PRA March/April 2020

Page 1


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

业 界 新闻 材 料 新闻: 积极看待这场全球危机

In this issue

Volume 35, No 252

publlshed slnce 1985

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

Features 焦 點 內 容 14 材料新聞: 積極看待這場全球危機 17 Country Focus – The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the best and worst of economies in Asia, in terms of the coping mechanisms and putting in place stimulus remedies for the pandemic that is expected to long drawn 20 Recycling – Concerns over the long-term impact of the coronavirus outbreak on key European recycling markets has sharply escalated following the adoption of further containment measures across the continent, says this report by ICIS 24 Packaging Sector – KHS Group’s Fresh Plasmax coating technology

and FreshSafe PET packaging system are sustainable, environmentallyfriendly coating systems for PET bottles for the food and beverage industries

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 Email: Associate Publisher/Executive Editor Tej Fernandez Tel: +60 3 4260 4575 Email: Senior Editor Angelica Buan Email: Chinese Editor Koh Bee Ling

Regulars 概 要

Circulation Stephanie Yuen Email:

2 Industry News


6 Materials News

MCI (P) 035/08/2019

ISSN 1360-1245 KDN PP 18785/08/2015 (034280)

10 業界新聞

Supplements 副 刊 As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise globally, medical protective equipment for healthcare providers is in short supply. This has seen automotive companies coming to the rescue, with many lending their facilities, expertise and gearing up to produce protective equipment and masks Against the back of a global health crisis and an emerging global economic crisis, companies in the rubber sector are bracing for the long haul, with many withdrawing previously announced financials. The medical sector, though, is benefiting from the pandemic, with rubber gloves in demand



�界新 � 材料新� :

Against the back of the pandemic, single-use plastics, such as IV bags, hospital gowns, gloves, and masks, are finding favour in the healthcare sector; with plastic bags making a comeback over reusable bags, and the use of plastic packaging increasing, to maintain food hygiene and deter the spread of Covid-19


Connect @

Printer United Mission Press Sdn Bhd (Co. No: 755329-X) 25 & 27, Jalan PBS 14/14, Taman Perindustrian Bukit Serdang, 43300 Selangor, Malaysia. is published 8 times a year in Mandarin and English by Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this publication is correct, the publisher makes no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the nature or accuracy of such material to the extent permitted by applicable law. © 2019 Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or used in any form, or by any means, without specific prior permission from the publisher. PRA is circulated free to trade readers in the plastics and rubber industry. Airmail subscriptions are available at US$160 within Asia and US$250 to all other countries outside Asia.

is a member of ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation)



Industry News

M&As/Tie-ups/Investments • US chemical firm Dow has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for collaboration with the Zhangjiagang Free Trade Zone in Jiangsu province, China. By facilitating expansion at Dow’s signature manufacturing site in Zhangjiagang with potential investments of US$300 million in the next five years, the MoU intends to increase Dow’s capacity to meet growing global demand for silicone intermediates and finished products. • US-based PA66 resin maker Ascend Performance Materials is to purchase Poliblend and Esseti Plast GD from D’Ottavio Group. The acquisition includes a manufacturing facility in Mozzate, Italy, the masterbatch portfolio of Esseti Plast and the engineering plastics portfolio of Poliblend, which consists of virgin and recycled grades of PA66, PA6, PBT and POM. • Nagase Holdings America, part of Japanheadquartered



chemical trading firm Nagase, is to acquire Interfacial Consultants, a US-based supplier focusing in the development of disruptive advanced materials and manufacturing process platforms, serving the transportation, construction, medical and consumer markets. • German chemicals firm BASF has closed the acquisition of Belgium-based Solvay’s PA6.6 business for EUR1.3 billion. The business will be integrated into the Performance Materials and Monomers divisions of BASF. • US-based colour additive supplier Chroma Color Corporation has acquired colour masterbatch supplier Plastics Color Corporation, including its two facilities in Asheboro, North Carolina and Calumet City, Illinois. • Indonesia’s PT Asia Pacific Fibers (APF), an integrated global polyester player, has bought German polyester fibre

producer Advansa Group. • Singapore’s Jebsen & Jessen Packaging has acquired a 60% stake in an Indonesian beverage packaging manufacturer PT Indo Tirta Abadi (ITA). Employing 500 people, ITA's turnover in 2019 was S$42 million. Its product portfolio consists of PET bottles, PET preforms and HDPE closures. It produces 2.5 billion closures/year, 320 million preforms/ month, and 1,800 bottles/minute. • US chemical firm Celanese Corporation is to acquire compatriot Nouryon’s redispersible polymer powders business offered under the Elotex brand. As part of the acquisition, Celanese says it will acquire all of Nouryon’s global production facilities for redispersible polymer powders across Europe and Asia, all products under the Elotex portfolio, as well as all customer agreements, technology and commercial facilities globally. • Speciality label, security and packaging

solutions provider CCL Industries Inc. has acquired privately owned Ibertex Etiquetaje Industrial S.L.U. and Eti-Textil Maroc S.a.r.l. AU (Eti-Textil) for US$19.6 million. Eti-Textil is an apparel label producer headquartered in Elche, Spain, with additional manufacturing in Tangier, Morocco. Sales for 2019 were an estimated US$7.7 million with an adjusted EBITDA of US$3.5 million. The acquisition will integrate into the Apparel Labeling Systems (ALS) business of Checkpoint using its trading identity with immediate effect. • North American plastics extruder Pexco LLC has acquired Georgiabased NDM Marking Systems, a maker of traffic markers. Since 2009, Pexco has executed multiple acquisitions as it has grown into the largest custom industrial extrusion company in North America. • Materials firm Ineos has tied up with UPM Biofuels to produce what it says will be the world’s first commercially

Industry News

available bioattributed PVC made using residue from a wood pulp manufacture. Ineos says it will be produced at its facility in Köln, Germany, and it will utilise UPM BioVerno, a sustainable raw material from a renewable residue of wood pulp processing. Ineos is also partnering with Italian recycling company Forever Plast to recycle over 6.5 billion bottle caps into a range of new PE grades that mirror Ineos virgin grades for injection moulding and compression moulding machines. • US speciality chemicals firm Huntsman Corporation is to acquire CVC Thermoset Specialties, a North American chemical firm serving industrial composites, adhesives and coatings markets,

for US$300 million. CVC Thermoset is part of Emerald Performance Materials, which is majority-owned by affiliates of American Securities. CVC Thermoset Specialties has annual revenues of approximately US$115 million with two manufacturing facilities located in Akron, Ohio, and Maple Shade, New Jersey. • Chemical firm LyondellBasell has signed definitive agreements to expand in China through a 50:50 joint venture with Liaoning Bora Enterprise Group (Bora). Bora LyondellBasell Petrochemical will operate a 1.1 million tonnes/year ethylene cracker and associated polyolefin derivatives complex in Panjin, China, with a total expected investment of US$2.6 billion.

• Masterchem, a Polish manufacturer of PET bottles, jars, preforms and caps, is now part of rigid packaging firm Logoplaste Group and will be known as Masterchem Logoplaste. It caters to six market segments: personal care, cosmetics, home care, food, spirits and pharma; has 115 machines and an integrated tool room. Logoplaste currently manages more than 60 factories, with locations in 16 countries. • Italy’s Versalis, Eni's chemical company, has acquired 40% of Finproject, an Italian compounder and producer of ultralight products, from the VEI Capital fund. The aim is to jointly develop solutions for major brands in the fashion, design and footwear sectors, as well as for industrial applications such as cables, pipes,

renewable energy, construction and automotive sectors. Finproject, which has been operating in Italy for over 50 years, has 11 production and research facilities in various countries, plus two showrooms (Brazil and Turkey). • US industrial company Hillenbrand Inc. is to sell its Cimcool business, a supplier of metalworking fluids and lubricants, to DuBois Chemicals Inc at a purchase price of US$224 million and a further US$26 million in contingent purchase price upon a future sale of the combined DuBois and Cimcool businesses. The sale follows Hillenbrand's previously announced review of alternatives for this business, which was part of the 2019 acquisition of machinery firm Milacron Holdings Corp.

Plant Expansions/Openings/Set-ups • The world’s largest graphene nanotube manufacturer OCSiAl says that its Graphetron 50 plant, 4


commissioned in 2019 in test mode, has now reached its planned production capacity of 50 tonnes/year

of graphene nanotubes (single wall carbon nanotubes). The Russian company says

it now has a capacity of 75 tonnes/year. • Thailandheadquartered chemical firm

INDUSTRY NEWS Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL) has commenced the commercial operations of its olefins gas cracker at Indorama Ventures Olefins (IVOL) plant in Westlake, Louisiana, US. The site has an ethylene production capacity of 440 kilotonnes/ year. It supplies to Indorama Ventures Oxide and Glycols (IVOG) plant in Clear Lake, Texas. • German blow moulding machine maker Bekum recently celebrated recently three anniversaries – 60 years Bekum in Berlin Germany, 50 years Bekum in Traismauer Austria und 40 years Bekum in Williamston, US. As part of the celebrations at the American location, the company also held a groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of production capacities last year. The expansion includes the addition of a new

building with a production area of 3,700 sq m and almost 700 sq m of office space. • Biobased chemical company Advanced Biochemical (Thailand) has increased capacity at its plant in Map Ta Phut, Thailand, to 120,000 tonnes/ year of biobased epichlorohydrin (ECH) – an increase of 20,000 tonnes/ year. Permission for this increase was granted by the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Vinythai, ABT has produced biobased ECH since 2012 using a patented technology, based on natural and renewable glycerine instead of propylene. • Auxiliary equipment company Nordson Corporation has started up what it says is an extensively equipped process laboratory to serve the Americas market for pelletising systems and melt delivery equipment in Hickory, North Carolina. The new laboratory

has a pelletising line with a capacity of up to 450 kg/hour. It includes a twinscrew extruder, BKG pelletiser, Optigon selfcleaning process water and pellet drying system, and jet cleaner for removing polymer residue from die plates. • Having postponed its annual Technology Days event to have been held in March, German machinery firm Arburg went ahead with the opening ceremony of its new training centre at the company’s headquarters in Lossburg recently. Measuring 13,700 sq m, the new building has increased the total usable space at the company’s German headquarters by 5%, taking it to approximately 180,000 sq m. • Engineering plastics maker Domo Chemicals is to set up a plant in Zhejiang, China. The new plant will be capable of producing 50,000

tonnes/year of engineered nylon compounds. The company signed a new factory project through “cloud contract” with PingHu DuShan port Economic Development District in February. Production is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of this year. Domo says it will invest EUR12 million in the 11,500 sq m plant. At the first stage of development, it will offer an estimated capacity of 25,000 tonnes/ year. • Japanese firm Mitsui Chemicals has expanded its production facilities for meltblown nonwovens at wholly owned subsidiary Sunrex Industry Co., starting operations at the new facility in January. The move comes as an effort to respond to growing demand for industrialuse meltblown nonwovens, and will increase the Mitsui’s overall production capacity for these materials by 50%. MARCH / APRIL 2020


Materials News

Looking at the positive side of a global crisis The Covid-19 pandemic has not only presented a myriad of challenges in the healthcare systems, it has also exposed the vulnerabilities in industries and economies. However, the plastics and chemical industries are standing out, for all the good reasons, says Angelica Buan in this report.


veryone has been caught off-guard; and not a single country was prepared for the economic brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic. With plummeting stock markets, vulnerability hitting the financial sector, a n d c o n t r a c t i o n s i n m a r k e t a c t i v i t i e s , economies are heading towards a global recession, based on a International Monetary Fund (IMF) assessment.

or containers may be carriers of the virus and other pathogens, bans and remitting measures against plastics use have been deferred in some US states and countries. For example, retail stores in New Hampshire and Maine in the US are reportedly using single-use plastic bags, a majority of which are now produced from recycled content, as a measure to stem the spread of the virus. In doing so, plastic bans have been suspended – at least, for the time being. The US Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) has reportedly urged the Department of Environmental Conversation to effect a state-wide suspension of plastic bag ban in New York, the state hardest hit by the pandemic in the US. Meanwhile, food chains, including Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, have put off their use of reusable cups and “for-here” wares; while food establishments have pushed for take-out or home delivery models, which are using more of single-use or disposable containers to transport food and drinks to customers.

Plastics and chemical industries are jointly producing essential products and materials for fighting Covid-19

The global economy is tethering a potential US$1 trillion-loss due to the lingering pandemic, aggravated by supply chain disruptions from China and a drastic drop in oil prices, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). To rebound quickly and mitigate long-term impact, the world markets require concerted effort from various industries and industry stakeholders. Golden opportunity for single-use plastics The plastics industry, which has previously been snarled in the issue of plastic waste pollution, has sized up the pandemic event as an opportunity to finally be recognised as a valuable material, and the safest choice during contagion outbreaks. Not only that, the pandemic has augured the industry to buy time against the implementation of plastic bans and usage regulations, especially of single-use or disposable plastics, according to industry watchers. In light of the Covid-19, and given that reusable plastics



Food chains like Starbucks are setting aside reusable containers

In other words, the situation bodes well for plastics manufacturers to boost their claim that reusable containers, which are being promoted as substitutes for single-use plastics, are unrecyclable and nondegradable. In line with this, PLASTICS, led by Tony Radoszewski, penned a letter to the US Health and Human Services requesting its secretary, Alex Azar, to “make a public statement on the health and safety benefits seen in

Materials News

The PLASTICS organisation highlights the hygienic benefit of singleuse plastics for grocery and take away food outlets

single-use plastics”. It said that in recent years, there has been a push to eliminate single-use products at the local, state and federal level. During that time, the plastics industry has been working to educate the general public and elected officials that single-use plastic products are the most sanitary choice when it comes to many applications, especially in the consumption and transport of food, whether purchased at a restaurant or at a grocery store. Now more than ever, it says, consumers are seeing the impacts of those local and state laws restricting the use of single-use products. It underscores a few study findings that reusable bags “can carry viruses and bacteria, spread them throughout a grocery store, and live on surfaces for up to three days." That being said, Radoszewski has appealed to the department to “speak out against bans on these products as a public safety risk and help stop the rush to ban these products by environmentalists and elected officials that puts consumers and workers at risk”. Plastic, an essential infrastructure in surviving Covid-19 During the course of the pandemic, demand for medical devices and personal protective equipment (PPE), all of which are either made out of or have significant components of plastics, has been record breaking. It is for this reason that plastic resin and plastic product manufacturers must be regarded as essential, according to Radoszewski. He said that access to plastic products is critical, especially for healthcare workers. Single-use plastic products, such as IV bags and ventilator machines, as well as hospital gowns, gloves, and masks, are essential during this time. Additionally, plastics are also essential in keeping food and drinks fresh, reducing contamination and waste. And this is true now that people have to stock up on food during a long home quarantine period. “Single-use plastic bags provide a sanitary and convenient way to carry our groceries home while protecting supermarket employees and customers from whatever is lurking on reusable bags,” Radoszewski also argued.

Materials News

The UK, a country with morbidity and mortality cases accelerating daily, is also witnessing a spike in demand for plastics in the healthcare setting and in general essential goods. Nonetheless, uncertainty in the sector continues to pervade. The British Plastics Federation (BPF) has polled recently its 127 members to assess the situation of the UK’s plastic industry, the country’s third largest manufacturing sector Based on the survey published recently, nearly 80% of the companies expected a drop in turnover over the next six months, and majority aired apprehension over the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses. In order to boost the industry, BPF’s Director General Philip Law has asked the government to classify plastics as a key part of the national infrastructure” and its workers and their skills as “critical in the production of much needed products”. Recognising the relevance of the plastics industry in economic growth is especially important since it is expected that many countries, especially those critically impacted by Covid-19, will be rebuilding their economies hard when the pandemic is over. Production of materials for PPE on a fast track To reinforce the industry’s efforts to conquer Covid-19, companies are increasing their production to meet the increased demand for Covid-19 related products US-based Berry Global, which manufactures nonwoven fabrics that are then sold to converters who produce infection prevention items such as face masks and protective apparel, has prioritised healthcare production in its Nanhai and Suzhou, China, facilities in response to the increased demand. Concurrently, Berry has responded to this increased demand across North

America and Europe. In the US, the company said it has shifted capacity to supply maximum output in response to increased demand for healthcare materials. These include materials for hard surface disinfectant wipes and face masks. Whereby in Europe, the company ensures its melt blown lines are running around the clock to produce materials for face masks and other healthcare applications, such as materials used in blood filtration. Berry CEO Tom Salmon said that the role of plastics in protecting people from infection and the spread of disease has been overlooked. “(Plastics) are a critical component in this fight against Covid-19,” he said, assuring that the company’s global scale allows it to create increased supply when encountering a pandemic such as this. In addition to its vast nonwovens supply network, Berry has begun commercial shipments from its third proprietary Spinlace production line in Mooresville, North Carolina. A US$50-million investment, the line is running at full production rates, providing an incremental 17,000 tonnes/year capacity to the marketplace. The Spinlace line is focused on various wipe applications serving the healthcare, hygiene, household cleaning, foodservice, and industrial markets. Another US plastics company, Primex Divisions, has engaged its three divisions in producing vital materials for first responders and medical professionals during Covid19. The company’s compounding and additives branch in New Jersey has developed and started manufacturing a compound that is used to produce plastic vials for Covid19 test kits – all in a span of 24 hours. Primex’s extrusion division is producing clear plastic sheet needed to manufacture face shields and working with Richmond’s Reid Health for its bio helmets that protect clinical staff.

Berry Global's Spinlace line is focused on various wipe applications serving the healthcare, hygiene, household cleaning and other markets



Materials News

Primex’s extrusion division is producing clear plastic sheet to manufacture face shields for bio helmets

Chemical sector mobilising hygiene products In the US, where Covid-19 cases have seen the highest trajectory globally, the chemicals industry, led by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), has also sought recognition as an essential to public health and safety. Heeding the appeal is the US Department of Homeland (DHS) security, which has identified the US chemical industry and its workers as Essential Critical Infrastructure, which means that the chemical industry to continue normal operations, while following instituted workforce and customer protection guidance. ACC explains that the role of chemistry is particularly important at this time as chemicals enable countless products that will be needed to support life-saving medical care, including personal protective gear for front line health workers. Also included are chemical biocides and disinfectants for cleaning products and plastic products and packaging that help prevent contamination of food, medicine, personal care and medical products. While it is true that the sector plays a vital role in fighting Covid-19, uncertainty to rebound quickly from losses is hounding chemical companies. Despite this, several major players are choosing to contribute to the global efforts of increasing production of sanitisers, alcohol and other hygiene products, which are currently in short supply. Recently, oil and gas supermajor Shell has said it is increasing production of isopropyl alcohol, a key chemical ingredient of hand-sanitising liquids. Its manufacturing plants at Pernis in the Netherlands and Sarnia in Canada, for example, are diverting production resources to make isopropyl alcohol. In the Netherlands, the company is producing 2.5 million litres and making availability free of charge for the healthcare sector. US chemicals company Dow has also ramped up its hand sanitiser production at its manufacturing sites in Michigan and West Virginia, US; Seneffe in Belgium; and Hortolândia in Brazil. These sites, according to Dow, are equipped with necessary raw material, as well as handling, mixing and packaging capabilities, and will produce hand sanitisers. These locations join Dow’s site in Stade, Germany, which has already produced hand sanitiser for donation. The five Dow sites are expected to churn out over 200 tonnes of the product, equivalent to more than 880,000 8-oz bottles.

Dow does not typically produce hand sanitiser, but a large portion of the required raw materials are readily available at company sites, it said. Dow has worked with agencies in each of the locations, to enable it to complete the permitting, licensing and raw material procurement processes. Over in Europe where low supply of disinfectants are also increasing risk of contamination, companies like Ineos and Arkema are making sure production of hygiene products are unimpeded.

Shell, Dow, Ineos, and Arkema are ramping up production of alcohol and sanitisers

Batting for sanitiser production, Ineos, a producer of the two key raw materials needed for sanitisers, isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and ethanol, has built a hand sanitiser plant near Middlesbrough in the UK and has started producing 1 million hand sanitisers/month. It has also built its third hand sanitiser factory in France to manufacture 1 million bottles of sanitisers/month, and also a plant in Germany. The company intends to make the hand sanitisers available to hospitals, schools, workplaces, pharmacies and supermarkets, it said. Meanwhile, French speciality chemicals company, Arkema has set up what it calls an “emergency manufacture of alcohol-based solution” for hospitals, in response to the Covid-19 epidemic and the health situation. Arkema has repurposed a production line in order to manufacture 20 tonnes of alcohol-based solution/week to be distributed free of charge and “as a matter of urgency to hospitals in France”, it said. The company will be using a pilot line at its Rhône Alpes Research Centre (CRRA), near Lyon, which will be dedicated to the manufacture of an alcohol-based solution, which will be supplied to the French health authorities, and will be earmarked in particular for the mass restocking of public hospitals. In the coming weeks or months, the crisis may soon be over and economic activities will slowly take place. But until then, plastics and chemical industries are choosing to work on the front lines of global efforts to conquer the pandemic. MARCH / APRIL 2020


新聞 并购/合作/投资活动

業 界

• 美国化学公司Dow已与中国江



国的聚酯纤维生产商 Advansa





• 新加坡的 Jebsen & Jessen


Packaging 已经收购印尼的饮


料包装制造商 PT


• 材料公司 Ineos 与 UPM



Biofuels 联手合作,生产了据


ITA 拥有500名员工,2019年的






组合包括PET瓶、PET 瓶坯和

生物属性PVC。Ineos 表示,它

• 美国的PA66树脂制造商Ascend


在德国科隆的工厂将利用 UPM

Performance Materials将从


BioVerno 生产此产品,这是一

D'Ottavio Group的手中收购




定制工业挤出公司,并且进行了 多项收购活动。


• 美国化学公司Celanese

可持续原材料。Ineos 也与意



大利回收公司 Forever Plast 合



Nouryon 以 Elotex品牌提供的


的母料组合及Poliblend的 工程





级与Ineos 的原始等级相似,可

级 PA66、PA6、PBT 和 POM。








• 作为总部位于日本的化学贸易公


• 美国特殊化学品公司 Huntsman

司 Nagase的一部分,Nagase


Corporation 将斥资3 亿美

Holdings America将收购


元收购 CVC Thermoset

Interfacial Consultants,后者




• 特殊标签、安全和包装解决方案



供应商 CCL Industries Inc. 经




CVC Thermoset 是 Emerald


Ibertex Etiquetaje Industrial

Performance Materials 的一部

• 德国化工公司BASF经以13亿欧

S.L.U. 和 Eti-Textil Maroc

分,并由 American Securities


S.a.r.l. AU(Eti-Textil)。总部




CVC Thermoset Specialties 的



年收入约为 1.15 亿美元,在 俄




• 美国色料供应商 Chroma Color




元,调整后的 EBITDA 为 350万


料供应商 Plastics Color



份并入 Checkpoint 的服装标签

与 Liaoning



Group (Bora) 签署最终协议,通



过一家 50:50 的合资企业扩展中

• 化学公司Lyondell Basell 经 Bora


• 印尼的 PT Asia Pacific

• 北美塑料挤出机公司Pexco

国的业务。Bora LyondellBasell


LLC 已经收购佐治亚州的 NDM

Petrochemical 将在中国盘锦运


業界新聞 营一座 110 万吨/年产能的乙烯




的甘油,而不是丙烯作为基础。 • 全球最大的石墨烯纳米管制造商

• 辅助设备公司诺信公司 Nordson

OCSiAl 表示,其于2019年开始投

Corporationrc 已在北卡罗来纳

产测试模式的 Graphetron



瓶盖制造商 Masterchem,现

厂,目前已达到其预计的 50吨/


在是硬质包装公司 Logoplaste



Group 的一部分,并将被称为



Masterchem Logoplaste。它为

工厂现今的产能为 75 吨/年。

生产线,产能高达每小时 450 公


• 总部位于泰国的化学公司



Indorama Ventures Public

造粒机,Optigon 自动清洁工艺


Company Limited(IVL)





目前管理 60多家工厂,分布在

市的 Indorama Ventures


16 个国家。


• 在推迟了 3 月举行的年度技术日

• 意 大 利 E n i 的 化 工 公 司


活动后,德国机械公司 Arburg

Versalis,已从 VEI Capital 基




为德克萨斯州清湖的 Indorama


商和超轻产品生产商 Finproject



的40% 股权。收购目的是为时



综合设施,预计总投资额为26亿 美元。 • 波兰的PET瓶、广口瓶、瓶胚和


• 德国吹塑机制造商 Bekum最近

5%,达到大约 180,000平方米。


庆祝三周年 — Bekum在德国

• 工程塑料制造商 Domo Chemicals


柏林成立 60 周年,Bekum在

将在中​​国 浙江建立一家工厂。新

决方案。Finproject 在意大利运

奥地利特赖斯毛尔成立 50 周

工厂将能生产 50,000吨/年的工


年,Bekum 在美国威廉斯顿市

程尼龙化合物。该公司于 2 月通


成立 40 周年。作为在美国据点










产。Domo 表示将投资 1200万


筑,生产面积为 3,700 平方米,

欧元于这占地 11,500平方米的工

办公面积将近 700 平方米。


• 美国工业公司 Hillenbrand Chemicals

Inc. 脱售

其金属加工液和润滑剂的供应 商 Cimcool 业务,并在未来的

• 生物基化学公司Advanced

出售交易中以 2600 万美元的或


• 日本 Mitsui Chemicals 公司

有收购价脱售合并了的 DuBois

其泰国 Map Ta Phut 的工厂的

已经扩大其独资子公司 Sunrex

和 Cimcool 业务。此次交易是

产能提高到每年120,000 吨生物

Industry Co. 的熔喷非织造布生

在 Hillenbrand 先前宣布对该业

基表氯醇(ECH)— 每年增加

产设施,并于 1 月在新工厂展开


20,000 吨。泰国工业地产管理



局批准了这项增产行动。ABT 是


Milacron Holdings Corp 的一

Vinythai 的独资子公司,自 2012

将使 Mitsui 生产这些材料的整体



产能提高 50%。

预计产能约为 25,000 吨/年。



新聞 RJA 业 界 新 闻

業 界

• 英国公司 Synthomer 将把其

辋和已安装的车轮进行光学 2D

10,000 人。

和 3D 检查。它利用可靠的方式

• 橡胶制造商 Semperit Group

并以市场领先的速度读取 DOT 代码、颜色条纹和轮胎轮廓。

Latex 业




• 在上海证券交易所上市的中


加,Semperit 也将脱离其医疗


司 Omnova,该公司生产乳液

业务,这将影响 Sempermed





品。脱售给 Trinseo 的交易占

辛的 Semperit 主要站点的一



2019 年销售额的



不到 0.5%,并且有待竞争管理

到2024 年年底,该公司将通

加剂生产基地。该座 2.9 亿元




影响 Omnova 交易的完成。

大的收入。Semperit 在全球雇

64,000 平方米,预计今年开

• 澳洲保护解决方案供应商

用大约 7100 名员工,其中亚


Limited 已斥资 900万

洲 3800人,奥地利约 900人。

国家/地区提供 25,000 吨/年

美元从Careplus Group Berhad

该公司在全球拥有 14 个制造工


手中收购了 Careplus(M)


Sdn Bhd 已发行股份的 50%,


德国的 Pyratex



• Yokohama


Rubber 与泰国农



• 纽约的私募股权公司 Warburg



Pincus 正在投资印度 Apollo


Careplus 是马来西亚一家外

Tyres 发行的“强制性可转换







解备忘录后,由 Yokohama

为 3,800万美元。该公司是


Rubber 的当地子公司YT


尽管 Apollo 将这项尚待股东

Rubber Co. (YTRC) 对泰国


和监管机构批准的 1.5 亿美元







2021 年底对 500 名农民进行调


Pincus 的投资

查,YTRC 将利用有关调查结

年初步数据中报告亏损 6.8 亿

可能占该轮胎公司的大约 10%






6.34% 的利率派息,并可在18

节省 2.7 亿美元,并将减少材


• 继 Wacker Chemie 在其 2019



• 煤焦油衍生物公司 Epsilon Carbon 将在印度南部的卡纳塔


• 德国的 4JET Group已从


精简公司的结构。到 2022 年

Hennecke Systems 的手中

该公司透露,新的耗资 1.211

底,Wacker 也将削减 1000

收购了轮胎和车轮的 TIS 测试




预计将于2021财年第 3 季度投

有超过 80% 的业务部门受影

Hennecke Systems 在工业图

入使用,初期产能为 115,000



吨/年。预计到 2024 财年,该

门。Wacker 雇用 14,500 名员




業界新聞 超过 300,000 万吨/年。新工

• 法国轮胎制造商 Michelin 在



法国 Les

Gravanches 开设了

• 中国轮胎制造商 Sailun Tires





天生产约 5,500 条用于豪华

厂,投资 2.864 亿美元于其卡

• 芬兰制造商 Nokian Tyres 公司





胎设施。该座占地 114,000 平






其额外的 300 万条 TBR 轮胎产



能预计每年将带来 4,330 万美

于 2017 年 9 月为工厂进行正式


元的净利。目前 Sailun 在辽宁

破土动工,并于去年 10 月开放


的工厂每年生产 300 万条 TBR

830,000 平方尺的综合大楼。

力。该工厂计划在2020 年生


预计到 2023 年,该工厂每年

产 180 万条轮胎,并将继续

• 中国轮胎制造商 Shandong

将生产 400 万条轮胎,并将在

向 Audi、BMW、Ferrari、

Linglong Tire 计划通过在上海

工厂增雇多达 400 名工人,工

Porsche 和 Mercedes 等 OEM


厂目前拥有大约 100 名团队成



• 台湾轮胎制造商 Maxxis Group

门项目筹集约 2.89 亿美元。荆

• 已经被印度 Apollo Tyres 收

将在印度建立 5 家工厂,该公



司预计印度将在2025 年随同









将投资 4 亿美元在古吉拉特邦

年产能将达到 1200 万条轿车轮


的 Sanand 建造工厂。第一期

胎,240 万条卡车/巴士轮胎和




在未来两年内至少裁减 750 个

产量从目前的 20,000 条提高

• 印度钦奈轮胎制造商 Ceat Tires

工作岗位。Apollo Vredestein

到 60,000 条。如果 Maxxis 在



2023 年达到两轮车轮胎 15%



市场额的目标,Sanand 工厂的

是 Ceat 在南部泰米尔纳德邦的




能为 670 万条轮胎/年,拥





绿色建筑标准建造的 163 英亩

Apoll Tires 是于 2009 年从




Banden 的手中收

• 丹麦公司 Elysium Nordic 计

天可生产 28,500 条轿车轮胎和


划在 Enviro Systems 的热解

2,500 条摩托车轮胎。Ceat 预




产工厂,于 2017 年开业。

厂,并已获得丹麦 Teknik-



ogMiljøafdelingen 授予环境许

创造1000 多个就业机会,其中

550 万条轿车和轻型卡车轮


包括女性就业机会- 据称这是印

胎,以及大约675,000 条商

收工厂,Elysium 和 Enviro将

度第一家在 车间雇用女性工作的













Country Focus

Asia responds to global economic emergency The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the best and worst of economies: it has exposed the inadequacy or lack of systems in governance to address the needs of the different sectors and industries. For one, it is a good thing; on the other hand, it may lead to a longer coping curve from the anticipated global recession from Covid-19, says Angelica Buan in this report.

The Covid-19 pandemic is signalling an impending global recession

At the threshold of a global recession Panic to contain the spread of the coronavirus may soon be of no match to the panic to wrestle against an impending global recession. And the dread is not without basis. China, the world’s second largest economy (after the US) and touted as the world’s factory has slowed its economic activities as it strictly contained the virus; and the aftermath is rather sombre, according to some analysts. IHS Markit, in a recent report, forecasts China’s growth to post a measly 2% in 2020, following a near double-digit decline in economic activity in the first quarter of the year. Though it is expected to rebound in 2021, as the country slowly recuperates from the onslaught of the virus, the impact of its earlier dilemma on its trade spat with the US, the world’s largest economy and China’s largest trading partner, will trail behind. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) anticipates the rest of the year to be challenging for China. The slowdown during the first quarter, has disrupted industrial production and retail sales, and curbed supply and demand. Furthermore, IMF has said the coronavirus impact is more severe and vastly spread compared to the global financial crisis in 2007-2008, as it has hit households, businesses, financial institutions, and markets all at the same time in China and globally. Exodus from China: high level of uncertainty Before Covid-19, the US-China trade war, which started as early as 2018 and eventually scaled up with tariffs to include more products, especially imported products from China, has caused bumps in the latter’s economy.

As a result of the ongoing trade war with the US, China has become less lucrative for some businesses that are setting up plants elsewhere in Asia MARCH / APRIL 2020


Country Focus The UN Conference in Trade and Development (UNCTAD) cited in a research paper published in November 2019 that the US tariffs resulted in 25% loss to Chinese tariffed exports in the US market in the first half of 2019. Although tensions eased slightly between the trading partners this year with the US offering an olive branch to China, the situation had already signalled several companies to pull their production out of China. UNCTAD says that China has become less lucrative for some businesses, ranging from electrical and electronics and white goods to consumer goods and tyres, which have started exiting the country to set up camp elsewhere. It said, “of the US$35 billion Chinese export losses in the US market, about US$21 billion, or 63% , was diverted to other countries, while the remainder of US$14 billion was either lost or captured by US producers”. Other countries that gained from the trade diversions include Taiwan, which at the time of the UNCTAD analysis scored US$4.2 billion in additional exports to the US in the first half of 2019, by selling more office machinery and communication equipment. Vietnam has cornered the communication equipment and furniture supply gap, and increased its exports to the US by US$2.6 billion. Meanwhile other Asian countries, South Korea and India, along with North American compeer Canada, gained between US$0.9 billion to US$1.5 billion. The European Union, meanwhile, netted US$2.7 billion in increased exports, largely in the machineries sectors. China’s pre-Covid-19 situation, marked by a slowdown in economic growth as well as the impact of the trade war, has raised a level of uncertainty among foreign businesses based in the country. For example, in a survey conducted by the British Chamber of Commerce among 249 British companies based in China, with a combined annual revenue crossing US$29 billion, suggested souring perception among a majority of the respondents. They say they were challenged with state regulations, competition from state-owned enterprises (SOEs), labour costs and the global economic activity situation, which weighed heavily on their business activities.

In a survey, British companies based in China raised various challenges including labour costs



The survey reported that a quarter of the respondents from the various sectors raised the issue of unequal treatment from the Chinese government, in lieu of the SOEs, which account for 40% of the total number of enterprises. Confidence in doing business in China in 2020 fell more than ten notches, from 65% to 54%, compared to the 2018 outlook. Meanwhile, German businesses in China, polled in the annual Business Confidence Survey conducted by the German Chamber of Commerce in China, in cooperation with KPMG AG Germany, raised the issue of the challenging regulatory environment. This they say has limited their growth potential. The survey also noted a decrease in the automotive and machinery/industrial equipment sectors. China-sited German businesses intoned a decline in the automotive and machinery/industrial equipment sectors

Nevertheless, for these European businesses, which are also hammered by the Covid-19 circumstances, there are at least two events they can look forward to past the pandemic. Firstly, the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) trade deal between China and the EU, launched in 2013 and expected to be concluded by end of this year, which touches on several segments. This includes peace and security, prosperity, sustainable development, and people-to-people exchange. The treaty is intended to further strengthen China’s relationship with the EU, its largest trading partner. According to the European Commission, China is the EU's biggest source of imports and its second-biggest export market. Trade between the two markets is on average over EUR1 billion a day.

Country Focus The other development, China’s new Foreign Investments Law (FIL), which has taken effect 1 January, is yet to sow its benefits as Covid-19 quarantine measures are still in place in many countries. The law aims to give investors better access to the Chinese market, and other such opportunities including more flexibility on joint venture terms, opening-up and promotion of foreign investment coupled with liberalisation measures that will prompt opportunities of restructuring and re-investment. Others are concrete steps to protect intellectual property rights, opening up the possibilities of rearranging existing and future intellectual property rights, according to UK-headquartered PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Southeast Asia in the eye of a perfect storm The Southeast Asian bloc had been predicted to reach an economic growth at an average 5.4% and to be the fourth largest economy in the world by 2030. But all this might change. Growth forecasts for Asia in the current situation have now been revised amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Recently, the World Bank (WB) downgraded the economic growth forecasts across Asia this year, even dropping Malaysia and Thailand to likely plunge into recession “even in a best-case scenario”; while Indonesia and the Philippines could follow suit, “in the worst-case scenario”, the US-headquartered financial institution has forecast. With the number of Covid-19 cases increasing, Southeast Asian countries are racing to contain the virus in the shortest span of time. At the same time, the risk of economic slump is not far behind and must be addressed. Households in countries like Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia that rely on sectors, which are vulnerable to impact of Covid-19 are at risk of falling into poverty, according to WB. Elsewhere in Asia, contraction of production activities, exports, as well as unemployment have been noted. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) noted the spill overs of the economic disruptions from China to other regions including Asia, such as drop in domestic consumption and investment; declines in tourism and business travel; and shifts in health care spending , to cite a few. However, with a scenario that may likely take the lead of the global financial crisis in 2008, and although different factors are at play, the region recovered from the previous 2008 crisis and is anticipated to also navigate through a tightly squeezed economic situation amidst the pandemic. Stimulus remedy: safety nets against economic debacle In the maelstrom from the Covid-19 pandemic, the region’s quick response to the outbreak indicates the region’s crisis resiliency. These include the release of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives and cash hand-outs to buffer the impact of the virus’s plague to industries and household populations. Fiscal interventions in each member state are expected to brace their economies from collapsing totally.

To wit, Indonesia has released two stimulus packages as counter measures – the first package worth US$725 million was out in February to be earmarked for food programmes and subsidy for housing, tourism, and other essential sectors. This was followed by the second package issued in March, totalling US$8 billion, to buffer the economy and the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly in the manufacturing sector. In March, Malaysia bankrolled an economic stimulus package totalling US$58 billion to stem the impact of Covid-19. It includes special allowances for healthcare providers, cash aid for middle and lower income groups, microcredit schemes for SMEs, and other mitigating measures. Meanwhile, Thailand’s US$12.7 billion stimulus package covers soft loans, funds for workers and firms, and tax benefits. The Philippines has announced a US$3.9 billion relief package, claimed to be the largest social protection programme ever launched in the country. It will primarily assist informal sector workers and people who have been affected by the lockdown. It has also announced an economic stimulus package, reportedly to amount 1.5% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Vietnam has also come up with a fiscal package of US$1.3 billion to support businesses at this time, with financial institutions chipping in credit packages to help affected enterprises.

The Philippines is reportedly rolling out an economic stimulus package that amounts to 1.5% of the country’s GDP

Cambodia has implemented tax and loan incentives; while Myanmar has said it will dispense a US$71.6 million support package that covers loans and tax incentives, especially for key sectors like garment manufacturing, tourism and SMEs. The region’s efforts to fight Covid-19 do not end here as it focuses on its long-term growth ambitions as a collective grouping. In the past, Asia has been battered by trade tensions and global financial crises, but has always emerged strong and unscarred. MARCH / APRIL 2020



European recycling markets reel from coronavirus By Mark Victory, Senior Editor, ICIS


oncerns over the long-term impact of the coronavirus outbreak on key European recycling markets has sharply escalated following the adoption of further containment measures across the continent. Sources are particularly worried about limited volumes entering collection systems, logistic disruptions, potential downstream demand losses in non-packaging sectors, buyers abandoning sustainability measures and a reduction in necessary long-term investment. Even early on, concerns in the recycling industry had only been limited to the impact on virgin prices with which recycled material competes - and individual customer relationships in countries such as Italy. The coronavirus has had a major impact on petrochemicals, hindering global supply chains, changing consumer demand patterns and prompting wide swings in the markets. At the same time, crude has plunged in the wake of the ongoing price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia - which is also being felt in virgin plastics markets across Europe. In the meantime, the recycling markets have largely been trading normally, albeit with some additional buyer caution. This, however, is beginning to shift. Sources in the recycled polyethylene terephthalate (r-PET) market - the most widely recycled plastic across Europe - are already seeing a change in consumer behaviour, particularly around buying habits, and more importantly, recycling habits. “People are buying [bottled] water and they don't bring it back, they store it,” a German recycler said recently. Demand for virgin PET has already increased significantly in March as Europeans began to panic buy food and other necessities. “On the one hand, it's a regular seasonal effect in February and March – it’s winter so people drink less [bottled drinks]. But on the other, purchasing has increased big time, so [consumers] store [bottles] at home, [and] some have switched to glass,” the recycler added. Sources in Germany, which has one of the most established deposit return schemes (DRS) in Europe – where consumers return their used PET bottles via reverse vending machines in locations like supermarkets – are waiting to assess the impact of



social distancing and self-isolation on the recycling market. Many will be looking at how used PET bottles are returned to the recycling stream during the outbreak as it comes at a time when post-consumer bottle availability is already tight due to the previously mentioned drop in bottled-drinks consumption. This is also likely to have an effect on seasonal trends associated with the consumption of bottled drinks. If social distancing is still in effect during the summer, people may not go out as much, resulting in less r-PET availability. Some said the coronavirus may cause more people to turn to tap water or use glass bottles over plastic. Lower collection rates A similar trend of reduced collection rates is expected in other key recycled polymer sectors such as recycled polyethylene (r-PE) and recycled polypropylene (r-PP). “We plan that we will have less material getting in to our plants in the next weeks,” a major French waste collector and reprocessor said. Reduced collection rates typically take several weeks to be felt in the market because of the time it takes post-consumer or post-industrial material to work through the chain. This means that any shortages most likely will be felt during what would typically be the beginning of the peak season for r-PET and recycled polyolefins (r-PO). Nevertheless, given the demand uncertainty it is unlikely that the 2020 peak season will be typical. The impact on demand for r-PO is likely to be divided by end-use market. Key end-use markets for r-PO include automotive, construction, bin bags, outdoor furniture and packaging. Downturn on industries – how will it affect Automotive demand has already fallen sharply because of the outbreak, and it is likely to decline further after temporary closures at automotive manufacturers across Europe. The construction industry is more protected from any direct production impact caused by the coronavirus, but is likely to be heavily affected by any economic downturn. Outdoor furniture demand, meanwhile, is also likely to suffer due to isolation measures.

Recycling In contrast, packaging demand is expected to soar. Buyers are expected to favour plastic-wrapped food driven by hygiene concerns, and because of the widepsread use of polyolefins in packaging cleaning and hygiene products. Nevertheless, the extent to which this will benefit the recycling industry remains unclear. Several sources suggest that the pandemic will take the focus off sustainability targets in the short term. They also expect brand owners to switch back to virgin, which may be more readily available. Price hike – back to virgin? Because the price for products such as colourless r-PET flakes and food-grade pellets, high density polyethylene (r-HDPE) natural and food-grade pellets and r-PP natural pellets are all now higher than virgin material, it only adds to the possibility of further substitution back to virgin. “In the current situation, if they can't find recycled low density polyethylene (r-LDPE) they'll use LDPE simply to [be able to] supply [their goods],” a major packaging manufacturer said. Coupled with this, there are concerns about staff shortages as the pandemic gathers pace, and the ability of smaller recyclers to manage cash flow if they are unable to operate for a sustained period of time. Cash reserves at recyclers are typically kept low compared with the petrochemicals industry.

Logistics – major issue Of wider concern is the impact on logistics. Now that several countries across Europe have closed their borders (see interactive map below) and restricted the movement of goods and people, getting material to and from recycling units is already proving a challenge for some. “We see [problems] on the logistics side, so getting bottles delivered, and also delivery of our finished goods. There are some borders closed but it's mainly focused on people trends, not transport of goods. Checks on temperatures [of drivers] at boarders delay transport activities,” an r-PET producer said. Across the recycling industry, pan-European trade flows are common with both post-consumer and postindustrial waste commonly sourced from overseas - depending on availability and quality - and finished recycled flakes and pellets also commonly exported cross-border. “Logistics is very painful at the moment in Europe, for all products and all materials, don't know what it'll mean in the end as it'll impact the usage of the products,” a flake producer in central Europe said. Logistic problems are already causing some companies to build up inventories to manage any potential disruption. “We buy big quantities from France, Netherlands and Italy and when the borders close completely there's a big problem as where do we get our material? Also

Natural R-PP pellet monthly price minus virgin PP spot price

30 20 10


0 -10 -20 -30 -40 -50

Copolymer Homopolymer inj. Raffia

-60 1 Nov 19 22


1 Dec 19

1 Jan 20

1 Feb 20

1 Mar 20

1 Nov 19

1 Dec 19

1 Feb 20

1 Jan 20

1 Mar 20

Recycling 1.150


EUR / tonne


1.000 950


850 800

May ‘19

Jul ‘19

Sep ‘19

Nov ‘19

Jan ‘20

Mar ‘20

PET Bottle Grade FD Europe Assessment Domestic Current Month Full Market Range Weekly (Mid) RPET Flake, Hot-Washed, Colourless FD NWE Assessment Domestic and Export Spot 14 Days Full Market Ran... (Mid)

50% [of our end product] goes outside of Germany to Europe and our customers ask us if we're able to deliver the material they need, if we have to reduce production. “When we ask our plants for transport, they say no problem. At the moment it seems to be stable, but the question is what will happen tomorrow when the government makes the decision to close the border,” a major European recycler said. Uncertainty over demand/supply Ongoing uncertainty over the wide array of response by European governments to the coronavirus has further obscured the demand picture - while some are stockpiling, others are taking the opposite approach and avoiding new orders. “We have orders, but not new orders for the next weeks. There's a big confusion over the next weeks,” the major French waste collector and reprocessor said. The longer term impact on investment decisions also remains uncertain. Investment across both mechanical and chemical recycling is vital if the industry is to meet ambitious legislative and brand targets for packaging recycling. There is a current severe shortage of food-grade material across all recycled polymers - both on the collection and reprocessing side. Take r-PET as an example. Reprocessing capacity for food-grade approved pellets stands at 300,000

tonnes/year, whereas for recycled r-HDPE it is around 100,000 tonnes/year. For other r-PO grades, food-grade material is only available in very small volumes because of European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) requirements on traceability and sorting. New technology, new collection methods, the growth of chemical recycling and increased reprocessing capacity are all needed to meet 2025 targets. However, a weaker economic outlook is having a limiting effect on investment, particularly in areas such as recycling where investment from small start-ups is common due to lower barriers to entry than for petrochemicals, and where collection systems remain largely in the control of local authorities. Both are vulnerable in the current situation. The economic fallout from the global recession of 2008, for example, resulted in more than a decade of underinvestment in collection systems by local authorities because of widespread austerity measures across Europe. With the scale of social distancing measures necessary for the containment of the pandemic, a global recession is looking increasingly likely. For the time being, the majority of the European recycling industry continues to operate on a business as usual basis - but the consequences may be felt for many years to come. MARCH / APRIL 2020


Packaging Sector

Coating technology’s success story What started out in the 1990s as an application for the pharmaceutical industry is now an established coating technology for PET bottles for the beverage industry.


ith its Plasmax coating technology and the FreshSafe PET packaging system, which has evolved from it, German company KHS Group offers the food and beverage industries a sustainable, environmentally-friendly system with the best possible product protection. Today’s coating system for PET bottles dates back to the 1990s when it was used in the pharmaceutical industry. How has this extraordinary story of success come about? When Bernd-Thomas Kempa, who has been in charge of Sales & Service since 2012 and is now head of Plasmax Barrier Technology Global Account Management, and Dr. Joachim Konrad, who has been responsible for engineering as director of Plasmax Barrier Technology since 2014 and is now head of the Large Machine Product Division at KHS, talk about the history of FreshSafe PET, frequent mention is made of the words “persistence”, “conviction” and “trust”. Together with their team, in a manner of speaking the two are the trailblazers behind the transformation of KHS Plasmax barrier coating technology from a niche product to a market-proven, tried-and-tested packaging system for the food and beverage industries. The story of FreshSafe PET, also known as Plasmax, began in the 2000s. This was when Schott AG and SIG Corpoplast launched a joint venture for the plasma coating of PET bottles to cater for changing packaging preferences in the industry. In doing so they pooled the expertise of an international manufacturer of glass and glass ceramics with that of a packaging producer and engineering company for the processing of plastics. Schott AG’s portfolio also included a glass coating which was applied to the insides of glass containers as a supplemental layer. Bernd-Thomas Kempa (right), Head of Plasmax Barrier Technology Global Account Management, and Dr Joachim Konrad (left), former Director of Plasmax Barrier “This protected highly Technology and now Head of the Large Machine Product Division at KHS sensitive pharmaceutical products from substance migration,” explains Kempa.



Packaging Sector Challenges for customers and KHS During the course of the joint venture a prototype of the first generation of Plasmax machines was developed and in 2002 the first Plasmax machine was tested in Switzerland with an output of 10,000 bottles/hour. Plasmax was also granted regulatory approval for use in the food industry in Europe, the US and Japan. Two Plasmax 12D machines were then shipped to Japan for the protective packaging of sensitive products. In 2006, Eckes-Granini was the first European fruit juice company to go to market using this technology. “The constant aim of development was and still is to integrate just one machine which satisfies bottling plant conditions and meets customer expectations,” says Kempa. System availability in particular had to be at an established level typical of the industry from the very start. “Looking at our success now and at the growing demand for this machine, we can say that it was worth it. We still nurture a certain start-up mentality in the team, though,” adds Konrad.

Eckes-Granini was the first European fruit juice company to go to market using the technology

“With the dissolution of the joint venture and the takeover of Plasmax technology by KHS in 2008 we were given plenty of backing. However, as part of a global enterprise our small team was also required to prove that this technology could be just as sustainable in the beverage industry environment,” Kempa states. “Without the support of KHS and our parent company Salzgitter AG it wouldn’t have been possible to successfully transform this technology and break even. Success would have been equally lacking had we not had the special way of working together we still foster, with plenty of team spirit and great willingness shown by all members of the team,” he adds.

This support and sense of trust also increased among the company’s customers: alongside other machine sales in 2010 the prototype of the larger second generation of Plasmax coating machines went to Eckes with a capacity of up to 27,500 1.0-l bottles an hour. In 2014 the company procured the world’s first FreshSafe block for its plant in Fallingbostel, a system blocked with a KHS stretch blow moulder which produces a maximum of 32,000 0.75-l bottles every 60 minutes. Plasmax portfolio continuously expanded “Eckes-Granini saw the opportunities rather than the possible snags and was open to new developments and processes. We mustn’t forget that to start with this was new territory for all involved,” Konrad explains. Both parties profited from what was learned during the intensive partnership, helping to optimise processes with regard to practical use and come up with totally new solutions. In this way Plasmax has steadily expanded its range of products over the years. The machine manufacturer now supplies not just its standard coating machine and the InnoPET FreshSafe block but also a Plasmax 2Q/4Q for the low-performance range and an InnoPET FreshSafe TriBlock with a stretch blow moulder and filler/ capper combination which can produce up to 48,000 bottles/hour. The company’s success corroborates this: the interest shown by the beverage industry in FreshSafe PET and other KHS PET technologies is on the increase because they are sustainable, believes Konrad. In order to perfectly meet the growing demand from the market, in 2016 production capacities at the Hamburg production site were increased. One major global soft drinks producer, among other clients, is now relying on FreshSafe PET for its bottling operations at its plants in Asia and North America. “Together with this beverage bottler we’ve managed to apply all of the advantages of our Plasmax system. We’ve been able to achieve this positive result because all of the main issues – from preform and bottle design to the customer’s production options – were integrated into our search for the optimum solution. This was the breakthrough for us in the beverage sector,” Konrad exclaims. Key factor for environmental protection Several factors play a role when a customer makes his or her decision to buy. With FreshSafe PET no unwanted substances enter the product from the outside, for instance – and valuable ingredients such as vitamins cannot escape. Thanks to Plasmax barrier technology sensitive and carbonated beverages also keep up to ten times longer than in the conventional PET bottle. MARCH / APRIL 2020


Packaging Sector This is a key factor, especially for bottlers whose products have to travel long distances. Furthermore, the wafer-thin layer of glass reliably protects sensitive products against loss of freshness and quality, thus making a considerable contribution to the protection of the environment. “The more reliable the product protection, the lower the amount of food wasted,” says Konrad. This barrier technology is also suitable for coating PET bottles made of recyclate (rPET) and for biodegradable containers. Kempa and Konrad believe that the key factor for environmental protection is not just weight reduction but also the full recyclability of FreshSafe PET. By avoiding the use of different material components this coating technology enables the PET material to be collected by type and thus containers to be fully recycled. This has been confirmed by a number of independent international experts and trade associations such as the APR 1 and EBPB 2 , among others. In the face of the growing

demand across the globe for clean recycling systems this is a crucial aspect, claims Kempa. “Customers and the public are increasingly calling for environmentally-friendly packaging systems; a product is only successful when it solves a relevant problem.” Less use of materials cuts costs In addition to environmental aspects and the protection of the product economy is also important. By using KHS technology, bottles weigh less than those which contain additives, in turn cutting down on the amount of material required and thus saving on costs. Moreover, bottlers can also switch to using less expensive standard PET preforms, again reducing the cost per bottle. “All of these factors have helped FreshSafe PET evolve from a mere vision to a popular and sustainable form of packaging,” enthuses Kempa. “And we’re convinced that the success of this product is set to continue for some time yet,” he concluded.

KHS has expanded its range of Plasmax products over the years and now supplies not just its standard coating machine and the InnoPET FreshSafe block but also a Plasmax 2Q/4Q for the lowperformance range, among other equipment


The Association of Plastic Recyclers is a North American trade association which strongly advocates the recycling of all post-consumer plastic packaging. To this end, the association draws up design guidelines, for example, and recognises packaging design innovations which meet its stringent guiding principles governing recyclability, among other criteria.

2 The European PET Bottle Platform is a voluntary industry initiative that provides PET bottle design guidelines for recycling.



Injection Moulding Asia Medical Sector

Automotive makers: going the extra mile to keep the medical sector safe accounting for 30% of total global car sales in 2018, according to Beijing-based Daxue Consulting, and it had factories suspending operations amid the Covid-19. Wuhan, production base to some of the world’s major car companies, General Motors (GM), Honda, Nissan, Peugeot Group, and Renault, represented 10% of China’s carmaking capacity in 2019. Inevitably, the outbreak contributed to decline in car sales in China by 92% in the first half of February, according to Daxue. Accelerated into a pandemic, Covid-19 has forced more plant shutdowns outside of China. The US and Europe, registering staggering coronavirus cases within weeks, have seen car plants and facilities going offline to contain the virus. Asian countries afflicted by Covid-19 like Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam, where the automotive sector is a significant economic pillar, are likewise bracing for a potential market crash. Market experts suggest a more bleak post-pandemic scenario for the automotive industry. Based on a poll conducted by the Automotive Supply Chain and Technology team at IHS Markit, a significant degree of uncertainty looms over the automotive sector, in general.

As the number of Covid-19 cases continues

to rise globally, medical protective equipment for healthcare providers is in short supply.

This has seen the automotive sector rise to the

occasion with solutions, says Angelica Buan in this report.

Automotive industry in 2020: a fallen star In almost the same period last year, the automotive industry growth was forecast to stagnate against the impact of the US trade war since it began in 2018. The automotive industry wrestled with the up to 25% tariffs levied on vehicles and parts. This situation not only affected the automotive supply chains of the US and China but also that of Europe and other regions. But just as the global automotive industry was looking to rebound in 2020, along came another blow – the Covid19 outbreak, said to have originated from China’s “motor city” of Wuhan in the Hubei province. It has, since, grounded a majority of China’s economic activities. China is the world’s largest automotive market

Car makers are flexing their capacity to augment shortage of PPEs for medical front line workers

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Injection Moulding Asia Medical Sector Demand disruption, reduced output due to OEM plant shutdowns, shortage of raw materials and labour were among the major concerns, among respondents.

Designed to prevent fogging and lightweight, to enable ease of movement of the wearer, the transparent sheet that forms the shield can be sanitised after 6-8 hours before reuse. The company, a merger of the three Indian subsidiaries of the Volkswagen Group India – Volkswagen India Pvt Ltd (VWIPL), Volkswagen Group Sales India Pvt Ltd (NSC) and Škoda Auto India Pvt Ltd (SAIPL), also donated 1 crore rupees to set up a Covid-19 dedicated 1,100-bed facility in Sassoon General Hospital in Pune; as well as provide 35,000 units of sanitisers to hospitals in this Marahastra city of more than a 7 million population.

Shifting priorities: gearing up to produce PPEs Meanwhile, on the front line of the Covid-19 battle is the healthcare sector. Healthcare workers are not only racing against time to treat as many patients but also waging a war against the dwindling supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Healthcare workers rely on personal protective equipment to protect themselves and their patients from being infected and infecting others. But shortages are leaving doctors, nurses and other frontline workers dangerously ill-equipped to care for Covid-19 patients, due to limited access to supplies such as gloves, medical masks, respirators, goggles, face shields, gowns, and aprons. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has, thus, urged industries and governments to increase their production of PPE by 40% to meet rising global demand. But even then, PPE manufacturers, going beyond their maximum capacities already, are still short of fulfilling the continuous demand that is increasing day by day. The rising demand from medical facilities, in addition to panic buying, hoarding and misuse are conducive to the shortage, WHO stated, adding that securing supply chains by boosting supply and easing restrictions are vital. WHO, as well as several governments, have distributed PPEs to countries that indicated rising counts of infected patients. According to its estimate, around 89 million medical masks/month are required for the Covid-19 response. For examination gloves, that figure goes up to 76 million, while international demand for goggles stands at 1.6 million/month. At the current rate, supply is not adequate. Global automotive makers, an unlikely sector to address the shortage of PPEs, are reportedly working double time to help boost the supply. Currently, car companies are churning out face shields and masks from their factories to be delivered to countries that are battling Covid-19.

Škoda is producing face shields at its Chakan factory

European car makers buckle down to make ventilators Europe was heading towards pioneering a decarbonised and connected mobility roadmap when it encountered an unexpected bump: the rapidly spreading Covid-19. Spain has one of the highest numbers of cases in Europe and the tally is increasing. Meanwhile, thousands of its healthcare workers are adding to the infection statistics, with the insufficient supply of PPEs, thus aggravating the situation. For Spanish car maker Seat time is of the essence. Thus, the Volkswagen Group company, which in January reported growth of 10.9% of deliveries to a record 574,100 vehicles, has begun work on making automated ventilators from its Seat Leon line at the Martorell plant, with its definitive model produced at a record speed of one week. The Martorell, Barcelona-headquartered car maker has mobilised 150 of its employees from several areas of the company to produce the model, after designing 13 prototypes. The initiative started since the beginning of the situation caused by Covid-19, Seat said.

Remedy for India’s requirement for medical face shields India, the fourth largest automotive producer in the world, and seventh largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in 2018, according to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), may have to park its target of becoming the world’s automotive manufacturing centre for the time being to focus on restraining the surge of the Covid-19. As in many countries, medical workers in India are now facing PPE shortages that many have resorted to using raincoats, helmets with sun-visors and other plastic materials as substitutes for N95 masks or protective gowns. Škoda Auto Volkswagen India Private Limited (ŠAVWIPL) has stepped in to augment the shortage by producing reusable face shields at its Chakan factory. It said that the transparent face shields serve as protection from body fluids and can be worn with masks.

Seat’s OxyGEN comprises gearbox shafts and the adapted motor of a windscreen wiper

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Injection Moulding Asia Medical Sector Its upholstery department, which produces the interiors and customisations for Lamborghini cars, will be making 1,000 masks/day. At the same time, 200 PC (polycarbonate) protective medical shields will be made a day, inside the composites production plant and at the R&D department, with the use of 3D printers.

The project is taking shape with gears printed at Seat, gearbox shafts and the adapted motor of a windscreen wiper. The aim was to make ventilators of the highest quality, and the result is the OxyGEN, designed in collaboration with Barcelona-based Protofy.XYZ. Other businesses that have taken part in the project include CMCiB, Recam Laser, Doga Motors, Luz Negra, Ficosa, Bosch, Idneo Technologies, Secartys, and LCOE; as well as the University of Barcelona, and the regulatory agency, the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Healthcare Products. For the project, Seat had to transform its assembly line, which involved taking an assembly line that manufactures a car part, and adapting it to make ventilators. Each ventilator has more than 80 electronic and mechanical components and undergoes a thorough quality control with ultraviolet light sterilisation. A ventilator is currently undergoing prolonged testing as part of the approval process, it said.

US automotive firms in collaborative efforts for respirators US is a strong contender in the global automotive markets posting a 0.3% increase in sales in 2018, against 2017 figures, according to data from Market Line. However, 2019 presented a new twist to an otherwise optimistic forecast when sales dropped 5.8% in December compared to the same period a year ago. The trade spat with China as well as the emergence of advanced automotive technologies placed the US automotive industry in a challenging position. But this is not as challenging as the surmounting threat of an “unseen” enemy, the new coronavirus. The US healthcare sector, which has among the world’s top-notch healthcare systems in place, is grappling with an influx of patients, outstripping the number of healthcare providers and PPEs. Contending with the inadequate PPEs, including respirators, gloves, face shields, gowns, and hand sanitisers, have placed the front line health care workers at high risk to getting infected from patients. North American rubber products maker Air boss Defense Group (ADG) of AirBoss of America Corp has been tapped by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to supply 100,000 FlexAir powered air purifying respirators (PAPR) and 600,000 high efficiency filters for urgent response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Italian car maker in overdrive for masks and shields Automotive manufacturing in Italy had been anticipated to top its US$21 billion revenues in 2018 as it demonstrated an uptrend in annual growth rate, according to a report from Market Line. However, the bright prospect may have to take a detour while Covid-19 is ravaging the country that is alleged to have outpaced China’s infection counts. Assisting healthcare providers to flatten the curve of the contagion, Automobili Lamborghini, a manufacturer of luxury sports cars and SUVs based in Sant’Agata Bolognese, has converted portions of its production plant to produce surgical masks and protective medical shields for the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna. Undertaken in collaboration with the University of Bologna, Lamborghini said the Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences will oversee validation testing of the medical devices, prior to their delivery to the hospital.

Air boss Defense Group will be supplying FlexAir respirators and filters for US medical providers

Lamborghini has converted portions of its production plant to produce surgical masks and protective medical shields

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Injection Moulding Asia Medical Sector The FlexAir PAPR, designed to enable medical providers and first responders with unencumbered protection over extended periods of time, is a compact, lightweight PAPR system with an onboard lithium-ion battery installed in the waist-mounted blower unit. The design permits the use of two high efficiency particulate filters at a time providing protection against particulates, aerosols and biohazards, as well as viruses like Covid-19. Wearers are protected by having contaminated air purified by filtration media mounted on the PAPR blower unit and delivered via a lightweight breathing hose to the user’s head cover. ADG, which designs, develops and manufactures life-saving equipment that protects military personnel and first-responders worldwide is expected to fulfil the US$96.4 million contract over the forthcoming weeks, with initial deliveries commencing in the second quarter of 2020, it said. ADG added that it has already successfully responded during the MERS and Ebola outbreaks, by providing PPE to the government and civilian medical customers. Along the same vein, US car major Ford Motor Company has partnered with General Electric (GE) Healthcare to produce in Michigan a third-party ventilator, targeting to produce 50,000 units within 100 days and up to 30,000/month thereafter as needed.

Ford expects to produce 1,500 by the end of April; 12,000 by the end of May; and 50,000 by July; to meet the US government’s goal of producing 100,000 ventilators in 100 days. Ford is also collaborating with adhesives producer 3M for the production of a PAPR with repurposed fans from the Ford F-150 trucks’ cooled seats for airflow and the 3M HEPA air filters to filter airborne contaminants. The PAPR will have portable tool battery packs to power the respirators. For GM, producing ventilators will be the focus of its collaboration with Washington-based medical device company Ventec Life Systems. The two companies are building VOCSN critical care ventilators, the first and only multi-function ventilator which integrates five separate devices including a critical care ventilator. It combines an oxygen concentrator, cough assist, suction and nebuliser into a single portable device. Manufactured at GM’s Kokomo, Indiana manufacturing facility, the FDA-cleared ventilators are scheduled to be shipped soon. This effort is in addition to Ventec ramping up production at its manufacturing facility in Bothell, Washington. The companies are adding thousands of units of new capacity with a significantly expanded supply chain capable of supporting high volume production. GM stated that it is contributing its resources at cost. GM will also begin manufacturing FDA-cleared Level 1 surgical masks at its Warren, Michigan manufacturing facility, with a target of producing 50,000 masks/day, and potentially increasing to 100,000/day. All these joint efforts also include numerous donations from automotive companies like Tesla that has given away 1,255 ventilators and 50,000 N95 masks.

Ford is partnering with GE Healthcare to produce ventilator

Ford will provide its manufacturing capabilities to quickly scale production, and GE Healthcare will provide its clinical expertise and will license the current ventilator design from Airon Corp, a privately held company specialising in high-tech pneumatic life support products. The GE/Airon Model A-E ventilator uses a design that operates on air pressure without the need for electricity, addressing the needs of most Covid-19 patients. Its production can be quickly scaled to help meet growing demand in the US.

GM is making masks for front line workers

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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • UK company Synthomer is to sell its Pyratex VP Latex business in Germany to materials firm Trinseo, ahead of its purchase of Omnova, a US-based specialty chemical company which manufactures emulsion polymers, speciality chemicals and decorative products. Completion of the divestment to Trinseo, which represents less than 0.5% of Synthomer 2019 sales, is subject to approval from competition authorities but it says this does not impact the completion of the Omnova transaction. • Australian protection solutions provider Ansell Limited has acquired 50% of the issued shares in Careplus (M) Sdn Bhd from Careplus Group Berhad for US$9 million, including capital investments and subject to approval and customary closing conditions. Careplus is a Malaysian manufacturer of surgical as well as latex and nitrile powder-free examination gloves, with annual sales of US$38 million. The company is a current Ansell supplier and has a facility in the Senawang Industrial Estate, near Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, with significant unused space and capacity. • Following Wacker Chemie’s reported loss of US$680 million in its preliminary figures for 2019, the German chemical company has planned a restructuring programme to save US$270 million each year and will reduce material costs and in-house services to create a leaner company structure. Wacker will also cut more than 1,000 jobs by the end of 2022, affecting more than 80% of the company’s Munich-based business divisions, including administrative departments and non-operational functions. The German facilities employ

about 10,000 of Wacker’s 14,500 employees. • Rubber manufacturer Semperit Group is to focus on becoming an industrial rubber specialist for higher profitability. Semperit will also separate from its medical business due to the increased investment requirements, affecting all Sempermed sites and part of the Semperit main site in Wimpassing, Austria, which produces surgical gloves. Until the end of 2024, the company is to grow again to a significantly higher revenue volume through organic growth steps. Semperit employs around 7,100 people worldwide, including 3,800 in Asia and around 900 in Austria. The company has 14 manufacturing facilities worldwide and sales offices in Europe, Asia, Australia, and America. • New York-based private equity firm Warburg Pincus is investing in “compulsorily convertible preference shares” issued by India’s Apollo Tyres. These are shares that the purchaser plans to convert into ordinary shares after a predetermined date; and tied to the company’s performance. While Apollo called the US$150 millioninvestment a “primary capital infusion,” pending shareholder and regulatory approvals, Warburg Pincus’s investment could represent about a 10% ownership stake in the tyre company if the preference shares are converted to common shares. At present, the preference shares carry a dividend at the rate of 6.34% a year, and can be converted into equity shares within 18 months. • Germany-based 4JET Group has acquired the TIS testing systems business unit for tyres and wheels from Hennecke

Systems. TIS systems are based on Hennecke Systems’ know-how in industrial image processing and enable optical 2D and 3D inspection of tyre treads, sidewalls, rims and mounted wheels. DOT codes, colour stripes and tyre profiles can be read out in a reliable manner and in market leading speed. • Sinochem International Corporation, a China-based fine chemical company listed on the Shanghai Stock market, has begun construction of its polymer additives plant in Rojana Industrial Park in Thailand, which is the company’s first overseas polymer additives production base. The RMB290 million plant covers an area of 64,000 sq m and is expected to start up this year. Upon completion, it will have a production capacity of 25,000 tonnes/year of rubber antioxidant for the Southeast Asian countries. • Yokohama Rubber has partnered with the Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAOT), a state enterprise under the jurisdiction of Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, to provide economic support for natural rubber (NR) farmers in Thailand and to improve traceability of the supply chain. The MOU signed between the two parties follows a survey on NR plantations in Surat Thani, southern Thailand; conducted by Yokohama Rubber’s local subsidiary, YT Rubber Co. (YTRC). It aims to survey some 500 farmers by the end of 2021, the results of which will be used by YTRC to study the common issues facing NR plantations. • Coal tar derivatives company Epsilon Carbon is to set up an environmentally-friendly carbon black facility in Karnataka, southern India. The company

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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News reveals that the first phase of the new, US$121.1 million carbon black facility is expected to be commissioned by Q3/ FY21 with an initial capacity of 115,000 tonnes/year. It expects to further expand the facility’s overall capacity to over 300,000 tonnes/year by FY24. The new facility will use waste coke oven gas from a steel plant as fuel, thereby lowering its CO2 footprint. • Finnish manufacturer Nokian Tyres has started commercial tyre production at its North American factory in Dayton, Tennessee. It is the company’s third global production facility, joining others in Finland and Russia. The company officially broke ground on the factory in September 2017 and only opened the 830,000-sq ft complex last October. The factory is expected to produce 4 million such tyres/ year by 2023; will employ as many as 400 workers at the factory to add to the 100 or so team members currently • Apollo Vredestein, a Netherlands-based tyre manufacturer acquired by India’s Apollo Tyres, is to phase out certain product lines related to high-performance passenger and farm tyres in Enschede, in eastern Netherlands, to ensure continued sustainability of its manufacturing operations. The move precedes the eventual elimination of at least 750 jobs over the next two years. Apollo Vredestein aims to specialise the Enschede plant in agricultural tyres and high-value passenger tyres with short production runs. Its current capacity is 6.7 million units/year and 1,333 productionrelated employees. Apollo Tyres acquired the Enschede plant in 2009 from Vredestein Banden; it has a second production facility in Europe, in Hungary, that it opened in 2017. The

Hungarian plant has a capacity of 5.5 million passenger and light truck tyres/year and about 675,000 commercial vehicle tyres/ year. • French tyre manufacturer Michelin has inaugurated its first zero-emissions plant in Les Gravanches, France. The plant manufactures about 5,500 ultra-high performance tyres for luxury cars/motorcycles daily; automated production by its electric machinery also supplies “residual heat” to its workshops. As the “first of its kind” in the world, the plant has been CO2-free since the completion of an upgrading project last year and is now fully powered by renewable energy sources. In 2020, the factory is set to manufacture 1.8 million units, and will continue supplying tyres to OEMs such as Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Porsche, and Mercedes. • Taiwanese tyre manufacturer Maxxis Group is to build five factories in India as it expects the country to play a significant part in its chase to become a global player by 2025, alongside Indonesia. Maxxis is investing US$400 million on its manufacturing plant in Sanand, Gujarat. Its phase I expansion aims to hike output to 60,000 units of two-wheeler tyres/day from the current 20,000 units/day. The Sanand plant expansion may also see half the land received from the Gujarat government used for four-wheeler tyre production, in addition to its two-wheeler capacity, if Maxxis achieves its target of garnering 15% of the two-wheeler tyre market share in India by 2023. • Danish company Elysium Nordic, which intends to establish a material recycling plant based on Enviro Systems’

pyrolysis technology, has been granted an environmental permit by the Teknik-og Miljøafdelingen in Denmark. The permit relates to a plant for material recycling that Elysium and Enviro will set up to recover carbon black, oil and steel from end-of-life tyres. • Chinese tyre manufacturer Sailun Tires is to invest in a US$286.4 million facility for its truck and bus radial (TBR) tyres at an existing site in Liaoning, Shenyang province. The 114,000 sq m plant will be complete two years and its additional capacity of 3 million units of TBR is expected to bring in US$43.3 million/year net profit. Sailun currently manufactures 3 million units/year of TBR at the Liaoning site. • Chinese tyre manufacturer Shandong Linglong Tire plans to raise up about US$289 million for its ongoing Jingmen project in Hubei province, China, through a public placement on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE). The Jingmen project is the company’s fourth China plant in its plans to build five plants in China and three overseas. When fully operational, it will have capacity for 12 million units passenger car tyres/year, 2.4 million units truck/bus tyres/ year and 60,000 units off-theroad tyres/year. • Chennai, India-based tyre manufacturer Ceat Tyres has inaugurated production at its newest car/motorcycle tyre plant in Kanchipuram, marking Ceat’s first unit in the southern state of Tamil Nadu and its sixth in India. The “smart factory” will operate at zero-emissions levels on a 163-acre site built according to green building standards, with a capacity of 28,500 passenger and 2,500 motorcycle tyres/day. Ceat expects to invest

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has “to

Rubber sector undergoing stress, amidst Covid-19 spread Against the back of a global health crisis

But far more concerning is the automotive industry, adds a report by IHS Markit. The automotive industry was already impaired when Covid-19 started rapidly spreading within China. The country accounts for roughly one-fourth of global light vehicle production and manufacturing sites had to be shut down amid labour shortages, province lockdowns, and logistic problems. This was not only a problem for China, but also for automotive manufacturers in other countries since manufacturers relied on automotive part imports from China. According to IHS Markit Automotive, the global light vehicle production forecast is around 87.2 million units for 2020, which was forecast before the rapid spread of Covid-19 in Europe and the US. This year’s production forecast is lower than 2014 production levels. Global automotive production growth rates were -1% in 2018 and -5.6% in 2019. Global automotive production growth was expected to be -1.9% in 2020, but it is a near certainty that the growth rate will be much lower than pre-Covid-19 views, adds the research firm.

and an emerging global economic crisis,

companies and industries all around the world are dealing with unprecedented

challenges as they try to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tyre market to drastically affect materials Covid-19 is impacting every single sector globally and one major industry, the airline industry, is struggling with the substantial decrease in the number of passengers and flights, with flights almost grounded worldwide. It is estimated that airplane tyres are required to be replaced after roughly 300-400 take-offs and landings. With the number of flights being substantially reduced, demand for both synthetic and natural rubbers will decrease as well.

Light Vehicle Production 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 G re at er Ch in a Ja pa n/ Ko M re id a dl e Ea st /A fri ca N or th Am er ica So ut h Am er ica So ut h As ia


Materials News

Eu ro pe

us rus

Rubber Journal Asia

Million Units





© 2020 IHS Markit

Source: IHS Markit Automotive 3 MARCH/ APRIL 2020

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Rubber Journal Asia Materials News Effect on materials demand Furthermore, with the reduction in the light vehicle production, demand for the OE tyres will decrease. This will have a spill-over effect on demand for rubber as well as butadiene, since over half of butadiene demand is driven by tyre and automotive industries. Large butadiene derivatives like polybutadiene rubber and styrenebutadiene rubber are key components of producing tyres and other automotive parts like belts, hoses, and gaskets. Some ABS demand also comes from the production of automotive parts. These three derivatives account for roughly threefourths of global butadiene demand. Significant demand decreases will pressure butadiene demand and price. The ultimate magnitude of the impact on C4s and rubbers is still too early to predict at this stage, but the impact is expected to increase until Covid-19 is contained globally, says IHS Markit.

ETRMA has formed a crisis team to look into the impact of Covid-19 on the European tyre sector

ETRMA Secretary-General Fazilet Cinaralp said, “Tyres are not only crucial for the movement of goods and people, but for the European economy. We employ approximately directly 370,000 people in Europe. Now it’s mandatory to identify how to support our employees and serve the automotive sector and our customers.”

Butadiene Demand Drivers

Tires 39%

Other Butadiene 37%

Other Commodity Rubber 7% Source: IHS Markit

Setting up task forces to coordinate the challenge Many companies have started addressing health and safety of employees first and supplier of silicon-based advanced materials Elkem ASA is no different. Osloheadquartered Elkem has more than 3,000 employees in China and was exposed early to the potential spread of this disease. However, it was an employee at its head office in Oslo who was its first confirmed case, which led to the temporary closure of the head office early in March. Elkem’s CEO Michael Koenig has said that the company has formed a corporate task force to coordinate its coronavirus response worldwide. “Elkem’s production so far continues mainly in line with normal capacity. In China, production is now back to normal levels. We are facing some disruptions in other countries, but those do not significantly impact Elkem’s total production. Our largest Elkem’s CEO Michael Koenig says that after the pandemic, focus will turn to rebuilding plants are in societies and building the post-coronavirus China, Norway economy, “better and more sustainable for all” and France.”

Other Automotive 17%

© 2020 IHS Markit

ETRMA brings members together in response to crisis Meanwhile, with the virus spreading like wildfire in Europe, many member companies of the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers Association (ETRMA) have temporarily closed their European manufacturing facilities. ETRMA, has, thus, called for constructive dialogue on remedial measures and support schemes at both the EU and national level. In line with this ETRMA has set up a Covid-19 crisis unit comprising rubber industry associations in a number of EU states. These include SNCP (France), WDK (Germany), Consorcio del Caucho (Spain), Assogomma (Italy) and other industrial federations. The unit is focused on information-sharing and interfacing with the European Commission, with weekly teleconference sessions to share the latest updates and to coordinate measures to restart production.


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Rubber Journal Asia Materials News Meanwhile, though there is demand for the company’s products, he adds that logistics remains a challenge across the world. “We also have to be prepared for reductions in demand and potential shutdowns if this situation continues.” In terms of its products, Koenig adds, “Silicones are key for several medical applications which hospitals now depend on, and silicon materials are key in the computers and mobile phones we all rely on for our digital communications, to name a few examples. Keeping up production is therefore one of the best contributions we can make.” And just like other materials suppliers that are contributing to the lack of medical equipment for healthcare workers, Elkem is establishing a KN95 silicone mask production line in China. “This production line is being built at Elkem Xinghuo to realise an annual production capacity of several million masks,” said Koenig.

Peter Nilsson, President/CEO of Trelleborg, says the company has implemented measures and continues to initiate new measures “to manage the unfolding events”

members had decided to take salary cuts for the next three months, with total savings of approximately EUR31 million. Pirelli said it would also in the fourth quarter of this year revise its forecasts in its business plan to 2022, which it released in February, “in light of the situation’s evolution.” German technology/automotive company Continental has withdrawn its 2020 outlook. Previously, Continental had anticipated consolidated sales for the current year of around EUR42.5 to EUR44.5 billion and an adjusted EBIT margin of around 5.5 to 6.5%. It has also temporarily halted more than 40% of its 249 production locations worldwide, with about 30,000 employees registered for short-time work in Germany. The cutback in production affects in particular Continental’s locations in Europe as well as in North and South America. In China, the company halted production at its plants but has gradually resumed production there starting February. However, UK polymer company Synthomer, which recently completed its acquisition of US-based speciality firm Omnova Solutions Inc, says it has experienced a solid start to the year with trading in line with 2019 and expectations set out. Demand has been especially strong in its nitrile latex business. Whilst the impact on both production and demand from Cobif-19 has been limited to date, the ongoing spread of the virus presents significant uncertainty, it adds. The company said that as a result, it will not recommend paying a final dividend for 2019 and will review it later in the year. Thus, it can be seen that the pandemic will have long term challenges and upheavals in the rubber sector, which has seen only the medical/healthcare sector benefiting, with rubber gloves in high demand.

Impact of coronavirus on companies’ performances In terms of effects of the virus in the long term, Koenig adds, “It is too early at this stage to be conclusive – the only thing we can truly be certain about is how little we know. Fundamentally, the world’s ability to solve the health crisis will likely determine the severity and duration of the economic crisis. But there will come a stage after the pandemic, where focus turns to rebuilding societies and build the post-coronavirus economy, better and more sustainable for all.” Meanwhile, engineered polymer solutions firm Trelleborg has said that sales for the first quarter of 2020 have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. The Swedish group says it has implemented measures to address both costs and cash flow, like cost-savings in the form of, for example, shortened working hours, lay-off notices and redundancies, temporary facility closures and reduced investments “Uncertainty regarding the demand trend for the next quarter is considerable. It is currently impossible to estimate the level of income loss or other direct and indirect effects on the business. Trelleborg has implemented measures and continues to initiate new measures to manage the unfolding events for all of the operations in all areas of the group,” said Peter Nilsson, President/CEO. ETRMA Secretary-General Fazilet Cinaralp, said, “The suspension of the main operational activities will undoubtedly have severe, long-lasting reverberations for our industry. This is one of the biggest challenges our industry has ever faced.” Italian tyre maker Pirelli has scrapped its 2019 dividend and cut forecasts for this year. The company also said that top managers including Chief Executive Marco Tronchetti Provera and board


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Industrial Plastic & Rubber Components Procurement

Raw Materials,

Expo for Automobile,

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Electronics & Medical Contracted Manufacturing &

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Processing Service Expo

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111.042 mm

Foamed Plastic Expo

Rubber Materials &

Co-organizer. Foam Times Co., Ltd.

Molding System Expo Composite Materials & Molding System Expo -FRP & CFRP-

Once in 3 years! Japan’s biggest plastic & rubber exhibition IPF Japan attracts more than 50,000 professionals in the plastics & rubber industry. Meet decision makers from Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Ricoh, Fujitsu, Omron and more.

Oct . 6

10 : 00 -17: 00


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[ Last day, closed 16:00]

Venue : Makuhari Messe Hall 1-8 IPF Japan

(Number of people)

IPF 2017 Visitors Exhibitors Total










49 ,241

4 ,516

53 ,757