest model in the blender range. In following months, this blender will be on display at local events around the world as the company marks the milestone sale. A gravimetric batch blender sequentially dispenses each batch ingredient in its target proportion into a weigh chamber; by monitoring each gain in weight of a batch, the blender control makes adjustments to subsequent batches to maintain accuracy and control raw material consumption. The system is said to hold batch accuracy to within +/- 0.1%. Thermoforming • Switzerland-based WM Wrapping Machinery has in its range the FT series forming-trimming machine with lower tilting platen; FC series form+cut+stack machines with steel rule cutting and Intec series with complete in-line solutions, including extruders


Technology at Chinaplas

WM recently delivered another second generation Twist 300 unit to Europe

and all peripheral units for a real production island, including the recycling of scraps. It is now developing a new thermoforming machine and stacking system for 10,000,000 machine cycles, to be shown at the K show in October. Meanwhile, after launching its first generation of the Twist 300, WM recently delivered another second generation unit to Europe. The Twist 300 in-mould trimming with lower 90 degrees tilting platen has a forming area of 340 x 230 mm with a clamping force of daN 10,000 for thermoforming products with a maximum negative depth of 120 mm. It is beneficial to mould makers who are seeking mono-cavity moulds for cheaper new product sampling; for production of small quantities for preproduction testing or feasibility studies and for small productions to cover niche markets.

• Kiefel presents the punch press KES 85, with peripheral punching technology for the first time in Asia. The system enables notch-free processing of formed parts. For punching and stacking of trays, lids and formed products with special requirements, it recommends the KMD 78F Speedformer, combined with the eccentric punch press KES 85, for 120 cycles/minute. The vertical punching system minimises the effect of transverse forces. All cycle movements are servomotor-driven. Combined hole punching and periphery punching is possible. The whole tool block can be changed easily and quickly with a crane, while operation is achieved by the Siemens Simotion control system. The KES 85 is suited for the production of parts of PS, PP, PE, PVC, PET and PLA. • Battenfeld-cincinnati China will introduce the Multi-Touch roll stack, which is an optimal solution for producers who are not prepared to compromise on sheet quality, even at high line speeds. It allows a high degree of transparency and flatness and even sheet thickness can now be achieved for PS, PET or PP, as well as EVA or laminated products. High-speed single-screw extruders complement the Multi-Touch roll stack, adding a solution for high-end applications in terms of both quantity and quality.

WE CLOSE THE LOOP. EREMA. Efficiency in plastic recycling.

Visit us: CHINAPLAS / Shanghai 25.-28.04.2016 Hall / Booth W1A41

CHOOSE THE NUMBER ONE.

MARCH / APRIL 2016

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Technology at Chinaplas Erema will be exhibiting the Intarema 1007 TVEplus with an Erema SW4/104 RTF melt filter

Recycling Equipment • Recycling equipment specialist Erema will be exhibiting the Intarema 1007 TVEplus with an Erema SW4/104 RTF melt filter. This system will be shown live in action with a throughput of 300-350 kg/hour to present the efficient recycling of heavily printed LDPE materials. The high demand for TVEplus technology is explained by the special challenges faced in recycling processes for heavily printed materials. Binding agents and other additives that are constantly found in the inks, for example, are a problem as they melt at the processing temperatures of the plastic matrix and break down in parts. TVEplus technology, developed by Erema, offers efficient filtration, homogenisation and degassing at the highest level. This means that high-quality recyclates which are, for example, reused in the production of film, can be made even from full-surface and multiple-layer printed film scraps in a single pass. Erema says it has over 4,500 recycling systems in use around the world, and has expanded its offices to China, US and also, more recently, to Russia. Its subsidiary in the US is also expected to more than double the size of its trial centre, in response to the high demand. It achieved a milestone last year with the founding of the new Erema sister company Pure Loop, which specialises in the recycling of clean production wastes. • Pallmann presents the latest PFV Plast-Agglomerator, able to handle waste coming from production of film, fibres, foam, carpets or other mixed materials, from PP, PE, PVC, ABS, and XPS as well as compounded materials. The waste precut into 8-10 mm pieces is plastified by means of frictional heat, pressed through a die and Pallman’s modular PFV system

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cut at the outer circumference by rotating knives. The agglomerated material is transported pneumatically to a downstream hot melt granulator, creating free-flowing granules with a high bulk density and a minimum of thermal degradation. The modular system can be premounted on a base frame, including wiring and water hook-up, simplifying installation. Injection Moulding Machinery • Machinery maker Arburg will feature its newly launched all-electric Golden Electric series, which it says is set to emulate the success story of the entry-level hydraulic Golden Edition series. The new models make use of standardisation to offer an excellent price/performance ratio, for example, through a fixed combination of distance between tie-bars, clamping force and injection unit size. Available are four 370, 470, 520 and 570 sizes with clamping forces of 600, 1,000, 1,500 and 2,000 kN. Arburg's new machine series Golden Electric that is available in four sizes. At Chinaplas, an Allrounder 470E Golden Electric will produce pill splitters

The double five-point toggle ensures fast, highperformance cycles. The play-free spindle drives operate with great precision. The position-regulated screw enables cavities to be filled with a high degree of repeat accuracy, ensuring high injection quality. They also feature liquid-cooled motors and servo inverters and also offer benefits in terms of energy efficiency, short dry cycle times and high reproducibility. Compared to hydraulic standard machines, the high efficiency of the servo motors, continuous power adaptation and energy recovery during braking mean that up to 55% less energy is required. The machines are also easy to maintain thanks to swivelling injection units, plug-in cylinder modules and further improved lubrication and cooling. The Golden Electric series is designed for standard use like technical injection moulding. Owing to the benefits offered, an increasing number of processing companies are interested in electric machines that combine features such as precision, energy economy and reproducibility at a low cost for standard applications, says Arburg. • Chinese company Haitian Group, one of the world's largest manufacturers of injection moulding machines, says last year it delivered around 26,000 machines and recorded a turnover of RMB7.34 billion, which is a


Technology at Chinaplas slight decrease of 3% compared to the previous year. Despite the ongoing difficult operating environment, the group’s sales in China recorded a mild drop of 4%. In the export markets, Haitian says in some regions such as Vietnam, South Korea, India, Europe and Mexico, it recorded impressive sales growth, “with a mild drop of 1.6% compared to 2014”, and the second highest exports ever. To cope with the challenges in the market during the year, Haitian continued converting small tonnage hydraulic machines to electric solutions and large tonnage machines to twoplaten solutions. The sales of the all-electric Zhafir Venus series increased by 30% to more than 1,600 orders, a jump of 46% compared to 2014. Sales of the large two-platen Jupiter series reached nearly 500 units, up by 40%, over 2014. The Mars series remained the bestseller and accounted for nearly 70% of total sales. It says in 2016, new production plants in Germany and India will be put into operation. Moreover, the existing sites in Brazil, Vietnam and Turkey have been expanded with application centres, as well as in Indonesia, Mexico and Thailand. • Dr Boy will introduce its XS (100 kN clamping force), making miniature gear wheels, and servodriven 25E with servo drive (250 kN clamping force) at its distributor Andeli’s booth. Its E series scores as precise and efficiently working injection moulding machines, with the servo-motor pump drive and the optionally available EconPlast plasticising technology, says Boy. • Austrian machinery maker Engel celebrates its 30th year in Asia, with the founding of its subsidiary in Hong Kong in 1986. It started in Asia with four staff members, and today there are more than 500 in China alone, and South Korea has more than 180. In 2014, Engel set another milestone in its Asia strategy with the foundation of its Wintec subsidiary in Changzhou, China, to manufacture machines in Asia for standard applications. A new production plant of its own has been established in Changzhou and the company aims to run independent of Engel. • The Asian market contributes substantially to the 40-year old Wittmann Group, which has a plant in Kunshan, China, where robots, temperature controllers, material loaders and granulators are manufactured, primarily for the Asian market. Its subsidiary Wittmann Battenfeld will demonstrate two models. On a MicroPower 15/10, for the moulding of small and micro parts, it will show an opto-electronic

application. A barrel holder made of POM will be produced with a mould supplied by Wittner, Austria. This component is a focusing device used mainly in cameras to hold the lenses in place or to focus them. The second model on display will be the SmartPower servo-hydraulic machine. It will also show the integration of robots and peripheral equipment with the control systems of machines, known as Wittmann 4.0.

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Visit us in Hall E1 – Stand J41 25 - 28 April 2016


Trade & Industry

TPPA and RCEP: test of solidarity for the ASEAN Will it be the TPPA or RCEP? Although presented with the opportunity to access the world’s most prominent markets, the two trade pacts are coming at various costs, one of which lies at the core of the ASEAN – its integration as a strong regional bloc, says Angelican Buan in this report.

T

wo of the world‘s economic superpowers, the US and China, have carried their rivalry over to global trade through enforcement of the the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and the China-backed ¬Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), picking the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) bloc, or some of its members, as partners in widening their regional clout. Why ASEAN? In general, the ten-country bloc composed of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam collectively represents a market of more than 600 million people, with a combined GDP of about US$2.6 trillion. It is home to Asia’s emerging economies, which for the past global economic crisis have remained resilient and even provided the affected regions the buffer to recoup against the recession and losses. Historically, both the US and China have extensive political and economic ties with countries in the region, which is also a strategic-geographic zone for the security interests of the two economic giants. Via the wide-scope trade pacts, the breadth of influence of China and the US will be game changers for ASEAN’s trade policies and yet at the same time challenge the regional bloc’s alliances to the respective world powers. TPPA: a gateway to major markets The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), ratified on 4 February this year, has under its wing 11 countries from Asia Pacific and other regions (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam). In combination, these

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countries account for 40% of the global economic output and drives 26% of total world trade. TPPA covers an estimated 800 million population with a combined GDP of US$30 trillion. It has excluded the world’s two most populous nations and Asia’s strong economic fortresses: China and India. TPPA member-countries are important markets for the US. Fostering an extensive trade agreement such as the TPPA will be beneficial for US manufacturers as well as those of the signatory countries leveraging on the Asian markets.

“..TPPA covers 800 million people, with a combined GDP of US$30 trillion..” According to the Department of CommerceInternational Trade Administration, the agreement will eliminate tariffs as high as 25%, and thus, US manufacturers can gain duty-free access into the TPPA countries. Also, among its key highlights are standards for protection of foreign investment and intellectual property; as well as customs and trade facilitation, electronic commerce; government procurement, labour, environment, and other such measures that will ensure competitiveness. Some ASEAN members have resisted joining the TPPA due to the stringent requirements and compliances to intellectual property rights (IPR), stateowned enterprises, and competition. Nevertheless, the TPPA body affirms that the benefit is mutual. For example, Malaysia is forecast to boost its petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastic products output by easily tapping into overseas markets. Vietnam, which under the TPPA has to eliminate almost all of its tariffs on plastics within four years or less, is also bidding for exports sustained through the TPPA. The country also intends to bank on free trade opportunities as it builds its parts and materials industry to cater to various companies including automotive makers, apparel and electronics manufacturers. For the US, its rebalance in its Asia strategy can be effectively carried out if its engagement with the ASEAN broadens. It is not a difficult feat since the US has long engaged with ASEAN as a dialogue partner since 1977, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representatives (OUSTR). Since the early 1990s, both parties’ development cooperation also grew through the


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MARCH / APRIL 2016

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Trade & Industry various economic programmes on trade and investment, technology transfer, and education. ASEAN is an important market for the US, the OUSTR said, stating that its goods and services trade with ASEAN countries was valued at US$241.7 billion in 2013. Exports reached over US$100 billion and imports topped the figure with more than US$141 billion, thus making the ASEAN as the fourth export partner for the US for electrical machinery, machinery, aircraft, mineral fuel and oil, and optic and medical devices. The Department of Commerce, US Goods and Services cites that exports to ASEAN supported an estimated 499,000 jobs from the goods and services exports segments in 2013. In 2015, US trade in goods with ASEAN increased by 55%. RCEP: a melding together of Asian FTAs The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a free trade agreement (FTA) proposed between the ASEAN and the six countries, including Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, which the regional bloc has existing FTAs with. ASEAN members that have been weighing their options to join the TPPA are also being urged to join the RCEP instead, which is expected to be more inclusive and less restraining. Spearheaded by China, RCEP is expected to have more liberalised provisions for basic issues such as services, trade and labour. Over and above RCEP, countries in the ASEAN have historic, geographic, and geo-economic ties with China, and have been its largest trading partner since FTAs were implemented. RCEP also begets as the world's largest free-trade agreement – an objective, which pits it head on with TPPA. But RCEP vouches on the strength of its 3.4 billion population-strong economic bloc with combined GDP of US$21 trillion. The partnership aims to consolidate the existing ASEAN FTAs and tie-ups with the other six partner economies, and promises to be a mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement among the ASEAN member countries and ASEAN’s FTA partners.

“..RCEP has a strength of 3.4 billion people, with a combined GDP of US$21 trillion..” Under the RCEP, a 65% tariff cut has been agreed on, with the percentage likely to increase to 80% within a decade. Among other key features in this pact, other issues to be covered include trade in goods and services, electronic commerce, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property, competition, legal and institutional matters. According to the Manila-based Makati Business Club (MBC), the RCEP ushers in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ’s long-time prospect of creating a Free Trade Area in the Asia Pacific (FTAAP).

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Talks on RCEP have been fast tracked especially since TPPA has already been ratified, and it is expected to be concluded by the year end. Salient to the discussions are the tariff reduction, which during the first stage, will be dismantled for some 65% of 9,000 trade goods; and within ten years it will be extended to another 20% of the trade in goods with zero tariff, with the fate of the 15% of the remaining goods, considered as sensitive products, to be further negotiated on. While RCEP could succeed in encouraging participation from ASEAN members that are sceptical about joining the TPPA, at least as yet, it is the ongoing security tussle with China, specifically the escalation in the South China sea territorial claims, that is putting some strain on the confidence of the economic integration effort. ASEAN: to deal or not to deal? The so-called “noodle bowl effect”, which is the projected outcome of all these overlapping FTAs may become more pronounced or subdued when the two monumental agreements are already implemented. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) working paper published in 2015, it stated that such an effect could challenge the integration and economic cooperation within ASEAN. The TPPA, while getting the flak for a number of its constraining provisions is said to benefit countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, and Japan. Vietnam is expected to reap a 10% economic boost by 2030, to be fuelled by its textiles and apparel industry that will find higher exports to the US and other key markets. By 2030 also, Japan’s economic growth could rise to an additional 2.7% and Malaysia could increase by 8%, according to World Bank data.

“..the “noodle bowl effect” is expected from overlapping FTAs..” These growths would come at the cost of nonparticipating ASEAN countries, which would have limited access to those markets. It could also be hitting value chains of slower growth economies like Cambodia and Laos, which will lose out to TPPA members that are shifting bases to co-member countries. In a similar vein, the absence of six ASEAN members in the TPPA poses concern to the economic integration within ASEAN. Thailand, Asia’s top automotive hub, could face tighter competition from other major automotive hubs like Japan. But analysts say that it is unlikely that companies with bases in Thailand would likely relocate their production to TPPA-member countries if Thailand will not decide to join the US-led pact. Still, if Thailand does not sign up with TPPA, its exports could slide, in favour of ASEAN neighbours Malaysia and Vietnam that are members to both agreements.


Trade & Industry

Faced with the two agreements, the ASEAN community is facing its biggest solidarity test

Indonesia is also mulling joining the TPPA. An analyst from the Hong Kong-Shanghai Bank Corporation (HSBC) suggested that it is beneficial for the country to enlist since the agreement will not be focusing on commodities

and this will augur well for Indonesia to develop more value-added non-oil and gas exports through TPPA. For some observers, RCEP is expected to provide ASEAN a stronger negotiating power to push forward its interest, compared to the TPPA. The Philippine Institute for Development Studies states that the Philippines, a non-TPPA member will score economic gains under the RCEP, spurring Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and benefitting its export industry. Based on the ten-year projection data from 2014, an estimated US$2.4 billion increase in FDIs will be in the offing for the country by 2023. Further, the study projects that the total exports by RCEP members to the region will increase, while exports to non-RCEP areas will drop as tariffs are reduced, thus effecting a real GDP growth for the Philippines. Over that period, the country is expected to become the third biggest exporter to RCEP, after Vietnam and Indonesia. It can be gleaned that both agreements have the common goal of strengthening international trade, alleviating financial trade costs and ultimately setting a level playing field for the ASEAN within the regional markets. Yet, there are underlying costs that TPPA and RCEP could generate. In any case, such conflicting issues can only be resolved if the ASEAN stands its ground as one community with one goal.


Film/Sheet Extrusion Technology • German extrusion machinery maker Reifenhäuser Blown Film has sold five new extrusion lines to Asia in only six months, to Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea and Philippines, integrated with the its patented Evolution Ultra Flat film flattening unit in the take-off. The company says it is an essential module used to enhance the quality and allows for an unproblematic conversion of the film, whether in laminating, printing, reforming, packaging or sealing operations. Surface irregularities are inherent to the blown film process. They can occur to a greater or lesser extent in the production of packaging film, depending on film dimensions and structures. The resulting waves can cause serious problems in winding and conversion. Reifenhäuser says with its Evolution Ultra Flat, a web of optimum flatness can be produced due to minimised stretching of the film via heating-cooling rolls - a prerequisite for winding and conversion on downstream equipment.

covers a range from 10-40 micron. The lines are based on a low energy consumption concept – savings of 0.4 kW/per kg – thanks to the watercooled motors of the extruders and the in-line scrap recovery system (savings up to 38%), in a cold process and without the re-granulation phase. The jumbo rolls, automatic and hand type, are slit in-line with perfect geometry, says the company. The cooling unit is equipped with a double cylinder of high diameter, especially designed for the production of “Super Power” stretch film. The compact line requires a space of 121 sq m, both for the 2 and 3-m versions. • Austrian firm SML has developed and installed a new laminating line that is capable of downgauging the coating layer to a previously unobtainable extent using the so-called DoubleCoat process. The patent pending process has been integrated with SML’s FlexPack extrusion coating line, thereby enlarging the attainable range of breathable products.

Reifenhäuser’s Evolution Ultra Flat take-off system optimises film flatness in blown film lines

The Asian market has responded to the newest Reifenhäuser technology with investments in the future. The first blown film line equipped with the Ultra Flat system came on stream in Vietnam about two years ago. The line configuration convinced both the owners and other interested customers outside Vietnam, with further orders that soon followed.

• Italian company Amut Group has recently boosted its presence in Asia with the establishment of new technical service points, offering complete onsite support. Furthermore, after the acquisition of Dolci & Bielloni company, Amut is able to offer a full range of services, from sorting to recycling, extrusion, thermoforming and printing equipment. Meanwhile, last year at the PlastMilan show, it exhibited a new stretch film cast line. This has led to a partnership with US-based Dow Chemicals and setting up a laboratory to test new configurations and recipes. Among the main innovations, the most significant one is the working speed: constant production up to 900 m/minute. The film thickness

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SML introduces new technology for breathable products

DoubleCoat combines extrusion coating with hot melt lamination and thus facilitates coating thickness minimisation. For example, a minimum coating layer thickness of 7 microns can be achieved using TPE on a PP nonwoven. This corresponds with roughly a quarter of the current average for such coatings and results in enormous material savings, says the firm, adding that quality is guaranteed and even with thin coating layers adhesion to the substrate is perfect, with no pinholes. Another exciting feature of the process is enhanced product breathability. The coating thickness has a significant effect on the water vapour transmission rate (WVTR), as a thinner layer results in a reduction in water vapour flow resistance. Consequently, standard product breathability can be increased several times over. A further advantage offered by the new process is a reduction in the melt temperature to a minimum. This has a very positive effect on the mechanical characteristics of


Film/Sheet Extrusion Technology the coating because the material is subject to less stress during extrusion, says SML. The DoubleCoat process provides fresh possibilities for enhanced product properties and lower production costs with regard to a variety of applications. These include medical products such as surgical drapes, which are highly breathable, flexible and serve as an effective barrier against viruses and bacteria. The process could also be used for protective clothing such as disposal overalls, or in view of its soft touch, stretchability and high breathability, for hygiene products. Moreover, traditional construction industry products, such as roofing underlay, can benefit from this new method. The firm has a production scale pilot plant in Austria for customer trialling. • To further accelerate the development of packaging innovation, Dow Chemical is collaborating with Italian coating, laminating and metallising machinery maker Nordmeccanica. Both companies see enormous potential to advance solutions for the flexible packaging industry by combining adhesive development with machine pioneering that target new technologies for faster commercialisation to market. New developments can be expected from the joint collaboration with Dow and Nordmeccanica through Dow’s Pack Studios in Mozzate, Italy. Customised to address the needs of Dow’s adhesives customers, the centre hosts an industry-scale Nordmeccanica Super Combi 3000 laminator line for customers to test and prototype. The collaboration agreement between Dow and Nordmeccanica will also enable similar capabilities at additional Pack Studios across the globe. The companies say they are working on joint projects to bring several new technologies to market in 2016. • Canada-based Macro Engineering & Technology and its sister company MT have expanded their refurbishing capability in their headquarters in Toronto, in line with increasing requests for refurbishing customers’ existing equipment. The company says that if the equipment is worn, several things can happen: polymer degradation increases, polymer flow distribution worsens over time, and melt temperature gradient is also questionable. With retrofitting of dies and old screws, equipment performance improves again and also allows for productivity and product quality. The refurbishing process involves evaluating the existing dies to assess damages if any, strip the plating, remachining the die surfaces if required, polishing and re-plating again. The dies are as good as new after finishing, says Macro. All the cleaning processes are done manually to ensure that the die is not overheated unnecessarily to prevent metal warpage, or cracking of the plating.

• Having recently installed a coextrusion die system from Nordson Corporation, Evertis de México, a processor specialising in PET-based semi-rigid packaging sheet, says it is able to maintain layer uniformity well within tolerances while avoiding product defects arising from barrier sheetasymmetrical layer structures, where materials or layer thicknesses above the central layer differ from those below it. It says Nordson EDI‘s system has made it Processed meat packaging formed possible to maintain from Evertis de México’s sheet tight layer tolerances in such structures while preventing “wave,” “zigzag” and other defects caused by instabilities at the interface between layers. Since critical layer interfaces are shifted into higher shear regions of the flow paths, coextrusion instabilities are more common with structures that are asymmetrical, says Nordson EDI, adding that its die system yields streamlined melt streams and finetunes them at the point of confluence. Evertis de México is part of the international IMG Group, a pioneer in the field of PET film extrusion. In addition to the plant in Mexico, the group has manufacturing facilities in Brazil and Portugal and sales offices throughout the Americas and Europe. • At its open house that took place in TroisdorfBergheim at the end of last year, Polyrema, a Reifenhäuser company, showed a single-layer (mono) blown film line, extensively tested under production conditions on two days. On the first day, HDPE film was run while on the second day, a biodegradable film using resin from German chemicals maker BASF, was produced. It says that the ubiquitous HDPE films used as ultra-thin T-shirt carrier bags and for fresh produce are one of the reasons for the growing trend towards the new ecological films. Polyrema also demonstrated that the capabilities of mono-layer lines are far beyond this application. With an additionally installed Ultra Flat Plus unit, it says it is possible to produce a highquality film of slightly increased strength which can be laminated and coated, to produce, for example, the typical wrap film for butter packaging. A further highlight presented by Polyrema for the production of biofilm is a special screw cooling system installed in the Reifenhäuser extruder. Although it produces only mono-layer film, it is equipped with a two-layer blown film die head, with the melt divided in the blown film die in a 50:50 ratio and then combined again into two layers. As a result, the film structure is improved in terms of stability and strength, despite using only one raw material, says the firm. MARCH / APRIL 2016

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Packaging

New packaging technologies and food safety We eat to live, so we choose to eat what we believe is safe and clean. Can the new packaging technologies, like active and intelligent packaging technologies, meet consumers need for food safety, asks Angelica Buan in this report.

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ood safety is a global health issue, says the World Health Organisation (WHO), which estimated that one in ten people or 600 million people around the world are affected with food-borne illness, particularly from contaminated food. In the US alone, health authorities lose nearly US$16 billion a year to food contamination. In fact, a 2015 study by an Ohio State University Professor estimated that sufferers from food contamination incur losses totalling US$55.5 billion. Southeast Asia posts an alarming rate of food contamination mortality: it has been reported that some 175,000 people die from food contamination a year, citing latest WHO data on the region. WHO Regional Director for Southeast Asia, Poonam Khetrapal Singh, stated that hygiene, adequate food production and storage conditions, to mention a few, are challenging parameters for the low and middle income sectors, further suggesting that food safety must be considered a public health priority. Indeed, the region is beginning to tackle food safety concerns. Malaysia recently launched the Asean Risk Assessment Centre for Food Safety. It aims to be a regional coordinating centre for independent food safety risk assessment, and will also formulate scientific opinions and provide advice on the safety of food. It will contribute to the enhancement of the health of the ASEAN Community and facilitate its food trade, says the country’s Health Ministry. China is clearing its image as having low standards of food safety and has come up with a new food safety law – dubbed as the strictest of known food safety laws. It took effect 1 October 2015. The law underscores the implementation of technologies such as detection, traceability and anti-counterfeiting to establish food quality system.

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Food contamination from inadequate hygiene, food storage conditions and processing is a global health issue according to WHO

In Thailand, the Ministry of Public Health-led Food Act B.E. 2522 safeguards consumers against foodrelated health hazards with labelling, food production and import control, registration of food operations and approval of packaging materials, to cite a few of the provisions. Moreover, organisations are taking an active role in implementing food control measures. Vietnam is also battling with food safety concerns. Reports say that the consumption of organically grown food is a growing trend, to avoid chemical-laced produce. Recipe for recall Food products manufacturers and processors who are found to violate food standards face fines or recalls. The last thing that a company wants is to be faced by costs of the recall, lost sales, brand damage and customer loyalty. Recently, US food manufacturer Bumble Bee Foods had to execute a voluntary recall. It had to pull off the shelves 31,000 cases of its canned tuna, suspected to be processed by a facility not owned or operated by the company, and thus, the tuna faced possible spoilage from bacteria that could pose life-threatening illnesses if consumed. This incident highlights the role of processing technology in combatting food contamination caused by the presence of pathogenic organisms, notably from poorly processed foods.


Packaging Thus, alerted by possible food spoilage following consumer complaints, Switzerland-headquartered Nestlé’s baby food maker Gerber Products Company issued a recall for two of its flavours of the Organic 2nd Food products that might spoil prematurely.

Some of the recalls in the US this year include baby food and applesauce pouches, due to potential adulteration from food product residue

The Europe Food Safety Authority (EFSA) notes that a rising number of human health cases and deaths are linked to infections from organisms like salmonella, often transmitted in eggs or poultry, and listeriosis from dairy products, fruits, vegetables and seafood. On the other hand, processed food made for children is subject to heavy scrutiny by consumers and food safety regulators. Of the segments that are affected by food contamination, WHO says that the under-five yearold children pose as a high risk group. The WHO data for Southeast Asia revealed that three in every ten children are affected by food borne illnesses. Globally, this age group accounts for 125,000 deaths every year from food contamination, WHO said.

Packing in food safety Fresh foods are now competing with packaged, readyto-eat-foods, not only in terms of convenience but also in the assurance that packaging provides a level of safety not satisfied by manual storing and handling. Nevertheless, packaged food manufacturers have to juggle between ensuring safety and freshness of the product, yet allowing for minimal processing, according to EFSA. Techniques such as freezing, canning and chemical preservatives may ensure safety and longer shelf-life that also carries the caveat of compromising quality of texture and taste. These techniques are winning only half the battle against food spoilage, since regular food containers that offer poor barrier protection can also promote microorganism growth. Science-based organisation Food Standard Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) states that food packaging can prevent contamination, allow food to be transported easily and extend shelf life. Thus, packaging plays an important part in providing safe food to consumers. One of packaging’s vital purposes is to protect the product inside it against unsuitable conditions like exposure to light, humidity, temperature, oxygen and heat as well as migration of substances; and thus ensure safe consumption. Packaging also provides a surface for labelling and product differentiation.


Packaging With technologies in place and the heightened regard for food safety, food packaging has transfigured from mere containers to hold or keep food into active packaging that provides barrier from oxidation, moisture and keeping in flavour, according to a study on packaging innovations published online in the Agricultural and Food Chemistry journal. Currently, active and intelligent packaging systems are the latest innovations that ensure food quality. While these innovative packaging systems present exciting opportunities for food manufacturers and processors to meet consumer requirements for food safety, regulations for these packaging types are yet to be cemented. According to a report: New EU regulation aspects and global market of active and intelligent packaging for food industry applications, Regulation 450/2009/EC (preceded by Regulation 1935/2004/EC) has been set to stand as a legal basis for the correct use, safety and marketing of these new packaging types. However, since these are food-contact packaging, they are subject to stringent regulatory standards and some observers suggest the possibility of substance migration. Citing information from EFSA, the organisation says that safety of food contact materials requires evaluation as “chemicals can migrate from these materials into food”. It emphasises the need for strict compliance to the EU regulations in manufacturing these materials, as well as following good manufacturing practices, “so that any potential transfer to foods does not raise safety concerns, change the composition of the food in an unacceptable way or have adverse effects on quality.”

food item. The accumulated gases cause the deterioration of the packaged food. In this case, for example, the scavengers used in the active packaging absorb these gases and liquids accumulated within the headspace of the packaged materials. Active packaging is relatively new in Asia Pacific, TMR states, implying also that the costs are the main factor in limiting demand in the region. However, it said that technological advances could ease costs and encourage demand.

Chitosan from shells of crustaceans provides antimicrobial properties to a biobased film developed by NUS researchers

Meanwhile, a biobased, chemical-additive free Active packaging: modifying the gas environment packaging film with antimicrobial and antifungal Active packaging has substances such as oxygen properties has been developed by researchers from absorbers and antimicrobials included in or as the the National University of Singapore (NUS). The packaging material or the package headspace to team says that the chitosan, sugar derived from enhance the performance of the package system. shells of crustaceans, doubles the shelf-life of food. The so-called active packaging uses special The chitosan-based composite film, which packaging material that interacts with the internal gas inherently has antimicrobial and antifungal environment to prevent spoilages. The technology properties, is blended with grapefruit seed extract modifies the gas environment inside the product (GFSE), which possesses antiseptic and germicidal packaging, and thus steps up the basic protection properties, to further slowdown fungal growth of function of regular packaging versus oxygen and packaged food, Additionally, the composite film also moisture, which are the main culprits that cause food to bars ultraviolet light, thus preventing food spoilage spoil. from oxidation. Research firm Transparency Market Research cites some of the methods in active packaging including oxygen scavenging, ethylene Active Packaging System Application scavenging, ethanol release, carbon Oxygen scavenging Most food classes dioxide release and water vapour removal. It explains that these barrier Carbon dioxide production Most food affected by moulds enhancements aid in products such as fresh farm produce and poultry, which Water vapour removal Dried and meld-sensitive foods are biologically active when packed in flexible packaging materials. Ethylene removal Horticultural produce Certain gases are released due to metabolism and tend to accumulate Ethanol release Baked foods (where permitted) within the headspace of the packaged

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Packaging VTT made a sensor that detects ethanol in the headspace of a food package

Intelligent Packaging: no headspace for spoilage As for intelligent packaging, UK firm Smithers Pira in its report, The Future of Smart Packaging to 2021, said that it enhances the communication function of traditional packaging, and communicates information to the consumer based on its ability to sense, detect, or record external or internal changes in the product's environment. Intelligent packaging uses time-temperature monitors, smartphoneenabled interactive labels and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag, as well as nanomaterials and biosensors to detect the accumulation of gases within packaged food items and is expected to make headwinds in the near future. Embarking on the potentials of intelligent packaging market, the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a sensor that detects ethanol, which forms when food is deteriorating, in the headspace of a food package. A signal from the sensor is emitted and read wirelessly via an RFID reader on a mobile phone. Indiana University of Pennsylvania researchers created an antimony and cobalt-layered microchip that detects spoilage in packaged food

Meanwhile, researchers from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania created a microchip that detects food spoilage. The patented chip is made up of a chemical element antimony and a layer of cobalt that scatters into nanoparticles, with thickness of about 20 atoms. The thin device, attached to food product containers when packaged, can work as time-temperature indicator. The chip sends shelf-life data to smartphones or like devices. These innovative packaging systems are now gaining momentum among consumers. Smithers Pira reported that the market is ready for active and intelligent packaging technologies; and this readiness translates to a growth forecast of US$7.6 billion for global smart packaging market within a five-year period to 2021. However, the high cost of producing active and intelligent packaging continues to impede their demand potentials, since cost-competitiveness remains a key consideration among food manufacturers and retail industry players.


Plastics Industry

The art of winning the war on plastics Plastics deserve acclaim not blame – a message that experts at the Asia Plastics Forum (APF) want to put out to the world, says Angelica Buan in this report.

cups have fewer impacts than reusable ceramic mugs, according to life cycle analyses,” he stated. Debunking the myth that plastic uses up fairly large amounts of resources to produce, he said that plastic packaging in fact helps reduce the amount of materials used. He gave an example of liquid packaging from Ecolean Group, which was founded in 1996 in Sweden to produce flexible lightweight packaging and a filling system. The company’s pouches are used for liquids such as milk and Quickness is the essence of the war”, Chinese juice and cut packaging weight philosopher Sun Tzu said in his book, Art of War. This by more than 50%. strategy comes in handy for the plastics industry, which “Flat as an envelope has been dodging the blame thrown at it for the alarming when not filled, they take up environmental findings. little space in transit to food The latest report from the World Economic Forum companies and when discarded. (WEF) on the plastics economy has pulled yet another Made with PP and PE resins, the trigger: plastics as a major waste generator that infiltrates pouches use as much as 85% our oceans could potentially displace sea life by 2050, a less energy to manufacture than worst case scenario and one that can be mitigated, say conventional packaging.” industry experts. As well, the role of plastics At the Asia Plastics Forum (APF), held 20-25 January in enhancing a packaging’s in Bangladesh, speakers invited from different industry environmental performance organisations opined that the industry has to win the vote is usually undermined. “Many of confidence from the anti-plastics sector by presenting types of plastic packaging help salient facts about the material. to reduce packaging weight, “Plastics have been singled out as the only villain Ecolean says its aseptic energy use and greenhouse (in this issue),” said KK Seksaria, President of PlastIndia filling process is a nongas emissions. On the other Foundation, who asserted that there are a variety of chemical alternative for hand, the use of non-plastics materials that also contribute to the waste problem like package sterilisation alternatives would increase paper, cartons, cans and bottles, all of which have been energy use by 82%, equivalent to the energy from 91 oil overlooked. tankers,” Taylor adds. “Municipalities regard single-use, disposable items as For those pushing for alternatives, preferring that an environmental nuisance. And in many Asian countries, would translate to a 130% higher increase only one sector is always associated with in global warming potential. “That's like waste packaging, that is, plastic,” he said. adding 15.7 million cars on our roads!” Taylor Michael Taylor, Vice-President, International exclaimed. Affairs and Trade of US plastics industry trade Meanwhile, Lim Kok Boon, Chairman of the association, SPI, agrees that the plastics sector Malaysian Plastics Forum (MPF), and President is challenged with foodservice packaging of the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers bans, marine debris, product de-selection Association (MPMA), said, “About half of all based on chemical content, bag bans or taxes’ European goods are packed in plastics and and extended producer responsibility. 60 million tonnes of CO2 are saved per year." “We have an image problem,” Taylor told To prevent food wastage, food packaging the forum participants. is reliant on plastics. “Plastics packaging for meat, for instance, extends shelf life by three Plastics are a greener option for packaging to six days and even longer for the most Taylor said that the resins under attack are PET, polystyrene, PVC, polycarbonates, epoxy Taylor says the plastics advanced ones. Considering that producing 1 kg of beef leads to emissions equivalent to resins and polyurethanes. “Plastic bags are industry has an image 3 hours of driving, this extended shelf life is a greener than paper bags. Disposable plastic problem

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Plastics Industry substantial improvement for our planet!,” Lim explained. Lim also added that plastics enable resource efficient packaging solutions, due to the fact that plastic packaging facilitates significantly reduced material consumption, which results in less energy use. Lim Kok Boon said This was that about half of all European goods are reiterated by Taylor. packed in plastics, “In a nutshell, saving 60 million plastics help to tonnes carbon dioxide significantly reduce a year packaging weight, which results in more products shipped with less packaging, fewer trucks on the road, less energy used, less greenhouse gas emissions and less material to recover or recycle.”

bags have the least impact, followed by plastic bags, in terms of fossil energy use, global warming potential, ozone depletion, acidification, eutrophication (or the

Assessing environmental impact with LCA Identifying which of the materials from the waste mix have the most environmental impact is possible with a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a holistic methodology in evaluating environmental impact associated with all phases of a product’s life from cradle-to-grave, explained Crispian Lao, Past President of the Philippine Plastics Industry Association (PPIA) and Vice-Chairman of the National Solid Waste Management Commission. In his presentation titled Life cycle Assessment of Carrying Bags Options for Metro Manila, he said, “The procedures of LCA are part of the ISO14000 environmental management standards.” To set matters straight amongst the current common options for packaging, plastic bags (non-biodegradable), paper bags and non-woven PP bags (reusable bags), LCA has been employed to determine which has the least impact. It has been found that non-woven The case for the non-woven PP bag is made through the LCA that confirms it has the least impact on the environment MARCH / APRIL 2016

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Plastics Industry over-enrichment of water by nutrients such as nitrogen phosphorus, which is a leading cause of water quality impairment), petrochemical ozone depletion (smog), ecotoxicity, flooding, and dumpsite utilisation. An all-round material Meanwhile, Lim Kok Boon cited in his presentation the current applications for plastics, since other materials like metal, glass and aluminium may not be suitable. “Plastics help make an airplane lighter, therefore contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions. Plus, fuel consumption is reduced,” he said. Light weighting of cars is also possible with plastic parts enabling a 40% to 50% weight reduction than those made from alternative materials, Lim said.

Plastics make an airplane lighter, with less use of fuel

He also enumerated how plastics pipes are energy efficient and their low weight means less energy in transport, handling and installation. “A new portable purification system made of plastics simplifies on-site conversion of large quantities of dirty water into potable water,” he noted. Plastics are also being used to harness energy sources. “Did you know that capturing the power of the wind would be impossible without plastics?” Lim asked participants. “The windmill blades are almost entirely made of fibre-reinforced plastics, as only this material is able to withstand the permanent mechanical stress on a rotor of this size. Without this capability, we cannot benefit from wind power,” Lim said. For insulation, Lim said the materials can improve energy efficiency. “With efficient Blades of wind insulation in rotors are made of buildings, from plastic, thus plastics cold and heat, are harnessing plastic insulation energy sources materials consume approximately 16% less energy and emit 9% less greenhouse gases than alternative materials. Across their whole life cycle, plastic insulation boards

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save 150 times the energy used for their manufacture,” he explained. Lim waxed lyrical about plastics, stating that the polymers promote less greenhouse gas emissions at production level. Plastic pipes provide a sustainable and “Most plastic products safe way to provide drinking water need less energy to be produced than other materials, especially in applications such as transport, building and construction, packaging and electronic devices,” he reiterated. Hence, he said if plastics were to disappear and be replaced with alternative materials, the life-cycle energy consumption for these alternatives would be increased by around 57% and greenhouse emissions would rise by 61%! Taking a stance – need for all to come together for plastics Holding up the reputation of plastics is a concerted effort that needs to come from stakeholders, producers, consumers and the media. “Brand owners have roles to play,” Seksaria said, adding that it is important for the plastics industry to be more proactive in managing all packaging wastes. He explained that if all stakeholders worked together for a more efficient waste management programme, it would provide benefits for all. Meanwhile, Lim stressed on the premise that around 96% of crude oil and gas goes directly into energy production for heating, transport and electricity; and only 4% is used for the production of plastics. “Consumers need to make wise choices by making decisions based on science and facts from reputable resources and not on mere perception,” Lim advised, adding that plastics are a valuable material that can be reused and recycled. Amidst the slew of misconception thrown at plastics, the experts are hoping that the world will look at plastics with an objective eye. To spread the word, engage the new and traditional media, Taylor advised. Taking stock of the stories that are newsworthy can get the word around about the wellrounded benefits of plastics, he said. Likewise, as he mentioned in his presentation, the role of PVC as a barrier material during the outbreak of the Ebola virus, to isolate patients and prevent spread of infection, shows the beneficial use of the polymer. He also pointed out other examples on the life-saving uses of plastics, such as how plastics can be used for delivering clean water during disasters; and how plastic netting can help combat malaria in homes. “Be clear about your message. Tell human stories. It’s all about narrating the human impact – how it affects real people,” was Taylor’s message to participants.


Country Focus

Vietnam on a path of growth Vietnam’s plastics sector will maintain its strong growth of 14-16% in the next few years due to its high consumption capacity, according to the Vietnam Plastics Association (VPA), during a presentation it gave, against the back of the Plastics & Rubber Vietnam show, co-located with Propak Vietnam, held from 1-3 March in Ho Chi Minh City.

Another disadvantage is that the industry is still at the “low end and of low value”, with a majority of exports being plastic bags to Japan, said Lam. He added, “The plastics industry lacks technology and know-how, with many manufacturers using out-of-date equipment from China.” Lam emphasised the need for cutting edge technology, if Vietnam is to scale-up its production with more technical and higher value-added products. Cue for more value-added machinery and technology Thus, the P&R Vietnam show, which was held over an exhibition space of 9,600 sq m, and featured 444 exhibitors from 28 countries, was the right platform for technology updates.

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hough Vietnam’s plastics industry is relatively young, it is one of the fastest growing industries, sustaining an average annual growth of 16-18% between 2010-2015, according to the Chairman of VPA, Ho Duc Lam. Backed by a population of 90 million, VPA expects growth of the sector to be supported by continuous demand in the domestic market. Plastics production output per capita increased sharply to 41 kg/year/person last year, from a little less than 4 kg/ year in 1990. Compared to developed countries like Japan, where it is 118 kg/ year; US: 155 kg/year and EU: 146 kg/year, Lam says the industry has a long way to go. Of the sector types, packaging accounts for 37%, followed by consumer (27%), construction (18%) and According to VPA Chairman Ho technical products (15%). Duc Lam, the sector has more than 2,200 processors and most Last year, plastic exports rose by 12.4%, (83%) are in the South: in Ho with major export markets Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, being Japan (22%) and the Dong Nai, Long An, and Ba Ria Vung Tau US (14.6%). Challenges facing the sector A drawback in the industry is its heavy reliance on imported raw materials, like polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) resins. It imports almost 90% or an average of 4 million tonnes of raw materials while domestic production totals 1 million tonnes. Lam also went on to say that by 2020, processors will require 5 million tonnes of raw materials, thus the need for more local output.

Kraiburg TPE had participated at the P&R Vietnam for the first time

But with lower cost machinery from China and Taiwan having flooded the market, European machine makers have had to invest more time and energy to convince local processors of the viability of their machines. Italian machinery maker Bausano, which is represented in the country by Terramar GmbH has been present in the market for more than 20 years, said Export Manager, Alfeo Bonato. “We, too, needed to build up our knowledge on the market and have invested the time getting to know the local sector.” The investment has paid off, as the company recently sold a wood composites profile line to a local/European joint venture, apart from the previous sales of small/ medium pipe lines, said Bonato. One way of being ensconced in the domestic plastics sector is to have local offices. Austrian firm Engel, which is the world’s largest injection moulding machine maker based on sales, is doing just that. While it has already supplied more than 240 machines to transplants in the country, like South Korean car maker Kia and electronics giant Samsung, it “needs to be present to boost sales,” said Christoph Steger, Chief Sales Officer, who was at the show. MARCH / APRIL 2016

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Country Focus Engel was showcasing its Victory 500/160 machine, with a bulky noodle container mould constructed by Donghae Plastic from South Korea

With costs in China escalating, production is shifting to Vietnam due to its lower cost of production and lower wages. In fact, Vietnam is fast becoming the “new China” with automotive makers like Ford and Toyota investing heavily in assembly plants. Thus, Steger says the company expects more enquiries. Another factor is to be closer to its customers and provide service, though Engel already has two service technicians in Hanoi and two in Ho Chi Minh to service the numerous machines already supplied. Other companies are also eyeing closer contact with the sector. Armando Matteazzi, Commercial Technical Director of auxiliary equipment maker Piovan, said that the Italian company is studying the feasibility of setting up an office. “We already have customers in the PET sector, with machines supplied from our Chinese factory in Suzhou.”

Bericap is eyeing the market, which is part of its expansion plans

Meanwhile, cap/closure maker Bericap, might set up a facility in Vietnam, said Managing Director Andrew Tan. The company shut down its Singapore plant in December 2015, and has officially moved to its new plant in Kulai, Johor, Malaysia. Though the new plant is designed to supply a significant amount of closures to the growing region, said Tan, Bericap is planning to expand. Tan said, “We are looking at setting up three to five satellite plants over the next five years. We want to be the first in the market in Indochina and are betting on new markets to provide a boost to our sales volume.” Last year, the Germany-headquartered company also started up a second manufacturing site in China, and now has 22 factories in 19 countries.

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Tyre market grows Last year, Vietnam’s vehicle sales rose to 244,914, an increase of 55% over 2014, said the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA). While mainly a two-wheeler market, the number of cars sold has upped in the last few years as the affluence of the population has increased. All this bodes well for the Vietnamese tyre market, which has bounced back over the past three years. The passenger car tyre segment is expected to exhibit the fastest growth rate over the next five years, followed by commercial vehicle and OTR tyre segments. It is against this backdrop that companies like Italian rubber machinery manufacturer Comerio Ercole are eyeing prospects in the Vietnamese market. “We sold two calendaring lines to two Taiwanese factories operating in Vietnam last year,” said Alessio Ceriani, Area Sales Manager. Comerio Ercole’s representative views the tyre market in a favourable light

One of the clients is Cheng Shin Rubber, which markets CST tyres. Having started off with the manufacture of motorcycle tyres at its Vietnamese plant set up in 2007, Cheng Shin has since then added on vehicle tyres. Meanwhile, Comerio’s other client, Kenda Rubber Industrial, operates a US$100 million tyre plant in Ho Nai Industrial Zone in Dong Nai province. It plans to expand and last year received the green light from the Vietnamese government for an investment of US$160 million in a passenger car tyre plant, also in Dong Nai. Kenda’s latest facility will most likely be its largest tyre factory and boast production capacity rivalling that of its operation in China, the company said recently. Quality products/services required To raise standards, the government is “aggressively” promoting the plastics sector, says Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency or Vietrade. “It has issued a blueprint for developing supporting industries such as mould making, recycling and machinery supply. It also aims to achieve sufficient supply of home-produced raw material through resin production facilities.” And this has also helped foreign machine makers to enter the market confidently. “It is a competitive market, that is true, but it is getting a little easier now because customers are looking for quality,“ said Bonato. Thus, as the country continues on its projectile growth, it will need more quality products/services for the infrastructure, construction and packaging markets.


Injection Moulding Asia 3D Printing

Bioprinting: Body parts on demand Though riddled with structural and ethical

The global 3D printing market is expected to be worth nearly US$3 billion by 2022, expanding challenges, organ fabrication through 3D across the medical/healthcare sector with a range of applications in medical implants, tissue engineering, bioprinting may be the holy grail to mitigating surgical devices, drug manufacturing, and others, organ shortages, promoting the quality of life, according to IQ4I Research & Consultancy in its forecast. and ultimately saving lives, says Angelica In Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, the investment Buan in this report. into 3D printing is likely to reach over US$4 billion by 2019, which is thrice as much as the current US$1.5 billion, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). The market accounts for a bigger rgan transplantation is challenging in terms of share of hardware spending in the international 3D supply and ethical contentions, to say the least. printing market. Conversely, more 3D printers are Demand exceeds supply to the point that organ being used in North and South America than in Asia, distribution results in practices crossing beyond what it added. is legally and ethically acceptable. Organ trafficking Some of the major companies included in 3D has become rampant due printing healthcare market to organ shortage vis-à-vis are 3D Systems, Arcam AB, “...the market is expected to be EnvisionTEC, EOS, ExOne, recipients, as the waiting list of recipients grows by the day. worth nearly US$3 billion by Materialise NV, Optomec, Crushing the so-called Organovo, Reinshaw, 2022…” black market for organs, Nano3D, SLM Solutions particularly for kidneys, is and Stratasys. as galling as eradicating the poverty problem, a major condition that has forced Reducing the cost of the technology some people to sell their organs. The World Health There is no doubt that cost of the technology is an Organisation (WHO) has found this to be rampant in impediment, but an extensive choice of viable 3D Southeast Asia, which is the leading organ exporter printers is available where 3D Systems and Stratasys and has become known as a hub for organ tourism. play a major role. Meanwhile, newer, smaller and more userBioprinting: a saviour? friendly machines are being introduced, such as The advent of 3D bioprinting is expected to allow the Aether 1, which US-based Aether describes as access to replacement for body parts and organs faster, a bioprinter with eight syringe extruders, twice with lesser complications and in the longer term, be more than a normal bioprinter, plus laser-assisted more cost effective. Although in its nascent stage, 3D bioprinting and droplet jetting capabilities.Though bioprinting has already reported successes in prosthetic not released yet, it is expected to retail at US$9,000, parts, though it’s current use is for preparation of which is said to be a steal considering that high-end anatomical models and medical equipment. bioprinters retail at around US$250,000. An offshoot of 3D printing or additive Another US manufacturing (AM), the technology is much more company BioBots complex. A paper on bioprinting by the Pennsylvania has created a State University describes it as a “computer-aided compact printer biofabrication of 3D organs that utilises rapid retailing at prototyping technology to print cells, biomaterials and US$10,000. In cell-laden biomaterials individually or in pairs, layerBioBot1, unlike by-layer, directly creating 3D tissue-like structures.” other 3D printers, Bioprinting “is an extension of tissue engineering”, according to the paper’s authors, Ibrahim Ozbolat and Yin Yu, adding that, “it uses bioadditive BioBots’ printer uses manufacturing technologies including laser-based UV light to cure and writing, inkjet-based printing and extrusion-based harden the layer deposition.” structures

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Injection Moulding Asia 3D Printing Body parts at the click of a button The precision of 3D printing makes it a promising method for replicating the body’s complex tissues and organs. However, current printers based on jetting, extrusion and laser-induced forward transfer cannot produce structures with sufficient size or strength to implant in the body. Using a sophisticated, custom-designed 3D printer, scientists from the US Wake Forest Baptist School of Medicine have printed ear, bone and muscle structures. When implanted in animals, the structures matured into functional tissue and developed a system of blood vessels. Most importantly, these early results indicate that the structures have the right size, strength and function for use in humans.

once a biological material has been extruded, a UV light cures and hardens it, one layer at a time. The objects printed can be living cell tissue or nonliving scaffolds, and the company says that over a dozen different cell types have been used with these printers so far. The unique cartridge system that BioBots uses, enables users to switch between the printing of different biological materials, almost as easily as a normal desktop printer can switch between colours. Materials advancing along Meanwhile, new materials are also being developed. French 3D printing services provider Sculpteo has developed a TPU material, engineered for use in SLS 3D printing with a 65A Shore hardness making it flexible and capable of producing complex mechanical properties. Sculpteo has already 3D printed a human heart that mimics as closely as possible all the mechanical properties of the Using TPU, Sculpteo has 3D-printed a human real organ and heart that mimics the real thing can be used in trainings and pre-surgery planning. A group of researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden make use of cellulose derived from wood pulp, mixed with hydrogel. They also added carbon nanotubes to create electrically conductive material. The effect is that cellulose and other raw material based on wood will be able to compete with fossil-based plastics and metals in the on-going additive manufacturing revolution.

Wake Forest Baptist regenerative medicine scientists have proved that it is feasible to print living tissue structures. The team said the printer is an important advance in the quest to make replacement tissue for patients

With funding from the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, the Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System (ITOP) was developed over a ten-year period. It overcomes challenges of conventional 3D printers and deposits both biodegradable, plastic-like materials to form the tissue “shape� and water-based gels that contain the cells. In addition, a strong, temporary outer structure is formed. The printing process does not harm the cells, say the collaborators. Advancing orthopaedics In orthopaedics, 3D bioprinting has resolved certain challenges for injury-risk patients in sports and prosthetics wearers. In an example scenario, children suffering from congenital limb loss have to use prosthetics, but they will eventually outgrow them. Johns Hopkins Hospital surgeon Dr Albert Chi is creating plastic hands for his patients using 3D printers. For this

Chalmers University has managed to print 3D objects made entirely by cellulose

Dr Albert Chi is creating plastic hands for his patients using 3D printers

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Injection Moulding Asia 3D Printing endeavour, he works with Enabling the Future, a network of volunteers who 3D-print plastic hands for children for free. Simiarly, Canadian non-profit organisation Nia Technologies uses the 3D PrintAbility, a technology developed and deployed by Nia and the University of Toronto, to create custom-fit prosthetic sockets and orthotic braces for children. Nia says that the traditional way of making a prosthetic limb takes about a week and involves labourious processes, whereas 3D PrintAbility combines inexpensive 3D scanning, design and printing components to provide prosthetists with a new set of orthopaedic tools.

Aside from the complexity of procedures in major operations, time is also of the essence. Thus, Vancouver-based NewPro3D has created the Intelligent Liquid Interface (ILI) technology, similar to stereolithography, that uses a light source to cure photosensitive resin. It claims what would take 210 minutes to print using selective laser sintering, takes only 4.5 minutes on its printer! It integrates a transparent wettable membrane between the photocuring resin and the light source. The membrane is chemically designed to create a dead zone and inhibit NewPro3D has upped the ante with the polymerisation faster speeds for 3D printing between the membrane and the printed object. This eliminates the mechanical processes used on conventional 3D printing techniques, thus allowing the growth of an object at record speed, the company explained.

“…3D bioprinting aside, 4D technology that creates hydrogel composite structures is being unveiled…”

Nia Technologies says its technology cuts down the time taken to make prosthetics

Making complicated surgeries “easier” 3D bioprinting also aids in complicated, betweenlife-and-death surgeries. Surgeons at the Texas Children’s Hospital recently carried out a successful operation on conjoined twins who were fused from the chest to the pelvis. A replica of the relevant body parts and skeletal structures of the twins were created using multi-material 3D printing and fashioned from hard plastic resin, while the softer organs were printed using a rubber-like material. A major brain surgery for aneurysm was performed on a 50 year-old Chinese woman at the First Affiliated Hospital of Fujian University, facilitated with a 3D printed model of the patient’s brain CT scan, using hard transparent resin for the skull replica and the softer resin for the arteries, thus allowing the surgeons to determine the location of the aneurysms. More recently, the life of a nine-month old baby with congenital heart defect was saved by Chinese doctors performing open hearty surgery utilising Materialise’s Mimics software to convert MRI scan to a 3D printed heart.

In conclusion, just as the medical/healthcare industry is catching its breath at the awesomeness of 3D bioprinting, the 4D technology that creates hydrogel composite structures (that change shape when immersed in water) is being unveiled, and is expected to offer a greater prowess than its forerunner.

A combination of detailed CT imaging and 3D printing technology was used for the first time in the surgical planning for separation of conjoined twins in the Texas Children’s Hospital

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Injection Moulding Asia Flexible Electronics

The thinner the better Chunky devices are no more a trend. The

while consumers favour PTDs in their devices, like smartphones, tablets and E-readers, to allow for portability and convenience. GIA added that the Asia Pacific region represents the largest market for PTDs worldwide amid the strong demand for a wide range of portable electronics and supported by growing employment opportunities, rising income levels, and increasing 3G and 4G penetration.

market is now focusing on lightweight, flexible, yet durable materials for more feature-packed devices, says Angelica Buan.

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Innovations in the field Flexibility and being ultra-thin are FEs winning formulae, but a major hurdle is mass production and lack of new methods to produce printable and flexible electronics and energy devices. To further this, the Washington Research Foundation is collaborating with NextFlex, a consortium of 30 academic institutions and industrial partners. “Flexible electronic systems include things like flexible sensor arrays that could detect faults in engines or electric-car battery compartments as well as on-body devices to monitor health and fitness,” it says. With US$75 million funding from the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Silicon Valley-headquartered NextFlex is expected to develop scalable, cost-effective and sustainable methods for FEs applications. The AFRL and the Army Research Laboratory have developed a flexible and wearable patch that monitors performance and body signatures from electrocardiogram to temperature, and is capable of using Bluetooth to send data to a handheld device for evaluation. While the AFRL says the BioStampRC Wearable Sensing Platform can be used to evaluate a soldier’s wounds on the battlefield and help prioritise who needs urgent care, the technology also has the potential for use in the larger force for wellness management. The military already uses biometric devices, but the BioStampRC is smaller and less intrusive than those used in the past. Another healthcare innovation is a postage stampsized flexible sensor developed at the University of California that can be made into “smart” wristbands or

end it, twist it, roll it or fold it. No, we are not talking of toys or chewing gum but the latest innovation in the field of electronics, i.e., flexible electronics (FEs). Despite the flexible features, they are robust enough to withstand damage and deformity for applications in the military & defence, consumer electronics, healthcare/medical and energy/power generation sectors. According to Future Market Insights (FMI), the global FEs market has the potential for double digit growth in the coming years, with applications ranging from smart watches and smartphones to batteries and medical implants. Mostly made of plastics, FEs offer various advantages because they are ultra-thin, lightweight and compact, consume little energy and generate low heat, plus feature everything that is flexible from the displays, batteries and sensors to the memory. However, the cost, compared to traditional electronic devices, is an impediment to growth. Nonetheless, it is expected that with continuous technological development in the consumer electronics market, demand for FEs will grow, especially in North America and Asia Pacific including South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Philippines and Singapore. Meanwhile, paperthin flexible displays (PTDs) are anticipated to attract a following, according to the Global Industry Analyst (GIA) report, PaperFlexible electronics are the way Thin Displays: A Global forward Strategic Business Report. The PTD market is projected to reach nearly US$20 billion by 2020, driven by the increasing consumer demand for thin and flexible displays in portable electronic devices, in line with the miniaturisation trend. While possessing paper-like thickness, PTDs are light weight, shatter-proof and bendable. For manufacturers, reducing the overall display thickness is a challenge, and PTDs are a viable solution,

UC Berkeley’s smart wristband that is able to measure chemicals in sweat

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Injection Moulding Asia Flexible Electronics headbands and provide continuous, real-time analysis of the chemicals in sweat. The prototype includes five sensors on an array connected to a flexible circuit board to measure glucose, lactate, sodium and potassium, and also monitor skin temperature, while the circuit board analyses the data collected and can transmit it to other devices. The end goal of the research, which is reported in Nature, could be a device everybody wears that helps doctors monitor the health of whole communities at a time. Meanwhile, Dutch start-up Eurekite at the University of Twente has developed a tissue-like ceramic material known as Flexiramics, with the flexibility of paper and the lightness of a polymer. Made using a proprietary ceramic nanofibre process, Flexiramics is cheaper than boron nitride and more durable than polymers, the researchers said. During a laboratory test, when subjected to continuous heat up to 1,200°C for 24 hours, it neither burnt nor melted. Eurekite’s plan is to use it to manufacture flexible ceramic printed circuit boards for heavy-duty electronics that would combine the light weight of a polymer with the thermal and dielectric properties of a ceramic. And while there are other companies that offer flexible ceramic films for electronic uses, the Dutch team claims to be the only one that is able to make it in thicknesses ranging from “a few micrometres to over a millimetre.”

The first breakthrough was forming an inversion-hole layer in a wide-bandgap semiconductor. Once this was achieved, a unique combination of semiconductor and insulating layers were constructed that allowed the injection of “holes” at the MOS interfaces, thus increasing the chances of an electron tunnelling across a dielectric barrier. Through this type of quantum tunnelling, a transistor that behaves like a bipolar transistor was created. The dimensions of the device itself can be scaled with ease to improve performance and keep up with the need for miniaturisation. Moreover, the transistor also has power-handling capabilities at least ten times greater than commercially produced TFTs. OLEDs roll into vehicles FEs as well as printed electronics are also making inroads in the automotive sector and likely to offer a US$5.5 billion opportunity in the coming decade, IDTechEx Research reported. The projected growth of in-mould electronics and OLED technologies will lead in the breakthrough of the billion dollar market opportunity. Meanwhile, OLED displays, being a premium display technology for many consumer products, such as smartphones, tablets, televisions, and wearables, remain the biggest success of organic electronics. The report says the industry is now moving from glass to plastics, following the trend towards flexible displays, with the two largest manufacturers, Samsung Display and LG Display, investing in new production lines. Aside from performance advantages that OLEDs bring to the table in terms of colour, contrast and power consumption, the benefits of flexible display integration in vehicles include lighter weight and robustness and in many cases, versatility in design and form. Aside from the adoption of flexible OLED panels, the automotive industry may also start incorporating transparent displays to transform the windows of vehicles into screens that display information for drivers such as vehicle speed, navigation instructions and location-based facts, when inside the car. And when outside of the car, the rear windshield can be utilised to communicate safety warnings and other notifications to fellow motorists, such as the vehicle’s speed and signals for when the car is braking, IDTechEx Research added. To paraphrase an oft-said idiom, “Do not judge an FE by its dimension,” may justify why industries that require sinewy performance are turning to FEs.

The UAlberta team has filed a provisional patent on the TFT it created and expect to put it to work “in a fully flexible medium and apply these devices to areas like biomedical imaging, or renewable energy”

Yet another creation, dubbed as the first in the field of FEs, is a thin-film transistor (TFT) developed by the University of Alberta. The team was exploring new uses for TFTs, which are most commonly found in lowpower, low-frequency devices like a display screen. Efforts by researchers and the consumer electronics industry to improve the performance of TFTs had been slowed by the challenges of developing new materials or improving existing ones for use in traditional architecture, known as metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET). However, the researchers improved performance by designing a new transistor architecture that takes advantage of a bipolar action. Thus, instead of using one type of charge carrier, as most TFTs do, it uses electrons and the absence of electrons (referred to as “holes”) to contribute to electrical output. 5 M A R C H / A P R I L 2 016

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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • J a p a n e s e t y r e and rubber c o mpa n y Sum itomo Ru b b er I ndus t r i e s ( S RI) h as i n v e s t e d i n a plant for truck a n d b u s t y r e s at S u mitomo R ubbe r So uth A fric a. Wh en c o mpl e t e d, t otal inves tm en t w i l l a m o u n t to US$55 mi l l i o n . At p res en t, th e c o m p a n y i m ports the tyres. T h e c o m pa n y will s tart pr o du c i n g t yres by 2018. • I t a l i a n M a r a ngon i R e t r e a di ng Sys tems has ex pa n de d i t s bus ines s i n S p a i n b y forming a p a r t n e r s h i p with Spain’s re t r e a de r Lo uz n . T he tieup w i l l e n a b le the Galic iab a se d c o m pany to offer c u st o me r s M aran gon i’ s e x c l u si ve r i n gtread s ys tem , w h i c h i t s a y s is the only j o i n t l e s s c i r c ular retread t h a t a dh e r e s p erfec tly to the c a si n g , w i t h o ut any tens ion o r de f o r m a t i o n, allowing fo r f a st e r pr oc es s in g tim es a n d l e ss w a s te. • G e r m a n spe ciality c h e m i c a l s f i rm , E von ik has s t a r t e d t h e c onstruction o f a p r o d u c t ion facility f o r o r g a n i c a lly m od ified spe c i a l t y si l ic on es in the S h a n g h a i , C hin a, with c o mpl e t i o n p lan ned for m i d- 2 0 1 7 . T he p rojec t is p a r t o f a g l o bal investment i n i t i a t i ve . F or E vonik, th e in ve st m e n t , whic h is in the h i g h do u b l e -d igit m illion E u r o r a n g e , aims to expand t h e c o m pa n y ’ s s p ec iality si l i c o n e s pr od uc tion c a pa c i t i e s i n A s ia. • US - b a se d C o oper Standard A ut o m o t i v e ’ s p arent c o m pa n y C o oper Standard H o l di ng s h a s op ened two m o r e f a c i l i t i es in China t o a dd t o i t s c urrent ten m a n u f a c t u r i ng fac ilities i n t h e c o u n t ry and a

technical cent re locat ed in Shanghai. The 193,000 sq ft Chongqing facility will manufacture fluid transfer s y st ems, fuel and b rak e delivery systems, and sealing systems for OEMs; the 50,000 sq ft Huaian facility is the first facility to be opened under its jo int vent ure wit h Japan’s Inoac Corp, and will b e focusing on fluid transfer systems products. • Custom injection moulder MDS Manuf actur ing is investing US$700,000 to expand it s liquid silicone rub b er (LSR) product ion c apacit y for infant care products. It upgraded wit h a new Eng el V ict ory 200/100 Hy -t ech machine. T he new press is it s s event h Aust rian machine for LSR moulding . Meanwhile, MDS also runs thermoplast ic inject ion p resses and inject ion s tret ch b low machines to produce baby bottles. Wit h t he upt rend in b usiness, MDS is looking to expand by opening anot her fact ory b ig g er than its current 27,500 sq ft plant area t o b oost sales in t he medical sect or. • Austrian industrial rubber and plastics products manufacturer S em per it is investing close to US$45 million to d oub le t he product ion c apacit y of it s European c onvey or b elt product ion p lant in Poland, which the company st art ed expansion in 2015, wit h the second phase due to be completed in 2017. The company has also increased its sales and distribution network in the US and boosted

its Australian m a r k e t b y sig ning an e xc l usi v e distribution agr e e m e n t with New South Wales-based con v e y o r m aintenance sp e c i a l i s t C o nv aTech. The gro up report ed of st ro n g grow t h and revenues in 2 0 1 5 amidst a cloudy ma rket environment wi t h i t s capacity expans i o n t h a t increased its gl o b a l presence; as we l l a s i t s acquisit ion of G erma n profile manufac t u r e r Leeser . • German sealing applications spe c i a l i s t F r eudenber g Sea l i n g Techno lo g ies is i n v e s t i n g US$11 million i n i t s G erman sit e, t o i n c l ud e t he inst allat ion of n ew product ion capac i t y, a s well as modern i sa t i o n of equipment. T h e Ob erwihl sit e h a s been in product ion fo r mo re t han 60 y ears an d ma i n l y manufact ures O- ri n gs f o r indust rial and a ut omo t i v e cust omers. It is a d d i n g o n 10,700 sq ft of a d d i t i o n a l manufacturing s p a c e . • China’s Tr iang le G rou p has opened a ne w t yre plant in Weihai N a n h a i New District in S h a n d o n g Province. Phase 1 i n c l ud es a capacit y of 4 mi l l i o n units/year. The n e w plant, which is p a r t o f a US$1 billion inv e s t m e n t package, operat e s u n d e r t he sub sidiary T r i a n g l e Gr o up Huay ang . I t i s also Triangle’s f i f t h , a n d is expected to s e r v e t h e needs of export ma rket s i n Russia, Nort her n E uro pe and Nort h Ameri c a . • Specialit y chemi c a l s and polymers m a k e r

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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News O m no v a So l ution s has s o l d i t s I n d i a-based n i t r i l e r u b b er production O m no v a So l ution s In d ia t o Apc o t e x I nd u s tries for U S $ 3 m i l l i o n. The sale will i n c l u d e a m anufacturing p l a n t i n V a l l a and its a sso c i a t e d prod uc ts s u c h a s a c r y l o n i t rile butadiene r u b b e r , h i g h s tyrene r u b b e r m a st erbatc hes and N BR - P V C po lyblend s . M e a n w h i l e , Ommova w i l l s t i l l p r o duce latex pr o du c t s a t its fac ilities i n N o r t h Am eric a, E u rop e a n d Asi a . W ith th e s ale o f t h e n o n - c ore bu s ines s o p e r a t i o n s , Ommova can f o c u s o n i t s oth er offerings i n c l u d i n g s p eciality c h e m i c a l s a nd additives for t h e I n d i a n market. • Ar s e na l C a pital P artn ers ’ s Po l y m e r So l ution s Grou p ( PSG ) i s p u r chasing C l e v e l a n d - b ased speciality a d d i t i v e s a n d dispersions pr o du c e r F l o w P olymers f r o m G e ne v a Glen Cap ital. F i n a n c i a l d e tails were not di sc l o se d. F low Polym ers m a n u f a c t u r e s p rop rietary a n d c u st o m c h em ic al di spe r si o n s, p roc es s aid s a n d h o m o g e nis ing agents f o r t h e t y r e , automotive, i n d u s t r i a l , wire and cable, a n d p l a s t i c s markets. • Y o ko ha m a R u b b er (YRC) i s b u y i n g N eth erland s b a se d Al l i a n c e Tire Grou p ( AT G ) f o r US$1.2 billion f r o m p r i v a t e equity firm KKR & C o . T h e p u rc has e i s p a r t o f Y R C’s plans to e x pa n d i t s c o m m erc ial tyre b u si n e ss. T h e ac q uis ition is e x pe c t e d t o b e finalis ed in J u l y 2 0 1 6 , a f ter c om p letion o f a l l n e c e s s ary closing p r o c e d u r e s , including r e g u l a t o r y a pprovals. T h e a c q u i si t ion of A T G

is expect ed t o st reng t hen YRC’s product line-up in c ommercial t y res, g iven that YRC does not produce tyres for agricultural or forest ry machinery . ATG manufactures and sells radial and biased tyres for agricultural, industrial, c onst ruct ion and forest ry machinery in 120 count ries around t he world, wit h a focus on t he Nort h American and European mark et s. • British chemicals company S y ntho m er is acquiring Hexion Performance Adhesiv es & C o ating s ( PAC ), a b usiness of Hexio n, a US g lob al chemical company, for US$226 million. The acquisition is expected to b e complet ed b y t his year following receipt of reg ulat ory approvals and satisfaction of other c losing condit ions. Hexion PAC manufact ures a wide array of dispersions, additives, powder coatings and speciality monomers, supply ing a g lob al cust omer b ase across a b road rang e of end-use including c oat ing s, adhesives and for building and construction applications. The acquisition is expected to expand Sy nt homer’s dispersions and additives market presence in the US and Asia. • Stat e-owned Chinese c ong lomerat e Sino chem Inter natio nal C o r p, one of the world’s largest rubber s uppliers b y product ion capacity, will acquire a 30% st ak e in Sing aporelist ed g lob al rub b er t rader, Halcy o n Ag r i C o r p, t hus becoming its largest

shareholder. It i s e x p e c t e d to create the wo r l d ’ s l a r g e s t and most compr e h e n s i v e natural rubber s u p p l y chain managem e n t firm, wit h combi n ed revenue est imat ed t o t op US$2.3 b illion. H a l c yon Agri will also b u y Sinochem’s Chin ese a n d Malaysian natu r a l r u b b e r processing asse t s a n d t rading b usines ses. T h e t ransact ions are expec t ed t o be concluded by t h e t h i r d quart er of 2016. • St at e-owned De ve l op me n t Bank o f J apan (D B J) i s acquiring aut omot i v e components ma k e r Kinug awa R ubbe r I ndustr ial, seek i n g t o b u y all outstanding s h a r e s a t US$439 million. D B J a i ms to help Kinugaw a d i v e r s i f y its consumer ba s e a n d b o o s t it s compet it iveness si n c e more than half o f K i n u g a w a Rubber’s sales a r e r e l y i n g only on car maker N i s s a n Mo to r , which h a s s o l d a larg e b ulk of i t s pa rt s suppliers shareh o l d i n gs following a capi t a l t i e- up with Renault in 1 9 9 9 . • US-based globa l s u p p l i e r of powert rain c o mpo n en t s Dana Ho lding C orp , which operates f o u r g l o b a l product groups n a m e l y commercial vehi c l e, l i gh t vehicle, off-hig h w a y a n d performance tec h n o l o g i e s , has acquired Ill i n oi sheadquart ered M a gn u m Gaskets, except M a gn um’ s parent company M o d e r n Silico ne, a maker of h i gh t ech moulded g a sket s wit h a focus on l i qui d silicone rub b er i n j ec t i o n moulding . It wi l l c o n t i n ue to manufacture t h e s a i d product s at Mag n um’ s Florida-based fa c i l i t y .

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Rubber Journal Asia Tyre Industry

Tyre designs accelerate the industry’s market potentials From pneumatic tyres to self-healing and

One of the first pneumatic tyres

concept tyres, innovations in tyre designs keep the industry on track for growth, says Angelica Buan in this report.

Growth for the tyre sector obility is no longer a millennial buzzword but a reality in economies where urbanisation is rapidly increasing. Upward trajectory of automotive sales continue amid economic slowdown in mature markets like China, the US and Europe. This uptrend influences the market performance of the global tyre industry, which is expected to hit the value of nearly US$250 billion by 2019, says management consulting firm Lucintel in its market report. It attributes the growth to high demand for green tyres and tyre radialisation as well as increasing sales of commercial and passenger vehicles. It also mentions that technological innovations and increasing factory automation will be factoring in the uptick of the global automotive tyre industry in the coming years, adding that emerging economies, especially in Asia, such as India, Thailand, and Vietnam, will be leading the demand for tyres. By 2020, global market potential for tyres would jack up to 2.5 billion units, according to a 2014 global tyres market report by Global Industry Analysts (GIA), and it will be driven by rising automobile production in developing markets and expansion of commercial vehicle fleets, it says. It finds that the Asia Pacific region has exhibited the fastest growth at 6.4% CAGR from the 2014-2018 projection period. Regulatory constraints, one of the major influences in tyre sales and demand, favours high technology products, which gives the edge to major tyre manufacturers like Goodyear, Bridgestone, Continental and Pirelli, to name a few, says GIA.

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It wasn’t until 1888 that John Boyd Dunlop reinvented the pneumatic tyre whilst trying to improve his son’s bicycle. Dunlop’s tyre, like Thomson’s, wasn’t popular until a race in Belfast, Ireland, was won by a rider using his tyres. With that victory, people began to take notice of the pneumatic tyre. Dunlop’s development of the pneumatic tyre arrived at a crucial time in the development of road transportation. Commercial production began in 1890 in Belfast. Dunlop partnered with William Du Cros to form a company that would later become the Dunlop Rubber Company. In 1895, the pneumatic tyre was first used on automobiles, by Andre and Edouard Michelin. It was also around this time that legislation was put into effect that discouraged the use of solid rubber tyres. Thus, companies sprang up to meet the new demand for the new tyres and the age of the pneumatic tyre was started. Tyres remained fundamentally unchanged throughout the 1920s and 1930s until French tyre maker Michelin introduced steel-belted radial tyres in 1948. This new type of pneumatic tyre meant that they would have a longer life thanks to ply cords that radiate from a 90 degree angle from the wheel rim. It also meant that the tyre had less rolling resistance – increasing the mileage of a vehicle. One drawback was that these tyres required a different suspension system on the vehicle.

The advent of pneumatic tyres t all started in 1845 when the pneumatic or air-filled tyre, which works by air within the tyre absorbing the shocks of the road, was invented and patented by RW Thomson. Scottish Thomson’s design used a number of thin inflated tubes inside a leather cover. This meant that it would take more than one puncture before the tyre deflated. However, despite this new breakthrough in tyres, the old solid rubber variety was still favoured by the public, leaving the pneumatic tyre out in the wilderness.

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Tyres can now heal themselves ubber tyres that are filled with air are light and durable, but come with a significant weakness: punctures when hit by sharp things. Punctured tyres become flat tyres, and then that’s a one way ticket to the recycling heap.

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Rubber Journal Asia Tyre Industry Invented by Charles Goodyear, chemical crosslinking of rubbers by sulpur vulcanisation is the only method by which modern automobile tyres are manufactured. The process involves adding sulphur and other compounds to rubber. The process forms bonds within the material, but the bonds can’t be repaired once the tyres are punctured. Researchers are finding new ways to make tyres to bypass the vulcanisation process altogether. A team of scientists from Leibniz Institute for Polymer Research in Germany, the Tampere University of Technology, Finland, and the Dresden University of Technology, Germany, found that by adding a carbon/nitrogen (instead of sulphur) produces a similar bond, but one that can heal itself over time. This new method involves “converting commercially available and widely used bromobutyl rubber into a highly elastic material with extraordinary self-healing properties without using conventional cross-linking or vulcanising agents.”

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Continental presented the first test tyres in a limited series made from Taraxagum, which is the botanical name for the Russian dandelion. Its WinterContact TS 850 P features tread made entirely of natural rubber from dandelion roots. The company says this is in line with its long-term goal of making tyre production more sustainable and less dependent on traditional raw materials.

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Dandelions are being used as an alternative to natural rubber

Self-healing tyres may be the way forward

In an experiment conducted by the researchers, a cut in the rubber healed itself at room temperature and heat, and especially when applied in the first 10 minutes after the tear, sped up the process. “After eight days, the rubber can withstand pressures of more than 750 psi, which is about 20 times the normal amount of pressure on a tyre,” say the researchers. The study on the process was published last year in American Chemical Society’s Applied Materials & Interfaces journal. With this new discovery, given a few years, time will be able to heal all wounds, including tyre puncture wounds!

“After several years of intensive development work together with the Fraunhofer Institute, we are excited to be taking the first dandelion tyres onto the road,” said Nikolai Setzer, Member of the Executive Board of Continental responsible for the tyre division. “To get the most meaningful test results from the crop yield produced by our research project to date, we decided to build car winter tyres, as they contain a particularly high proportion of natural rubber. We are continuing to pursue the goal of developing tyres based on dandelion rubber for readiness for series production within the next five to ten years,” added Setzer. Meanwhile, Japanese tyre maker Bridgestone Corporation has made a similar development using a different plant, a desert shrub called the guayule plant. Guayule grows in the Southwestern US and Mexico, and the natural rubber made from guayule is a plantderived biomaterial similar to the natural rubber harvested from the Hevea Brasiliensis rubber tree.

Dandelions and guayule, alternative materials he rubber tree, or Hevea Brasiliensis, is normally found in Asia but scientists have now discovered alternative sources of rubber that can be found in western continents, which are dandelions and desert shrubs. Scientists have been studying dandelion rubber for a couple of years. Last year, Continental Tires produced its first tyres made entirely of the material.

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Rubber Journal Asia Tyre Industry Goodyear also introduced its IntelliGrip concept tyre designed to communicate with autonomous vehicle control systems. With sensor technology and specially designed tread, the tyre can sense road conditions, including both surface and weather conditions. It also uses active wear technology to assess the condition of the tyre and the vehicle. Furthermore, Goodyear-developed algorithms account for variables such as inflation pressure and tyre temperature. Goodyear says it is working with a number of vehicle manufacturers to further adapt this technology to their needs, enhancing connectivity with features such as Electronic Stability Control Systems, Brake Control Systems and Suspension Control Systems.

As guayule grows in arid regions, as opposed to the tropical regions where the Hevea Brasiliensis rubber tree is found, the further development of guayule rubber is anticipated to contribute to the diversification of natural rubber sources. Bridgestone built passenger tyres with 100% of its natural rubber-containing components derived from guayule at the Bridgestone Technical Centre in Japan. The tyres are particularly unique because they were constructed using the company’s guayule natural rubber cultivated at its Biorubber Process Research Centre (BPRC) in Mesa, Arizona, US. Bridgestone built similar passenger tyres at its operations in Rome, Italy, last year. In those tyres, all of the major natural rubber components, including the tread, sidewall and bead filler, were replaced with natural rubber extracted from guayule grown and A tyre made from guayule rubber harvested by Bridgestone.

Inspired by nature, the 3D printed tread mimics the pattern of brain coral and behaves like a natural sponge: stiffening in dry conditions and softening when wet to deliver excellent driving performance and aquaplaning resistance, says Goodyear. One of the most impressive features is the way these spherical tyres could help cars navigate in cramped spaces. Rather than being required to undergo a series of three-part-turns and back-and-forth to get into a tight parking space, spherical wheels that can move in any direction could let a car just glide into any available spot without changing the orientation of the vehicle. “By steadily reducing the driver interaction and intervention in self-driving vehicles, tyres will play an even more important role as the primary link to the road,” said Joseph Zekoski, Goodyear’s Senior VicePresident. He adds that Goodyear’s concept tyres play a dual role in the future, “both as creative platforms to push the boundaries of conventional thinking and test beds for next-generation technologies.” Thus, new tyre designs are being rolled out to satisfy consumer demands for tyre efficiency, durability and competitive pricing. Meanwhile, fuel efficiency, the use of biobased materials, or incorporation of recycled rubber, to cite a few standards, are clinching popularity and sales.

Reinventing the wheel with spherical tyre ince their invention, tyres have taken the same shape. The flat round shape has worked since the first wheel was rolled out. A change of shape may be a true “reinvention” of the wheel. With self-driving vehicles inching ever closer to reality, there are more than a few autonomous vehicle designs floating around. Thus, US tyre maker Goodyear released a spherical tyre at the 86th Geneva International Motor Show. The ambitious wheel design offers a glimpse of what driving in the near future might look like. Doing away with the conventional wheel and axle setup, Goodyear envisages cars being carried by four spherical tyres, which can swivel their tread in 360 degrees to help the vehicle move in ways that today’ s cars never could. The future-oriented tyre is dubbed Eagle-360 and allows the tyre to move in all directions, coping with space limitations such as tight turns, parking lots, or city streets. In theory, the tyre could also provide a smoother ride, enabling the car to move sideways in instances like overtaking or lane changes, without requiring the nose of the vehicle to turn. The spherical tyre is linked to the car by magnetic force so it can rotate on any axis in any direction. Embedded sensors further increase safety by communicating road and weather conditions to the vehicle control system and other nearby cars, while tread and tyre pressure monitoring technology regulate even wear of the 360-degree tyre to extend mileage.

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Goodyear’s spherical tyre though just a concept may be beneficial for autonomous vehicles in the future

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