PRA March-April 2018 issue

Page 1


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

Visit Davis-Standard at Chinaplas 2018 at Hall 8.1, Booth D19

In this issue

Volume 33, No 236

publlshed slnce 1985

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

Features 焦 點 內 容 16 Front Cover Feature – Davis-Standard scores in the Asian market

Publisher Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 Email:

20 Country Focus – China is prevailing upon its economic and trade

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

13 資源回收: 不浪費,不匱乏 with a higher demand; expanded capabilities and new extrusion technologies

challenges by tapping into its own market strengths; companies that will be exhibiting at Chinaplas 2018, to be held in Shanghai from 24-27 April, are also tapping into the market

24 Film Technology – featuring W&H; Amut; Addex and PTi 26 Country Focus – India’s manufacturing industry has been given a

boost with new M&As; and fresh technology offers at the recent Plastindia show in Gujarat, India

30 Medical Industry – New classes of polymers are shaping the latest breed of medical devices suitable for home healthcare and more 33 Recycling – The industry is doing its share to control environmental and marine litter with the waste to resource approach 36 Advertorial – Emery Oleochemicals brings surface effects of plastics into focus

2 Industry News 6 Materials News

Supplements 副 刊 Leading injection moulding machinery companies are harnessing India’s strong automotive and packaging industries In an exclusive interview, Arlanxeo Singapore’s new Managing Director, Joosang Kim, talks about how Asia remains its bluechip market

Davis-Standard is showcasing the MEDD (Medical Extruder Direct Drive), its signature extruder for medical tubing with direct drive technology for more energy efficient operations, at Chinaplas 2018

Connect @ Visit Davis-Standard at Chinaplas 2018 at Hall 8.1, Booth D19

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Industry News

M&As • Chemicals firm LyondellBasell is to acquire US compounding firm A. Schulman for US$2.25 billion, doubling the size of its existing compounding business. The combined businesses had revenues of US$4.6 billion and adjusted EBITDA of US$446 million over the last 12 months. • Mexican speciality chemicals firm Mexichem, along with former shareholders of Sylvin Technologies, a US-based manufacturer of flexible and semi-rigid vinyl and vinyl alloy compounds, have sold Sylvin shares to Mexichem. • Spectrum Plastics Group, a North

American fir m that designs and fabricates custom/speciality products, has been acquired by AEA Investors, an American private investment firm, from private equity firm Kohlberg & Company. • Vienna-based Plastech Beteiligungs is blow moulding machine maker Kautex Maschinenbau Group’s new majority shareholder after acquiring a 74.9% stake. The Austrian company takes over from the previous investor Capiton AG (Berlin), which had acquired its shares in Kautex in 2013. • Riyadhheadquartered chemicals firm Sabic has acquired the 24.99% stake in Swiss speciality chemicals firm Clariant, from White Tale

Holdings. Sabic is now the largest Clariant shareholder. Based on market capitalisation, the stake is worth US$2.4 billion. • Lotte Advanced Materials, the chemical unit of South Korean conglomerate Lotte Group, has acquired two ABS producers in Indonesia: PT Arbe Styrindo and PT ABS Industri Indonesia, which had been facing financial difficulties. • Japanese chemical makers Ube Industries, JSR Corp., and Mitsubishi Chemical have integrated their ABS resin businesses. Techno Polymer, a wholly-owned subsidiary of JSR (51%), and UMG ABS (49%),

Capacity Expansions/Plant Openings • German rigid/ flexible packaging maker Klöckner Pentaplat is investing EUR5 million in its Bern, Switzerland facility, to expand capacity by 30% to address medical equipment needs in EMEA and support expansion into Asia. 2


• German chemicals firm Evonik has opened another production line for PA12 powders at its largest global production site in the Marl Chemical Park, Germany. It will focus on the 3D printing market, which is expanding heavily with doubledigit growth rates.

• FS Bioenergia, a joint venture between Brazilian and US-based investors, will build its second cornbased ethanol plant in Brazil’s top grainproducing state of Mato Grosso costing US$308 million. • Japan’s Teijin will establish a resin

which is equally owned by Ube and Mitsubishi Chemical, is now known as TechnoUMG. • Indorama is looking at purchasing bankrupt plastics maker M&G USA’s shuttered plant in West Virginia and a research centre in Ohio for US$10 million. • Thai chemicals maker Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL) and Huvis Corporation of South Korea will establish a 50:50 joint venture for the development, of a Low Melting Fibre (LMF) plant in the US. The location is being finalised and the joint venture is expected to be established in 2018, and will be operational in 2019. compound plant and R&D facility in Thailand. The 10,000-tonne/year plant will be built at a cost of around US$13 million and is expected to begin operating in mid-2019. • ExxonMobil’s new 1.5 million tonne/ year ethane cracker at its Baytown, Texas complex,



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Industry News

is mechanically complete with start-up expected in Q2 of 2018. It will provide ethylene feedstock to the new performance PE lines in Mont Belvieu, which started up in 2017. • South Korea’s leading oil refiner GS Caltex will invest US$1.8 billion in an olefin production facility and mixed feed cracker in South Jeolla Province. It plans to produce 700,000 tonnes/year of ethylene and 500,000 tonnes/year of propylene. • German chemicals firm BASF will start the construction of a new MDI synthesis unit in Geismar, Louisiana, in Q2 2018, doubling capacity to 600,000 tonnes/ year. • Asahi Kasei will expand capacity for its PA66 filament in Miyazaki, Japan, by 5,000 tonnes/ year (currently it is producing 33,000 tonnes/ year). Start-up will be in the first half of 2019. It will also increase production capacity for Celgard and Hipore Li-ion battery (LIB) separator at its plants in the US and Japan, respectively.



• US-based custom compounder RTP Company has expanded its operations in Poland with a 7,990 sq m facility located at Prologis Park V in Wroclaw, to support regional demand. • Sabic plans to set up a new production facility for PEI resin in Singapore by 2021. The company also plans to recommission operations at its resin plant in the Netherlands by the end of 2019 to produce PPE, the base resin for its line of Noryl resins and oligomers. • Indonesian petrochemicals company PT Chandra Asri is setting up a 400 kilotonne/yearcapacity PE plant at its integrated petrochemical complex in Cilegon, Banten province. It will produce HDPE, LLDPE and mLLDPE. • Arkema is increasing by 25% its capacity of PA12 polymers at its Changshu platform in China. It is expected to come on stream by mid2020. • US-based Westlake Chemical Corporation will

expand capacities for the production of PVC and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) at three of its chemical facilities in Germany and the US from 2019-2021. • Dongming Hengchang Petrochemical Co. will build a 200 kilotonne/year PP plant in Heze City, Shandong Province, China. • Mitsubishi Chemical has started production of styrenic thermoplastic elastomer (TPS) at its subsidiary in Thailand to cater to the Southeast Asian market. • Clariant has opened a masterbatch production site in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. The site is owned by Clariant Masterbatches Saudi Arabia, a joint venture between Clariant and Rowad, a plastic products manufacturer in the Middle East and part of Tasnee, Saudi Arabia's second largest industrial company. • Jiaxing Petrochemical Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Tongkun Group, has started up its second PTA line, utilising Invista Performance

Technologies (IPT)’s latest P8 technology. The 1.5 million-tonne/year line is situated in Jiaxing city. • Manufacturer of thermoplastic elastomers Kraiburg TPE has started up a new extrusion line at its headquarters in Waldkraiburg, Germany, expanding its total capacity to 56,000 tonnes worldwide. • Rehau-Automotive Kft, a Swiss maker of polymer products with German roots, will build a EUR150 million car parts plant in Újhartyán, Hungary to fill orders for Daimler’s expanding base in Kecskemét, also in Hungary. The 63,000 sq m plant, which will start up next year, will make bumpers and other exterior components. • German technology company Continental is constructing a new manufacturing plant in Debrecen, Hungary, to expand its automotive electronics production footprint. Continental currently has six plants and a tyre sales and logistic centre in Hungary. It plans to invest

INDUSTRY NEWS a total of EUR100 million and create 450 new jobs.

and Canadian chemicals provider Nova Chemicals are forming a joint venture in petrochemicals on the US Gulf Coast. Total will own 50% and Novealis Holdings, a joint venture between Borealis and Nova, will own the remaining 50%. It will include the under-construction 1 million-tonne/ year ethane steam cracker in Port Arthur, Texas; Total’s existing 400 kilotonnes/year PE facility in Bayport, Texas, and a new 625 kilotonnes/year Borstar PE unit at Total’s Texas site.

• BASF is investing nearly US$200 million over the next ten years in its Kaolin business in the US to realise further growth potential. • Germany’s Lanxess will expand capacity for Macrolex dyes at its Leverkusen site in Germany. With an investment volume of more than EUR5 million, the current production capacity is to be increased by 25% and will be available from the end of 2018. • French integrated oil and gas company Total, Austrian polyolefins maker Borealis

• Lubrizol Corporation, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is expanding TPU capacity in an

US$80 million investment. In North America, it has expanded raw material storage, warehouse space and improved logistics, with new capacity to come on-stream later this year. In Songjiang, China, it has inaugurated a new compounding line and extrusion lines, with further investment planned in Asia in 2019. In Europe, it is extending production capabilities for elastomers, aliphatics and adhesives, built on its acquisition of Merquinsa in 2011. A major European expansion is planned for 2019. • MonoSol, a division of Japanese chemicals

firm Kuraray, is investing US$72 million to build a new 150,000-sq-ft water-soluble film manufacturing facility in Lebanon, US, with the ability to expand to over 400,000 sq ft in the future. This is its fourth facility in the US and sixth overall. • Injection moulding machine maker Arburg has opened a new Arburg Technology Centre (ATC) in Kremstal, Austria. With 300 sq m of floor space, the ATC has more room for machines, spare parts, practical tests and intensive training. The centrepiece is the showroom, which offers space for up to five Allrounder machines.

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Materials News

A problematic chemical at large Is it safe or unsafe? Industrial chemical Bisphenol A or BPA is the crux of a controversy, which may not be resolved anytime soon, says Angelica Buan in this report.


oison does not always come in bottle labelled with skull and crossbones. Every day, practical things we use that are made of plastics may contain toxic chemicals such as Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a vital component to harden plastics, say, in polycarbonate (PC) used for clear plastic infant bottles, sippy cups, toys, and more. BPA can also be found in epoxy resin linings of food-grade cans; packaging, medical devices, thermal paper, sealants, sports equipment, and other consumer items. B u t B PA p o s e s a d a n g e r, a c c o r d i n g t o some studies identifying the health risks caused by the chemical leaching from the plastic (when heated, in the case of baby products). While it was invented in 1891, BPA’s toxicity was only established about 40 years later when it was discovered to be an artificial oestrogen. Yet, in the 1940s and 1950s, the chemicals industry synthesised BPA for use in plastics. Since then, the debate o n s a f e t y o f B PA h a s As safety concerns skirt around BPA, some studies made the rounds, many question claims that BPAtimes tempered but never free solutions are safer completely dying down alternatives even though regulatory agencies like the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) presumed it safe until adequate findings on the dangers of BPA to humans have been established. Controversy continues on gender-bender plastic Considered an endocrine disruptor as it mimics oestrogen, BPA has earned a new moniker: the genderbender plastic chemical. In a latest strife, BPA has been linked to cancer and infertility risks in teenagers, in tests to determine effects of exposure to food contact materials containing BPA. Based on recent study findings by the UK’s University of Exeter researchers, BPA was found in more than 80% of specimens collected from 94 teenagers aged from 17-19.



They were believed to be exposed to the chemical from their diets and use of products c o n t a i n i n g B PA . Meanwhile, a host of other debilitating conditions are a s c r i b e d t o B PA exposure ranging from obesity and diabetes to cancers and heart diseases.

FDA has banned BPA-based materials in baby plastic bottles and sippy cups

More studies are taking place to either prove or debunk the association. Among the latest undertaking is that by a team of researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine that has investigated the potential cardiac toxicity of BPA and its widely used, allegedly safer substitute, Bisphenol S (BPS) in PCs used for consumer products and how the chemical may impact human heart health. The study will be carried out on combined human cohort and large annual model. BPA toxicity findings are viewed as more horrific considering that it is being used in items for children. In 2017, findings from a five-month study conducted by Colorado-headquartered Clean Label Project on more than 500 baby food products across 60 brands sold in the US indicated traces of contaminants including BPA as well as arsenic, pesticide and other toxins. It claimed that 60% of supposedly BPA-free formulas were found positive for BPAs. The report, meanwhile, has both set off the alarm and been criticised by some consumers and some experts as inaccurate. With this regard, regulation to totally ban the use of BPA in baby products has been effected in some countries. While in other areas, where BPA’s safety has not been disputed, the so-called poison chemical continues to lurk cupboards, food shelves, and living quarters.

Materials News Rise of BPA-free packaging The future of BPA in end-use markets, particularly in the food and beverage sectors, has been rattled as more studies are quizzing the chemical’s safety factor. Governments and industries are pressed to urgently address this issue. Thus, manufacturers are attempting to provide BPA-free solutions, either by ditching BPAcontaining plastics or resorting to using other chemical compounds in place of BPA.

宗久PRA_4-5月_HE.pdf 1 2018/2/23 上午 11:31:54

Amcor's BPA-free PET packaging is only one-sixth the weight of a traditional glass wine, suitable for Naked Winery’s Outdoor Vino brand

A m c o r R i g i d P l a s t i c s ’s P E T packaging offers a BPA-free wine bottle solution for Naked Winery’s Outdoor Vino brand. The shatterproof and portable 750 ml PET bottle is compatible with twistoff aluminium closures. It also boasts an easy, screw-cap while the BPA-free plastic packaging is reusable as it is durable, portable, and only one-sixth the weight of a traditional glass wine bottle, says Amcor. Beverage manufacturer PepsiCo, which is also a pioneer of biobased softdrink bottles, h a s c o m e u p w i t h a B PA - f r e e 10 0% post-consumer recycled (PCR)-material drink pod for its Drinkfinity brand. Drinkfinity is PepsiCo's bottle is a personalised beverage concept t h a t c o m b i n e s d r y a n d l i q u i d BPA-free and uses 65% less plastic ingredients in pods that are mixed in than regular 20a reusable bottle to create beverage oz drink bottles blends in a variety of flavours. The bottle uses approximately 65% less plastic than a regular 20-oz ready-to-drink beverage bottle sold in the US.

Materials News

Coca-Cola, another soft drink giant, which also forayed into plant-based bottles, confirms that BPA is found in the linings of its aluminium cans but not in the PET bottled water and soft drink containers.

Coca-Cola assures that the tiny amounts of BPA in drink can linings pose no risks to health, citing scientific consensus

Packaging inks come BPA-free A totally BPA-free packaging is ensured by US-based ink producer Sun Chemical, a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Sun Chemical Group Coöperatief. It has launched SunCure Accuflex UV flexo ink system for primary and secondary food packaging that is not manufactured with BPA-based materials and meets low migration specifications. Compliant with the strictest global standards in the mark etplace, including Nestlé food pack aging r e q u i r e m e n t s a n d S w i s s O r d i n a n c e ch e m i c a l composition requirements, the inks are said to meet the latest photoinitiator safe pack aging guidelines and provide low odour and low residual extractables characteristics, while maintaining performance.

The ink system specifically addresses concerns of brand owners over strict labelling laws like California’s Proposition 65, which require businesses to provide warnings on their packaging for products that could expose consumers to BPA, the company explained. Designed for both folding carton and flexible film packaging applications where high press performance, colour vibrancy and regulatory compliance are critical, the flexo inks offer good adhesion to a variety of film substrates, provide flexo viscosity stability under high shear conditions, and exhibit UV cure response. Substance that is hard to pin down Despite the infamy BPA has been receiving, it has not been declared totally unsafe and therefore it remains in use. One main reason is that findings are inconclusive and studies bear conflicting results. Even the FDA, a major benchmark for food and product safety, has never said that BPA is not safe. Currently, FDA’s stand is that “BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in foods”. Even US beverage giant Coca-Cola says “the scientific consensus among regulatory public health agencies in Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the US is that current levels of exposure to BPA through food and drink packaging do not pose a health risk to the general population, including children.” Coca-Cola, however, affirmed that while there may be traces of BPA in the drink cans in the market, the “clear scientific consensus is that there is no risk to the public from the miniscule amounts of BPA found in Coca-Cola or other beverage cans.” This notion is even more reinforced by the recentlyreleased draft report findings from the multi-million dollar CLARITYCore study conducted by the FDA. It said that the results of the fi ve-year study have demonstrated that BPA is safe at the very low levels to which people are typically exposed.

SunCure Accuflex UV flexo ink system is made from non-BPA materials



Materials News Steven G. Hentges of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global G r o u p o f t h e A m e ri c a n C h e m i s t r y C o u n c i l ( AC C ) commented: “This study is the largest study ever conducted on BPA, and the results indicate that BPA has very little potential to cause health effects even when people are exposed to it throughout their lives.” Outside of the study, nonetheless, the agency has been clear that BPA-based materials are prohibited in baby plastic bottles and sippy cups. Market relentless to safety calls Nonetheless, the global BPA market continues to grow with no indication that the controversy will wrinkle it. A report by Global Industry Analysts (GIA) shows that there is increasing consumption of BPA, specifically developing countries driving the global mark et growth that is forecast to reach 7.3 million tonnes by 2020. The demand patterns in the PC resins end-use market that is also contributing to this growth, GIA stated. It explained that the market’s response is borne out of the regulatory authorities’ delaying the total ban on BPA in food and beverage applications worldwide, to enable packaging materials manufacturers to come up with alternatives solutions and gradually phase out BPA usage within a feasible time frame.

Yet again, chemicals used to produce BPA-free products have also been quizzed of safety, such as the fluorene-9-bisphenol (BHPF). T h e n e w s t u d y d o n e b y Pe k i n g U n i ve r s i t y researchers found that BHPF, similar to BPA, is antioestrogenic. C i t i n g t h e s t u d y ( u s i n g m i c e ) , t h e r e s e a r ch e r s s h o w e d B H P F i s r e l e a s e d f r o m c o m m e r c i a l B PA free plastic bottles into drinking water and has antioestrogenic effects, and may cause adverse pregnancy outcomes in the subjects. They also detected BHPF in the plasma of 7/10 0 individuals, who regularly drink water from plastic b o tt l e s . T h e y s u g g e s t f o r f u rt h e r t e s t i n g f o r a n t i oestrogenic activity and study on the toxicological effects of BPA substitutes, such as BHPF on human health. Along other existing study findings, there is no solid proof to compel authorities from banning BPA. Moreover, amid the scant evidences that will establish danger s of using BPA-free compound substitutes, some experts suggest that proper labelling of products, whether they contain BPA or BPA-alternative compounds, be a practical solution for now, because at the end of the day, it is the informed consumer ’s choice that will call the shots on BPA.











Front Cover Feature

Asia: a focus of Davis-Standard Davis-Standard, a global leader in technologically-advanced extrusion solutions, is experienced in the Asian region’s manufacturing aptitude, as well as its market might. The Pawcatuckheadquartered plastic and rubber extrusion and converting systems specialist considers the region its bulwark, accounting for 30% of its business. To delve deeper into Davis-Standard’s new technology offerings and market breakthroughs, PRA interviewed Davis-Standard President/CEO, Jim Murphy, and Vice-President Business Development, Asia, Sekaran Murugaiah.

Sekaran Murugaiah, Vice-President Business Development, Asia, says India and South Korea were two of the best performing markets for the company last year




he spotlight is on the manufacturing sector in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. A global manufacturing shift from the West to the East is resulting in a contraction of the sector in most advanced economies. Meanwhile, expansions in APAC are being led by the manufacturing meccas of India and China, according to a sector report from Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). Echoing this is the 2018 Southeast Asia economic outlook Jim Murphy, President/CEO, report by the OECD (Organisation is upbeat about the Asian for Economic Cooperation and market for Davis-Standard Development) that says India and China are witnessing variable growths. China’s growth rate has slowed while India’s has remained upbeat. However, Caixin/Markit’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index says that “the durability of the Chinese economy will persist this year”. The second largest economy in the world is also shedding its old skin of run-of-the-mill products. The Chinese government is not only cracking down on heavily polluting industries but also engineering a transition toward a services and consumption-led economy, which should bode well for the manufacturing sector. Meanwhile, the Asian region’s impetus is to move up the value chain and be on par with the manufacturing capabilities of developed regions. In this aspect, the plastics and rubber industries are major adopters of new technologies. Asia, which in 2016 accounted for 40% of the plastics and rubber products manufacturing (followed by the US and Europe at 30% and 23%, respectively), hedged on brisk demand from the two most populous countries’ over-sized food and beverage markets, as well as retail and automotive industries. Thus, Davis-Standard is in an opportunistic position with its facility and parts centre in Suzhou, China, and regional office in Malaysia, plus its offering of a comprehensive range of extrusion machinery, and converting systems and technology, as well as a full range of extrusion aftermarket services that fit the requirement of its Asian as well as global customers. Technology is a growth driver in the region’s manufacturing sector. Being highly focused to achieving new growth, more manufacturers are adopting quality and more efficient equipment to clinch higher targets. Likewise, lean manufacturing techniques are now being widely adopted in reference to sustainable, energy and cost-efficient processes. Thus, Davis-Standard’s forte in medical tubing equipment capabilities, to cater to future innovations, will also meet the burgeoning demand for consumable medical devices and is expected to open up more opportunities for the company.

Front Cover Feature PRA: How has the Maillefer acquisition expanded Davis-Standard’s capabilities since 2017? The Maillefer acquisition has greatly expanded our wire and cable, pipe and tube equipment line on a global level, and complements the FPVC medical tubing and co-extrusion applications supported at our Suzhou location. It has also added facilities in Finland and Switzerland, enabling us to better service customers in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Davis-Standard continues to place a heavy emphasis on the medical tubing sector in Asia

We learn more on the US company’s focus for Chinaplas 2018 and for Asia this year in this interview with Jim Murphy and Sekaran Murugaiah. PRA: What is the focus of Davis-Standard at the Chinaplas show this year? Davis-Standard will be in Hall 8.1, Booth D19 where we will be focused on promoting the addition of Maillefer, the growth of our Suzhou facility, and equipment for Asia’s growing medical and packaging markets. We will display the MEDD (Medical Extruder Direct Drive), which is Davis-Standard’s signature extruder for medical tubing with direct drive technology for more energy efficient operations. In addition to the direct drive advantages, the MEDD provides processors greater materials flexibility with a replaceable feed section liner, interchangeable barrel assembly and a Windows PLC control system. Davis-Standard will display the MEDD at Chinaplas. It is the company's signature extruder for medical tubing with direct drive technology

The Maillefer acquisition last year has expanded DavisStandard’s wire and cable, pipe and tube equipment line on a global level, and complements its FPVC medical tubing and co-extrusion applications

PRA: Which Asian market segments have been illustrious for Davis-Standard? We continue to place a heavy focus on the medical tubing and packaging segments in Asia. Both of these markets are strong for us and continue to develop and grow throughout Asia. PRA: With regards to Davis-Standard’s Suzhou facility, what are its current capabilities and will it be expanded to add on further offerings? Suzhou is our manufacturing base in China and we have continued to add capabilities there. We currently build equipment for medical tubing and co-extrusion applications and assemble electrical control panels, extruders and gearcases. We also have an impressive R&D facility at Suzhou, equipped with technology for testing a range of rigid and flexible products, as well as FPVC tubing for IV and fluid delivery. Examples of applications include microbore tubing, multi-lumen and catheter tubing, endotracheal and tracheotomy tubing, bubble tubing, taper tubing and many others. By the third quarter of 2018, we plan to add a new dsX flex-pack™ 300S to this laboratory for customer trials. This is a single-station extrusion and lamination line built specifically for the Asian flexible packaging market. MARCH / APRIL 2018


Front Cover Feature

By the third quarter of 2018, the Suzhou facility will have a dsX flex-pack™ 300S line for customer trials

PRA: In terms of the medical tubing market, how has Davis-Standard fared in the Asian market specifically. Please provide an example of a recent installation in Asia. We are faring well and have become one of the top equipment suppliers in the region. We are serving customers that demand world-class production capabilities, and this market is growing rapidly to support the medical devices demand in Asia. One of the most exciting installations we’ve had recently is a project with the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH). KITECH is a government-funded institute committed to growing South Korea’s manufacturing industry through development, application and commercialisation of technologies, and support of small and mediumsized enterprises. KITECH installed one of our medical tubing systems at its Biomedical Technology Centre. It is currently using the line to develop catheters used in cardiovascular, endoscopic and epidural applications, and collaborating with several South Korean companies on proprietary R&D projects. KITECH is impressed with the feedscrew efficiency, die design and operation of the system, allowing for multi-lumen tubing with up to four lumens. KITECH is also leading the charge on medical tubing innovation in South Korea and the institution selected our technology to do it; that’s a valuable endorsement for Davis-Standard.



KITECH recently installed a medical tubing system at its Biomedical Technology Centre to develop catheters used in cardiovascular, endoscopic and epidural applications

PRA: What are the latest developments in DavisStandard’s dsX line of equipment? How will the technology benefit Asian processors/converters? The latest is the dsX flex-pack™ 300S, which has been engineered specifically for the Asian flexible packaging market. This single station extrusion and lamination line is an impressive collaboration between DavisStandard’s teams in the US, Germany and China. It accommodates the pricing, machine footprint, speeds and output, and shorter runs demanded by converters.

Front Cover Feature We also plan to offer a tandem configuration of this line called the dsX flex-pack™ 300T. As mentioned above, we plan to have a dsX flex-pack™ 300S line available for demonstrations in Suzhou by the end of the third quarter this year. PRA: Davis-Standard recently introduced the next generation DS-eTPC control as well as the new ironing roll winder; how will these benefit Asian processors? The DS-eTPC II gives Asian processors added flexibility to support a broader range of applications, going beyond basic touch-screen capabilities, at an attractive price point. It has a larger 380-mm viewing screen with multi-touch capabilities to enable zoom-in and out, as well as extruder control for up to three extruders with real-time and historical data trending. Other benefits include an increase of heat-only zones from four to eight, with an option up to 20; two auxiliary drives; a remote set-point; and speed trim via discrete inputs from gauging equipment. One of the GREATEST benefits of this controller is the additional extruder control from one main HMI. Processors can control up to three extruders with the option for local control of co-extruders while maintaining line control from the primary HMI. The ironing roll winder supports markets for larger diameter master rolls up to 1.2 m in diameter on cast film lines up to 6 m wide. This winder can be used for many film types, but is most beneficial for CPP

and barrier films where post-wrap shrinkage occurs as a result of the types of polymers used in the film structures, or where blocking can occur due to a soft sealant layer with a high coefficient of friction (COF). For Asian processors, this means they can improve product quality and profitability by producing larger diameter rolls while eliminating in-wound defects such as buckling, telescoping and starring. The dynamics and control features of this new system truly modernise this process. PRA: What developments in Asia are favourable for Davis-Standard? Asian markets continue to develop quickly and are demanding higher quality products in many categories across the region. Davis-Standard’s worldclass technology is attractive to many customers as it provides the ability to increase the quality and output of their production. Our extensive knowledge of the global market in addition to competitive lead times, quality equipment, technical service and price offering, enable us to better accommodate customers throughout the region. PRA: What % growth has Davis-Standard seen in the Asian market, compared to the previous year? Davis-Standard saw significant growth in 2017 in the Indian and Korean markets. In fact, we witnessed 76% growth in 2017 over prior years in both the markets.

Visit Davis-Standard at Chinaplas 2018 at Hall 8.1, Booth D19

The DS-eTPC II control gives Asian processors added flexibility to support a broader range of applications MARCH / APRIL 2018


Country Focus

No setback is inimical for China China faces challenges like the economic slowdown, tariff challenges, and its own internal obstacles with strategies that are as aggressive as their results, but as the second largest economy in the world, the country still has its attraction for manufacturers and machine makers that will be displaying at the Chinaplas 2018 show, to be held in Shanghai from 24-27 April.

In what it says is thinking globally and acting locally, German extrusion machinery maker Brückner’s technology centre in Suzhou provides localised products and services, such as clip & chain refurbishment services for sliding and roller chains used in film stretching lines



High labour costs a factor China has been the world’s biggest factory, until its manufacturing appeal started losing its shine amid increasing costs of operations and labour. According to Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin, pay rates in key cities have doubled. These include Beijing: a key site for some of the major industries such as pharmaceuticals, electronics, and information technology; Shanghai: a major economic, trade, and shipping centre; and Shenzhen, an important site for big-ticket industries like aerospace, automotive, and alternative energy. In Shanghai, for example, the highest pay rate is estimated at US$3.6/month (2017); the rate is lower in smaller provinces. The country’s Made in China 2025 initiative, launched in 2015, is expected to extol China further up the rank of world’s largest manufacturing habitats. But which other country will it still be competing with except the US? Impending duty on Chinese goods by the US China’s GDP as of 2016 was placed at US$11.2 trillion, following the US’s GDP of US$18.6 trillion. And now that the US is poised to exact higher tariffs on certain Chinese imports, will the country’s important sectors miss their targets? Following a probe on violations under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, US President Donald Trump announced recently that a 25% duty will be levied on identified Chinese products including those in the aaerospace, information and communication technology and machinery, which will affect an estimated US$60 billion worth of goods. Addressing the alleged China unfair trade practices, the US is also watchful over “China’s discriminatory technology licensing practices”. A trade war a-brewing? Not quite as the US’s move, according to the US Trade Representative (USTR) is based on the country’s commitment to “rebalancing the US-China trade relationship to achieve more fair and reciprocal trade.” However, the US government still has not formulated a list yet so Chinese manufacturers and plastics processors may have to wait a while to find out how it might affect them. Meanwhile, China is responding with increasing levies on US$3 billion value of goods, alongside a tentative list released by the Ministry of Commerce of 128 products across 7 categories, including certain agricultural products, modified ethanol, seamless steel pipes, recycled aluminium, and more. Tapping its own strengths The ongoing trade tussle may cause ripples in the Chinese economy, which has been cooling for over a year now, and hovers at a growth rate of 6.5%, the government’s growth target in 2018. The US is China’s largest trade partner. Citing January 2018 data from US Census Bureau, the value of US exports to China was valued at over US$9.8 billion, whereas imports from China was at US$45.7 billion.

Country Focus However, China on its own has long adopted initiatives to revitalise its home grown manufacturing capabilities. Its target of moving up the global value chain, to squash once and for all the “producer of run-of-the mill products” tag, has borne a most ambitious programme: Made In China 2025, which may also be the country’s ace on the sleeves in the event the so-called trade war escalates. Technology-driven industries hike demand for plastics/rubber The Made in China 2025 roadmap is the country’s version of the European instigated Industry 4.0 or smart manufacturing initiative. Under this roadmap, developments will be laid across smart technologies as well as for green innovations to “upgrade China from a manufacturer of quantity to one of quality,” as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has put it. The initiative is expected to make China a technology superpower and leading smart manufacturing territory in the Asian region and the world. The industrial advancement, which, according to the 2016 Merics (Mercator Institute for China Studies) report, will increase demand for smart manufacturing products such as industrial robots, smart sensors, wireless sensor networks and RFID ( radio frequency identification) chips. Taking this cue, Germany-headquartered Kraiburg TPE will be showcasing the latest innovative TPEs, with successful design and functional applications specifically targeted to the automotive, consumer and consumer electronics, and packaging sectors, at Chinaplas 2018.

For automotive applications, Kraiburg’s EPDM Adhesion (AD/EPDM/UV) series offers high UV and weather resistance and optimal adhesion to EPDM

For automotive applications, the EPDM Adhesion (AD/EPDM/UV) series offers high UV and weather resistance, optimal adhesion to EPDM, short cooling times, low coefficient of friction, heat resistance up to 90°C, easy flowing and processing. It is ideal for automotive exterior applications such as window trims and sealing profiles with molded TPE corner joints/molding, door sills, glass run channels, window encapsulations, and end elements. For consumer, consumer electronics and packaging applications, the (VS/AD/HM) series offers silky, satin-smooth surfaces with excellent scratch and abrasion resistance, superb processing properties with strong resistance against chemicals tested and used in the consumer electronics industry. Ideal applications include wearable accessories, game console controllers, remote controls, protective covers for mobile devices, and cosmetics packaging. Meanwhile, the company is proud to announce that its specific TPE compounds have met and satisfied the high GuoBiao (GB) standards in China.

Country Focus In related news, Total Corbion PLA will be exhibiting a number of partner applications based on its biobased Luminy PLA (polylactic acid) resins, which includes both high heat and standard PLA grades and is used in a wide range of markets from packaging to durable consumer goods and electronics.

Jomar will introduce its TechnoDrive 65, a direct result of the success of its IntelliDrive series, which debuted in 2016 Kiefel will present its Thermorunner for making cups

Furthermore, to cater to the needs of the packaging sector in China, Germany-based Kiefel will showcase its Thermorunner KTR 6.1 Speed thermoformer at Chinaplas. The KTR 6.1 Speed is said to set new standards with more power, more forming area and more speed. The machine is used for the manufacture of cups and similar products made of rPET, PP, PS, PLA, PE and others, inclusive foamed plastics. Also to cater to packaging needs will be manufacturer of extrusion blow moulding machines Kautex that will present its compact KCC10 MK3, which will be used to demonstrate the production of three-layer 1,000 ml bottles with a foamed middle layer, applying Trexel’s MuCell system.

faster than the standard hydraulic machine, which is said to be among the fastest IBM machines in comparable sizes. This high-yield machine further widens the gap and increases Jomar’s lead for delivering the highest output per square foot among injection blow moulding machines, the company said. Green car uptake revs up China’s 2025 roadmap features ten priority sectors and that includes the automotive sector and the New Energy Vehicles (NEV) sector. China is cruising along the path of hybrid and connected mobility. It is targeting sales volume of 1 million units of locally produced pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars by 2020; and 3 million by 2025, citing data from China State Council. The push in sales is not merely a numbers-speak. The industry has forayed in producing energy saving and fuel cell cars, targeting increased fuel efficiency from 7.3 l/100 km in 2013 to 5 l to 4 l per 100 km by 2020 and 2025, respectively. Connected cars are expected to lower traffic mishaps by 30% and road fatalities by 10%, upon increased adoption by 2025. Self-driving cars, meanwhile, are high up on China’s agenda, to reduce emissions by more than 20% and save energy consumption by 10% over the same period.

Kautex will show its KCC10 MK3 machine

American injection blow moulding machine (IBM) maker Jomar Corp. will launch its TechnoDrive 65, a high-speed, high-production version of Jomar’s Model 65, which is the company’s most popular machine size in India and other Asian markets. The TechnoDrive 65 has a dry cycle time of 1.8 seconds, a full second



Clariant will showcase its solutions in an Augumented Reality electric car

Country Focus In this aspect, Swiss speciality chemicals maker Clariant will step up a gear for Chinaplas with an Augmented Reality electric car, focusing on solutions to the particular performance and safety challenges of Electro-mobility. Passengers and hotspot users will explore how its additives, masterbatches and pigments contribute sustainably to improving the functionality, safety and aesthetics of a multitude of plastics, coatings and textile applications. On the road to lower energy use and tariffs Energy consumption and reduced carbon emissions, being an important theme for China’s industrial transformation, is highlighted in its promotion of the NEVs, which refer to pure battery electric vehicles (BEV), plug-in electric vehicles (PHEV) and fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs).The NEV ruling, as summed up by the Council on Clean Transportation, “promotes new energy vehicles and provides additional compliance flexibility to the existing fuel consumption regulation.” The NEV mandate applies only to passenger cars and will formally take effect 1 April, it said. Automotive makers are required to meet quotas or buy "credits" from NEV makers if they fall short of quota. The policy, finalised in 2017 will take effect in 2019. As far as the US is concerned, China’s NEV sector is also in its target list for tariffs. China imposes 25% duties on car imports while the US only levied 2.5% tariff on cars shipped from China. The US argues that correcting the levies will ensure a level playing field for its own manufacturing sector. Nevertheless, the restrictions are not like to dim China’s torch for becoming the world’s new automotive hub and leading NEV market. Although China and the US are both hailed as global EV giants, they are not on the same footing as far as markets share is concerned. For one, China is already positioned to clinch a larger share of the global NEV markets. According to a report by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, China is expected to represent half of the global pure EV sales by 2030. This is because the local car makers are incentivised by subsidies to meet NEV output and sales targets.

The duties tiff between the two economic powerhouses may just be the tip of the iceber g for the r est of the econom ies a round the world as experts caution against. But C hina’s str ength r ests on its am bitious str ategies that keep its econom ic stature i n fir m gr ound.

Reducing production costs with EVOLUTION ULTRA FLAT With EVOLUTION ULTRA FLAT excellent web flatness properties can be obtained in the production of films. That means improvement in quality and efficiency. Films with optimum flatness provide for better printing quality at higher printing speeds and higher bond strength in lamination processes while reducing the use of adhesives.

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Film Technology W&H’s latest technology at Chinaplas 2018 At Chinaplas, German machine manufacturer Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H) will be presenting a special highlight, Turboclean, for the automatic material changeover on its Varex II blown film lines, which will be demonstrated using, by way of example, a five-layer POD blown film for lamination and collation shrink film. Furthermore, with the production of breathable diaper film on the rise, W&H’s three-layer system Varex II with Inline-MDO stretching unit, offers a machine configuration for the production of a particularly thin breathable diaper back sheet film of only 12 g/m² - a product that is predominantly produced in cast film extrusion and with a higher basis weight. However, the focus will also be on the manufacture of surface protection films, FFS films, barrier films with up to 11 layers and nanolayer stretch films with up to 55 layers, as they can be produced on the Filmex cast film extrusion line. The Aquarex upside-down line for the production of films for infusion bags should also attract considerable W&H’s Varex II with Turboclean for interest. what is said to be the fastest material Other changeover products are flexographic and gravure printing presses with a special focus on VOC reduction (reduction of volatile organic compounds) and the fastest changeover times, as well as in the area of industrial sacks made from paper, plastic and woven plastic materials. An example here is the new AD proFilm MP film valve sack, which is characterised by a particularly high level of moisture protection. Alongside the paper bag machine range of the W&H subsidiary Garant, W&H will present the bag machine range of the German company B&B Verpackungstechnik, for the manufacture of reclosable side-gusseted bags as well as stand-up pouches with inline spout insertion and optional leak detection.



Amut’s latest CPP line Italian machinery maker Amut has introduced one of its first cast film lines from the ACP series for the production of CPP film. The 2,100 mm-width line has been specifically designed for the production of film with embossed surfaces for stationery applications, such as folders for documents.

Amut’s line is offered for the production of film with embossed surfaces for stationery applications

The chill roll group consists of main and secondary chill roll. In order to be able to produce both types of CPP film surfaces, the line is equipped with two different chill rolls. The roll changeover system enables the exchange of the main chill roll from one to another type in a short time, says Amut. It also has a four-layer multi manifold die with a depression air blade installed behind the extrusion die to change the position of the die towards chill roll as well as the film chill roll angle and to eliminate completely the orange-peel defect. The independent rotary arm type winder is equipped with an in-line cutting system for the production of finished rolls without any reduction of maximum winding diameter even when running multiple rolls in winding and with a minimum tail. US firms to present new technology at NPE Auto profile and related cooling systems for blown film lines supplier Addex Inc. will showcase its latest Intensive Cooling technology at the upcoming NPE 2018 show in May. The company will launch its “Height-Adjustable” intensive cooling twin-stack system, designed to optimise performance for both high and low-melt processes. Addex offers an enclosed, two-level, stacked, Intensive Cooling system featuring a lower Intensive Cooling element that mounts flat to the die and a second, height-adjustable Intensive Cooling element just below the air ring, which is adaptable to changes in materials and supports fast changeovers.

Film Technology The fully-enclosed Intensive Cooling Twin-Stack elements can be separated over a range of 1-in to 16-in, allowing the operator to change the height between the cooling elements to control the amount of cooling for super low-melt materials, which need a short distance between the elements, or for high-melt strength operation, that require further distances. The original fixed-height Twin-Stack system is proven in the field to increase output by 15% to 20% for very low-melt strength materials, and up to 40% or even 50% for high-melt strength materials. The HeightAdjustable version of the Twin-Stack is expected to produce even greater increases. The system operates over a wide range of configurations and materials, while also enhancing bubble stability. These retrofits are aimed at blown film lines that have been designed for higher outputs and have sufficient extruder and blower capacity to handle the output gains of Intensive Cooling Twin-Stack. Addex says with the addition of its automatic external gauge control (EGC), customers are generating high-quality film at higher output rates. Another US firm, Processing Technologies International (PTi), a manufacturer of sheet extrusion machinery, says it has significantly reduced the footprint of its Super-G HighSPEED Extruders, resulting in the highest extrusion output/sq ft in the industry. The higher output is made possible by the introduction of a tuck under motor, which creates a smaller footprint for both Super-G HighSPEED models that are used for the processing of PP and HIPS for the packaging market.



Pressure Forming Machines for the Packaging Industry


PTi’s extruder boasts high output on a small footprint, reduced by 33% due to a new tuck under motor option

In 2017, PTi entered the high-speed extruder segment with the launch of its high-speed extruder, said to deliver improved melt quality as a result of the Super-G Lobe screw technology and offered integrated configurable roll stand configurations. The high-speed extruders also boast an oversized feed section, which promotes higher regrind feed rates (up to +70%) along with a streamlined feed hopper with support, delivery chute, and tramp metal protection. Other key features include feed screw removal out-the-back of the unit, an easy-cleanout vent chamber, and linear bearing barrel glide support (patent pending). Special air-cooled heater and blower assemblies limit the exterior heater temperature for safety and efficiency purposes (40°C versus competitive models that can be as high as 260°C).

See you at Chinaplas 2018 Shanghai

Kiefel GmbH Sudetenstr. 3, 83395 Freilassing Germany T +49 8654 78 0,

Country Focus

India’s plastics show promotes technology for the country With 1,800 exhibitors from 44 countries, the tenth Plastindia 2018 show, held at Gandhinagar in Gujarat, closed on a high note with 246,000 visitors over the six days from 7-12 February. Meanwhile, officials from the organiser, Plastindia Foundation, announced that the next show in 2021 would move back to its original venue in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, which is currently under

The Plastindia show had its second showcase in Gujarat and is expected to move back to Delhi in 2021




ndia is the seventh largest manufacturing base in the world and is expected to have a youth population of 464 million by 2021. The country is also expected to invest almost US$2 trillion on infrastructure with nearly 90 million jobs expected to be created over the next decade. For the plastics sector, registering a 12% growth rate, there are 30,000 processing units, 4 million jobs and over 2,000 exporters involved, according to Plastindia Foundation, the organiser of the show. Materials firms expand in India Belgium-headquartered multi-speciality chemical company Solvay confirmed that construction of its new Veradel polyethersulphone (PESU) production unit in Panoli remains on schedule to reach full capacity by mid-2019 to support growing local and global demand. The Panoli plant currently produces Solvay’s KetaSpire polyetheretherketone (PEEK), AvaSpire polyaryletherketones (PAEK), Solvay confirmed that construction of its new PESU production unit in Panoli remains on schedule polyetherketoneketone (PEKK), PESU and monomers. It is also Solvay's largest plant worldwide for PEEK and PAEK polymers. Amlan Das, Managing Director for India at Solvay’s Specialty Polymers global business unit, said, “When Solvay started up in India it acquired an Indian company and invested in PESU and PEKK products.” He said the company mainly exports its products to Europe and the US as the Indian market is not mature yet. “But now with the investment in a brownfield site for PESU, we hope to cater to the medical domestic market, especially for haemodialysis membrane production,” added Das. Meanwhile, Jitender Kumar Bharihoke, General Manager of Solvay’s Performance Polyamides business unit in India, said, “With the Indian market for engineering polymers expected to grow at around 16% a year over the next five years, further investments for next level growth are under analysis.” The engineering plastics plant was acquired in 2011 from PI industries and Solvay has since been building up its capabilities. “With a capacity of 10,000 tonnes/year, we are now actively engaged in the market and in fact, are now the top three of market players,” said Jitender, adding that the total engineering plastics business in India has a 70,000 tonne-market size, with Solvay capturing 12% of the market share. “Therefore, we intend to double the size of the company in four years,” he said adding, “We may look at debottlenecking or tolling in the future for capacity expansion and also increase capacity.”

Country Focus Jitender added that Solvay is “convinced about the India story”. One sector where its plastics have seen a fast take-up rate is the automotive sector; given that India’s vehicle growth has witnessed exponential double digit growth. “Almost 65% of our sales are for automotive applications, followed by electrical/electronics and industrial/consumer goods.” In fact, Jitender says Solvay is banking on the Indian market for future growth, since the business unit has grown the fastest, outpacing China and South Korea even. With the fast pace of growth, it is not surprising that companies are jumping the bandwagon for investments. Italy’s RadiciGroup Performance Plastics is one such company that has not ruled out potential acquisitions to expand its presence, according to Silvio Dorati, Managing Director of the Indian operations. “Since 2013, we have been collaborating with a local toll compounder, but we might make acquisitions as a fundamental step towards consolidating our presence in this market, which is growing at a rate around 6-7% per annum, particularly in rapidly expanding sectors such as automotive, electrical/electronics, construction and infrastructure.” The company produces a range of polyamides. Songwon has started production of its phenolic antioxidant for elastomers in Panoli

Elsewhere, South Korean speciality chemicals manufacturer Songwon started the manufacture of its Songnox 5650 high molecular weight, multifunctional phenolic antioxidant at its Panoli in Gujarat in September last year. The product is primarily used as a post-polymerisation process stabiliser for unsaturated elastomers. The Panoli site was acquired from Bangalore-based SeQuent Scientific when

Germany’s Kraiburg TPE says it had encouraging response at the show

Songwon acquired the latter’s speciality chemicals business in 2014. Songwon says it has over the last three years continuously invested in the Panoli site to develop it into a hub for speciality chemicals. Another materials company looking at catering to the domestic market is US-based compounder PolyOne. It is set to start production of thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) this year at its existing facility in Pune. At the facility it opened in 2014, PolyOne produces colour and additive concentrates and engineered polymer solutions. Adding TPE production enables it to support customers in the country even more quickly and with a broader portfolio of domestically manufactured materials, according to PolyOne.

PolyOne is adding TPE capacity in Pune

Kraton Corporation, a global producer of styrenic block copolymers and speciality polymers, is eyeing India as a key market to delivering value to the region, according to Holger R. Jung, Senior Vice President & Polymer Segment President. "The area's high population growth demands more sustainable solutions in infrastructure and health care. Kraton's innovations can play an important role in the development of safer, better products to meet those challenges," he said. Companies tie up for business Austrian flexible packaging producer Constantia Flexibles is investing US$15 million to expand production capacity at its Indian subsidiary, Parikh Packaging, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The company, the world’s fourth largest producer of flexible packaging, broke ground in mid-2017 on a new greenfield site, close to its existing site at Parikh. It expects to start up by 2019. It will house a blown film line, flexographic printing press and laminators for the production of high barrier laminates such as snack/chips packaging, stand up pouches, single-unit shampoo sachets and different rollstock laminate materials to serve the food and home and personal care markets. Parikh, which has been part of Constantia Flexibles since 2013, already has a production unit in Ahmedabad, including rotogravure printing machines and PE extruders. MARCH / APRIL 2018


Country Focus Another local company that is going through collaborations to further its business is Alok Masterbatches. In collaboration with US-based ExxonMobil, Alok says it has developed a series of high performance enhancer masterbatches for the raffia industry. Meanwhile, with Russian nanotechnology company OCSiAl, Alok is working to develop carbon nanotubes for the Indian sector, at its technology centre. It has also tied up with US-based Willow Ridge Plastics to develop biodegradable plastics. Machinery makers show forte for South Asian market With India being a market of significant potential, thus extrusion machinery maker Davis-Standard was promoting its latest developments including the recent acquisition of Maillefer, which has expanded the company’s wire and cable, pipe and tube equipment offering, and added facilities in Finland and Switzerland. It also showcased its expanded dsX flex-pack technology for extrusion coating.

Hosokawa Alpine says it will go ahead on its own on the growing Indian and African market, by adding dedicated manpower focused on blown film extrusion

According to Sekaran Murugaiah, Davis-Standard Vice-President of Business Development, Asia, “The region represents a growth market, especially in the medical tubing and packaging sectors. The flexible packaging market in India is expected to show double-digit growth mainly driven by urbanisation and the expansion of the retail sector.” Meanwhile, after several successful years of fruitful cooperation, extrusion machinery makers Hosokawa Alpine (Germany) and Rajoo Engineers (India) have decided to go their separate ways. In a statement it released, blown film machinery maker Hosokawa Alpine says "both sides strongly profited from new customer relations, market developments, and know how exchange in either direction." From now on, Hosokawa says it will



go ahead on its own on the growing Indian and African market, by adding dedicated manpower focused on blown film extrusion to its subsidiary Hosokawa Micron India. Hosokawa Alpine, a Rajoo Engineers, a manufacturer homegrown of complete extrusion blown film machinery extrusion firm, did not equipment showcase ranging from any single extruder machinery mono-lines to this year, 11-layer high citing the barrier film high cost of bringing lines, has 700 machinery to employees the show at its headquarters in Augsburg as well as a new testing centre. Packaging and automotive markets a boon Against the backdrop of steady growth in the fast moving consumer good packaging and automotive markets in India, German blow moulding machinery maker Kautex opened its office in 2013 in the country. Rajish Raghu, the firm’s representative who is based in Bangalore, says the Indian market is covered by a sales team and service technicians, with machinery and spare parts supplied from its production facilities in Bonn, Germany, and Shunde, China. “The growing interest of major international automobile manufacturers has seen Kautex supplying tank systems,” said Raghu, adding that almost 80% of the machinery sales have been for producing multilayer oil tanks. Kautex is also collaborating with US firm Trexel’s Mucell foam moulding technology. “The trials have been encouraging and we hope to implement this in India though the restrictions on emissions are not as strict as other parts of the world and it might be a while,” said Raghu. Besides multi-layer oil tanks, Kautex machinery is also used to produce jerry cans in India

Country Focus

Elsewhere, Swiss maker of thermoforming equipment WM Thermoforming Machines is building up its project base in India through its agent Ashling Impex, said Sales Director Luca Oliverio. “In terms of the thermoforming market, the entry level is very low but there are some large packaging brands like Amul and we are looking at working closely with them as the market needs become more demanding.” Amul is the flagship brand of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF). Meanwhile, Japanese injection blow moulding machinery maker ASB’s Indian subsidiary is in a WM Thermforming was promoting its stable position now. “We export Twist machinery for packaging over 350 machines and around 1,000 moulds a year across the globe,” said RB Jagyasi, Managing Director, adding that ASB has a large share in the single-stage technology for PET containers. “However, we need to continue educating the market about the advantages of ASB’s single-stage technology over the two-step process.” Recycling a focus Another important focus at the show was the reuse and recycling of plastics, with the industry consumption slated to increase from the current 12 million to 20 million tonnes/year by 2020, with 180,000 plastics processing machines installed by 2020, compared to the current 113,000, said Plastindia Foundation. The country generates around 62 million tonnes/year of waste and around 5.6 million tonnes is plastic waste. Thus, Plastindia says it will work on innovation and aim for less than 1% of the plastic waste going to the landfills. At the show there were displays of technology to empower and convert “Waste to Fuel”. It also displayed what was said to be the world’s largest t-shirt made from post consumer plastics from 200,000 recycled PET bottles. US-based Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics (P&SP) also collaborated with barrier film manufacturer Vishakha Group to solve the issue of recycling barrier films. The joint effort has seen the development of a nylon-based barrier film utilising Dow’s Retain compatibiliser to make it recyclable. According to Vipul Babu, Sales Director for Dow P&SP, India, “The project was triggered by an initiative with India’s leading edible oil brand, and will lead to manufacturing and potential recycling of over 20,000 tonnes of barrier films in India.” To round up, K.K. Seksaria, The world’s largest t-shirt was shown President, Plastindia Foundation, at the show. It will be cut to make said the show not only set new 10,000 t-shirts for children from NGOs records but the visitor participation was at its highest. “To the best of our knowledge, the average footfall of more than 40,000/day is the highest in any plastics exhibition held till date anywhere in the world,” he said. MARCH / APRIL 2018


Medical Industry

Advances in medical plastics for patient-centric healthcare Home healthcare is becoming a complementary low-cost location for the ill and ageing. Because of this, the requirement for lightweight yet durable and safe medical devices is on the rise, says Angelica Buan in this article.


hronic diseases and ageing populations are aiding the growth of the homecare medical equipment (HME) market that is conceived to cross over US$35 million by 2023, according to Allied Market Research’s latest projection. Increasing healthcare costs are driving care for many conditions out of the doctor’s office and into the home. In particular, treatments for many chronic conditions often require patients or caregivers to deliver regular injections of medications. It is, therefore, important that drug delivery systems are improved to ensure that injectable medications can be easily, safely and effectively delivered in the home environment. Medical-grade plastics are getting a boost in the HME market. Grandview Research, in its report, has assessed the medical plastic market to be worth US$33.6 billion by 2025. Demand for healthcare products, such as catheters, surgical instruments, syringes and others, are anticipated to drive growth at a CAGR of nearly 70% by revenue from 2017-2025.

TPE: a game changing material From flexible medical devices made with jointed metals to hard tubes, the characteristic that is flexibility has improved with thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs). Owing to TPE’s flexibility, medical applications have broadened and are expected to represent a substantial share in the US$20 billion TPE market across industries by 2023, as forecast by Global Market Insights. As well, new medical adhesives, which have had a history of materials development before polymeric materials Henkel's new LED-curable adhesives feature high were used, have elongation and flexibility switched to medical TPE for its elasticity and biocompatibility, among other beneficial properties. German chemical and consumer goods company Henkel recently introduced two new high-elongation, high-flexibility, LED-curable adhesives specifically designed for use on flexible medical devices made of TPE and TPU (thermoplastic urethane). These are substrates increasingly specified by medical device manufacturers, as well as for plasticised PVC. With fixture times of one to three seconds using a Loctite high-output LED curing system, Loctite AA3951 and Loctite AA3953 minimise curing delays and eliminate work-in-progress, says Henkel. It also assures that these adhesives deliver elongations greater than 200% and bond strengths greater than 450 PSI on polycarbonate, acrylic, and hard-to-bond materials such as HDPE and LDPE. New medical-grade TPEs from US-based Teknor Apex, for injection moulded plunger stoppers, provide improved syringe performance, are less costly and easier to mould than natural and isoprene rubber, and provide processing advantages over Teknor Apex's new medical-grade thermoplastic vulcanisate (TPV) elastomers, says the company. TPEs are for use in syringes The compounds can be over-moulded onto plungers, eliminating



Medical Industry an assembly step. In addition to grades for over-moulding onto PP, speciality grades are available that, unlike TPVs, can be over-moulded onto engineering resins like PC, ABS, PC/ABS, acrylic, acetal, PBT, and COPE. Also unlike most TPVs, the Medalist TPEs do not require pre-drying, says Teknor Apex In the area of medical packaging, resealing membranes, and hospital care and pharmaceutical applications, German TPE manufacturer Kraiburg TPE offers its Thermolast M compounds that are approved for use in direct contact with blood and medications. Kraiburg adds that Thermolast M has passed standard biocompatibility certifications and is, thus, suitable for medical and pharmaceutical products that are required to comply to safety, quality and reliability. Moreover, Thermolast M Kraiburg's can conform to cleanroom processing Thermolast standards and can be sterilised using M is used for standard techniques such as gamma or Aptar Pharma's beta radiation, ethylene oxide or steam. ophthalmic squeeze France-headquartered drug delivery device manufacturer Aptar Pharma dispenser has banked on Thermolast M’s properties for its ophthalmic squeeze dispenser, upon seeking a thermoplastic processable material that allows direct contact with medications. The dispenser is the only repeated-use dosing system to have been approved by the US FDA for liquid medications that do not contain preservatives. The design contains no metal parts in the drug flux and is therefore also suitable for very sensitive formulations, Aptar Pharma stated. The purely mechanical functioning principle of the seal membrane and spring unit eliminates the possibility of microbiological contamination of the liquid. Kraiburg TPE, meanwhile, underscores Thermolast M reliability for a wide variety of products such as the lightweight and durable hypoallergenic glasses for babies and toddlers produced by Belgian company Pyke in 2017. TPE as an alternative to PVC and silicone TPEs exhibit better flexibility at low temperature compared to other widely used materials such as PVC and silicone. Additionally, in products that require features such as soft-touch, transparency, odourless and sterilisability, TPEs are preferred over other medical plastic types. US-based PVC compounder Colorite, a TekniPlex business unit specialising in custom medicalgrade compounds, says that its Colorite Cellene TPE compounds are gaining traction as medical device manufacturers seek alternatives to PVC and silicone. It sees its TPEs becoming strong material contenders for drip chambers, IV and peristaltic pump tubing.

Colorite Cellene TPE compounds are PVC-free and used as alternatives to silicone in some medical devices

TPEs are ideal for medical device makers desiring nonphthalate containing materials, and especially since some healthcare systems are already implementing strategic initiatives for phthalate-free patient environments, Colorite states. It also says its Cellene TPEs are formulated to be silicone, latex, phthalate, halogen and PVC-free using FDAcompliant raw materials to meet USP Class VI and ISO 10993 standard. Shot in the arm for PC Syringes facilitate administering of medications in a healthcare facility or home environment. However, new drug breakthroughs, such as biologic medicines, require drug delivery systems that ensure high compliance. Injections can be cumbersome too, not to mention painful for some patients. Biologic drugs, derived from a microorganism, or plant or animal cells, are often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, diabetes and many other diseases; and are administered by injection or infusion. Stepping up with a more convenient Components of the Enable device are solution, Ohioinjection-moulded with PC materials based medical from Covestro device maker Enable Injections, has developed a disposable on-body drug delivery device that allows patients to comfortably selfadminister high-volume and/or high-viscosity therapeutics. Components of the Enable device are injection moulded with polycarbonate (PC) materials from German polymer producer Covestro. The housing of the on-body device features Makrolon Rx1805 PC in a purple tint. Bayblend M850 XF PC+ABS blend in a white tint is featured on the transfer system, which allows the patient to easily transfer the biologic drug from its original container to the Enable on-body delivery device. Covestro says its medical-grade PCs are suitable for biologics, which the company explained are very sensitive and therefore, the materials selected for the delivery and transfer systems are of utmost importance for patient safety. MARCH / APRIL 2018


Medical Industry Biocompatible PEEK for implants Frequency of bone diseases and obesity worldwide, along with a rapidly ageing population, represent a major share in the growing implantable devices market. PEEK is among a new class of polymers that exhibits structural strength, safety, biocompatibility and commercial viability, and thus, is favoured for medical implantable devices. This segment is projected to propel the global PEEK market, which has the potential to grow at a CAGR of 6.3% from 2016-2021, across various applications, according to a report from Markets and Markets. Speciality chemicals supplier Solvay knows too well how PEEK fits the requirements in the medical sector. China-based artificial joint applications pioneer Okani Medical Technology has developed an all-polymer knee implant based on Solvay’s Zeniva PEEK. Okani’s novel ORGKnee implant is said to offer a longer service life at a lower cost than traditional metallic implant systems. The material shows suitability for femoral and tibial tray components of Okani’s knee implant, which simulates normal walking behaviour over ten years. The ORGKnee implant is also found to exhibit 50% less wear versus a metal implant, as measured by material loss over 3 million cycles. Accordingly, unlike implants made of cobalt chrome or titanium alloys, Zeniva PEEKmoulded implants exhibit a modulus similar to cortical bone, which can improve patient comfort, provide a more stable fixation over time and extend implant lifetime due to significantly reduced wear of the total knee-joint The ORGKnee implant prosthesis, says is based on Solvay’s Okani. Zeniva PEEK Additionally, PEEK’s injection moulding capability enables large-scale production of the knee implants for shorter time than it would take to make metal implants, which can take up to three months to manufacture, machine and polish using methods that can pose risks both to workers and the environment, Okani said. The implant is to undergo preclinical trials by April and standard clinic trials by China’s Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) in September. The new solution is expected to be commercialised in 2020 after obtaining approvals. Diabetes management made easier With the prevalence of so-called lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, that are on the increase, and aided by the rising geriatric population, obesity and other risk factors, more patients welcome healthcare modalities that enable better compliance at home and at a lower cost.



Diabetes is increasingly becoming a health scourge worldwide. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF)’s 2015 Diabetes Atlas forecast is grim. By 2040, one adult in ten or 642 million worldwide will have diabetes. Diabetes is debilitating and costly. It is projected to rack up spending of more than US$802 billion over IDF’s forecast period. Therefore, the market for global insulin delivery device is predicted to cross above US$14 billion by 2020, according to Persistence Market Research. Insulin syringes have been a preferred delivery device for self-medication of diabetes. But more convenience of use pushed for development of other technologies. Thus, alternative insulin delivery devices now come in the form of pens, pumps, implantables, wearables, and various other formats. New Jersey-headquartered Valeritas Holdings has come up with a convenient wearable device option specifically for Type-2 diabetes patients. A simple, affordable, all-in-one option that is worn like a patch and can eliminate the need for taking multiple daily shots, the V-Go wearable basal plus bolus insulin delivery V-Go's wearable device features basal plus bolus an injectioninsulin delivery device moulded features cartridge made cartridge from Topas's COC made of cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) from Topas Advanced Polymers, a business unit of engineering thermoplastics manufacturer Polyplastics. V-Go administers a continuous preset basal rate of insulin over 24 hours and provides discreet on-demand bolus dosing at mealtimes. A critical component of the V-Go’s insulin delivery device is the cartridge made of COC, which is opted over competitive thermoplastics due to its purity, drug compatibility, biocompatibility, and dimensional stability. Additionally, COC can also be moulded with zero draft and offers good injection moulding characteristics, with dimensional stability and minimal shrinkage. Unlike other engineering thermoplastics or glass, COC offers a non-ionic, minimally reactive surface. This non-polar substrate does not promote adsorption, denaturation, aggregation, or precipitation. Furthermore, the resin has low leachables and extractables, compared to glass and other medical grade polymers for drug delivery, and thus preserves long-term drug purity and enables better quality at high yields. Concurrently with the above innovations, the medical devices industry continues to advance medical and healthcare equipment to ensure efficacy of treatment and delivery of medications; and medicalgrade plastics will be at the pinnacle of this evolution.


Waste not, want not Every year, disposable plastics, which constitute half the 300 million tonnes of plastics produced globally, likely end up in landfills. However, recycling can transform waste into a resource for new products, says Angelica Buan in this report.


oing away with disposable, single-use plastic products is nearly impossible since these are used routinely in the form of packaging, shopping bags, coffee cups, takeaway cutleries, hygiene products, and more. Single-use plastics satiate the rising urbanisation need for convenience. However, pressure to curb use of disposables is mounting amid increasing volumes of waste plastics. Already, many countries are putting an end to items like plastic straws, plastic bags and disposable coffee cups. In Asia, sustainability efforts are also being boosted in a similar way, especially since Transparency Market Research forecasts that the region will dominate the single-serve packaging market from 2016-2024. Thus, dealing with plastic waste requires a multipronged approach, such as the 3Rs (recycle-reuse-reduce). Solutions for recyclable packaging Sustainable plastic packaging is evolving faster than the general understanding of the related materials and recycling issues. Industry-wide initiatives are driving development of recyclable packaging for a circular economy that maximises the lifecycle of plastic and minimises its ecological footprint. UK-headquartered packaging company Mondi has developed a fullyrecyclable plastic laminate for pre-made pouches and FFS roll stock, which it says is “perfect for integration into existing recycling schemes”. The BarrierPack Recyclable, which features two layers of PE film, offers mechanical properties; is said to be easy to open and reclose for consumer convenience; stiffer, stronger and lighter than a ​Mondi has developed a fullyconventional PET/PE laminate of the same thickness recyclable plastic laminate for and can be formed directly on FFS machines, as well as pre-made pouches and FFS roll stock, which it says is “perfect used for pre-made packaging. for integration into existing The moisture barrier provided by BarrierPack recycling schemes”​ Recyclable makes it ideal for a wide range of applications, such as dry food, food ingredients, personal care and pet care applications. It has been validated by trials by Netherlands-based CeDo Recyling as a sustainable alternative for flexible laminates by offering full recyclability. PCR packaging Advancements in recycling technologies are yielding better use of post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials that are on par with virgin materials in many ways. Thus, adoption rates for PCRs in products are increasing. According to a report by Future Market Insights (FMI), PCRs are mostly integrated in packaging such as bottles, cups, containers (jars and tubs), bags, thermoformed clamshells and blister packs that are FDA-approved. On the basis of material type, PCR materials are segmented into PET, HDPE, and PP. MARCH / APRIL 2018


Recycling Many companies have forayed into PCR packaging, including Dutch packaging specialist Weener Plastics (WP). It recently introduced non-food standard caps/closures made from up to 100% PCR PP. The company shared that finding the right PCR grade, or a mix of PCR and virgin material, while meeting product specifications and performance requirements poses as a challenge. WP says it undertakes testing to determine suitability of selected PCR materials for desired functionality of caps/closures. WP has also overcome the limiting colour outcome of grey-coloured PCR materials by discovering options to render various shades and colours. To facilitate recycling, WP uses its design-for-recycling capabilities to develop new products such as its mono-material products, one-piece Integrated Spray caps for aerosols, Pure Dispense dispensing closure, and Smart+ dosing closure. Weener Plastics has introduced non-food standard caps and closures made from up to 100% PCR PP

Food retailers take up sustainability challenge Epitomising the food on-the-go trend are fast food stores, which are starting to utilise PCR dining items, wrappings and takeaway bags. By 2025, it is expected that the number of companies using 100% PCR-containing packaging will increase. American fast food giant McDonald's is one such example that says by 2025 all its packaging worldwide will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources, with a preference for Forest Stewardship Council certification. It is also planning to make recycling available in all its restaurants.

McDonald's says by 2025 all its packaging worldwide will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources



This plan expands upon McDonald's existing goal that by 2020, 100% of fibre-based packaging will come from recycled or certified sources where no deforestation occurs. The retail foodservice company, which has 37,000 restaurants across the globe, says it will work with industry experts, local governments and environmental associations, to improve packaging and recycling practices. About 25 years ago, the fast food chain teamed up with the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) to tackle solid waste and accelerate innovation in packaging, pioneering a new partnership model for companies and non-profit organisations. The initiative eliminated more than 136,000 tonnes of packaging, recycled 1 million tonnes of corrugated boxes and reduced waste by 30% in the decade following the partnership. In 2014, the company joined the Worldwide Fund (WWF) Global Forest & Trade Network programme and set its fibre sourcing targets, including FSC preference for packaging made from wood fibre. Currently, McDonald's says half of its customer packaging comes from renewable, recycled or certified sources and 64% of fibre-based packaging comes from certified or recycled sources; while an estimated 10% of its restaurants globally are recycling customer packaging. American convenience store chain 7-Eleven, which has more than 63,000 stores in 18 countries, is kicking off its cup recycling programme in Australia, the store’s second largest takeaway coffee destination, from March this year. The recycling initiative is enabled with Simply Cups, the single-wall 350 gsm cups available in both 8 oz and 12 oz sizes, to save 70 million takeaway cups from going to landfills. The programme includes dedicated collection bins for takeaway coffee and Slurpee cups installed in over 200 7-Eleven stores across Australia, and 50 other largescale locations such as universities or construction sites. 7-Eleven says more than 1 billion/year takeaway cups end up in landfills in Australia because there is no effective recycling. This is due to the PE or liquid paperboard lining being a contaminant for regular paper recycling facilities. However, a new home-grown technology is able to treat plastic-lined cups by stripping off the plastic lining from paper-based cups so that both materials can then be processed in regular paper and plastic recycling facilities. Bottled drinks making a statement In the meantime, major companies that are touted as sources of potential plastic packaging waste are under pressure to reinvent their packaging into one that is sustainable and recyclable. As such, major brands have begun working with materials with PCR content; as well, as having launched awareness campaigns that promote waste management and recycling. To date, 11 companies have already launched packaging that contains PCR. These are Amcor, Ecover, Evian, L’Oréal, Mars, M&S, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola Company, Unilever, Walmart, and Werner & Mertz – together representing more than 6 million tonnes/year of plastic packaging.

Recycling Beverage giants PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have been trailblazing in designing fully recyclable, compostable and biodegradable beverage bottles, as well as increasing the PCR content in packaging. Coca-Cola’s ‘World Without Waste’ programme is in line with its plan to develop 100% recyclable packaging and reduce the amount of plastic in its bottles by 2030 as well as plastic containers with up to 50% recycled content. The campaign involves collection and recycling bottles or cans for every container that the company sells by 2030. Meanwhile, PepsiCo developed what it claims to be the world's first 100% plant-based, renewably sourced PET bottle in 2011. It also launched a fully recyclable clear plastic cup, with a 20%-content recycled PET (rPET) option. Like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo has initiated recycling campaigns including partnering with different industry organisations such as the Closed Loop Fund, the Recycle Partnership, the New Plastics Economy, the CEFLEX Project, and the Material Recovery Facility for the Future (MRFF). Swiss food and drink company Nestlé debuted in North America its food-grade, fully recyclable rPET 700-ml bottle for its Pure Life purified water brand. According to Nestlé, it has scaled down by 40% the amount of PET plastic in its 500 ml bottles since 2005. Additionally, the company implemented “How2Recycle” information on the labels of its major US bottled water brands as a reminder for consumers to empty the bottles and replace caps before recycling. Working with suppliers such as CarbonLite, a producer of foodgrade rPET, the company has introduced 50%-content rPET Nestlé debuted in bottles to its other single-serve North America its food-grade, fully water brands produced in California. recyclable rPET Another water brand popular 700-ml bottle for in the UK, Harrogate Water, says it its Pure Life purified has successfully secured sufficient water brand availability of rPET to ensure all its products contain 50% rPET material from this year onwards. From ocean litter to bottles Marine litter is an environmentally crippling plastic waste problem, with over 8 million tonnes/year of plastics ending up in the oceans. While clean-up efforts are ongoing, some companies are approaching the problem by tapping into marine litter as a source of valuable materials to produce sustainable products. US-based HDPE recycling company Envision Plastics says it has pioneered the world's first 100%-marine waste content bottle using its proprietary OceanBound Plastic.

Envision Plastics developed a 100%-marine waste content bottle using its proprietary OceanBound Plastic

It is made from completely recycled plastic with the added benefit of being collected from at-risk areas, which eliminates that plastic from reaching beaches and waterways. Working with materials design firm Techmer PM, sustainable projects firm Primal Group and bottle blow moulder Classic Containers, Envision says it was also able to displace 100% of virgin resin in the bottle as well as the colourant. The bottle is currently being used to package Primal Group's ViTA brand of personal care products. American consumer goods manufacturer, Procter & Gamble (P&G)’s take on ocean plastic-based bottles will be available in the UK this year. The Fairy Ocean bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic and ocean plastic, and is created in tandem with recycling expert Terracycle. The UK launch will include 320,000 bottles, said to be the largest production run of recyclable dish soap bottles in the world made using ocean plastic, according to P&G. The bottle will be made from 10% ocean plastic, collected from the ocean and beaches around the world, and 90% PCR material. P&G also says its brands, including Fairy, Dawn, Yes, Dreft and Joy, will continue to divert 8,000 tonnes/year of plastic from landfills for use in transparent plastic bottles, using an average of 40% PCR content across 481 million of its transparent dish care bottles globally. “If stacked, these bottles would be 11 times the height of Mount Everest,” P&G said. Therefore, with concerted efforts for initiatives to raise awareness on efficient waste management as well as sorting and recycling, specifically in key ocean plastic economies, the amount of plastics potentially polluting the environment can be reduced by 2025.

P&G teamed up with Terracycle to come up with fully recycled plastic and ocean plastic bottle for its Fairy brand MARCH / APRIL 2018



Emery Oleochemicals brings surface effects of plastics into focus


mery Oleochemicals is a leading global manufacturer of specialty chemicals and additives made from natural sources. The company’s Green Polymer Additives business unit develops processing and performance additives, such as lubricants, special plasticisers and surface modifiers for plastics. Once a plastic article has been extruded, injection moulded or calendered, most features of the article are determined by its surface. These properties include gloss, scratch-resistance, printability, antistatic properties, antifogging properties, or slip and antiblock effects. How LOXIOL® antistatic agents prevent static charge Nearly all plastics are insulating materials. Although this makes plastics an ideal material for electrical insulation of cables, for instance, the other side of the coin is that a static charge cannot be dissipated easily from a plastics part. Plastic surfaces with static charge can attract dust, which is a problem to several industries looking for dust-free surfaces such as for packaging. Another example for undesired static effect is related to flooring. A plastic material used in flooring can cause painful electric discharge when a person has walked across the floor and touches a metal object such as a door handle. In electronics, such a spontaneous static discharge can damage sensitive electronic parts. Furthermore, these discharges increase the risk of ignition in the presence of flammable substances, for example at a gas station, or the risk of dust explosions at an industrial site.



Emery Oleochemicals offers antistatic agents for various polymers under the brand name LOXIOL ®. These antistatic agents are mainly made from renewable raw materials. They are available with food contact approval and are REACH compliant. LOXIOL® antistatic agents can be added during the manufacturing process of the plastics part, lowering the surface and/or transition resistivity of the material, either with or without attracting humidity from the surrounding air. Therefore, static charge cannot be built up because it is dissipated instantaneously. Material

Specific resistivity [Ω· mm²/m]


1.7 · 10-2

Sea water

5.0 · 105

Water (purified)

1.0 · 1012

Polypropylene (untreated)

≥ 1.0 · 10

Polypropylene (with antistatic agent)

1.0 · 10 – 1.0 · 10


11 9

LOXIOL® antifogging agents for internal application in plastic films Fogging is the undesired formation of small water droplets on the surface of films that are used in applications such as food packaging and for greenhouses. In both applications, there can be a significant difference in temperature and relative air humidity between both sides of the film. This leads to condensation of water, which becomes visible as fogging. Fogging becomes a problem because it reduces the transparency of the film. In the case of food packaging, the food is less visible and water droplets can damage sensitive goods. In greenhouses, plants might have less access to sunlight or water droplets could bundle light as a lens, which can cause damages to the plants.

Advertorial LOXIOL® antifogging agents solve these issues by altering the surface energy of plastics and/or water. They inhibit the formation of water droplets to create a homogeneous, transparent water layer as shown in Figure 1. Without antifogging agent

With antifogging agent

Microscopic view water droplets scatter the light

Film with even water layer is transparent

Macroscopic view

solutions including lubricants, plasticisers, viscosity depressants, and release agents made from renewable resources. As a part of the polymer formulation, these additives enable or optimise the production process while also improving the properties of the final plastics part. Emery’s LOXIOL ® , EDENOL ® and EMEROX ® brands are well-known as high-quality and reliable products for the plastics industry. Emery Oleochemicals Global Technical Development Centre (TDC) located in Loxstedt, Germany, which is supported by its regional Product & Application Development laboratories in North America and Asia, allows the company to engage in joint product development efforts with its customers on a global scale and offer exceptional technical support worldwide.

Figure 1: How antifogging agents work

LOXIOL® antifogging agents ensure excellent transparency of the final article. These agents are highly compatible in plastics formulations, have food contact approval and are free of animal-derived materials. An additional lubricating effect improves the thermoplastic processing. Migration Both antistatic and antifogging agents are added during polymer processing, so that they are initially located in the polymer bulk. To fulfill their function, they need to relocate to the polymer surface. This process is called migration. Polymer surface

Antistatic or antifogging agent

Polymer bulk time

Figure 2: Process of additive migration in a film

The migration rate is influenced by several factors, such as polarity of the additive and the polymer substrate, the degree of crystallinity of the polymer, presence of other additives such as plasticisers, and the storage time as well as the conditions of the plastics article before it is used. To achieve the optimum surface concentration of antistatic and antifogging additives, expertise in tailoring polymer additives is required. Based on Emery Oleochemicals's extensive history of making high-performance LOXIOL ® polymer additives for over 60 years, the company is well positioned to offer its technical expertise to formulators and companies in the plastics industry who are looking for more sustainable and effective products. Natural-based Polymer Additives In addition to antistatic and antifogging agents, Emery Oleochemicals's Green Polymer Additives business unit manufactures and offers a wide range of standardised products as well as customised

Emery Oleochemicals’s TDC in Loxstedt

Emery Oleochemicals will be exhibiting at this year’s Chinaplas, the 32nd international exhibition on plastics and rubber industries, being held at Shanghai, China from April 24-27th. Emery’s Green Polymer Additives team invites you to visit their Booth Nr. 8.2J31. They also invite you to attend their technical presentation on antistatic and antifogging agents and discuss with Emery’s technical experts your specific additive requirements. Contact Emery Oleochemicals technical experts to select the best suited additive for your application at About Emery Oleochemicals Group Emery Oleochemicals Group is a leading global producer of natural-based chemicals made predominantly from natural oils and fats. We offer an extensive product portfolio, including renewable solutions for the Agro Green, Bio-Lubricants, EcoFriendly Polyols, Green Polymer Additives, Home & Personal Wellness and OleoBasics markets. With revenue of US$650 million (2017), the company is headquartered in Malaysia and has manufacturing plants and Technical Development Centres spanning three regions – North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Emery Oleochemicals's global operations are supported by a diverse workforce and an extensive global distribution network covering over 50 countries worldwide. For more information, visit MARCH / APRIL 2018


Injection Moulding Asia Country Focus

China’s machinery market buoyed by sector growth China’s injection moulding machinery

market, which accounts for 40% of the country’s share of machinery, is set to grow on the back of the growth of the automotive and consumer electronics

sectors. All this bodes well for injection

moulding machinery makers at Chinaplas 2018, to be held in a new venue in

Shanghai this year, from 24-27 April.

Arburg will show in China for the first time its ProFoam physical foaming technique


ccording to IHS Markit, plastics machinery in China will witness a CAGR of 11.7% from 20162021; while rubber machinery will grow at a CAGR of 11.2% over the same period. By 2021, plastics and rubber machinery will be valued at around US$12.7 billion and US$6 billion, respectively. The growth will trickle down to the injection moulding machinery sector, which is the core equipment of plastic machinery in the country, with an output value accounting for about 40%, with machinery widely used in general purpose plastics applications, says IHS Markit. Teik Chuan Goh, an analyst at IHS Markit, said, “Strong developments in the eco/green automobiles sector and the consumption, as well as demand, of 3C (computer, communication and consumer electronics) products will be the main drivers for this sector.”

Meanwhile, medical technology is also an important market for Arburg that is characterised by high growth rates. An Allrounder 370E Golden Electric will be used at Chinaplas to demonstrate that the entrylevel electric series is also suitable for precision Y connectors for intravenous drip therapy, with a twocavity mould from Wellmei. The moulded parts made from PC are removed and set down by a Multilift Select linear robotic system. Furthermore, Arburg being a pioneer in the processing of liquid silicone (LSR), it will demonstrate an Allrounder 420C Golden Edition producing flexible LSR cases for the iPhone 8. The mould is provided by Prover, while the LSR dosing unit comes from 2 KM. A Multilift Select linear robotic system performs the handling tasks. A Freeformer and a variety of functional components will be used to demonstrate that Arburg Plastic Freeforming (APF) is not only suitable for prototyping but also for the industrial additive manufacturing of functional components. The exhibit will process qualified standard PP and the water-soluble support material Armat 12 to produce functional cable clips with delicate yet durable structures.

Catering to lightweight parts through technology Against the back of the continuing trend in China towards lightweight parts for the automotive sector, at Chinaplas 2018, Germany’s Arburg will be presenting the ProFoam physical foaming technology in China for the first time. It will exhibit a hybrid Allrounder 570H with a size 800 injection unit that will be producing a component for passenger car engine compartments. Processing involves fibre-reinforced materials (PA66, 30 GF). With its fine cell structures, the ProFoam part is characterised by low weight, few sink holes, uniform shrinkage and greatly reduced distortion. A granulate lock ensures a continuous feed of material and gaseous blowing agent. As well as a version with a capacity of 1 l, Arburg also offers a 5 l granulate lock for size 1300 to 4600 injection units.

Machinery makers cater to Asia’s demand Asia is one of the most important markets for the Austrian/German Wittmann Group, as it has manufacturing in China. Therefore, its subsidiary company Wittmann Battenfeld will present a twocomponent MicroPower machine producing a sensor component for a medical measuring instrument with a four-cavity mould supplied by Wittner, Austria. 1

M A R C H / A P R I L 2 018

Injection Moulding Asia Country Focus During the first step of the overmoulding process, a 1 mm-thick, inner grey layer is injected, creating a light barrier, blocking out virtually 100% of the visible light spectrum. In a second step, a 1.4 mm-thick white outer skin, from the addition of white pigment titanium dioxide, is added on. In contrast to single-layer bottles, this process allows the volume of titanium dioxide to be reduced from 10% to 3%, allowing for savings for Asian processors. Industry 4.0 comes to Asia Arburg will showcase what it offers for the Smart Factory and the Made in China 2025 state-sponsored industrial development plan and how Industry 4.0 components can be individually combined. These include, for example, industrial Ethernet, as well as online process control, data acquisition, detailed planning and status monitoring. Further information will also be available, for example, on the individualisation of high-volume parts as single-unit batches by combining injection moulding and additive manufacturing. Further offerings include the new remote maintenance tool and numerous assistance systems for starting, setting-up, optimising, producing and monitoring tasks.

Wittmann Battenfeld’s MicroPower will produce a sensor component

A second machine, SmartPower 180/750, will demonstrate the production of a diffusion lens from PC with a single-cavity lens supplied by Safeplast, Austria. The parts will be removed and deposited by a locally produced Wittmann robot. Another company for whom Asia and China are important markets is German company Boy. It will present a 25E producing watch cases made of PP at the booth of its Chinese representative Andeli Co. Another small table-top machine, XXS with 63 kN clamping force, will produce micro parts. Swiss machine manufacturer Netstal will showcase dual-layer Prelactia barrier preforms for milk bottles. The double-layer structure of the patented barrier preform offers an economic benefit, compared to other packaging processes.

As a key component of Industry 4.0, the Arburg host computer system (ALS) provides for comprehensive IT networking of moulded part production. The “Mobile Maintenance” module for mobile devices is a new feature

Another company promoting Industry 4.0 will be German machine maker KraussMaffei’s new MaXecution, a manufacturing execution system (MES) specifically tailored to the demands of small and medium-sized moulding companies. Presented for the first time in China, it uses productivity indicators for overall equipment effectiveness, mould management and resources and statistics on machines and rejects. It is based on the well-

Netstal will showcase dual-layer Prelactia barrier preforms for milk bottles

2 M A R C H / A P R I L 2 018

Injection Moulding Asia Country Focus The cycle time is significantly lower than 3 minutes, although the preforms take around 30 minutes to cool. The cooling time can be controlled via the number of cooling positions in the external cooling station. System partners include Skymould (Ningbo/China), HRSflow (Hangzhou, China), Innolite (Aachen/ Germany), Opsira (Weingarten, Germany) and Gimatic (Shanghai, China). Meanwhile, Engel’s subsidiary Wintec builds its machines in Changzhou, China, tailored to the requirements of the standard market in Asia. It will showcase a t-win 10500-7000 hydraulic machine with a clamping force of 10,500 kN producing automotive interior door panels from PP. The shot weight is 650 g, and each cycle takes 30 seconds. Even in the standard version, the t-win machines are equipped with the servowin servo-hydraulics, reducing energy consumption by more than 60% compared to conventional hydraulic moulding machines. It will also show the all-electric e-win 1000-170 used to produce pump heads from fibre-glass filled PPS, which will be used in air conditioning systems in the car. KraussMaffei will show a GX 650-3400 with a clamping force of 6,500 kN demonstrating cascade injection with its repeat accuracy. A radiator grille is created in a cycle times of about 49 seconds. The connected FlexFlow hot runner control ensures a balanced cascade calibration. The result is premium quality components free of joint lines that can immediately be painted and galvanised, says the firm. The GX series has also been manufactured in Haiyan, China, since 2016.

KraussMaffei will show the production of a radiator grille on its GX series

known HYDRA MES from MPDV Mikrolab (MPDV) and is offered in three stages of expansion. In this way, the customer can decide how many MES functionalities are needed based on individual requirements. If the customer requires additional functions, the option is available to switch to HYDRA by MPDV. Aiming for the automotive sector Austria’s Engel will present a complex multicomponent process with interlinked injection moulding machines at Chinaplas. Two duo injection moulding machines will produce LED lenses made of PMMA with a thickness of 22 mm for vehicle headlamps. The lens base bodies will be produced on a duo 1060/400 injection moulding machine in a four-cavity mould. An easix articulated robot is integrated in the production cell and removes the four parts and passes them to an external cooling station. From there the robot takes four already sufficiently cooled preforms at a time and transfers them to the 4+4-cavity mould of the duo 600H/600H/500 combi multi-component machine with rotary table. There, two more PMMA layers are applied successively before easix removes the finished lenses.

Robotics domination eyed The automation of production is accelerating around the world: 74 robot units per 10,000 employees is the new average of global robot density in the manufacturing industries (2015: 66 units). By regions, the average robot density in Europe is 99 units, in the Americas 84 and in Asia 63 units. In China, automation is a key agenda in the Made in China 2025 roadmap. Factories may soon see an increased population of robots. According to Germanyheadquartered International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the robot density in China has accelerated significantly from 25 units in 2013 to 68 units in 2016, making China the 23rd in global robot density. It is in line with the government’s agenda to place China among the world’s top ten most intensively automated nations by 2020. During that period, the robot density is targeted to be pushed to 150 units; with sales of domestically produced industrial robots to total 100,000 units. The above mentioned companies, like Arburg, Wittmann, KraussMaffei and Engel, are contributing to the country’s yearning for automation with their robot offerings, too.

Engel will show a multi-component process for vehicle headlamps

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Injection Moulding Asia Country Focus

India’s injection moulding market offers growth potential The injection moulding machine market

company had a large market share in India’s PET beverage packaging market since it set up its facility in 2012. He said, “Husky first established a presence in Delhi and Mumbai to serve local customers, which led to an expanded customer base and increased business in the region. With the tooling market growing in India and per capita use of plastic products on the rise, Husky further expanded in 2012 with the opening of a 5,000 sq m manufacturing facility in Chennai.” More recently, to deliver faster time-tomarket to customers, Husky established local hot runner manufacturing, as well as a dedicated application and service team in Chennai. “We have added on more equipment and personnel,” said Dinesh, adding that this has Husky showcased a allowed the company to better pigmented bottle made serve customers locally, also using its multi-layer supplying equipment to SAARC technology at Plastindia and Southeast Asia. “From a hot runners perspective, we see South Asia as an emerging market, which is now moving into barrier technology,” he added. To meet the demand for barrier technology, Husky was promoting its breakthrough multi-layer technology, which was launched at the K show in 2016 and allows for differentiation of packaging in the PET market. Since its introduction in 2016, Dave Morton, Husky’s Vice President, Barrier Solutions, says the company has sold 30 multi-layer systems around the world. “We are pleased with the adoption across a wide base from CSD, juices, sparkling water, cold tea, beer and UHT milk to food and personal care.” According to Morton, Husky has been at the forefront of PET packaging for more than 30 years and using this as a platform, the technology was developed further with a multi-layer barrier hot runner, which uses a co-injection solution with an advanced melt delivery system and enhanced controls to precisely distribute the barrier material.

is growing rapidly due to the growth in

automotive and packaging industries, especially in Asia-Pacific region. One country expected to fuel the demand is India.


he global market for injection moulding machinery is projected to reach US$5 billion by 2021, registering a CAGR of 2.2% (2016-2021). Meanwhile, due to the strong economic and automotive growth, India’s market volume for injection moulding machinery rose by 9% last year, said a report by Interconnection Consulting. It is also expected that the country will require an additional 11,000 machines by 2021 to meet the continued growth. India’s injection moulding machine market has a share of around 49% in the overall machinery pie in the country.

Husky takes on India’s PET beverage market Canadian supplier of injection moulding equipment and services Husky Injection Molding Systems has witnessed encouraging growth in the Indian beverage market over the last seven to eight years, said Dinesh Budapanahalli, Vice-President, South Asia, Hot Runners & Controllers. Speaking at the Plastindia 2018 show recently in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, Dinesh pointed out that the

Husky also offers the multi-layer technology for thinwall moulding on its HyperSync system, which was officially introduced at K2016

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Injection Moulding Asia Country Focus “We are expanding our focus to other countries in the region this year. Indonesia and Malaysia are still untapped markets for us. The economic growth and industrial investments in Indonesia and Malaysia are promising for us in the coming years. Indonesia is also expected to spend on infrastructure development.” Thus, he said Steer intends to leverage these opportunities in these two countries to expand its footprint through an aggressive target of doubling its current business. The company says it has been providing solutions to the most critical challenges in the compounding industry. It prides itself on catering to better dispersion, particle size retention, processing of long fibres, biodegradable plastics and low-temperature processing of compounds. It says it is able to provide these features through its patented technology like the Output Enhancement Technology (OET), Fractional Geometry Technology (FGT) and Fractional Lobe Processor (FLP). When asked which particular processes Steer expects to have more success in Asia this year, Niraj replied, “Steer has vast experience in twinscrew extruder machines for black, white and colour masterbatches. These industry segments also contribute to a major portion of our business. So, our primary focus will be on these segments. In addition to this, the Asian region is expected to see a stable-to-growing automotive segment. Thus, prompting growth in the engineering plastics industry. We would leverage this opportunity to introduce our innovative patented technology, which has proven to be a breakthrough in adding value to a wide range of compounding applications. Our major focus will be on Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.” Furthermore, with governments in Vietnam and Indonesia’s focus on infrastructure development and scope for new investments, Niraj said these countries are also expected to show good demand in powder coat industry. “Steer also supplies machines and parts for the powder coat industry. We are proud to be already associated with global industry leaders in this market and expect to enlarge our footprint.” He also said that through the Application Development Centre (ADC), Steer assists its customers to experience the benefits of these solutions before converting it into a business. “We have already receiving a positive feedback from customers in the Southeast Asian region,” he added. Founded in 1993 by Dr. Babu Padmanabhan, Steer today has five global offices and ten satellite offices, serving over 39 countries and employs over 500 staff across the globe. It also has 60 patents for innovations.

The technology is built on the company’s HyPET HPP5 platform, combining the benefits of what is said to be a high performing and easy-tomaintain system with the capability to precisely dose the barrier layer. In addition, the technology supports recyclability by reducing the amount of barrier material required, as well as demonstrating the potential to integrate new recyclable barrier materials into PET packaging. “The technology is built on the need to cater to different trends for small and different-shaped packaging sizes that are more economical, as well as to provide more protection for CO2 and oxygen,” explained Morton. With the short lifecycle for small packaging, Morton also said the focus is on higher accuracy and output. “The previous co-injection systems in the market were complex and not so reliable so cost was too high. Now, Husky offers the best combination of longer shelf life and lower cost,” said Morton. Meanwhile, Husky has extended its multi-layer technology for packaging from the PET version to thinwall packaging, which is built on a HyperSync system platform instead of a HyPET. It, thus, allows customers to consider more attractive packaging options over alternative materials, such as metal cans, cartons, glass and HDPE. It is also able to deliver up to 50% savings on barrier material costs for some applications and combines the benefits of HyperSync system technology with an advanced melt delivery system and controls to deliver all-new capability with a favourable cost profile, says the firm. It also has no requirements for special tooling or equipment, making this a drop-in solution that still benefits from all future technology advancements. Steering to the Southeast Asian market Steer India, the maker of co-rotating screw technology, which has been present in Southeast Asia for many years with a primary focus on Thailand and Vietnam is looking forward to a good organic growth to the tune of 20-25% in these two countries, said Niraj Palsapure, Deputy General Manager – Sales. Niraj Palsapure, Deputy General Manager (Sales) of Steer, expects growth in Southeast Asia to come from Thailand and Vietnam

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Injection Moulding Asia Country Focus

Haitian’s new facility in Gujarat

Haitian to open a new facility in India To overcome the anti-dumping duty imposed by the government on Chinese injection moulding machinery, Chinese injection moulding machine maker Haitian International Holdings, operating in India as Haitian Huayuan Machinery (India) since 2014, will officially open its latest facility in the Asian region in Gujarat in May. Having operated from a rented facility previously, Haitian has invested US$27 million in building the new

facility that started up in March this year, said spokesperson Sunildutt Chaudhari. Chaudhari said that the new facility is in response to the Indian government’s imposition of duty on imported Chinese machinery in 2009, which the government further reviewed in 2015, with a levy of 44.7% on the import of machinery from China and Taiwan. The company will increase its production from 40-150 machines at its new facility Currently, Haitian offers machinery in the range of 86-1,000 tonnes and expects to expand the range in the Indian market by introducing two-platen machines ranging from 450-900 tonnes. The new plant is expected to cater to the Indian market with exports coming in later to Africa and the Middle East. Meanwhile, to ensure that it has sufficient warehousing space for future stock Haitian is also buying a facility in New Delhi, and plans to open a second warehouse in Pune.

Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • UK-based Synthomer has sold its Leuna site in Germany to Alberdingk Boley for an undisclosed price. The site will continue to manufacture products for Synthomer for an initial period prior to transferring the manufacture of product to the remaining Synthomer network. • Ford Motor Company will acquire Autonomic, a technology company that specialises in scale, architecture and leverage for transportation industry solutions. Ford will also acquire TransLoc, a provider of demand-response technology for city-owned micro-transit solutions. • Showa Brain Navi Vietnam, a subsidiary of Showa Holdings, will acquire the rubber lining business in Vietnam’s PetroVietnam Coating Joint Stock Company (PVC). • Malaysian fabricator of factory equipment company HLT Global and Suntel International, as well as two other individuals, will purchase a 55% stake in HL Rubber Industries for RM33 million. • US-headquartered Halcyon Agri Corporation Limited, one of the world’s largest natural rubber supply chain managers, has completed its acquisition of the assets of the Polymer Division of RCMA Group for US$31.8 million. • Israel’s Delek Automotive Systems is to buy control of environmental and infrastructure firm Veridis from investment manager Oaktree Capital

Management for US$305 million. Veridis operates in the collection, treatment and recycling of municipal waste and treatment of hazardous materials, desalination and electricity production. • Malaysian glovemaker Kossan Rubber Industries’s new factory, known as Plant 16, will add 3 billion pieces/year of gloves to its production, boosting the group’s capacity to 25 billion pieces/year. • German automotive manufacturing company Continental plans to commission a distribution centre near to the HanoverLangenhagen airport at the end of 2018. Meanwhile, subsidiary ContiTech has built a second rubber mixing line, a new semifinished production facility for air bellows and a production line for hoses destined for heating and cooling applications in cars in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary. It has invested about US$24.5 million at that location over the past 18 months. • US-headquartered Cooper Tire & Rubber Company will open a new 1 million-sq ft warehouse in the US. It will lease the facility, which is currently under construction and is slated to open this year. • Two additional factories of Malaysian company Top Glove are expected to commence operations in May 2018 and December 2018, bringing its production lines to 628 with a capacity of 59.7 billion gloves/year. • Sri Lankan tyre manufacturer GRI Tyre has opened its

speciality tyre manufacturing facility at Badalgama recently with a cost of over US$40 million. The facility produces radial agriculture tyres, which is a first for Sri Lanka. • Netherlands-headquartered synthetic rubber producer Arlanxeo is expanding its global chloroprene rubber (CR) production in Germany to 70,000 tonnes/year, with an upper single-digit million investment. • Japan-based company Yokohama Rubber will be expanding Yokohama Group’s global production capacity for off-highway tyres by adding new facilities at ATC Tires, the Indian tyre manufacturing and sales subsidiary of Alliance Tire Group (ATG), which Yokohama Rubber acquired in 2016. The US$45 million investment will boost the plant’s capacity from 57,000-91,700 tonnes by 2019. • Indian company Apollo Tyres will invest US$276 million in a new manufacturing facility in Andhra Pradesh. It will start rolling out tyres in 24 months. • US-based Trinseo has opened its new pilot plant and solution-styrene-butadiene rubber (S-SBR) capacity expansion at Schkopau, Germany. The production expansion adds additional 50 kilotonnes of S-SBR capacity to the Schkopau site and increases the company’s global S-SBR production by 33%. It is expected to increase the company’s EBITDA by US$100 million in the Latex Binders, Synthetic Rubber, and Performance Plastics segments from 20162019.

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Rubber Journal Asia Silicone Rubber

Bio-inspired soft robots are coming Robotics designs have diversified from rigid

The back part of SoFi is partly made up of flexible plastic and silicone rubber, while its parts and head, which encases the electronics component, are 3D printed

to flexible, in a bid to make a new breed

of agile robots that mimic the locomotion

mechanisms of soft bodies such as earthworms, snakes, sea animals and insects. Called soft

robots, they are built using easily deformable compliant materials such as rubbers, fluids,

gels, and elastomers to enable soft structures and smooth movements, says Angelica Buan in this article.

critical information and images to search-and-rescue teams. Here again, the segmented robot, constructed with LSR, features connected modules, each with its own tubing, valves, pneumatic actuators, integrated sensing, and control units. Meanwhile, the Japanese cut paper art of kirigami inspired the design for the soft robot developed by researchers from Wyss Institute at Harvard University and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). The snake-like design will enable the robot to crawl in between spaces as it mimics the friction-assisted locomotion of a snake. This invention is seen as an aid in exploring devastated areas; or potentially to perform some delicate medical procedures like laparoscopic surgery and other minimally invasive surgeries.


oft robots present advantages over traditional rigid robots in terms of their elasticity and flexibility as they are designed to be used effectively even in intricate spaces and for various tasks, which traditional robots are not fit to do. These features demonstrate the potentials of soft robots for use in a range of functions such as in invasive surgeries; in patient rehabilitative treatments; for explorations and monitoring; or for performing automation tasks in manufacturing set-ups where precision and accuracy as well as flexibility are required. Currently, liquid silicone rubber (LSR) is commonly used for the soft bodies because it is versatile, lightweight, and can be moulded into any shape. It is also mould and germ-resistant as well as can enable hardware and circuits to be embedded directly into it. For the flexible electronics component of the soft robots, inkjet-printed liquid metal is commonly used. Soft robots in use Soft robots are able to explore environments, like underwater, that may be challenging to work around. Tackling the challenge of underwater research, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a soft robotic fish that can swim for more than half hour, reaching depths of 50 ft. Equipped with a fisheye lens, SoFi was able to take high resolution images and videos during its test dive at the Fiji Reef. The back half of SoFi is made up of flexible plastic and silicone rubber; its other parts, like the head, which encases all of the fish’s electronics, are 3D printed. Snake-like soft robots have real-life use such as in search and rescue missions. This is the goal of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) researchers that have started developing a soft crawler. The team was awarded in 2017 by the National Science Foundation with US$400,000 to create a robot that can steer through inaccessible and confined spaces in disaster-challenged areas; and to relay

The kirigami-inspired design will enable the robot to crawl in between spaces as it mimics the friction-assisted locomotion of a snake

Soft crawlers for future medical applications A pill-sized robot that can do multiple movements – walk, crawl, roll, climb, and carry cargo; and is able to navigate its way through uneven and complex spaces, is a breakthrough from scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany. The soft robot‘s design is fashioned after the beetle larvae, caterpillar, spermatozoid, and jellyfish; made of LSR and embedded with magnetic particles. It is controlled via an external magnetic controller.

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Rubber Journal Asia Silicone Rubber The researchers said that to allow it inside the human body, parts of the millirobot, such as the magnetic particles, first have to be modified to ensure that they are biocompatible, biodegradable and non-toxic. Moreover, its size at 4 mm long by 1 mm width is relatively “large” for such purposes, so it still has to be further downscaled to at least 8 micrometres, the approximate size of a human capillary. The silicone rubber strip with embedded magnetic particles forming the body of the millirobot is only 4 mm long

Each of the three fingers of the robotic gripper is covered with a smart sensing skin that is made of LSR embedded with carbon nanotube sensors

The sensors gather data of the object it is coming in contact with or is manipulating, with information relayed to a control board, which processes the information to create a 3D model of that object. The team is enhancing the features of the gripper, such as its capability to identify the objects it is manipulating. The grippers can advance the touching capability of current robots, making them more sensitive and more efficient in gathering information in their surroundings. Advancements are also underway to utilise grippers as assisting devices in a range of sectors – from medical and research to carpentry and agriculture. One such example comes from scientists at the University of Plymouth who are developing a robot that could assist fruit and vegetable growers in harvesting crops. The GummiArm “can vary its stiffness by co-contracting its rubbery tendons, and is quite robust to impacts in the relaxed state. A broken piece can be redesigned, reprinted, and assembled in minutes via 3D printing” Under the hood of the £10million-funded Automated Brassica harvesting in Cornwall (ABC) project, the tiny mobile robots are fitted with cameras as well as sensors in its gripper to assist in generating real-time 3D models of the crop by assessing the “information” it assimilates, allowing it to recognise which parts to collect and which to leave. With such robots recording images and touch-data from all over a field in real-time, they also bring the possibility of gathering information that could be used in a variety of ways, potentially extending their application to beyond harvesting season. In the coming years, and as R&D in soft robotics advances, it is expected that more of these soft, tiny helpers will make their way into laboratories, theatre tables, and industrial floors taking on gargantuan tasks to make human lives better.

In other news, breakthrough options for cardiac patients will soon be within reach with new soft robots targeted to assist in heart treatment. One such robot has been developed by Harvard University and Boston Children’s Hospital researchers. It fits around the heart and helps it beat, in sync with a beating heart, augmenting cardiovascular functions weakened by heart failure. It also does not directly contact blood, and thus, reduces the risk of clotting and eliminates the need for a patient to take potentially dangerous blood thinner medications. The device may one day be able to bridge a patient to transplant or help in cardiac rehabilitation and recovery, the researchers stated. The SEAS and Wyss Institute engineers collaborated with surgeons at Boston Children’s Hospital to develop the device and determine the best ways to implant The customisable soft robot with thin and test it on animal silicone sleeves can fit around a heart models. Accordingly, and helps it bea​t more research needs to be done before the sleeve can be implanted in humans. Touchy-feely robot assistants A soft robot that can pick up, manipulate and sense objects is the brainchild of a team of engineers at the University of California San Diego. The robotic gripper’s fingers are constructed of soft flexible pneumatic chambers, which move when air pressure is applied. Each finger is also covered with a smart sensing skin that is made of LSR embedded with carbon nanotube sensors.

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Rubber Journal Asia Synthetic Rubber

Arlanxeo making strides in the Asian sector Synthetic rubber company Arlanxeo appointed

RJA: Arlanxeo is aiming to be a leading global supplier of synthetic rubber. What steps have been taken so far to achieve this?

Joosang Kim as Managing Director of

Arlanxeo Singapore Pte Ltd, effective 1

Joosang Kim: Arlanxeo is focused on the performance elastomers business to be the leading global supplier of performance elastomers. We are focused on our core business on the development, manufacturing, and marketing of high-performance rubber for use in several industries like the automotive, tyre, electrical, construction, and oil and gas industries, among others. Furthermore, we have the backing of Lanxess and Saudi Aramco, two strong shareholders who have laid a solid foundation for us to build a backward-integrated value chain in the mid-term.

February 2018. He replaces Georges Barbey, who has left the company to seek new career

opportunities. RJA interviewed Joosang Kim to find out what plans the rubber company has for the future.


he growing appetite for synthetic rubber is hinged largely on an increasing trend for fuel-efficient tyres and the need for cost-effective alternatives to natural rubber. As well, synthetic rubbers are receptive to material technology advancement, which many manufacturers are making headway in. Notably, Asia Pacific (APAC) represents the largest and fastest growing market for synthetic rubber, projected to reach a value of nearly US$38 billion within the next five years, amid the booming automotive as well as non-tyre industries in the region. The region’s market Joosang Kim, Managing Director potential is vast and is Singapore, Arlanxeo anticipated to remain so over the coming years. Arlanxeo, the Lanxess and Saudi Aramco joint venture synthetic rubber maker, reveals the important role the APAC region plays for the company, in this exclusive RJA interview with Arlanxeo’s new Country Managing Director for Singapore, Joosang Kim. Prior to joining Germany-headquartered Lanxess and Netherlands-based Arlanxeo, Joosang Kim accumulated over 15 years of experience in the chemical industry. Since joining Lanxess in 2007, Joosang Kim has served in various leadership positions within Lanxess’s synthetic rubber business in several Asian markets, including Japan, South Korea, and China. With the establishment of Arlanxeo in 2016, the South Korean executive headed the Tyre and Specialty Rubber Business Unit for APAC and was based in Singapore.

Arlanxeo’s products and solutions are widely applied; the company is aggressively developing for the automotive industry products that will play an important role in energy saving cars, according to Kim

This is made possible through our network of eight R&D centres and four applications laboratories and we have developed the most competitive and innovative range of products of the highest quality. We have continuously strengthened our R&D to optimise our production processes in terms of energy efficiency, resource consumption, and the quality of our rubber products to provide the best solution for our customers. Arlanxeo has also made sure to have a presence in all key markets and to be near our customers with a global presence of 20 production sites in nine countries, allowing us to support their operations locally. This further ensures we remain close to the market to better understand our customers’ needs and tailor solutions to meet those needs. We have also deployed the latest technology and efficient business processes at our plants to ensure we maintain a sustainable production process as well.

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Rubber Journal Asia Synthetic Rubber RJA: What growth in turnover has Arlanxeo seen compared to last year and how did the Asian market fare?

RJA: What new developments in the automotive sector and synthetic rubber segment are expected to provide benefits to Arlanxeo?

Joosang Kim: Asia is one of the key markets for Arlanxeo and accounts for more than one third of global sales, with the China market being one of the key drivers of our steady operational performance. For the FY 2017 full-year results on a global level, sales were up by 19.2% to EUR3.23 billion against EUR2.71 billion a year earlier. EBITDA pre exceptionals amounted to EUR385 million, 3.2% higher than the prior-year level of EUR373 million. However, with the continuous challenging competitive situation, highly volatile raw material prices and the weak US dollar, the EBITDA margin pre exceptionals came in at 11.9%, down from 13.8% in the previous year.

Joosang Kim: We foresee a huge increase in demands for high performance and sustainable products be it new concepts or otherwise. This increase is largely due to changing customer needs for eco-friendly and sustainable products, as well as the general shift in government’s advocacy towards industry upgrades, such as supply-side reforms in China.

RJA: Will the rubber prices and supply volatility in Asia affect Arlanxeo’s results in the future? Joosang Kim: The challenging competitive environment posed by volatility and prices is expected to persist in the synthetic rubber business in Asia. The current market environment with overcapacities and price pressure is a major challenge for our business. However, we foresee huge demands in high performance and sustainable products, both from customer needs and the growing advocacy for industry upgrade on the supplier side. With our strong foundation, Arlanxeo is well positioned to meet various customers’ needs in different industries, with a focus on innovation and product quality.

The official soccer ball of the 2018 World Cup from Adidas contains biobased Keltan Eco 6950 rubber

“Asia is one of the key markets for Arlanxeo and accounts for more than one third of global sales” We have already developed a number of products and projects with this trend in mind, such as our self-sealing tyres that are currently undergoing further tests in extreme conditions to guarantee optimal sealing in any climate zone. And also, we are aggressively developing products that can make an important role for energy saving cars. The market for eco-friendly and sustainable products will continue to grow and will soon become a core requirement for all products within the industry. Our offerings already include products such as Keltan Eco 6950, a bio-based EPDM rubber that will be used to make the official soccer ball of the World Cup 2018 and Keltan 13561C DE, a high elastic semi-crystalline EPDM that boasts collapse resistance in high filled. With products such as these, Arlanxeo is already in a good position to take full advantage of this market shift.

Keltan’s excellent performance allows a compounder to improve green strength

RJA: Which markets is Arlanxeo reaching across following the launch of Keltan KSA?

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Rubber Journal Asia Synthetic Rubber shown by the building up of high-tech and highly competitive manufacturing infrastructure in Asia (EPDM and NBR plants in China, butyl and Nd-BR plants in Singapore). We will continue to stay close to the markets and invest in the markets to meet customers’ various needs through extending production network, enhancing technology capability, and providing excellent product and service quality. RJA: As the company’s new Managing Director, what is your vision for Arlanxeo in the coming years; and what are the future plans for Arlanxeo? Jo o s ang K im: I fo re s e e Arlanxe o c o ntinuin g on its p ath as o ne o f the glo b al le ade rs in th e f ield of p e rfo rmanc e e las to me rs w ith a s o lid s tar t that we have seen in the first year. In terms of business direction, we have already moved away from the role as a traditional product supplier towards being a solution provider and innovation partner for our customers – a combination of services that c us to me rs are inc re as ingly de manding f r om th eir suppliers. This shift in approach has already given us an edge in the market and will continue to do s o as w e re fine o ur o ffe rings furthe r. Currently, Arlanxeo’s two business units cover a comprehensive portfolio of synthetic rub b e r ap p lic atio ns fo r a div e rs e range of industries. Our current and continued focus is o n s tre ngthe ning o ur le ade rs hip p o s ition in key markets such as China and the Asia Pacific region, w hic h are ke y to o ur glo b al gro w th s trategy. However, we will not rule out expansion if o p p o rtunitie s fo r gro w th aris e .

The EPDM plant in China is said to be significant for the region’s growing EPDM market

Joosang Kim: Arlanxeo is strategically expanding its activities in the market for EPDM rubbers and will start to supply the new EPDM grades within the first half of 2018. Extending the Keltan portfolio underscores Arlanxeo’s strong commitment to these products. With Keltan and Keltan KSA, Arlanxeo will provide a unique and broad EPDM portfolio in order to serve customers in a comprehensive manner. RJA: What new plans are there for the Asian region? Joosang Kim: Arlanxeo’s strategic focus remains on the APAC region and the strengthening of our leading market position within the region, and with the strong site set up we currently have. Arlanxeo has clearly placed high importance on Asia, the largest market for its products – as

The company’s butyl plant in Jurong Island in Singapore

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Rubber Journal Asia Tyre Sector

Living on the edge with airless tyres No-flat tyres were almost inconceivable

Cradle-to-cradle materials Airless tyres, which can be manufactured by 3D printing, do not rely solely on rubbers, unlike a typical pneumatic tyre that is comprised of about 47% rubber. Moreover, aside from plastics, many other materials can be potentially used in manufacturing airless tyres, including paper, wood, recycled rubber and electronic scraps. Current designs utilise recycled rubber and organic compounds. Such is the case in French tyre maker Michelin’s Vision airless tyre, an advanced version of its X Tweel airless radial that debuted in 2014. The former is described as “an innovation inspired by nature”, and fits into the company’s sustainable mobility vision and circular economy strategy.

with the proliferation of the ubiquitous pneumatic tyres. However, with the

advent of airless tyres, the landscape of

the tyre sector could soon change to create sustainable and safer driving conditions, says Angelica Buan.


he condition of car tyres is critical in safe driving. Lack of air pressure in tyres due to punctures, incorrect internal pressures, tread separation and other reasons, could result in tyre blowouts, which could be injurious, and at high speeds, be fatal. Each year the US has about 78,000 crashes and over 400 fatalities related to tyre blowouts, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data. Globally, the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) estimates that nearly 4,000 people are killed in road traffic crashes that are also due to various vehicle issues. By 2030, the CDC predicts that road traffic injuries will become the seventh leading cause of death around the world. Tyre blowouts can be prevented by always checking the health of tyres, which can be cumbersome at times. Nevertheless, new tyre technologies, particularly the airless tyres, may provide a hassle-free, blowout-proof solution.

Michelin’s Vision airless tyre is rolled with biodegradable components like food scraps, wood, molasses and other biosourced materials

Biosourced and biodegradable, the materials used in Vision include natural rubber, food scraps, bamboo, metal, wood and molasses. The synthetic rubber is produced from ethanol derived from molasses sugar, making the Vision tyre recyclable as a single unit at the end of its life. Launched in 2017, Vision is claimed to be the world’s first tyre that recharges, meaning that with the aid of 3D printers, treads can be customised to fit the needs of the user. Equipped with sensors, Vision provides real time information about its condition. Using Michelin’s mobile app, it is also possible to simply make an appointment to change the tyre’s destination, depending on the user’s needs. In a related development, it can be recalled that environmentally-friendly materials were also worked in Bridgestone’s “Air Free” tyre concept, which it introduced in 2011, with the aim to make it commercially feasible.

Airless tyres: a new concept So what exactly are airless tyres? India-headquartered market analyst Insight Partners describes the tyres as “non-pneumatic tyres, which are generally not supported by air pressure”. At first glance, the airless tyre looks odd, especially if your idea of a tyre is limited to the air-filled doughnutshaped rubber tyre. Leading tyre makers such as Michelin, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Kumho, Sumitomo, and several others are developing airless tyre designs based on a spoked or honeycomb structure. The design calls for usage of plastics more than rubber. In fact, according to a report by Global Market Insights (GMI), plastics will account for a 65% share of the global airless tyre market volume from 2017-2024. Plastics make the airless tyres more recyclable, light weight, design flexible and cost effective.

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Rubber Journal Asia Tyre Sector The non-pneumatic tyre design features a unique structure of spokes stretching along the inner sides of the tyres supporting the weight of the vehicle. The spoke structure within the tyre is made from reusable thermoplastic resin, and along with the rubber in the tread portion, the materials used in the tyres are 100% recyclable, Bridgestone assured. In 2013, an upgraded version was introduced with extra features such as further optimisation of the spoke structure by using highstrength but flexible highperformance resin as a material. Also, by employing finite element method (FEM) simulations in the design, stress and deformation in the inner part of the tyre was reduced for improved loadBridgestone’s next-generation airless bearing capabilities and tyre for bicycles will hit the market driving performance. in 2019 Furthermore, the use of proprietary materials technologies and the simplification of the structure of the tyres allowed for low rolling resistance, comparable to fuel-efficient pneumatic tyres. Since then, further upgrades followed and come 2019, Bridgestone is expected to make available in the market its next generation bicycle tyre – a result of further development of the airless tyre concept.

create a smooth ride every time”. The non-pneumatic TurfCommand with DuraWeb technology is expected to be available this year. The technology, according to Goodyear, is part of the company’s strategy to develop maintenance-free technologies for passenger and commercial vehicles, particularly in fleet applications. For South Korean tyre maker Kumho Tyres, its nature-inspired Birth on Nature (BON) tyre takes on a typical voronoi quadratic architecture in the form of leaf cells and the honeycomb. The design enables structural stability and economic efficiency of the tyre, without the need for any form of inflation, says Kumho.

The BON tyre by Kumho features typical voronoi quadratic architecture in the form of leaf cells and the honeycomb

Already, Kumho’s concept tyre, has swept various awards, namely, Germany’s Red Dot and iF Design, and the US IDEA awards in the automotive and transport category. Milestone for airless tyres in space Further R&D in airless tyres has led to the discovery of other materials beyond plastics and rubbers due to the limitations they present, especially in space explorations! Since the 1970s, Goodyear has been developing non-pneumatic technologies and in recent years, has collaborated with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for space tyre projects. Most significant were Goodyear’s work with NASA’s John H. Glenn Research Centre for moon tyre technology in 2007 that featured an airless non-rubber wire mesh tyre for the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) to allow for use of heavier, longer-range exploration and lunar construction vehicles. In 2009, it developed the Spring Tire with 800 load bearing springs designed to carry much heavier vehicles over much greater distances than the wire mesh tyre previously used on the LVR. Evolving from the Spring Tire, but this time with improved features such as traction in soft sand, durability, and lighter weight, the NASA Glenn scientists, led by Colin Creager and Santo Padula, have developed a non-pneumatic prototype tyre. Called Superelastic Tire, it utilises shape memory alloys, nickel titanium (NiTi and its derivatives) as load bearing components.

Structures redefined Meanwhile, compatriot Goodyear has utilised thermoplastics in its airless tyre it introduced in 2017. The thermoplastic structure provides a unique combination of stiffness and flexibility to carry heavy load, while maintaining a smooth ride and minimising turf tear, says the US firm. It was designed to “deform, absorb impact, and The non-pneumatic TurfCommand with DuraWeb technology by Goodyear is designed to deform, absorb impact, and create a smooth ride

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Rubber Journal Asia Tyre Sector Future demand not flat Because most airless tyres are yet to be produced on a commercial scale, developments on prototypes are still ongoing. Nevertheless, the market for these nonpneumatic tyres seems lucrative. According to GMI, the market for airless tyres is valued over US$200 million, reaching 139,000 units by 2024. Over the forecast period from 2017-2024, the demand is anticipated to come from off-the-road and heavy commercial vehicles segments and from rising adoption by the military sector, especially in developed countries. More golf carts, lawn mowers, and other utility vehicles will soon be sporting airless tyres, thus contributing to the growth of the market. And soon yet, as more innovations unfurl, personal vehicles and aircraft will also run on airless tyres. Road safety as well as the clamouring for light weight and fuel economy cars is encouraging automobile OEMs to adopt airless tyres in their vehicles, GMI stated. Japanese automotive manufacturer Toyota has tried out Sumitomo Rubber’s Gyroblade airless tyre in its Fine-Comfort Ride concept car, which it introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2017. The car maker says it is looking into the promising capability of airless tyres to accommodate heavier hybrid cars.

Superelastic Tire by NASA utilises shape memory alloys, nickel titanium as load bearing components

The innovation also addressed issues such as steel wires deforming when rolling over punishing simulated Martian terrain at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). NiTi alloys are capable of undergoing high strain as load bearing components and able to withstand excessive deformation without permanent damage, unlike commonly used elastic-plastic materials, such as spring steels, composites, and others, which can only be subjected to strains of less than 0.3-0.5% before yielding. In addition, the utilisation of shape memory alloys provides enhanced control over the effective stiffness as a function of the deformation, providing increased design versatility. The innovation, according to NASA, has been developed for future Mars missions. And especially since it is gearing up for the one-way red planet expedition in 2024, airless tyres may take up the monumental mission. For the meantime, airless tyres are being developed as viable alternatives to pneumatic tyres here on earth. This is because the Superelastic Tire offers traction equal or superior to conventional pneumatic tyres and eliminates the possibility of puncture failures, thereby improving automobile safety. This tyre design also eliminates the need for an inner frame, which both simplifies and lightens the tyre/wheel assembly, NASA added, and thus implying that the NiTi airless tyre is almost indestructible. In other words, Superelastic Tire can be further developed for practical application, such as for all-terrain vehicles, military vehicles, construction vehicles, heavy equipment vehicles, agriculture vehicles, cars and aircraft.

Sumitomo’s Gyroblade airless tyre sports resin spokes encircling a metal hub

Gyroblade, introduced in 2015 by Tokyo-based Sumitomo, features a tyre tread affixed to the circumference of a tyre body that is composed of metallic steel surrounded by special resign spokes. According to Sumitomo, the technology not only assures safety from underinflated tyres and significantly reduces maintenance work, but also contributes to the environment by eliminating the need for spare tyres. With the demand for longer lasting tyres that are safe and environmentally-friendly, it is not surprising that in the near future, with electric vehicles plying the roads and utility vehicles requiring tyres that can withstand heavier loads, airless tyres will become a mainstream item.

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