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

業 界新聞 能源: 中國綠色大都市的降臨


In this issue

Volume 30, No 217

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 15 能源: 中國綠色大都市的降臨 9 Composites – Composites are gaining traction in aerospace applications, notwithstanding, challenges such as cost, fabrication and safety issues

18 Film/Sheet Extrusion – Featured are Davis-Standard, Jinming Machinery, SML Austria, Reifenhäuser Blown Film, Reifenhäuser Cast Sheet Coating, Nordson Corporation and Rajoo Engineers

22 Energy – China has one of the highest emissions globally. In the meantime, the country is piloting the Solar City in Dezhou, fusing Arcadian living and futuristic technologies with energy sustainability

26 Building/Construction Industry – EPS foam, rebranded as Airpop, is creating waves in the building sector for its usage in housing

28 Chemical Industry – China's chemical industry is at the crossroads; given the recent explosions in Tianjin

Regulars 概 要

Circulation Abril Castro Email: abril@taramedia.com.my Admin & Finance Manager Tean Arul Email: tean@taramedia.com.my

Printer United Mission Press

German exhibition Fakuma, held in Friedrichshafen from 13-17 October, is expected to break another record, having been sold out since February 2015, according to show organiser P.E. Schall Airless tyres and tyres made without vulcanisation, with self-healing properties, may soon be on the roads

On the Cover

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Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword. It has become part of everyday life and essential for the future of environmental protection, in all industries including the plastics sector 能源:

Chinese Editor Koh Bee Ling

KDN PP 18785/08/2015 (034280)

Supplements 副 刊

業界新聞

Staff Writer: Elaine Cotoner Email: elaine@taramedia.com.my

MCI (P) 029/08/2015

12 業界新聞

中國綠色大都色的降臨

Editorial/Production Coordinator Angelica Buan Email: gel@plasticsandrubberasia.com

ISSN 1360-1245

6 Materials News

A S l A’ S L E A D l N G M A G A Z l N E F O R THE PLASTlCS AND RUBBER lNDUSTRY

Associate Publisher/Editor Tej Fernandez Tel: +60 3 4260 4575 Email: tej@plasticsandrubberasia.com

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

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OCTOBER 2015

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Industry News

M&As/Investments/Tie-Ups • US speciality chemicals company Ashland will separate into two independent, publicly traded companies. One of the companies will keep the Ashland name and serve the speciality chemicals sector while the other will be known as Valvoline and focus on lubricants. Together these businesses generated approximately US$3.6 billion in sales for the 12 months ended 30 June 2015. • Germany-based rigid/ flexible packaging maker Südpack has acquired Polish company Bahpol, known for highquality packaging decoration. Bahpol has flexographic printing expertise with a range of advanced print machinery and was the first in Poland to offer its HD flexo technology. It supplies a wide range of laminates, foil bags and biodegradable packaging. Privatelyowned Südpack, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, specialises in the production of rigid and flexible film and bag conversion, with facilities in France, Switzerland and Germany, employs 1,100 and achieved sales of EUR340 million in 2014. 2

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• French building materials company Saint-Gobain is selling Norandex Building Materials Distribution, a distributor of windows, siding and other exterior building products in the US, to ABC Supply Co, a distributor of roofing and siding products. Norandex has a network of 103 branches, 770 employees and generated sales of US$393 million in 2014. • German plastics products moulder Balda AG has sold its entire operating business for a purchase price of EUR62.9 million. The buyers are acquiring companies, managed by investment company Paragon, Munich. The sale comprises Balda Medical in Germany, Balda C. Brewer and Balda Precision, both in California, US, as well as Balda Medical Systems in Romania. Balda C. Brewer and Balda Medical are involved in cleanroom moulding for the healthcare industry, including the eyewear, electronics and automotive sectors. Balda Precision is involved in CNC turning for the aerospace, orthopaedic and industrial sectors.

• UK-based Haydale Composites Solutions (HCS), formerly EPL Composite Solutions, is teaming up with Huntsman Advanced Materials (Switzerland) to functionalise graphene nano platelets (GNPs) using its proprietary HDPlas process and add them to Huntsman's Araldite resins to create a highly loaded masterbatch. The collaboration intends to commercialise graphene-enhanced Araldite resins for a range of applications in the composites market.

• Speciality chemicals company Perstorp and lactide producer Corbion have launched a new lactide caprolactone copolymer developed for hot melt adhesive applications. It has a renewable content exceeding 80% and is fully compostable. The product is part of Perstorp’s Capa Lactide and expected to be the first in a series of innovations from the team up. It is expected to be commercially available in the final quarter of this year and will be brought to market by Corbion.

Plant Set-Ups/Closures/ Capacity Expansions • In Vietnam, AkzoNobel is doubling capacity at its powder coatings facility in Dong Nai and also opening a new office for Performance Coatings in Ho Chi Minh City. The new production line will be ready in November and will be supported by a 20% increase in workforce. The expanded plant will also supply customers across Southeast Asia, India, Australia and New Zealand. AkzoNobel is the largest paints and

coatings company in Vietnam, with four manufacturing locations producing both decorative paints and performance coatings, and employing more than 800 people. • Germany-based chemicals firm BASF and US technology firm Genomatica have expanded their license agreement for the production of 1,4butanediol based on renewable feedstock (renewable BDO) using Genomatica’s patented process.


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Industry News

The parties added certain countries in Southeast Asia to their initial agreement, which focused on North America. BASF will build a 75,000 tonne/year-worldscale facility that will use the Genomatica process to manufacture renewable BDO. The process, which includes a singlestep fermentation, can be based on dextrose or sucrose as renewable feedstock. BDO and its derivatives are used for producing plastics, solvents, electronic chemicals and elastic fibres for the packaging, automotive, textile, and sports and leisure industries, among others. BASF currently produces BDO in Germany, US, Japan, Malaysia and China. BASF is also increasing its global capacities for BDO to 650,000 tonnes and for PolyTHF to 350,000 tonnes by the end of 2015, and beginning of 2016, respectively. • US-based Sabic Innovative Plastics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Sabic, which took over the Thorndale plant in the US, which produces LNP, compounds when it bought GE

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Plastics in 2007, says it is closing the facility. This is due to growing demand for LNP compounds in the Asia Pacific region combined with flat growth in the North American market. In addition to increasing production at sister facilities in Asia, Sabic said it will increase production at its Columbus, Ohio, and San Luis Potosi, Mexico, sites to make up for the closure of the Thorndale plant. • Czech petrochemicals company Unipetrol, a part of Polish crude oil processor PKN ORLEN Group, is constructing a PE plant at its Litvinov plant. The overall project costs are estimated at CZK8.5 billion and the unit is expected to be put into operation in the middle of 2018, with a capacity of 270,000 tonnes/ year. The company has licensed technology from Ineos to produce HDPE, which is also produced by the current two PE units in operation. Unipetrol’s production capacity of HDPE is currently 320,000 tonnes/

year, i.e. PE1 – 120 ktonnes/year, and PE2 – 200 ktonnes/ year. PE3 unit will replace PE1 unit. Therefore Unipetrol’s production capacity will increase to 470,000 tonnes/ year (PE2 & PE3).

metal fabricator. The 20,000 sq-ft facility housing Davis-Standard’s blow moulding manufacturing is nearing completion and will be fully functional by October.

• Italian machinery firm Amut has since August this year started up two new technical service points in Vietnam and Indonesia, boosting and consolidating a complete onsite support to the existing and potential customers. The firm says it has undertaken this because it has been able to make inroads in extrusion and thermoforming machinery in Southeast Asia.

• Indonesia’s PT Hokkan, a part of Japanese Hokkan Group, has installed the first Sidel dry aseptic line in Indonesia and in doing so has expanded its production capacity as a co-packer of non-carbonated healthy soft drinks for the growing Indonesian beverage market. Hokkan Indonesia is currently investing further in its R&D laboratory services to extend its offering to potential customers located in the region.

• US machinery company DavisStandard has leased a facility from Universal Metal Works (UMW) in Fulton, New York, to house the company’s blow moulding business. The new facility is located next door to DavisStandard’s existing Fulton plant, where it makes blown and cast film lines and that was moved from Bridgewater to Fulton. UMW is a custom

• French machine maker Sidel intends to move its headquarters from Zug, Switzerland, to Parma, Italy, its centre for complete lines and filling in 2016. The move will result in a 10% reduction of positions across Sidel's global business, affecting 360 employees. Cost savings will be reinvested back into the company, says Sidel, adding that it will be developing further technology.


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Materials News

Flexible packaging: sorting out the recycling issue Innovative packaging designs for easier sorting are being sought as the initial basis for effective recycling, says Angelica Buan in this article.

F

lexible packaging offers many benefits: it uses less energy and materials than other packaging options, helps extend food shelf life and minimise spoilage, and reduces waste by preserving and protecting products until they are consumed. With the benefits offered, flexible packaging has outpaced the utilisation rate of other packaging formats like metal, carton, glass or rigid plastics. UK-based Smithers Rapra, in its report titled The Future of Global Flexible Packaging to 2018, expects global consumption to grow 3.5% annually over the next five years, reaching US$231 billion by 2018. But with the popularity of flexible packaging also follows the issue of recycling, and the issue of recyclability starts from the packaging producers. It is because of the environmental implications attached to consumer packaging that it adheres strongly to corporate sustainability. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in its presentation at a conference in Belgium in 2010, Global Forum on Sustainable Materials Management, stated that of the huge volume of waste generated, 60% comes from packaging. A report from Worldwatch Institute, a US-based organisation that tracks key trends in energy, environment, transportation, food and agriculture, economy, and society to inform and inspire the changes needed to build a sustainable world,

OECD stated that of the huge volume of waste generated, 60% comes from packaging

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states that packaging accounts for more than 40% of plastics use. While production of packaging has skyrocketed, recycling of discarded packaging is lagging behind. It is also made more difficult as some types of plastics are harder to recycle than the others. Moreover, recycling rates in countries vary. In the US, where there are existing recycling facilities for plastics, only 9% of its waste plastics were recycled in 2012. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates lower plastic recovery rates for other countries, whereas a high percentage of waste is not collected “but instead littered or burnt in the open”, in Africa (57%), Asia (40%), and Latin America (32%). Materials are hindering factors A wide array of polymers are being utilised now for flexible packaging. Some of the most common types are: PET or metallised PET, BoPET, HDPE, PVC, LDPE, LLDPE, PVDC, BOPP, CPP, PS, PP and biopolymers. The common applications for these polymers are flexible beverage containers, metallised foil pouches, twist or cling wrap, blister packs, vacuum packaging for pre-cooked meals, and shrink sleeves, to cite a few. According to the report, Waste and Opportunity 2015: Environmental Progress and Challenges in Food, Beverage, and Consumer Goods Packaging by non-profit organisations As You Sow and the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), the biggest challenge for building up recyclability and compost ability of packaging are the type or materials used. An example is beverage packaging that is increasingly making use of laminated pouches, shrink wrap, and other flexible plastic packaging, which cannot readily be recycled. Researching on cracking effective recycling solutions A recent study, initiated in the US by the Research Foundation for Health and Environmental Effects (RFHEE), a tax-exempt organisation established by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), is aimed at recovering more packaging that is currently destined to landfills as well as investigating the efficacy of existing sorting systems to recycle flexible packaging. It is backed by a number of key packaging stakeholders including Dow Chemical, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Nestlé Purina PetCare and Nestlé USA, Sealed Air, and SC Johnson, as well as the Association for Postconsumer


Materials News Plastic Recyclers (APR), the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA), and the Plastics Industry Trade Association (SPI). It, thus, brings together brand owners, manufacturers, and packaging industry organisations that are committed to enhancing recovery solutions for increasingly popular flexible film and packaging options. The project called Materials Recovery for the Future (MRF) aims to probe the available sorting technologies, including screens and optical scanners, in separating flexible packaging from the mix, such as resealable food packages, pouches for soups, pet food bags, and snack bags. Jeff Wooster, Global Sustainability Director, Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, said, “This new sortation research is critical in helping to close the recovery loop for flexible packaging and we are committed to this collaboration to drive solutions for increased recovery rates.” Conducting the pilot phase of the research is the test methodology developer Resource Recycling Systems (RRS). It will include baseline testing of the existing sorting technologies commonly used in material recovery facilities, such as screens and optical scanners. A representative mix of the flexible packaging generated by consumers will be created and added at an appropriate concentration to single stream recyclables for testing.

This mixed stream will be run through the sorters, and the amount of flexible packaging captured in the resulting bale will be measured to determine sorting effectiveness. “The research is first to use this methodology to study the movement of films and flexible plastic packaging at material recovery facilities in the US. The data from this collaborative research will help us learn how to recover and divert more valuable resins from landfills,” said Diane Herndon, Manager, Sustainability, Nestlé Purina PetCare. The research is ultimately hankering for the creation of a mainstream recovery solution for flexible packaging. The project proponents are expecting to release the research outcome in the second quarter of 2016. Meanwhile, the Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG), a division of the ACC, is also aiming to significantly hike up the collection and recycling of all flexible films. FFRG comprises major industry players from the entire PE film value chain. Its current members include Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, Dow Chemical, Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson, and Wegmans Food Markets, to name a few. Investing in recovery systems The MRF is not the sole study on flexible packaging recovery. Already, numerous undertakings have been funded and carried out by major proponents.

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Materials News

One of these is a fund by UK’s Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) that has a specific purpose for improving collection rates of flexible packaging materials, especially packaging containing aluminium (such as toothpaste tubes). The fund was given in 2014 to a consortium formed by Anthesis LRS, a UK-based sustainability consultancy, in partnership with Enval, Sita UK, Nestlé UK & Ireland, Coca-Cola Enterprises and Tesco UK. The group is tackling flexible laminate packaging, which can contain aluminium and various recyclable plastics that can be challenging to collect and separate for recycling. Among the desired outcomes for the 18-month study is to determine collection solutions and test their viability. Hatching a unique process for recycling plastic laminates containing aluminium, technology specialist Enval is working with stakeholders to recover as much aluminium as possible. The packaging that is collected will be treated at Enval’s facility near Huntingdon, where the plastic and aluminium will be separated. Dr Carlos Ludlow-Palafox, Enval’s Managing Director, commented that aluminium is highly valuable as it is a versatile material, therefore, “it is important to capture and recycle as much of it as possible.”

Enval 's unique recycling process recovers aluminium from plastic laminates

Last year, UK-based resource recovery specialist Axion Consulting led a collaborative project called Reflex that focuses on improving recyclability of flexible packaging, together with stakeholders Amcor, Dow Chemical, Interflex Group, Nestlé UK, Sita UK, Tomra Sorting and Unilever UK Central Resources. Financed by the UK government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, the two-year project aims to weave a circular economy for flexible packaging by encouraging

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participation from the entire supply chain – from polymer and packaging production to waste management and recycling. According to Axion’s Director, Roger Morton, the project is expected to eliminate the factors that prevent flexible packaging from being recycled. Once that happens, recyclers will be able to close the loop by diverting waste from landfills. Morton’s approach of effective recovery starts from the design of the packaging. He says that innovative recyclable flexible package designs and materials can enable simultaneous reprocessing of materials. The project will be innovating inks, barrier polymers, packaging designs, and an automated sorting technique. Moving along the same objective is UK’s Plastics Industry Recycling Action Plan (PIRAP), a roadmap penned by Plastics 2020, a body comprising the Packaging and Films Association (PAFA), British Plastics Federation (BPF), PlasticsEurope and the Waste and Resources Action Plan (WRAP). The target is to ensure a 57% recycling rate, which is in sync with the government’s recycling target by 2017. The roadmap features strategies to improve collection rates, optimise sorting infrastructure and develop end markets for plastic recyclates. Waste prevention better than recycling Pitching the approach that waste prevention is better than recycling is a report titled Potential packaging waste prevention by the usage of flexible packaging and its consequences for the environment, commissioned by Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) in 2014. According to resource person, Frank Wellenreuther of the German Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU), the game plan is slanted on the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (1994). The latter’s aim is “preventing the production of packaging waste and, as additional fundamental principles, at reusing packaging, at recycling and other forms of recovering packaging waste to reduce the overall quantities of such waste going to final disposal”. It follows the European Commission’s resolve to use flexible packaging as a means to reducing the amount of primary packaging waste, before other approaches like reuse, recycling and recovery. The report says that the amount of primary packaging waste that could be reduced by substituting non-flexible packaging with flexible packaging is 26.48 million tonnes/ year. This is more than 60% of the total annual amount of primary packaging waste in EU. However, with the addition of layers into a flexible packaging structure to enhance its functionality and render cost-benefits, recycling has become an issue too complex for now to resolve in one sitting. But as long as industry players continue to assert their social responsibility, clear solutions will be unwrapped in no time.


Composites

Composites taking over in aerospace sector Composites are gaining traction in aerospace applications. The usage, however, is challenged by cost, fabrication and safety issues. Despite the ups and downs, demand is soaring, according to Angelica Buan in this report.

Boeing's 787 was the first mostly composite large commercial transport airplane to undergo the certification process

A

s design and fabrication advancements are being made in the aerospace sector, more composites are being used in place of metals and aluminium, considering the light weight leading to higher fuel-efficiency, high stiffness-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, and performance advantages. However, cost effectiveness, faster processing and reduced composite parts per production cycles are major challenges that are currently being addressed. Composites are not a novel development in the aerospace sector. “The early aircraft design used a type of composite, which was a combination of wood, canvas and high tension wires with flight control achieved by twisting the tips of the wings and employing the use of a rudder (high DT and low mass),� according to Professor Paul T. Curtis in his Composites For Aerospace and Defence paper presented at the University of Glasgow in 2007. Today, the commonly used composites for aerospace applications are more advanced and these are steel-reinforced concretes (consisting of metals and ceramics), vinyl-coated steel (a blend of metals and polymers), and fibre-reinforced plastics (made up of ceramics and polymers). Fibre-reinforced polymers piloted the all-composite plane kit in 1957, which consequently ushered an era of maxing out the potential use of this material. In transport airplane secondary structures, composite materials also have had a long track record of use. France-based Airbus Group introduced in late 1980s the A320 that featured an all-composite tail section. This was followed by the American Boeing Company’s Boeing 777 in the mid1990s, also featuring a composites tail section. According to a paper published in 2011 by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Boeing's 787 was the first mostly composite large commercial transport airplane to undergo the certification process. Later, composites began to be widely used in commercial aircraft, such as the Airbus A350, which featured carbon-fibre reinforced plastics in the fuselage and wing structures. Composites may be gaining momentum, but the industry has been split in its take on expanding the use of composite materials, particularly in commercial airplanes. OCTOBER 2015

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Composites Health risks from micro-fibres In the Fibre Composite Aircraft – Capability and Safety report published by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau in 2008, there were an estimated 2,000 aircraft, including most of the mainline jet fleet and general aviation (GA) aircraft, sailplanes and gliders and a number of amateur-built aircrafts, that had used composites. The report said that safety misinformation on fibre composites was evident in the aviation community. “Composite structures behave very differently under normal loads than equivalent metal structures. Fatigue and corrosion have been proven through trials of composite repair patches to be much less prevalent in composites compared with metals. However, sub-surface damage, such as delamination, can go undetected for long periods and result in sudden catastrophic failure. It is important that operators of fibre composite aircraft are aware of the correct detection and repair procedures for composite structures.” Another highlighted concern in the report is the “long-term effects from exposure to products released from burning composites,” pointed out by first responders involved in post-crash clean-up operations, who are exposed to fibre dust. A study by engineers from BRE, an independent research consultancy in the UK, suggested that micro particles released from carbon fibre during vehicle wreckage may carry dust and bacteria that can be inhaled into lungs. Micro-carbon fibres that are less than 10 microns thick can surpass the lungs' natural cleansing mechanism, thus predisposing the host to respiratory diseases like emphysema. Along this note, the Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) information sheet also suggests that exposure to carbon fibres carries health risks. In carbon fibre handling, mechanical irritation and abrasion, similar to that of glass fibres, are the major hazards. As well, carbon fibres are fragile when stretched (by less than 2% elongation) and can easily become fine dust during cutting, machining or mechanical finishing. The dust can be released into the air, and if uncontrolled, may potentially irritate human skin or the mucous membranes. The coating or sizing in the composites, such as epoxies or other resins, may cause chemical irritation, the OSH report said. “Many of the solvents used in advanced composite processes are volatile, flammable and irritating to the skin and eyes. Health effects typical of these chemicals include irritation of the eyes and upper respiratory tract, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. Visual disturbances may also occur. Repeated or prolonged skin contact with these liquids may cause dermatitis,” it added. Bolstering efficiency of composites Further improving composites to level up its safety factor, researchers from US-headquartered Air Force Research Laboratory and PROOF Research

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Advanced Composites Division (formerly Performance Polymer Solutions) have embarked on developing and maturing computationally derived materials, manufacturing and engineering solutions. These include advanced, high-temperature polymer matrix composites (PMCs) that are used to replace titanium. The new material will be used on the F135 and F110 engines; B-2, F-117 and F-22 aircraft; missile structures; and sixth-generation engines. Replacing titanium in those applications, the high-temperature PMCs offer fuel efficiency from the resulting weight savings of up to 40%; increased service life and improved fatigue resistance. The Air Force Small Business Innovation Research/ Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programme office backed the development venture with an additional US$750,000 funding, in support of the Air Force’s Technology Programme for Integrated Computational Methods for Composite Materials (ICM2). This is in addition to more than US$1.6 million in funding from industry partners, including Lockheed Martin, GE Aviation, and Triumph Aerostructures. The facet of manufacturing of composite-based small parts is the focus of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a US Department of Defense agency. It said that it is important to facilitate, expedite and lower the cost of the manufacturing process for the diverse small parts in defence systems via the development of a tailorable composite feedstock material and a single tailorable forming method. Through its Tailorable Feedstock and Forming (TFF) programme, turnaround time for part modifications and redesigns can be reduced by as much as 50%. While there are savings in using composite materials, in lieu of its light weight and durability, producing composite parts, especially if weighing less than 9 kg, is costly. Defeating the purpose of using composites to light weighting, parts weighing less than 9 kg are manufactured using metallic materials, which are comparably inexpensive but become heavier, thus leading to the sub-optimal performance of the system. The TFF will enable manufacturers to develop a versatile composite material and an adaptable forming process to allow affordable fabrication of multiple part configurations from the same work cell, according to DARPA. Fast paced growth expected Composites growth placed at 6.4% CAGR to 2020 speaks volumes that major industries like the aerospace, automotive, wind and defence, in the regions of Asia Pacific, North America and Europe, are creating strong demand, according to Markets and Markets. Aircraft makers Boeing and Airbus are projecting multi-billion dollar markets for new airplanes, where use of glass-fibre and carbon-fibre composites will be increased over the next 20 years, the report said.


Composites Increased production capacities for advanced carbon-fibre and S-glass composites are also indicative of the steady demand. Research and Markets cited a higher growth projection for advanced composites at 7.2% CAGR from 2015-2020. Hauling a robust growth is the aerospace industry in the US, Germany, Russia, and France, that is forecast to shoot up in the next few years. Companies increasing production to support demand Toray Composites America (TCA), Tokyo-based Toray Industries’s prepreg subsidiary, recently unveiled the latest expansion to its carbon-fibre plant, the fifth production line at its plant near Tacoma. The plant churns out carbon-fibre tape used in Boeing’s composite structures for the 777 and 787. It bought 400 acres of land in South Carolina, on which it is also building a US$1 billion composites raw material facility. The Japanese company says that its production will increase as Boeing targets to top up output of its 787s from 10-14 aircrafts/month by 2019. The wings of its new 777x jet will also be made of Toray’s carbon fibre prepreg materials. Moreover, Toray has recently inked supply deals with Embraer SA and Bell Helicopter. TCA will supply materials for the Bell 525 Relentless programme, touted as the world's first commercial fly-by-wire helicopter. It is currently in a flight test and certification process at the Bell Helicopter aircraft assembly site in Amarillo, Texas. TCA materials are being utilised in the fuselage and supporting structure.

Toray has a supply deal for the Bell 525 Relentless programme

Meanwhile, with the Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer, Toray is expanding its contract to supply carbon fibre prepreg materials to include the Embraer E175 E2 programme. Another Japanese firm, Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Rayon (MRC), will be supplying its polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based intermediate carbon fibre for use in the fan section components of PW1100G-JM, a newtype jet engine for the new Airbus A320neo aircraft. This is the first time in the world that carbon fibre is being used in the Structural Guide Vanes (SGVs) of a commercial aircraft engine.

Mitsubishi Rayon's PAN-based intermediate carbon fibre will be used in the fan section components of the Airbus A320neo engine

The PW1100G-JM engine was developed for use in civil aviation jointly by US-based Pratt & Whitney, Germany-based MTU Aero Engines, and Japan’s Aero Engines Corporation. This replacement of conventional titanium and aluminium with carbon fibre-reinforced plastics has made a significant contribution to the development of a less-weighted, more energy-efficient engine. It features a large fan diameter while maintaining a high level of strength that can withstand bird strikes, according to MRC. It adds that it is aligning its carbon fibre production capacity at the Toyohashi Production Centre with the production of the PW1100G-JM engine, which is planned to enter a full-scale phase immediately. Meanwhile, Hexcel Composites is gearing up for a hike in composites demand along with the increasing requirement for composite parts in commercial aircraft programmes. Hexcel’s new US$250 million carbon fibre factory in Péage-de-Roussillon, France, is scheduled to supply materials to Airbus and Paris-based Safran early in 2018. The Roussillon facility, which started construction this September, is located close to Hexcel’s weaving and prepreg manufacturing facilities near Lyon. Further investments of US$22 million are also being poured into these existing facilities to include capacity expansions at Hexcel’s carbon fibre weaving plant at Les Avenières, and an additional resin impregnation line in Dagneux, Montluel. The French carbon fibre supplier is supplying pre-impregnated carbon fibre textile for the A350 XWB and the CFM Leap turbofan’s nacelle, while it provides raw fibre for the engine’s fan blades. It is also seeing output hikes to support growing production of A320 and Leap-1A-powered A320neo aircraft. Thus, the composites market is expected to enjoy continued growth in the years to come. OCTOBER 2015

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Film/Sheet Extrusion

Round-up of extrusion technology Featured are Davis-Standard, Jinming Machinery, SML Austria, Reifenhäuser Blown Film, Reifenhäuser Cast Sheet Coating, Nordson Corporation and Rajoo Engineers.

Edgar Wang of Davis-Standard says that the demands of extrusion equipment customers in China have changed with price and high efficiency becoming priorities

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China’s extrusion machinery driven by high efficiency and quality China’s demand for plastic processing machinery has grown rapidly over the recent decade, and has significantly contributed to the global demand, which is projected to grow 7% annually through 2017, according to a report from research company Freedonia. Of the machine types, extrusion machinery is amongst the fastest to grow, especially amidst a “healthier sales climate” spurred by increasing fixed investment spending and plastic resin consumption growth. “The Chinese market keeps growing. It has done so especially in the recent five years and growth has accelerated,” said Edgar Wang, the new Sales Director of Davis-Standard Extrusion Systems for the China region, in a recent interview with PRA. Extrusion machinery maker Davis-Standard has manufacturing and technical facilities in the US, as well as subsidiaries with facilities in China, Germany and the UK. Wang, who has an extensive sales background, having served for five years as General Sales Manager in China (and several markets in Southeast Asia) for a German company before joining the US-headquartered Davis-Standard, will be building up the firm’s extrusion systems sales organisation. He will also be establishing processes that further advance technical support within the China market and supporting the sales of products and solutions manufactured at Davis-Standard’s subsidiary’s facility in Suzhou. According to Wang, “The demands of extrusion equipment customers in China have also changed. Price and high efficiency have become a priority especially with the entry level and middle level customers. Customers are increasingly being driven by product quality and brand, Wang added. “Chinese customers are looking for a reliable company that has a good brand image with good quality output, which DavisStandard represents,” said Wang, adding, “What we offer at Davis-Standard is a total package, including engineering support, competitive price, efficiency and space-saving features, as well as a high return of investment, to cite just a few benefits. These features are what make our machines cost-effective.” Wang went on to add further that Davis-Standard’s machinery ensures high output and speed. “For example, locally made machines for medical tubes would have an output of 50 m/ minute. We are able to provide four times that output or 200 m/ minute. At the same time, we ensure consistent accuracy, which translates to reduced waste and scraps (during processing), both of which can be quite expensive.” In his post, Wang will oversee the Chinese market benefiting from Davis-Standard’s Global Advantage formula, which


Film/Sheet Extrusion according to the Connecticut-headquartered firm extends to its professional design engineers, laboratory personnel, training experts, commercial force, hands-on field engineers, and aftermarket parts and service specialists Dongda in the running to be largest film maker Dongda Plastic, a giant in China’s agriculture film industry, recently signed a contract with Chinese extrusion machinery maker Jinming Machinery for a 20-m agriculture blown film machine with PO coating. Dongda Plastic will have an output of 40,000 tonnes/year of greenhouse film, to be in the running as one of the manufacturers with the largest capacities in North China. SmartCast line installed by BP Plastics

Group Managing Director Lim Chun Yow said that with the commissioning of the machine in June at the company’s Batu Pahat, Johor, plant it expects to boost its export sales to 80% for the financial year 2015, up from last year’s 78%. The group has a second plant located within the vicinity bringing the combined total size of both plants to 295,000 sq ft. BPP’s combined capacity for stretch films and packaging is almost 60,000 tonnes/year, according to market reports. Aside from Japan (its largest export market), South Korea and China, BPP’s key export markets include Singapore, Australia, the Middle East and Europe. The company specialises in stretch and shrink films for palletising as well as PE packaging film and bags. It is one of the top three stretch film producers in the country. Jinming recently sold a five-layer line for agriculture film

The contract was signed at Jinming’s recent open house, jointly organised with US materials maker ExxonMobil Chemical. It showed a five-layer 20-m agriculture blown film line with 16-m PO coating. Highlights include the 2,500 kg/hour extrusion capacity; extrusion screws suitable for 90% high-content metallocene processing and automatic air ring and online thickness measurement. Agriculture films are widely applied in farming fields for vegetable and flower plantings and grassland cultivation as well as greenhouses. Malaysian firm invests in SML’s SmartCast line BP Holdings Bhd (BPP), reportedly one of the largest PE film makers in Asia, is ramping up its production with a RM13.5 million investment in a new 3 m cast stretch film machine from SML Austria. The SmartCast line, launched at the K show in 2013, is a modular system with four pre-configured extrusion units at output of up to 3,000 kg/hour and the choice between five or seven layers.

Reifenhäuser adding more layers The need for barrier film is growing worldwide and so are the requirements for film properties in high-quality barrier packaging applications. Germany’s Reifenhäuser Blown Film’s answer to rising performance requirements is the development of an 11-layer blown film line. Thanks to the variable choice of layer structures offered by an 11-layer blown film line, there is no need for the time-consuming and costly laminating step in the conversion of some products, says the Troisdorf-based machinery maker. Furthermore, the greater flexibility achieved with more layers often results in a higher overall performance when processing polyolefins. "But it gets even better,” says Ralf Wiechmann, Product Manager at Reifenhäuser Blown Film. "We have developed a screw design for our extruders that can effortlessly handle almost every polyolefin type and every barrier raw material without modification of the machine." OCTOBER 2015

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Film/Sheet Extrusion Therefore, product changeover becomes as simple as child’s play: purging the line, changing to a new recipe and just watching another barrier film being conveyed to the winder. In this way, also comparatively small lot sizes of speciality film can be economically produced. Another special feature of the 11-layer line is its design. An asymmetric high-barrier structure by the producer can prevent curling of the film without using a normally required water bath (critical with regard to hygienic production conditions). Curling of the film edges is caused by the different speeds at which raw materials cool down. Furthermore, the specially developed Evolution Ultra Flat haul-off ensures high winding and further processing, such as conversion, laminating and printing. Thanks to a minimised stretching of the film via heating-cooling rolls, a perfect flatness of the web can be achieved with this technology.

Reifenhäuser Cast Sheet Coating’s latest MIREX-MT-HS polishing stack

For an optimum distribution of the 11 layers Reifenhäuser has developed a special die head based on its proven technology. The individual adjustment of layer thicknesses allows for an ideal distribution of the raw materials depending on the product. Operators also have direct access to all important parameters via a 24 in. touchscreen. Ralf Wiechmann explains: "Handling is as easy as using a Smartphone. This concept, which we also use in other lines, is particularly useful for 11 layers." In a similar way, this is also valid for the energy efficiency measures Reifenhäuser offers for its 11-layer line under the keyword “Blue Extrusion“. Investments in these optionally selectable measures pay off very fast due to the required high operating temperatures of 200 to 270°C.

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For example, producers who opt for highly efficient electric motors and gearboxes, insulation/damping of cylinders and heater bands, or the customised design of a complete production line with a focus on targeted energy optimisation, can save energy and reduce production costs. In other news, Reifenhäuser Cast Sheet Coating has introduced the MIREX-MT-HS polishing stack. The vertical roll arrangement and smaller roll diameters in a range between 310 and 510 mm make it an optimal solution mainly for the production of PS, PP and barrier films with output capacities from 400-1,200 kg/hour. The first extrusion line equipped with the new polishing stack was recently shipped to a European customer. The line, featuring a capacity of 800 kg/hour, will produce 0.4-1.6 mm thick PP films in a finished width of up to 850 mm. For this kind of films it is common practice to use polishing stacks of a space-saving vertical roll arrangement. Also since the hydraulic roll seton system has been replaced with a mechatronic system in the polishing stack, the customer is able to produce under clean room conditions. In addition, the reproducible adjustment of the mechatronic system enables the customer to produce optimum quality in a short time after product changeover – independent of the line operator’s skills. A third model is due to be launched this year so that eventually all the polishing stacks will be changed to the new MT technology. Nordson’s nine-manifold die commissioned Nordson EDI’s nine-manifold flat die, said to be the first of its kind, has been commissioned, producing nine-layer film from various resins. While the degree of improvement will vary with the application, in general Nordson EDI’s nine-manifold die technology promises to reduce variation in individual layer thickness from +/- 15% tolerance often encountered with comparably advanced feedblock systems to +/- 5%, according to Sam G. Iuliano, Chief Technologist for Nordson EDI. A manifold is a flow Cut-away view of Nordson’s distribution channel inside nine-manifold extrusion die


Film/Sheet Extrusion the die whose complex internal geometry, engineered for a specific polymer, is designed to develop a uniform, streamlined flow and distribute the material to its full width. In a multi-manifold die, each polymer flow stream has its own manifold, and the layers are combined into a single structure only after each layer has been individually spread to its full width. By comparison, a feedblock combines multiple polymer streams into a narrow multi-layer “sandwich” that is subsequently distributed to full width in a single-manifold die. A chief reason why the multi-manifold method provides greater layer uniformity and thickness accuracy is that it avoids much of the layerinterface deformation that occurs when multiple layers pre-assembled in a feedblock are then spread simultaneously through the die. According to Iuliano: “Engineering a ninemanifold die was a big challenge for us, since ten major die body segments had to be adequately fastened and heated. In addition, the nine flow channels were each custom designed for the specific layer that they were

distributing, meaning that we had to accommodate flow channels of varying sizes and layouts in the design.” The nine-manifold die is the latest in a wide range of co-extrusion options recommended for a given application depending on such variables as overall throughput rate, layer thickness and viscosity ratios, die width, number and type of product structures needed, and whether the melt processing temperatures for any of the melt streams are distinctly different. Energy savings from Rajoo line India’s Rajoo Engineers has introduced a new sheet extruder, the Lamina e (eco). It is touted as an energy saving edition of the original Lamina, featuring a double barrier screw technology that makes it more energy efficient, with 40% energy savings, says the Rajkot-based machine maker. The extrusion sheet line, 65 mm/700 mm sheet width with an output of 250 kg/hour (with 50% PP regrind), is said to consume a minimal power of 0.25kwH/kg. The 90 mm/700 mm width sheet line with an output 320 kg/hour (with 50% regrind) is said to consume even lower power of 0.22kwH/kg.


Energy

Advent of China’s green megacity The concept of megacities is shifting beyond the flux of migration, high-tech architecture and modern urban planning. A model of such a concept is China’s pilot Solar City in Dezhou, pioneered by Himin Group and which fuses Arcadian living and futuristic technologies with energy sustainability, says Angelica Buan in this article.

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t is easier to conjure a sustainable megacity cropping up in regions with consistently low green gas emissions. But guess what, a model sustainable megacity has emerged in China, a country tagged as the world’s top greenhouse gas belcher. China must be an unlikely candidate, being the world’s top producer and consumer of coal. But lately, China has redrawn its roadmap for renewable energy. According to a report from Ernst & Young, China promised to cap its carbon emissions by 2030 and top up its non-fossil share of energy to 20% during this period. Prior to that, the Central Government drafted the Renewable Energy Law, in 2005, which basically promotes the development and utilisation of renewable energy (solar and wind) via financial and policy incentives. In a jointly released High Renewable Energy Penetration Scenario and Roadmap Study 2050 by the China National Renewable Energy Centre (CNREC) and other agencies, it reiterates China’s directions towards utilisation of water, wind and solar power. The study shows that it is both technically and economically feasible for renewable energy to cover 60% of China’s primary energy consumption and 85% of electricity consumption by 2050. “Through technological breakthroughs, cost Dezhou has morphed into an expansive solar economic zone reductions as well as the comprehensively deepening of power sector reforms, between 2020 and 2040, wind and solar power will develop rapidly, with an average of annual newly installed capacity of close to 100 million kW,” it noted, further forecasting that “by 2050, 2.4 billion kW of wind power and 2.7 billion kW of solar power will be installed, with a total annual output of 9.66 trillion kWh, which will account for 64% of China’s total power generation and will, thus, become the main power source of the future green electricity system.” Largest solar panel maker Translating the renewable energy consciousness into technological innovations, China has succeeded in becoming the world's largest producer of solar panels; and the top market for solar hot water, with almost two-thirds of global capacity, based on 2009 data from United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

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Energy Progressing over time, China has moved further up to renewable energy leadership. In the latest data by India-headquartered research firm Mondor Intelligence, China installed 12 GW of new photovoltaic (PV) generation capacity in 2013, which is a huge sprint at 232%, compared to the previous year’s data. In the first quarter of this year, more than 5 GW of solar capacity has been added, and the figure is more than the capacities in the first two quarters of 2014 combined, said Mondor. Dezhou – pilot city for renewables Plunging head-on in renewable energy utilisation is the city of Dezhou that encouraged private and public investors and stakeholders to establish renewable energy industries on its premises. Dezhou, a third-tier city, straddles between Beijing-Tianjin Metropolitan Economy Zone and the Jiao Dong Peninsular Coastal Economy Belt, with no harbour or airport but only highways and railways. The geographic location of Dezhou, however, endows it with an intense total annual solar radiation with approximately 7.3 hours/day of sunlight, thus making it an ideal solar gridiron. In 1997, the city crafted its development plant for an economic zone, a central hub for solar technology R&D, manufacturing, education and training, and capacity building, according to a report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). The latter also suggested that the city has actively taken the stance as the incubator, i.e., “developing a viable industry cluster”; and a multiplier by “drawing upon the existing local solar business.”

The more than 300 ha solar-powered landscape is a huge solar technology showroom for the Shandong-based Himin Solar Energy Group, the world's largest solar water heater manufacturer and proponent of this US$740 million-budgeted project. Huang Ming, Chairman of the Himin Group, said that the HSV project has expanded from an R&D centre into what it is now – a sprawling renewable energy prodigy of eco-friendly edifices and facilities equipped with an array of solar technologies ranging from solar heaters and air conditioners, to PV lighting and seawater desalination. HSV contains nine major centres, including centres for renewable energy manufacturing and logistics, R&D, conference and exchange, education and training, tourism, exhibition centres for low carbon science, solar science and technology, lowcarbon human habitat demonstration centre, and an international business centre. A pivotal landmark ensconced in the HSV is the Micro-E Sun-Moon Mansion or simply known as the Sun-Moon Mansion, dubbed as the world’s largest solar building with a total area of 75,000 sq m. It also serves as the headquarters of Himin Solar, which posts an annual production capacity of 3 million water heaters, 20 million evacuated tubes, and 500 MW of PV products.

Fulfilling a green dream The Himin Solar Valley (HSV) project in Dezhou has catapulted the city’s transformation to a green megacity model for wide-scale use of renewable energy, particularly solar energy, that cuts down carbon footprints significantly, yet still lavishing on the cuttingedge amenities modern cities would have. The Sun-Moon Mansion is a key landmark at the HSV

The Himin Solar Valley project has catapulted Dezhou's transformation to a green megacity model for wide-scale use of renewable energy

The multi-functional structure can be used for exhibitions, scientific research, offices, conferences, training and hotel, according to the HSV website information. It is integrated with solar hot water providing heating, cooling, and PV technology. In addition, it features thick polystyrene (PS) insulation boards in the roofing and exterior walls, to lower general heat transfer coefficient significantly. Moreover, fittings including doors, windows, skylights, and glass screens feature lower heat transfer coefficient than the national energy-saving standards, according to reports. Utilisation of solar technology in this structure alone renders an energy-saving rate of up to 88%, said Himin Solar. OCTOBER 2015

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Energy The buildings are fitted with rooftop solar installations holding vacuum tube collectors, supplying the central heating and cooling systems. The units’ balconies also have vacuum tube collectors and 300-l tanks for the hot water supply.

China leads in the production of solar panels and as a market for solar-powered hot water

Another major chamber at the HSV is the R&D and test centre. Set up in late 1997, it enables Himin to develop pioneering solar technologies and solar thermal utilisation systems such as the 3-hi tubes series, free welding bracket solar heaters, PV streetlights and automatic coating lines, to cite a few of such technologies, as well as hundreds of innovations annually. It now houses 20 laboratories and is both nationally and internationally recognised by foreign trading companies. Meanwhile, the Himin Central Research Institute constitutes 14 departments and 30 related offices that focus on four major solar applying fields. It also works with several international science and research units, including Australia's Sydney University, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, and Shandong University. Honing professional expertise for renewables is carried out at HSV’s energy academy. It is the world’s first and only training institution for junior college and technical secondary school trainees in renewable energy industries. Futuristic homes in HSV Additionally, Himin has also set up a Solar Utopia Garden, an eco-friendly residential complex, which it claims is a model for “global human habitation for the next 30 years”. Overlooking the natural Changhe river park with an area of 296 acres, the high-rise residential buildings are surrounded by private landscapes spanning 70,000 sq m, and are equipped with 37 renewable energy technologies and 130 high-tech products, said Himin. The buildings comprise 300 to 600 sq m flats, with prices ranging from US$1,900 per sq m, according to Himin Solar Energy Real Estate, a subsidiary of Himin.

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Renewables on a wider scale Himin, who is also a main proponent of China’s Renewable Energy Law, has steered utilisation of solar power in industries, agriculture sector and in homes in such magnitude in line with the company’s new wave sustainable strategies: Green Energy Substitution and Clean Energy New Village. In 2010, Himin also raised the concept of “Micro-Emission Earth” at the fourth session of the International Solar Cities Congress held in Dezhou. According to Himin’s Huang, he has periodic projections of renewable energy substitution via three timetables: the “recent substitution” will see 25% of conventional energy consumption replaced by renewable energy, including 12% solar energy, by 2020. In the second “metaphase substitution”, renewable energy substitution will increase to 55%, including 25% solar energy, by 2040; and in the third “future substitution”, about 90% of conventional energy will be replaced with renewable energy, including 50% solar energy, by 2060. A natural visionary, Huang revealed that his concept of the Solar Valley was spurred with the birth of his daughter and when he began to think about how the future would be like for the next generation if humans continue to maim the earth’s resources and pristineness. Of his vision, he said that he dreams of the day when “the solar industry will be as advanced as the IT industry, and as mature as the electric home appliances industry, and as large-scaled and automated as the automobile industry.” At the rate things are going for China’s renewable energy sector, that day may have arrived.

The Solar Utopia Garden is an eco-friendly residential complex at HSV


Building/Construction Industry

Closing the gap in much needed housing Billions of people across the globe are either homeless or living in sub-standard housing due to rising construction and material costs. With Airpop, aka EPS, affordability may soon be a reality to close the low-cost housing gap.

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ousing, a basic human need, is not merely a structure with a roof and walls but one that is decent, safe, and affordable. In many areas, this criterion for housing is not met. UK’s Habitat for Humanity cited a 2005 finding that globally about 1.6 billion people lived in sub-standard housing, while 100 million people, who mostly migrated to urban areas, were homeless. In the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) 2014 report, A Blueprint for Addressing the Global Affordable Housing Challenge, affordability is highlighted as a deterrent for access to housing. It is defined as “the difference between the cost of an acceptable standard housing unit (which varies by location) and what households can afford to pay using no more than 30% of income”. The report suggests that the disparity in cost to affordability and the rate of urbanisation could force some 440 million urban households to contend with substandard housing by 2025. Globally, the affordable housing gap, pegged at US$650 billion/year at the time of the study, would affect one in every three urban dwellers to total 1.6 billion people. It would require spending on construction of homes to as much as US$11 trillion to address the housing shortage by 2025, MGI reported. Meanwhile, reducing housing costs by as much as 50% lies on four key areas, namely, financing, land, construction, and operations and maintenance. Lowering construction costs (and completion time) could come about by using prefabricated components and engineering materials.

Cost-effective alternative material Costs for traditional construction materials such as bricks, steel, concrete, and wood have all gone up. This has spurred new concepts to make use of materials that can provide the durability and strength needed for a decent, safe home. Regarded as an environmental nuisance, the usefulness of polyurethane (PU), polystyrene (PS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS), are eclipsed by the controversy surrounding these plastic-derived foam materials. Of the three, EPS is much lighter and of late has broadened its applications in key industries. A rigid cellular plastic with good thermal insulation and high impact resistance, EPS is utilised for building affordable yet sustainable housing. A 2014 study published in Kenya’s University of Nairobi, Department of Civil & Construction Engineering, says that EPS as an alternative housing material has offered a low-cost viable solution for the housing deficit in the East African country of more than 44 million people. The case study evaluated EPS panels from Nairobibased National Housing and Corporation (NHC), and found them to “have minimal compressive and flexural strength, hence mainly acting as a filler material in the structural system, offering high bending stiffness for low density members”. As for the cost, the study found that building with EPS technology was more expensive than using quarried stones. However, labour costs for the conventional method involving masonry work was Coppice primary school extension. Credit: Roy Strutt Photography found to be higher than when EPS technology was used.

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Building/Construction Industry Rebranding EPS; with benefits Giving EPS a new, catchy name seems to be a novel idea, especially when housing shortages are imminent. Now known as Airpop in Europe, the new name attempts to describe what EPS is made up of, that is 98% air and only 2% synthetic material. Airpop has a serious side to it too. Firstly, it embraces EPS’s light weight, rigidity, insulation, high acoustic performance and good fire protection. EPS is also a sustainable product that is recyclable (can be recycled up to seven times without deteriorating) and environmentally sound. The British Plastics Federation (BPF) also points out that Airpop is non-toxic, chemically inert, nonirritant and rot-proof. Fungi and bacteria cannot grow on Airpop as it is insoluble and non-hygroscopic – and moisture contact will not lead to product or performance deterioration. New system enhanced by EPS Meanwhile, Airpop is seen to be a potential solution to address the low-cost housing gap. An innovative modular building system hatched by AcerMetric, a British applied engineering design and development firm, the Acermetric building system incorporates Airpop at the centre of its design. The Acermetric system is patent-protected in 20 countries worldwide with another 40 countries recognising patent conformance. It comprises a range of interlocking panels each of which is effectively a sandwich of grey EPS with the option of the outer board material specified according to the building needs. Together with window and door cassettes, the full range of elements extends to around 40 shape options which, when locked together and linked to patented roof support beams and columns, allow more than a million combinations of high-strength, three-dimensionally stable structures – a ‘Lego-like’ system capable of creating a building of virtually any shape, size or design. According to the company’s calculations, the system could easily accommodate buildings up to ten storeys high, is suited to areas prone to ground movement and even to earthquake risk, and has undergone stringent UKAS testing covering strength, fire resistance, acoustic protection, thermal insulation and longevity. In its most recent project, the Acermetric building system has lowered costs and build-time at a London primary school where a two-storey multi-purpose 466 sq m “Centre of Excellence” was assembled. It took four builders around 13 weeks on-site to lift panels by hand and install the elements with a single tool. AcerMetric’s Founder, engineering design and R&D veteran David Appleford, said that his system owes a great deal to EPS, which forms the core of the panels. “The grey EPS at the heart of our Acermetric panels gives us many advantages. In fact, thermal insulation is so effective that in the primary school project – the combination of the heat generated by the occupants and high solar gain meant we had to install additional cooling measures,” he said. The thermal performance

Construction in progress at the school site

for grey EPS/Airpop is 0.03 W/mK and, according to Appleford, this helps his Acermetric buildings to achieve 0.1 u-values or better. Material of future homes in developing countries Appleford, convinced the Acermetric system could bring major benefits across the globe, said, “Our success so far allows us to be confident that if we could move to large-scale precision mass production of the panels we would have no problem in plugging the gap of 150,000 low-cost homes desperately needed across the UK. Then we could look at the potential in developing countries – this could represent a massive solution to a global problem in which EPS could play a significant part.” Other advantages of the Acermetric system include the fact that no expansion joints are needed as the entire construction is post-tensioned through the locking mechanism. All internal walls are pre-finished - avoiding the need for plasterboard - and external walls can be finished to any specification including architectural cladding, weatherboard, slate, tile or brick slips. David Emes, Chairman of the BPF EPS Group, commented, “There are many building systems which take advantage of Airpop but this is one of the most innovative we have come across. It’s an ideal building material for modular or elemental systems because it can easily be cut or moulded to shape during the manufacturing of the elements and has built-in BBA Approval, BRE Certification, BRE Green Guide A+ rating and many wider industry accreditations. It also comes closest of any modern building material to fulfilling the 60-year performance life target set by the UK Building Regulations.” A new residential build project for Acermetric is in the pipeline to further prove the system’s integrity. The company says the next step will then be to commission a factory for the mass production of the panels and to license the simple technology to manufacturers, builders and construction companies in the UK and beyond. OCTOBER 2015

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Chemical Industry

China's chemical industry at the crossroads The Tianjin explosions in China that happened this year, sparked a series of unfortunate events, international attention, and public outrage. With the death toll recorded at 165, with nearly 100 of them firefighters, the aftermath of the explosions raised a host of questions in China about industrial safety and enforcement of residential zoning regulations, says Elaine Cotoner in this article.

Deadly chain reactions At around 10:50 pm local time on 12 August, a fire broke out at the Port of Tianjin in northern China, 150 km from Beijing. Firefighters arrived at the scene and tried to extinguish the fire with water. No one knew the warehouse contained dangerous chemicals, most of which should not be in contact with water. The fire started in a warehouse owned by Tianjin Dongjiang Port RuiHai International Logistics Co, a company that stores and transports tonnes of hazardous chemicals. Inside the warehouse, there were 800 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, 700 tonnes of sodium cyanide (NaCN), and vast amounts of toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and calcium carbide (CaC2). The amount of sodium cyanide in the warehouse was 70 times the allowable amount. Sodium cyanide is highly toxic whilst TDI and calcium carbide react violently with water. Calcium carbide releases acetylene, a highly volatile gas that detonated the ammonium nitrate. When the warehouse exploded, the first explosion was huge, and the second was even more powerful: the equivalent of 20 tonnes of TNT or a magnitude-2.9 earthquake, according to the China Earthquake Networks Centre. Around 1,000 people in total have been confirmed dead, injured, and missing. Over a 1,000 firemen were on the scene and most of the dead were firefighters. Around 6,000 residents were evacuated to temporary shelters. The Tianjin government also offered settlements to the affected residents and recently more than 9,000 homeowners agreed to be compensated for the damages. But news reports say that they were pressured to agree in fear of losing their jobs. Since the explosion happened in a container warehouse area, there were no bulk chemicals or plastics involved in the explosion or damaged (or at least too little to impact supply in a significant way) and therefore, there was no direct impact reported to bulk chemical material handling operations. Chemicals production in the region was also not interrupted. However, the chemical port loading/unloading in Tianjin was suspended. A year for explosions The Tianjin explosion wasn’t the first to hit the country this year. In fact, it was the 14th chemical explosion recorded in China, according to news reports. The first one was at a chemical plant in Liaoyang. A new explosion happened at least once a month after that. Chemical plant blasts so far this year include explosions in the provinces of Jiangsu, Fujian and Shandong. The plant in Zhangzhou, Fujian province, southern China, produced paraxylene (PX), an intermediate chemical used for manufacturing PET. The combined death toll on all previous blasts numbered to 54, making the Tianjin explosion the most damaging incident to date.

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Chemical Industry Tianjin clean-up and investigation Recent reports say that workers have completely removed the large pool of toxic, contaminated water that accumulated after the Tianjin explosions. The last 700 cu m of wastewater from a pond several meters deep was pumped out, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing local authorities. Meanwhile, the Chinese police arrested 12 suspects, including RuiHai Logistics' Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and at least three other managers, according to Xinhua. The country's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) has placed Yang Dongliang under investigation. Yang is the Director of State Administration of Work Safety and was Vice-Mayor of Tianjin for 11 years. According to reports, Yang had loosened rules for handling hazardous chemicals in 2012. This made it easier for RuiHai Logistics to stockpile tonnes of chemicals in its warehouse. Questions have also been raised about the enforcement of residential zoning regulations since the warehouse was built within 600 m away from the nearest high-rise apartments – a little too near. Chinese law requires that hazardous sites should be at least 1,000 m away from any residential area. Blatant breaking of laws sparked outrage among the Chinese. China’s ramp up in chemicals Even though the Chinese President Xi Jinping has said that those responsible for the Tianjin explosion will be investigated and that the country’s work safety sector should be reformed, sadly, this incident may have been prevented if existing Chinese safety standards and regulations for chemical storage and handling were followed and enforced. China is the world’s largest chemical producing and consuming country, including hazardous chemicals. These chemicals are generally used as raw materials in feedstock to make downstream industrial chemicals, and consumer and agricultural products. China’s chemical Credit: Greenpeace

industry has been growing rapidly for the past 15 years, and the industry’s significant growth rate is not forecasted to slow down anytime soon. According to IHS Chemical, significant investments are being made in all major basic chemical value-chains at a pace that is significantly greater than any other country in the world, including a comparison to the US (recently experiencing a rebirth of chemical asset investment due to shale oil and gas). The research company says its analysis indicates from 2010 to 2020, China will invest in more than 100 million tonnes of basic chemical production capacity including ethylene, propylene, methanol, paraxylene, benzene and chlorine. By comparison, the US will add about 30 million tonnes of the same basic chemicals during this period. Hence, the need for more stringent enforcement of laws in the Chinese chemical sector. Laws in place but enforcement needed To respond to the concerns regarding Tianjin, China’s State Council pledged to “launch a nationwide inspection of businesses engaged in dangerous chemicals and explosives,” according to Xinhua. The State Council listed the following problems revealed by the Tianjin explosion: lack of safety awareness among businesses and lax implementation of safety regulations; inadequate safety management of dangerous materials at ports; irregular practices among workers; weak emergency responses to incidents and lax supervision by authorities. The State Council also ordered all levels of local governments to strictly enforce regulations regarding the safety zone around industrial projects, for proper handling of hazardous materials, and to “firmly implement regulatory measures for highly toxic chemicals.” The Chinese government already has laws penalising non-compliance to safety standards. These laws are wellcrafted and comparable to their US counterparts. The problem lies in implementation. Due to pressures to cut costs, chemical, mining, construction, and other companies cut corners and fall below standard. According to IHS Chemical, to avoid another incident, the Chinese chemical industry should shift its focus from being a “purely low-cost producer, to growing its industry in a more sustainable way by focusing on quality, innovation, safety and services.” This should include the necessary training programmes for employees working with hazardous chemicals, along with stricter control on workforce qualification and certification processes. OCTOBER 2015

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Injection Moulding Asia Country Focus

Fakuma 2015: pulling out all the stops German exhibition Fakuma, held in Friedrichshafen

end-use properties essential for air and moisture-proof window gaskets, including rubberlike seal recovery, lowtemperature toughness, and UV resistance.

from 13-17 October, is expected to break another record, having been sold out since February 2015, according

• Another company highlighting TPEs will be Müller Kunststoffe, the German arm of Hexpol. It will be presenting EPSeal TPEs for food and beverage caps and closure applications. EPSeal includes grades that can be used for crown corks, aluminium rollon closures, PP and HDPE plastic closures of various diameters; as well as grades for wine corks and T-stoppers for EPSeal TPE for caps/closures spirits with high alcohol content.

to show organiser P.E. Schall. Held in the quaint town that sits on Lake Constance, where Germany, Austria and Switzerland meet, the show is expected to tread in the footsteps of the 2014 show that had nearly 1,800 exhibitors and 46,000 visitors from 117 countries. Highlights include additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, along with injection moulding, thermoforming and extrusion. Materials • Kraiburg TPE will present new TPEs the result of partnerships with component manufacturers. The German company will showcase a drinking water-compliant DW/H series as a PVC replacement material for hoses in showers, dishwashers or related applications. It has also developed TPE compounds for consumer applications that feature improved adhesion to engineering thermoplastics such as PC and ABS. TPE compounds with FDA and EC 10/2011 food certifications for valves will also be featured. Features are efficient processing in two-component processes, resilience and reliable adhesion to hard components. Meanwhile, the company’s Thermolast V compounds, increasingly specified for seals in under-the-hood, will go into production.

• Having launched in March 2015, PolyOne will provide updates on its reSound NF natural fibre-reinforced solutions. Containing at least 30% engineered natural fibre by weight, these offer an alternative to glass fibrereinforced PP compounds, with comparable mechanical properties at 5-10% lower density. Currently available in black, brown or natural, the US firm will introduce brilliant colours. Another update will be on 3D-MID (three dimensional moulded interconnect device) manufacturing technology highlighted at Fakuma 2014. It uses thermally conductive properties of PolyOne’s Therma-Tech engineered polymers and is purportedly a time and cost-saving means to produce the 3D-MIDs that serve as heat sinks in LED lighting, as an alternative to the complex printed circuit boards now fairly ubiquitous in these applications.

• A new series of styrenic block copolymer (SBC) elastomers from Teknor Apex Company exhibits performance comparable to that of thermoplastic vulcanisates (TPVs) widely used in window gaskets and as new options for building product manufacturers. Unlike most TPVs used for weatherproof seals in metal, wood, or PVC window frames, Monprene IN-23000 compounds are readily available in small lots and precoloured grades and require no predrying. Some grades can also be processed with the same tooling used for PVC profiles at similar throughput rates and die pressures. Like TPVs, the new TPEs exhibit the

• DuPont will go down memory lane with its signature Zytel nylon material, launched in 1935. Since then it has been used in the automotive, electrical & electronics, medical and healthcare sectors and large connector applications. It will also show the use of CAE software for the product development cycle, especially in the automotive sector and for the healthcare sector, its Special Control (SC) and Premium Control (PC) grades. • Bisphenol A (BPA), used for the production of polycarbonate, is one of the most hotly debated chemicals. Since public opinion regarding its use as a raw material remains divided, Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, welcomes this debate and invites visitors to its stand for discussions. The German firm says that one of its aims in this “is to help make the discussion more objective.”

Teknor Apex will also feature new Sarlink ML-1100 and ML-1600 series styrenic TPEs for automotive interior applications such as bin mats

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Injection Moulding Asia Country Focus Sumitomo Demag’s Systec Servo 210 will be producing a lightweight nutcracker, decorated by insert moulding and reinforced with UD tapes, with a weight 35% less than its predecessor

• UK-based Victrex’s acquisition of US gear specialist Kleiss Gears will allow it to push through to the automotive sector its PEEK materials. It will also show a hybrid-moulding process that combines the strength of continuous fibrereinforced PAEK composites with the design flexibility of PEEK injection-moulding solutions. Also, the fusible-core technology of Dutch moulder Egmond Plastic can achieve cost savings of 30% and weight savings of up to 50% in the manufacture of complex pump housings. As well, British precision moulder Denroy Plastics has joined forces with Victrex and Bombardier to develop small to medium-size brackets, previously cut from aluminium and titanium, from PEEK for aircraft, reducing weight and costs.

• German firm Sumitomo Demag, which last year had the fastest machine at the Fakuma, will repeat it again this year with a high-speed El-Exis SP 200 that will be moulding four 125 ml PP gourmet containers with removal by a robot, in just under 2 seconds. The mould and automation equipment will be supplied by Dutch firm Brink BV and the PP by Borouge. Features include activeQ/Q+ mould protection for sensitive monitoring of the clamping unit and activeCool&Clean cooling and filtering system. In addition, making its debut will be a production unit for complex decorated lightweight parts with a Systec Servo 210, and an all-electric IntElect 100, equipped with activeFlowBalance for balancing the filling of its four cavities.

• Spain-based Elix Polymers will focus on new generation ABS materials for the automotive industry. The high heat ABS grades combine low emissions and high flowability; well-balanced mechanical properties, high heat resistance and processability and paintability. The company recently extended its presence in North America, focusing on its global portfolio of ABS and PC/ABS products. • US compounder RTP Company will feature a new proprietary alloy technology known as RTP 2000 HC, a series of specially formulated compounds designed to maintain strength, functionality, and integrity, even with repeated exposure to hospital cleaners used to disinfect medical devices. RTP says it tested a number of materials and a wide sampling of cleaners commonly used in the healthcare industry. The resulting compounds were RTP will highlight compounds developed to open new possibilities for the design formulated to resist damage from harsh disinfectants of hospital equipment and plastic housings that require frequent disinfection, including mobile sonar and x-ray machines, enteral feeding devices, drug pumps, blood filtration equipment, and more.

• KraussMaffei will feature its hydraulic CX160 machine showcasing laser and hologram surface effects made possible by a dynamically inductive mould temperature control system (Dynamic Mould Heating or DMH) from RocTool and tooling from Roctooling. The moulds have special surfaces with different effects (matte, high-gloss, with punched holes). Meanwhile, a CX300 will show KraussMaffei’s FiberForm process, combining injection moulding with thermoforming of composite sheets to further improve the strength. It will produce airbag housings in cycle times of 42 seconds, with weight savings of 40%. Partners include Takata and Christian Karl Siebenwurst. In LSR, it is demonstrating nasal ventilators made on a cleanroom 50-tonne AX SilcoSet all-electric machine in a four-cavity mould. The SPX10 sprue picker takes the parts, separates them and deposits them. The Elmet metering and mixing unit provides for optimum draining of residual fluids, ensuring that no material goes to waste. • KraussMaffei sister company Netstal will introduce the world’s first injection compression moulding system, developed in cooperation with French companies Plastisud (stack mould) and Machines Pagès (automation). It will

Moulding Machines • Germany-based Arburg will highlight the individualisation of high-volume parts through the combination of injection moulding and additive manufacturing including networking with Industry 4.0 technologies. Also on show at the trade fair will be the innovative lightweight construction process, multi-component injection moulding, LSR processing and practical examples for the medical and packaging technology sectors as well as a micro production cell. Eight further Allrounders will be featured on partner stands. Arburg is providing a microsite for the first time that brings together the latest information about the exhibits, Industry 4.0, lightweight construction, plastic freeforming and partners.

Netstal presents the world’s first injection compression moulding system

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Injection Moulding Asia Country Focus manufacture a 10.7 g PP margarine tub on an Elion hybrid 2800-2000 with 4+4 cavities. With IML decoration, the cycle time is 5 seconds. The cavities are partially filled in 100 ms and the process is performed at a low pressure to prevent tension in the material. Benefits of the process include narrow wall thickness and a lighter weight. Furthermore, the end product (lids in particular) shows fewer signs of distortion and has a greater dimensional accuracy due to the lower stresses placed on the material. There is also a significant increase in productivity through the use of a stack mould and reduction in material costs by up to 20%.

• Austrian firm Engel will demonstrate the Clearmelt technology for the manufacture of decor elements with wood veneers for automotive applications. The veneers are back-injected with PC/ABS, in a two-cavity mould on a Duo 3550/650 combi M, in a single step and coated with transparent polyurethane to protect the surface. PU technology is provided by Hennecke. First introduced in 2009, the first serial application is at HIB Trim Part Solutions. For LSR, in collaboration with Schneegans Freudenberg Silicon and Elmet, it will show diaphragms made of glass fibre-reinforced PA and LSR on a Victory 200H/60L/140 combi with an integrated Viper robot. In each cycle, the robot removes eight PA parts and transfers them to the second set of cavities in the 8+8-cavity serial mould, to be overmoulded with LSR. While LSR processing is going on, a new set of base bodies is created. A first for the company at Fakuma, Engel will present an integrated, fully automated process for manufacturing thermal switch housings, from the raw material to the 100% tested and labelled metal/plastic composite parts. It will be shown on a 60V/35 single vertical machine, together with partner MMS Modular Molding Systems. A strip uncoiler, press module and processing module for thread tapping are positioned upstream; downstream, there are quality controls, a laser marking system and another press module. In the packaging sector, Engel will run an Emotion 440/160 producing 155-ml round containers with an integrated tamper-proof seal on a four-cavity mould from Otto Hofstetter. IML automation is implemented by Beck Automation. For medical, an Emotion 170/80 TL will be producing needle holders for 1-ml safety syringes in a 16-cavity mould from Fostag Formenbau. The filigree PS parts, with a shot weight of 0.08 g, are designed with a predetermined breaking point that makes it impossible to re-use the disposable syringes.

temperatures, pressures, can be recorded and reused. From every IT workstation with online access, the required data can be interrogated using the IP address of the Boy machines and can be used for the downstream BDE functions. Another “smart solution” will be the new online energy calculator, able to work without additional programmes, without any connection to portals of the machine manufacturer and without expensive service contracts. As for processes, the German company will demonstrate on a 60E, toothbrush bodies that will be removed by a Kuka six-axis robot. On a 100E, the integrated linear handling device SL30 will remove the moulded 2C parts and place them on a conveyor belt. In addition, the transfer system on the 35E VH insert moulding machine equipped with 2C technology and hot/ cold mould concept will communicate with the Procan control. Boy says it has another “online surprise” that will be presented for the first time, which it will reveal at the show.

• US machine giant Milacron, combined with its brands Ferromatik, Mold-Masters, Uniloy, DME, Tirad and CIMCOOL, will introduce the new Magna T in the European market. The Toggle 200 machine, equipped with a mould from Haidlmair, will produce a PP storage container. It will also launch the Elektron Evolution, boasting 60% less energy and 90% less water than hydraulic machines, reducing operating costs. An EO 75 model will be producing a two-component part made of PA6 (with 30% glass fibre) and TPE using a Braunform mould. The TPE will be injected using Mold-Masters E-Multi auxiliary injection unit. Meanwhile it has upgraded its Ferromatik-Series F120 to a fully automated production cell with an integrated Zahoransky robot system and a combined onecomponent and two-component mould, producing on one-side 1C razors and on the other side 2C razors. Following the launch of Klear Can at the Florida NPE show, Milacron will have a co-injection display. Klear Can is a multilayer plastic that will replace metal food cans for the packaging of long shelf-life items such as fruits, vegetables, fish and meats. The packaging is BPA free and can run in existing filling, seaming and retorting lines at canneries.

• Dr Boy will partner with ProSeS BDE for its data entry systems. The software of the BDE system accesses the internal Boy Procan Alpha machine control. Machine settings, collected operating parameters as well as production data recorded by the machine control, such as injection volume,

Milacron’s all-electric Elektron Evolution

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Injection Moulding Asia Country Focus Auxiliaries • Germany’s Reduction Engineering, an allied company of US-based Reduction Engineering, is presenting cantilevered strand pelletisers from CF Scheer, having acquired its pelletising division. The latest SGS-E6 series is now available with working widths of 100, 200 and 300 mm. With its improved cutting geometry, it minimises the unguided length of the strands between the feed-rolls and the cutting edge and extends the processing range, especially when processing very soft and/or elastic materials, with strand speeds up to 120 m/minute (with and without adjustment of the pellet length). At Fakuma, it will launch SGS 100-E6, with maximum 20 strands and capacity of 550 kg/hour.

and granular materials. It will also show ActiFlow smart bulk solids activator that prevents bridging of cohesive bulk materials in stainless steel hoppers without internal hopper agitation. Meanwhile, Coperion K-Tron’s bag dump station with integrated dust hood is specifically designed to maintain a clean, dust-controlled process environment; the unit is equipped with a pulse-cleaned cartridge filter. • Maag Automatik will present a revolutionary process for pelletising, Optimised Temperature Pelletising (OTP), a void-free approach to pelletise technical thermoplastics with Maag’s Sphero underwater pelletising system. It can cover the entire process from plastic melt to finished high quality pellets. Another focal point in the booth is the new generation pump, 6 extrex, offering up to 50% higher flow rate on comparable products.

• Italy-based Moretto will present what it says is a world first of its kind, the new inline MoistureMeter, placed right above the feed zone and close to the plasticising screw. It is said to offer processors reliable inline measurement of the residual humidity including instant optimisation through feed-back signals to the closed-loop control system of the upstream polymer drying equipment. • Wittmann has combined the advantages of its Feedmax S3 net single loader with those of the Feedmax B200 central material loaders to offer the latest Feedmax B203 net. This practical, newly designed appliance with the appearance of a single loader has been equipped with highperformance blowers, so that it can reach a higher material throughput and handle material conveyance over longer distances.

View of Maag Automatik’s test laboratory with the OTP process in work

• Ettlinger Kunststoffmaschinen will show the recently launched Eco melt filters. Specially developed for film and sheet extrusion, the melt filters are rated for a maximum contaminant level of 1.5% by weight, enabling cross-linked and high-molecular fractions contained in the melt to be removed when processing virgin material along with any gels or partial impurities. The company has already installed 225 units of the equipment.

Wittmann’s new B203 loader

• Germany’s ProTec will introduce the new Somos T140 eco auxiliary dryer with its updated design; and following the recent acquisition of PolymersNet will present the LFT (long-fibre-reinforced thermoplastics) systems platform. The T140 dryer provides hopper volume of 400 l and dry air throughput of 140 cu m/hour, a distinct step up from the five previously available auxiliary dryers with volumes ranging from 30-300 l. It also features an updated touchscreen controller.

• Laser welding specialist LPKF is highlighting its compact welding InlineWeld system that can be integrated to save space in production lines. The standalone units of the PowerWeld line are all-rounders, suitable for all production configurations. Depending upon handling and laser source, they can be configured for small, medium or large series production runs. The PowerWeld 2600 has a rotary table while the TwinWeld3D is a robot-assisted hybrid welding system designed for welding large 3D free form components in thermal fields.

• Coperion and Coperion K-Tron will present the T35/S60 quick change feeder, specially designed for applications requiring the maximum possible material handling and changeover flexibility, together with a 2400 series pellet receiver, a high capacity sequencing system designed to handle powder, pellet, regrind 4 O C TO B E R 2 015

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Country Focus • Wittmann will introduce its new pneumatic WP80 and servo WS80 sprue pickers, with the new Net8 control system. The WS80 is available in two different versions: either as a solution integrated in the Unilog B6 machine control system or as a stand-alone solution. The bestseller model W818, of which more than 5,000 units have been produced, has now become available with an extended axis, making it possible to combine it with a load-bearing capacity of 6 kg.

Tooling • Nordson Corporation will launch the Xaloy PC Molding System to address common challenges in moulding optical-grade polymer by delivering a homogeneous melt with a minimum level of the shear that can cause yellowness or discolouration in PC; and by avoiding polymer Nordson sticking points Xaloy’s PC moulding system or “dead” spots where blemishes such as black specks can form. Nordson recommends the system for processing lens-grade or coloured PC for automotive lighting, eyeglasses, optical discs, and electrical and telecommunications components.

• French firm Sepro will have three new lines of robots for moulding machines with 800-5,000 tonnes of clamping capacity. It is also demonstrating a 7X55 five-axis robot from the new premium 7X Line and a Strong 50, representing a general-purpose line of large robots. At the same time, Sepro is introducing another three-axis family of robots for large-tonnage moulding machines: the technological S7 Line. Also on display will be a 6X90 six-axis articulated arm robot; 5X25, which is a smaller five-axis robot, and a Success 33 from the company’s universal range of three-axis robots. Sepro robots will also be on display on the stands of machine suppliers. In all, Sepro is exhibiting 11 robots at the show.

• Mold-Masters’s Summit series hot runner line is said to have four times less thermal variation from set point, compared to the typical thermal variation seen in a nozzle with a heater band. The cleanroom-ready tooling is built completely from stainless steel, which makes it ideal for moulding shear and temperature-sensitive resins like PC, POM and PBT. The nozzle profile positively affects balance and is especially effective for medical market moulding where precision is paramount. It can also be ordered with new servo-controlled valvegate actuators, which allow for individual speed, time and position control of each valve pin in the mould.

Recycling Equipment • Austria’s Erema will present the RegrindPro technology for the recycling of regrind material. Additionally, it will be presenting its brand new upcycling service for recycling and compounding with Corema. Recycling regrind as an alternative to virgin material has enormous potential for processors of plastics. With raw material prices increasing all the time, the demand is growing more, especially in thick-wall packaging, electronics (WEEE) and automotive sectors. The thick-wall input material (HDPE, PP, ABS, PS), however, requires a specific treatment process which is designed to be able to handle mixed fractions with varying compositions, high bulk density and moisture, plus strong and varying contaminants through a very wide variety of impurities. The recycled pellets also have to meet exacting quality standards to be able to make end products from them with top surface quality and particularly high recyclate content. With the new Intarema RegrindPro, Erema has succeeded in developing a plant system which is designed exactly for these thick-wall materials. Thanks to extremely gentle processing and highly efficient filtration, the new system enables the recycling of regrind into application-oriented secondary raw materials.

Automation • Swiss firm Beck Automation will launch the sideentry automated Beck-Flex IML system. Designed for 420-tonne moulding machines, Beck-Flex can decorate labelled lids and containers up to dimensions of 220 x 100 mm, with options ranging from flat labels, to three or five-sided labels, and five-sided labels with closed edges right up to 360° labels. Cycle times of around 4 seconds with an intervention time of up to 1 second are possible. At Fakuma, Beck-Flex will be shown on the Engel booth.

In one Beck-Flex system there are two servo portals and two linear main axes for different production tasks

Erema will present its new RegrindPro and upcycling service

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Injection Moulding Asia Country Focus Around three years ago, Erema launched the Corema, a new product line which brings together for the first time all the benefits of recycling and compounding in a single processing step. Since the interest in this technology has grown since it was launched, Erema says that it will be offering customers its own upcycling service from autumn 2015. Erema will announce exactly what this new service includes and how customers will benefit from it in detail at Fakuma. • Austria’s Next Generation Recyclingmaschinen (NGR) has designed recycling equipment for scrap production waste from PET injection moulded parts. Moulding PET causes the material to lose its IV-Value (Intrinsic Viscosity). Simple regrinding and introduction of this material will lead to receiving moulded parts with weaker material-degradation. The P:REACT series works according to the principle of LSP (Liquid State Polycondensation) and produces PET usable for 100% food-contact in accordance with FDA regulations. NGR will also show the A:GRAN (shredder-feederextruder combination), demonstrating how the PET melt preparation for P:REACT can be accomplished. C

• Lindner ReSource will introduce the new Apollo 1900 single-shaft shredder. Thanks to its extended rotor length of 1,900 mm, the system is suitable for high material volumes or for shredding large-sized pieces or baled materials. Across all machine sizes of the entire Apollo series the rotor diameter is a uniform 370 mm, while Lindner’s universaluse “profiled rotor” allows for moulded parts, tubes, shapes or film to be shredded, with the alternatively available “square blade rotor” developed specifically for shredding sheets and start-up lumps.

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Lindner will introduce the Apollo 1900 singleshaft shredder

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• The latest addition to Wittmann’s screenless granulators is the Junior 3 Compact model, a granulator designed for grinding hard and brittle materials. It fits in directly beside the injection moulding machine and is ideal for granulating sprues, which can be passed on to it by robots or conveyor belts. It can handle a material throughput of 7 kg/hour.


Rubber Journal Asia Tyre Sector

Reinventing the wheel This article by Kazunori Tago, Member of the

Bumps ahead? yre makers are mindful that a lot more work needs to go into fine-tuning these futuristic tyres, to make them cost-efficient, while having performance that is as good as conventional tyres. Bridgestone had previously tested the airless tyres in 2012 on a small scooter utilised to transport the elderly and disabled. The demonstration showed According to Kazunori remarkable results but did raise Tago, Bridgestone’s concerns such as the tyre’s second-generation airless stiffness, which hampered its tyre features improved ability to deal with lateral stiffness load-bearing capabilities, environmental design when the driver steers. This and improved driving highlights the need for more fineperformance tuning in order to commercialise airless tyres. Other challenges include the requirement to fortify the sustainability of the airless tyre during long road trips, and traditional challenges such as distribution and support networks, servicing proficiency, and compatibility with vehicles that currently utilise pneumatic tyres. The issue of safety cannot be overlooked as well. Due to varying road conditions, infrastructure maturity level and traffic patterns of different countries, manufacturers need to consider how their tyres perform based on these variables.

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Board and Chief Operating Officer of Bridgestone Asia Pacific, explores the latest airless tyres and the launch of these futuristic tyres.

Winning in the age of disruption he traditional notion of rubber-and-air tyre is constantly being challenged by new innovations and might eventually be seen as a thing of the past. With the production of airless tyres already in play, industry leaders are thinking of ways of changing the game. Currently, manufacturers are working on getting airless tyres to retain the driving performance of traditional tyres. Ordinary tyres require air to support the vehicle, while airless tyres or non-pneumatic tyres typically use flexible spokes. With the advent of airless tyres, consumers can say goodbye to the risk of a tyre puncture and going flat, thanks to the unique structure of the polyurethane spokes. These spokes make the ride smooth for the driver by keeping the pressure steady. While this innovation holds the promise of heightened energy efficiency and enhanced safety, how close are we to seeing these tyres on the road?

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The state of play t the Tokyo Motor Show 2013, Bridgestone showcased its second-generation “Air Free Concept (Non-Pneumatic) ” tyre. This revolutionary new design features improved load-bearing capabilities, environmental design and improved driving performance – bringing Bridgestone one step closer to a viable, commercially available air-free tyre. The “Air Free Concept Tyre”, features a unique structure of spokes stretching along the inner sides of the tyre to support the weight of the vehicle, hence there is no need to periodically refill the tyres with air. The spoke structure is made from thermoplastic resin that is recyclable. Along with the replaceable tread made of a thin band of solid rubber, these tyres are designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible, to reduce the carbon footprint of the industry. In addition to increased environmental benefits, airless tyres also address safety concerns such as eliminating punctures, which can cause other tyre-related accidents. Bridgestone’s “Air Free Concept Tyre” also provides low rolling resistance which reduces consumption, by achieving a significant reduction in energy usage through proprietary materials and technologies. Bridgestone’s airless tyre debuted in 2011, but the second generation tyre is much improved over the first prototype, as it handles shocks and heat build-up better.

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Future outlook utomotive parts makers are confident that the advantages far outweigh the current limitations and are working on overcoming these challenges by undertaking extensive research and testing to shorten the time taken to get these tyres to the consumers for practical applications. Despite the challenges highlighted in this article, leading manufacturers are confident that the enhanced user experience and remarkable environmental benefits are expected to have most leading automotive makers aligned with responsible consumer behaviour and a more sustainable future. Ecological conservation, preservation of natural resources and reducing CO2 emissions are quickly getting to the top of corporate and political agendas, making green products and processes a primary concern not just for automotive makers, but manufacturers and consumers in general. With fast-paced advancements in technology, no challenge is big enough to keep automotive makers from turning the vision for tomorrow into a reality of today.

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Rubber Journal Asia Tyre Sector

Self-healing tyres the way forward Sulphur vulcanisation has for the longest time

New method, no vulcanisation his simple approach to converting commercially available and widely used bromobutyl rubber (BIIR) into a highly elastic material with extraordinary selfhealing properties does not use conventional cross-linking or vulcanising agents. The researchers say they have discovered that adding a carbon/nitrogen compound has much the same effect, but additionally allows broken polymer links to reform over time. Transformation of the bromine functionalities of BIIR into ionic imidazolium bromide groups results in the formation of reversible ionic associates that exhibit physical cross-linking ability.

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been the only way of making inflatable tyres since they were invented. But now researchers are about to reinvent the wheel, by offering a simple way of preparing commercial rubber without vulcanisation, but with self-healing properties. Thus, allowing cuts in tyres to be healed on their own, at room temperature.

Healing process – no more flat tyres? etting a flat tyre might never be an entirely hasslefree experience. A cut or torn tyre usually means that it has to be replaced with a new one. But in time to come, that could change, since the tyregrade rubber without the vulcanisation, heals itself and could potentially withstand the long-term pressures of driving. Instead, damaged tyres could just be left a few hours to heal on their own. The reversibility of the ionic association facilitates the healing processes by temperature or stress-induced rearrangements, thereby enabling a fully cut sample to retain its original properties after application of the self-healing process. In other words, using the new simple process that avoids vulcanisation altogether, the researchers chemically modified the commercial rubber into a durable, elastic material that can fix itself over time. In laboratory tests, samples of rubber made using the process were able to heal cuts at room temperature. Heating the rubber to 100ºC for the first ten minutes accelerated the process. After a period of eight days, the healed pieces of rubber were able to withstand pressures of up to 52 bar – far higher than any tyre has to handle. Other mechanical properties, such as the elastic modulus, tensile strength, ductility, and hysteresis loss, were found to be superior to those of conventionally sulphur-cured BIIR in test results. According to the researchers, the addition of reinforcing agents such as silica or carbon black could boost the self-healing rubber’s strength even farther. Thus, this simple and easy approach to preparing a commercial rubber with self-healing properties offers unique development opportunities in the field of highly engineered materials, such as tyres, for which safety, performance, and longer fatigue life are crucial factors. The process is still at its trial stages and will have to go through further testing before it is launched commercially, say the researchers.

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nvented by Charles Goodyear, chemical crosslinking of rubbers by sulphur vulcanisation is the only method by which modern automobile tyres are manufactured. This involves adding sulphur or other compounds to the rubber, boosting the finished product’s durability by forming cross-links between the polymer chains that make up the material. The formation of these cross-linked network structures leads to highly elastic properties, which substantially reduces the viscous properties of these materials. Unfortunately, though, once those links are broken, they can’t be repaired. A team of scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Polymer Research (Germany), the Tampere University of Technology (Finland) and the Dresden University of Technology (Germany) are attempting to get around that limitation, by getting rid of the vulcanisation process altogether. The scientists, who have published a report in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, acknowledge funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the largest independent research funding organisation in Germany. It promotes the advancement of science and the humanities by funding research projects, research centres and networks, and facilitating cooperation among researchers. virginal

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Scientists are working towards developing polymers for self-healing tyres

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Rubber Journal Asia Country Focus

Myanmar’s “invisible” rubber tracts Myanmar is pushing for industrial

Industrialising the landscape awei (formerly Tavoy), Taninyharyi’s capital, competence amidst tensions over was an idyllic, picture postcard-scenic city that had been a vital trading artery during the agricultural and biodiversity losses, colonial times, and later on a trading gateway says Angelica Buan in this article. with Thailand via Ranong and other border towns, serving the rubber and the oil palm industries. It traditionally has three industries: agriculture, fishing and mining, according to an article published by Bangkok-headquartered Foundation he 40th largest country in the world, for Ecological Recovery. Myanmar is opening up to global However, Dawei’s landscape has shifted to industrialisation. It is in a good position, at an industrial hub with the set-up of the Dawei least geographically. The country is bordered by Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which has an initial India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. investment of US$8.6 billion. Mostly thriving on agriculture and mining, Further development of the hub would hit Myanmar has been low key in terms of rubber an infrastructural investment estimated at production, since it produces low grade over US$50 billion, according to a 2012 paper rubbers, which fetch lower price in the market. authored by Myanmarese researcher Puang Ku It has not catapulted to attention as and Netherlands-headquartered Transnational Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Institute. India. For this reason too, the country’s rubber The city is sited in the South easternmost part sector has not been competitive with other of Myanmar that borders Mon State to the North, ASEAN neighbours. Thailand to the East, and further to Cambodia, A 2013 USAID Burma-commissioned report Vietnam and the rest of mainland Asia. Likewise, noted Myanmar’s low farm productivity. It it provides access to the Andaman Sea to the West, surveyed that the annual agricultural income which for Thailand, a key proponent in DSEZ, is a per worker is at US$194 (2011/2012 multiagency channel route to India and the Middle East. data). However, Myanmar’s agricultural sector, The former with a significant recluse state has portion comprised “..Dawei’s landscape has shifted to been opened of small holder up to welcome farming, has an industrial hub with the set-up of large scale supported a third the SEZ…” investments, thus, of the country’s converting it to Gross Domestic a manufacturing facility hub and international Product (GDP) and 15% of total export earnings, container port. according to Global Witness data. Initiated in 2008, the Dawei SEZ is a joint Based on the CIMB Asean Research project by the Italian-Thai Development (ITD) Institute’s report in 2012, Myanmar’s plantation Company, which was granted a 75-year concession industry focuses on rubber and teak sectors. to develop the area, and the Thai and Myanmar Amongst Myanmar’s regions where rubber governments. It was hatched on a total land area has been cultivated even earlier than in other of 204.51 sq km. adjacent states is the Tanintharyi Division Project development would be carried out (formerly known as Tenasserim), which has in three phases, each spanning ten years, from climate and soil quite ideal to cultivating 2010 to 2019. After much negotiations and mixed vast oil palm and rubber plantations. But it reception towards the Dawei SEZ project, the unfortunately became the leeway for land initial phase development was launched in August grabbing, deforestation and displacement, this year. according to the 2014 report of UNCHR. It will involve construction of a small port, What’s special about Tanintharyi is that it power plants, a two-lane road to Thailand, an LNG has preserved its biodiversity while providing terminal, and other initial infrastructure for labourample livelihood for its close to 1.8 million intensive industries (textile, garment, food). population.

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Rubber Journal Asia Country Focus Dawei SEZ: weighing down on local rubber As well, the Economic Zone Law enacted by farming the Myanmar Government in 2011 includes tax he massive project, while promising exemptions, land ownership, facilitation of work industrial growth for Myanmar, has permits, privilege to import foreign management reportedly cost the livelihood for the agricultural and skilled labour, to cite a few salient points. workers in the city, not to mention affected According to a project update presented its biodiversity and displaced dwellers, to say by ITD and DDC in 2013, Myanmar will the least. According to reports, Dawei SEZ has be benefiting from the project through directly affected some 18 villages or close to local employment, increased foreign direct 4,000 households and the relocation of more than investments, tax/benefit sharing with the 23,000 individuals. Affected too are the rubber Myanmar government, development of plantations that stretch across Dawei and its resources, knowledge and technology transfer, outskirts. and growth of local businesses and industries. Dawei thrives on small agriculture processing In addition, the consortium said that industries, including rubber processing and investments in key industries, including trading. According to the Transnational Institute, automotive, electronics, metals, plastics, chemicals, an estimated 85% of local livelihoods rely on refinery, fertilisers, pharmaceutical products and plantation agriculture. rubber, are also expected to flourish, over the Another report, Voices From the Ground: long-term period in Dawei SEZ. Concerns Over the Dawei Special Economic Zone and Related Projects produced by the Dawei Losing forestland to rubber/oil palm Development Association (DDA), estimated that plantations 36 villages comprising about 43,000 residents n a related report, a 50,000-acre land at the would be directly affected by the Dawei SEZ and Thein Baw Oo village tract, also in Dawei, is related projects; while 71% households covered to be levelled for a large-scale rubber plantation by the report anticipated losing partly or all of to be operated by Myanmar Mahar Dahna in a their land due to the project. joint venture with Thai Hua Rubber Holdings, An article published online by the Human a company that operates rubber plantations Rights Foundation of Monland (Rehmonnya) and manufactures rubber-based products in described that Thailand. at the enactment Already, 5,000 “..Affected too are the rubber of the MOU in acres have 2008, the Dawei plantations that stretch across Dawei been given the Project Watch go-ahead signal and its outskirts…” (DPW) organisation to be developed reported on the for the first confiscation of some “8,000 acres of paddyphase of the project. cultivated lands, 10,000 acres of rubber Similarly, Washington-headquartered nonplantations, 12,000 to 14,000 acres of cashew-nut profit organisation Forest Trends had reported plantations, and over 150,000 acres of orchid that Myanmar has cleared more than 5 million plantations” by authorities from Dawei SEZ and acres and identified some 11 million acres ITD. of forest lands for agribusiness projects. The Kachin State, bordering China, was cleared for Reaping the benefits commercial plantations for rubber and biofuels, he consortium of private developers that according to the report. will be kicking off the establishment of Meanwhile, Tanintharyi also suffered infrastructure within the zone, said that the the same fate to give way to oil palm and project is expected to contribute up to 5% of rubber plantations. Forest Trends summed up Myanmar’s GDP by 2045. Myanmar’s loss of forest lands to concessions to To encourage investors and ensure the success amount to over 1.15 million acres/year. of Dawei SEZ, perks are being dished out as This is the price that the country will have encompassed in the Framework Agreement to pay for the loss of its biodiversity, since a signed between ITD and Myanmar Port project like Dawei SEZ is ultimately intended to Authority, Ministry of Transport, in 2010 for be Asia’s largest integrated industrial zone and the development of the Dawei Deep Sea Port, a platform to catapult Myanmar into the global Industrial Estate, and Road and Rail Link to industrial arena, while it also races to be in the Thailand on a BOT basis. top of the rubber producers’ category.

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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • Polish firm Synthos has finished the construction of a 90,000 tonnes/year SSBR rubber plant. The project cost PLN568 million, of which 147 million was covered by EU funding. SSBR rubber tyres show improved performance, which also help save fuel and have better grip, thus decreasing braking distances. This results, among other things, from the policy of energy saving and reducing CO 2 emissions adopted by countries such as the US as well as the EU. On the basis of acquired technology from Goodyear, Synthos has created and continues to develop its own research programme in next generations of high quality SSBR rubber, at its R&D centre set up in 2010. • French tyre maker Michelin and Fives Group have partnered up to launch Fives Michelin Additive Solutions, a company that will produce 3D-printed metal. The company will be owned half-and-half by the two companies and will hire 20 people from both camps initially. Fives Michelin Additive Solutions will produce 3D printed metal parts for different industries (i.e. automotive, aerospace, health, etc.), and complete production lines to the related services (redesign of parts, definition of the manufacturing process, installation, production support, training, etc.). • Continental is investing EUR6 million to build a new foundry in the Runding site of A-Z Formen-und Maschinenbau, which designs and produces tyre moulds. The company was acquired by Continental last year. The foundry will expand capacity, improve flexibility for detailed tread patterns, and create 20 new jobs.

• Nexen Tire Corp. plans to invest US$7 million to construct a 2,800-sq m R&D centre in Ohio, US. The South-Korean tyre manufacturer plans to break ground later this year for the 12-month construction process to begin. The building is set to be operational by 2017. In related news, Nexen Tire Corp. plans to break ground on its US$1.1 billion tyre plant in Žatec, Czech Republic, in October. The plant should be on stream by 2018 with an initial capacity of 6 million units/year, with double the capacity at a later date. • Zeon Corporation, with National Research and Development Agency (RIKEN) and Yokohama Rubber recently made isoprene from biomass. Isoprene is the raw material used to produce synthetic rubber (polyisoprene rubber) for automobile tyres. • India’s JK Tyre & Industries and JK Asia Pacific Singapore signed an agreement with Kesoram Industries Limited (KIL) to acquire Cavendish Industries Limited (CIL). CIL has a unit located at Haridwar, India which manufactures a range of tyres, tubes and flaps. JK Group has agreed for this acquisition at an enterprise value not exceeding Rupees2,200 crores, subject to conditions, wherein JK Tyre will hold the largest shareholding block and shall have substantial management control of CIL with an option to place up to 55% with its Associates/Group Companies. • US firm Trinseo plans to close its styrene butadiene (SBR) latex plant in Gales Ferry, Connecticut, due to continuing declines in the coated paper industry in North America, and as part of a programme to reduce costs in the business.

• Speciality chemicals company Lanxess and Saudi Aramco plan to establish a joint venture for synthetic rubber. Lanxess and Saudi Aramco subsidiary, Aramco Overseas Company, will each hold a 50% interest in the joint venture, with annual sales of EUR3 billion in 2014. Saudi Aramco is to pay approx. EUR1.2 billion in cash for its 50% share after deducting debt and other financial liabilities. The total joint venture is valued at EUR2.75 billion. Lanxess will contribute its synthetic rubber business to the new joint venture, comprising the Tyre & Specialty Rubbers and High Performance Elastomers business units. These two combined have 20 plants, 3,700 employees and US$1 billion in annual sales. • Russian company Rosneft and China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina) will share ownership of the ChemChina Petrochemical Corporation (CCPC) and work together in the FarEast Petrochemical Company (FEPCO). With this, Rosneft will have 30% ownership of CCPC. ChemChina will also acquire a majority stake in the FEPCO project as well as the key stages of such investment. By signing the MOU, Rosneft involves a strategic partner for FEPCO and makes a major step towards its development. • US firm Dow Corning recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of its Zhangjiagang integrated silicone manufacturing site. As China’s largest facility of its kind and among the world’s biggest, the Zhangjiagang site is a huge investment of US$1.8 billion. The site mainly produces siloxane as well as a number of downstream silicone products such as sealant, silicone rubber and silicone fluid. The capacity for siloxane is 190,000 tonnes/year.

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