PRA Magazine Digital April 2023

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AS l A’S LEAD l NG m AGA z l NE for th E p LAS t l c S AND rubb E r l ND u S try DIGITAL


9 Country Focus – Though China has made notable progress in its clean energy transition, it still faces some challenges and is working on energy efficiency improvements, expansion of renewables and a reduction in coal use to achieve lower carbon emissions

13 Packaging – Towards the reduction of carbon emissions, designing consumer product packaging is a win-win situation for global sustainability

17 Biomaterials – Kuraray’s new grade of Plantic sustainable, highperformance barrier material is targeted at packaging food with a prolonged shelf life in a modified atmosphere

18 Exhibition Preview – At Chinaplas 2023, to be held in Shenzhen, China, from 14-17 April, exhibitors such as ExxonMobil, Kiefel and Coperion/Herbold are showcasing sustainable technology at their stands

21 Thermoplastic Elastomers – Kraiburg TPE’s newly launched sustainable Thermolast R TPE compound for the Asia Pacific market has been used by Thailand’s top toothbrush maker The First Thai Brush Co in the handles of its Victory toothbrush


Arthur Schavemaker

Tel: +31 547 275005


Associate publisher/executive editor

Tej Fernandez

Tel: +6017 884 9102


senior editor

Angelica Buan



Stephanie Yuen



ISSN 1360-1245


Automotive: With the automotive sector’s eventual transition to EVs, sustainable manufacturing and recycling of EV batteries has become a focus

Italian machinery sector: Amaplast reports higher turnover for its members, based on export growth; meanwhile, the PLAST show will be back to Milan later this year from 5-6 September

The Malaysian Rubber Council (MRC) has launched the Global Funding for Rubber Innovation (GFRI), a holistic initiative to source for ideas, innovation and to expand the rubber sector further

Global and Asian markets for silicones in the healthcare and medical industries have grown in tandem with the advancement of devices and equipment

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AS l A’S LEAD l NG MAGA z l NE F o R THE PLAST l CS AND R u BBER l ND u STRy Volume 38, No 267 publlshed slNce 1985
In this issue
Industry News
Materials News supplements th LAS t S AND rubb E ND S try DIGITAL
Regulars 2
On the Cover
Recycling is of utmost importance in the plastics sector, with collaborations focused on improving recycling rates and recycled material quality, and increasing recycled content in products
Connect @
1 APRIL 2023

M&As/Tie-ups/ Investments

• German chemical firm Evonik has invested in the British company Interface Polymers that supplies Polarfin additives to simplify the processing of plastics such as mixtures with PE or PP.

Evonik has also invested in Chinese battery specialist SuperC, specialising in graphene materials for lithium-ion batteries.

• Japan’s Toyo Ink SC Holdings Co.’s subsidiary Toyo Ink (Thailand) has acquired Thai Eurocoat Ltd, a manufacturer of external coatings for non-printed cans in the Thai canned food market.

• US private equity firm Apollo Global Management is taking Univar Solutions Inc. private in a deal valued US$8.1 billion. Univar will continue to operate under its name and brand. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2023. The acquisition includes a minority investment from a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).

• Chemical firm LyondellBasell is acquiring Mepol Group, a manufacturer of recycled, highperforming technical

compounds located in Italy and Poland.

• Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco) has completed the acquisition of the Valvoline Inc’s global products business for US$2.65 billion, through one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries.

• Belgian chemical firm Solvay has sold its 50% stake in the RusVinyl joint venture to its joint venture partner Russian petchem firm Sibur The agreement is based on a purchase price for Solvay’s 50% stake of around EUR430 million.

• Constantia Flexibles, the third largest producer of flexible packaging worldwide, has acquired Polish company Drukpol Flexo

• Japanese firms Asahi Kasei and Mitsui Chemicals are combining their spunbond nonwovens businesses in a new joint venture, effective October 2023, due to the impending competitive environment expected for the spunbond business sector in Asia.

• Milan-based technology firm

Maire Tecnimont, through its subsidiary NextChem Holding, it is expanding into the high-value derivatives and biodegradable plastic by-products licensing markets with the acquisition of an 83.5% stake of Conser, an Italian technology licensor and process engineering design company.

• Austrian chemical firm Borealis has acquired a majority stake (50%) in Renasci, a Belgiumbased provider of recycling solutions and creator of the Smart Chain Processing (SCP) concept.

As well, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has acquired a 25% shareholding in Borealis from Mubadala Investment Company The other 75% equity will be owned by Austrian multi-national integrated oil OMV.

• Poland’s PKN Orlen has acquired a part of the business of Poland’s largest LDPE manufacturer Basell Orlen Polyolefins, in which the company holds an equity interest together with LyondellBasell.

• US-based precision component packaging provider Advantek has acquired Malaysian precision packaging firm LKTT Plastic Technology.

• Swiss construction chemicals maker Sika has sold part of its admixture business to UK-based Ineos, paving the way for its almost US$6 billion acquisition of former BASF Construction Chemicals business (MBCC). Sika sold MBCC's admixture assets in the US, Canada, Europe and Britain, and the entire MBCC business in Australia and New Zealand to Ineos to satisfy the concerns of competition authorities.

• Brazilian polyolefins maker Braskem has acquired taulman3D, a 3D filament supplier of nylon, recycled PETG, and PET filaments to aerospace, automotive, healthcare, industrial, government and higher education professionals worldwide.

• South Korea’s SK Chemicals has accelerated its entry into the global market and business expansion for chemically recycled BHET plant of 70,000 tonnes/year and chemically recycled PET plant of 50,000 tonnes/year, with its acquisition of Chinese green materials firm Shuye The acquisition price for this deal is around US$100 million.

Industry n ews 2 APRIL 2023

Plant Expansions/Opening/Set-ups

• Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) has commenced commercial operations at its 260,000-tonnes/ year PC facility in Tianjin, China. The US$1.7 billion project was developed by Sinopec Sabic Tianjin Petrochemical Company (SSTPC), a joint venture between Sabic and Sinopec.

• Manufacturer of printing inks/ packaging solutions DIC India has inaugurated its 10,000 tonnescapacity toluene-free plant for liquid Ink manufacturing in Gujarat, India.

• LyondellBasell has started up the world's largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) unit in Texas, US. These new assets on the US Gulf Coast have a capacity of 470,000 tonnes/year of PO and 1 million tonnes/ year of TBA and its derivatives.

Also, LyondellBasell has licensed its highpressure Lupotech process technology to PetroChina Jilin Petrochemical Company for its facility in Jilin, China, for a 100-kilotonne/ year autoclave and a 300-kilotonne/ year tubular line.

Additionally, a 400-kilotonne/ year Hostalen Advanced Cascade Process (ACP) line will be built for the production of HDPE.

• Zhangzhou Chimei Chemical Co has started up its 350,000-tonnes/year PS production lines in Fujian, China, to strengthen the group's presence and bring its total PS production capacity to 920,000 tonnes/year.

• QatarEnergy and Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) marked the construction of a US$8.5 billion polymers plant in Texas, US, with a groundbreaking ceremony. The facility will feature an ethylene cracker unit with a capacity of 2 million tonnes/year, making it the largest in the world, and two HDPE units with a combined capacity of 2 million tonnes/year, also making them the largest derivatives units of their kind in the world. The plant is expected to start up in 2026 and will be owned by Golden Triangle Polymers Company, owned by QatarEnergy (49%) and CPChem (51%).

• German materials firm Covestro is increasing its global

production capacity for PC specialty films, with new extrusion lines at the Map Ta Phut Industrial Park in Thailand. Completion is scheduled for 2025.

Covestro has also started up a new world-scale facility for the production of chlorine in Tarragona, Spain, for its MDI production also in Tarragona.

Covestro is also building its largest TPU site in Zhuhai, China, by 2033 and with a production capacity of 120,000 tonnes/year of TPU.

• German materials firm BASF has begun production of its first biobased polyol, Sovermol, in Mangalore, India, for applications in energy vehicles, windmills, flooring and protective industrial coatings in Asia Pacific.

BASF is also expanding its polymer dispersions production capacity by adding a second production line at its site in the Daya Bay Petrochemical Industrial Park in Guangdong, China, to start operations by 2024.

BASF has also broken ground on a new production complex at its site in Zhanjiang, China, that includes plants for glacial acrylic acid (GAA), butyl acrylate (BA) and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (2-EHA).

Planned to come on stream by 2025, the complex will have capacity of 400,000 tonnes/year of BA and 100,000 tonnes/ year of 2-EHA.

In the US, BASF has broken ground on the third and final phase of the MDI expansion project at its site in Louisiana to increase production capacity to 600,000 tonnes/ year. Including the first and second phases, the investment totals around US$1 billion, making the MDI expansion project BASF’s largest wholly owned investment in North America.

• Joint venture firm Lotte Ineos Chemical (between Ineos and South Korea’s Lotte) plans to increase vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) production capacity in South Korea from 450,000 tonnes-700,000 tonnes with the addition of a third VAM plant, to startup by 2025.

• Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical has constructed a new pilot facility for chemical recycling of acrylic resin (PMMA) at its Ehime Works in Niihama City. Samples of chemically recycled MMA monomer produced in this facility and acrylic

3 APRIL 2023

resin made from the monomer will become available in 2023.

• CJ HDC biosol and CJ Biomaterials, a division of South Korea-based CJ CheilJedang and a primary producer of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), will work together to accelerate the development of ecofriendly bioplastics. Biosol has completed construction of a new South Korean bioplastic compounding plant in Jincheon, which has capacity to produce 11,000 tonnes/ year of bioplastics. Biosol, established in February 2022, is the result of the joint venture between CJ CheilJedang and HDC Hyundai EP, South Korea’s largest plastic compounding manufacturer.

• US-based carbon negative materials firm Origin Materials has completed Origin 1, its first commercial manufacturing plant, located in Ontario, Canada, to produce sustainable materials including chloromethylfurfural (CMF), which can be converted into highperformance products used in packaging, textiles, apparel, automotive, as well as hydrothermal carbon (HTC).

• Tokyo-headquartered chemical firm Asahi Glass Co (AGC) is increasing its

production capacity for fluorochemicals for semiconductorrelated applications. The US$260 million expansion will take place at AGC's Chiba plant and start up in 2025.

• Indian specialty chemicals major Anupam Rasayan India Limited will invest US$80 million to set up three new plants for fluorochemicals in Gujarat, India, by 2025.

• Domo Chemicals, a manufacturer of engineered materials, has broken ground for its new EUR14 million plant in Haiyan, China, to produce 50 kilotonnes of Technyl nylon grades and to start up by 2024.

• Technology firm Suez, Canada’s Loop Industries and South Korea’s SK Geo Centric have selected Saint-Avold, in France, as the site to manufacture virgin-quality PET plastic made from 100% recycled content leveraging the Infinite Loop process in a 70,000 tonnes/ year facility with an investment of EUR450 million.

• Japan’s Mitsubishi Chemical Group is setting up a new facility at the Okayama Plant to double the production capacity of its Gohsenx and

Nichigo G-Polymer specialty brands of polyvinyl alcohol resin (PVOH resin). It will start up in 2024.

• Japanese chemical firm Kuraray Co new plant in Map Ta Phut, Rayong Province, Thailand, for isoprenes has been completed and will soon start operations in stages.

• Toray Advanced Materials Korea Inc will increase annual production capacity for Torelina PPS resin by 5,000 tonnes at its plant in Gunsan, South Korea, by 2024 bringing the group's combined PPS capacity, including output at this facility and in Japan, to 32,600 tonnes/year.

• India’s Revalyu Recycling, a subsidiary of parent company Revalyu Resources GmbH, has started the construction of a 200-tonne/day PET plastic recycling plant in Nashik, India. Revalyu is also investing US$50 million in its first facility in Georgia, US, with commissioning planned for 2024.

• Alpla Group, together with its joint venture partners Ecohelp and United Polymer Trading (UPT) from Switzerland, has opened its first EUR7.5 million

PET recycling plant in Romania, with a capacity of 18,000 tonnes/year of recycled material from household waste.

• Healthcare solutions provider Berry Global Group will begin product production at its second manufacturing facility and healthcare centre in Bangalore, India, by 2023.

• PureCycle Technologies will build its first PP recycling facility in Europe in the Port of Antwerp-Bruges’s fast-growing NextGen district. The new plant will have a capacity of 59,000 tonnes/year, with a total capacity of 240,000 tonnes/year, and construction to start in 2024.

• Canadian materials supplier Nova Chemicals’s second Advanced Sclairtech technology (AST2) facility and the third phase of the Corunna cracker expansion project have each reached mechanical completion. The Ontario-located facility will have a capacity of 450,000 tonnes/year of LLDPE. The cracker expansion will provide ethylene feedstock to the AST2 facility, expanding the existing cracker’s current capacity by more than 50%.

Industry n ews 4 APRIL 2023

New technologies to push the recycling agenda

Recent industry developments in recycling technologies and collaborations are focused on improving recycling rates and recycled material quality, and increasing recycled content in products, says


in this report.

Wastes still rising even with recycling

Whenever the staggering amount of waste plastics is mentioned, recycling comes to mind as a solution. No doubt that recycling offers the sweet spot in reducing wastes.

Recycling conserves resources by converting used materials into new products, reducing the need to consume natural resources; it saves energy because manufacturing with recycled materials requires significantly less energy than manufacturing new products from raw materials; it reduces the need for raw material extraction, which pollutes the air and water; and it conserves energy while lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

However, it is clear that current recycling rates have not kept up with the rate of plastic waste production.

Citing data from the UN , the production of 400 million tonnes/year of plastic waste is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the enormous environmental problem that must be addressed.

Single-use plastics (SUPs) contribute to the mounting waste. Every minute, 1 million plastic bottles are purchased globally, and up to 5 trillion plastic bags are used annually. All of these will almost certainly be discarded after use.

According to the OECD's Global Plastics Outlook report, only 9% of plastics are successfully recycled today, with the remaining 22% being mismanaged. Of that, 15% is collected for recycling, but 40% is discarded as waste.


Some plastic materials are not recyclable

Recycling, according to Greenpeace USA , is a "dead end street" in terms of reducing the amount of plastic waste in the environment. Or, in the case of most plastics, recycling is ineffective. Circular Claims Fall Flat Again, a report released in October 2022, stated that a majority of plastics cannot be recycled.

No type of plastic packaging in the US meets the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastic Economy (EMF NPE) Initiative's 30% recycling rate criteria to be classified as "recyclable."

Commonly used resins in bottles and containers in the US, PET #1 and HDPE #2, and previously thought to be recyclable, have reprocessing rates of 20.9% and 10.3%, respectively. Every other type of plastic has a reprocessing rate of less than 5%.

Similarly, mechanical and chemical recycling of plastic waste have failed because plastic waste is difficult to collect and sort for recycling, is environmentally hazardous to reprocess, often consists of and is contaminated by toxic materials, and is not economically viable to recycle.

According to the report, paper, cardboard, metal, and glass do not have these issues, which is why they are recycled at much higher rates.

Also is the fact that post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic from household waste poses toxicity risks and is not produced on a commercial scale for food-grade uses anywhere in the world, including the US. As a result of its findings, the organisation deemed that the real solution is to switch to reusing and refilling systems.

Advanced sorting for flexible packaging

Choosing which plastic items are accepted in recycling facilities or can be recycled is a difficult task in itself. That is why, sorting plastic waste is critical if recycling rates are to improve, with high purity rates that are free of contaminated and nonrecyclable items. Advanced sorting technologies enable more efficient and effective sorting that is less complex and uses less energy.

Materials News 5 APRIL 2023 Materials News
to a report, only 9% of plastics are successfully recycled today, with the remaining 22% mismanaged. 15% of this is collected for recycling, while 40% is discarded as waste

The EU-funded Circular FoodPack, which addresses the challenge of recycling flexible packaging with multilayer composites, is one of the most recent developments in the European recycling sector.

The Circular FoodPack project, which started in June 2021 and will end in November 2024, will be implemented by 14 businesses and research centres from six different European nations, with the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging serving as the project coordinator.

Flexible plastic packaging is used in food and personal care because of its ability to meet safety and hygiene standards. However, modern sorting and recycling processes are incapable of reliably sorting and recycling flexible packaging with multi-layer film structures.

As a result, the majority of multi-material composites are disposed of in landfills or used for energy recovery. Furthermore, EU legislation prohibits the use of recyclates in food packaging applications.

Circular FoodPack's Tracer-based sorting systems are being further developed to separate food from non-food packaging as well as improve mechanical and physical recycling processes. The project is also developing ecodesign innovative mono-material food and personal care packaging that is easy to sort and recycle.

Tracer-based sorting identifies packaging items that contain unique printed, fluorescent tracers that emit an unambiguous signal when exposed to laser light, resulting in the assignment of a material-specific sorting code.

The mechanical and physical solvent-based recycling process cascades will allow Circular FoodPack to purify the recyclates, resulting in a reduction of contaminants, colour, and odour.

A promising deinking technology that can remove all types of inks while also ensuring deodourisation will be scaled up in the existing mechanical treatment cascades. The cleaned material is then recycled using solvents through the patented CreaSolv Process for separation

Improvements are being made to the mechanical and physical recycling procedures as well as the separation of food packaging from non-food packaging using Circular FoodPack's tracer-based sorting systems

into various material components such as fillers, additives and PE.

At the same time, the project aims to create a recyclable and reusable packaging material containing at least 50% PCR materials, with applications in dry food packaging, home care, and personal care packaging.

The project ensures that all newly developed process steps and (by-) products are subjected to comprehensive sustainability assessments that take into account the entire life cycle, including environmental, economic, and social impacts. This will allow evidence of the new packaging's sustainability to be compared to advance multilayer multi-material packaging.

Plastic waste recycling presents a number of challenges in terms of collection, sorting, and reprocessing, whereas other materials do not, which explains why they have higher recycling rates

Pushing waste out of incineration waste streams

Incineration is thought to be effective at reducing waste volume by up to 95% and solid waste volume by up to 85%, depending on the components of the solid waste. However, incineration neither promotes recycling nor waste reduction. It is also said to emit toxic compounds and particulates that are hazardous to human health.

A partnership between chemical firm LyondellBasell and the European thermal waste treatment company EEW Energy from Waste GmbH ( EEW ) takes waste reduction

Materials News 6 APRIL 2023

to the next level by extracting and recycling plastics from incineration waste streams using advanced sorting technology.

This agreement could include the development of waste pre-sorting facilities at or near EEW incineration plants to remove plastics from waste streams destined for incineration, as well as investment in advanced sorting facilities to further sort and refine the plastic that has been removed.

This collaboration is also expected to close the loop on plastics sent for incineration by sorting them for use as feedstock in mechanical and advanced recycling processes. EEW will first construct a sorting facility to recover plastics for the raw material cycle.

LyondellBasell also announced a partnership with Kirkbi A/S , Lego brand's family-owned holding/ investment company, to invest in APK , a German company that specialises in a solvent-based recycling technology for LDPE.

APK aims to increase the recycling of multi-layer flexible packaging materials, which currently account for the majority of mixed plastic waste from the consumer sector. APK’s solvent-based Newcycling process separates the different polymers of multi-layer packaging materials and produces recycled materials with what is said to be “a high degree of purity” suitable for new packaging materials.

Depolymerisation technology to produce rPET

PET bottles have the advantages of convenience, low cost, and design flexibility, but have a short shelf life (around 6 months) and are likely to end up in landfills due to their single-use characteristic.

Despite the fact that PET is fully recyclable, only 7% of the PET produced globally is recycled bottle-to-bottle.

LyondellBasell and EEW's collaboration is expected to close the loop on plastics destined for incineration by sorting them for use as feedstock in mechanical and advanced recycling processes

7 APRIL 2023

According to the European Chemical Industry Council ( Cefic ), this is partly because mechanical recycling, the current technology, is unable to remove colours from PET waste and also has an adverse effect on the material's quality after each cycle.

Low quality recycled materials have always been a concern for manufacturers adopting more recycled content in their packaging.

A recent collaboration between Italian oil firm Saipem, and Garbo , an Italian chemical company, focuses on improving recycled PET quality. ChemPET is Garbo's proprietary depolymerisation technology that converts PET waste, into new PET that has high value in the chemical and food industries, it says.

European plastics supply chain push for higher legal certainty of recycled content

With the recent meeting of 31 trade associations for the EU to be clear on how it legally views chemical recycling and how recycled content is tracked in plastic products, the tracking of recycled content is a major issue with industry pressing for the legal acknowledgement of a mass balance approach.

Essentially, this is push for policy support from the European Commission and EU member states for chemical recycling that could help speed investment and add more overall plastic recycling capability.

“The rules currently being developed for the SingleUse Plastics Directive (SUPD) implementing act will have a key impact on both mechanical and chemical recycling investments in Europe,” the associations said.

The timelines for targets set out in frameworks such as the proposed Packaging and Packaging Waste directive, which set out goals for chemical recycling capacity by 2030 and 2040, will require the sector to begin work on commercial-scale production facilities immediately, according to the associations.

“It is therefore key that policymakers set a precedent as to when and how a mass balance chain of custody in recycled plastics will be applied in the EU sooner rather than later,” the trade groups said. “This precedent should also set the direction of policy in non-packaging sectors such as automotive or construction, where recycled plastics targets are currently under discussion or may arise in the future.”

Saipem and Garbo have tied up to improve recycled PET quality. ChemPET is Garbo's proprietary depolymerisation technology that converts PET waste, into new PET resins

Saipem and Garbo will also cooperate on the industrial scale construction of Italy's first chemical plastic recycling plant, which will be located in Cerano, in the province of Novara.

ChemPET, according to Garbo, is based on a chemical recycling technology that, unlike the mechanical process, allows for the recycling of types of plastics, such as coloured plastics, for which there are currently no alternatives, and produces higher quality material. Furthermore, unlike the mechanical process, rPET from this process does not lose its properties during the recycling process.

ChemPET also makes process and by-product management easier while avoiding the use of flammable or hazardous materials.

This technology, as well as upcoming solutions, represents the industry's major push to increase not only recycling rates and recycled material quality, but also compliance with the regulations that plastic products must contain more recycled materials, and in the case of PET bottles, at least 25% recycled content, according to EU directives.

There are clear concerns over the mass balance approach to approximating the recycled content of individual plastic items and customer acceptance is critical. If recycling capacity is to grow however, and the move towards greater plastics circularity accelerated, then clearer policy support is required.

The industry view is that the mass balance model can be based on credible third-party verification and certification. Chemicals trade group Cefic says that process losses and outputs, consumed as energy, should not count towards the recycled content targets. At present the sector lacks a standardised approach, with the commonly-used methodology behind mass balance remaining contentious.

In mechanical recycling mass balance can also refer to the process of using a credit system to substitute the use of recycled material in one end-use for another in order to meet sustainability targets.

The concept of greenwashing is coming under increasing scrutiny in the EU, with regulators announcing a stronger push on eliminating the practice as deadlines to reach certain thresholds for recycling and carbon abatement draw closer.

At present, many of the systems for quantifying decarbonisation and waste-reduction remain fragmented, with McKinsey noting that the environmental, social and governance (ESG) space is currently similar to the state financial reporting was in a century ago.

Systems are likely to become more standardised over time, but the complexity of chemical – and even mechanical – makes the process a complex one, with few easy answers.

Materials News 8 APRIL 2023

Adopting pathways to carbon neutrality

China is leading the way in increasing the use of renewable energy and developing new energy vehicles to reduce carbon emissions, adds Angelica Buan in this article.

Becoming net-zero by switching to low-carbon energy

Without a doubt, China is the world's factory, an industrial powerhouse that is a major pillar of global economic growth. However, the negative consequences of its brisk economic activity can be traced back to the volume of carbon emissions, specifically those emitted by the energy sector, which accounts for 90% of China's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

According to the World Bank 's Country Climate and Development Report for China , China emits 27% of global carbon dioxide and one-third of global GHG. With the global push to reduce carbon emissions, China's success in reducing carbon emissions will help the world meet its 1.5°C global warming limit target.

As it works toward its economic goals, the country has made it a priority to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, and green energy policies are being developed as a result.

Energy Agency ( IEA ) report, An Energy Sector Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality in China

Furthermore, Nearly 10% of the renewable energy and electric vehicle patents are filed in China.

Over the years, China has made significant investments in the energy transition. According to the Energy Foundation China ’s, China 2050 High Renewable Energy Penetration Scenario and Roadmap Study , the nation has committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 2030. This is made possible by the development of its renewable energy sector.

Not moving away from coal

Coal, like oil and gas are non-renewable fossil fuels and by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75% of GHG emissions and nearly 90% of all carbon dioxide emissions, according to the United Nations ( UN ).

Despite its efforts to promote renewable energy, China, the world’s largest consumer, producer and importer of coal continues to invest in coal plants.

China's new coal-fired power capacity in 2022 reached 26,765 MW, up from 26,217 MW in 2021 but less than half of the 40,860 MW in 2019.

According to the 2023 briefing from Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air , 50 GW of coal power capacity began construction in China in 2022, an increase of more than 50% from 2021.

New coal power projects totalling 106 GW, or two sizable coal power plants every week, were approved; 60 GW of the projects permitted in 2022 were not under construction in January 2023, but are expected to begin soon.

But an expansive shift in resources and innovation is needed to make this transition. The fact that China pioneers clean energy innovation is not surprising. China's public spending on low-carbon energy R&D has increased by 70% since 2015, according to the International

In total, 86 GW of new coal power projects were launched, more than doubling the 40 GW planned for 2021. The most capacity was added in Guangdong, Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang, and Hubei.

Coal production and imports both increased dramatically. Between January and February, 730 million tonnes of raw coal were produced,

9 APRIL 2023
Country FoCus
Prefecture-level regions are said to boost installed wind and solar energy capacity by at least 800 million kW between 2021 and 2025

representing a 5.8% increase year-on-year, with an average daily output of 12.44 million tonnes.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics , coal imports totalled 60.64 million tonnes, a 70.8% increase year-on-year.

The immense and ongoing use of coal, however, does not imply that the country is abandoning its commitments to reduce carbon emissions.

China has the fourth largest coal reserves in the world and produces roughly 90% of the coal it consumes. With the country's rising energy demand, it relies on coal, which is cheap and abundant, to power its industries and meet its electricity needs.

Robust adoption of high renewable energy

At the rate of renewable energy development, China's 14th Five-Year Plan target of requiring 33% of electricity consumption to come from renewables by 2025 is likely to be met sooner than expected. This is demonstrated by ongoing and planned installations across the country.

Research conducted by the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences indicated that prefecture-level regions plan to increase installed capacity for wind and solar energy by at least 800 million kW between 2021 and 2025.

Overall, the pace of renewable energy capacity development is rapid. Installed capacity increased in the first two months of 2023.

News agency Xinhua has reported that wind power installed capacity increased 11% yearon-year to approximately 370 million kW by the end of February 2023, while solar power installed capacity increased 30.8% year-onyear to approximately 410 million kW. Over this period, China's installed power generation capacity totalled about 2.6 billion kW, an increase of 8.5% over the previous year.

At the same time, major Chinese power companies invested a total of RMB28.3 billion in solar energy in the first two months of the year.

Meanwhile, efforts are clearly paying off as a recent data from National Bureau of Statistics of China show that in 2022, the electricity generated by clean energy such as hydropower, nuclear power, wind power and solar power was 2,959.9 billion kWh, up by 8.5% over the previous year,

Hotspot for solar energy

China currently dominates global solar photovoltaic (PV) supply chains, according to an IEA report.

Since 2011, China has invested more than US$50 billion in new PV supply capacity, ten times more than Europe, and has created more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs across the solar PV value chain. China accounts for more than 80% of all solar panel manufacturing processes (including polysilicon, ingots, wafers, cells, and modules), which is more than twice its share of the world's PV demand.

China is currently building what it claims is the world's largest wind power and PV base in the Kubuqi Desert, China's seventh largest desert, and Gobi areas.

10 APRIL 2023
Country Fo C us
Guangdong remains one of the provinces with the most coal power plant capacity, despite a ban on the expansion and construction of coal-fired power plants and privately owned captive power stations in the Pearl River Delta's central region CTG is constructing the world's largest wind power and PV base project in the Kubuqi Desert of Ordos, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. It is China's first 10-million-kW new-energy power plant in the works

The project, which is being undertaken jointly by state-owned power company China Three Gorges Corporation ( CTG ), and electricity integrated services provider Inner Mongolia Energy Group , is expected to have a total installed capacity of 16 million kW.

The project, which has received over RMB80 billion in investment, is expected to deliver approximately 40 billion kWh/year of electricity to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, or onetenth of Hebei Province's annual electricity consumption. Also located in the Kubuqi Desert is the Junma Solar Power Station, another massive PV facility with more than 196,000 PV panels and has produced more than 2.312 billion kWh of electricity.


Jun.14-16, 2023

Green light for new energy vehicles

The transition from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) is likewise intended to reduce the carbon footprint of the automotive industry and meet the 2060 carbon neutrality expectations.

Policies such as the New Energy Vehicle Industrial Development Plan 2021- 2035, which follows the Energy-Saving and New Energy Vehicle Industry Plan 2012-2020, are in place to create a globally competitive automotive industry through the creation of cutting-edge EV technologies, a charging service network, and battery electric vehicles (BEVs); as well as to improve national energy security and air quality, combat climate change, and promote high-growth industries.


2023上海国际 发泡材料技术工业

Interfoam China focuses on the displays of the latest foam products and equipment, new technologies, new trends, new applications and so on, and spares no e orts to build a professional platform integrating trade, brand display as well as academic exchange for both upstream and downstream of the foam industry and its application enterprises.

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Chinese NEV manufacturers Li Auto and XPeng increased electric vehicle deliveries in the first quarter of the year

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Additionally, the latest 14-year plan is intended to put China in a position to successfully meet future demand for autonomous, connected, electrified, and shared mobility, according to the International Council for Clean Transportation ( ICCT ).

The growing popularity of EVs, which includes fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and BEVs, is evident.

Based on data from China Automobile Association of Manufacturers ( CAAM ), production of EVs in February 2023 increased by 18.1% year-on-year, while sales increased by 20.8% year-on-year.

To meet market demand, major automotive makers are also speeding up the rollout of EVs.

Leading manufacturer of EVs in China, Li Auto , delivered 20,823 vehicles in March 2023, an increase of 88.7% from the same month the previous year. According to Li Auto, it has captured nearly 20% of the RMB300,000 to RMB500,000 SUV market in China, establishing itself as a premium family SUV brand of choice.

Similarly, Guangzhou-based smart EV manufacturer XPeng intends to drive Smart EV transformation through technology and data in order to improve mobility experience, it said.

With strong sales, the company reported it delivered almost 7,000 Smart EVs in March 2023, a 17% increase over the previous month. In the first quarter of 2023, it delivered a total of 18,230 vehicles.


the country achieve its net-zero status?

Thus, though China has made notable progress in its clean energy transition, but it still faces some significant challenges.

Coal accounts for over 60% of electricity generation, and China continues to build new coal power plants domestically. At the same time, China has added more solar power capacity than any other country year-after-year. It is the second largest oil consumer in the world, but it also home to 70% of global manufacturing capacity for EV batteries.

At the same time, reaching China’s climate targets cannot rely solely on the rollout of renewables and EVs. It will need to involve solutions to tackle emissions from its huge

existing fleet of fossil fuel-based power plants, steel mills, cement kilns and other industrial facilities. If the existing emissions-intensive energy infrastructure in China continues to operate in the same way as it does today, its CO2 output between now and 2060 would amount to onethird of the global carbon budget for limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C. This is aside from any new plants that may be built to meet growing demand, says the IEA.

China Roadmap , thus, sets out a pathway consistent with the enhanced ambitions that China announced last year in which CO2 emissions reach a peak before 2030 and carbon neutrality is achieved before 2060.

The main drivers of emissions reductions between now and 2030 in this pathway are energy efficiency improvements, expansion of renewables and a reduction in coal use.

Electricity generation from renewables, mainly wind and solar PV, increased seven-fold between 2020 and 2060, accounting for almost 80% of China’s power mix by then.

Industrial CO2 emissions are expected to decline by nearly 95% by 2060, with the role of emerging innovative technologies, such as hydrogen and carbon capture, growing strongly after 2030.

All these changes will boost China’s labour market, with more new jobs created in growing low-carbon energy technologies than are lost in declining fossil fuel industries.

12 APRIL 2023
The China Roadmap lays out a path that is consistent with the country's target of peaking CO2 emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060

Improving global carbon emissions, one package at a time

Designing consumer product packaging to reduce carbon footprint is a win-win for global sustainability causes, adds Angelica Buan in this report.

In 2022, global CO2 emissions from energy increased by 0.9% or 321 tonnes, setting a new record of more than 36.8 gigatonnes. According to the International Energy Agency ( IEA )’s CO2 Emissions in 2022 report, emissions from energy combustion increased by 423 metric tonnes (Mt) while emissions from industrial processes decreased by 102 tonnes.

Meanwhile, the Climate Collaborative (comprising a community of businesses joining forces to tackle climate change) says that packaging contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) because it typically consumes 5% of the energy used during a food product's life cycle. Furthermore, some goods' packaging has a greater impact on climate change than the fuel used to transport them to market.

As noted in UNEP's Emissions Gap Report 2022 , only an immediate system-wide transformation will result in the significant reductions in GHGs required to meet a 1.5°C target by 2030, or by 45% compared to current policy projections.

Current policies predict a 2.8°C temperature rise by the end of the century, well short of the Paris Agreement target of keeping global warming well below 2°C.

As a result, adopting the circular economy model is expected to accelerate progress toward these goals.

The Carbon Collaborative defines circular economies as systems that "eliminate waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems."

A company's bottom line can benefit from adopting a circular ethos, and brand reputation and leadership can be strengthened as a result, it adds. To accomplish this, circular product packaging has to be designed, and resources invested in materials and methods to close resource loops.


Tackling rising carbon emissions with circular packaging solutions

With these figures obviously on the uptrend, rising carbon emissions is seemingly becoming out of control. And that seems to be the case, because authoritative institutions like the United Nations Environmental Programme ( UNEP ) are issuing dire warnings after new findings that emissions are not going down significantly.

Meanwhile, by utilising advancements in design and end-of-life systems, the World Economic Forum has estimated that 50% of the world's plastic packaging can generate income even after its initial use, amounting to as much as US$3 billion annually across all OECD countries, including the US.

Thus, awareness to circular packaging has reached fever pitch and currently, industry leaders, brands and manufacturers are collaborating in efforts to improve the carbon footprint of packaging.

True sustainable packaging with rPLA

Consumers consider the packaging's ability to be recycled and biodegraded as well as its sustainability. The amount of recycled content in a packaging also matters today, so companies are increasing the amount of recycled content materials in their products.

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typically consumes 5% of the energy used during the life cycle of a food product

Consultant McKinsey 's True Packaging Sustainability report provides these insights on sustainability, which it claims can be divided into three main components, namely, removing packaging leakage into the environment, increasing recyclability and utilising recycled content in packaging, as well as minimising packaging's carbon footprint.

Closed-loop economy with rPET PET is the most recycled plastic in the world, and its recyclable, flexible, safe, and lightweight properties are driving sustainable growth. Due to rising demand from the food and beverage industry, the recycled PET (rPET) market size is anticipated to surpass US$ 17.2 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 7.6%, according to Acumen Research Investments in rPET are also increasing, as indicated by partnerships to produce more rPET materials and rPET-based packaging.

Thailand-based chemical firm Indorama Ventures ( IVL ) is collaborating with Evertis , a producer of mono and multilayer semi rigid barrier films, on the development of a PET film suitable for use in food packaging trays based on recycled PET flakes.

TotalEnergies Corbion, Posco International, and Esol have joined forces to improve PLA recycling infrastructure and technology in South Korea

Building on growing carbon neutrality initiatives worldwide, TotalEnergies Corbion , Posco International , and Esol formed a partnership to advance polylactic acid (PLA) recycling infrastructure and technology in South Korea, which is pushing its five-year National Strategy for Green Growth strategy to decarbonise and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Posco, South Korea’s largest trading company, intends to expand its green portfolio by entering the biobased plastic recycling sector. While Posco will manage and finance the project, Esol, also from South Korea that already produces PLAbased products in the country, is in charge of retrieving the post-consumer recyclate (PCR) PLA waste and advancing the technology to collect and sort, purify, clean, and rework the PLA.

The partnership will enable TotalEnergies Corbion, which is already supplying its Luminy brand of rPLA to the South Korean market, to leverage its existing advanced recycling technology and infrastructure to establish a recycling infrastructure throughout its supply chain for a more sustainable use of plastics in the country’s growing PLA market.

PLA, a low-carbon-footprint alternative to traditional plastics, is quickly becoming a popular material for bottles, containers, and other food service and packaging products. Luminy's mechanical and advanced recycling is increasing PLA demand in the food packaging sector, adds TotalEnergies Corbion.

After six years of R&D, IVL is now commercially producing rPET flakes from PCR trays in Verdun, France, that are comparable in quality to flakes derived from bottles, it adds. The Deja carbon neutral PET pellet, the latest addition to its Deja portfolio, is said to be the world’s first certified carbon neutral PET pellet solution.

The tie-up will support Evertis’s target of an average incorporation of 50% recycled content in its films by 2025, helping it to further meet its sustainability goals. Plus, Evertis adds that the new technology also protects and preserves food, reducing about 154 million tonnes/year of food waste costing EUR143 billion across the EU.

IVL says its new recycling technology has the potential to divert over 50 million post-consumer PET trays from landfills or incineration each year, and supports the EU’s plastic collection and recycling targets.

14 APRIL 2023
Indorama Ventures and Evertis are collaborating to strengthen circularity in PET food tray packaging


Global-scale sustainability with rPET PET producers and chemical companies are likely to support a technology that enables true circularity for PET by using alternative feedstock to petroleum-based monomers and is fully compatible with existing polymerisation plants. Carbios, a French company in the field of biochemistry, offers brand owners a way to comply with expanding regulatory standards and achieve their sustainability goals for using rPET in their goods and packaging.

Carbios , which is preparing to commercialise its PET biorecycling technology on a global scale, said that the engineering basis and operational guidelines for units to be operated under license agreements are defined by the successful ongoing operations in its demonstration unit in ClermontFerrand and the advanced engineering study for its first commercial plant that is due to be commissioned in 2025.

Future Carbios licensees will be given all necessary process documentation to engineer, procure, construct, and operate their PET biorecycling plants under stringent HSE standards. Also this relates to high product quality, from technology promotion with the technical information summary to project development with a specific process design package and process book, it adds.

Carbios says it aims to reach out to other players in the value chain, such as waste management companies and public entities, by adding value to all possible sources of PET feedstock, including complex plastic packaging and textile waste.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, the Technical Committee of the Tray Circularity Evaluation Platform (TCEP) of PETCORE Europe has officially endorsed

DESIGN &materials Sustainability smart technology
Carbios is gearing up for global commercialisation of its PET biorecycling technology

Perstorp’s products have been endorsed in Europe for the design of circular thinwall food packaging solutions for hot-fill applications

the use of Akestra 100 and Akestra 110, products manufactured by specialty chemicals innovator Perstorp , for the production of heat-resistant PET trays. Furthermore, the committee has recognised that the use of Akestra 100 and Akestra 110 do not have a negative impact on current European PET recycling streams.

TCEP is a voluntary European industry initiative that provides PET thermoforms design guidelines for recycling, evaluates thermoform packaging solutions and technologies, and facilitates understanding of the effects of new PET thermoforms innovations on the recycling process.

Akestra 100 and Akestra 110 enable customers to enhance rPET by adding heat resistance capabilities and also achieve sustainability targets by increasing recycled material content and enabling design for circularity.

With this endorsement, Akestra 100 and Akestra 110 are established to enable circular packaging solutions with high PCR content, and for being recyclable in existing recycling streams for tray-to-tray.

The products can also be used in Europe as replacement of linear traditional packaging made of PS or PP in the design of circular thinwall food packaging solutions for hot-fill applications.

Malaysia being developed as a biohub

In a related development, Hotpack Global , a Dubai-based food packaging manufacturer, is investing around US$90 million over the next ten years to build biodegradable packaging plants in Malaysia in collaboration with Free the Seed Sdn Bhd , a Malaysian manufacturer of biodegradable products from rice straw.

The company said that it aims to produce 70 million units/year of sustainable, fastmoving consumer goods (FMCG) packaging products, since the completion of the first plant. The project is being facilitated by Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation (MBDC) and Malaysian Investment Development Authority ( MIDA ).

Construction of Hotpack Global’s 3,200 sq m plant, its first-ever manufacturing unit of in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, has commenced with a recently held ground-breaking ceremony in Gurun, Kedah. Construction will begin in May and is slated to be completed in August this year.

Malaysia is committed to environmental protection and meeting global targets with lower carbon emissions, as highlighted in its own 12th Malaysia plan and expected to become a leading biodegradable hub in Southeast Asia as a result of the project.

The project also allowed Hotpack Global to reach an agreement with local Malaysian farmers to ensure a consistent supply of agricultural raw materials.

The factory will make biodegradable food packaging out of agricultural waste such as rice straw, pineapple leaves, bagasse (the pulpy fibrous material left over after crushing sugarcane) and other agro-biomass materials.

In addition, as part of its 2025 strategy, the UAEbased company will be able to manufacture and supply a new line of biodegradable products for its global markets, including the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, as well as establish a presence in Southeast Asia.

Eventually, the project is expected to position Hotpack Global as one of the world's top five producers of disposable food packaging products, within the next three years – an ambition that is going to accelerate the reduction of global carbon emissions.

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Hotpack Global will invest approximately US$90 million over the next ten years in Malaysia to construct biodegradable packaging plants


Kuraray develops biobased, highbarrier, recyclable granulate for paper coating

Kuraray, the global speciality chemicals company headquartered in Japan, has launched a new grade of its sustainable, high-performance barrier material named Plantic. As a plant-based granulate developed specifically for extrusion coating, Plantic EP can is suitable for the development of sustainable gas and aroma-barrier solutions for paper, cardboard and traditional film substrates. A recent certificate awarded by Western Michigan University (WMU) confirms that this new material is repulpable and recyclable. It can therefore be used as the basis for sustainable barrier pouch and carton formats for brand owners and converters. Plantic EP gives the market a high-barrier material that is fully recoverable and recyclable in the US paper stream.

“Companies have recognised the importance of packaging that maintains product integrity and shelf life, while consumers don’t want to buy products that add to landfills,” says Tom Black of Kuraray’s Plantic unit. “We noticed a gap in the market and the need for a sustainable material that could be used to produce pouches and cartons with high barrier properties. It was clear that Plantic EP could be a game-changer. As well as complementing customers’ and retailers’ dynamic product ranges, Plantic EP helps them achieve their sustainability goals – thanks to certification from Western Michigan University that it is both repulpable and recyclable, enabling us all to leave behind a better world for our children.”

“We noticed a gap in the market and the need for a sustainable material that could be used to produce pouches and cartons with high barrier properties. It was clear that Plantic EP could be a game-changer,” said Tom Black, Director of Plantic Sales at Kuraray America

(MAP) for food with a longer shelf life, for example, for odour-free packaging of dry foods. In bags, trays, tubes and pouches, combined with paper or plastics, Plantic is said to be versatile and can be applied by extrusion coating, lamination or extrusion lamination

Since the Plantic layer simply dissolves in water, additional inner sealing layers can be separated cleanly from paper in the repulping process. That increases the yield of paper fibres, resulting in pulp without specks and impurities. The Plantic layer also dissolves during high-temperature washing in conventional PET recycling streams and decomposes into biomass, CO2 and water without any residues. Plantic biopolymer is certified for industrial and home composting. It is also produced without plasticisers and genetically modified raw materials and allows energy savings of up to 40% compared with conventional polymers. Thus, it can significantly reduce the environmental impact compared with conventional packaging and enables re-use of materials that could not previously be recycled, according to Kuraray.

Recyclable, high-barrier properties

To develop a recyclable, high-barrier pouch, Kuraray applied Plantic EP to kraft paper using the extrusion coating process with a bonding/heat-sealing layer of polyethylene from Westlake. Flexible pouches and cartons with high barrier properties can be produced using Plantic EP in combination with multi-layer films. The additional structural layers can be separated, re-used and, where appropriate, recycled or composted.

Starch-based material with benefits

Plantic contains more than 80% corn starch, a renewable and fully biogradable raw material. Thanks to its high gas barrier properties, this highperformance film enables the development of sustainable multi-layer packaging that effectively keeps out oxygen and optimally preserves aromas. Therefore, Plantic can also in modified atmosphere packaging

Plantic is suitable for packaging foods with a prolonged shelf life in a modified atmosphere (MAP) as it is for odour-proof packaging of dry foods, from coffee and tea to dry animal feed

17 APRIL 2023


“In this collaboration with Kuraray, we used all our application development resources to create a really unique offering,” says Amy Moore, Vice President of Westlake. “We see the benefits of Kuraray’s technology and look forward to working together on further developments as Kuraray commercialises the technology across the bandwidth of market segments and categories.”

Speciality chemicals expert Kuraray recognised brand owners’ the need for sustainability-certified packaging. Therefore, it asked WMU to assess the repulpability and recyclability of the Plantic EP/Westlake pouch made from coated paper. Since it can be completely washed out in the recycling process, WMU certified the recyclability of the Plantic EP/Westlake pouch in October 2022.

“WMU certification as confirmation of recyclability is an important first step in securing a How2Recycle label,” says Black. “When developing packaging formats for brand owners, producers want to see that the materials they are using have been vetted by WMU. Certification enables them to apply to How2Recycle for a prevalidation letter, which speeds up the introduction of Plantic EP-based high-barrier solutions.”

Plantic EP is currently available for testing and is already being used commercially by several brands around the world. Specific application scenarios include the production of pouches and cartons for products such as coffee, pet food, dry goods, and so on.

exhiBition Preview

Kuraray adds that it is currently assessing the recyclability of this product in European recycling streams. Initial internal test results are now available and are promising.

"We see a great demand for materials that improve the sustainability profile of packaging," says Stefan Corbus, Market Development Engineer at Kuraray. "Food packaging is particularly demanding, because here ecological aspects must go hand in hand with functional properties - the sensitive food must be perfectly protected by its packaging. Many brand owners are already well on their way here, and with Plantic, Kuraray is making an important contribution to enabling our customers in the food industry to develop innovative packaging solutions."

Plantic Technologies Ltd. has been a part of Kuraray Group since 2015. Plantic is certified for renewable content, biodegradability in soil and water and compostability by independent international testing and certification companies in numerous countries, including TÜV Austria.

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Exhibitors at Chinaplas 2023 add sustainability to their focus

ExxonMobil targets Chinese processors with portfolio of sustainable solutions

US materials firm ExxonMobil, with a focus on serving the fast-growing market in China, is progressing a world-scale chemical complex with a 1.6 million-tonne/year flexible feed steam cracker and more than 2.5 million tonnes/ year high performance PE and PP units in HuiZhou, GuangDong Province.

The company also recently celebrated the key milestones of lifting the project towers and groundbreaking at the Dayawan Technology Centre (DTC). DTC will be ExxonMobil’s fifth global technology centre and the first comprehensive technology centre equipped with a pilot plant outside of North America, integrating product R&D and process development.

To serve the Chinese market further, the company will demonstrate a host of products at its Chinaplas 2023 Booth 17J61 and at the booths of machine manufacturers (OEMs).

Solutions with sustainability benefits will be featured

that highlight the use of Exceed S performance PE, ExxonMobil PP, Achieve Advanced PP, Vistamaxx performance polymers, and Exxtend technology for advanced recycling of plastic waste in a broad range of applications including packaging, hygiene, automotive, agriculture, building and construction, and consumer products.

Some of the solutions produced with sustainability benefits through collaborations include:

• Downgauged solutions that can do more with less by reducing material use while helping to maintain or boost performance using ExxonMobil performance polymers. Samples will include downgauged air tube bags.

• Solutions designed for recyclability by reducing the number of components, including those often considered more difficult to mechanically recycle. Samples will include:

- Mono-material full PE stand-up pouches (SUP); full PE laundry seed packaging; and thermoformed

18 APRIL 2023

packaging containing no polyamides.

- An electric vehicle (EV) neat resin pillar.

- Resilient luxury polyolefin tile (LPT) flooring; thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) carpet tiles; and PE raised temperature resistant (PE-RT) pipe.

• Solutions that help enable mechanically recycled content to be incorporated, and even increased, because ExxonMobil says its performance polymers are used to help maintain or boost performance. Samples will include:

- Heavy duty sacks (HDS), trash liners and courier bags that incorporate recycled PE content.

- Mobil lubricant bottles that incorporate recycled HDPE content that has been modified with Vistamaxx that can help enhance bottle durability.

- Mini suitcases incorporating Vistamaxx and recycled PP content.

• Solutions made with ISCC PLUS certified-circular polymers through mass balance allocation that leverage Exxtend technology for advanced recycling of plastic waste, which can help broaden the range of plastic waste that can be recycled. Certified-circular polymers can deliver the same performance as virgin resins, which are critical if the value chain wants to use these materials in sensitive applications like food packaging.

Also being featured is ExxonMobil’s new Exceed S performance PE that can offer combinations of stiffness and toughness while being easy to process, enabling converters to rethink film redesign for simpler solutions. Exceed S can help facilitate solutions with sustainability benefits by enhancing film performance, maintaining comparable performance at a thinner gauge, producing more durable mono-material film structures, or enabling the incorporation of high percentages of recycled content.

Demonstrating how Exceed S can deliver “so much, so simply”, Nordmeccanica (Booth 1B15) will run a PE// PE pillow pouch made with Exceed S; and Haboshi (Booth 2S41) will run a downgauged HDS made with Exceed S.

ExxonMobil’s Exceed S performance PE resins are said to provide tougher, stiffer air tube packaging, helping products ordered through e-commerce transactions get delivered safely and potentially reducing product returns

For the first time in China, ExxonMobil will also introduce an Exact plastomer medical grade, which complies with a number of regulatory requirements for use in a variety of medical applications including syringes, IV bags and bottles. Several medical product samples will be showcased, while Borche (Booth 12J31) will run medical pipette tips made with ExxonMobil PP6014MED, a medical compliant homo-polymer PP grade.

Kiefel showcasing new KMD 90 Smart; capable of processing recycled/PLA resins

German machinery firm Kiefel is demonstrating the new Speedformer KMD 90 Smart steel rule cutting machineengineered in Germany and made in China, it adds. The model is equipped with the latest features and options, processing various materials for the packaging industry. Furthermore, new solutions for the appliance industry - also engineered in Germany and made in China - will be shown at its booth 10Q21 in Hall 10.

The world premiere of the new Kiefel machine, Speedformer KMD 90 Smart, will launch it globally for sales in China and many other countries. It is engineered for the production of food and non-food plastic packaging e.g. trays and containers, made from PET, PP, PLA, PS, PE or recycled plastics.

The machine is 100% made by Kiefel and combines German technology with Chinese local manufacturing benefits, made in parent company Brueckner Group’s factory in Suzhou, China.

The KMD 90 Smart complements the smaller KMD 78 Smart, which was shown at Chinaplas 2021.

The high degree of automation and the time-saving tool change system are as much part of the mature concept as the steel rule cutting and the integrated stacking station. Additionally the machine comes with a forming area of 870 x 920 mm, a tool dimension area of 890 x 940 mm and can produce formed parts with a height of up to 160 mm. The machine is said to be efficient and sustainable, e.g. through the film temperature measurement with closedloop control or drives with energy recovery system.

Kiefel is also underlining its presence in China with its new machine solutions for the appliance industry. From now on Kiefel is building Sharpformer Kid 1.250 Smart machines in China.

This inline thermoforming machine for the production of HIPS and ABS refrigerator inner-liners and doorliners utilises vacuum-pressure forming technology for more demanding shapes and higher production speeds. The 1.250 Smart can produce side-by-side products using just one mould.

Following Kiefel’s strategy dedicated to the Chinese market, the 1.250 Smart is also engineered in Germany and assembled in China, Suzhou.

Furthermore, Kiefel says that since the machine has been “well received” by Chinese customers, further machine

19 APRIL 2023
Exhibition PrEviEw

Exhibition PrEviEw

Several packaging products, like this PET container, can be produced in high volumes on the KMD 90 Smart

of recipes. Coperion says it has already realised numerous systems for the production of bioplastics and therefore has know-how in designing the process steps needed to achieve the required mechanical properties of the bioplastic end product.

The STS 25 Mc11 laboratory extruder that Coperion will show at Chinaplas, has a 25 mm screw diameter and features a simple design. It is operator-friendly and easy to clean.

By having the same screw diameter ratio and the same maximum specific torque as the entire STS Mc11 extruder series, production parameters can be reliably scaled up to a larger STS model.

types for the refrigerator industry will be successively offered according to the same concept, engineered in Germany and assembled in China.

Chinese and Asian customers, in particular, therefore benefit from shorter delivery times, faster spare parts availability, as well as competent local support from the Kiefel team in China.

Coperion and Herbold display compounding/recycling solutions and for production of bioplastics

Machine maker Coperion GmbH, Stuttgart/Germany, will showcase its expertise in plastics recycling at its Booth 10K31 in Hall 10 with a virtual complete system for recycling PET. This plant allows a look inside numerous key components from Coperion and recently acquired partner Herbold Meckesheim, with whom Coperion now offers complete systems for plastics recycling.

In terms of its conventional compounding systems, the ZSK 58 Mc18 twin-screw extruder, with a specific torque of 18 Nm/cm³ that will be on display, has been locally assembled at Coperion’s manufacturing site in Nanjing, China. With the assembly in China, Coperion is able to meet to customer demand, such as faster service and parts.

The extruder will be fitted with a Coperion K-Tron K-MLSFS-KT20 twin-screw loss-in-weight feeder.

In addition to compounding and recycling, Coperion extruders are suitable for the production of bioplastics. This process places high demands on the extrusion system due to the diversity of base polymers being used and the variety

To extend the process window, Coperion has increased the screw speed of the STS 25 Mc11. Thus, the laboratory extruder is ideally suited for recipe development and basic research with small batch sizes of 2 kg and achieves throughput rates of up to 110 kg/hour.

Also on display will be a Coperion K-Tron K2-ML-D5-T35/ S60 quick change feeder, featuring the ActiFlow smart bulk solid activator and Electronic Pressure Compensation (EPC) in combination with a 2400 Series vacuum receiver for refill.

The T35/S60 quick change feeder (QC) on display is designed for applications requiring quick changeover of materials and convenience of fast cleaning. The QC feeder allows for fast removal of the entire feeding module with screws in place for replacement with a second unit. Twin and single-screw feeding modules are available.

The ActiFlow smart bulk solid activator offers an innovative method to reliably prevent bridging and rat-holing of cohesive bulk materials in stainless steel hoppers without internal hopper agitation. The smart flow aid applies gentle vibrations to the hopper wall, hereby carefully activating the contained material with the optimal amplitude and frequency. It is designed specifically to work with Coperion K-Tron’s line of gravimetric loss-in-weight feeders.

As well, the 2400 Series vacuum receivers provide a high-capacity sequencing system primarily used where larger conveying rates or long distances are required, in applications with one or multiple destinations. They are designed to high quality standards for pneumatically conveying powder, pellets and granular materials for most industries. Conveying rates range from 327 to 6,804 kg/hour.

The 2415 pellet receiver will be on display at Chinaplas 2023.

20 APRIL 2023
Coperion and Herbold will demonstrate a PET recycling system at the booth

KRAIBURG TPE’s sustainable TPE gets a grip on the Victory toothbrush

It is without doubt premium environmental toothbrushes with innovative features and aesthetics will gain a larger share of the oral hygiene products market in time to come.

As functionalities and designs must meet the expectations of discerning consumers, advanced materials such as sustainable thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are beneficial for the environment.

Global TPE manufacturer offering custom-engineered TPE solutions for a wide range of consumer product applications

KRAIBURG TPE, which only recently introduced its sustainable Thermolast R TPE compound for the Asia Pacific market, has seen the compound series make its foray into the toothbrush consumer daily use market; in collaboration with Thailand’s top toothbrush maker The First Thai Brush Co Ltd

Teaming up with a market leader

KRAIBURG TPE’s sustainable TPE series, which contains up to 35% post-consumer recycled (PCR) content (hardnessdependent), has had one of its first applications in Asia by First Thai Brush for its new Victory toothbrush.

The new sustainable TPE compound provides the properties needed to create cutting-edge toothbrushes in terms of aesthetics, safety, compliance, durability, versatility, and sustainability. Additionally, this material solutions are meet food contact regulatory standards (FDA) CFR21, REACH SVHC, and RoHS.

Moreover, the addition of a sustainable TPE portfolio allows First Thai Brush Co to align their commitment to environmental stewardship.

"We've been using KRAIBURG TPE materials since the 1990s and have found them to be a great fit for our toothbrush application,” said Kit Tae, Deputy Managing Director of First Thai Brush.

He also added that KRAIBURG TPE's team had been “extremely helpful with material selection, design

optimisation, and processing recommendations”.

“Their technical knowledge and customer service are exceptional. We particularly value the materials' versatility, which can be tailored to meet our specific needs. The sustainability of the materials has also impressed us, which aligns with our commitment to environmental responsibility," he furthered.

Adding comfort to a toothbrush

First Thai Brush says its Victory Toothbrush has soft and thin tapered bristles for deep penetration of tooth and gum lines.

Based on Japanese technology, the wide brush head and longer handles allow the user to reach deeper into their mouth for a more thorough clean, adds the firm.

The TPE application on the toothbrush handle provides a soft touch and an anti-slip grip, allowing for brushing with a firm hold.

The compound series, available in translucent and natural colours, includes a variety of colour options, including colour effects, for greater design flexibility.

Good adhesion with PP

KRAIBURG TPE also says that its sustainable TPE has good adhesion with PP resin and a hardness range of 30 Shore A to 90 Shore A, providing a variety of options for application requirements.

Additionally, theTPE series has good mechanical properties, a non-sticky surface, temperature stability up to 80°C, and can be used as an alternative material to EPDM, PVC-P, and elastomers.

Sustainability and safety – the way ahead

With sustainability being a big issue of late in consumer products, KRAIBURGTPE’s sustainableTPE series has also been tested and certified that it can be introduced into the PP and HDPE recycling streams without affecting the recycled thermoplastics properties.

KRAIBURG TPE claims that it is currently the only global TPE supplier with this valid EU-wide certification.

Exclusive giveaways at Chinaplas 2023!

KRAIBURG TPE says it will be giving away the latest wide and long special edition of the Victory Toothbrush made by with its sustainable TPE at the upcoming Chinaplas 2023 exhibition, to be held at the Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Centre in Shenzhen, China.

The freebies will be available at its booth P73, Hall 17. Visitors can fill out the form at https://www.kraiburg-tpe. com/en/chinaplas

21 APRIL 2023
ThermoplasTics elasTomers
The Victory toothbrush features a handle made from sustainable TPE from Kraiburg

Injection Moulding Asia

Building a zero-net waste solution for EV batteries

With the automotive sector’s eventual transition to electric vehicles (EVs), sustainable manufacturing and recycling of EV batteries has become a focus, according to Angelica Buan in this article.

From charging stations to batteries: EV concerns

The global market for electric vehicles (EVs) is booming, especially following the downturn in the automotive sector during the pandemic period. The first half of 2022 saw more global sales of EVs than the six months before, according to an audit by European consultancy Roland Berger

Meanwhile, according to a Goldman Sachs Research , EVs will account for 50% of new vehicle sales globally by 2035, with EV sales expected to reach 73 million units in 2040, up from around 2 million in 2020. Meanwhile, IDTechEx predicts that EV markets on land, sea, and air will generate US$2.6 trillion by 2042, with a double-digit annual growth rate.

The rapid adoption of EVs has created a gap in charging infrastructure. In Roland Berger’s third edition EV Charging Index report, which polled over 15,000 customers in 30 countries, representing more than 93% of global EV sales, insufficient charging infrastructure was cited as the top concern by more than half of respondents (53%).

In Southeast Asia, however, a decline in the global EV-to-charging point ratio from 2 to 1.8 in the first half of 2022 suggests that the region’s sector is able to meet the level of demand at this time.

On the other hand, EV batteries are categorically becoming a barrier for wider EV adoption. According to consultancy McKinsey in its Race to Decarbonise Electric Vehicle Batteries report, while global demand for electric mobility has resulted in significant increases in battery production, with over 5 terawatt hours (TWh) of gigafactory capacity expected by 2030, more waste is also being generated as a result of this growth.

Similarly, some experts have disputed the environmental friendliness of EV production, pointing out that the production footprint of an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle is roughly twice that of an EV.

Factors ranging from the manufacture of the vehicle’s body to the source of electricity used in the EV’s production and fuel cycle emissions all contribute to the embedded emissions of EVs.

Decarbonisation of battery sector

McKinsey also mentions the carbon footprint of EV batteries, adding that producing a typical EV (with

a 75-kWh battery pack) emits more than 7 tonnes of CO2 emissions just from the battery.

As well, McKinsey estimates that the average EV battery today emits up to 100 kg of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour (CO2e/kWh).

Meanwhile, the materials and energy required to manufacture EV batteries account for the majority of the batteries’ carbon footprint. Mining raw materials such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel is not only labourintensive, but also harmful to the environment because it necessitates the use of chemicals and massive amounts of water and it can result in contaminants and toxic waste.

Hence, the market for lithium-ion batteries is anticipated to be driven by the electrification of vehicles. Because of their small size, ability to be recharged, ability to be recycled, and high-density energy output, lithium-ion batteries are already used extensively.

For this reason, demand for nickel will rise because it is required in the production of lithium batteries. Higher-nickel-content batteries are also preferred because they provide more energy and storage at a lower cost, allowing EVs to travel farther.

China dominates EV battery market; Indonesia catching up

The majority of EV batteries are manufactured in Asia, with China accounting for 70% of the market share, according to Global Supply Chains of EV Batteries report by the International Energy Agency ( IEA ).

According to Deloitte, China dominates the global battery and mineral supply chains because it produces almost 75% of all lithium-ion batteries. It also accounts Automotive 1 APRIL 2023
According to a consumer survey, rising EV adoption reveals a gap in charging infrastructure

for 70% of cathode production capacity and 85% of anode production capacity, which are both important components in batteries. Furthermore, it has more than half of the processing and refining capacity for lithium, cobalt, and graphite.

Global supply chains, however, have recently been disrupted, and a number of new players are making a difference, with Indonesia, positioning itself as an EV battery hub due to its abundance of nickel.

CO2e/kWh, or up to nearly ten times less than the current most emission-intensive OEMs.

To reduce carbon emissions while producing more EV batteries, recycling end-of-life batteries is being promoted as a practical, circular approach. Batterygrade materials such as graphite, nickel, cobalt, copper, manganese, aluminium, lithium, and other valuable metals can be recovered from used EV batteries through recycling.

In addition, it is well known that the extraction of lithium from the earth results in significant water usage in addition to environmental damage to the land and soil that are being mined.

Meanwhile, EV battery recycling is also a lucrative market, as stated by Meticulous Research ’s 2030 global forecast report. It adds that the recycling market is expected to be worth US$15.8 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 32.1% from 2023.

With today’s technologies, the carbon footprint of recycled battery materials has been significantly reduced: the carbon footprint of recycled batteries is typically four times that of raw materials derived from primary sources.

Indonesia is positioning itself as an EV battery hub, as it has the world’s largest nickel reserves, totaling 21 million tonnes and accounting for approximately 23.7% of all known nickel reserves

Indonesia has the largest nickel reserves in the world, totalling 21 million tonnes and accounting for about 23.7% of all known nickel reserves. These reserves are mostly concentrated in the east of the nation, particularly in Sulawesi and Halmahera. Deloitte cited that 30% of these nickel reserves are under the control of Indonesia’s state-owned mining industry holding company Mining Industry Indonesia ( MIND ID ) and its subsidiary, PT Aneka Tambang

As reported by Deloitte, Indonesia expects 2.2 million EVs to be in use by 2030, necessitating approximately 31,000 battery swapping stations and charging station points. According to its EV roadmap, 600,000 EVs and 2.5 million electric motorcycles will be produced by 2030.

Recycling for circularity, material recovery

According to McKinsey, a number of industry giants are already working to reduce emissions below 20 kg

Recycling lithium-ion batteries is viable. In order to produce, recover, and recycle lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese, US petrochemicals firm ExxonMobil , for instance, has developed a solvent extraction technology that can assist raw material suppliers, EV battery manufacturers, and recyclers.

When compared to other recovery processes, Escaid diluents from ExxonMobil for solvent extraction (SX) for battery recycling can enable +90% recovery of the rare metals at +95% purity with costeffective capital investments, high material selectivity, low energy consumption, and without toxic fumes.

Moulding Asia 2 APRIL 2023 Automotive
Cirba Solutions is building a world-class EV battery materials facility that will supply battery grade materials for over 500,000 EVs per year


Partnerships for end-of-life batteries to meet rising demand

Recycling of EV batteries is also being accelerated by two new developments. In South Carolina, Cirba Solutions , a US battery materials and management company for end-of-life batteries and gigafactory scrap, is developing a world-class EV battery materials facility that will supply enough battery grade materials for more than 500,000 EVs annually.

Over the next five years, the company intends to invest more than US$1 billion in the sector.

Beginning the first phase of a US$300 million investment in the state’s flagship lithium-ion EV battery recycling facility, Cirba will have its eighth operational facility in North America, and its fourth strategically located in South Carolina.

This flagship will bring critical battery materials to the US, focusing on the extraction of critical materials such as nickel, cobalt, and lithium from end-of-life hybrid and EV batteries, gigafactory scrap, and end-of-life consumer batteries. Groundbreaking is scheduled for this year, with operations set to begin in late 2024.

Elsewhere, Li-Cycle , a US-based lithium-ion battery recycler, is collaborating with Kion Group , a German provider of industrial trucks and supply chain solutions, in a global lithium-ion battery recycling partnership. The company is developing a new lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Harnes, France, where large global automotive OEMs have an established presence, and where plans to build three battery gigafactories have recently been announced.

Under the partnership, Li-Cycle will recycle lithium-ion batteries from Kion’s global brands using its proprietary submerged shredding technology, which it says is safe, environmentally

friendly, and cost-effective. The agreement, which is for an initial period until 2030, has designated Li-Cycle as Kion’s preferred global recycling partner to ensure that Kion batteries are recycled sustainably.

According to Kion, which currently has a global fleet of more than 1.7 million industrial trucks, including forklift and warehouse trucks, and is the largest industrial truck manufacturer in the EMEA region, Li-Cycle’s sustainable process allows up to 95% of the mass of a lithium-ion battery to be recovered and the critical minerals contained in those batteries to be used to manufacture new batteries.

Li-Cycle’s facility in France will be constructed in an existing building site with access to renewable energy. The plant is expected to have initial processing capacity of up to 10,000 tonnes/year of lithium-ion battery material, with option to expand to up to 25,000 tonnes/year. It is expected to leverage Li-Cycle’s ‘Generation 3’ Spoke technology, which has the capability to directly process full EV and energy storage battery packs without any manual dismantling.

The French facility is expected to become operational in 2024 and is expected to bring Li-Cycle’s future planned capacity across its global network to more than 100,000 tonnes/year of lithium-ion battery material.

Li-Cycle’s first European facility will be located in Germany and is expected to be the company’s largest facility to-date, with processing capacity for 30,000 tonnes/year of lithium-ion battery material, including main line and ancillary processing capacity.

Li-Cycle is also developing a facility in Norway, which is expected to have processing capacity of up to 10,000 tonnes/year of lithium-ion battery material.

Ascend Elements , a US-based battery recycling and engineered materials company, has entered into an agreement with Honda Motor to collaborate on stable procurement of recycled lithium-ion battery materials for Honda EVs in North America. Use of recycled battery materials in new EV batteries can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of electric vehicles.

Ascend Elements has recycled used lithiumion batteries for American Honda Motor Co. since 2021. The new agreement is an important step toward creating a closed-loop supply chain for recycled battery materials – including lithium, nickel, and cobalt – leveraging the efficiencies and environmental benefits of Ascend Elements’ patented Hydro-to-Cathode direct precursor synthesis process. Ascend Elements’ commercial products include recycled lithium, nickel, and cobalt,

Injection Moulding Asia 3
Kion Group and Li-Cycle have formed a global lithium-ion battery recycling partnership to recycle lithium-ion batteries from Kion’s global brands using Li-Cycle’s proprietary submerged shredding technology

as well as sustainable cathode precursor (pCAM) and cathode active materials (CAM) – all made from used lithium-ion batteries and gigafactory manufacturing scrap.

It adds that several peer-reviewed studies have shown Ascend Elements’ recycled battery materials can perform as well as virgin sources while reducing carbon emissions associated with mining.

Based in Westborough, Mass., Ascend Elements is a provider of sustainable, closed-loop battery material solutions. From EV battery recycling to commercialscale production of lithium-ion battery pCAM and CAM, Ascend Elements says it is revolutionising the production of sustainable lithium-ion battery materials.

Its Hydro-to-Cathode direct precursor synthesis technology produces new CAM from spent lithiumion cells more efficiently than traditional methods, resulting in improved economics and lowered GHG emissions as well as with fewer batteries going to landfilling.

With lithium-ion rechargeable batteries increasingly powering up the automotive, energy storage, consumer electronics, and other industrial and household applications, there needs to be improved technology and supply chain innovations to better manage battery manufacturing waste and end-of-life batteries and to meet the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade raw materials through a closedloop solution.

Italian machinery sales reach a high in 2022; driven by exports

Against the backdrop of higher exports, Amaplast (Italian association of manufacturers of plastics and rubber processing machinery and moulds) said the year 2022 closed with a higher turnover of EUR4.67 billion, its second highest to be recorded. Sales were 5% higher than 2021 and the forecast of EUR4.5 billion in December was somewhat cautious, it added.

The association said the sales high was “satisfying”, considering the “numerous difficulties confronting the industry over the course of the year – some of which are having continuing effects – between export restrictions to Russia, raw materials and component shortages, and skyrocketing energy costs”.

Higher exports in 2022

With almost all of its machinery exported (70%), Amaplast said it reached a turnover of EUR3 billion from exports, despite the difficult geopolitical situation. Its exports increased to South America (+33% overall, with Brazil topping the sales but lower sales for Colombia, Chile, and Peru).

Meanwhile, sales to Asia went up by 9%; sales to India stood out at 24%, while those to China declined by 7%. In the Middle East, sales were up by 11% overall, with the driving forces being Saudi Arabia (36%) and the Emirates (58%).

Sales to the US were down by 3% but those to Mexico rose by 35%. Closer to home in Europe, sales were up by 8%. Plus, after a “most excellent” 2021, Amaplast said the domestic market remained relatively stable, with a less pronounced increment of 0.8% and turnover of EUR2.54 billion.

It also added that “contradictory signals are arriving from the Africa, contrary to what was observed for 2021”. Exports to North Africa fell by 24% on average while those to sub-Saharan markets have increased by a similar proportion.

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Machinery News
Ascend Elements has tied up with Honda Motor for a stable procurement of recycled lithium-ion battery materials for Honda EVs in the US
2021 2022 ∆% 2022/2021 Production 4,450 4,670 4.9 Export 2,990 3,250 8.7 Import 1,060 1,120 5.7 Domestic market 2,520 2,540 0.8 Trade balance +1,930 +2,130 10.4
Italian market of machinery, equipment and moulds for plastics and rubber (million euros)

Injection Moulding Asia

Machinery News

Destination areas of the Italian plastics and rubber machinery, equipment and moulds exports (%)

+7% in orders (with respect to the same period in 2022). The outlook is positive, with substantially similar intensity, for both the Italian and foreign markets +6% in turnover, still significantly positive but slightly less stellar than revenues from the previous quarters. Sales abroad should once again push the numbers for this year, it added.

However, Amaplast also says that the outlook for the rest of 2023 remains uncertain, “given the economic and political context that is still a bit up in the air”. While the issue of energy costs and availability of raw materials and components has improved, the recent bank crisis adds to the challenges for the year, it added.

Top ten destination countries of the Italian plastics and rubber machinery, equipment and moulds exports (000 euros – 2022 ranking)

Sales of machinery categories

As regards export of product categories, among machines for primary processing Amaplast says that there was robust growth in sales of extruders (23%) and mono-multifilament systems (58%), the latter a category that has shown a significant upward trend over the past three years, going from EUR74 million in 2020 to the historical peak of EUR140 million in 2022, after the previous decade with values ranging between EUR30 and EUR50 million.

On the other hand, sales of injection moulding machines were relatively flat, while blow-moulding systems and thermoforming machines have registered distinctly negative performances at -19% and -22%, respectively.

Expectations remain high for 2023; troubles looming ahead

As regards the first quarter of 2023, the forecast based on a Amaplast member survey in early January highlighted the following:

Amaplast furthers that its predictions are also based on German machinery sales that recorded a 13% drop in orders (the domestic market is particularly weak) coupled with a +10% in sales (sales abroad showing the principal positive signs).

In this first glimpse of 2023, the gap between orders (-40%, with a collapse in domestic orders) and sales (+21% but here the best performance was observed at home) is only deepening, it adds.

PLAST show returns to Milan

Nevertheless, the Italian machinery industry is looking forward to the staging of the PLAST show this year, after a five-year hiatus. Organised by Promaplast , the usually triennially-held show for the plastics and rubber industry will take place 5-8 September at the Fiera Milano Rho fairgrounds, in Milan, Italy.
5 APRIL 2023 2021 2022 Europe (UE) 57.7 (45.1) 57.2 (44.8) North America/USMCA 16.7 16.4 Asia/Oceania 15.7 16.1 Central/South America 4.9 5.8 Africa 5.0 4.5
Countries 2021 % out of total Countries 2022 % out of total ∆ % 22/21 Germany 368,673 12.4 Germany 422,651 13.0 14.6 United States 358,119 12.0 United States 346,621 10.7 -3.2 Poland 137,892 4.6 Poland 179,765 5.5 30.4 China 159,700 5.4 China 149,271 4.6 -6.5 France 160,128 5.4 France 148,942 4.6 -7.0 Mexico 104,579 3.5 Mexico 141,362 4.4 35.2 Spain 104,845 3.5 Spain 126,302 3.9 20.5 India 87,037 2.9 India 108,252 3.3 24.4 Turkey 89,850 3.0 Turkey 98,491 3.0 9.6 United Kingdom 105,276 3.5 United Kingdom 95,381 2.9 -9.4 total “top 10” 1,676,100 56.2 total “top 10” 1,817,038 55.9 8.4 other countries 1,310,122 43.8 other countries 1,430,174 44.1 9.2 world 2,986,222 100.0 world 3,247,212 100.0 8.7

Discover green plastics & rubber solutions in CHINAPLAS 2023

In 2023, Covid-19 controls and preventions around the world were gradually relaxed and economic activities started to be resumed globally. Many enterprises have expected revenue growth while committing the green goals at the same time. Setting goals to net-zero emissions and carbon neutrality has become a part of leading brands’ strategies to fulfill their environmental commitments. To showcase and highlight how the industry is transitioning towards a circular economy, CHINAPLAS 2023, Asia’s No. 1 plastics and rubber trade fair, to be held from April 17 to 20, will bring together more than 3,900 prominent exhibitors from all over the world to present cutting-edge and practical solutions. The show will also organize a series of concurrent events addressing the industrial needs in the hot green trends of carbon neutrality, circular economy, and sustainable development.

industry trends at the 4th edition of CHINAPLAS X CPRJ Plastics Recycling & Circular Economy Conference and Showcase, which will take place on 16 April, one-day prior to the CHINAPLAS 2023 opens in Shenzhen.

Carbon neutrality, circular economy, and sustainable development have become the catalyst of the evolution of the plastics and rubber industries and even the whole society in recent years. The above-mentioned 2025 commitment to sustainable development of enterprises across the plastics and rubber industries is gradually fulfilled with the advancement of materials and technologies. To keep abreast of new trends, the conference will cover recycling classification from experienced countries and regions, technological achievements of plastics recycling and applications, and outline the pattern and prospects of the plastics recycling industry in Asia and other regions.

Besides the main conference, parallel sub-forums will be held for industry elites to share their insights, introducing the hot topics such as “Green Design and Cross-Value Chain Collaboration”, “Energy Efficient and Low Carbon Supply Chain” and “Value-added Mechanical Recycling and Chemical Recycling”.It is more than a conference, international enterprises shall showcase their latest products and technological solutions, ranging from inventive materials and processing technologies, to automation and special equipment.

CHINAPLAS 2023 will not only showcase latest technologies, but will also organize a series of concurrent events addressing the industrial needs in the hot green trends of carbon neutrality, circular economy, and sustainable development

Recycling & circular economy conference and showcase: transforming ideas to innovative solutions for tomorrow What kind of technologies will make the circular economy work? How can the industry fulfill the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment for 2025 initiated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the UN Environment Programme, with a common vision of a circular economy for plastic not turning into waste or pollution? Focusing on international trends and policy guidance of plastics recycling in China and Asia, senior government officials and representatives from industry organizations, brands, machinery and material suppliers worldwide are invited to share their views on these relevant policies and

Plastics and rubber industries have spared no efforts in strengthening sustainability. To visualize their commitments to sustainable development, an installation art - Sustainability Resonator will be set up in CHINAPLAS 2023, to disseminate the ideas of “environmental protection, recycling, jointly shaping the future of the plastics industry, additive manufacturing, crossover innovation, biodegradation and sustainable development”.

Sound waves are one of the basic carriers of thoughts. Most communication, knowledge, feelings and ideas find its origin from the transmission of sound. The organizer of CHINAPLAS is collecting voice messages of participants who shared their views on environmental protection and sustainable development from different countries and regions. With the help of 3D printing, parametric design and green material, the collected sounds can be presented in a piece of “voice cell” and assembled to a crowd-generating installation art.

27 APRIL 2023 AdvertoriAl


It is a collaboration project combining sustainable materials, additive manufacturing, technology and art together, co-created with a young multidisciplinary artist, Alex Long and enterprises from the plastics and rubber industries, organizations, academic bodies all over the world. 1,500+ voice contributors have already participated in the creation of the installation with their voices. Visitors can listen to the story of each participant generated by the voice cell by simply placing their phones close to it. Please click HERE to record your voice message for sustainable development heard in CHINAPLAS.

Tech Talk: unveiling Greenovation and new tech Green is one of the hot topics in CHINAPLAS 2023, visitors can attend Tech Talk to learn more about green and leading technologies and its applications. Over 30 latest technologies will be revealed in a series of open forums and more than 20 industry experts will present the hottest and highly advanced products and technologies under five different themes: eco-friendly solutions, medical plastics & antimicrobial solutions, surface treatment solutions, lightweight solutions, innovative materials.

CHINAPLAS has become a chosen platform to debut products and showcase advanced new technologies by exhibitors, Tech Talk remains as the influential stage for launching state-of-the-art solutions of the year. Professional speakers will drill deeper into the practicability of sustainable and green solutions while audiences will quickly capture the industrial trends of plastics and rubber industries facilitating agile business decisions.

Leading companies from the plastics and rubber industries will attend Tech Talk and grasp the chance to interact with audiences. Dow Chemical will explore how the close-the-loop packaging solutions empowering the circular economy. SABIC will focus on their offer of innovative sustainable solutions towards circular economy. Exxonmobil Chemical will introduce their design for recycling offering by advanced packaging solutions with sustainability benefits. Amcor will talk about how they made packaging solutions sustainable in the medical & healthcare sector. In addition to the open forum, “New Tech Display Zone” is situated at Tech Talk venue for visitors to get in touch with Avient and HP in a new meeting and interaction format. Avient will bring up their bio-based solutions and successful case studies aiming at sustainability for a better tomorrow. HP will share the digital printing technology ready for sustainable on-demand packaging. Please click HERE for event details.

Applications in Focus: digging deeper into plastics & rubber applications

A wide spectrum of brands from end-user markets,

universities and research centres shall gather at Applications in Focus, one of the signature concurrent events of CHINAPLAS, to share high performance plastics and rubber applications, such as photovoltaic, plastic and rubber antibacterial technology, sterilization packaging, green low-carbon and circular economy, etc. More than 70 hot topics will be shared by renowned brands, industry leaders, experts, universities, associations etc.

There are total 12 thematic seminars including in-depth talk on the experiences and technology prospects of the application industries that industry experts cannot be missed. Here to highlight a few of them. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH will hold the "A Global Vision - Pathway towards Plastics Circularity: SinoEuropean Circular Economy Development Forum", sharing the information on the opportunities and challenges brought by circular economy to plastic pollution control and carbon neutrality. To further explore the solutions of circular economy, the Thermoforming Branch of CSRA will organize the seminar “How Thermoforming Advances Low Carbon and Green Packaging”, inviting famous experts, scholars and entrepreneurs to share their insights on how to build an eco-industrial chain of thermoforming industry under the global demand. The forum on “Green, Low-carbon and Sustainable Development of Flexible Packaging”, to be held by the Packaging and Printing Committee of China Packaging Federation (PPC), shall cover the solutions for VOCs governance, debut of new green adhesive, solventless lamination technology, and eco-friendly printing ink in flexible packaging industry, etc.

For event details and enrolment, please click HERE.

CHINAPLAS 2023 welcomes international visitors China has relaxed travel restrictions. Overseas travellers will only have to show a negative nucleic acid test result obtained within 48 hours and will no longer need to apply health code and quarantine upon arrival, and can enter society directly. CHINAPLAS 2023 is ready to receive crowds of international visitors in Shenzhen. It is a golden opportunity to visit the exhibition in person to reactivate the physical contacts with suppliers and partners, master updated trends, meet startups and uprising stars, get ideas for business planning, and discover industry highlights.

Click HERE to pre-register CHINAPLAS 2023 now! Exhibition Health Screening and Shenzhen Immigration & Health Requirements will be updated in due course, please refer to the show website for the latest information.

For more information or enquires about CHINAPLAS 2023, please visit or contact

28 APRIL 2023

A new way forward for the rubber sector

Malaysia, as one of the pioneer nations to start rubber plantations in 1877, continues to lead the field in producing high-quality rubber products such as medical gloves, latex threads, condoms, latex foams, and precured tyre treads for the world market. In 2021, Malaysia exported US$15 billion worth of rubber products to 189 countries.

Setting a standard of quality rubber products from the others, Malaysia’s rubber industry is poised for a revolution - recognising the need to push the industry through reform and modernisation to enhance its competitiveness and strengthen its global position.

Global Funding for Rubber Innovation (GFRI)

Thus, taking the bull by its horn, in June 2022, the Malaysian Rubber Council ( MRC ), formerly known as Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council, launched the Global Funding for Rubber Innovation (GFRI), a holistic initiative to source for ideas, innovations and inventions for new or enhanced rubber and rubber-based products as well as technologies, process or equipment.

Themed “Nurturing Ideas for the Rubber Industry Globally” - fhe Fund will encourage comprehensive research on high-value products and on the latest technologies for the upstream, midstream, and downstream segments of the rubber industry.

With an initial allocation of RM10 million, the fund is available to all local and foreign-based researchers from higher learning institutions, research institutes, companies, or any concerns. A designated GFRI Committee comprising industry and technical experts will evaluate the proposals received on technical and financial merits.

GFRI’s main objective is to encourage the generation of ideas, innovations and inventions for rubber products and technologies with high commercialisation viability to attract investments to the Malaysian rubber industry.

Timely launch of fund

The establishment of the fund by MRC is timely considering the increasingly competitive marketplace, new supply opportunities in sectors such as automotive and infrastructure, and sustainably produced products. It also comes against the back of Malaysia’s top performance globally during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the country emerged as the main exporter of medical rubber gloves due to the country’s ability to meet growing demand Malaysia. But now there is an oversupply situation emerging and rubber players need to diversify their product range.

MRC also says that “the initiative will add value and benefits to the entire ecosystem of the rubber industry, aligning with MRC’s role as a catalyst in providing guidance and assistance to industry players to move up the global supply chain and solidify Malaysia’s position as the main and preferred source for high-quality rubber products”.

“At MRC, we believe in a strong collaborative front for the development and benefit of the rubber industry. We would like to call upon all researchers or interested parties to participate in this initiative. Applications are now open throughout the year,” concludes MRC.

For further enquiries, visit or email MRC at

Industry News Rubber Journal Asia APRIL 2023


Medical technology market shapes up with silicones

Global and Asian markets for silicones in the healthcare and medical industries have grown in tandem with the advancement of devices and equipment in these fields, according to Angelica Buan in this report.

Silicones dominate the medical devices space

Silicone is a common material that is considered the gold standard in modern medical devices. The highly versatile synthetic polymer is well suited for complex functional and design requirements of medical devices, particularly implantables, reusable and single-use components, and other health care technologies that require reliability, sterility, and high performance.

According to Maximize Market Research , the market for medical grade silicones is expected to surpass US$24 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 6%. This expansion will be bolstered by rising demand for silicones in a variety of end-user industries, including personal care, consumer goods, industrial processes, and construction.

Furthermore, ongoing product innovation and technological developments are likely to foster the use of silicone in growing sectors such as electric vehicles (EVs), as well as the electrical and electronics sectors. However, silicones for applications in medical devices, such as implants and prosthetics due to their biocompatibility and durability, continue to be major movers.

Major suppliers expanding capabilities

Major players in the healthcare space, such as Norwegian silicone manufacturer Elkem , count on silicones’ high performance and processability for medical technology OEMs and CDMOs (contract development and manufacturing organisations).

Elkem’s Silbione product line includes LSRs, HCRs, RTVs, gels, fluids, and adhesive bonding solutions for medical and long-term implant applications.

By 2029, the market for medical-grade silicones is anticipated to reach US$24 billion, growing at a CAGR of 6%. Rising silicone demand across a range of end-user industries will support this expansion

Elkem, a manufacturer of medical grade silicone solutions, established its first US production facility in South Carolina to meet the high demand for pharmaceutical and medical implantable applications

To name a few of the company’s medical grade silicone solutions, select platinum-catalysed silicone elastomers designed for liquid injection moulding; and a biomedical grade 2-part adhesive called Silbione Biomedical ADH2 M213 that comes in three different cure kinetics for adhering multiple substrates within medical devices.

In a related development, the company opened its brand-new US production site in South Carolina last year to meet the high demand for medical implantable and pharmaceutical applications.

The specialist facility manufactures high purity biomedical grade silicone materials in a class 8 clean room and packages them in a class 7 clean room. Elkem stated that the operations at this site are controlled by a single quality management system that complies with ISO9001, ISO13485, and IPEC Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guidelines.

Gains in medical tubing

The medical tubing market, which serves a wide range of medical applications, is also gaining traction. The size of the global market for medical tubing was estimated at US$12.2 billion in 2022 and is expected to increase at a CAGR of 6% from 2023 to 2030.

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Rubber Journal Asia

Rubber Journal Asia

According to Grand View Research , the primary drivers of the market are an increase in patient demand for medical tubes to administer fluids and medications, as well as an increase in the incidence of respiratory diseases like asthma, lung cancer, and pulmonary fibrosis.

Silicone tubing is used in a range of medical devices, including catheters, drug delivery systems, intravenous sets, and other items due to its efficacy and safety.

A major player in medical tubing space is contract design and manufacturing provider to the medical device and pharmaceutical industries Freudenberg Medical . It has expanded its new cleanroom manufacturing operation in Massachusetts, US, to include custom silicone extrusion and tube processing.


gamma irradiation, X-ray, and e-beam; and is a more environmentally friendly option than silicone and can be recycled.

Growth prospects in Asia

According to Orion Market Research , the AsiaPacific medical grade silicone market will grow at a 5.8% CAGR from 2021 to 2027. The surge in demand for disposable devices, as well as the popularity of cosmetic surgeries due to changing lifestyles and beauty standards, is primarily driving this growth for medical grade silicone.

Simultaneously, changing health needs and demographic shifts, for example, the rising geriatrics population in the region are driving the adoption of medical grade silicone. Citing data from Qualtech research, Asia will have 60% of the global population by 2030, with a quarter of that population being over the age of 60.

Moreover, adoption of universal health coverage in the region not only promotes affordable access to safe, effective, and highquality medical products, but also bodes well for the medical devices and diagnostics markets.

Southeast Asia, with its burgeoning economy, is expected to see healthcare and medical device market expansions, with revenues projected to reach nearly US$10.9 billion in 2023, growing at a CAGR of 7.9% to 2027, according to Statista .

Thailand takes the lead in the region’s market growth

Freudenberg Medical has added HelixFlex high-purity thermoplastic tubing to its existing pharma portfolio of silicone tubing and components

It said that production of silicone tubing began in January, and additional capacity will be installed in the first quarter of the year to better serve customers. In order to meet the highest quality standards for medical applications, the material focus is on platinum catalysed addition-cured silicones.

On the other hand, while silicone has always been a go-to material for biopharma applications, with silicone material in short supply in recent years, Freudenberg Medical started offering its global customers another single-use tubing option.

As a processor of custom medical and biopharma tubing including multi-lumen, complex single lumen, and micro extrusions, Freudenberg Medical has expanded its existing pharma portfolio of silicone tubing and components with the launch of its HelixFlex highpurity thermoplastic tubing last year.

According to the company, HelixFlex tubing is sterilisable via a variety of methods, including autoclave,

Thailand’s medical device industry is among the most developed in ASEAN, ranking first among ASEAN peers.

Aside from government incentives that support the country’s medical device sector, Thailand has an abundance of raw materials used in the production of medical devices, particularly single-use items such as rubber and plastic. Furthermore, some institutions and regulations, ranging from the R&D processes to intellectual property protection, ensure that the goods produced can be commercialised.

As a result, Thailand is an attractive destination for manufacturers providing the medical and healthcare sectors. This is a reason that silicones and specialty solutions company Momentive Performance Materials is preparing for its most recent growth investment, a new manufacturing facility in Rayong, Thailand.

This new facility, Momentive’s second in Rayong, is expected to drive Momentive’s manufacturing capacity expansion targets in order to meet the growing Southeast Asian market demand for specialty silicones in industries such as healthcare, beauty and personal care, automotive, energy, and agriculture.

APRIL 2023 3


China, a hotspot for medical devices China continues to be the market leader in medical devices. The country’s medical device market revenue is expected to more than double to RMB800 billion in 2020, up from RMB308 billion in 2015.

According to a Deloitte report, China’s medical device industry, which has 26,000 manufacturers, accounts for 20% of the global medical device market.

The Chinese medical device market is envisioned to grow, possibly exceeding previous years’ growth rates and according to Fitch Solutions , it will grow at a CAGR of 8.3% between 2021 and 2026, reaching US$48.8 billion by 2026.

To capitalise on the vast market opportunities in China, US materials firm DuPont is expanding production capabilities for its Liveo pharma silicone tubing by adding manufacturing capacity in eastern China, to meet demand for high-performance biopharmaceutical tubing.

During the drug manufacturing process, one of the largest surface areas in direct contact with drug substances and products is tubing. As a result, it must meet stringent regulatory and quality standards. The tubing produced in eastern China will be manufactured in a facility that adheres to the same quality principles as DuPont’s materials site in the US.

DuPont Healthcare, in addition to its long-running facility in the US and the new Chinese site, is pushing the envelope further in terms of capacity building. Liveo has established a second US manufacturing facility in South Carolina to produce tubing.

Meanwhile, Legenday , a Shenzhen-based manufacturer of LSR and (high consistency rubber) HCR parts, is foraying into the promising next generation of healthcare and medical products by developing conductive silicone parts that provide the necessary flexibility, safety, biocompatibility, and electrical conductivity. The firm says the components are made of high-quality silicone that contains electrically conductive and inert particles, with optional EMI shielding.

LegenDay will use conductive silicone with low volatility and ion content for more sensitive medical electronic systems. This makes the silicone parts suitable for hermetically sealed, vacuum, or high-heat conditions.

The conductive silicone parts, which have passed safety testing validation and requirements as outlined by the US FDA, vary from large to miniature medical electronic components; and are made from HCR or LSR.

Developing electrically conductive silicone parts is a breakthrough in the medical industry, according to Legenday, which currently is one of the few companies that claim to offer this capability.

APRIL 2023 4
Rubber Journal Asia
DuPont is increasing production capacity for Liveo pharma silicone tubing in eastern China to meet demand for high-performance biopharmaceutical tubing LegenDay has developed conductive silicone parts for the healthcare and medical industry, made from silicone containing electrically conductive and inert particles, with an optional EMI shielding



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