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

業 界新聞 材料 : 除去乳膠毒性提供更安全的 工作和娛樂用途

In this issue

Volume 30, No 218

publlshed slnce 1985

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

Features 焦 點 內 容 14 材料: 除去乳膠毒性提供更安全的工作和娛樂用途 16 Country Focus – Indonesia is leaning on the edge in the packaging sector as it contends with further competition from the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). PRA will be reporting from P&R Indonesia show, to be held from 18-21 November, in Jakarta, Indonesia

18 Corporate Profile – Advance materials development is at the core of DuPont Performance Polymers’s aim to support customers’ product development cycles, as it helps customers create differentiated products

21 Economy – The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is on a mission to lead its members to greater global gains; but scepticism around the deal remains as those against it say it may adversely impact several key industries

Regulars 概 要

Associate Publisher/Editor Tej Fernandez Tel: +60 3 4260 4575 Email: Editorial/Production Coordinator Angelica Buan Email: Staff Writer: Elaine Cotoner Email: Chinese Editor Koh Bee Ling Circulation Abril Castro Email: Admin & Finance Manager Tean Arul Email:


4 Industry News

ISSN 1360-1245

7 Machinery News

KDN PP 18785/08/2015 (034280)

MCI (P) 029/08/2015 Printer United Mission Press

8 Materials News 12 業界新聞

Supplements 副 刊 The automotive emissions “scandal” may have shaken the industry, but some good has come out of it, with further technologies being promoted to reduce emissions The latest low-protein rubber technology zeroes in on the risks of latex allergy and chemicals exposure amongst latex product users


業界新聞 材料: 除去乳膠毒性提供更安全的 工作和娛樂用途

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is published 8 times a year in Mandarin and English by Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this publication is correct, the publisher makes no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the nature or accuracy of such material to the extent permitted by applicable law. © 2015 Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or used in any form, or by any means, without specific prior permission from the publisher. PRA is circulated free to trade readers in the plastics and rubber industry. Airmail subscriptions are available at US$160 within Asia and US$250 to all other countries outside Asia.

On the Cover With materials development, more benefits of plastics are able to be applied to applications to render light weight, durability, and cost-effectiveness



Publisher Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 Email:

is a member of ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation)

WM Thermoforming Machines WM, is located in Stabio (Switzerland). Our engineering department designs and builds thermoforming machines since 1981 and complete IN-LINE systems, with extrusion groups, since 1992. FC 600/780/1000 SPEEDMASTER plus: Vacuum and pressure forming with steel rule cutting


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Industry News



• US chemical giant Dow Chemical is restructuring its Kuwaiti joint ventures, in two phases over the next nine months, with Dow to reduce its overall equity in the MEGlobal joint venture, with Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC), as well as its overall ownership interest in Greater Equate. Under the first phase, Equate would acquire MEGlobal for US$3.2 billion, with Dow receiving US$1.5 billion in pre-tax proceeds. Dow will retain a 42.5% ownership stake in MEGlobal through its ownership of Greater Equate. In the second phase, Dow will further reduce its overall ownership interest in Greater Equate by mid-2016. In a related move, Dubai-based MEGlobal will build a monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant on the US Gulf Coast. Final location of the asset is contingent upon pending incentives. Established in July 2004, MEGlobal currently markets over 2.5 million tonnes/year of EG globally. Meanwhile, regarding reports about Dow and Corning on the future of the 72-year old joint venture Dow Corning, the

companies say they are still in discussions about the future ownership structure of the company. • Switzerlandbased Maag, a manufacturer of gear pumps, pelletising systems, and filtration systems, is to acquire US-based Gala Industries, a manufacturer of underwater pelletising systems, centrifugal pellet dryers and process solutions for the plastics industry. The addition of Gala's innovative products will further enhance Maag's position in underwater pelletisers and centrifugal dryers. Both companies will go to the market under their existing brand names, which include Maag Pump Systems, Automatik Pelletizing Systems and Gala Industries. Maag is owned by Dover Corporation. • Belgian chemicals firm Solvay has acquired Germany-based Epic Polymers’s long-fibre


thermoplastics (LFT) technology. • Austrian oil and gas company OMV and chemical and plastics company Borealis have extended their petrochemical partnership for another 11 years, from 2018 until 2028. • German chemicals giant BASF says it has committed to spending EUR6 billion on investments, upgrading and maintenance measures between 2016 and 2020 at its Ludwigshafen site in Germany. • Swiss chemicals firm Ineos Group has acquired the aromatics business of US chlorvinyl and aromatics manufacturer Axiall Corp. for US$62.9 million. The acquisition comprises the 90,000-tonne/year cumene plant, based in Texas, US. • Industrial and aerospace manufacturer and service provider Barnes Group has acquired Swiss supplier of in-mould sensors and process controls Priamus System Technologies. Terms were not disclosed. Listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Barnes Group also has other hot runner businesses like

Synventive Molding Solutions (bought in 2012), Männer (bought in 2013), and it recently acquired Thermoplay. The companies have manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and Asia as well as sales offices and agents in many countries. • US-based Kraton Performance Polymers, a producer of styrenic block copolymers or SBCs, is acquiring all the capital stock of privately held Arizona Chemical Holdings Corporation for a cash purchase price of US$1.37 billion. Arizona Chemical is a producer of speciality chemicals derived from nonhydrocarbon, renewable raw materials. It is being sold by AZC Holding Company, which is principally owned by investment funds managed by American Securities. Arizona Chemical's end use market exposure is highly complementary with that of Kraton, particularly in markets such as adhesives, roads and construction, coatings and oilfield chemicals, says the firm. Last year, Kraton’s planned merger with Taiwanese petrochemicals firm LCY Chemical Corp fizzled out due to the

INDUSTRY NEWS decline in operating results for LCY's SBC business in the first quarter of 2014. • Middle Eastern chemicals firm Sabic is restructuring to create what it says will be a more cost-efficient, and customer-focused organisation structure that is expected to be in place by 1 January 2016. The reorganisation follows the challenges Sabic is facing in the context of its 2025 strategy as well as changes in the market landscape, and the need to drive technology and innovation. As a result of this corporate overhaul, the commodity products of the Innovative Plastics Strategic Business Unit (SBU) will now be housed in the Chemicals and Polymers SBUs. The remaining Innovative Plastics’ solutions will fall under a newly created SBU called Specialties. This business will serve as the exclusive home for Sabic speciality solutions. Along with the Performance Chemicals SBU, the portfolio of which was reallocated earlier, the Innovative Plastics SBU will no longer exist.

• US materials company DuPont will consolidate its DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers business with its DuPont Performance Polymers (DPP) business, as well as consolidate the DuPont Protection Technologies business with the DuPont Building Innovations business. Both consolidations will be effective on 1 January 2016. DPP includes nylon, acetal and PBT resins, as well as thermoplastic elastomers and biopolymers. The Packaging & Industrial Polymers business is made up of polymer modifers and additives and speciality resins used in adhesives, barriers, sealants and peelable lidding; as well as the DuPont Teijin Films business. • Family-owned Agru Austria will buy the fluoropolymer production assets from Quadrant EPP, which is owned by Mitsubishi Plastics and Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Group, for a nondisclosed amount. The transaction is limited to the assets currently located at Quadrant’s Lenzburg, Switzerland site. The plans call for the equipment to be dismantled and reinstalled at the largest site of Agru

in Bad Hall, Austria. This transaction will have no consequence to the machined parts business of Quadrant EPP, which is a manufacturer of semi-finished

products, ranging from UHMW polyethylene, nylon and acetal to ultrahigh performance polymers that resist temperatures to over 425°C.

Plant Set-Ups/Capacity Additions • Riyadh-headquartered Sabic and South Korean petrochemicals company SK Global Chemical’s 50-50 joint venture holding company, Sabic SK Nexlene Company (SSNC), has broken ground on a new plant to manufacture a range of PE products using the Nexlene technology. SSNC’s whollyowned subsidiary, Korea Nexlene Company (KNC), owns the plant in Ulsan, South Korea, which has a capacity of 230,000 tonnes/ year. The aggregate purchase price for the technology and plant is approximately US$640 million. The companies had announced the joint venture in July this year. The plant will produce mLLDPE, polyolefin plastomers (POP) and polyolefin elastomers (POE). • US-headquartered Continental Structural Plastics (CSP)’s Chinese joint venture, CSP Victall, has opened

its manufacturing facility in Tangshan City, Hebei Province, China. The 322,000 sq-ft facility will manufacture composite components for the automotive, heavy truck and bus, construction and agriculture markets in China. The joint venture will also compound and sell advanced composite raw materials out of this facility. Manufacturing equipment to be installed includes a Dieffenbacher fully automated LFT-D line – the first in the world to be equipped to support the application of carbon fibre and higher temperature resins in addition to mainstream glass and PP materials.

• Mitsui Chemicals has launched its new manufacturing and sales company for performance compounds in Jinshan District Shanghai, Eastern China, Mitsui NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2015


Industry News

Chemicals Functional Composites (Shanghai). The plant has a capacity of 11,000 tonnes/ year of Mitsui’s Milastomer and Admer compounds. Milastomer is a TPE used in automotive window frames and as interior material, and Admer, an adhesive polyolefin used in automotive fuel tanks and food packaging materials. • Japanheadquartered Mitsubishi Rayon will construct a new plant at Vilshofen in Bavaria, Germany, for producing SMC (Sheet Moulding Compound) intermediate materials in order to reinforce and expand its carbon fibre and composite materials business in Europe. The factory is expected to commence operation in 2016 with capacity of 1,000 tonnes/year, to be expanded up to 6,000 tonnes as demand further increases. After completion of the expansion, Mitsubishi Rayon's overall production capacity will grow to 9,000 tonnes, triple the current production capacity at its Toyohashi plant in Japan. In developing its business in Europe, the company


has developed the production base for CFRP-made automotive parts and intermediate materials by acquiring Wethje Carbon Composites and TK Industries. • Germanyheadquartered Evonik is expanding its production capacity for polyetheretherketone (PEEK) at the Changchun (China) site. The company says new products are also in the pipeline. One of these is Easy Slide I grade, said to stand out by offering excellent abrasion resistance and low sliding friction. The recently introduced Vestakeep 5000 HCM (hot compression moulding) grade increases the production efficiency of customised PEEK seals delivering mechanical properties and performance for the oil and gas industry, says Evonik. Evonik has also opened its expanded facility in Ako, Japan, where the company will produce its Sipernat and Carplex lines of speciality silicas. The investment represents a roughly 50% increase in Evonik's Japanese production capacity for speciality silicas, which the company manufactures through DSL. Japan Co.


Evonik maintains a 51% share in DSL, a joint venture with Shionogi & Co. Evonik is expanding its global silica production capacities. • Socar Polymer, a subsidiary of the Azerbaijan state oil and gas corporation Socar and Pasha Holding, Gilan Holding and Azersun Holding, has started building its 120,000-tonne/ year capacity HDPE plant in the Sumgayit Chemical Industry Park. Along with a 180,000tonne/year PP facility, the plant is now due to be commissioned by 2018. • Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage manufacturer headquartered in Switzerland, has opened its latest facility in Sri Muda, its eighth factory in Malaysia. It will boost the group’s readyto-drink capacity by 60%. Over the last seven years, Nestlé Malaysia has invested over RM1.5 billion in capex towards enhancing its manufacturing and distribution capabilities. In the past two years, the group has invested RM600 million in capex, which has gone

into expanding and scaling up its manufacturing infrastructure. Out of this amount, RM288 million was invested into the Sri Muda Factory. A key product of the new Sri Muda Factory is Milo Nutri G, which was launched earlier this year. It is also the world’s first Milo product in a convenient PET bottle, providing ‘breakfast-on-the-go’. • Germany-based styrenics producer Styrolution and Braskem, the Brazilian producer of thermoplastic resins in America and a global leader in biopolymers, have announced their mutual agreement to suspend a future joint venture in Brazil to produce ABS. The decision was driven by Styrolution and was a result of the current adverse market conditions and uncertain market outlook. In October 2013, both parties signed a MOU to investigate the potential formation of a joint venture to build and operate an ABS plant in Brazil. The proposed 100 kilotonnes plant was intended to supply speciality styrenics, ABS and styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) copolymers, to customers in Brazil and throughout South America.

WM Thermoforming launches Next extruders wiss machinery maker WM Thermoforming Machines, which has manufactured complete in-line systems since 1989, in 1996 decided to build its own range of extruders. It has now introduced the Next extruder line, with benefits of higher productivity; energy savings; less cooling and less installed power; wear reduction; good self-cleaning and the use of high percentage of regrind. The range of extruders includes screw diameters of 45-75-90 mm, L/D (length/diameter) ratio of 36 and output capacity range from 450 to 900 kg/ hour for PP material. The single-screw extruders are operated by

water-cooled AC motors for high-energy efficiency and low noise emissions. All cylinders and screws are made of nitride steel, but special versions made of bimetal and stellite (tipped hard metal) are available upon request, for the processing of filled materials. The temperature control settings are made through the industrial B&R PC operated by touchscreen. All extruders are supplied with continuous hydraulic screen changers in order to avoid material flow interruption. A separate hydraulic power unit for the filter exchange can also be supplied to be used with other co-extruders. A gear pump system

Hot fillable PET bottle production


ET solutions provider Sidel has introduced the Matrix blower eHR to produce hot fillable PET bottles. By heating the mould via electrical heat resistance (eHR) instead of hot oil, the system is said to achieve various benefits in terms of bottle quality, performance, process flexibility, uptime, energy savings and operator safety. It replaces traditional heating of the mould for the PET bottle body by oil, allowing a temperature increase three times

quicker than heating by oil and also a more hygienic and clean operation. Probes are directly located in each mould shell to regulate the temperature as closely as possible to the PET bottle as it is formed. Temperature discrepancies between different blowing stations are kept to an absolute minimum. As a result, all bottles undergo the same thermal conditioning and therefore offer a consistent performance, says Sidel. The latest generation of blowing valve on the Sidel Matrix blower, combined Sidel has launched the eHR to produce hot fillable PET bottles

is supplied as standard on all the main extruders to eliminate pulsations during the melting process, guaranteeing constant and WM Thermoforming has launched its uniform feeding of Next range of extruders the extrusion flat by pulling and pushing to die head. control the sheet thickness, In case of additional while the deckling bars extruders, a co-extrusion adjust the sheet width feed block is installed manually. before the flat die head, The vertical calenders in order to distribute the are available in different material flow in different versions, according to layers in the function of the extruder and the the sheet characteristics required output capacity. required for the final The standard version is product. mounted on a rail while a The extrusion flat motorised system provides die head is provided by the correct positioning a flexible lip adjustable during the operating cycle. through nuts that works

with the mechanical blow nozzle system, electrical stretching and automation, gives high control of the blowing curve. This allows mechanical output to be increased by up to 2,000 bottles/hour/mould representing a speed improvement of more than 10% compared with the previous generation of Sidel HR blowers. Electrical heating also offers energy savings of up to 45% compared with the previous generation of Sidel SBO Universal HR blowers. The performance of the Matrix Ecoven with the infra-red lamps and ceramic technology reduces use of power by a further 25% and by implementing the AirEco2 air recovery option, air consumption can be reduced by up to 45%. As the moulds are insulated from the

Machinery News


mould supports, the hot temperature is focused on the moulds while the ambient temperature in the eHR remains lower than in a traditional HR blower. This avoids any thermal constraints on other nearby machine components. Parts that operators may come into contact with inside the machine are at a lower temperature which contributes to safer intervention conditions. Hot filling is a method of safely bottling sensitive beverages like juices, nectars, soft drinks, isotonics and teas (JNSDIT), by heating them. This heat sterilises the beverage and, once the bottle is filled, capped and tilted, then the bottle and cap. The temperature required (between 80째 and 95째C) is above the normal thermal resistance of conventional PET bottles. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2015


Materials News

Biobased materials embrace improvements The still young and fast growing bioplastics market, with an estimated growth of 20% a year, is continuously being updated to cater to new innovations and further the sustainability issues. Old hand PLA gets into the swing of things Swedish firm Perstorp has introduced renewable Capa for Bioplastics, the world’s first of its kind concept which builds on the Capa lactide technology. The renewable concept enables freedom to design polymers that are flexible or hard, transparent or crystalline, tough or rigid and with a targeted melting point and polarity. Market indications show that these products are likely to deliver what many customers are looking for in terms of biobased content and performance. Renewable Capa has been evaluated both in terms of compostability and biobased content and is also certified as biobased by the independent Belgian certification body Vinçotte. Perstorp says it will continue to focus its efforts on three fast-growing bioplastic segments – paper coatings, bags and films, and packaging. Capa for Bioplastics is a biopolymer enhancer that is said to offer stability and compatibility, improved mechanical properties, flexibility at low temperatures, and biodegradability. This effort is supported by Perstorp’s industrial production and pilot facilities in Warrington, UK and its Swedish innovation centre in Perstorp, for bioplastic formulations. Currently, the lactic acid used to produce PLA has been based on first-generation feedstocks like cane sugar, sugar beet, corn and cassava, are grown following principles of sustainable agriculture, yet the debate still continues on whether these do not compete with food production. Corbion Purac claims it is the first in the world to have successfully made PLA bioplastic resin from second generation feedstocks that are not suitable for human consumption, and include plant-based materials like bagasse, corn stover, wheat straw and wood chips. In order to fully commercialise and bring PLA based on second generation feedstocks to the market in commercial quantities, Corbion invites all interested brandowners and converters to join a consortium in order to accelerate the market introduction of second generation feedstock bioplastics. Biosuccinic acid developments Following the commissioning and opening of BioAmber’s joint venture plant with Mitsui Chemicals in Sarnia, Canada, it has made the first shipments of its biobased succinic acid. The US$141.5 million plant has a capacity of 30,000 tonnes/year of succinic acid, making it the largest of its kind in the world. It is expected to increase



BioAmber has started shipping its succinic acid from Sarnia

production volumes progressively to reach full capacity in 2017. Succinic acid is produced via a fermentation process that makes use of a proprietary yeast, BioAmber licensed exclusively from Cargill. Although originally developed to produce lactic acid, the yeast was found to be able to ferment at a low pH and, contrary to other organisms that were experimented with, able to tolerate high concentrations of succinic acid. BioAmber and Cargill collaborated closely on the development of this yeast technology. BioAmber says the biosuccinic acid produced is of higher quality than previously produced at the demonstration plant located in France. Minneapolis-based BioAmber has also entered into a technology license with Johnson Matthey Davy Technologies (JM Davy) that will enable the construction of a 100,000-tonne/year plant that uses biosuccinic acid as the feedstock to produce 70,000 tonnes of BDO and 30,000 tonnes of tetrahydrofuran (THF). It has also secured the rights to license the JMD technology for two additional BDO/THF plants. By licensing JM Davy's proven BDO/THF technology, BioAmber says it accelerates the process, saving time and money for setting up the plant, which it plans to commission in 2018. BioAmber has already signed a 15 year take-or-pay agreement with Vinmar International for 100% of the output from the plant's 100,000 tonne-year BDO and THF capacity. BDO and THF are used to make engineering plastics, polyurethanes, biodegradable polyesters, spandex and other speciality chemicals.

Materials News Meanwhile, Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, and Reverdia are to jointly develop thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) based on Reverdia’s Biosuccinium succinic. The Desmopan TPUs are targeted for use in a variety of applications, including the footwear and consumer electronics industries. Biosuccinium, produced at commercial scale since 2012 using Reverdia’s patented low-pH yeast technology, allows Covestro to capitalise on years of research. The company plans to expand its biobased TPU production in Taiwan to industrial scale. Biobased Desmopan products are already available in various hardness grades, including 85 Shore A, 95A and 60D. Simulations by Reverdia suggest a roughly 65% reduction in the carbon impact compared with products produced with petrochemicals. Modifiers to up the PVC/epoxy resins ante US firm Metabolix has developed a new class of renewable multifunctional modifiers for PVC. This series of biobased PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) copolymers offer toughening, plasticisation, and improved processing. Other benefits are the good UV stability and transparency, do not promote biodegradation, and are fungi resistant. Because of their unique miscibility with PVC, the PHA modifiers do not migrate, extract, or volatilise.

Metabolix’s current range of Mirel PHA copolymers are produced by bio-fermentation of sugars in which the water-insoluble inert polymer accumulates inside specially engineered microorganisms. The polymer is then extracted and purified and can be compounded and processed using conventional plastics converting equipment. Metabolix says it is working closely with customers to commercialise its PHA biopolymers in PVC applications such as building materials, flooring, decking and railing systems, wire and cable, tubing, roofing and films, as well as in a variety of parts using recycled or reprocessed PVC. Solvay’s Epicerol recently won the JEC Asia 2015 Innovation Award. Solvay is the owner of the Epicerol technology and trade mark, and Advanced Biochemical (Thailand), the producer of Epicerol, a 100% biobased epichlorohydrin (ECH). A chemical intermediate, it is mainly used in the production of epoxy resins, a key material for a wide range of industries namely composites, coatings and electronics. It has been in use since 2012 and a recent partnership with customers saw Epicerol-based epoxy resins being used in the composite matrix of the Belgian Solar Car, The Punch One, allowing for 45% bio-content in the resin.

Materials News

TPEs/engineering plastics enter the foray Hexpol TPE group (which brings together the Elasto and Müller Kunststoffe businesses) has launched Dryflex Green, a family of TPE compounds based on renewable resources such as plant and vegetable crops. The range includes several series with amounts of renewable content to over 70% (ASTM D 6866) with hardnesses from 50 to 80 Shore A. The TPE compounds d i s p l a y mechanical and physical p r o p e r t i e s comparable to TPE from fossilbased raw materials. Hexpol’s TPE They offer flexibility compounds are and tensile properties based on renewable with a soft-touch feel. content They can be processed using traditional polymer technologies such as injection moulding and extrusion. Dryflex green TPE compounds give adhesion to biobased polymers, such as PE, for 2K and multicomponent applications. The compounds are also fully recyclable and can be easily coloured. Spain-based Elix Polymers has introduced a natural fibre-reinforced ABS for injection moulding

applications and specific extrusion processes, targeted at the automotive and furniture markets. Benefits include high stiffness, heat resistance, low moulding shrinkage ratios, low emissions and weight reduction when compared to glass fibre-reinforced ABS, says Elix. It adds that the ABS-NF has a density of 1.12 compared to 1.15 for ABS-GF. The material has been also tested for 3D printing technology with impressive results, both in terms of processability and aesthetics. The development of the material was undertaken under the auspices of the EEA and Norway Grants, representing the contribution of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. This was the first time that a European ABS producer was given a European Grant for a project to investigate new sustainable ABS materials and composites.

PolyOne’s new reSound NF colour options were inspired by its InVisiOSM Colour Inspirations 2016 colour collection

Elix Polymers has introduced a green material for the furniture sector



US-based PolyOne’s resound natural fibre-reinforced composites are now being targeted at the consumer sector, hence the firm has added on new colours and extrusion option offerings for non-automotive customers. New reSound NF colour options include beige, copper, terra cotta, green, blue and black hues, developed in collaboration with PolyOne’s InVisiOSM Color Inspirations 2016 colour collections. In addition, reSound NF is now available in formulations that have been tested and proven for profile extrusion, expanding its use to potential extrusion applications in building and construction, sports and leisure, and furniture manufacturing. Introduced this year in March, the materials offer mechanical property improvements of more than 20% for tensile and flexural properties, 10°C to 20°C higher heat deflection temperature, and an increase of more than 50% in impact strength. Independent testing has shown that reSound NF formulations offer equivalent performance to short glass fibre-reinforced alternatives, at a 5-10% lower density.









Country Focus

Indonesia’s economy shapes packaging industry Indonesia is revving up its manufacturing sector scorecard, raising points for the food/beverage and packaging segments, against the back of the upcoming AEC and TPP agreements, says Angelica Buan in this report.


he world’s 16th largest economy is in the troughs of economic transformation in anticipation of the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) end of this year. This is along with its plan of joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and opening up to FDIs to shore up its manufacturing sector by reviewing its protectionist regulations, as well as offering tax incentives. Projecting a 5.3% GDP growth in 2016, which is up from the 4.7% GDP from the second quarter, yet slightly off the 5.5% GDP mark aimed by the government, the World Bank lauds the investment reforms initiated by the country to impede the recurrence of deficits. Thus, efforts are starting to pay off. Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) data showed that FDIs rose from over US$16 billion in 2010 to nearly US$29 billion in 2014. In the third quarter (July-September) of the current year, BKPM pegs the country’s FDIs at close to US$7 billion, an increase of 18.1% from a year ago. Manufacturing cornerstone in Asia With a more solidified capital investment, Indonesia maintains its ranking as the third manufacturing hub in the Asia Pacific region. It has high potential to gravitate up the ranks and outpace China or Vietnam with its production-conducive climate. This includes an hourly wage rate that has remained comparatively attractive; 250-million strong domestic market, rapid urbanisation, and substantial purchasing power that can support its priority industries such as packaging, automotive, household goods, electrical & electronics, and medical devices. By 2030, McKinsey Asia Consumer Centre (MACC) forecasts that Indonesia will account for



almost 40% of ASEAN growth. Its population will expand at a rate of 2.9 million a year. Incomes and urbanisation will have vertical growth and will further support its domestic consumption. A report by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) also collaborates that by 2030, Indonesia would have become the seventh largest economy, propped up by the 135 million consuming class, and a healthy US$1.8 trillion market with opportunities in many sectors. More recently, US President Barack Obama won Indonesia’s endorsement for the contentious TPP with the President of Southeast Asia’s largest economy vowing to join. Joko Widodo has, thus, risked the ire of economic nationalists in Indonesia by pledging to join the pact.

“…US President Barack Obama won Indonesia’s endorsement for the contentious TPP..” Twelve countries are currently party to the TPP, including Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Vietnam and the US, creating the world’s largest free trade area. The deal is seen by some as a counterbalance to growing Chinese economic clout in the region. Roping in the F&B industry Amongst the industries that will benefit from a revitalised manufacturing sector, the food and beverage is specifically addressed as having been largely contributory to the country’s GDP. This was stated by President Joko Widodo during a recent meeting with the Indonesian Food and Beverage Association (Gapmmi). Deregulations are being carried out to further propel the competitiveness of the F&B segment. In the ASEAN, Indonesia offers plenty of market opportunities for F&B, according to the BKMB, which has projected a 400% growth in food and manufacturing FDI projects from 2010 onwards. Demand-wise, market research firm Canadean finds demand for commercial beverage production in Indonesia to continue to expand. Soft drinks are growth drivers in the sector, it said, accounting for over two-thirds of the total beverage market. In the coming term, new soft drink products will be launched and new industry players will permeate the market, Canadean says.

Country Focus On the other hand, market share of packaged water remains strong amid the need for potable, safe drinking water, the report said. Other packaged ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages have since made the cut, especially when packaged in non-refillable PP cups, which provide practicality and low production costs, thus a cheaper cost for consumers, the report said. Packaging seizes the opportunity Globally, the success of the F&B industry is stirring up growth for the packaging industry, valued at US$125.7 billion by 2018, up from US$97.2 billion in 2012, according to Markets and Markets. In terms of revenue in 2012, Asia Pacific countries were top billed as the fastest growing, followed by Europe and North America. The food industry is projected to partake in 33% of the global market share, according to a 2014 Frost & Sullivan report. Specialised market research firm TechNavio, in its report titled Food Packaging Market in the APAC Region 2015-2019, says that new and innovative packaging materials and techniques are being introduced to increase the shelf life of products and enhance aesthetic appeal. Drink packaging from 2012-2018 is expected to rise by 3.3% on average yearly, reaching a value of US$102 billion by 2018, according to Smithers Rapra in its report, The Future of Global Packaging to 2018. It also adds that for food items, a 3.4% average yearly growth rate is projected over the report period to US$284 billion by 2018. Meanwhile, a market finding by research company Euromonitor noted that stand-up pouches, while not counted among the most used plastic pack types, are becoming popular. This type of packaging has etched its presence in many food brands, and in the US$1.9 trillion food packaging units sold in 2014. Standup pouches provide single-serve, easy-reheating, or ready-serve solutions and thus are projected to grow at 6% average yearly from 2014-2019, according to Euromonitor. Emerging economies where the F&B sector has a firm footing are also gaining from the global wave of packaging growth.

rising population and urbanisation. The packaging segment over the report period through 2016 will witness an upshot from the F&B end-user market, which accounted for 67% of the total packaging industry market value in 2011. Meanwhile, Indonesia’s non-F&B segments, such as beauty, personal and hygiene care, are stimulating demand in the packaging industry, to spawn an estimated market volume of over US$954 million by 2020, according to the online data source Statista. Euromonitor attributes domestic growth for these undertapped segments to the rising middle-income consumer base. It additionally says that expansion for the sector can be expected as geographical penetration for these products has yet to be optimised.

“..In the ASEAN, Indonesia offers plenty of market opportunities for F&B..”

Pet food packaging rising Since packaging has universal applications, there are yet other applications beyond F&B. One example is the pet food market, which is becoming lucrative on account of a growing trend for pet adoption. What is firing up the market is also the growing demand for readymade products that are high quality and nutritious. Grand View Research, in its latest report, expects a significant take up rate for Indonesia in the pet food market share that is projected to increase to US$98.81 billion by 2022 from US$70.83 billion in 2014. Meanwhile, Markets and Markets says that pet food packaging will reach over US$8 billion by 2020, with a CAGR of 5.08% from 20152020. While the North American region accounts largely in the total market share at 39.4%, the APAC region as well as Europe are not far behind. The demand is spurring innovations in pet food products and rising competition in the pet food packaging market, whereby manufacturers are also opting for quality and sustainable packaging to attract customers, the research group stated. Thus, Indonesia stands to benefit from the growth in the packaging sector, if the notoriously protectionist economy is able to counter its corruption, lower commodity prices and slower growth as a result of China’s economic slowdown. Other downsides are the high (20%) unemployment among the vast ranks of Indonesia’s youth. This and the need to cut down red tape and economic nationalism to attract further investors are factors that will be looked at closely.

“..Indonesia’s billion-dollar packaging industry is forecast to post a CAGR of 5.1%..”

Indonesia to be major player in packaging Indonesia’s billion-dollar packaging industry is forecast to post a CAGR of 5.1% to US$9.6 billion in 2016, according to the Packaging Industry Outlook in Indonesia report by BRICdata. The industry’s expansion is driven by the country’s



Corporate Profile

DuPont Performance Polymers: helping customers create differentiated products From nylon for stockings and car parts to advanced materials for aerospace components, US materials innovator DuPont Performance Polymers (DPP) has rewritten history with advanced materials and application development.

Advanced materials: the building blocks of differentiated products Just 80 years ago, DuPont defined the high-performance plastics market with the invention of nylon. Today, it is used all over the world in a variety of automotive components, such as air ducts, engine covers, charged air coolers, transmission components and radiator end tanks. In electrical and electronic systems, Zytel nylon is widely used in enclosures, sockets, terminal blocks, circuit breakers, switches and relays. Over the years, DuPont has built on that strong foundation and offers the industry’s widest range of nylons, polyesters, elastomers and bio-based polymers. DuPont continues to focus on strengthening and growing its leading position in high-value advanced materials, as it is one of the three areas of strategic priority for the company. What to make of them? “As important as materials are in product development, the understanding of how to work with them to get the greatest performance and benefit is imperative,” said Yasuhiko Ohashi, Automotive Marketing Manager of DPP Asia Pacific. “To help our global customers get the most from DuPont materials, we have over the years, established a network of development experts with tools and networks to help support a customer from the concept all the way through to production.”

Woong Chung, Technical Service Manager of DPP Asia Pacific, says the company’s application development process supports customers’ product development cycle



Application development: innovating with confidence Woong Chung, Technical Service Manager of DPP Asia Pacific, shared with PRA how DuPont is enabling its Advanced Materials Application Development. “Our application development process is how we support our customers’ product development cycle,” said Chung. “It can start with imagining a new product and engaging us in the design brief and material selection. It can include design support through CAD, CAE predictive engineering, and testing as we move through the product-development cycle. And we can also support customers during the manufacturing stage as we help improve production yield.” To summarise, Chung said: “What we do is to help customers make informed decisions as they imagine, design and develop a new application or improve an existing application.”

Corporate Profile Putting application development to work in the automotive sector One of the critical objectives in the automotive industry is light weighting to improve fuel efficiency. But when redesigning parts with plastics, the light weighting design may bring noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) issues due to differences in mass, stiffness and damping. Yet it’s imperative that today’s efficient vehicles are comfortable and deliver on performance. To address this challenge, DuPont has developed the full-spectrum of NVH capabilities to support material development, design and simulation and part validation. For this purpose, DPP offers a new grade of Zytel nylon, a proprietary class of polyamide that is especially designed to improve the damping of the material and reduce noise and vibration. “In addition to its ability to absorb NVH, this optimised grade of Zytel offers the right blend of strength, stiffness and resistance to creep, deformation and fatigue to stand up to load and stress,” said Chung. “We’ve worked with several automotive makers and found that adoption of the new grade of Zytel,

together with the DuPont NVH design solution, can help attenuate the vehicle noise effectively compared with the conventional plastic engine cover. The new Zytel grade serves as an example of how we can optimise the resin’s performance to meet customer’s needs.” The offering in material and design will bring more metal replacement opportunities, such as timing belt covers, oil pans, engine mounts, air ducts and other components. Seamless technology-assisted design The air duct market is growing rapidly due to global demand for turbo-charged engines, which also improves fuel economy without sacrificing performance. To cater to this, DPP has invested in a 3D suction blow moulding machine at the Utsunomiya Technical Centre in Japan. DuPont has also developed in-house simulation tools to predict the 3D suction process and tube twist in the mould to help ensure uniform wall thickness. This investment and the company's unique 3D suction blow moulding simulation software will help customers optimise air duct design without physical prototyping.

Corporate Profile resources available to customers in China and Asia Pacific as we quickly develop and commercialise new components and systems. At the same time, the drive to improve collaboration is changing how we work together and we are seeing strong results as we have taken time, cost and risk out of the product development cycle.”

The need for seamless technology-assisted design extends beyond the automotive industry. In the handheld and consumer electronics market, the need for design flexibility is driving designers to high-performance plastics so they can continue to refresh the look, feel and upgrade performance. Thus, to cater to further development in this market, DuPont added a 450-tonne injection moulding machine at the China R&D Centre, which is co-located with the 3,800 sq-ft DuPont Shanghai Innovation Centre.

Importance of virtual modelling Today, product development needs to move efficiently and accurately. To help customers shorten the distance between the concept and the commercial launch, DPP has invested in people and technology to support test tooling, optimise processing technology, develop prototypes and access advanced CAE (computer-aided-engineering) on anisotropic properties characterisation. DuPont technical experts in Europe recently demonstrated how close its advanced CAE modelling capabilities can predict the performance of automotive parts with a series of engine brackets made of Zytel. The structural engine brackets or mounts, which stabilise and align the engine, were developed in collaboration with global powertrain system and component supplier ElringKlinger and German car maker Daimler on an accelerated timeline, enabling a shorter development cycle compared to standard die-cast aluminium, and at a reduced cost. DuPont uses Digimat, the advanced micromechanical material modelling software, to optimise the FEA modelling of glass-reinforced materials, analyse local changes in material properties and identify any structural weaknesses in the design. “Predictive capabilities around the world have become a critical part of our core competency in application development,” said Chung. “We have to be able to help validate design solutions to reduce cost and time to market.” As a result, and as predicted by the shared data ahead of real part testing, the plastic engine brackets validated by Daimler can fully replace metal, offering improved noise damping, and positive effects on fuel efficiency, driving comfort and safety, says DuPont.

To cater to further development in the handheld and consumer electronics market, DuPont added a 450-tonne injection moulding machine at the China R&D Centre

Advanced materials application development “In the 80 years since we invented the engineeringplastics market segment, we’ve found our customers get the greatest weight, cost and performance benefits from using plastics and polymers when they engage us as a trusted advisor early in the product development cycle,” said Ohashi. “We are the source of balanced materials information because we offer such a broad base of materials solutions. And we have the global reach and experienced developers to help customers innovate with confidence,” he concluded.

The company has installed a 3D blow moulding machine to cater to air duct development

Chung said, “Our emphasis on design, materials and processing solutions reflects our holistic approach to collaborate with customers. The new injection moulding machine expands the tools and




Trans-Pacific Partnership: gains and losses in sight The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)’s major goal may be to promote international trade, but observers say that it could leave winners and losers in its wake. This article is put together by Angelica Buan and Elaine Cotoner.

“..TPP will hinge the US’s continued engagement in Asia, to ensure stability in the region..”


he Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a free-trade agreement that removes tariffs and other barriers amongst the member nations: the US, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru. The signatory group collectively holds 40% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Geographically, the partner-countries (excluding the US, Canada and Mexico), border the Pacific Ocean and have a collective population of 800 million people. The TPP is an expansion of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP or P4) which was signed by Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore in 2005. Participation since then expanded and other countries started joining, starting 2008. The US was the first country to expand the group in February 2008. After years of negotiations, the final agreement, for what is dubbed as the world’s largest trade partnership, was reached recently on 6 October, with the accord signed in Atlanta, Georgia, US. TPP will hinge the US’s continued engagement in Asia, to ensure stability in the region, especially during territorial disputes, and militarism. Future at stake: protesters worry outcome Until the full implementation of the TPP in 2018, as well as full disclosure of the specifics of the deal, speculations will continue to haunt industries. What concerns protesters are the several controversial aspects in TPP, which reports say are restrictive and may adversely impact several key industries. The Investor-State Dispute Settlement clause (ISDS) is a crux for the backlash against the TPP. The clause allows private corporations to sue member countries if they harm present (and future) earnings through government policies. Critics say that the ISDS will put member countries under the mercy of private companies. The ISDS clause is also present in other free trade agreements (FTAs) and has been used by companies to file lawsuits against countries. One example is US cigarette and tobacco firm Philip Morris International Inc’s pending lawsuit against the Australian government. The tobacco company sued Australia for laws that require cigarettes to be packaged in plain logo-free boxes with health warnings. The TPP negotiators seeing this flaw, hence, omitted the tobacco sector. Meaning, TPP-member countries can still continue plain-packaging of cigarettes. Tobacco is an exception and the ISDS will cover other products and industries. TPP’s ISDS clauses states that lawsuits will not be tried in a public court, but in exclusive arbitration panels composed of corporate lawyers. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) contains an ISDS clause and was used in dozens of lawsuits in NAFTA’s 21-year history. Mixed bag for Malaysia The TPP deal is expected to unlatch stiffer competition, even amongst its member countries. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2015


Economy Malaysia, a TPP signatory, is embroiled in the midst of opposing opinions on whether or not the agreement will give rise to a positive outcome for the country, against the opportunity to access larger markets. Malaysia is a hotbed for low-cost, high-tech manufacturing. Once the TPP is ratified, the country is expected to boost exports of electronic products to North America, Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand. TMB Bank Chief Economist Benjarong Suwankiri said that Malaysia could witness an influx of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) with its participation in the TPP. He has been quoted as saying that foreign investors seeking to set up production bases for shipping to the US and other TPP members, particularly in electronics and automotive parts industries, will be eyeing Malaysia as a preferred destination.

“..Malaysia is embroiled in the midst of opposing opinions..” Malaysian exporters will also enjoy the same benefits. “The TPP deal would provide Malaysian exporters with enhanced access to the entire North American market, and would also improve Malaysia's attractiveness as a hub for North American investment inflows," Rajiv Biswas, Asia Pacific chief economist at research house IHS, said. A blow to the Indian pharmaceutical sector Will the TPP be the end of inexpensive medicines? This is a dreaded possibility, particularly for India’s pharmaceutical sector. For one, India, a non-TPP member, has significant market share of the global pharmaceutical industry, accounting for 2.4% in value terms and 10% in volume terms, according to an analysis published online by the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), an initiative of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. The Haryana-based organisation, which projected the industry to expand at a CAGR of nearly 16% to US$55 billion by 2020, stated that India’s cost of production is significantly lower compared to the US and nearly half that of Europe. Generic drugs constitute 71% market share of the Indian pharmaceutical sector, and account for 20% of global exports. Indian drugs are shipped to more than 200 countries, with the US as the key market. This year, pharmaceutical exports were expected to reach US$25 billion. Industry insiders are thus wary that the US-led TPP could hamper delivery of cheaper generic drugs in the market with drug data protection being included in the agreement. This means that data for a new drug will be exclusive to the



manufacturer for a number of years before it can be used and copied by generic drug makers. The US lobbied over a 12 year-period for the drug data exclusivity. Some reports say that the TPP could impose between 5 to 8 years patent protection. Experts argued that in the long run, the provision could hike up medicine prices in some TPP countries, and that could impact drug access especially for developing countries.

“ the long run, the provision could hike up medicine prices in some TPP countries..” Bracing for what seems to be an inevitable, DG Shah, Secretary General of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, an industry group representing some of India's top drug makers, commented that from the end of 2017, “generics decline will be discernible”. Indonesia may not yet be ready Indonesia plans to join the TPP, however, observers say that the country may need to review its policies in order to be accepted for membership. One condition would be to ease up on government procurement, which Indonesia might have to weigh in for some time. This is because it has more than 100 stateowned companies and a strong protectionist policy, including regulations in foreign ownership, for its local industries. As well, export and import barriers may have to be lifted.

“..Indonesia may need to review its policies in order to be accepted for membership..” Not fully sold on President Joko Widodo’s intent of joining the pact, the former head of state Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono cautioned against it, explaining that the country may not yet be ready especially since infrastructure is still inadequate and the costs and benefits of the TPP are not clear. Yudhoyono said, “Our market will be flooded with goods and services from other countries, while our exports will fail to be competitive abroad.” He also mentioned that the country is also preparing for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) integration, which will be in effect at the end of this year. The AEC is also trade liberalisation, but on the regional scale. Windfall for Vietnam Vietnam is expected to gain an increase in FDIs with the TPP. Moreover, the country prospects that its trade deficit will narrow with TPP, and on the other hand push up its GDP by more than US$23 billion by 2020 to nearly US$34 billion by 2025.

Economy One of the 12 signatories, Vietnam’s labour costs are almost half than that of its other Asian signatories. It also boasts a labour-intensive production base. In this aspect alone, Vietnam is seen as a big winner in the TPP deal.

“..Vietnam is expected to gain an increase in FDIs..” The Peterson Institute of International Economics (PIIE) notes that Vietnam would see the largest percentage income gains and export increases, of all countries, at 13.6% and 31.7%, respectively. Preparation is also gearing up as firms are reportedly stepping up strategies and products with more R&D. Ready to take advantage of the lower tariffs, Vietnam’s top export products, apparel and footwear, will also get a tariff-free entry to the US and the other members of the TPP. Before the TPP, the tariff for these commodities ranged from 17% to 32%. Boon for Thailand’s trade and automotive sector Thailand is also keen in joining the TPP, and the intent does not seem to meet any opposition on the home front, unlike Malaysia. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, in a weekly televised address, said that some influential private organisations in Thailand including the Thai Bankers' Association, Thai Chamber of Commerce, and the Federation of Thai Industries, were encouraging the country’s participation, provided that the move has been carefully considered since the country is also discussing another major trade accord involving China, a non TPP-member. Nonetheless, nine of the 12 TPP members have bilateral trade ties with Thailand, which could make participation a fruitful decision for the country, the investments group opined. Meanwhile, the automotive sector of Thailand has been mulling the benefits of joining the TPP agreement. A recent analysis by the Siam Commercial Bank Economic Intelligence Centre (SCB-EIC) suggested that joining the TPP could boost, rather than obstruct, Thailand’s positioning as a key global production hub for Japanese cars.

“..Thailand could enjoy direct privileges for the automotive sector, if it joined..” The report said that the member countries already accounted for “42% of Thailand’s total automotive exports in the first seven months of 2015”. On a similar note, Yoshihiro Yano, Vice-President of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), commented that Thailand could “enjoy direct privileges for the automotive sector”, if it joined.

Japanese automotive makers see gains One of the biggest winners is the Japanese automotive industry. The TPP will remove the 2.5% US duty on imported cars as well as the 2.5% levy on many automotive parts. The US is one of the biggest export markets of Japanese car makers like Honda and Toyota. The deal “would build a framework for economic partnership with very important markets for the automotive industry that were not covered by Japan’s existing economic partnerships, such as the US and Canada,” Fumihiko Ike, Chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) lobbying group, said. Canada is also removing its 6.1% levy on imported cars in five years. Prior to the TPP, Japanese automotive makers were dealing with the tariff problem by building plants in North America and producing their cars there. As of December 2015, Japanese car makers own 26 plants in the US. JAMA says that 71% of the Japanese cars sold in the US are made in the US, anyway. Automotive parts are also primarily locally-made. Around 80% of the parts for Honda cars made in the US are from the region as well. Lowering the tariff gates opens a lot of possibilities for the Japanese automotive industry, but an expert says that it will not derail the car makers’ long term strategies. Japanese car makers’ “mid-to-long-term strategy is to manufacture vehicles where there is demand, and this strategy is not likely to change significantly,” said Masahiro Akita, an analyst at Credit Suisse. But JAMA says that the TPP goes beyond tariffs issue by “addressing non-tariff barriers, harmonisation of standards, intellectual property rights, and a wide range of other trade issues.” Japanese automotive makers' long term strategies aside, dropping import duties make it possible for car makers and other manufacturers to leave the US and other countries when times get rough. On a downside, several labour groups in the US are worried that more of their jobs will be outsourced to countries that boast lower wages and have stricter labour laws. Non-member countries at risk of losing out Countries excluded in the elite group of 12 will not be able to benefit from the “perks” that TPP members would get. The PIEE predicts that the TPP’s trade diversion effect would mainly weigh down on China, the largest manufacturing base in the world and a key contender to the US economy. China’s key industries could face stiff competition from TPP-member countries and their markets. In the textile market, for example, Vietnam could unseat China as well as other non-members like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, opined Biswas of IHS. Meanwhile, interest to have an affiliation in the TPP is growing and the core group is encouraging membership from other countries as well. For instance, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan have already expressed their interest in joining the TPP. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2015


Injection Moulding Asia Machinery

German show focuses on technology Fakuma, held from 13-17 October 2015, at the

Another German machine maker Boy has decided to go another way by producing the mould inserts for its injection moulding machines on a 3D printer. A Stratasys 3D-printer was shown producing the mould inserts, which were directly installed into the standard mould unit of the 10-tonne XS machine. The company said “extremely short runs up to 500 parts” can be produced, depending on the materials, which include glass fibre-reinforced plastics. In this way, injection moulded parts can be made that have the same physical properties as conventional parts. This, it says, is not possible with the additive component production using 3D printers.

Friedrichshafen Exhibition Centre on Lake Constance, Germany, featured 1,780 exhibitors from 38 countries and overall exhibition floor space amounting to 915,000 sq ft. The organiser, PE Schall, also says this year’s event turned out to be a global industry event in the non-K show years, attracting 45,721 visitors from 120 countries. Highlights at the show were Industry 4.0, the next phase in the digitisation of the manufacturing sector, and 3D printing.

Covestro and Polymaker have developed Polymaker PC for desktop 3D printers

3D becomes more than buzzword Additive manufacturing/3D printing is well on the way to fundamentally changing production processes because of reduced mould costs and development times and more considerable design freedom. Arguably the first company to rally around additive manufacturing was Germany-based Arburg that launched its Freeformer at the K show in 2013. At Fakuma, the company’s Freeformers were producing office scissors in an automated linkage of an Allrounder moulding machine using a Kuka “iiwa” (intelligent industrial work assistant) seven-axis robot, said to be unique in the world of additive manufacturing to date.

In materials, Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, is driving the development of highperformance polymers, such as PC, TPU, PU coatings and adhesives, for existing 3D printing processes. The German company collaborated with Chinese filament maker for extrusion-based desktop 3D printers, Polymaker, to unveil Polymaker PC, a new line of PC-based materials developed for these printers. To date PC has only been available for applications in industrial 3D printers or a small market for extrusion-based 3D desktop printers. The first two products are Polymaker PC-Plus and PC-Max. The application was made possible by lowering the printing temperature from 300 to 320°C down to a moderate 250 to 270°C, as well as by a significantly reduced tendency to warping. Industry 4.0 hot topic Industry 4.0 is the German vision for the future of manufacturing, one where smart factories use information and communications technologies to digitise their processes and reap huge benefits in the form of improved quality, lower costs, and increased efficiency. Thus, it is no longer enough to deploy the best injection moulding equipment.

Arburg presented a fully IT-integrated and automated production line for individualised office scissors

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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery Also, iQ weight control is the logical companion for the injection side of the machine. The system recognises fluctuations in melt volume and viscosity and compensates for them during injection as well as the holding pressure phase of the same shot. Industry 4.0 is a key word and its development is being pushed by the mechanical engineering, IT and automation industries. Also in plastics processing it is more and more about the vision of a complete networking of all processes in production. Thus, Boy demonstrated an Industry 4.0 system through a partnership with proSeS BDE. The system showed every machine providing detailed running and production information. The KraussMaffei Group with its three brands is developing solutions, and concentrating these under the three categories: Intelligent Machines, Integrated Production and Interactive Services. KraussMaffei and Netstal presented specific applications of how the Industry 4.0 vision can be implemented in a production. A typical example of an intelligent machine at KraussMaffei is the APC function (Adaptive Process Control). It recognises process fluctuations, which can be caused by changing environmental conditions or fluctuating viscosity, and independently adopts counteractive measures. The development of the future host computer interface Euromap 77 marks an important milestone in the Integrated Production area. Here KraussMaffei and Netstal are adopting a leading role on the Euromap committee. In the future, this interface will enable the transfer of production data to a central host computer in real time. The new data transmission protocol OPC UA is the basis for these new communication interfaces, which has already been implemented by both machinery makers.

Visitors to Arburg’s stand were given the opportunity to try out Industry 4.0 hands-on

Visitors to Arburg’s stand were given the opportunity to try out Industry 4.0 hands-on. Two Freeformers personalised office scissors and prefabricated rockertype light switches with individual 3D geometries. The application of a DM code by laser transformed each product into an information carrier. The Arburg ALS host computer recorded all the process data and archived it on a product-specific website in the “cloud”. Any visitor who was interested could use their mobile devices to access this website and display all the relevant process data for their very own part. With the development of ALS, automated Allrounders and the Freeformer, Arburg says it is increasingly developing into a system supplier for networked production in the digital factory. Thus, the company has contributed substantially to the development of the “Industry 4.0 Guidelines” published by the German machinery organisation VDMA, as well as being cited as one of the exponents of best practice. Arburg has had 30 years of experience in digitally networked production, both for the plastics industry and in the company’s own production processes. Meanwhile, Austrian machine maker Engel under the inject 4.0 presented three core areas of a smart factory: smart machines, smart production and smart services. The solutions developed by Engel include a suite of self-adapting decentralised assistance systems that make up the IQ or intelligent quality family of products, which are to boost process capability without requiring operators to acquire special skills. Engel introduced the newest member of this family, iQ clamp control, a software that automatically determines and adapts the clamping force to the optimum level for each application based on what is known as “mould breathing.” In this way, the software reduces the risk of quality deficiencies, ensures optimal mould ventilation, protects the mould against overfilling and boosts energy efficiency.

Engel presented the new iQ clamp control software

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Injection Moulding Asia Composites

Automotive takes the centre stage JEC Asia Composites Show & Conferences, held in

Challenge (WSC) in 2011. It features 6 sq m of monosilicone cells to provide 1.2 kW peak power, up to speeds of 70 km/hour. It also features a 25 kg lithium ion battery pack to power 400 km of the race, with the remainder powered by sunlight. The body shell is made entirely of carbon fibre-reinforced composite, to render a weight of 160 kg. The car was placed at 12th position out of 35 teams in the WSC race in 2011.

Singapore from 20-22 October, wrapped up its 8th annual session with growth in attendance from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and China — which this year was the Country Guest of Honour.

• TUM Germany and SGL Group’s front end is produced 100% in thermoplastic composites using an industrial injection moulding machine. The main part is built up of nylon 6 and long fibre-reinforced thermoplastics (LFTs). Dedicated geometries are reinforced by unidirectional tapes and multi-directional organic sheets, processed in one shot parallel with the injection moulding.

The Asian composites market amounts to SG$44.28 billion. In value, it represented 43% of the worldwide market in 2014. The demand made on materials has become greater in Asia. Investment in composites has increased and relative costs have improved. This is driving higher growth in both innovation and composites consumption in Asia,” said Frédérique Mutel, JEC Group President/CEO, at the opening. Mutel also highlighted the breakthroughs achieved by the sector in the recycling of composites and mass manufacturing of composite parts for the automotive sector. Besides the exhibition, the edition included three keynote speeches, innovation awards, conferences, an aerospace leadership circle, a demo zone, new products exhibits, posters session, as well as tours visits to Tempco Manufacturing and Singapore Polytechnic.

SGL/TUM’s front end is produced 100% in thermoplastic composites

• South Korea’s SH-Global’s SH-INP material was shown used in a door trim with 10% lower weight. The material consists of PP, EPDM, additives and 10-15% cellulose biomass.

Automotive parts showcase Since lightweighting in vehicles is linked to lower CO2 emissions and improved fuel economy, the automotive sector took up a large part of the new product exhibits at the show, with some futuristic developments. • Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) displayed the NV II solar vehicle, which was designed and built by students and competed in the World Solar

SH-Global’s SH-INP material is in use in GM’s Sonic car in South Korea

• SH-Global was also promoting its SH-Tec material that is being field tested in one of the models of General Motor’s vehicles. With compression moulding, it offers lower heating of 220°C to save energy. The company says it can replace traditional glass fibre for a similar part made from PU. It is a sandwich construction of thermoplastics with natural fibre composite layers and a thermal expandable layer. Material shrinkage is controlled by the pre-heating process to improve formability of the part.

NTU’s solar vehicle that participated in the 2011 World Solar Challenge

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Injection Moulding Asia Composites • Another South Korean company Dongsung Chemical showed a long carbon fibre-reinforced thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) seat frame manufactured using a compression/injection back moulding process. The company says it is currently working with a South Korean Tier 1 manufacturer to commercialise the technology.

• Yet another feature from TUM is the SMC rim, designed together with Blackwave Composites. The 10-in. rim was designed for the student racing series. It is made from carbon fibre sheet moulding compound with a fibre weight fraction of 60% and an epoxy resin. It is manufactured in a small series production, with the cycle time from raw material to finished part of 11 minutes. The process’s main benefits are that no material wastage for net shape moulding, easy preforming and geometrical design freedom, with a high degree of automation.

• Hanwha Advanced Materials Group teamed up with Hyundai Motor last year to develop what it says is the world’s first hybrid front bumper. It is created by inserting a steel frame into glass mat-reinforced thermoplastic (GMT) – made from PP and glass fibre, thus, improving crashworthiness of vehicles and is also 12% lighter than steel bumper beams.

The rim, designed for the student racing series, is made from carbon fibre sheet moulding compound

Lamborghini’s carbon fibre research Luciano de Oto, Head of Lamborghini’s carbon fibre research, presented a paper on the sports car maker’s participation in the Newspec project. The project costs EUR10 million, with EU contributing EUR7.4 million to the project, and was set up by a consortium of 13 partners from the automotive, clean energy, aerospace and oil and gas sectors in 2013. Newspec (New cost-effective and Sustainable Polyethylene-based carbon fibre for volume market applications) aims at the production of advanced carbon fibre through promising, low-cost and sustainable precursors, such as PE, both derived from bio-ethanol and recycled PE with relevant benefits to environmental and economic sustainability. The goal is to complete the project by 2018.

Hanwha’s hybrid front bumper

• Yet another South Korean processor One Kwang Entec used carbon fibre braiding and the resin transfer moulding (RTM) process to develop prototype drive shafts and CVT joint assemblies for use in a luxury sedan. The company is working with SsangYong Motor to commercialise the technology. • TUM Germany partnered with Roding Automobile to produce a CFRP door structure for the Roding Roadster in RTM, weighing only 3.4 kg. Functional integration allows for complex geometry, with all the parts assembled directly to the door structure shell. It also features a high-end finish with exposed weave surface layer.

Lamborghini is involved in the Newspec project

Lamborghini itself has a long history of using automotive composites, starting with a prototype composite monocoque in 1983. It is now on the road to completely replacing prepreg methods with its own advanced technologies, such as forged composites, thermoplastic composites and nano-composites.

The CFRP door structure for the Roding Roadster features an exposed weave surface layer

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Injection Moulding Asia Composites Sant’Agata Bolognese-headquartered Lamborghini has two CFRP development centres: the Advanced Composite Research Centre (ACRC) at the company’s headquarters in Italy, and the Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory (ACSL) in Seattle, US. It also has specific expertise in developing alternatives to Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) that has an expensive and environmentally impactful transformation process to become carbon fibre. “We have already managed to obtain carbon fibres produced from PE, but not yet on a large scale and that is our goal for the next three years,” said de Oto. The testing of PE-based carbon fibre has already been undertaken at the High Performance Fibre Centre (HPFC) pilot plant facility at the Institute of Textile Technology and Process Engineering (ITV) in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and will run until 2017. The target properties of the PE-CFs will be tensile modulus of 200-250 GPa, tensile strength of 2 GPa, elongation >1%, fibre diameter <10 microns, optimal resin wetting and adhesion, tailored conductivity. He also said that the company will construct a pilot plant with a capacity of 250 tonnes/year, and will commercialise it thereafter, increasing production capacity to 1,000 tonnes/ year. Target automotive parts for the PE-CFs are structural components, body panels, interiors and brake rotors and pads. While carbon fibre is the lightest material available for cars, even lighter than aluminium, it is expensive. Thus, the project aims to render further cost savings, with PE-CF production costing EUR10/kg, compared to production cost of PAN fibres of EUR15/kg, which is a 30% reduction.

produced the all-carbon-composite two-seater body that features an aerodynamic design and weight of 55 kg. It was said to be the lightest among all cars competing in the same class of the race. The body also offers the rigidity and strength to withstand endurance racing and ensure rider safety. Meanwhile, another victorious team was the Nuon Solar team and its car made from TeXtreme Spread Tow carbon reinforcements, to reduce weight, improve stiffness and impact tolerance. Nuon Solar Team’s total weight of the Nuna8 car is 150 kg.

Nuon Solar team’s Nuna8 is made from TeXtreme Spread Tow carbon reinforcements

The composite parts of the car using TeXtreme were developed in cooperation with Dutch materials firm DSM and weighed 41 kg, which is a reduction of 10 kg from its predecessor. TeXtreme is marketed by Swedish company Oxeon. Composite modified with PESU for roofs/hoods Hankuk Carbon of South Korea will use Virantage polyethersulphone (PESU) as a modifier in a thermoset composite prepeg for automotive roofs and hoods, according to Solvay Specialty Polymers. According to the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), fibre-reinforced polymer composites could help reduce the weight of conventional passenger cars by 50% and improve fuel efficiency by nearly 35%. Fabricated using advanced polymer technologies, composites also eliminate corrosion and improve weather resistance vs. metal. They also require lower maintenance. Meanwhile, the Belgian company says its PESU tougheners can increase the impact strength of thermoset composites parts by nearly 40% and provide a step-change improvement in heat resistance. The PESU micropowders are compatible with a range of epoxy systems and are said to disperse more quickly than conventional impact modifiers. The modifiers are already widely used in prepreg production for commercial and military aircraft applications. Solvay did not disclose the name of the OEM customer, only saying that it is for use by a major US automotive OEM. Hankuk is a supplier to Plasan Carbon Composites, the processor that makes composite parts for GM’s Corvette car.

Composites in solar race cars In the recent Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the world’s largest solar car race, held in the Australia from 18-25 October, Teijin Group’s OWL solar-powered car, developed by Kogakuin University using CFRPs, finished in second place. Toho Tenax made the 0.06 mm thin fabric, together with Sakai Ovex, in 2010. GH Craft, also a member of Teijin,

Teijin Group’s OWL solar-powered car obtained second place

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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive

Lessons learnt from the emissions breach The failure of the automotive industry to contain

can recognise if they are on a treadmill and kicks in the “dyno calibration”, which uses a NOx filter to emit fewer pollutants compared to the normal “road calibration”. The mechanism was discovered when the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), a nongovernmental organisation, did an independent test on the VW Passat, VW Jetta and the BMW X5, manufactured by another German car maker BMW. The ICCT tests were conducted over five pre-defined routes categorised based on their predominant driving conditions (highway, urban/suburban, and rural-up/ downhill driving). Based on the ICCT test results, “realworld NOx emissions from the Jetta exceeded the EPA standard by 15 to 35 times. For the Passat, real-world NOx emissions were 5 to 20 times the standard. The BMWX5 was generally at or below the standard, and only exceeded it during rural uphill operating conditions.” John German, US programme lead for the ICCT, said the difference between the test and real-world performance of these vehicles put those vehicles that comply with the standards at a competitive disadvantage. He stressed that this makes the job of the EPA so important. Meanwhile, Asian cars were not spared. Diesel-run models of Honda, Mazda, and Mitsubishi were also found to be emitting higher NOx levels on real-road tests.

emissions has sparked stricter emissions tests and the reprise of low-NOx (mono-nitrogen oxides) technologies for diesel-run vehicles that emit high levels of toxic fumes, say Angelica Buan and Elaine Cotoner in this report.


e totally screwed up.” Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn made this admission after the company was caught rigging its vehicles to outsmart emissions tests. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered in 2015 that 482,000 Volkswagen (VW) diesel cars in the US were emitting 40 times the allowable amounts of NOx. This is between 10,392 to 41,571 of NOx emissions each year, based on the new 2016 emission standards. The German car company hinted that a total of 11 million cars worldwide have done the same and likely to have spewed out 237,161 to 948,691 tonnes of NOx emissions every year, since 2009. The EPA issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to VW last September. As a consequence, VW has been penalised with up to US$18 billion fines (excluding the costs of fixing the cars and providing compensation to customers). It is also currently recalling 482,000 cars in the US and in Europe. Inhalation of NOx, which is created during combustion, especially at high temperatures, can cause respiratory problems such as bronchitis and emphysema, or in extreme cases, death. VW later issued a statement to say it is working at full speed to clarify irregularities concerning the software used in diesel engines. It said, “New vehicles from the Volkswagen Group with EU6 diesel engines currently available in the European Union comply with legal requirements and environmental standards. The software in question does not affect handling, consumption or emissions.”

Debugging emissions testing in Asia The emissions scandal shook the foundations not only of Volkswagen but the entire car industry. The EPA testing methods have been criticised for being out-dated. The EPA announced that it is fool-proofing its diesel tests. Thus, it is adding on-road testing to its regimen, “using driving cycles and conditions that may reasonably be expected to be encountered in normal operation and use, for the purposes of investigating a potential defeat device”, like the ones on the VW vehicles. The European Commission (EC) will also enforce new laboratory tests for petrol and diesel vehicles. They will also have portable, on-road testing systems by 2017. Obviously, the incident exposed what might otherwise have been an overlooked flaw in testing standards. Now, testing standards have not only become stricter, but authorities have vowed to become more vigilant in implementing emission limits. While VW’s misstep gave tailwinds for competitor Asian car makers such as South Korea’s Hyundai and Kia; and Japan’s Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Mazda, testing standards for cars are being reviewed, and if necessary, revamped, according to authorities. The region follows emissions standards, but then again, implementation monitoring is suggested, said Clean Air Asia, an international non-governmental organisation that promotes air quality for cities across Asia.

A device that can bend the rules But just how did millions of defective cars roll out undiscovered under the EPA’s nose? The answer is a clever piece of engineering called the “defeat device”. Since 2009, the defeat device has been fitted in VW-manufactured Audi A3 and VW-branded Jetta, Beatle, Golf, and Passat cars. The software can detect if the cars are put under EPA test conditions and kicks in a safe mode that reports lower NOx readings than in normal conditions. The EPA tests emissions by putting vehicles on dynamometers (or car-sized treadmills) and letting them run on constant speeds. Vehicles with defeat devices 6 N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 015

Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Bosch’s Boost Recuperation System brings four functions together in one system: recuperation, boost, startstop, and coasting

In a presentation at the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles Global Partners’ Meeting in 2014, the NGO, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), cited a few of the dialogues it has launched to reduce emissions levels in Asian cities. Among these are the National Forum on the Lead Phase-Out in Myanmar; motor fuel desulphurisation by shifting to 50 ppm fuels; cost-benefit analysis on fuel quality and fuel economy policies in Indonesia; and finalisation of national road maps for Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Aside from emissions testing, other initiatives that safeguard air quality from toxic vehicle emissions are being rolled out in other parts of Asia, according to UK-headquartered Global Fuel Economy Initiatives (GFEI), a partnership of the International Energy Agency (IEA), UNEP, International Transport Forum of the OECD (ITF), ICCT, Institute for Transportation Studies at UC Davis, and the FIA Foundation. In 2011, GFEI and UNEP also signed a deal with Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport to develop Vietnam’s fuel economy standards. As a result, the proposed National Fuel Consumption Limits for Motorcycles, Mopeds and Light Duty Vehicles have been adopted as voluntary standards by the Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality (STAMEQ) in early 2014. Over in India, the Low Carbon Mobility Planning project of UNEP contributed to the adoption of national fuel efficiency standards in the country, according to GFEI. In early 2013, the Indian Fuel Efficiency Standards for light-duty vehicles was imposed, relating to improving fuel efficiency of cars by about 18%, from the average of 14.1 km/litre to 17.3 km/litre and from 15.5 km/litre to 19.9 km/litre, for diesel cars by 2015. Meanwhile, at the heels of the VW fiasco, Volkswagen Group India recently conducted its own vehicle emissions evaluations on its fleet models. A spokesperson of the company explained that due to the complex combination of several brands, various models, different engine variants and gearboxes as well as different model years that need to be analysed, it could require a longer time to establish detailed findings.

Bosch UK CEO Steffen Hoffmann stated that the new boost recuperation system will enable drivers to kick in some extra torque of 150 Nm, while also protecting the environment. He projected that by 2020 around 4 million new vehicles equipped with the system could be sold in Europe, North America, and China. Another earth-saving technology is the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), an advanced active emissions control technology system used in clean diesel engines. It injects a liquid-reductant agent through a special catalyst into the exhaust stream of a diesel engine. The reductant source is usually automotive-grade urea, otherwise known as Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). The DEF sets off a chemical reaction that converts NOx into nitrogen, water and tiny amounts of CO2, natural components of the air we breathe, which are then expelled through the vehicle tailpipe. The mechanics of the technology is explained by Diesel Technology Forum (DTF), a non-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. SCR technology is designed to permit NOx reduction reactions to take place in an oxidising atmosphere. It is called “selective” because it reduces levels of NOx using ammonia as a reductant within a catalyst system. The chemical reaction is known as “reduction” where the DEF is the reducing agent and it can be rapidly broken down to produce the oxidising ammonia in the exhaust stream. SCR technology alone can achieve NOx reductions up to 90%, DTF stated. According to DTF, the SCR technology is one of the most cost-effective and fuel-efficient technologies available to help reduce diesel engine emissions. Its effectiveness allows diesel engines to be tuned and optimised toward maximum fuel efficiency, while the SCR systems are highly efficient at treating the engine-out exhaust. SCR is not new. It has been used for decades to reduce stationary source emissions from various industrial operations, said DTF. In addition, marine vessels worldwide have been equipped with the SCR technology, including cargo vessels, ferries and tugboats. It is also being recognised as the emissions control technology for heavy-duty vehicles and Tier 4 emissions standard for engines found in off-the-road equipment. SCR systems are also found in the growing number of diesel passenger vehicles.

Technologies to curb emissions Not only was the incident an eye opener for the industry, but some component manufacturers actually viewed it as a window of opportunity. Germany-headquartered Bosch Technology has developed a new hybrid technology for vehicles that will significantly reduce emissions from diesel engines. Called a boost recuperation system, it uses electrification to reduce NOx emissions by up to 80%, while also cutting CO2 output by up to 15%. The 48V system cuts NOx emissions at the point of combustion. According to Bosch, is set to close the persistent and sizeable gap between start-stop systems and hybrid drives. 7 N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 015

Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Turning over a new leaf, VW will also be optimising the benefits of SCR in its new diesel run-fleets. It said that it will use the more expensive Adblue, or Aqueous Urea Solution 32.5% (AUS32), with SCR to reduce emissions of NOx in Europe and North America as soon as possible. “Diesel vehicles will only be equipped with exhaust emissions systems that use the best environmental technology,” it added. AdBlue is a fluid based on urea that is injected into the exhaust pipeline where it vaporises and neutralises the nitrogen oxide in the catalytic converter.

Aston Martin released an all-electric vehicle called the RapidE, and is envisioning James Bond character driving an all-electric car in the next movie created from the book series by Ian Fleming. Not lagging behind is VW, which is rekindling the failed Pheaton electric luxury sedan. It also launched the Tiguan GTE, a plug-in electric hybrid, at the Frankfurt Motor show last September. It features a solar panel roof to assist in charging the lithium-ion battery units, and is said to go up to 50 km as a full electric.

Cleaning up with fuel-efficient cars – enter electric cars Diesel engines emit less CO2 compared to petrol engines, but more of the other harmful pollutants like NOx. Environmentalists and policy makers have long been focused on reducing carbon emissions and the diesel engine was actually hailed as the cleaner alternative, up until recent years. Debates over diesel and its harmful emissions have been brewing in the car industry for years, but was give headline space after the VW emissions scandal. Some experts see this as an opening for electric vehicles to snag the dieseldistrusting market. In Europe, where diesel cars constitute 50% of the market, demands are shifting to electric vehicles. The Institute of the Motor Industry surveyed 2,000 car owners in the UK weeks after the VW emissions incident and found that 53% of drivers were considering buying or leasing an electric or hybrid vehicle. Enquiries for electric vehicles rose in the UK weeks after the VW incident, according to the rental company Flexed. More people were renting mostly pure all-electric vehicles rather than plug-in hybrids. Cities are also helping the shift by restricting diesel vehicles in polluted areas. For example, Paris plans to ban diesel cars from 2020. London’s ultra-low emissions zone is planning to do the same thing come 2020. Other cities may follow suit. Meanwhile, car companies like Volvo, Toyota, and Aston Martin are making advances on electric and hybrid cars. Volvo is developing an all-electric car to hit the market by 2019. The company plans to release plug-in hybrid versions of its 90-series and 60-series cars.

VW’s GTE-branded SUV features a solar panel roof to assist in charging the lithium-ion battery units

Asia too gets in the game of fuel efficient cars In Asia, fuel efficiency in vehicles is also being harnessed to promote cleaner air. In Indonesia, GFEI stated that a public campaign to promote cleaner and more efficient fuel in vehicles has been started by the Komite Penghapusan Bensin Bertimbel (KPBB). The initiative, a part of the agreement KPBB signed with the Ministry of Environment and UNEP in 2013, included dialogue with relevant stakeholders, cost-benefit analysis on cleaner fuels and fuel economy. It envisages a net benefit of US$70 billion and potential fuel savings for the next two decades when fuel efficiency standards are adopted. Last but not the least, the country is implementing a fuel economy labelling scheme as well as tax incentives for manufacturers of eco-cars. Thailand likewise has its eco-car programme, which unfortunately saw demand in the first phase failing to pick up. But a second phase may be the cue as it will cover hybrid and electric vehicle types to offer more options to buyers, according to US-based research house IHS Automotive. The long-term effects of the NOx emissions scandal may take years to realise. But the incident may be the first toppling piece of what might be a decades-long domino effect, which ultimately will result in a tightly run automotive industry.

Mirai in Japanese means future. Thus, Toyota’s Mirai runs solely on hydrogen and emits only water

Toyota recently launched the hydrogen-powered Mirai sedan in line with the hit movie “Back to the Future’s” 30th anniversary. Toyota is also targeting a 90% reduction of its emissions by 2050. It plans to produce more than 30,000 fuel-cell vehicles per year by 2020. 8 N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 015

Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • U S - b a se d B r id ges ton e Retail O pe r a t i o ns (BS RO) will ac q u i r e Pe p B oys in an allc a s h t r a n s a c tion for US$835 m i l l i o n i n a ggregate equity va l u e . T h e t ran s ac tion is e x p e c t e d t o close in the b e g i n n i n g o f 2016. Pep B oys w i l l a dd a pp rox im ately 8 0 0 l o c a t i o n s to B SRO’ s na t i o n w i de network of 2 , 2 0 0 t y r e a nd au tom otive s e r v i c e c e n t res, which o pe r a t e u n der the Fires ton e C o m pl e t e Auto Care, T ires P l u s , H i b d o n Tires Plus and W h e e l W o r k s brand banners. P e p B o y s , h e adquartered i n P h i l a de l ph ia, h as been on e o f t h e c ountry’ s lead in g a u t o m o t i v e aftermarket c h a i n s si n c e 1921. With m o r e t h a n 7 , 500 s ervic e bays in m o r e t h a n 800 loc ations i n 3 5 s t a t e s and Puerto R i c o , P e p Boys offers tyres , m a i n t e n a n c e and repair and p a r t s a n d a c ces s ories . T h e a c q u i si t i o n ac c elerates the g l o b a l g r o w t h s trategy of Br i dg e st o n e Corp oration , t h e w o r l d’s larges t tyre an d ru b b e r c o m pan y. I n r e l a t e d news, B r i dg e s t o ne A meric as w i l l a c qu i r e TireCon n ec t Sy s t e m s , a s oftware c o m pa n y t h a t s up p orts tyre d e a l e r s a n d distributors i n N o r t h A merica with a t u r n - k e y , o n line tyre s ales t o o l f e a t u r i n g ec om m erc e c a pa b i l i t i e s. • Tyre manufacturer Maxxis Group is to set up a tyre plant in Gujarat, India, by January 2017. The tyre manufacturer will initially manufacture tyres for two-wheelers for Honda and Yamaha. Later, the company will supply tyres to Maruti Suzuki. Honda and Suzuki are already in the process of setting up their automobile manufacturing units in Gujarat.

• Sout h Korean Kum ho ’s first Nort h American ty re plant is set t o open in 2016, and underlines the company ’s aim of s treng t hening it s posit ion in t his k ey aut omot ive mark et as well as it s overall plans for global expansion. Kumho already invest ed US$420 million in the factory, which is sited in Macon, G eorg ia. Once completed, the massive building will cover 21 acres and produce some 4 million t y res/y ear. • S hin-Etsu C hem ical will s pend US$164 million to b olst er product ion of silicone and t o set u p a research cent re fo r developing new applicat ions. Silicone demand for electronic and aut omot ive component s has grown with the spread of environment ally friendly cars and increasingly computerised vehicles. Silicone compounds are known for their heat resistance, insulat ing propert ies and durability. The Japanese company will raise output capacity by 80% at the Gunma facility, equipped to handle low volumes of n umerous product s, and expand by 50% the Niigata p lant ’s capacit y , b y March 2017. • Italy ’s Pir elli, Russia’s Ro snef t and Sy ntho s s ig ned a MOU reg arding the construction of a s ynt het ic rub b er plant in Nakhodka, Russia, following approval of the feasibility study that begun in April. By s ig ning t he MOU, t he parties confirm their int ent ion t o t he creat ion

of a joint vent ure bet w een Rosneft and Syn t h o s , a n d t he implement a t i o n of joint Pirelli R&D i n t h e area of tyre mat e r i a l s . Ult imat ely , Pirel l i w oul d become the key c u s t o m e r for t he sy nt het i c rubber, a s indicated in an M O U s i g n e d wit h Rosneft in 2 0 1 4 . In ot her new s, st a t eowned China N a t i o n a l C hem ical C o r p. (C hem C hina), w h i c h in March had ag reed t o b uy t he fift h largest t yre mak er g lob ally , P i rel l i , will t hroug h M a r c o P o l o I ndustr ial Ho ld i n g a c qui re more t han 45 mi l l i on sh a res from t he t y re co mpa n y. Marco Polo is m a n a g e d b y ChemChina’s C h i n a Natio nal Tir e & Ru b b e r and was set up t o c a r r y out ChemChina ’ s o f f e r for cont rol of P i rel l i . T h e shares in Pirelli w e r e h e l d b y invest ment m a n a gemen t firm Paulso n as p a r t o f a mandat ory t ender of f er for t he remaining st a ke i n the Italian tyre m a k e r a n d equal ab out a 9. 5 % st a ke i n Pirelli. ChemCh i n a h ol d s a 65% stake in M a r c o P o l o , wit h t he remain d er i n t h e hands of C am f in , a n I t a l i a n holding company w h ose investors includ e P i r e l l i boss Marco Tron c h e t t i Provera, Italian b a n k s UniC r edit and I n t e s a Sanpao lo , and R o sn ef t .

• Iran’s Sadaf Petr o chem icals, w i t h t h e help of It aly ’s V e rs a l i s and Mair e Tecn i mon t , has broken grou n d o n a n emulsion st y rene but a d i en e rub b er (ESBR) prod uc t i o n plant in souther n I r a n . The plant will h a v e a n investment of E U R 2 5 5 million in 29 m o n t h s , put t ing Iran in t h e w o rl d ’ s

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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News s e l e c t l e a g u e of ESBR pr o du c e r s. With th e launc h o f t h i s p r o d uction line, 1 3 6 , 0 0 0 t o n n es of E SB R i n f i v e c a t e g ories will b e m a n u f a c t u red , two of w h i c h w i l l b e us ed in tyre pr o du c t i o n an d th e res t in t h e pl a st i c s ind us try. • N e x e n T i r e has broken g r o u n d a t t h e s ite of i t s n e w p l a n t in Zatec, C z e c h R e p u blic. The c o m pa n y i n ves ted m ore t h a n EUR 8 2 9 m illion to b u i l d t h e n e w plant on 6 5 0 , 0 0 0 s q m of land that w i l l b e o pe r ation al by 2 0 1 8 . T h e c o m p any will g r a d u a l l y i n crease its pr o du c t i o n c ap ac ity to o v e r 1 2 m i l l ion units/year, b a s e d o n p r evailing market c o n d i t i o n s . It is expected t h a t t h e n e w plant will c r e a t e m o r e t h an 1,000 jobs i n t h e r e g i o n. • F r e ude nbe r g S ealin g T e c hno l o g i e s is r e o r g a n i s i n g its liquid s i l i c o n e b u s i ness. The c o m pa n y pl an s to reloc ate pr o du c t i o n f rom Öh ringen , G e r m a n y , t o Losenstein, Au st r i a , b y t he m id d le of 2 0 1 7 . T h e t o oling plant w i l l r e m a i n in Öhringen. R e a s o n s f o r relocation i n c l u d e t h e i ncreased pr e ssu r e o n pric es in t h e m a r k e t , w ith th e c u r r e n t p r i c e structure for l i q u i d s i l i c o ne products m a n u f a c t u r e d in Öh ringen n o l o n g e r e nablin g the c o m pa n y t o win urgen tlyn e e d e d n e w business. F r e u d e n b e r g says it will a l so sa ve o n p ayroll and e n e r g y c o s t s if it moves to Au st r i a . • Ja pa n e se a u t om otive p a r t s m a n u f acturer T o y o da G o s ei is closing

it s Australian subsidiary because of “customers’ wit hdrawal from product ion in Aust ralia.” The c ompany will decide when production will end based on it s cust omers’ schedules. • United R ubber & Plastic Machiner y (UR P), a joint vent ure b et ween French machine maker R EP I nter natio nal and G ermany ’s LWB-Steinl, has opened a new plant for rub b er moulding machines in Lang fang , China. The 2,500 sq m product ion area will produce URP rub b er inject ion machines, equipped with REP’s inject ion unit made in France. REP has also merg ed it s Chinese s ub sidiary , R EP C hina, which has been in China for 20 y ears, wit h URP. • Yokohama Tire Manuf actur ing Mississippi ( Y TMM) recent ly opened it s new US$300 million c ommercial t ruck t y re facility in West Point, Mississippi, just a lit t le over 24 months after break ing g round on t he sit e. • Orion Engineered C ar bo ns has acquired G ermany ’s Evonik ’s 52% st ak e as well as Deutsche Investitions-und E ntwicklung sg esellschaf t ( DEG)’s 15% st ak e in Qing dao Ev o nik C hem ical ( QEC C ). QECC is a joint vent ure est ab lished b y Evonik, DEG and Jiaozhou Finance Invest ment Cent re (JFIC) in 1994 based in Qingdao (Shandong Province), China. It has production capacity of approximately 75,000 tonnes/year of carbon black. Orion will initially step into

the established joint venture in place of Evonik and DEG, but OEC and JFIC are in advanced talks regarding the transfer of JFIC shares to Orion in accordance with regulations governing Chinese state-owned enterprises. • Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has officially dissolved its global alliance with Sumitomo Rubber Industries. The terms and conditions of the transaction are consistent with those outlined by Goodyear when the agreement was announced earlier this year. • German Pyrolyx manufacturer of recovered carbon black (rCB) from scrap tyres, has been granted another patent in Germany that covers the direct introduction of rCB into the conventional manufacturing of furnace carbon black. A desired percentage of Pyrolyx rCB is added during the production process. As tests have shown, the resulting homogeneous mixture can be directly employed to make new tyres. Thanks to the Munichbased company’s patented process, the quantity of fossil fuels used for the conventional production of carbon black can be reduced by up to 50%. In 2015, Pyrolyx acquired cct Stegelitz and is now increasing manufacturing capacity at the site in Saxony Anhalt where cct has been producing rCB in a batch process since 2012. The acquisition makes the Pyrolyx the only company in the world to offer both continuous and batch production, to serve all addressable carbon black markets.

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Rubber Journal Asia Country Focus

Will the rubber sector flourish in the AEC? The rubber sector is highlighted in the

Changing policies equals vulnerability to risk he agro-based products sector may benefit from a push, but its basis, the agricultural sector, may be facing a shaky future during the AEC crossover. The mutable fate of the sector is often attributed to certain variables such as climate, output, demand/ supply, world market prices and government programmes. Citing a fact sheet released by the University of Kentucky (UK), College of Agriculture, “the industry is extremely vulnerable to risk and uncertainty amid macroeconomic policy changes, which is often overlooked by growers and producers when assessing variables for profits.” According to the UK College of Agriculture report, macroeconomic policy changes often dramatically impact the agricultural economy. Although policymakers try to design policies to improve the national economy, the report said that these policies often have unintended and harmful effects on the agricultural economy. Thus, the AEC, while maintaining each of the member nation’s sovereignties in formulating its respective macroeconomic policies also influences how these policies have to be changed or to fit into the targets set for the integration.


AEC programme as a priority sector, yet how it is going to be integrated and its future seems to remain a grey area, says Angelica Buan.


he ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) integration will be due at the end of the year, yet the readiness gap remains a major concern for most of the ASEAN member nations. The AEC will launch the ASEAN region as a single market and production base with free flow of goods and capital, services, investment, and skilled labour. To fast track the implementation, 11 priority sectors have been identified, namely, electronics, e-ASEAN, healthcare, wood-based products, automotive, rubberbased products, textiles and apparels, agro-based products, fisheries, air travel and tourism. These sectors were selected on the basis of comparative advantage in natural resource endowments, labour skills and cost competitiveness, and value-added contribution to ASEAN’s economy. A few of these named priority sectors have a firmer footing. An example is the electronics sector, which shows steady demand from emerging economies due to rising disposable incomes and comparatively lower penetration of many consumer electronic goods, according to a newly released report by global business intelligence leader IBISWorld.

Reaping the benefits ross border issues remain untouched Discordant and low implementation of policies involving agroforestry, forestry and agriculture were also pointed out by a speaker during a regional conference held in June this year. According to Dr Delia Catacutan, Country Coordinator of World Agroforestry Centre, speaking at the ASEAN Social Forestry Conference held in Myanmar, one glaring risk of the integration is that infrastructure developments may come at the cost of habitat loss and fragmentation, and settlement and conversion of agricultural land. On the other hand, Catacutan acknowledged that these infrastructure developments – road widening and road network expansions – could boost forest and agricultural revenues by cutting transport costs and reducing post-harvest losses, against the back of ecological impact weighing in.


“..Southeast Asia is placing its bets on the vast potential of the rubber sector to propel its economy further..” The automotive industry, which is an engine of growth for a few of ASEAN members, and the textile industry, which has been receiving attention since the region is poised to rival China, currently hold the fort yet are muscled against rising labour costs and other manufacturing challenges. On the other hand, in the wake of the AEC implementation by 31 December, Southeast Asia is placing its bets on the vast potential of the rubber sector to propel its economy further and encourage flow of trade and investments. Whereas for now, it is going through its normal cyclical rhythm in demand, supply and prices.

“..this weak component of the AEC to address cross border issues may exacerbate the continuing conversion of forest tracts into rubber plantations..” 3

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Rubber Journal Asia Country Focus The AEC has yet to firm up in resolving transborder issues such as forest fires and illegal trade of forest products, according to another conference presenter, Ramos Razal from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and the Manila-based Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme. Meanwhile, this weak component of the AEC to address cross border issues may exacerbate the continuing conversion of forest tracts into rubber plantations. With the AEC, rubber demand could exceed the 12.9 million tonnes global consumption by 2016, reaching up to 16.5 million tonnes in 2023, according to a projection of the Singapore-based International Rubber Study Group (IRSG). To meet the demand, production will have to be increased.

Given that demand for rubber will increase further as a result of the integration, shortage of skilled labour in rubber plantations, as well as the risk of unemployment amongst rubber workers, is listed as a potential glitch. Thailand, the largest rubber producer, is a model case for labour market problems, given its imbalanced market structure. In a 2014 research article authored by Preecha Nobnorb and Wanno Fongsuwan, and published in the Research Journal of Business Management, it was stated that the impact of trade liberalisation “does not cause a positive impact” on rubber industry workers. In fact, the report says that it causes “instability issues in the occupations of unskilled labour”, as well as widens income and the welfare gaps between workers with different skill levels who are coming from different industries. Too, unemployment may increase, especially amongst unskilled workers and those who are over 40 years of age.

Deforestation, a big problem outheast Asia has been inundated with deforestation. And reports also hold expanding rubber plantations culpable for this phenomenon. In a new study published in Global Environmental Change, rubber plantations in the region have increased by over 50% since 2000. Expansion continues at the expense of protected forest areas, specifically in Southeast Asia, says the report. Based on findings, 61% of the rubber plantation expansions were in protected areas and 70% were in key biodiversity areas. In the near term, the estimated coverage of the expansion will run up to 13,310 sq km of forest and 8,952 sq km of key biodiversity areas.


“ liberalisation causes instability issues in the occupations of unskilled labour..” What may put the rest of unskilled rubber plantation workers off the employment circuit is when qualification standards are being instituted. The Thailand Professional Qualification Institute is rounding out occupational standards for workers in the agriculture sector to increase the country’s competitiveness for AEC. The workforce professional qualification system covers 48 sectors and up to 600 occupations. Malaysia is reported to have come up with its own occupational standards. The country has its rubber tappers and smallholders reeling in low output, amid the falling domestic rubber prices. With the country almost frequently facing low output levels, the Malaysian Rubber Board says this is due to the use of unskilled tappers who do not engage in good agricultural practices, as well as the lack of know-how in latex harvesting and technologies. This situation of unskilled domestic labour has opened up employment opportunities for migrant workers in the agricultural sector in Malaysia. With the AEC’s thrust to open the gates of employment opportunities to non-nationals, and the country’s own initiative to scale up the aptitude of its workforce, it may become a double-edged sword for rubber workers.

“..Southeast Asia has been inundated with deforestation..” Meanwhile, an unregulated number of rubber plantations also gives rise to a substandard quality of rubber product, an issue that still plagues the region’s sector. In a rubber products case study from the 2013 report by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the World Bank and Bain & Company, the region, a top global rubber producer, was stated as an “unreliable supply chain for finished goods”, attributed to poor quality control along with factors such as substandard infrastructure and long lead times. Influx of unskilled labour he AEC is expected to stimulate mobility of skilled labour to address labour shortages, provide higher work pay, and better job opportunities. However, observers say this could backfire to industries where unskilled labour is rampant.


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Rubber Journal Asia Materials

Detoxifying latex for safer work and play applications Studies say that latex-based products

The FDA said that aside from medical gloves, a wide range of latexbased products, from adhesive bandages a n d catheters to sanitary napkins and blood pressure monitoring cuffs, can potentially trigger allergies and may Dr Ranjit K Matthan of Vystar is at cause anaphylactic the helm of developing aluminium shock. Any user may hydroxide-treated latex be at risk, it added. To minimise the risk, the agency suggested using powderfree gloves with reduced protein content. Making latex products safer, a new technology product is offered. The Ultra Low Protein Lattices (ULPL) is developed by US-based Vystar Corporation, the exclusive creator of Vytex natural rubber latex (NRL), a raw material that features significantly reduced levels of the proteins inherent to NR latex. Recently, a presentation was delivered by Dr Ranjit K. Matthan, an internationally renowned latex and rubber expert, who has joined Vystar’s Board of Directors and as Research & Development Director. Dr Matthan has been a consultant to Vystar since 2008 and has played a significant role in the manufacturing scale up of reduced-protein Vytex in Malaysia and refining the R&D of manufacturing processes for applications using Vytex NRL, such as latex foam, condoms, adhesives, medical devices. In the session titled “Advances in Environmentally Friendly Ultra Low Protein Natural Rubber Specialty Latices” during the International Latex Conference 2015 held in August in Akron, Ohio, Dr Matthan revealed ongoing developments in the formulation of ULPL with reduced or no ammonia and nitrosamines. He said that these advances in aluminium hydroxide-treated ULPL properties and applications address concerns on volatile organic content and nitrosamines for some critical latex products, such as balloons, catheters, condoms, and other medical devices. In formulating ULPL, Dr Matthan has pooled his expertise along with Joseph John, Director of the Polymer Consultancy Services in Chennai, India; and Bill Doyle, CEO of Vystar. The main man in ULPL’s R&D, Dr Matthan has been an important figure in South Asia’s rubber industry since the 1970s. He is also a key proponent for NR sustainability via the Bangkokbased Asia Pacific Elastomer Science and Technology (APEST).

like gloves, medical devices and balloons can result in users falling ill. Find out why and what advances have been made to prevent this, in this report by Angelica Buan.


he milky sap derived from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis), latex, is about 30-40% rubber and the rest is made up of resins, ash, sugar, water, and more than 200 types of proteins. Of this number, 13 are known to be allergens according to the American Latex Allergy Association (ALAA). In the US healthcare environment, allergy from latex is comparatively low at 1% of the general population of about 3 million, states ALAA. Risk groups are further categorised as healthcare workers (8-17%), who are frequently using latex gloves or products, and individuals who have had multiple surgeries or children who have spina bifda-related surgeries (68%), all of which can be mitigated through avoidance of exposure. Solving the dilemma with low-protein latex or a long time, allergic reactions to latex proteins resulted in decreasing use of latex-based products. This is especially in the healthcare environment where latex gloves are important barrier devices and allergic reactions are major concerns.


“…allergic reactions to latex proteins resulted in decreasing use of latex-based products..” Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidance on latex product labelling. The agency had been equivocal with latex-free labels in products, for lack of existing tests that could determine the total absence of allergy-inducing proteins in natural rubber latex, and thus latex-free claims were misleading. 5 N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 015

Rubber Journal Asia Materials Safety in the production chain – use of chemicals “In recent years, the latex industry has sought part from allergy reactions, the chemicals to reduce or eliminate the need for nitrosamines required in processing latex also raise and ammonia in natural rubber latex to remove safety concerns. During processing, latex is any potential health hazards for those with preserved by anticoagulants like ammonia or long term exposure in the production and in sodium sulphite to prevent deterioration. The the manufacture of products in several end kind of anticoagulant used is dependent upon the use applications,” stated Dr Matthan in a press production process. Sodium sulphite is preferred release of the company. This development enables if crepe or sheet broader range rubbers are to be “…the latex industry has sought to reduce applications made, but ammonia minus the threat or eliminate the need for nitrosamines is more suitable for from leachable latex concentrate. – a and ammonia in natural rubber latex..” extractables Latex-dipped rubber industry products, such as balloons, gloves and condoms, pipeline dream come true. contain the colourless, corrosive chemical ammonia. As explained in a study published Balloons: party friends or environmental foes? by the Wisconsin-headquartered World Allergy s harmless as it may seem but those party Organisation, about 12% of harvested latex balloons that breathe life to a festivity can is treated either with 0.7% ammonia (high also pose safety risks. Claims of health risks ammoniated latex) or with 0.2% of ammonia and associated with the latex that make up these thiuram combination (low ammoniated latex). colourful balls of fun say that they are not only On a broad manufacturing set-up, workers in potential choking hazards, since they contain this segment also face risks in chemical exposure. chemicals occurring naturally and during The National Institute for Occupational processing, but that human and environmental Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released a exposure to latex balloons can be devastating. hazard report for workers handling rubber Latex per se that is used in novelty items products. The latter would refer to vehicle tyres, like balloons, in sexual wellness products like automotive and appliance mouldings, rubber condoms, and in healthcare products like gloves, bands, rubber gloves, and other barrier devices. poses no direct harm to the environment. Because making these rubber products involves According to New Jersey-headquartered The application of heat, pressure and catalytic action Balloon Council (TBC), latex is 100% natural onto the chemical mixtures, with dust, gases, substance that degrades in sunlight and water. vapours, fumes, and chemical by-products (e.g. One sign that a balloon is starting to degrade is nitrosamines) that occur from the manufacturing when oxidation occurs, or also called frosting, processes may contaminate the work areas. Thus, that is when the balloon’s colour starts to workers may be exposed to these hazards through fade. Exposure to sunlight as well as to certain inhalation and skin absorption. microorganisms hastens the process. The International Agency for Research on TBC implies that latex balloons may have no Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organisation major impact to the environment. A balloon that (WHO) came up with a study on exposure to is released into the air, which is “well-tied and rubber processing chemicals and found that has no structural flaws”, can potentially ascend to workers in the rubber manufacturing industry an altitude of about 5 miles where it freezes and are primarily vulnerable to dust and fumes is shred into pieces, TBC explained. The pieces from processing rubber and vulcanisation. The that would drop to the ground (or into a body of chemicals identified for potential exposure water) can sometimes be ingested by land or sea include nitrosamines, polycyclic aromatic animals, TBC said, adding that evidence showed hydrocarbons, solvents, and phthalates. rubber pieces that passed through the digestive “Inhalation is the main route of exposure, tracts of animals have not harmed them. TBC also although workers may have dermal exposure cited that latex balloons “biodegrade at about the as well, such as from cyclohexane-soluble same rate as a leaf from an oak tree.” compounds,” IARC said. While the US organisation of retailers, Barring chemicals, Vystar’s aluminium manufacturers and distributors of balloons aver hydroxide-treated ULPL is formulated with that balloons are not found to be a significant reduced or no ammonia and nitrosamines, two of litter problem, based on beach clean-up the chemicals that are found to cause health risks observations, it strongly recommends proper on exposure. waste disposal of the latex product.



6 N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 015

Rubber Journal Asia Materials Vystar makes a case for its NRL eanwhile, Vystar’s Vytex NRL has been used by Pioneer Balloon Company, the largest US producer of balloons. It has upgraded to using treated NRL for use in the high-end, jewel-tone colour balloons. It adds, “Treated NRL produces a very high quality, more translucent balloon that has better barrier properties than ordinary NRL. No doubt this is due to removal of the lutoids and Frey-Wyssling particles to reduce discolouring by removing the opportunity of PPO browning, higher rubber to nonrubber ratio, and reduction of odourous low molecular weight acids.” Vytex NRL is biodegradable, stated Vystar. “The latex grade, when used in balloons, can return to nature in as little as six months,” says the US firm. Vystar also says that several adhesive and foam manufacturers have also upgraded to the use of treated NRL, including Islatex, which launched high-end foam pillows made from aluminium hydroxide-treated latex. The company says it continues to work with manufacturers across a broad range of consumer and medical products, such as Tamicare and their Cosyflex product. Vystar adds, “Glove manufacturers continue to differentiate their products and upgrade to Vytex due to the softness/low modulus and are able to increase filler loading due to the absence of non-rubbers, reduce leaching processes and cost.” Other benefits of Vytex are that the aluminium hydroxide-treated NRL has a longer “pot life”, compared to regular NRL, which benefits glove manufacturers in terms of longer shelf life of the compound allowing for more dipping flexibility. “These attributes are attractive in other applications, such as foam, where less rubber odour and a whiter colour are highly desirable. Aluminium hydroxide treatedNRL has a low non-rubber content compared to regular NRL and is virtually free of the 14kD and 30kD polypeptide proteins reported to be known Type 1 latex allergens. These characteristics make it the material of choice for applications seeking high-quality, safer end products,” says Dr Matthan in his presentation. Additionally, Vytex NRL contains no known or suspected human carcinogens, said Dr Matthan, concluding that the 100% renewable resource latex grade provides a “safer and healthier environment for consumers, workers and the planet.”

T h e “ b i o de g rad able” c laim for latex balloons i s sl a m me d b y Balloon s Blow, a non-p ro fit o r g a n i sa t i o n b as ed in Florid a, U S, an d which c a m p a i g n s a g a inst balloons being released into t h e e n vi r o n m e nt. It s aid th at wh ile N R l at ex may b e b i o d e g r a d a ble, the chemicals, plasticisers and a r t i f i c i a l d y e s added into the material shrivel l a t e x ’s b i o de g r ad ability fac tor.


Latex balloon pollution is a growing problem says US-based group, Balloons Blow

M o r e o v e r , l i kening latex’s biodegradability t o a n o a k l e a f i s “m is lead in g”, s tated B a lloons B l o w o n i t s w e b s ite. It ex p lained , “Oak leaves a r e v e r y d u r a b l e. They can take four years to d e c o m p o s e a n d that means balloons have plenty o f t i m e t o i n j u r e or kill.” I t a l s o a d d e d that the remaining shreds from a bu r st b a l l o o n c ould be m is taken by animals f o r f o o d – a g a ffe that could potentially block t h e d i g e s t i v e t ract of the animal, leading to s t ar v a t i o n o r d eath, or both.

“…likening latex’s biodegradability to an oak leaf is misleading..” I t sa i d t h a t s ea tu rtles p artic u larly are p r o n e t o t h i s f atal ingestion. “They naturally p r e y o n j e l l y f i sh, which balloons can easily be m i st a k e n f o r, even with hum an eyes ,” t h e e n v i r o n m e ntal conservation group said. B a l l o o n s Bl o w s eeks to rais e awaren es s ab out p o l l u t i o n f r o m balloon s , whic h it s aid is a “ gro w i n g pr o b lem and one th at n eed s to b e a d dr e sse d. ” 7 N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 015

Rubber Journal Asia Rubber Roads

Putting the brakes on road traffic noise Second to air pollution, road traffic

Muting road traffic noise urbing road traffic noise with rubberised roads has been found to be a practical solution that provides multiple advantages too. There are two types of rubber pavements chiefly used: the porous elastic road surfaces (PERS), which use rubber as the main component; and the rubberised surfaces, which use crumb rubber as a modifier in asphalt mixtures to enhance binder properties by stunting its inherent “temperature susceptibility”. Meanwhile, combining crumb rubber into the binder, is found to increase its elasticity; hence, its durability and the resistance to fatigue. PERS, according to the report published online this year in the Applied Acoustics journal, is “a mix of air void content, 20-40% in volume, and of rubber, up to 90% in weight; and consisting of an aggregate of rubber granules or fibres, sometimes supplemented by sand, stones or other friction-enhancing additives, bound together with a binder of bitumen or polyurethane.” Based on earlier findings, this technology renders a very elastic surface, lowering vibrations from rolling tyres. Rubber can be incorporated into asphalt paving mixes via the “wet process” and the “dry process”.


noise is a health hazard that can be remedied with a sustainable antidote – rubberised roads, according to Angelica Buan in this article.


here are problems associated with urbanisation. Studies say that a major problem in economies, especially spurred with the rise of megacities, is the road hazards and noise pollution from vehicle traffic. Of the two, noise pollution has been the hardest to curtail. In European Union countries, the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that about 40% of the population is exposed to road traffic noise at levels exceeding 55 A-weighted decibels or dB (A). In Asia Pacific, it is forecast that more than half of its population will be moving to urban areas by 2018, says a new study by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). By 2050, urban population in the region is expected to reach 3.2 billion. In China and India alone, the number of people living in cities is expected to grow by 696 million. Along with accelerating urbanisation in the region is the increase in the number of its megacities from the current 17 megacities – three of which are the world’s largest, namely, Tokyo, Delhi, and Shanghai – to 22 megacities by 2030. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) states that around 120,000 people a day, translating to 44 million people per year, are being added to Asia’s urban population, influencing transport and mobility. ADB also says that motor vehicle fleets are doubling every 5 to 7 years. All this adds to the road traffic noise that has been linked to various health malaise ranging from stress, sleep disturbance, cognitive impairment in children to an increasing risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even death. The health risks from unwanted exposure to road traffic noise becomes higher as population and urbanisation continue to grow, which WHO in its 2011 study found that road traffic noise follows air pollution in terms of impact on health.

Regular asphalt is blended with crumb rubber to build rubber roads that can reduce noise by up to 25%

Rubberised asphalt (a regular asphalt-crumb rubber blend), in road construction provides a sustainable solution to curb road traffic noise. At the very least, rubber roads reduce noise by as much as 25%. The rubberised asphalt, made with the rubber crumb mixed with bitumen and crushed stone, enables road surfaces to disperse sound waves. The rubber itself, being bouncy, absorbs sound. Since crumb rubber is obtained from used tyres, rubberised asphalt diverts the stockpiling volumes of waste tyres from landfills to a highly-functional application. 8

N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 015

Rubber Journal Asia Rubber Roads Rubberised roads can utilise Europe’s approximately 250 million waste tyres generated annually, according to a study published online in the Open Journal of Civil Engineering in 2014. The same volume of waste tyres has been generated in East Europe, North and Latin, America, Japan and Middle East, it said.

Future of quieter roads, with rubber technology ith advancing technology and research, more busy, noisy roads will be built with rubber, a technology that is also proven to be durable, long-lasting and cost-effective. Rubber roads require lower maintenance costs (rendering about 33% savings) and for motorists, increased fuel economy, according to the India Rubber Board. In an email interview with RJA, Sheela Thomas, Secretary General of the ANRPC, says that the service life of rubberised roads is twice as long as that of normal bituminous roads. “Rubberised bitumen is an excellent binder of rubble and sand on the tarmac, minimising deformation due to load. Rubberised roads have better skid resistance due to increased aggregate retention and elimination of bleeding,” she said.


Benefiting latex producers ubber roads not only promote good health but also boost the rubber sector. Asia’s top rubber producing countries, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, are resorting to rubberised roads to support the rubber sector. But unlike other rubberised asphalt concocted with crumb rubber, the three Southeast Asian countries are using NR latex. Malaysia is using rubber in road construction to shore up NR prices that have been sagging in the global market for the past few years. Earlier in the year, it was reported that the Malaysian government is planning to utilise 10% of the total rubber production for rubberised roads. Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas said at a session of the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) that the two other top natural rubber producers, Indonesia and Thailand, will follow suit, with the latter to utilise 3.5 tonnes of NR per 1 km of road. With this plan, the Indonesian government could hit its target of increasing domestic consumption of NR from 18% in May this year to 40% over the next five years, at par with its regional neighbours. Thailand, on the other hand, had earlier hatched the plan of repaving stretches of roads with rubberised asphalt following the approval of a US$75 billion construction package in 2014.


“..Sheela Thomas says that the service life of rubberised roads is twice as long as that of normal bituminous roads…” Rubber roads, when properly prepared, can also withstand high temperatures. She explained: “Compared to regular bitumen, which is vulnerable to melt on the road at higher temperatures, rubberised bitumen is unaffected by changes in atmospheric temperature. Rubber increases resistance to flow of bitumen at high temperature (ie., keeping it from melting) and improves resistance to brittle fracture at very low temperature.” The presence of rubber in bitumen also decreases the bleeding tendency (melting) of bitumen at high temperature and prevents its cracking (brittleness) at freezing temperatures. “Thus, at very high and very low temperatures, rubberised roads are more stable than normal bitumen roads,” says Thomas. Thomas recommends blending of bitumen with the latex. “The bitumen and the NR latex must be combined in a fixed proportion - usually 2% to 4% at the right temperature to confer good elastic recovery (elastic property) to the blend,” she explains. However she cautioned that while rubberised roads have benefits, achieving these results is subject to the manner of blend preparation. “If the blending has not been done scientifically, these advantages will not be there.” Thus, there is a future for rubberised roads in the region, to prop up failing prices of NR latex and to ensure that everyone is subjected to lower noise pollution!

Asia’s top rubber producing countries are building rubberised roads to support the rubber sector

India, the world’s fifth largest rubber grower, is actively pushing for the rubberisation of roads. Since 1974, the country has had lanes of rubberised roads in various locations. Some 50 km of rubberised roads in different sites, such as the Trivandrum-Kottayam Main Central Road, Vandiperiyar-Kumily Road, and KK Road in Kasaragod Municipality, were constructed for a study on the performance of this technology. 9 N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 015

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