A S l A ’ S L E A D l N G m aga z l ne f o r t h e p las t l c s and r u b b e r l nd u s t r y
業 界新聞 再 循 環 : 簡化方案的協同作用
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Volume 32, No 228
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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
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12 再循環:簡化方案的協同作用 16 Packaging – Today’s packaging, designed as both a visual communicator and a product differentiator, can help consumers make purchasing decisions that fit their preferences
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with conscientious waste disposal efforts and application of technologies
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26 Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPEs) – TPEs are replacing
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22 Recycling – Recycling is rendered more efficient when combined
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Supplements 副 刊 Organic electronics and sustainable policies offer respites from a proliferation of e-wastes; Meanwhile, the billion-dollar 3D printing market is making concessions for new materials and applications New technologies for green tyres are paving the road for ecofriendly, fuel efficient and low-rolling resistance driving
A S l A’ S L E A D l N G M A G A Z l N E F O R THE PLASTlCS AND RUBBER lNDUSTRY
On the Cover In a closed-loop economy, the zero waste goal is attainable with the 3Rs – recycling, reuse and recovery; as well as the adoption of green technologies
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MARCH / APRIL 2017
M&As/Tie-ups • To put at ease the European Union (EU)’s antitrust’s concerns over the merger between Dow Chemical and DuPont, both companies have said they will sell some assets, including DuPont's crop protection business and associated R&D, as well as Dow's acid copolymers and ionomers business. The two companies still expect the merger to be completed the first half of 2017. The EU’s deadline for making a decision about the merger will now be 4 April 4, instead of 14 March. • Labelling solutions provider Avery Dennison has completed the acquisition of Israel-based Hanita Coatings, a pressuresensitive materials manufacturer of speciality films and laminates, from Kibbutz Hanita and Tene Investment Funds. Avery Dennison is also acquiring Chinese manufacturer of speciality tapes used in the automotive industry, Yongle Tape, at US$190 million. The 32-year old Yongle Tape generates revenues of around US$160 million. 2
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• Germany’s Continental has received approval from antitrust authorities to purchase Hornschuch Group. The latter firm will be integrated with Benecke-Kaliko, a surface specialist. This is the largest acquisition in the company’s nearly 300-year history. Hornschuch manufactures functional, foam, and compact foils as well as artificial leather for the furniture, construction, and automotive industries and for the DIY sector. • Saudi Aramco will take a 50% stake, with an investment of US$7 billion, in Malaysian national petrochemical/gas firm Petronas’s Refinery & Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project in Malaysia. Aramco’s stake covers the refinery and cracker assets, making it the single largest investor in Malaysia. It will also supply up to 70% of the crude feedstock requirements of the refinery, with natural gas, power and other utilities supplied by Petronas. With a capacity to refine 300,000 barrels of crude per day,
RAPID’s refinery will also produce gasoline and diesel; as well as feedstock for the 3.5 million-tonne/ year petrochemical complex. • Thailand’s Siam Cement Group (SCG) has entered into a share purchase agreement with QPI Vietnam Limited (QPIV), a subsidiary of Qatar Petroleum, to acquire all of QPIV’s 25% equity stake in Long Son Petrochemicals in Vietnam. The US$36.1 million transaction will increase SCG’s stake in LSP to 71% (from 46%), while the Vietnamese parties will hold 29%. LSP is positioned as Vietnam’s first petrochemicals complex, with a 1 million-tonne ethylene cracker, with flexible gas and naphtha feed to yield total olefins capacity of up to 1.6 million tonnes/ year, depending on the feedstock mix, as well as a deep sea port and other facilities. Licensed in 2008, the complex was slated to begin construction in 2014 and to be completed in 2017. However, it has been delayed due to site clearance issues.
• Australian rigid packaging giant Pact Group Holdings is acquiring speciality contract manufacturer, Pascoe, for A$41 million. The acquisition of Pascoe further expands Pact’s investment in specialised contract manufacturing following its recent acquisitions of Jalco and Australian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers. • Oman-headquartered PET sheet maker Octal is rolling out its third phase of growth and mulling an initial public offering (IPO) to support its global expansion. Octal has, however, not yet decided on when to launch the IPO and in which market to do so. Set up in 2006, Octal claims to be the world's largest producer of PET sheet and resin on a single site and the world's leading clear rigid packing material supplier, producing nearly 1 million tonnes of bottle-grade PET and DPET (direct-to-sheet polyester sheet) sheet/year. It also has facilities in the US and Saudi Arabia with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes/year. Company officials say the decision regarding the IPO would be made in the second half of 2018.
Plant Set-ups/Capacity Expansions • Biotechnology firm Danimer Scientific and global food and beverage company PepsiCo are teaming up to develop bio-based compostable packaging for PepsiCo’s snack brands, facilitating the future expansion of Danimer’s Nodax PHA plant. • Two of the world’s largest bottled water companies Nestlé Waters and Danone are partnering with Origin Materials, a US start-up based in California, to develop a bioPET plastic bottle. The NaturALL Bottle Alliance
will use biomass feedstocks, such as previously used cardboard and sawdust. Origin Materials has already produced samples of 80% biobased PET in its pilot plant in Sacramento. Construction of a “pioneer plant” will begin in 2017, with a capacity of 5,000 tonnes of bio-based PET. The first samples of 60% bio-based PET will start in 2018. • With an estimated 35,000 new aircraft to be launched in the next 20 years, the aerospace industry is embracing thermoplastic
composites. Thus, Tri-Mack Plastics Manufacturing Corporation is partnering with UK-based Victrex to set up TxV Aero Composites for polyketone (PAEK) composite applications. The multi-million dollar investment includes the establishment of a new US-based facility, to be completed in 2017. • Indian maker of biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) films Jindal Films's subsidiary in Europe, Jindal Films Europe, is increasing its extrusion capabilities at its Virton site in
Belgium, following its expansion in 2015 at its Italian facility. A 10.5 m orientation line will be installed with a capacity of 50,000 tonnes/ year to replace production lines currently in operation in Virton. It is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter 2018. • Speciality chemicals maker Croda is investing in a £27 millionexpansion at its Hull manufacturing site in the UK, to double existing capacity of additives. Croda has other plants in the Netherlands and in China, producing fatty acid amides and slip additives.
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• French materials firm Arkema has doubled the capacity in France of its Kepstan PEKK (polyetherketoneketone) product line, the latest addition to its PAEK family. It has also confirmed its future investment at its Mobile site (Alabama, US) in a world-scale PEKK plant expected to come on stream in the second half of 2018. • German extrusion blow moulding machine maker Kautex Maschinenbau is expanding and modernising its Bonn production location. From Q3 2017, the new 5,000 sq m assembly hall will be dedicated to assembling and testing KBBseries packaging machines and KSB-series suction blow moulding machines. • Mitsui Chemicals & SKC Polyurethanes (MCNS), a 50:50 joint venture of Japanese firm Mitsui Chemicals and South Korean firm SKC Co, is setting up a polyurethane (PU) system’s house in Andhra Pradesh in Southern India. It will have a capacity of
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13,000 tonnes/ year for polyolPU foam material formulations. MCNS supplies PU system products from system houses in ten locations around the world, including the US, Mexico, China and Poland, based on a production capacity of 280,000 tonnes of polyol, 250,000 tonnes of MDI and 120,000 tonnes of TDI. • US chemicals firm ExxonMobil is expanding its Singapore refinery to support the production of its EHC Group II base stocks for the lubricant sector. Construction is expected to begin during the second quarter of 2017 with completion anticipated in 2019. Meanwhile in China, ExxonMobil is constructing a multi-million dollar expansion of its 27,000sq m Shanghai Technology Centre, including a new R&D facility to support customer collaboration and growth. • Packaging giant Tetra Pak is to build a new plant at its Rayong site in Thailand,
dedicated to producing closures for carton packaging. The EUR24 million investment, which will create around 60 jobs when it opens early in 2018, will be capable of producing more than 3 billion closures/year. • Franceheadquartered PVC maker Kem One and Indiabased Chemplast Sanmar are forming a 50:50 joint venture Kem One Chemplast, to set up a chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) plant in India. To be located in Puducherry, it will have a capacity of22,000 tonnes/year of CPVC resins and compounds, catering to the building sector. Kem One is the second largest producer of PVC in Europe, with eight industrial sites. • Germany's Uhde is in talks over the licensing of a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) technology for propylene production at Salman Farsi petrochemical complex, currently under construction at Mahshahr,
Iran. The plant is expected to be completed by 2020. With a cost of around EUR290 million, the PDH facility will produce 450,000 tonnes/year of propylene. • Italian chemicals firm Versalis (Eni) and Algerian national firm Sonatrach are to carry out a joint feasibility study for an integrated petrochemical complex to be built in Algeria. Versalis says the agreement gives it opportunity to collaborate with an integrated oil corporation, to which the Italian chemical producer will offer its industrial experience in managing large petrochemical plants. • Japanese firm Asahi Kasei and China National Bluestar Group, a subsidiary of China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina), are setting up a joint venture for the integrated production and sale of modified polyphenylene ether (mPPE) in China, marketed as Xyron, including its intermediate materials 2.6xylenol and
INDUSTRY NEWS polyphenylene ether (PPE). The facility will have a capacity of 30,000 tonnes/year for PPE and 2.6xylenol and 20,000 tonnes/year for mPPE. • German chemicals firm Evonik is to construct a new production plant for highquality flat films made from multilayer polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). To finance the project, the company plans to invest a sum 宗久PRA_3-4月_FB.pdf 1 2017/2/20 上午 10:21:13 in the double-
digit millions in its Weiterstadt site. The plant is scheduled to supply the initial commercial film batches by the end of 2018. Evonik has also opened a new Coating Additives laboratory in Tuzla (Istanbul), which includes a customer service centre to support customers with the development of surface coatings in Turkey and throughout the Middle East. • Total Corbion PLA, a 50:50 joint
venture between Total and Corbion in the Netherlands, has launched its operations to produce and market PLA polymers. The firm’s PLA polymerisation plant, with a capacity of 75,000 tonnes/year, is currently under construction at Corbion’s site in Thailand, with start-up planned for 2018. • Hyosung, a South Korean producer of PP, will invest US$1.2 billion to build a propane
dehydrogenation (PDH) and PP complex, as well as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage tank and LPG/ petrochemical product warehouse at the Cai Mep Industrial Zone, located near Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. The first phase will comprise the LPG tank and 300,000tonne/year PP plant. The second phase will be the PDH plant and second PP plant, which will double capacity at the site.
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EU economy going full circle with bioplastics Europe’s target for a bioeconomy has birthed its latest directive on a circular economy, including its recommendations on the use of biobased plastics, a view that has solicited mixed reviews from industry sectors, including NGOs like Break Free From Plastic movement, according to Angelica Buan in this report.
he EU has finally penned its landmark circular economy plan after wrestling scrutiny from political parties and analysts, alike, to pursue a sustainable, low carbon, resource efficient and competitive economy. After all, it is high time to rethink how wastes are being managed. The proposed actions will contribute to "closing the loop" of product lifecycles, through greater recycling and re-use, and bring benefits for both the environment and the economy. The revised legislative proposals on waste set clear targets for reduction of waste and establish an ambitious and credible long-term path for waste management and recycling. In the package, the EU sets a municipal waste recycling target of 65% and packaging waste of 75% by 2030. These are followed with simplified and improved definitions and harmonised calculation methods for recycling rates throughout Europe. A standard feature is the banning of landfilling of separately collected waste, to reduce landfills to a maximum of 10% of municipal waste, also by 2030. Meanwhile, a highlight of this policy and to keep the circular economy mechanics on the roll, is implementation of measures to promote reuse of these wastes to create, what it calls, industrial symbiosis, meaning, an industry’s by product can be utilised as another industry’s raw material.
EU's circular economy plan aims to build a sustainable, low carbon, resource efficient and competitive economy
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Economic incentives for producers of green products are also provided, as well as for recovery and recycling of wastes from packaging, batteries, electric and electronic equipment, and vehicles. The EU action plan’s closed-loop economy is also pronged to the region’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is broader in scope, and includes poverty alleviation as well as preservation of natural resources. As opposed to the conventional linear model, a closedloop economy means that the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste minimised. This approach is expected to develop a sustainable, low carbon, resource efficient and competitive economy for the EU. Plastics’ radius of impact to EU’s economy Plastics production is a huge industry in Europe, and ranked seventh in Europe in terms of industrial value-added contribution (based on 2012 industry data). Comprising plastics raw materials producers, plastics converters and machinery manufacturers in the 28 member states in the EU, the industry is a main economic artery, providing direct jobs to more than 1.5 million people in Europe. It also brought in a trade balance of EUR16.5 billion and turnover of more than EUR340 billion in 2015 , according to a 2016 report, Plastics - the facts, by European plastics association, PlasticsEurope, and the European Association of Plastics Recycling and Recovery Organisation (EPRO). In 2015, Europe’s plastics demand reached 49 million tonnes, with thermoplastics and thermosets as the most widely used types; and the packaging segment garnering the highest share at 39.9%, while electrical/electronics posted the lowest at 5.8%. Plastics are too valuable a resource that the economy cannot afford to lose them in landfills or in incinerators. In the report, recycling and energy recovery are offered as complementary options to exploit plastics waste, as enablers of a circular economy. These instruments are also recommended to help bridle marine litter.
Materials News Road map outlines potholes to fill Considering that plastics are one of the priority areas in the EUs’ circular economy package, the European Commission (EC) published, in January this year, a roadmap titled “Strategy on plastics in a circular economy”. It covers three main issues and remedies for plastics: high dependence on virgin fossil feedstock; low rate of recycling and reuse of plastics; and significant leakage of plastics into the environment. Hence, the roadmap aims to reverse these problems by decoupling plastics production from virgin fossil feedstock and reducing its life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts; improving the economics, quality and uptake of plastics recycling and reuse and reducing plastics leakage into the environment. Currently, most conventional plastics are produced from fossil fuel feedstock; plastics production, thus, accounts for an estimated 400 million tonnes of GHG emissions/year (based on 2012 data). That being said of conventional plastics, it seems logical to use non-fuel feedstock to produce plastics. Hence, bioplastics are a good fit for the EC strategy, a welcome guideline for Germany-headquartered European Bioplastics (EUBP), an association representing the bioplastics industry along the entire value chain in Europe. EUBP concurs that the strategy will steer the plastics industry towards a sustainable EUBP's François de Bie gleans that economy. François use of biobased feedstock can de Bie, Chairman of usher towards decarbonisation of EUBP, lauds how the the plastics industry circular economy roadmap prioritises decarbonisation of the plastics industry by employing biobased feedstock. Bioplastics, which have yet to catch up with traditional plastics in terms of the growth pace, describe two different concepts, according to the roadmap. Biodegradable plastics are materials that are degraded by microorganisms into water, carbon dioxide (or methane) and biomass under specified conditions, and can be made from organic and/or fossil resources; while biobased plastics are materials made from biological and renewable resources such as grains, corn, potatoes, beet sugar, sugar cane or vegetable oils. NGOs decry the use of bioplastics in closing the loop The circular economy agenda is clear and the roadmap is ready to go; but on the emphasis on bioplastics as an instrument to push this ideal, some sectors are sitting on the fence.
Campaigning against plastic pollution is the Break Free From Plastic, backed by over 100 international nongovernmental organisation (NGO) members, including Environmental Investigation Agency, Friends of Europe (FOE), Greenpeace, Marine Conservation Society (UK), Plastic Soup Foundation, Surfers Against Sewage and Zero Waste Europe. It rebuts that the roadmap should focus on reducing and optimising the use of plastics if the circular economy strategy is to make a significant impact. Marine litter can be prevented with recycling and energy recovery strategies, according to a plastics report
The EC’s take on waste plastics in marine litter lacks specific measures to deal with the issue; as well the coalition says waste packaging’s role in pollution is attributed more to the lack of consumer awareness rather than addressing a plastic producer’s responsibility. Break Free From Plastic also countered the plan’s overture on alternative materials to combat pollution. It referred specifically to the hodgepodge of bioplasticsrelated terminologies that confuse consumers, such as degradable, compostable and biobased. The term bioplastic has been used and understood loosely, maybe due to the complexity of how bioplastics are designed. Not all bioplastics are created equal, and contain varying proportions of biomass components. Hence, not all bioplastics are 100% recyclable or biodegradable. The term biodegradable can also be tricky because so-called biodegradable plastics do not breakdown easily in home composting; and specialised industrial equipment is required to aid a quick breakdown. Furthermore, the NGO adds that EC should have refocused on cutting back on single-use plastics while increasing reuse and recycling instead of pitching alternative materials as a solution. It also says that the roadmap does not expound on the need to move away from using toxic chemicals in producing plastics. “With a massive decrease in the use of single-use plastics and a sharp increase in reuse and recycling, as proposed by the Break Free From Plastic Movement, the attention on the source of the alternative materials would be secondary,” says the group. MARCH / APRIL 2017
Delphine Lévi Alvarès of Break Free From Plastic seeks for real solutions to dramatically reduce wastes by acknowledging producer responsibility for a product’s end-oflife in the design process
Delphine Lévi Alvarès, European coordinator of Break Free From Plastic, reiterates, “It is crucial that we reframe the debate around real solutions, take action to dramatically reduce throwaway plastics and acknowledge producer responsibility for a product’s end of life in the design process, rather than focusing on (unsustainable) replacement and recycling.” Land use under pressure The Belgium-headquartered FOE (Friends of Earth), the largest grassroots environmental network in Europe, in its report, Land under pressure, contends that an increased consumption of biofuels and bioplastics would increase land demand. Land requirement for bioplastics in 2016 covers 1.1 million ha globally and by 2019, is projected to reach 1.4 million ha. A rapidly growing share of global agricultural areas is allotted to the production of biomass for nonfood purposes.
Friends of Earth reported that more than half of the land areas catering to EU’s biobased resource requirement are located overseas, such as in Asia
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FOE stated that Europe is dependent on foreign land areas for its consumption of non-food products. About 65% of the land areas catering to resource requirement are located overseas, such as in Asia, including China, Indonesia and Thailand. It said that vegetable oils obtained from soybean, palm, rapeseed and sunflower oil form the largest group of non-food products, and accounted for almost 29% of total imports of non-food bioproducts in 2010. These biomaterials are used to produce biodiesel, soaps, paint and plastic. Recycling made more difficult with bioplastics Meanwhile, FOE raises the environmental impact related to the design and end-of-life management of bioplastics, including issues with waste prevention, recyclability, biodegradability and composting. FOE Europe, together with Surfer Foundation Europe, Zero Waste Europe, European Environmental Bureau and, the EC and EFTA co-funded body, European Environmental Citizens Organisation for Standardisation (ECOS), have voiced out their take on the issue in an online article published by the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
"The term bioplastic has been used and understood loosely, maybe due to the complexity of how bioplastics are designed..." “Biobased and biodegradable plastics may cause distortion to established collection and recycling processes,” the organisations wrote. They explained that bioplastics are not all designed to be recyclable in the same way as conventional plastics. Yet, bioplastics enter the plastic recycling stream, and this incurs additional cost of extra sorting between recyclable and non-recyclable, biobased and petroleumbased and mixed source plastics. This scenario not only concerns plastics converters but also stunts recycling rates. Thus, they recommend that “bioplastics design must be compatible with collection and recycling systems, and to avoid dangerous chemicals and substances”. Nevertheless, given all the above views, it cannot be denied that bioplastics have been developed on the basis of sustainability and to realise circular economy goals, not only in Europe but in the rest of the world. Yet, some of the grey areas, particularly in the roadmap, have to be ironed out, with a need to present more comprehensive waste reduction solutions: only then can the loop be closed.
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Shelf war of products: The score is in the packaging Let’s face it: buyers now are more discerning in choosing which products to buy, ergo spurring on-shelf product competition for buyer’s attention. Can packaging be a deal breaker, asks Angelica Buan in this article.
Packaging is both a protective container and a visual communicator to help consumers make purchasing decisions that fit their preferences
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ackaging in a historical perspective has undergone tremendous metamorphosis, from the use of leaves and clay to more advanced materials in glass, wood, paper, metal, plastics and composites. Packaging has also become “politicised”, provoking regulatory and ethical debates: should it be plain and homogeneous, or branded – as in tobacco and cigarette packaging? Should it be paper or plastic for shopping bags in view of the waste management agenda? Should materials be biobased or petroleum-based for packaging, in the interest of curbing marine litter? Throughout those varying stages, what remains constant is that packaging is both a protective container and a visual communicator. The latter enables added valuation to the product and product differentiation that aid consumers to pick their preferences amid an array of – and at times overwhelming – branding stimuli. Trend drivers according to studies In stores, the torrent of packaging colours, labels, nutrition information, and shapes compete for attention of consumers who would usually shortlist preferences by cost or personal bias. Today’s packaging industry allocates more funding for R&D to get ahead in this shelf space competition. Transparency Markets Research (TMR), in its Consumer Packaging Market: Global Analysis 2024 report, reiterates how packaging for the consumer goods industry can help the product look aesthetically appealing for the potential buyer, at the same time, deliver products to the consumer in a “sufficiently sophisticated, safe, convenient, and appropriate manner”. Thus, the consumer packaging market has witnessed a significant rise in R&D efforts to develop innovative packaging materials and product designs. Catering to a new breed of consumers has also seen shifts in the market. According to the Ernst & Young (EY) report, Unwrapping the Packaging Industry, current demographic changes such as the decline of the nuclear
Packaging family, increase in the average age, in addition to growing market share competition among consumer goods producers, is prompting innovation in packaging. This can be gleaned from new packaging designs showcased in the recent years, based on features enumerated in the EY report: convenience; smaller pack sizes; eye-catching and colourful designs to enhance brand awareness; promotional packs and brand extensions to maintain customer loyalty and for positioning in the mass luxury category of cosmetics and other consumer goods. The delivery of new shapes, new materials, more colours, and economical short-runs is passed on to the packaging producers, who have to invest in the right technologies and capabilities to be competitive, EY said, adding that ultimately, the end-market users are the real drivers of innovation. For a busy lifestyle, convenience is a virtue The fast paced lifestyle has changed how we carry out our activities, as we move double-time, multitask, or juggle with life-work balance. This shift has become a catalyst for the retail industry to deliver their products in the most convenient method. Now, most products intended for quick consumption, like food, drinks and medicines, come in convenient packaging with easy-open, carry and storage, and resealable features. The increasing demand for on-the-go packaging is bolstering the market, forecast to grow at a CAGR of almost 4.7% from 2016-2020, according to Technavio, in its Global On-the-Go Packaging Market outlook. Newer food packaging features like zippers, tear notches, peel-off lids, hand-holes, and microwavability also contribute to this market’s growth over the forecast period, Technavio adds. Building into a growing convenient packaging segment, UK-based flexible packaging manufacturer Coveris has launched Grab Box, a hybrid spin-off to the traditional grab bag concept.
Tesco uses Coveris's Grab Box, made from board lined with high-clarity, low-gauge PP film, for its food-to-go sandwiches
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Grab Box is made from board lined with highclarity, low-gauge PP film incorporating antifog properties and features three windows for enhanced product visibility. The format provides an extensive printable area on plain board, on one or both sides, with a combined total of nine colours, allowing additional communication or branding to appear on the inside of the box. Grab Box is supplied as a flat, pop-up box, quick to erect and simple to hand-fill before being heat sealed, resulting in faster processing speeds, says Coveris. It was launched by British multinational grocery store Tesco last year for its food-to-go sandwiches. The firm says the board (for the Grab Box) comes from sustainable forests. Wipak's easy laser-scored opening bags for dry foods
Meanwhile, Wipak UK has developed a range of bags for dry foods that each feature easy laser-scored openings, thereby significantly increasing pack functionality, in a range of formats, including a Stabilo bag, pillow bag and a quad pack pouch, according to Wipak. The user-friendly packaging can be reclosed using an adhesive label and, as the contents do not need to be decanted into a separate container, the packs can maintain brand identity throughout a product’s lifecycle, conferred Wipak. The laser technology enables to create the opening of the three pack formats, selectively weakening a specific layer of the film, at the same time ensuring that no barrier characteristics are lost in the process. Ready to serve meals for time-starved consumers New York-based research firm, NPD, reports that the late 1990’s coined-term “grocerant” can aptly describe current food consumption and food shopping trends, especially among food patrons
Packaging Meanwhile, single-serve, portion-sized packaging is gaining a significant on-shelf share, owing to its capability to prevent food wastage while ensuring fresh eating experience. Californian fresh food retailer, Ready Pac Foods, which was recently acquired by Bonduelle, a French company producing processed vegetables, has launched its latest seasonal creation, the Roasted Beets & Baby Greens Bistro Bowl single-serve salad, an addition to its limited edition roster of singleserve salads it first introduced in 2016. With its convenient packaging, the Bistro Bowl is able to offer a melange of season-fresh ingredients to fresh food consumers. SIX500, a ready-to-serve accelerated cooking packaging, is suitable for extreme commercial oven environments
who want quick-to-fix, full meals that are ready-to-eat or heat-and-serve and are usually availed from supermarkets and groceries. NPD’s US data shows that in-store dining and take-out of prepared foods from grocers rose nearly 30% since 2008; and was poised to reach almost US$29 billion in 2016. The practicality of preparing meals at a fraction of the time spent for traditional home-cooking is captured in new packaging innovation from Havi Global Solutions (HGS). The US company partnered with Manitowoc Foodservice (MFS) to offer SIX500, a readyto-serve accelerated cooking packaging. The US FDA-compliant SIX500 provides food processors, convenience stores, and restaurant operators with an enhanced packaging solution that can safely withstand temperatures up to 525°F for six minutes. In short, this packaging, with its use of proprietary moisture barriers and laminations, is suitable for extreme commercial oven environments. In addition, food can be pre-packaged, cooked, and then served in the same packaging carrier, which creates time and labour efficiencies throughout the product lifecycle.
Ready Pac Foods launched packaged fresh food in single-serve bowls
Food’s “close” encounter of the resealable kind Since the introduction of zipper storage bags to hold pencils in 1954; and the first branded reusable zipper food bag, Ziploc debuting in 1968, resealable packaging has been adopted to keep food fresh longer, contaminant and spillproof. Nowadays, more resealing systems are devised for pouches, bags, and other novel packaging. Sales in this segment is projected to clinch more than US$16 billion by 2022, according to Zion Market Research in its Global Resealable Closures and Spouts Packaging Market report, driven by rising application in personal care, food and beverage, cosmetics, healthcare, home care, and other products. Packaging with closures and spouts are suitable to store condiments, liquid adhesives, creams, and other products. Of the materials used for this segment, plastic is widely preferred due to its light weight and sustainability properties, the research group reported. US-headquartered Bemis, a major player in resealables and closures, mentioned by Zion in
Bemis's Calypso foil lidding peels easily in a single piece MARCH / APRIL 2017
PACKAGING the report, launched last year its newest offer, the Calypso foil lidding that peels easily in a single piece. The no-tear, no-shred solution has more than two times the tear strength of traditional foil lidding, Bemis cited. Calypso lidding helps to prevent punctures, boasting more than 50% greater puncture strength compared to traditional foil lidding, says Bemis. By keeping products safe, damage and waste are reduced. It is also softer and safer, with edges that won’t cut, reducing consumer complaints and improving the safety of manufacturing workers. Using significantly less foil than a traditional die-cut lid, this multi-layer structure is said to improve sustainability including lowering CO2 by 35% and energy by 10%, according to Bemis. Calypso can replace heavy gauge foil lidding used in yogurt and additional cultured dairy products, as well as other food, non-food and medical products. Its universal structure can adhere to most cupstock, run on existing equipment and maintain line speeds, Bemis said. Food safety is also ensured with Klöckner Pentaplast’s APET++ mono PET-based technology for food products. It is said to offer improved sealing properties even with contaminated sealing surfaces, as well as sealing at lower temperatures that will reduce utility costs. Thus, it meets the growing demand for highly secure packaged goods with sustainable materials, said Klöckner Pentaplast, a rigid packaging manufacturer with its main facility in Germany. Klöckner Pentaplast’s Pentafood clikPET can extend the shelf life of yogurt products up to ten days
Last November, the company also introduced a PET-based film for yogurt. The Pentafood clikPET, an addition to its Pentafood film line, embodies full PS functionality, complemented by gas and water vapour barrier properties and the ability to bend and click.
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Due to the base of PET technology, clikPET products offer safe and sustainable solutions in the marketplace while also reducing complexity, risk and price volatility in the supply chain, explained Klöckner Pentaplast. This packaging technology can extend the shelf life of yogurt products up to ten days, thus enhancing consumers’ needs. Furthermore, Pentafood clikPET’s material properties reduce cup breakage rates to significantly lower levels. It can be used on major FFS lines, seals, labels and trays. Now for soup and pasta buffs, UK-based Aegg is dishing out its latest range of plastic fresh soup and pasta sauce pots, which feature resealing lid design, have a built-in pouring spout and a lid with a tear back feature, allowing the consumer to microwave safely, helping to prevent spillage of boiling hot soup on a consumer’s hand, Aegg said.
Aegg's microwaveable fresh soup and pasta sauce pots feature resealing lid design, a built-in pouring spout and a lid with a tear back feature
The pots can also be resealed if partly used. In addition, Aegg has designed the pots so that any of three label solutions (adhesive label, in-mould label and print) can be used. There are currently two pot sizes within the range, which are ideal for either a single or double serving, each with the same size diameter at the top, but with 30% less capacity for the smaller pot. In brief, the emergence of new packaging designs and innovations, which enable packaging to perform better in securing and protecting contents up to the time of consumption, help consumers make that purchase decision with confidence.
A synergy of de-cluttering solutions The combined efficiency of technologies and human efforts are key to creating a zero-waste living, says Angelica Buan in this report.
RAA has introduced society-wide standardised labels on recycling bins
urrently, waste is being generated at unabated levels. The World Bank reports that the world's cities are currently producing some 1.3 billion tonnes/year of municipal solid waste (MSW), or 1.2 kg per city-dweller/day. By 2025, the volume is projected to swell to 2.2 billion tonnes, or 1.4 kg/person. World Bank projects that lower income countries may incur five times more the cost of solid waste management than more affluent countries. By 2025, the latter countries will incur waste management costs of more than US$375 billion. Meanwhile, achieving desired recycling rates are easier said than done. The US, for example, generates about 258 million tonnes or about 2 kg person/day of MSW; with 75% of this considered as recyclable. However, the US’s recycling rate was roughly 34%, according to the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA). The industry is likewise going through decline, according to Recycle Across America (RAA), a US-based 501 non-profit organisation that has introduced society-wide standardised labels on recycling bins. It cites several reasons for what it calls as the “collapse of recycling”, including high contamination levels in the recycling stream. “Contamination cripples the economics of recycling, as the process to remove contamination reduces profitability, driving up the cost of recyclables, thereby preventing many manufacturers from reusing recycled materials. As a result, they continue to deplete finite natural resources at alarming levels,” states RAA. Comparatively, the European Union (EU) has demonstrated a recycling rate of 44% during 2014. According to the European Environment Agency (EEA), 475 kg/person MSW was generated (or about 1.3 kg of MSW daily). By 2030, EEA targets a recycling rate of 65%. In Asia-Pacific’s more affluent countries, recycling rates vary yet are impressive. US-based organisation Planetaid cites that in 2015 South Korea’s recycling rate was 49%; Japan, 21%; Taiwan, 60%; Singapore 59%; and Australia 30%. Waste pickers, hands-on in waste collection Meanwhile, quite a number of dwellers in developing countries with informal recycling sectors are making a livelihood out of picking waste for recycling.
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Recycling According to a document titled Informal recycling sector in developing countries, from the World Bank’s Public-Private Partnership in Infrastructure Resource Centre (PPPIRC), about 1% of the urban population or 15 million people from developing countries make a living “salvaging recyclables from waste”. While the driving factor for this activity is primarily economic, the PPPRIC document says that it also carries with it the potential to generate jobs, alleviate poverty, create savings for municipalities, enhance industrial competitiveness, protect the environment and offer sustainability. To ensure more efficient recycling, three models are adopted to organise waste pickers: microenterprises, cooperatives, and public-private partnerships. Various initiatives to improve the earnings and living conditions of waste pickers are being hatched. Brazil is piloting an initiative to include waste pickers into the MSW systems via cooperatives, as well as taking up a national solid waste policy that recognises waste picking or castadores in the native parlance, as an occupation in the 2001 Brazilian Classification of Occupations. Succeeding laws also allow municipalities to contract waste picking organisations, without the bidding process, to provide selective waste collection services. Waste picking groups worldwide, in Latin America, South Africa, Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and other regions, are also being recognised by their national policy-makers. Opportunities that would benefit waste pickers continue to open up. An Amsterdam-based group, Reflow, has pitched a recycling initiative of using collected wastes, specifically PET bottles, as 3D printing material. The group explained that initially working with PET bottles enables easier sourcing of materials. At the same time, PET’s chemical composition is more standardised globally than other plastic types like ABS, which may contain recycling contaminants. For a project based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Reflow hires waste pickers to collect PET bottles discarded by the curbside or from designated locations like restaurants, bars and hotels; and to bring them to its facilities.
Reflow collects discarded PET bottles and recycles them into 3D printing material
At the same time, Reflow encourages a sustainable recycling system by producing the filament also in the source country, as well as ploughing 25% of their profits back into waste picker communities. For Mexico’s waste pickers also known as pepenadores, global firm Danone’s water brand in Mexico, Bonafont, co-created a project with local partners Ashoka, a global social entrepreneurs association, and a non-governmental organisation, Mundo Sustentable, to help waste-pickers pick PET bottles from landfills of Mexicali city. This is recycled to rPET and, thus, Bonafont is able to secure its supply of rPET material. It is the first Danone company to have achieved a 100% rPET bottle. With the EUR100 million-Danone Ecosystem Fund, the company is able to make its Mexican value chain more sustainable and efficient. The project also created a new Segregation Centre that also provides life skills training for pepenadores so they recycle better, which means better earning than their average US$219 a month.
Danone's Bonafont engages the help of local pepenadores to secure its supply of rPET
Moreover, Danone adds: “Because the r-PET circulates in a closed loop, its price is much easier to control, meaning a steady income for the waste pickers. Bonafont’s productivity has increased, too, because of the good-quality rPET it receives, and the model has proven replicable, which means that the benefits can be scaled up.” In like manner, Danone has teamed up with Philadelphia-headquartered Nestlé Waters, and California-based startup, Origin Materials to form the NaturALL Bottle Alliance. The partners will develop and launch at commercial scale a PET plastic bottle made from 100% biobased materials. The project uses biomass feedstocks, such as previously used cardboard, sawdust and wood chips, and later on other biomaterials , such as rice hulls, straw and agricultural residue. Danone and Nestlé Waters are providing expertise and teams, as well as funding to help Origin Materials make this technology available to the entire food and beverage industry. According to the alliance’s press statement, this next-generation PET will be as light in weight, transparent, recyclable and protective of the product as today’s PET, while being better for the planet. MARCH / APRIL 2017
Recycling Origin Materials has already made samples of 80 % biobased PET in its pilot plant in Sacramento. Construction of a pioneer plant will begin this year, with production of the first samples of more than 60% bio-based PET to start in 2018. The initial volume goal for this first step is to bring 5,000 metric tonnes of biobased PET to the market. Meanwhile, the NaturALL Bottle Alliance aims to develop the process for producing at least 75% biobased PET plastic bottles at commercial scale as early as in 2020, scaling up to 95% in 2022. Moreover, the team said continuous research will be undertaken to increase the level of bio-based content to 100%. Zero waste community, a reality For Japan’s fifth smallest community, Kamikatsu, waste management takes the form of manual sorting and mindful waste disposal. The rural mountain town has a small ageing population, which was less than 2,000 in 2015 and is expected to shrink further by 66% in 5 years. Nevertheless, the 109.6 sq km-land town has been hailed as a model for zero-waste living. Akira Sakano heads the Zero Waste model and is Chair of the Zero Waste Academy, Japan, a non-profit organisation for Zero Waste policy implementation and advocacy; and co-founder of RDND, an enterprise delivering community development services in Kamikatsu. The Zero Waste model as defined in the context of the Kamikatsu community is a sustainable, waste-free lifestyle, with waste management not requiring incineration or landfills. Kamikatsu, which used to dispose of waste by burning or dumping it on farms, now implements 34 steps or categories to separate, recycle or reduce waste. These include from proper segregation and recycling of household items and packaging, such as aluminium/steel cans, glass/PET bottles and paper packaging, to reduction of use and reuse of personal items. Kamikatsu’s residents take their trash to a collection facility and sort the trash themselves according to the categories. The centre has bins for each of the categories, correspondingly labelled with recycling information.
Meanwhile, the Zero Waste Academy also manages the town’s “kuru-kuru” shop where residents can drop off their used items or pick up used items for free. Some local residents also undertake upcycling of items, like bags and clothes, in a “kuru-kuru” factory. With three more years to 2020, the community is anticipated to clinch its zero-waste goal with collective efforts to responsibly manage its wastes. Recycling technologies remedy sorting challenges Recycling has become a widely adopted waste management activity in various countries worldwide. Efficient recycling begins with proper sorting of waste. Brussels-headquartered Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) reports that there are an estimated 1.6 million people worldwide who are active in the recycling industry and who manage more than 600 million tonnes/ year of recyclable wastes. For recycling plastics, which makes up about 12% of the total global waste stream, the 760-country member association finds sorting a challenge. Fortunately, technologies are being developed to break the limitations on sorting. Colour-swaddled packaging can be visually pleasing but can add up to the work of sorting in recycling facilities. A US-headquartered firm, National Recovery Technologies (NRT), is promoting a system to sort coloured waste. Its ColorPlus-R uses an image processing system to detect materials based on colour analysis and object recognition. Unique to ColorPlus-R is the ability to colour-analyse opaque objects, such as black plastics.
ColorPlus-R can colour-analyse opaque objects, including black plastics
Kamikatsu has implemented a 34-category recycling tactic to achieve its zero-waste goals
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NRT stated that all ColorPlus models employ transmissive detection, placing the material between the light source and the detection camera. It provides the strongest signal strength and accuracy. In addition, the ColorPlus-R has added a second LED light source above the material to facilitate reflective detection. Whereas, opaque materials before were only recognised as objects, the ColorPlus-R’s simultaneous use of reflective and transmissive detection enables colour analysis. Likewise, zeroing in on sorting problematic black plastics are researchers at the Fraunhofer Institutes for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques FHR in Wachtberg, for Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB in Karlsruhe, and for Intelligent
Recycling The ReFresher eliminates odours caused by migrated substances, i.e. residues that include food particles, cleaners/detergents and cosmetics. It is placed downstream of the extrusion process and keeps the recyclates at the required temperature at which volatile materials can be discharged. The equipment is available in various expansion stages depending on the end application. While the firm’s Intarema TVEplus prevents unpleasant odours from developing in the course of the extrusion process, the odours caused by migrated substances are more difficult to contain. Erema now says its customers will have access to a mobile unit for tests to enable them to carry out on-site trials and evaluate results. Fraunhofer's sorting system, blackValue, can detect every plastic colour, including black, both in real time and in large quantities
Analysis and Information Systems IAIS in Sankt Augustin. The researchers have developed a sorting system called blackValue that is capable of picking up every plastic colour, including black, both in real time and in large quantities. Fraunhofer says its system has a terahertz line scan camera that enables the sorting of coloured and black plastics according to type. With this technology, black plastics are no longer off-limits to recycling streams. A wide array of ebony-coloured plastic items such as car consoles and laptop casings can now be recycled on an industrial scale, according to the researchers. The radar camera is available to recycling centres and offered commercially this year. Extending the value of PET It is no doubt that PET packaging is a common packaging type for food and beverages. Opaque PET (with a white exterior and grey interior) is specifically favoured over HDPE as the former weighs 25% lighter and also eliminates the use of aluminium metal seals on bottle caps, thus providing material savings for manufacturers. Opaque PET, however, has a downside as it is not recyclable by conventional processes and thus, recyclers are rejecting it from their recycling systems, according to Carbios, a French green chemistry company. To remedy this challenge, Carbios, which also specialises in enzymatic bioprocesses applied to plastic and textile polymers, has introduced a technology that allows PET packaging to be 100% recyclable. Since 2012, Carbios has undertaken extensive R&D of an enzymatic recycling process for PET. The work has demonstrated 100% depolymerisation of PET-based commercial products to original monomers: terephthalic acid (TPA) and monoethylene glycol (MEG). Carbios says its proprietary technology enables the recycling of all PET products (transparent, multi-layer, opaque and complex), including opaque PET milk bottles. Meanwhile, to combat the odour that comes from recyclate of packaging waste, Austrian recycling equipment maker Erema introduced its ReFresher equipment at the K2016 show last year.
With the ReFresher and TVEplus technology combination, “odourless recyclates are possible even in the case of severely contaminated packaging waste,” says Erema
Another equipment for recycling PET comes from Austria’s Next Generation Recyclingmaschinen (NGR) and Germany’s Kuhne that have teamed up to offer a solution for producing virgin material-quality foodgrade PET sheets. The integrated system consists of a shredder-feeder-extruder combination for producing plastic melt; the P:REACT unit from NGR for improving the quality of PET and the extrusion line from Kuhne for producing PET sheets. Both PET sheet producers and thermoformed part manufacturers will benefit from the result, the tandem said. On a final note, recycling is integral to economic growth and to ensure successful recycling outcomes, it requires peoples’ conscientious waste management and technologies. The integrated system P:REACT can produce virgin materialquality foodgrade PET sheets
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Medical devices come of age with TPEs Incorporating TPEs in the manufacture of medical devices allows for easier processing, just like thermoplastics, and imitating the performance and feel of thermoset rubbers, as well as lower scrap rates, thus assuring end-users of safe, hygienic, light weight and cost effective medical and health management solutions.
Teknor Apex has expanded its Medalist range of TPEs for applications like therapy bands
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Market growth of TPEs In a report titled The Future Thermoplastic Elastomers to 2022â€‚ research firm Smithers Rapra estimates that the market has grown at a compound average rate (CAGR) of 5.45% from 2012-2017. The market is expected to grow at about the same rate for 2017-22, with a CAGR of 5.58%. The Asia-Pacific region will occupy an estimated 49.7% in 2017, and will likely grow to a market share of 25.5%. The NAFTA region is the second-largest market, but its estimated market share of 25.5% is expected to recede slightly to 24.5% by 2022. The European market share is third in line at 19.7% in 2017, but will likely fall to 17.8% in 2022. Meanwhile, the South American market is faring rather badly and will do so right up to 2022. Innovations in medical devices Health management will not be as advanced as it is today without the innovations in medical devices. Opportunity growth is driven by the introduction of innovative devices into the market, forecast to reach US$398 billion in the current year, from US$321 billion in 2012, and its revenue will show strong growth to 2023. This is stated by UK-based Visiongain in its report titled Medical Devices Industry and Market Prospects 2013-2023. The research entity also attributes market expansions to the demand generated by illnesses associated with the ageing global population, including cardiac and respiratory diseases that generally affect the over-65 population. Plus, the growing middle class in emerging economies will result in a larger proportion of the population being able to afford procedures and treatments that were previously deemed too expensive, the report states. On the other hand, the medical devices market is a boost to the TPE market for these kinds of applications. Currently, TPE manufacturers have been actively innovating products that will replace traditional elastomers and thermoplastics in a variety of applications. Essentially latex-free solutions In Visiongainâ€™s TPE report, it cites that demand for PVCfree or non-latex medical applications are creating an impetus for the TPE market to grow, as well as given its advantage of being a cost-effective alternative to silicone. Cast film products, such as tourniquets and straps, therapy bands and sheeting, and dental dams, now have new latex-free options from US firm Teknor Apex
Thermoplastic Elastomers that has expanded its Medalist range of TPEs. The company says its TPEs offer the same elasticity, durability, and â€œfeelâ€? of latex without concerns regarding allergic reactions, odours, or the use of residual curing agents. Like other Medalist medical elastomers, the new compounds are made with FDA-compliant ingredients, are compliant with ISO 10993-5 and REACH SVHC, are free of phthalates, and are produced in ISO13485 facilities in the US and in Singapore. Latex films are valued for their unique combination of elastic properties, including low ratio of force to elongation and low tensile set after elongation. The new Medalist compounds duplicate the elastic behaviour of latex while providing similar resilience and durability as well as haptics (tactile qualities) and draping behaviour.
Cellene compounds are formulated to be silicone, latex, phthalate, halogen and PVC-free using FDAcompliant raw materials to meet USP Class VI and ISO 10993 standards. US-based compounder PolyOne has designed its Versaflex HC TPE grade to resist the disinfectants used in HAI prevention. The materials are processed by two-shot injection moulding and are compatible with rigid PVC, copolyesters, all PC alloys, ABS, TPUs and PEI substrates. Typical applications include device housings for hand-held scanners, patient monitors, infusion pumps, defibrillators, reusable surgical devices and other durable medical products.
Latex films are valued for their unique combination of elastic properties, including low ratio of force to elongation and low tensile set after elongation
The firm also says Medalist TPEs permit major cost savings over latex and other thermoset rubbers, such as nitrile or neoprene, due to the elimination of the curing step. Medical grade compounds producer Colorite also launched Cellene suitable for a wide variety of uses in medical devices, packaging and other regulated markets. The Tekni-Plex company says that its
Colorite says that its Cellene compounds are formulated to be silicone and latex free
PolyOne has developed Versaflex HC to resist the disinfectants used in HAI prevention and allow for long-lasting products
In addition, a new styrenic TPE for wire and cable in medical devices has been launched by Teknor Apex: Medalist MD458. The firm says it is an exact analogue of its 20-year old Elexar EL9431, which has been used in non-medical wire and cable applications. Formulated on request by medical-industry OEMs, Medalist MD458 is a high-purity version that has passed ISO 10993-5 cytotoxicity testing. It has also passed standard tests for oil resistance after seven days at 60 C and UV resistance after 720-hour exposure. New grades for robust applications With the development of Thermolast M, German manufacturer Kraiburg TPE says it is able to offer compounds that are approved for use in direct contact with blood and medications. Further, these materials can be coloured in conformity with medical compliant requirements and open up new potential fields of applications in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors like medical packaging, hospital care and resealing membranes. MARCH / APRIL 2017
Kraiburg’s Thermolast M is approved for use in direct contact with blood and medications
The materials are certified according to DIN ISO 10993-5 (cytotoxicity), -10 (intracutaneous irritation), -11 (acute system toxicity), USP Class VI and DIN ISO 10993-4 (hemolysis). Plus, Kraiburg says its compounds can conform to cleanroom processing standards, are able to be sterilised with gas, radiation, plasma and permit steam sterilisation. US firm Kraton Performance Polymers, a producer of styrenic block copolymer (SBC), has developed Kraton G1653 polymer, a styrene-ethylene-butylenestyrene (SEBS) block copolymer, with a lower molecular weight than Kraton G1652 polymer, but with high tensile strength and toughness of G1652 while offering lower melt and solution viscosities. Kraton says the low solution viscosity increases solid content and decreases VOC of solvent based products, yet maintains similar processability. For coating applications, the increased solid level translates to potentially reduce coating layers and lower labour costs. For sealant applications, the increased solid content is expected to reduce shrinkage and costs associated with solvent. G1653 also can be dissolved in PCBTF at 20% solids, which may enable formulators to replace organic solvents with PCBTF to reduce VOCs associated with the final product. The free flowing dense pellet form of G1653 is expected to improve storage, handling, and feeding of the polymer in comparison to SEBS polymers in powder form. Potential market applications include coating applications, sealants, pressure sensitive adhesives, hot melt adhesives, TPE compound, elastic compound, medical compound, colour master batch, additive concentrates, oil gel, and polymer modification. Since G1653 has the same low rubber phase Tg (-48.5°C) as the conventional G1600 series polymers, it allows the polymer to remain flexible and elastic at low temperatures. When compounded with a random co-PP and extruded into clear films, the robustness is especially useful for medical applications, says Kraton. These films can be heat sealed and sterilised.
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Providing soft touch treatment TPEs serve the market requirement for soft feel/touch application and this is a vital aspect especially for medical devices. The use of sedation in medical procedures is increasing as a result of more sophisticated surgical techniques, an ageing population, and a greater incidence of obesity. Thus, US-based Revolutionary Medical Devices (RMD) has developed the first nasalonly oxygenation mask, SuperNO2VA, which uses Teknor Apex’s Medalist MD-10105. Unlike full-face masks, SuperNO2VA provides easy access to the oral cavity and is designed to deliver a greater flow of oxygen under positive pressure to the patient’s airways. The single-use mask consists of a transparent rigid PP component with access ports for an anesthesia circuit or hyperinflation bag, plus a TPE cushion that is over-moulded onto the PP structure. RMD uses the China-based contract moulding subsidiary of a US company to injection mould the components for the SuperNO2VA mask. The cushion part is produced in blue, green, pink, or yellow for purposes of colour-coding, with Medalist MD-10105 supplied in pre-coloured compounds. RMD has also recently obtained a patent for its SuperNO2VA mask. Foot care aid for athletes TPEs can also aid athletes whose primary opponent is foot ailment. Gel technology specialist Silipos recently launched Silipos Active, a new line of foot support products for prevention and relief of pain associated with a variety of common ailments. The US-headquartered firm stated that the TPE gel line includes 16 different products that help prevent and treat a variety of issues such as corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, blisters, bunions, Achilles tendonitis, bursitis, sprains, and general foot pain. Silipos is the original manufacturer of podiatry TPE gels, which are made with a proprietary formula of medical-grade mineral oil. In comparison, many other gel products are made from less refined oil, which contain a higher number of impurities and toxic substances, says Silipos.
Silipos has introduced Silipos Active, a new line of foot support products made of TPE gels
Injection Moulding Asia Electrical/Electronics Industry
Maintaining sustainability in the growing electronics market Consumers have been caught up in a frenzy of
For example, the paper explained, during manufacturing, the chemicals used may be detrimental to the environment and human-exposure. Similarly, the devices consume energy during use. At the end-of-life, electronic waste, or e-waste is generated. Moreover, complexity of dismantling can be a bane to recycling mechanisms. The reality of e-waste piling up on landfills is a bane for each and every electrical and electronic equipment that is discarded. Japan-headquartered United Nations University (UNU), a global think-tank and postgraduate teaching organisation, reveals in a report titled The Global E-waste Monitor 2014: Quantities, Flows and Resources that in 2014, the amount of global e-waste reached 41.8 million tonnes. Of this volume, 60% was from household equipment (kitchen, laundry and bathroom); while 7% was made up of personal information and communication technology (ICT) devices, including mobile phones, personal computers and printers. Clogging the environment with e-waste’s toxic chemicals, including mercury, cadmium, chromium and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), is only a part of the peril. UNU estimates that e-waste makes up a cost of US$52 billion of potentially reusable resources, with much of it not collected or recovered, or even treated/disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. Imagine wasting away tonnes of iron, copper, gold, silver, aluminium, palladium and other reusable resources due to lack of proper recovery and recycling systems.
rapid turnover of electronic gadgets. In a culture of enhanced social connectivity, fancier electronic models are quickly replacing outdated ones, thus adding on to the e-waste stream, which is becoming an environmental burden. Meanwhile, sustainability policies and organic electronics breakthroughs are offering promising solutions, says Angelica Buan in this report.
lectronic devices are a significant progress milestone of the 21st century. Almost every aspect of our lives, from home living and healthcare to communications and transportation, is wired to electronics. As advancements in electronics encroach into the other aspects of our lives, questions are being raised on how the manufacturing of electronics impacts the environment. Sustainability issues of any industry are often challenging to address. With the electronics industry, issues relating to process and materials sourcing with respect to their impact on the environment are being probed. Citing an online accessed paper from the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth University in North Hampshire, US, there are several issues relating to endof-life of key electronic components like the microchips, printed circuit boards and computers.
Asian countries turning into dumping grounds for e-waste Asian countries are making significant headway in technology, in the increasing use of electronics, chocking up end-of-life devices at quantities outpacing population growth. A January 2017-released UNU report has compiled e-waste growth in countries in East and Southeast Asia, comprising Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. In the light of the region’s affluence and rising incomes that re driving demand for new gadgets and appliances, e-waste has risen by nearly two-thirds or 63% to 12.3 million tonnes in five years between 2010-2015. Industrialisation, growing populations and expanding middle classes in Asia are harbingers for the mounting e-waste. Rapidly advancing technology, which decreases the usage time of gadgets that become obsolete due to hardware incompatibility or software upgrades, as well as design trends, translates to rapid accumulation of e-waste. China, together with the US, two of the world’s largest electronics producers, were reported by UNU to contribute to nearly one-third of the world’s total e-waste in 2014.
E-wastes are generated every time we discard our electronic devices. About 7% of e-wastes generated are from personal information and ICT devices
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Injection Moulding Asia Electrical/Electronics Industry Aside from China, India is also reportedly witnessing a rise in e-waste production, mainly from domestic industrial sectors, households and manufacturers. According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM)cKinetics study, Electronic Waste Management in India, the country is expected to generate 130 million tonnes of e-waste in 2018, from 93.5 million tonnes in 2016, at a CAGR of 17.6%. India’s infrastructure deficiency and weak legislation framework on e-waste result in a low recycling rate of 1.5%. The remaining 95% of the un-recycled e-waste is handled by the informal sector and scrap dealers. Again, with the unsafe method of dismantling and disposing of the items, serious health ailments, among workers as young as ten years old, are evident. Somehow, export of e-waste to developing countries is continuing to proliferate despite the existing policy to ban it under the United Nations Basel Convention, ratified in the EU and OECD in the 1990s. In Asia, too, legal framework is in place to stop the entry of e-waste. Asian countries like Cambodia block the import of e-waste, while Vietnam refuses the import of second-hand electronics. Other countries have enforced respective national policies to safeguard against the dumping of e-waste on their land.
Between 2010-2015, China’s production of e-waste more than doubled, amounting to 6.7 million tonnes. US-based Electronics Take Back Coalition (ETBC) hints that not all e-waste recyclers employ best practices, if ever they even recycle at all. In ETBC’s report titled How Exporting Toxic Electronic Waste from US causes Harm Here and Abroad, it said that approximately 50%-80% of the e-waste that is collected by US recyclers is not really recycled, but diverted to developing countries. E-waste dumping has triggered bans in some countries but some e-waste destinations remain vulnerable with the absence of safety and environmental laws, as well as the necessary infrastructure. Recyclers also pose as exporters or traders of e-wastes, making more money through selling outdated electronics devices to traders than actually recycling the waste, especially in the US. Furthermore, recycling undertaken in developing countries is cheaper, taking advantage of the lower labour cost. Global environmental group Greenpeace points to China as a main hub in the e-waste disposal circuit. Local and overseas shipment of e-waste also goes to its largest e-waste site in Guiyu. Discarded electronics from developed countries are dismantled, crushed, burnt or melted – usually by hand and without any protective gear, by men, women, and children in workshops across the province. This dangerous activity results in the degradation of human health of the residents as well as creates environmental pollution in the area. Hong Kong is also a dumping ground for e-waste coming from the US, according to Basel Action Network (BAN), which ran a two-year investigation to determine the destinations of the e-wastes. The environmental group attached 200 GPS trackers on broken electronic items, consisting of printers, flatscreen monitors and cathode ray tube monitors in the US, and later noted that some were shipped to Hong Kong; while the rest landed in local facilities and other locations offshore, including mainland China.
Novel clean-up solutions: pay per recycling; metals to medals Policy-level mandates, while flawed, still remain to be a first line of defence against e-waste dumping. On the other hand, e-waste management tactics are also being carried out by consumers and producers. Hong Kong is taking strides in increasing its recovery rates from e-waste through its Producer Responsibility Scheme (PRS), which is based on the “Polluter Pays” principle (which, the country adopted in 1995 to encourage public participation in reducing water pollution), and the element of “eco-responsibility”. The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) of Hong Kong is developing the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Treatment and Recycling Facility (WEEETRF) at the EcoPark in Tuen Mun, expected to be commissioned by mid-2017. The facility will have the capability to handle 30,000 tonnes/year of e-waste, which will be converted into resources after a series of detoxification, dismantling and recycling processes, according to EPD. The agency has awarded ALBA Integrated Waste Solutions (ALBA-IWS) the contract to design, build and operate the WEEETRF. Passed as law in March 2016, the PRS concept, according to the EPD of Hong Kong, “requires manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers to share the responsibility for the collection, recycling, treatment and disposal of end-of-life products; to prevent/minimise the environmental impacts caused by such products at the postconsumer stage”.
BAN, which carried out a two-year probe on where e-wastes from the US are shipped, attached GPS trackers to broken electronic items
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Injection Moulding Asia Electrical/Electronics Industry The country, which discards 650,000 tonnes/year of small electronics and home appliances, with less than 100,000 tonnes/year collected for recycling, still needs to ramp up its collection rates and, thus, is calling on the public to donate end-of-life devices for recycling. Partner companies have also been appointed to help in the collection. Experts interface on greener electronics Advancements in materials science offer more sustainable options to technologies that are at the risk of ending up in the waste stream at the end-of-life. Of fields in materials science, organic electronics offer a yet unsaturated playground for R&D and specialist manufacturers. Treading on green technology, the organic electronics market is forecast to reach US$3.9 billion by 2018, according to the latest electronics market report of Transparency Market Research (TMR). The market covers organic lighting; organic radio frequency identification tags (RFID), organic photovoltaic, display, logic and memory, organic sensors, and printed batteries applications. Currently, organic electronics are witnessing increasing adoption in biomedical applications. Nevertheless, the market is also expecting a boom, along with the fast growth of the consumer electronics industry. Further driving this potential growth is the current trend of electronic goods becoming cheaper, against the back of higher disposable incomes of consumers. But because organic electronics is still a young segment, a lot of R&D is needed to make it on par with the time-tested non-organic counterparts. The market for organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) in mobile phones is also poised to score a value of more than US$10 million by 2018, the popularity driven by its low energy consumption, sharp display features and high-speed performance. TMR says that large scale adoption of organic electronic devices is hampered by the low lifetime, the non-compatibility with conventional goods and the lack of robustness. Also factoring against its market growth is the complicated fabrication of materials, low electrical conductivity, low water resistance, high development cost, and the presence of competent technologies. Meanwhile, a EUR5 million EU project, known as EXTMOS (EXTended Model of Organic Semiconductors), with eight academic partners, will help develop new organic semiconductor materials and additives that can be printed onto flexible film to create devices that are low cost, flexible, wearable and lightweight. Organic materials are used in applications such as flexible displays, billboards and low energy diffuse lighting and wearables. They also have an exciting potential for the Internet of Things, where electronics are embedded in objects and transfer data without requiring human intervention.
Hong Kong is rolling out e-waste collection at the EcoPark in Tuen Mun, expected to be commissioned by mid-2017
Upon enforcement of PRS, manufacturers and importers of electronic products are required to register and are ultimately, obliged to shoulder the costs of recycling. The cost of recycling ranges from HK$15HK$165 â€“ with computers, printers and scanners costing the least and TV sets and refrigerators costing the most. Japan, meanwhile, is eyeing a winning strategy to recoup valuable metals from e-waste. The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games is planning to use metals collected from discarded or obsolete electronic devices in the production of the medals that will be awarded to athletes at the Games. The plan, announced in November last year, is part of the committeeâ€™s strategy to integrate sustainability in all aspects of the planning and staging of the sports event in 2020. For this initiative, 40 kg of gold, 4,920 kg of silver, and 2,944 kg of bronze are needed to be recovered to produce 5,000 medals for both the Olympics and Paralympics games. The forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will award medals from recovered precious metals from e-wastes
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Injection Moulding Asia Electrical/Electronics Industry The EXTMOS project will boost development of new organic semiconductor materials and additives that can be printed onto flexible film
Adding the dopant to a semiconducting polymer substantially increases its electrical conductivity, the team, led by Dmitry Ivanov, said. Use of dopants in semiconductors is not new, and has been done for over three decades now. For this study, the team designed a completely new type of low molecular weight dopant for the organic semiconductor. Ivanov explained that “it was important to choose a molecule that was not only suitable in its energy levels, but, importantly, the dopant must be well mixed with the polymer, so that in contact with the polymer it does not segregate in a separate phase, eventually crystallising and, in fact, losing contact with the polymer.” A recent invention by the Graduate School of Engineering, University of Tokyo researchers is anticipated to make a splash in the wearables market. The ultrathin, ultraflexible protective film, less than two micro-metres thick, enables the production of ultrathin, ultraflexible, high performance wearable electronic displays and other devices. The film, which is made by layering inorganic (silicon oxynitrite) and organic (parylene) materials, blocks oxygen and water vapour in the air, and enabling lifetimes of devices to extend to several days. Moreover, an e-skin display can also be made, based on findings that transparent indium tin oxide (ITO) electrodes can be attached to an ultrathin substrate without damaging it. Additionally, the new 3-mcm thick polymer lightemitting diodes (PLEDs) and organic photodetectors (OPDs), which are thin enough to be placed on the skin and flexible enough to contour with the movement of the body, can be created using the new protective layer and ITO electrodes. The new PLEDs feature reduced heat generation and power consumption, making it suitable for direct adherence to the body for medical applications, such as displays for blood oxygen concentration or pulse rate. Red and green PLEDs are also put together with a photodetector to demonstrate a blood oxygen sensor. The above are just a few of the breakthroughs in organic electronics, with more developments to unfold over time, thus, allowing for more sustainable options to inorganic materials found in most electronic devices. It is hoped that these new developments will The new 3 mm-thick PLED features reduce the build-up of reduced heat generation and power e-waste and ultimately consumption, making it suitable lessen the burden on the for direct adherence to the body for medical applications environment.
The EXTMOS project, part of the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, aims to reduce the time and effort involved in manufacturing and testing new materials and, hence, lowers the production costs. Project leader Professor Alison Walker, from the University of Bath’s Department of Physics, UK, explained that the project aims “to develop the tools to enhance decision making concerning which materials are synthesised for a given target device performance”, which could ease the challenge for “time-consuming developing and testing of materials because of the high number or permutations of structures open to organic chemists”. Another research on organic semiconductors is aimed at making environmentally sustainable and commercially feasible devices. With funding from the National Science Foundation, the research team led by Assistant Professor Erin Ratcliff of the University of Arizona, US, is introducing improvements to carbon-based organic semiconductor materials, which are being used for digital displays and later on, in wearable devices and renewable technologies. While organic semi-conductor materials are clearer, more flexible, cheaper and more environmentally friendly than their inorganic counterparts like silicone, they are also comparably less stable and more likely to degrade when used in a device, according to a study by the researchers titled In Operando Characterisation of Degradation Processes in Organic Semiconductor Materials. Chemists at the US-based Washington State University also studied new materials with organic nanostructures to be utilised for inexpensive solar cells. Their work, recognised as an important milestone in developing organic semiconductors that are comparable in performance as metal and silicone-based electronics, was published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry in 2016. At the Russian Lomonosov Moscow State University, researchers are able to pinpoint a molecule that may usher in the development of organic electronics. The team, working with German colleagues from the Institute of Polymer Research (Leibniz Institute) in Dresden, have found that a derivative of -radialene, a (molecule) dopant can be used to create organic semiconductors, in particular the fabrication of OLEDs and new classes of organic solar cells. The results of the work were published in Advanced Materials. 4 M A R C H / A P R I L 2 017
Injection Moulding Asia 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing
Material developments for 3D printing The 3D printing market is estimated to grow
Recently, researchers have developed a family of highly stretchable and UV-curable (SUV) elastomers that can be stretched by up to 1,100%, five times the elongation at break of any commercially available elastomer, and are suitable for UV curing-based 3D printing techniques. This work is a collaborative effort between researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Designâ€™s (SUTD) Digital Manufacturing and Design (DManD) Centre, which is funded by the Singapore National Research Foundation (NRF), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI), and the Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE), also funded by the NRF. Using high resolution 3D printing with the SUV elastomer compositions enables the direct creation of complex 3D lattices or hollow structures that exhibit extremely large deformation. The researchers also say that complicated geometric structures and devices, such as a 3D soft robotic gripper, can be printed in an hour. Compared to traditional moulding and casting methods, using UV curing-based 3D printing with the SUV elastomers reduces fabrication time from many hours, even days, to a few minutes or hours as complicated and time-consuming fabrication steps, such as mould-building, moulding/ demoulding, and part assembly, are replaced by a single 3D printing step. The SUV elastomers not only sustain large elastic deformation, but also maintain good mechanical repeatability, which makes them good materials for fabricating flexible electronics. To demonstrate this, the researchers fabricated a 3D buckyball light switch that still works after being pressed for more than 1,000 times. The researchers say this new elastomer will enhance the capability of fabricating soft and deformable 3D structures, including soft actuators and robots, flexible electronics, and acoustic metamaterials.
at 24% CAGR till 2022, with investment in services, materials and hardware to reach US$58 billion by 2022. While 3D printing has taken off in the aerospace, automotive, consumer, healthcare, E&E and biomedical industries, other sectors are being targeted, too, thus, the requirement for new materials.
New UV curable elastomers with better stretching Elastomers have been used in a host of applications, due to their elasticity, resilience, and electrical and thermal insulation, for fabricating soft robots, flexible electronics and smart biomedical devices that require soft and deformable material properties to establish safe and smooth interactions with humans externally and internally. However, to date, the most widely used silicon rubberbased elastomers require a thermal curing process that limits fabrication in traditional ways, such as by cutting, moulding and casting, which constrains design freedom and geometric complexity. To enrich the design and fabrication flexibility, researchers have used 3D printing techniques, such as UV curing-based 3D printing techniques that solidify liquid polymer resins to 3D objects through patterned UV light, to fabricate elastomeric 3D objects. Nevertheless, most of the commercially available UV-curable (3D-printable) elastomers break at less than 200% (two times the original length), which makes it unsuitable for many applications.
New filaments from an unconventional extrusion process Meanwhile, not satisfied with the performance of 3D printing filaments available on the market, a Dutch supplier of engineering filaments for 3D printing has developed an extrusion system and as a result, filaments boasting higher strength and printablility. Started by a father and son team, Jan-Peter and Jasper Wille, 3D4Makers says that its new filaments eliminate problems such as breaking and bubbling and better meet roundness and tolerance requirements in parts. As for the extrusion process, standard filament extrusion equipment is water-cooled and the filament is dipped into a water bath at a set temperature to cool it down as it extrudes. This moisture degrades the performance of PLA and engineering plastics, says the team. The extruder developed by 3D4Makers uses a multiplejet air system to precisely manage water-free cooling of the
Researchers fabricated a 3D buckyball light switch with the new elastomer. It still worked after being pressed for more than 1,000 times
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Injection Moulding Asia 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing 3D4Makers has developed a non-waterbased extrusion system and higher tenacity filaments
Meanwhile, US biopolymers maker NatureWorks has introduced a PLA, Ingeo 3D870, for filament manufacturers who have trialled the product and commend the ease of processing and printability. Ingeo 3D870 is said to comply with chemical inventory listings in key markets in North America, Asia and Europe. Parts produced are said to exceed ABS 3D parts in impact strength and with post-print annealing, and NatureWorks says it rivals ABS heat resistance. Though NatureWorks offers a general purpose PLA, it says 3D850 and 3D870 have been designed specifically for 3D printing, with good UV colour lightfastness, low yellow index, and additional heat and impact properties as a result of cyrstallisation.
filament. With this, the company claims that parts printed with its filaments feature higher impact resistance and achieve tighter tolerances in ovality and inner and outer diameters, than those made with conventional materials. The company says it can also produce 3D printing filaments without plasticisers or other additives, many of which are approved for food-contact applications and are biocompatible or biodegradable. The technology has found initial acceptance in research institutes, where PLLA and polycaprolactone (PCL) filaments are used for biofabrication of skin and organs. It also offers “a unique PEEK grade with higher printability” and adds that “few companies have managed to make PEEK filament this successfully”. In addition, the company offers PEI, PPSU, ASA and 100% pure PLLA (mainly for biofabrication and bioprinting applications). 3D4Makers also claims to be the first in the world to have developed PCL filament in two grades of 99% and 100% pure formulations. It says this non-toxic and biodegradable material is used mainly in medical research and is suitable for making custom braces, grips and prosthetics.
Asian development trio Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster’s (NAMIC) portfolio, made up of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the National Research Foundation and SPRING Singapore, was formed last year to help companies develop capabilities in 3D printing. It has successfully established joint funding for 39 projects between companies and academic research institutions, with S$3.8 million from the government via NAMIC and S$2.8 million from the companies. SUTD and Gilmour Space Technologies are working on 3D printed fuel, by combining two materials, known as the “secret sauce” that dramatically reduces the cost of rocket launches from about US$1 million to US$750,000
Optimised ABS and PLA grades Spanish materials supplier Elix Polymers says it has optimised five ABS grades for 3D printing, with improved printing performance, low warpage, dimensional precision and high resolution. It says some new grades have already been validated at filament producers, 3D printer makers and part manufacturers who use Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) or FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling). Elix says it is already cooperating with several printer producers and 3D software providers to identify the right partners and create a database with validated filament producers. It is offering technical support, including recommendations on correct processing setups: extruder screw design, drive and spool systems. The objective is to obtain the filament with the best quality properties in typical thicknesses of 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm and validate the material to meet the requirements of the final application.
Of the research projects in the works, NTU is working with a local 3D printing start-up focused on healthcare to develop tissue implants customised for patients. The new printer can print the supporting structure layer by layer and insert living cells to form a live tissue that could aid in the regeneration of particular tissues or organs. Another research collaboration between the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Gilmour Space Technologies is looking at developing a 3D printer to produce prototype solid fuel mixtures for rockets, which is made up of two or more fuels comprising wax and plastics and is designed and printed in a way that provides the rocket with the required thrust, but in a more cost-effective manner. With the barrier of entry being quite high, due to the high cost of printers/machinery and a lack of expertise in additive manufacturing, this is one way that organisations can reach out to educate and help link companies to research institutes that already have existing 3D printing machines and the technical know-how.
Elix Polymers has introduced five optimised ABS grades
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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • Bridgestone Europe has entered into an exclusivity agreement with the shareholders of Groupe Ayme for the acquisition of the largest independent tyre specialist in France. This acquisition will add 104 points of sale in France under the “Côté Route” brand. As a result, the Bridgestone retail network, consisting of First Stop, Speedy and Côté Route, will have more than 900 points of sale. • Austrian Semperit Group and Thai Sri Trang-Agro Industry Public are demerging almost all of their joint ventures by March 2017, after 27 years of cooperation. Semperit will take over Sempermed, the joint distribution company in the US as well as in Singapore, China and Brazil and the majority interest in Malaysia’s Formtech (producer of ceramic moulds for the glove production). In the industrial sector, Semperit will fully take over Semperflex Shanghai with a hydraulic hose production site in China. The group will also increase its share in the Semperform business activities in China from 90%-100%. Semperit will continue with its 50% stake in Semperflex Asia (SAC), the Thai joint venture with Sri Trang that will also take over the glove production of Siam Sempermed Corporation in Thailand. • The Automotive Business Unit of China-based Zhuzhou Times New Material Technology (TMT) has been integrated with Germanybased BOGE Rubber & Plastics Group, a global supplier in the field of vibration control and plastics solutions in the automotive industry, to form BOGE Rubber & Plastics Zhuzhou. TMT is mainly engaged in the operation of polymer composite material research and engineering application business. It is also the parent company of BOGE Rubber & Plastics. BOGE’s first Chinese plant was opened in Qingpu (near Shanghai) in 2008. The new
BOGE plant, located in Zhuzhou (Hunan), focuses on automotive products for vibration control technology and components for acoustic insulation. • Yokohama Rubber Company is purchasing Komakiheadquartered Aichi Tire, which manufactures tyres for industrial machinery, including forklifts. It supplies its products that include solid tyres and press-on tyres to clients of industrial machinery manufacturers, mainly in Japan. The acquisition, which is part of Yokohama’s business expansion plans, is expected to be completed by March this year. • Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI) is acquiring UK-based Micheldever Group from Graphite Capital Management for £215 million. Through the acquisition, SRI aims to strengthen the market position of its Falken tyre brand in the UK. Micheldever is a holding company controlling Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS), a wholesaler and retailer of tyres in the UK. MTS, which accounts for sales to over 6,000 retailers and repair shops across UK, also owns and operates about 100 tyre retail outlets under the Protyre brand. MTS generates sales of some 6 million tyres/year. • Japanese tyre and rubber products company Toyo Tire & Rubber is expanding its R&D base at its US facility, due for completion this year. With a production capacity of 11.5 million tyres/ year, it supplies the North American market with tyres developed through its R&D headquarters in Hyogo, Japan, and manufactured using Toyo’s highly automated and proprietary ATOM (Advanced Tyre Operation Module) technology. The company, meanwhile, has created a North America business development division at its Osaka office recently.
• Marangoni Retreading Systems, the division of Marangoni Group focused in the development and global distribution of systems, materials and technologies for the cold retreading of commercial tyres, has partnered with retreading firm in Salamanca Recauchutados Fidel. It operates a retreading plant in Santa Maria de Tormes and has another three dealers in the Salamanca province. The tie up with Marangoni will not only render quality retreading for bus and truck tyres, but can also help protect the environment, especially in areas like Castile and Leon, it says. • India’s largest private sector company Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and Russian petrochemical giant Sibur will set up South Asia’s first butyl rubber halogenation unit at RIL’s integrated petrochemical site in Jamnagar, Gujarat under the joint venture Reliance Sibur Elastomers Private Limited (RSEPL). The joint venture also owns a 120,000-tonne/year butyl rubber plant, currently under construction at the same venue. Construction of the butyl rubber plant is in full swing at Jamnagar and its commissioning targeted for 2018. • Sri Lankan specialised tyre manufacturer Global Rubber Industries (GRI) broke ground on its advanced speciality tyre plant on a ten-acre land in Badalgama. The US$40 million facility will produce pneumatic tyres for agriculture, industrial, off the road and construction vehicles for the export market; and is targeted to be the largest speciality tyre plant and the first plant to produce radial agricultural tyres in Sri Lanka. The new plant is expected to commence trial production by the end of 2017.
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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • Rigid Tyre Corporation, backed by a US$75 million investment from UAE-based Sri Lankan businessman Nandana Lokuwithana, is building a new tyre plant in the Board of Investments (BOI) Industrial Zone in Wagawatta, Horana, in Sri Lanka. Equipped with the latest technology licensed from Italy’s Marangoni Group, the facility is tipped to be the biggest fully integrated tyre manufacturing plant in the country. The tyre plant, being the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, is commissioned to manufacture the whole gamut of tyres including off-the-road (OTR) tyres, passenger car radials, and truck and bus radials. The plant will also eventually expand into other divisions that will add value to the country’s rubber industry. There are already plans to manufacture high-density conveyor belts for the mining industry and high-pressure hydraulic pipes for oil fields. The venture is expected to create over 3,000 job opportunities, both direct and indirect. The venture’s investor Lokuwithana is the Chairman of Ceylon Steel Corp. and its member company MA Steel Lanka, as well as Chairman of Onyx Group, a diversified holding company in UAE.
• Finnish tyre manufacturer Black Donuts Engineering is looking at constructing a rubber tyre manufacturing plant worth US$200 million in Mindanao, Philippines. Black Donuts set up a timetable of two years for the assessment of the rubber plantations in the said areas. If the assessment results are favourable, then the company will move forward with the investment. The tyre manufacturing plant would produce at least 4 million tyres/ year for regular cars, pick-up trucks and other small-type trucks. Rubber production in the Philippines in 2016 grew by 10% to 110,000 tonnes from 100,000 tonnes in 2015. • Nexen Tire Japan, a subsidiary of South Korean tyre manufacturer Nexen Tire (51%) and a joint venture with Toyota Tsusho Corporation (49%), has opened in Japan. Nexen Tire has been providing its OE to global automobile manufacturers such as Porsche, Volkswagen, Renault and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and is actively carrying on various activities for its diverse marketing. Tsusho, the trading arm of Japan’s Toyota Group, mainly exports automobiles and automotive parts.
Slow, steady gain for Asian rubber in 2017
• German company Continental has selected Rayong, Thailand, for its greenfield facility for passenger and light truck tyres. The first phase comprises an investment of EUR250 million with a planned production of 4 million tyres/year by 2022. The start of the operations is planned for 2019 and will create 900 new jobs in Thailand. The 750,000 sq m site will allow for an expansion to up to 25 million tyres/year. Continental expects the start of construction and ground breaking in the course of 2017. Since 1999, Continental has ramped up five greenfield tyre plants namely in Romania, Brazil, China, Russia and the US. The project in Rayong and the greenfield project for commercial vehicle tyres in the US will extend Continental`s global tyre production footprint of 21 tyre plants in 17 countries. In the APAC region, Continental currently is operating five tyre plants in China, Malaysia, India and Sri Lanka. The firm’s tyre division has invested more than EUR3 billion to further expand its production as well as R&D facilities worldwide. In 2016, Continental produced more than 150 million passenger car tyres and truck tyres.
some of the OPEC member countries, like Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, had initially refused to cut oil production. Recent developments have now seen oil prices plunging to below US$49/barrel benchmark amidst the glut in US crude stockpiles. Nevertheless, for Asian rubber producers, having gone through seasons of low rubber prices, stockpile gluts, and low demands, the industry remains secure under a favourable demand-supply climate.
The Asian rubber industry is no stranger to fluctuations in commodity prices and upshot of market mechanisms. This year has jump started with improved rubber prices, compared to earlier quarters of last year, supported by increasing crude oil prices and healthy domestic demands. However, volatility still lurks in the market as measures to shore up global oil prices have not held up. For example, the deal forged within the 13 oil exporter nations-Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut down oil production initially resulted in a 15% rise in global oil prices. Some experts were sceptical how long this deal would be observed, considering that
Demand tops output Natural rubber (NR) production in Asia has been fair of late. The year, however, started off with a declining production, according to Kuala Lumpurheadquartered Association of Natural Rubber 2
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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News Producing Countries (ANRPC), an organisation of 11 rubber producing countries (which collectively account for 90% of the total global NR production). It stated that total production of NR in ANRPC member countries fell by 2.2%, year-on-year to 1.7 million tonnes, during the two-month period. This coincided with a 3.3% rise in demand from the ANRPC, it said. ANRPC members consumed 1.2 million tonnes of NR during the current year reporting period. Generally, NR consumption in major producing countries increased. Nonetheless, the demand still outpaces the current output from the bloc.
Of the countries mentioned in the report, and in terms of percentage, those that witnessed a galloping rise in production include China (175%); Cambodia (48%); and the Philippines (36.7%).
Consumption up, except in Malaysia The ANRPC cluster consumed more than 1.2 million tonnes of NR during the first two months of 2017, up 3.3% from the same period in the previous year. Individually, consumption growth varies: in China it grew by 4.9%, in India 1.1%, in Thailand 7.8%, and in Indonesia 3.4%. Surprisingly, Malaysia’s consumption fell by 3.6% in the first two months of 2017, ANRPC Thailand flood waters affect output; rest of stated. The country is home to the world’s largest countries up glove makers that are supplying about 60% of Described as the worst rainfall in over 30 years, the total global demand for gloves. Malaysia’s Thailand’s southern region had not expected the rubber industry accounted for RM8 billion in the floods to continue until January this year. It not total national exports from January-March 2016, only claimed lives but also gutted properties according to the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB). and industries. The floods also affected rubber MRB also indicated that the country’s rubber production in the south, where nearly two-thirds glove output in the January-March 2016 period of Thailand’s rubber reached nearly 10.6 growing areas are located. billion pairs. “…the year appears to have South Thailand’s Meanwhile, the Songkhla is being prepped ANRPC report stated started slow for Asia, but to become the country’s that policy deviation the rest of 2017 indicates rubber centre. It has a of the incumbent number of rubber planting US government on optimistic growth.. ” tracts, and the largest healthcare will affect rubber trading centre in the glove manufacturing the south is located in Hat Yai city near the and other latex-based manufacturing industries in Malaysian border. It is also the site of a worldMalaysia. standard rubber research centre and the location This situation may lead to an, albeit transitory, of the 197-ha Rubber City, due to be completed soft market trend considering certain market this year, according to the Industrial Estate applications. This outlook is supported by Authority of Thailand (IEAT). US-headquartered consultancy Stratistics MRC The ANRPC report indicated that the floods, forecast in its Rubber Gloves - Global Market Outlook as well as the leaf-shedding season of rubber 2016-2022 report that the market’s growth may trees across countries, caused production to wind up at a CAGR of 8.5% between 2015 and 2022. decline by 13.9%. The January-February 2017 This growth will be accelerated by the burgeoning preliminary estimates of NR production in demand in the electronic manufacturing market Thailand, a country that accounts for 37% of the as well as the emergence of new diseases, rising global supply of rubber, stood at 726,000 tonnes. healthcare expenditure, increasing health threats This is lower than the actual estimate of 843,000 and increasing hygiene awareness and healthcare tonnes over the same period a year ago. regulations. The rest of the major producing countries Even though the year appears to have started witnessed an increase in rubber production slow for Asian rubber producing countries, the rest during the covered period of the report: of 2017, nevertheless, indicates optimistic growth. Indonesia’s production increased by 4.4% from The “supply and demand fundamental, along 505,000 to 527,000 tonnes; Vietnam by 7.9% from with a set of non-fundamental factors”, according 140,000 to 151,000 tonnes; Malaysia by 7.7% from to ANRPC, are favourable, particularly during 130,000 to 140,000 tonnes; and India by 30.3% the period from March-May. It also says that from 89,000 to 116,000 tonnes. Only Sri Lanka’s despite potential price challenges, “in response to output declined by 29.8% from 19,000 tonnes in developments in the crude oil sector, variations the first two months, to 13,000 tonnes over the in currencies and flow of speculative funds”, the same period this year. market is expected to grow. 3 M A R C H / A P R I L 2 017
Rubber Journal Asia Tyre Industry
Green thumb rules in the tyre industry Fluctuating supply and prices of latex
(TDAE) oil, used as a raw material for tyres; and is designed especially for high performance summer tyres, according to Arlanxeo, a joint venture of German speciality firm Lanxess and state-owned petrochemical company Saudi Aramco. The other product, Buna FX 5000, a high vinyl SSBR, features Arlanxeo´s second generation functionalisation technology. It is also designed to interact with silica fillers to boost fuel economy. This product contains 7 phr TDAE oil extension, which offers the compounder the chance to optimise rolling resistance through the reduction of filler loadings, Arlanxeo states.
rubber and a growing demand for more eco-friendly technologies are antecedent to the development of a flourishing green tyre sector, says Angelica Buan.
lobal demand for both synthetic rubber and natural rubber is set to grow to almost 40 million tonnes by 2020, according to Singapore-headquartered trade organisation International Rubber Study Group. This projection may encounter a few hiccups as 2017 unfolds since, currently, season-related latex rubber shortage, especially from major Asian producers, is tightening rubber supply, the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) cited in its report published in January. It mentioned that the global supply of natural rubber will be short of demand by 350,000 tonnes during the year. Likewise, synthetic rubber materials are more expensive this year, stated ANRPC, in anticipation of higher feedstock prices, driven by a call from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut oil output by 1.2 million barrels/day for the first six months of 2017. The non-OPEC countries, led by Russia and Mexico, also pitched in by staving off an additional 558,000 barrels/ day in oil production. Apart from the volatile prices, sustainability of tyres is becoming relevant at this time that pollution, climate change and waste management are critical issues.
Arlanxeo’s new Buna SSBRs are designed to interact with silica fillers for low resistance and fuel efficient tyres
Turning over a new leaf with green tyres reen tyre’s eco-friendly edge is having low rolling resistance – the friction between the tyres and the surface. On the contrary, traditional rubber tyres have higher rolling resistance, which require more energy to overcome the friction and so resulting in more pollutants being released. In the green tyre segment, Netherlandsheadquartered synthetic rubber company, Arlanxeo, has recently introduced new solution styrene butadiene rubbers (SSBR), Buna FX 3234A-2 and Buna FX 5000, that feature first and second generation functionalisation technologies, respectively. Buna FX 3234A-2, a high styrene SSBR is designed to interact with silica fillers in order to reduce rolling resistance in passenger tyre treads. The product contains 37.5 phr of treated distillate aromatic extract
Meanwhile, parent company Lanxess also offers a range of eco-friendly tyre solutions through its additives business unit, Rhein Chemie Additives. The products were showcased at the Tire Technology Expo held in Hannover, Germany, recently. Rhein Chemie Additives has developed a new range of Rhenodiv range of unfilled single-release inside lubes for cleaner tyre production. First to mention are the Rhenodiv BP-337 and Rhenodiv BP-3091 that enable tyre producers to apply very low quantities of inside lube onto the green tyre. The company furthered that in combination with robotic spraying equipment, this allows for a precise coating procedure to be carried out with the assurance that no area of the tyre outside the inner liner will be contaminated. An additional benefit is that Rhenodiv BP-337 is based on hydrogen-free crosslinking chemistry.
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Rubber Journal Asia Tyre Market Tyre Industry In response to an increasing demand for a process that keeps migrating silicones at bay during the tyre moulding process, particularly if a clean, silicone-free tyre surface is required after vulcanisation, Rhein Chemie Additives offers the Rhenodiv BP-166, a lowfilled, silicone-free product; and Rhenodiv BP-9500, an unfilled, silicone-free product. Other products presented at the show were Rhenomark tyre marking paints, Rhenoshape tyre curing bladders and Rhenogran aramid fibre masterbatches. German industrial group and silica/silanes producer, Evonik, also presented green tyre solutions with its Ultrasil technology at the German show. It demonstrated that in comparison to conventional tyres made of emulsion-styrene butadiene rubber (ESBR) grade solely filled with carbon black, Evonik said that green tyres with SSBR grades and silica/ silane technology have proven to have significantly lower rolling resistance, resulting in a reduction in fuel consumption by 5% and thus lower CO2 emissions. Additionally, they also have better grip – particularly in wet conditions – while offering comparable durability. It is because silica serves as active filler in the treads and ensures wear resistance in the tyre, but is actually incompatible with SSBR rubber grades, according to Evonik. On a larger scale, the green tyres with silica/ silane and SSBR treads are also examined by Evonik in terms of their environmental impact. This is done using a comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which covers production of raw material to end-oflife aspects of the tyre. Evonik explained that the study analysed impact categories such as the global warming potential, the photochemical ozone creation potential, and the
primary energy demands. The functional unit was defined as the use of silica/silane and SSBR in treads of passenger car tyres over a driving distance of 150,000 km; additionally, a sensitivity analysis was conducted with gasoline consumption, fuel savings, and lifetime as parameters. The study finds that silica/silane technology in green tyres is able to significantly reduce emissions and environmental impacts in the basic scenario in any analysed impact category considered relevant. Consequently, the global warming potential can be reduced by 4.9% in total over the whole life cycle; by replacing carbon black and ESBR with silica/ silane and SSBR, emissions of up to 1.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalents per 150,000 km driving distance are avoidable. Moreover, the study shows that the use phase has a key impact on the overall lifecycle in all impact categories. Evonik claims that green tyres with silica/silane components, manifesting a significant reduction in fuel consumption, thus, this technology has the potential in reducing emissions in general. Biobased tyres making a foray epresenting a significant share in the global tyre market poised to reach 2.5 billion units by 2022, forecast by Global Industry Analysts (GIA), green tyres are also those that use elastomers obtained from renewable sources, biomass crops and agricultural residues. Recyclable, green tyres also unburden the environment from landfilled scrap tyres that are not recycled. Thus, a sustainable option is on the table for tyre makers in the form of biobased rubber. The biobased alternatives to latex rubber making a foray into green tyres, forecast by Smithers Rapra in its report The Future of Green Tires to 2017, are valued at US$70.6 billion by 2017 and growing at a CAGR of 9.5% from 2012. Rooting for nature-based materials, researchers at the University of Minnesota (UM) have invented a new technology to produce isoprene, a key ingredient in car tyres, from trees, grass and corn. Biomass is converted in liquid phase reactors, and the car tyres produced from the biomass would be identical to existing car tyres with the same chemical make-up, colour, shape, and performance, say the researchers. The study, published in the American Chemical Society’s ACS Catalysis journal, is a breakthrough in how isoprene is produced. Currently, isoprene can be produced by “cracking” or by thermally breaking apart molecules in petroleum that are similar to gasoline. The isoprene is purified and in the final step, reacted with itself into long chains to make a solid polymer that is the major component in car tyres.
Evonik’s Ultrasil silica and silanes technology enables fuel economy in green tyres
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Rubber Journal Asia Tyre Industry The US National Science Foundation-funded research has hatched a new process by which, sugars are derived from biomass including grasses, trees and corn. The three-step process combines biological fermentation of sugars using microbes with conventional catalytic refining that is akin to petroleum refining technology. The catalyst used in the process, a recent discovery at the UM, is called phosphorous self-pillared pentasil (P-SPP), a phosphorus zeolite which yields a catalytic efficiency as high as 90%, and thus plays a key role in producing renewable isopropene. The research team, led by Professor Paul Dauenhauer, anticipates that this development on economically biosourced isoprene is an important step to producing car tyres using renewable, readily available resources instead of fossil fuels. The University, through its Office for Technology Commercialisation, has applied for a patent on the renewable rubber technology and plans to license the technology to companies interested in commercialising the technology.
Eggs are one of the top most consumed food. A major egg consuming country, US, consumes approximately 248 eggs/person/year, according to the American Egg Board’s 2015 projection. Globally, a person may consume 10.3 kg worth of eggs/year by 2030, citing an estimate of Dr Hans-Wilhelm Windhorst, Director of the Science and Information Centre for Sustainable Poultry Production (WING) at the University of Vechta, Germany. Tomatoes are also, similarly, widely used as eggs. In 2016, the global tomato processing market reached a volume of 34 million tonnes. The US alone accounts for a third of the total global tomatoes processed.
Ohio State University researchers have developed a technology for incorporating food waste into rubber. Shown are the processed dried tomato skins and egg shells
Eggshells, according to Cornish’s team, have porous microstructures that provide larger surface area for contact with the rubber, and thus provide rubber-based materials “unusual properties”. As for the tomato peels, being highly stable at high temperatures, demonstrate the potential to generate material with good performance. Meanwhile, it is important to note that carbon black is still incorporated in the tyre, but combined with the ground eggshells and tomato peels to maintain the flexibility of the tyre. Moreover, because there would be lesser carbon black in the filler mix, the rubber may not look black but rather reddish brown or depending on the quantity of eggshell or tomato in the mix. Cornish’s Ohio-based company, EnergyEne, will be developing this patent-pending technology further. EnergyEne is also responsible for developing and commercialising guayule-based rubber products. Thus, the traditional rubber market may no longer be dependent on natural rubber resources, if the technology development is successful.
Catalytic conversion of biomass-derived chemicals to renewable polymers occurs in laboratory stirred-tank reactors
Food wastes to hit the road egetable peels may also soon be used in tyres. Researchers at the Ohio State University (OSU) have discovered that food waste can partially replace the petroleum-based carbon black filler used in manufacturing tyres. Based on their tests, rubber with the tomato peels and eggshell fillers exceeded the industrial standards for performance. The finding may ultimately open up new applications for rubber. Lead researcher and Endowed Chair in Biomaterials at OSU, Katrina Cornish, explains that this technology has the potential to make the manufacture of rubber products more sustainable; reduce dependence on oil exports, and keep waste out of landfills.
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