PRA June-July 2012 Issue

Page 1

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

業界 新 聞










In this issue 16


Volume 27, No 191

publlshed slnce 1985

IMA 3 A S l A’ S L E A D l N G m aga z l ne f o r the plastlcs and rubber lndustry

Features 焦 點 內 容 16 US Technology

Publisher Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 Email:

At the Chinaplas exhibition in April, US companies were highlighting product developments and investments

Executive Editor Tej Fernandez Tel: +60 3 4260 4575 Email:

19 Country Focus

Staff Writer Lyn Cacha Email:

Even with a slower GDP growth, China is still a draw factor for European firms. This was evident at the Chinaplas show where new technology was showcased

26 Infrastructure Long term growth in the plastic pipe market underlines a shift in balance towards the emerging markets; meanwhile, new plastics are seeping into piping technology

30 Recycling In a move to unclog landfills, waste plastics are now heading to resource recovery facilities to be converted to fuel

Editorial/Production Coordinator Angelica Buan Email: Chinese Editor Koh Bee Ling Circulation Abril Castro Email: Admin & Finance Manager Tean Arul Email: Singapore Office Contact: Anthony Chan Tel: +65 63457368 Email:


ISSN 1360-1245

Regulars 概 要 4 Industry News 8 Materials News 10 業界新聞

Supplements 增 刊 Reducing energy consumption in processing operations is a challenge taken up by injection moulding machine makers British firm Synthomer is stretching its operations in Asia as it moors its first XSBR facility in Malaysia

On the Cover PRA takes a broader look at sustainable packaging with its second Green Packaging Conference to be held on 15 June in Bangkok, Thailand

MICA (P) 134/08/2011 KDN PPS 1700/12/2012 (028142) Printer KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd PRA 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. © 2012 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.

PRA is a member of ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation)



Industry News

M&A activity increases


anadian firm Nova Chemicals, which is selling its expandable PS and Arcelbrand styrenic copolymer businesses to building products maker PFB International, in exchange for an undisclosed equity stake in the firm, has reaffirmed that the sale does not include its UPES additive resin unit. The PE/PS blend will become part of Nova’s PE business unit. Listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, PFB has two subsidiaries: Plasti-Fab and PFB America. The group is vertically integrated in manufacturing EPS insulating building products. Last year, PFB posted sales of US$89.2 million, an increase of 25% while Nova, a wholly owned subsidiary of International Petroleum Investment Company of UAE, had sales of US$5.2 billion. In other news, German chemicals firm BASF, in line with its strategy to strengthen its position in emerging countries, has acquired a PA6 resin and compounding plant from Brazilian Mazzaferro Group. The plant has a polymerisation capacity of 20,000 tonnes/year and 100 employees. Mazzaferro’s monofilaments, fishing equipment and household products businesses are not part of the transaction and will continue their operations at the Diadema and São Paulo production sites. BASF will integrate the acquired business into its existing engineering plastics and polyamide polymer business.



Meanwhile in Europe, Ineos Olefins & Polymers is considering the future of its HDPE businesses at Rosignano, Italy, and Sarralbe, France, including a divestment to interested third parties. The decision follows a strategy review of operations. The units have been a part of Ineos since the company acquired the Innovene business from BP. However, the firm plans to focus on assets that are highly integrated, both upstream and downstream, and the two plants do not fit in with this policy. The company says this announcement has been made at a very early stage in the evaluation process to enable discussions to take place with employees, works councils and interested third parties. Ineos also says it will only divest the sites if it is in the interest of its business and the long term future of the sites. Dutch firm DSM is purchasing Kensey Nash, a US based biomedical company focusing on regenerative medicine utilising its proprietary collagen and synthetic polymer technology. It manufactures and sells medical device parts in cardiology, orthopedic, sports medicine, spinal and general surgery. The company has 325 employees and expects US$100 million sales in its fiscal year ending June 2013, with EBITDA margins above 30%. The purchase of Kensey Nash will strengthen and complement DSM Biomedical’s business,

which is one of three emerging business areas of DSM with which the firm hopes to realise EUR1 billion in sales by 2020. The acquisition will also strengthen DSM Biomedical’s existing position in the market for bio-passive (medical coatings and polymers) and the emerging market for bio-active (resorbable polymers and drug delivery) materials. In addition, DSM’s customer base in Europe and Asia will offer attractive growth opportunities for Kensey Nash’s product portfolio. Earlier this year, DSM established a joint venture for cellulosic bio-ethanol with POET in its other growth platform, DSM Bio-based Products & Services. German firm Evonik Industries has concluded the sale of its colourants business to US private equity firm Arsenal Capital Partners. By mutual agreement the financial terms are not being disclosed. The colourants business develops and markets colourants under the Colortrend brand name for decorative applications in the architectural sector. Furthermore, ChromaChem products are used in the maintenance, marine and wood coatings sectors. Evonik generated sales of about EUR130 million from the business in 2011 and has sites in the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia, China, Malaysia, and the Netherlands Japanese firm Mitsui Chemicals’s resin/compounding joint venture, Prime Polymer, has acquired a 70% stake in Brazilian compounder Prodúmaster

Industria e Comércio for an undisclosed price. Based in São Paulo, the firm operates a total of 55,000 tonnes of PP compounding capacity at sites in São Paulo and Camaçari, making it the third largest compounder in the country. Prime Polymer is also expanding its PP compounding capacity to more than 60,000 tonnes at existing sites in the US, Mexico and China, where it will add about 9,000 tonnecapacity by the end of 2013. Arkema Coating Resins has sold its US-based subsidiary, Peninsula Polymers business, a distributor of coatings raw materials, to an investment group led by the current management team. Peninsula was acquired by Arkema in 2011 as part of the purchase of the coating resins business of Cook Composites and Polymers. The distributor will continue to represent certain Arkema coating resins lines in North America. With effect from January 2012, German machine maker Coperion’s Italian subsidiary has acquired a majority holding in Weicom that specialises in weighing, packaging and palletising technology and supplies to plastics compounders, food processors and minerals industry. Through this latest acquisition, Coperion says it has strengthened its competence as a system supplier to the plastics industry. Weicom’s portfolio completes Coperion’s process and value creation chain for the industry.

Industry News

Sabic to upgrade Dutch site


abic will invest EUR135 million in upgrading its production site in Geleen, the Netherlands, “to ensure a safer, more competitive and more energy efficient cracker that is better for the environment.” The focus is on the Naphtha Olefins4 cracker. As well as the upgrading project, the investment will be used to launch more than 20 additional improvement

projects and a turnaround scheduled for September 2013. Built in the 1970s, the cracker will be modernised according to the latest technologies so that it can continue to compete with “younger” plants. The goal of the project is also to reduce the cracker’s energy consumption by 8% and allow for a production increase of 2%

Asia leads in PET demand


S intelligence firm GBI Research says that in 2010 a significant demand for PET came from Asia Pacific, which accounted for 40.6% of global demand. This is expected to increase to 47.8% by 2020 with China in the lead. The country accounted for almost half of Asia Pacific’s import volumes in 2010. Since 2000, global PET demand has grown by 6.9% to reach 12 million tonnes in 2010 and demand is expected to reach 23 million tonnes by 2020. The announcement of anti-dumping duties on imports from other regions, alongside significant capacity additions, means that Brazil and Russia’s PET markets are also expected to expand towards 2020. Meanwhile, PETbased flexible packaging has grown 7% during last decade due to applications in the FMCG and food sectors. Plus, it will continue to



grow in importance as major retail chains demand greater product protection and longer shelf-life for various products. Carbonated soft drinks accounted for 31.5% in the demand for PET in 2010, while the food and beer sectors accounted for 22.4% and 11.4%, respectively. PET packaging is expected to increase its share in the packaging sector towards 2020 due to better gas barriers and UV light protection, which extends the shelf-life of products while new hot-filling processes are creating new opportunities for PET packaging for pasta and sauces. Last year, beer distilleries also adopted PET bottles. This is expected to continue towards 2020 due to advantages in product quality, transport and bar regulations concerning the use of glass in outdoor areas.

Officials kick off the upgrading work on the Olefins 4 cracker

News In Brief Evonik’s sheets to be made in Africa German firm Evonik Industries has established a 51:49 joint venture with the South African plastics processor Ampaglas Plastics Group to extrude its Plexiglas sheet products for sale in Africa. The focus lies on the building and architecture market segments, the designoriented lighting technologies segment and furniture, shopfitting, and exhibition booth construction. Evonik says the raw materials will come from its production sites for moulding compounds in Germany, China and the US. India to use more plastics Against the backdrop of a growth rate of 14%, India’s plastics industry is expected to grow from the current value of US$25 billion to US$30 billion by 2015, says a new report from UK-based corporate

finance firm Catalyst Corporate Finance. With an average consumption of 5 kg/capita, compared to the world average of 28 kg/capita, there is still room for growth. But by the end of this year, the country’s consumption of 12.5 million tonnes of plastics/year will make it the third largest consumer in the world after the US (39 million tonnes/year) and China (37.5 million tonnes/ year). Chinese PPS maker in tie-up with DSM Polyphenylene sulphide (PPS) resin maker China Lumena New Materials and DSM Engineering Plastics will jointly market several grades of engineering plastics and develop alloys of PPS and PAs. They will also further explore the marketing and sale of DSM’s Stanyl PA in China and Lumena’s Haton PPS outside China. Public-listed Lumena says it is the world’s largest maker of PPS resin by production

Industry News capacity. PPS is one of the materials singled out for development and support in China’s 12th five-year plan by 2015. In line with the 20% growth expected for PPS in China, Lumena is expanding capacity by adding on 25,000 tonnes by 2013. BMS goes into wind energy Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) is setting up a development centre for wind energy at its site in Otterup, Denmark, to spearhead and coordinate the global development activities for advanced materials used in wind energy applications. The centre will bundle capabilities from BMS’s entire portfolio of PUs, PCs, coatings, adhesives and specialities to help cut the cost of generating energy from wind turbines. RTP expands in Germany US compounder RTP is expanding its German facility, doubling the footprint to 9,700 sq m to meet the growing demand in Europe. In addition to relocating a compounding line from Swiss firm Clariant’s site in Ahrensburg, Germany, that was included in the recent conductive compounds acquisition, RTP will be installing additional pultrusion lines for manufacturing long fibre composites along with another compounding line. With the additional equipment, its capacity will increase by 8 million kg/year. More plasticisers from Eastman US firm Eastman Chemical has completed

the retrofit and start-up of its non-phthalate plasticiser facility in Texas, which it purchased from Sterling Chemicals last year. Primarily producing 168 nonphthalate plasticiser, the facility’s capacity has been upped by 60%. Further capacity increases are possible with minimal investment at the Texas site as demand for nonphthalate plasticisers continues to grow, says the firm. EDI expands in China US extrusion die maker EDI is opening a 5,000 sq m facility in August to substantially expand its product and service offerings to customers in China. It will replace the earlier headquarters, which was a 1,800 sq m facility also located in Shanghai, and will include significantly greater production capacity and an expanded technical staff. The locallybuilt dies will range from basic systems to dies with valueadded features such as automatic profile control while more complex or high-end systems will continue to be designed and manufactured in the US. Additional capacity to be installed at the new facility will include high-speed machining systems and a climatecontrolled precision grinding operation. The firm will also expand its staff to 50 people by the first quarter of 2013. Besides dies, the new facility will supply feedblocks and ancillary equipment.



GREEN Materials News

Pace for green materials picking up Global output capacity of biobased plastics could reach 2.3 million tonnes and 3.45 million tonnes in 2013 and 2020, respectively. Biobased plastics could substitute 90% of all oil-based plastics but due to higher production costs and restricted output capacity, it may take years for this to happen, according to a study commissioned by the European Bioplastics (EP) and the European Polysaccharide Network of Excellence (EPNOE). Even with this, more research is being conducted at a faster pace to introduce alternatives to oil-based plastics. Turning biomass and biowaste into plastics Instead of petroleum, biomass can now be used to make plastic bottles, according to a team of engineers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Delaware in the US. The researchers are part of the Catalysis Centre for Energy Innovation that focuses on utilising sugars for the production of renewable polymers including PET. The discovery focuses on the production of p-xylene or paraxylene, which involves converting lignocellulosic biomass such as trees or grasses to sugars like glucose. Some oxygen is then removed from the sugar to produce a new molecule called dimethylfuran. The final step includes the addition of dehydrated ethanol, which results in pxylene. A key to the success of the new process is using a catalyst specifically designed to promote the p-xylene reaction over other less desirable reactions. The catalyst and chemical reactor were developed specifically to combine two molecules together. At present, p-xylene can be directly blended into existing PET processes for production of plastic products. Other methods of producing renewable pxylene are either expensive or inefficient due to low yields. Another researcher, Jean-Paul Meijnen, has found that transforming biowaste into bioplastics can be made possible and cheaper. He has developed an environment-friendly method that involves training bacteria (Pseudomonas putida

A Dutch researcher has trained bacteria to convert sugars in biowastes into bioplastics



S12) to convert glucose in the food waste into bioplastics. At first, the bacteria could only convert glucose. It could not digest the other two sugar contents in the biowaste. Then Meijnen modified the bacteria by injecting two enzymes from the E-Coli bacteria into its body. This modification boosted the bacteria’s ability to crack down even xylose and arabinose, thus enabling the complete use of the biowastes. The process took three months and the researcher observed that the bacteria could quickly digest all the xylose present in the medium and also digest arabinose, making it capable of dealing with the three principal sugars in biowaste. Meanwhile, biotechnology developer Avantium says its PEF material will become the next-generation biobased polyester since it is designed to become a dropin replacement for PET. PEF is made with Avantium’s YXY technology, a chemical-catalytic method to convert nonfood based carbohydrates produced from plants, grains, energy crops, lignocellulosic matter, waste streams, waste paper or agricultural residues, into a wide variety of biobased polymers. Elsewhere, committed to lessening its carbon footprint, beverage maker Coca-Cola says it will produce more of its bottles from plant-based materials and use less secondary packaging. By 2020, it forecasts that all PET bottles will contain a combination of plant-based material and recycled PET. The company is also attempting to remove the cardboard trays from cases of small PET bottles, which is said to save 4,481 tonnes of corrugated cardboard/year or 14% of the total used by Coca-Cola. Investigating bioplastics credentials There are no sustainable biobased plastics available due to pesticide use, according to a new study that examines the sustainable credentials of biobased plastics. However, this could change with further technological development, according to the authors of a paper titled “Sustainability of bio-based plastics: general comparative analysis and recommendations for improvement.” The researchers measure the evidence for the sustainability of biobased plastics according to the materials’ environmental, health and safety impacts throughout their life cycle.

GREEN Materials News Plastics made from genetically modified food and hazardous pesticides to cultivate the feedstock (for example, corn and soy), and hazardous chemicals during production and processing, as well as harmful additives or untested materials for which health effects are not well known, were evaluated. According to the authors, although in some aspects biobased plastics are more sustainable than traditional plastics, the analysis identified several environmental and occupational health and safety hazards in the production. The biobased plastics that are healthy and safe to use include PHA, PLA and starch. But these also have some potential hazards, for example, production of PHA may expose workers to chemicals that are possible carcinogens; and PLA production uses a tin-based chemical that can be dangerous to the hormonal system. Combination of efforts US firm Lubrizol will combine its bioresins with those made by Merquinsa, a Spanish TPU maker that it acquired in 2011. With this combination, the renewable content is expected to range from 20% to 90% and can be used in the recreation, electronics and transportation industries. Broadening its application reach, the company has also set its eyes on the medical and health care applications with the launch of its new hydrophobic grade of Tecothane-brand soft TPU. The material offers strong chemical resistance. New pre-coloured grades of Isoplast TPU are also being aimed at the medical market, in white colour for non-implantable applications. Biodegradable planting tools Bioresin maker has worked with Ball Holticultural and Floral Plant Growers to introduce the Mirelbased biodegradable Soilwrap plant containers in the US. The bottomless plant container, made from Mirel biopolymer, provides multiple disposal options, making it sustainable. Aside from promoting fast plant growth, the product biodegrades naturally in soil, making it food for earth microbes. The company says Soilwrap is an alternative to petroleum-based plastics that enables home gardeners to eliminate waste and reduce planting Metabolix’s Mirel resin is used and clean-up time by 30%. Mirel is completely in this planter biodegradable in natural soil and marine environments, but delivers the same performance characteristics as many petroleum-based plastics, including printability and heat resistance, says Metabolix. Netherlands-based Natural Plastics has developed a new tree support system that could eradicate the wasteful practice of felling existing trees in order to plant new ones. The company uses an underground set of bioplastic anchors and ropes, replacing the need for a wooden support stake. It is an inherently more sustainable solution; the components are fully biodegradable and have been engineered to break down after five years when the maturing trees no longer need support. In addition, when the bio-polymers break down they release nutrients into the soil. Aside from being environmentally sustainable, the bioplastic system, which uses Biome Plastic’s Cradonyl bioresin, is also a cost-saving solution for landowners, forestry organisations and councils. The system doesn’t need adjusting or removing as the tree matures and the lack of aftercare significantly reduces maintenance costs. Thousands of stake-less trees have already been planted across Holland, Denmark, Germany, France and Norway using this system. Cradonyl, a corn-based resin, is used by Natural Plastics for its Keeper System

新聞 業 界

在新的機器, GearX 鎖定系統 裝置以節省空間 方式排列在移動 模具固定壓板的 後面

俄羅斯 蒲公英正 朝向大規 模橡膠生 產目標 前進






新聞 業 界



US Technology

All eyes on China Despite China’s slow GDP growth this first quarter, US-based players in the chemicals industry remain fearless of the shrinking demand as they continue to leverage new and existing solutions to further expand their market footprint. Two words were prominent during this year’s Chinaplas exhibition: investments and product developments, with higher demand of goods anticipated over the medium to longterm owing to strong consumer spending and urbanisation in China, says Lyn Cacha in this report.

In nonwovens, ExxonMobil’s Vistamaxx elastomers are inspiring breakthroughs





he general sentiment in the material suppliers and processing community is to do more with less, especially with downgauging, wherein the amount of material in a packaging is reduced while still maintaining or even improving the properties. Improved plastics offer tremendous downgauging opportunities, emphasised Haridass Kalidas, PE AP Market Development Manager of ExxonMobil Chemical. According to Kalidas, consumers are demanding more sustainable film products made from fewer resources. And at the same time, they are not inclined to accept any loss in performance of the packaging material, forcing processors to come up with material solutions to solve these requirements. To showcase its Exceed and Enable metallocene polyethylene (mPE) resins, the company was running the resins on machines in various halls. A three-layer 70 micron collation shrink packaging film using Enable mPE resin was shown at Sun Centre’s booth; a three-layer 125-micron film for heavy duty sacks using Exceed and Enable mPE resins was shown at HanKing’s booth; three-layer 50-micron packaging film using an Enable mPE/C4 LLDPE resin blend was processed at Hubei Light Industry’s booth and three-layer solution using Vistamaxx-based filler masterbatch for HDPE film for shopping and garbage bags at HuaShan’s booth. “The resins have improved processability for our customers, in terms of optics and colour. More importantly, processors are able to downgauge – to make films thinner using less materials and using less energy to make the same products with much better properties,” added Kalidas. For nonwovens, the firm’s Vistamaxx propylene-based elastomers are inspiring breakthroughs while enhancing performance at reduced costs. “Aside from the ability to downgauge, the other unique attribute that Vistamaxx brings is softness. You feel the film, it is PP-based but it has the softness and elasticity that is important in films. For instance, when making diapers, you want it to be soft with no noise,” said Anthony Soo, Vistamaxx Films Global Business Development Manager. In terms of expansions, ExxonMobil is bolstering its petrochemical operations in Asia, doubling its integrated petrochemical complex in Singapore by a capacity of 3.6 million tonnes and streamlining processes at its Chinese facility in Fujian. In Singapore, it is adding on 1 million tonnes of ethylene; 1.3 million tonnes of PE; 500,000 tonnes of PP; 300,000 tonnes of speciality elastomers; 340,000 tonnes of benzene and 125,000 tonnes of oxo-alcohol. In Fujian, it is debottlenecking the steam cracker and its derivative units. It is also planning to enhance processing of light feedstocks to help strengthen its integrated PE position and expand capability to meet global demand growth. Meanwhile, its fully operational Shanghai Technology Centre (STC) occupies 27,000 sq m and is equipped with more than 200 types of equipment as well as commercial and pilot scale lines. Resin design and testing emphasised With the many available solutions that enable downgauging, Dow Chemicals says that resin design and consumer testing are essential to help the processor determine which materials will work best for different applications. According to Dow, it has done a study and discovered that customers do notice the changes, such as feel and thickness, and that material processors are placed in a difficult spot wherein they need to anticipate brand owner, retailer and consumer expectations. When downgauging, Dow recommends that processors should consider choosing the right resin design; utilising a high bending modulus and doing minor (i.e., 5%) gauge reduction. In the end, the processor must ensure that the consumer packaging company and consumers cannot tell the difference made to render a more sustainable package.

US Technology Dow was promoting its Elite Advanced Technology PE resins that are said to deliver toughness in film structures, while at the same time rendering thinner films. The company has also developed a tool that calculates and uses other application-specific data, such as the need for high seal strength, optics or toughness – to determine the arrangement of the materials and layers. Aside from the packaging industry, lightweighting in the transportation segment is another focus for Dow. The replacement of metal with plastics helps the car consume less energy; and downsizing with plastic parts getting thinner and lighter with new technologies and materials can help to maintain or enhance mechanical properties. Catering to the growing automotive market China’s automotive sales jumped 24.5% to 1.57 million units in February plus automotive makers that rely heavily on the Chinese market posted strong monthly sales despite higher petrol prices and lower spending on discounts and promotions. In view of this, companies like Sabic Innovative Plastics are increasing their investments in China, especially in engineering plastics. In a joint venture with Sinopec, the firm is building a 260,000-tonne/ year PC compounding plant in Tianjin. The US$1.7 billion facility is expected to come on stream in 2015. “Growth for PC in China is coming where customers are going so with the government’s Go West policy, we are committed to extending our footprint to serve the customer base,” said Alan Leung, Vice-President of Innovative Plastics Asia Pacific. He also noted that China produced only 220,000 tonnes of PC in 2010, importing most of the 1.13 million tonnes consumed in the country. The firm is also setting up an engineering thermoplastics compounding plant in Chongqing, which is already established as an important industrial hub for global computer, consumer electronics and automotive manufacturers.

The plant will come on stream next year. Furthermore, last year it invested in new production lines at both its Shanghai and Nansha facilities that produce PC resins and films. When asked about the growth, he said, “The market picked up after the rebound started in the second half of 2009 and we are now 3-6 months ahead of recovery.”

Other investments are focused on R&D, with a technical centre that is ongoing. “A new feature of this centre includes the Automotive Innovation hub to drive next-generation materials solutions,” said Leung. The US$100 million technical centre will focus on advanced engineering plastics materials that can be used in a broad array of industries.

US Technology “The main market focus for us is the consumer electronics, appliances, automotive and infrastructure-related sectors,” said Leung. With this in mind, the firm introduced a CFR (clear flame retardant) copolymer for consumer electronics and appliances. The new CFR caters to 1.5 mm notebook Alan Leung, computers and 0.8-1.2 mm tablet covers. says that China’s It complies with the UL94 V-0 standard electronics, down to 1 mm and the UL94 5VA standard automotive, at 3 mm. construction Additional applications include and new energy electrical transparent housing, covers on sectors are boosting demand refrigerators and other appliances and for PC stationary electrical parts like display panel, buttons, switches and decoration parts. Meanwhile, the firm introduced three new Lexan LUX resin grades for light guides and lenses, said to retain more than 98% of initial light transmission when exposed to a temperature of 130°C for more than 5,000 hours. At more typical heat exposure in the range of 90-110°C, the transmission retained is higher. They also provide improved light transmission (10 units better, compared to competitive products) after heat ageing at low wavelengths typical of LED systems. Speeding up application developments Another company that has its eye on R&D is DuPont Performance Polymers. Since its establishment in 2005, DuPont’s China R&D centre has played an important role. As the fifth (others are South Korea, India, Taiwan and Thailand) R&D centre outside the US, it provides technical support to most market segments, said James Hay, Regional Director for Performance Polymers in Asia Pacific. In view of the growing demand, the facility will be doubled by next year, he added. “We notice three megatrends of food, energy and protection emerging, with energy being the largest contributor to growth,” said Hay adding that this is the direction the firm is heading in the automotive sector. With the automotive market accounting for half of its business in China, DuPont has also placed importance on this sector and last year it opened a dedicated automotive centre. “In line with the government’s five-year plan to reduce CO2 in China, we see the trend for turbocharged and smaller engines growing,” he said, adding that further work is being done with automotive makers to achieve this. In terms of products, Hay says the firm’s Zytel nylons are the fastest growing in China. Expecting demand to increase, DuPont is increasing capacity for its nylons. Last year, the company announced plans of building a Zytel HTN polymerisation facility at its Sakra site in Singapore. This complements capacity expansions at the Shenzhen site in China for Zytel HTN and Zytel nylon. James Hay says that the firm is pleased with the double-digit growth rate for its nylons, especially in China, Taiwan and Japan




“DuPont is the only nylon producer with polymerisation facilities in all the regions of the world. This focused reliability allows for an end-to-end global supply chain, thereby improving lead time for manufacturers,” said Hay. The expansion of the Singapore Zytel HTN facility to 20,000 tonnes/year will be completed by 2014, with the capacity targeted at the Southeast Asian and Chinese markets. “Outside the automotive sector, Zytel HTN has seen growth in water pumps, housings and hand held devices because of its higher temperature properties,” said Hay. At the Chinaplas, the company showcased an example of inclusive innovation in the Chinese automotive industry, collaborating with local car maker Chery to develop renewable materials and lightweight components to enhance energy efficiency. Meanwhile, in consumer electronics, Zytel HTN has been adopted by Lenovo for several of its laptop models, which helped the manufacturer to meet the 3C industry trends, increase the consumer affordability and further raise the bar of product performance. Asian investment to cater to global demand Improving patient safety is a major concern for most material suppliers for the medical industry. Since PVC and phthalates are conceived as unsafe when in human contact, Kraton Performance Polymers was promoting its latest styrenic block copolymers (SBCs) as alternatives. The products, which have the ability to be sterilised and are US FDA and Pharmacopeia approved, are targeted at applications in medical, wire and cable, faux leather and automotive interior slush moulded soft skins. Holger Jung, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing also shared the firm’s plans of doubling its Cariflex latex Holger Jung manufacturing capacity by mid-2013. says revenue The expansion will take place in two generated from phases, each adding about 1.5 million innovationtonnes. based sales Furthermore, Jung said the firm reached 14% is strengthening its presence in Asia globally last through the establishment of a new year, with China to surpass 30% innovation centre in Shanghai. “The 32,000 sq ft facility will be three times larger than the previous one and staffed with technical experts.” He also added, “The facility will be designed to support our SBCs, Cariflex IR and IR latex with capabilities such as wet chemistry, flame testing and rubber processing.” Other investments in Asia include a 50:50 joint venture with Taiwanese firm Formosa Petrochemical to set up a 30-kilotonne hydrogenated styrenic block copolymer (HSBC) plant in Mailiao, Taiwan, by 2014. According to Jung, once the facility is completed it will provide significant additional supply capability. “It will also allow us to provide a platform to launch a series of new innovative polymers, to serve the impressive growth plans of our Asian and global customers,” he said.


Country Focus

Chinese show’s star attractions At the Chinaplas show held in April in Shanghai, while some firms announced expansions others introduced the latest technology to wow visitors to the show that had 109,858 visitors, a 16.7% increase over last year’s 94,084. Overseas visitors comprised 28,110, a 47.4% increase from last year’s 19,069. Even with the 210,000 sq m space, organiser Adsale Exhibition said it was unable to accommodate all the potential exhibitors. About half the 2,700 exhibitors were foreign companies, with over 500 making their debut, hence the Thai and Korean pavilions.

European firms commit to expansions With DSM Engineering Plastics moving its headquarters to Singapore by this year, the firm is committed to an Asian investment plan of US$1 billion by 2015. This includes the R&D centre in Shanghai. Opened last year, it is designed to undertake material research in polymer processing, flame retardance and mechanical properties. DSM has also set up an Automotive Development Centre in Shanghai to focus on applications and simulate environmental influences, such as the effects of fluids on materials, metal replacement by plastics and system integration. Furthermore, DSM is planning to set up a materials and applications testing centre in Japan by 2013 and another centre in India, where it has a compounding site for its PA, PBT and PET products in Pune. In addition, parent company DSM is making further investments in its Kaohsiung polymerisation facility in Taiwan, which will be completed this year. In China, it is doubling its caprolactam capacity at its Nanjing and Jiangyin facilities by 2014. As for Solvay Specialty Polymers and Rhodia Engineering Plastics, the recently merged firms are combining their R&D facilities in Shanghai under one roof at French firm Rhodia’s site in Xinzhuang. A new EUR4 million building will be added on as well, with polymer formulation and processing and an injection moulding facility for customer trials. Other laboratories will focus on chemical formulation, mechanical measurements, ageing and flame retardancy and plastic parts simulation and design. Meanwhile, a new EUR21 million compounding plant is to come onstream at the Changshu site in summer 2012, months ahead of schedule, say the firms. It will serve the fast growing Chinese markets of electrical & electronics, wire & cable, automotive, consumer and industrial applications. The facility will be adaptable for future expansion for both capacity and other high performance engineering and fluorinated polymers. Belgium-headquartered Solvay is also building a EUR120 million production plant for fluorinated polymers in Changshu, to be operational early 2014. It will significantly boost Solvay’s global production capacity and meet the growing demand for the polymers in Asia for the automotive, photovoltaic (PV), Li-ion batteries, membranes for water purification and oil & gas applications. Solvay acquired Rhodia for US$4.8 billion in 2011 to create one of the ten largest chemical companies in the world. In China, the firms currently have around 3,000 employees and operate 15 sites. Meanwhile, Germany-based Evonik Industries is increasing production capacity for its biobased Vestamid Terra polymers, with an additional compounding facility to start up in Shanghai this year. It also said that measures for capacity expansion in the area of polymerisation are also in the works with commissioning scheduled in 2013. Last year, the company increased capacity for PEEK and PMMA moulding compounds at its facilities in Changchun. It also doubled capacity for acrylic moulding compounds in Shanghai to 40,000 tonnes and this year, is scheduled to expand PMMA capacity in Taiwan to 85,000 tonnes. Another firm that is considering expanding its compounding capacity in China is Austrian/Middle East joint venture firm Borouge. CEO Wim Roels said the firm has invested US$60 million in its Shanghai plant to increase capacity from 50,000 to 80,000 tonnes/year, accounting for about a third of the capacity from Abu Dhabi.




Country Focus – Chinaplas 2012 review

Borouge CEO Wim Roels says apart from China, the firm expects further opportunities from Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia and Vietnam

The Singapore-based firm had invested US$5 billion to increase production of its raw materials in Abu Dhabi to keep up with increasing demand in Asia. Its current capacity is 700,000 tonnes/year of polyolefins and by 2014 it will have a capacity of 2.5 million tonnes/year arising from the Borouge 3 project. Most of the PP compounding output in China is directed to the automotive market in the country. Moreover, it has continued diversifying its activities in the country, setting up four offices here. “Our strategy is to be close to our customers,” said Roels, adding that Borouge is also evaluating the best way to develop its business further west in provinces like Sichuan. Apart from the automotive market, Borouge is also broadening its product offerings to include the wire & cable and film moulding sectors in the country. Its resins are used in the insulation for high power transmission lines and the firm is also undertaking research at its Shanghai facility to develop new uses in cables and pipes. New products to provide a boost The Asian markets are swaying towards eco-friendly products and it is for this reason that Swiss firm Clariant was promoting its Licocare plant-based lubricant for PVC processing. ‘The market welcomes it but only small volumes are sold due to the supply issue,”




said Eng Heng Khoo, from the Additives business unit, Clariant Singapore. Another new product, Exolit EP150/200 reactive-type flame retardant, is targeted at epoxybased laminates for printed circuit boards. “This is a nice market. The EP is more effective and has higher phosphorous content than Dopo flame retardants,” said Eng, adding that the Exolit EP is at the pilot stage. When asked about growth, Eng said, “The first quarter was good for our additives business, with growth from China. We expect it to get better in the second half of the year.” Having recently inaugurated a pigment facility in Tianjin, Clariant was also featuring a range of lowhalogen colours for electrical and electronic applications, consumer goods and toys. The US$19 million facility, a joint venture between Clariant and Tianjin Bohai Chemical Industry, spans an area of 16,000 sq m to house 16 lines, a warehouse and laboratories. In addition to a line of chemical foaming agents, it also introduced its compostable range of Renol pigments and Cesa additives. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian company National Petrochemical Industrial (NATPET) showcased two of its Teldene PP random copolymers, both containing US firm Milliken’s Millad NX 8000 latest-generation clarifying agent. They are aimed principally at markets for thinwall injection moulded food and non-food containers. Benefits of R25MLT and R40MLT, with melt flow rates

NATPET sees strong potential for its PP grades to open up new business opportunities, especially in China and Turkey, for thinwall containers. The firm is already considering extending its range of Teldene PP random copolymer grades, with higher flow properties

of 25 and 40 g/10 minute, include energy and cost savings (value for price) by processing the grade at lower temperatures and cycle times than by similar products in the market. Both are reactor grades, produced using LyondellBasell’s Spheripol technology that allows for morphologically uniform resins. New solutions to make roads safer and greener Creating environmentally responsible cars is the theme for Germany-based speciality chemicals firm Lanxess this year and it explained how its hightech plastics can help green the automotive sector. “Today’s green mobility trend demands for lighter and more fuel efficient cars and Lanxess is meeting this demand, particularly with the Durethan Christof Krogmann, Lanxess’s VicePresident of Semi-Crystalline Products, says the firm is responding to the growth of EVs with its products

polyamides and Pocan polyesters,” stated Christof Krogmann, Vice President, Semi-Crystalline Products Business Unit in Asia Pacific. Responding to the trend towards turbocharged engines, the company’s polyamide technology can withstand higher temperatures given off by these engines. “They need plastics that are more heatresistant. Our pseudoplastic polyamide grades can withstand high temperatures suited to engineair management systems. The heat stabilised Durethan AKV325 can be used to blow mould charge-air tubes,” added Krogmann. While most perceive mobility as something inclusive for transportation vehicles, another German firm Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) stretches it a bit further as it explains how its polycarbonate (PC) could seep into a sector that is promising growing dividends.

Country Focus – Chinaplas 2012 review “We’re starting on charging stations that facilitate electric vehicles (EVs) as well as enabling mobile phones and other gadgets to become smaller and lighter, making people more mobile,” said Michael Koenig, Head of the Polycarbonates business unit in APAC. In the next three years, around 1.4 million EVs are likely to be on the road in Asia and by 2020 one in ten vehicles is expected to run on electricity, says Pike Research. Leading in this development is China that has installed 243 charging stations nationwide. This, however, is far from enough to keep the EV population in the country charged-up. “In addition to safety concerns, charging stations should be affordable to users and profitable to investors. The cost of building EV infrastructure has been a hurdle for the industry. If we can make the cost lower, growth in the EV market will continue,” explained Rainer Rettig, Senior Vice President-Asia Pacific. The EV chargers made from BMS’s PCs are said to be unbreakable, even at extreme temperatures as low as -40°C, resistant to tampering and chemical proof. When charging high electric currents, the PCs are safe, complying with UL-0 and 5VA flame retardant rates. Machine makers in an upbeat mood Despite predictions of a cooling economy in China, many equipment manufacturing companies in the industry are still considering it as their surest growth bet. Austrian extrusion machine maker Battenfeld-Cincinnati (Foshan) Extrusion Systems is among the suppliers that have reported good performances in China. The firm’s sales in China shot up from US$6.8 million in 2010 to US$43.6 million in 2011. According to newly-appointed General Manager Mark Feng, the company received large orders last year that greatly contributed to the sales increase. Feng expects another 10% sales increase in 2012, bolstered by updating of existing pipelines for both residential and municipal projects in Shandong,




Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces as well as Sichuan and Chongqing. He expects more demand for multilayer co-extrusion pipes, large-diameter PE and PVC pipes, as well as wood-plastics composite extrusion machines. Currently, the company has a facility in Foshan that occupies a production area of 130,000 sq ft with a workforce of 180. The company’s three major end markets include infrastructure, building construction and renovations. In line with this, the company unveiled the swarfless PVC profile cutter MTV125E, the Argos 93 twin-screw extruder and the Talos 60 single-screw for pipe profile and cable extrusion. According to Feng, to strengthen competitiveness, the firm decided to integrate the core technologies to help address customer needs to cut on energy cost. For instance, the PVC profile cutter uses a Siemens AC motor, said to ensure a costeffective operation by balancing energy. It also comes with explosion protection to meet safety standards. The Argos extruder, meanwhile, offers outputs of up to 350 kg/hour for PVC profiles and up to 500 kg/ hour for PVC pipes. Said Feng, “The extruders have been designed for maximum productivity by enabling processors to use a variety of formulations, including calcium, zinc or tin-stabilised formulations.” With outputs of up to 350 kg/ hour, the Talos 60 takes up a small floor space, has an AC drive and a bi-metallic air-cooled barrel to enable energy savings. In addition, it features a BMC-touch control system with a 15-in TFT VGA colour display. Aside from enabling energy efficiency, high productivity and safety, Feng emphasised that although the machines come with a premium, “they have a convincing price-performance ratio that is backed by global support network for production and service.” Italian auxiliary equipment maker Piovan is also in an upbeat mood, having registered a whopping 100% increase in its business last year, according to Paolo Maguolo, General Manager, Piovan China. To cater to the increase in orders the

Piovan’s Modula dryer features automatic adjustment for energy savings

firm will be doubling the size of its facility. “By this June we will move to a 10,000 sq m facility in Suzhou,” he said. The firm is also increasing its product range that is made in China. “We will start manufacturing chillers, which are now only made in Italy, by the end of this year.” At Chinaplas, Piovan showcased its latest Modula dehumidifier, an automatic trolley-mounted system which, unlike traditional central systems, automatically adjusts and controls all operating parameters for each individual hopper. “Through this it is able to reduce heat quantity to throughput and the amount of air blown into a hopper to save energy by up to 20%.” When asked if the Asian market is ready for a system like this, Paolo said, “The market is not sensitive to energy savings but we see this happening in the future, especially in China.” In the blending field, it showcased the Lybra line of dosing units configured for continuous weight-loss gravimetric (LG) or volumetric (LV) operation. “The distinguishing features are a high level of accuracy, advanced control and a particularly straightforward user interface,” said Paolo. The unit can accommodate up to two independent dosing stations, with each dosing station configured for capacities of up to 170 kg/hour. Piovan also showed for the first time in China its loss-in-weight systems from sister company FDM, which it acquired in 2010. “We have covered PET and injection processes and now our product range, like the blenders of the MDW series and the loss-in-weight blender GDS, covers extrusion processes,” added Paolo.

Country Focus – Chinaplas 2012 review Chinese machine makers expand Chinese blown film machine maker Guangdong Jinming will double the size of its facility in Shantou by August this year, said spokesperson Wendy Ma. The firm went for an IPO late last year and is using the funds it raised from the issuance of 45 million shares (almost RMB400 million) to undertake its expansion. “We moved to our new factory in 2009 but the capacity is still not enough to meet our orders,” said Ma. “We will not only enlarge production but also enhance technology development, to be an international competitive machine manufacturer.” Wendy Ma of Jinming says that contrary to market belief, Chinese blown film line suppliers are able to supply high layer lines. “We might be the first Chinese company to have supplied a nine-layer blown film line to a China-based food packaging maker,” she said, without disclosing the name of the company

The firm employs 400 workers, with 50 focusing on R&D. “We tailor our lines to suit our customers’ needs and this is a big challenge for Jinming,” she said. Claiming to be the largest producer of blown film lines in China, with a small percentage of blow moulding machinery, Ma says Jinming is now focusing on developing cast film lines and aiming to market these next year. “We have made cast film lines before but did not have sufficient resources to focus on this product line. Based on customer response, we will now diversify into cast films lines,” she added, explaining, “We already have a good production advantage with our 25 years experience in the business.” The company sells its machines to a wide global market with Ma pointing out East Europe as “a market with high growth opportunities.”

Gary Chen of Simcheng stands next to the 8.3 m wide BOPP line introduced at Chinaplas

With the packaging market in China expected to grow further it is no surprise that machine makers want a bigger slice of the market. Hence, another Chinese extrusion machine maker Simcheng Plastics Machinery is also expanding its product offering. The CPP/CPE line maker that has been in the business for ten years has now expanded its product range to include EVA and BOPP film lines, which it says will be the first made-in-China products. “We have been making machines for flexible packaging, solar battery encapsulation film lines, automotive glass interlayer film lines and multilayer co-extrusion film lines. Now we want to diversify our product,” said Marketing Manager Gary Chen. The Guangdong-based firm researched the EVA and BOPP film lines for three years before launching these at Chinaplas. “We developed the BOPP line together with a customer, a state-owned firm in Guilin.” said Chen, adding that some parts will be sourced from suppliers like US extrusion die maker EDI and thickness gauge maker NDC Infrared, depending on a customer’s budget. But core elements like the cooling rollers and winding systems will be made in-house. “We have been able to introduce this new technology because of the General Manager Zhang Chunhua’s efforts in leading the R&D,” said Chen. Zhang, who is also an Engineer by profession, designed the EVA and BOPP lines. “Simcheng has a number of patents, including five invention patents in the domestic industry,” said Chen. The firm showed an MDO unit and the 8.3 m wide BOPP line at Chinaplas.

Meanwhile, Simcheng expects to increase its exports to 30% of its ouput this year, focusing on reaching countries like India, Mexico as well as the Middle East and Southeast Asia, said Chen. Established in 1996, extrusion die maker JC Times, which makes flat extrusion dies, co-extrusion feed blocks, metering pumps, filters and related products, is also on an expansion drive. General Manager Sharon Han said, “We are investing in more equipment in our factory. In fact, we have commissioned the largest grinding line in the world that will be installed by this year.” Sharon Han of JC Times says the firm expects to grow into a global supplier through continuous improvements

The firm says its grinding line is an updated programme to cater to new materials and customer requests. “Our polishing technology is of high-precision and has a mirror polishing effect of 0.01 micron. After a large number of experiments, we have been able to find the most suitable polishing abrasives and the polishing particle-size in different polishing application stages, which makes our polishing technique the best,” claimed Han. It only moved into the 66,000 sq m facility in Zhejiang, in 2009, and is already looking at expanding. “We will build a new factory, 5 km from the existing one, in the second half of next year, to cater to the growing demand. We started from a small firm and today have grown to a company that is supplying to global firms.” Han also added that the firm supplies 2,000 dies a year. “We supply to 80% of the high end market in China and our future direction is to improve our products, design and quality.” In line with this, JC Times has a new logo to identify its philosophy, with the colour blue to denote new technology.





New plastics technology seeps into tomorrow’s piping systems Long term growth in the plastic pipe market underlines a shift in balance towards the emerging markets, driven by heavy infrastructure investments and rise in construction activity. New product developments and application areas are expected to further facilitate market growth, says Lyn Cacha in this report.

Borouge supplied its PE100 material for pipes that were used by Wengfu Group to transport corrosive slurry





ver the next five years, the world pipe and fittings market will be worth US$152 billion while the world market for plastic pipes will reach 7.6 billion m, driven largely by heavy infrastructure investments, says Global Industry Analyst (GIA) in its latest report. Furthermore, the increased growth of the market will be driven in particular by the surge in demand for malleable pipe fittings from companies based in the oil and gas, construction, mechanical and automotive engineering, agriculture and irrigation industries, GIA stated. In the long term, the demand will be further boosted by growing economies that will need more pipes to help assist urbanisation and development. Provision of water supply, sanitation and drainage are key components of managing this rapidly changing urban environment and high density plastics play a key role in each of these elements of urban infrastructure. Despite Europe being the best market, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, will be vital in helping to drive demand for the industry. Over the coming ten years, Asia’s cities will grow by some 400 million people, well ahead of the entire population of the US. By 2030, the number of urbanites will have grown by almost 750 million. “Evidently, plenty more bricks, water pipes and shopping malls are needed,” said HSBC economist Frederick Neumann in his research paper. A combination of greater government emphasis on irrigation, strong private sector participation in water supply projects and improved multi-lateral lending for water-related sectors present huge potential in this segment. Delivering fresh water with less environmental footprint Population growth corresponds to an increase in requirement for adequate infrastructure to serve its basic needs. That being said, private manufacturers, government and municipal authorities are investing heavily on pipe systems as vital infrastructure. In densely inhabited localities like Shanghai, China, which has a population of 23 million requiring 11 million cu m of water, the pipe system must always be in good condition so as not to disrupt the delivery of fresh water. The posing challenge is in renovating corroded pipelines under parks and other green areas in the city without having to dig. To help address this demand, Austrian/Middle East joint venture firm Borouge together with pipe maker Jiangyin David Plastics implemented the non-digging technology. Pipe maker Jiangyin David Plastics utilised Borouge’s Borsafe HE3490LS-H PE100 material to produce pipes that have higher crack growth-resistance, among its many other beneficial features, compared to the standard PE (polyethylene) pipes.

Infrastructure Due to the benefit in reducing leakages, PE pipes have long been used to renovate old pipeline networks. Linked to the nondigging technologies, PE pipes provide a lower costing pipeline without disrupting the life of the city or damaging the environment. Borouge also partnered with the Southwest China-based phosphorous mine operator Wengfu Group, to provide a suitable pipe transportation for its waste material and corrosive slurry from the processing plant, while preventing any leakage that might contaminate nearby rivers and groundwater. According to global research and advisory firm Forrester Research, groundwater plays a fundamental but often unappreciated role in the economic and social wellbeing of urban areas. Although there are no comprehensive statistics on the proportion of urban water supply derived from groundwater, it has been estimated that more than 1 billion urban dwellers in Asia and 150 million in Latin America probably depend directly on groundwater. Hence, it is important to maintain groundwater. In the Chinese project, the transportation of the corrosive slurry from the processing unit, which is about 6.4 km to the settlement reservoir, uses 100 to 800 mm-diameter pipes produced by Sichuan Chinaust using Borouge’s BorSafe HE3490LS PE100 material. The low sag properties of the material made it ideal for the production of the relatively thick-wall pipes reducing both the production time and level of scrap material generated. The construction work, which was undertaken by Shenzhen ShengLi Environment, was completed at a total cost of US$95 million. To protect the Zhou River from slurry contamination, an HDPE geo-membrane was used to line the reservoir. This, together with the welded BorSafe PE100 pipelines, reduced the possibility of any leakage of the slurry into the ground water or the nearby river.

As the solids in the slurry settle to the bottom of the reservoir, the water is drawn off, treated and recycled for use again in the processing unit, thereby reducing the “water footprint” of the operation. It has been estimated that the storage capacity of the reservoir would be sufficient to support a 16-year operational lifetime. Testing tools for pipes built to last Riyadh-headquartered materials firm Sabic says it realises the importance of potable water and the need to conserve resources. It has implemented various programmes to help pipe manufacturers come up with solutions that enable water conservation. Among them is a new method that evaluates the slow crack growth resistance of HDPE used to make pressure pipes. As more HDPE solutions come into the market, this method, according to the company, will help processors to benefit more quickly from new developments, in general in HDPE for pipes, by cutting the time taken to bring a new material from the laboratory to the market. Furthermore, Sabic is convinced that the acceptance of its Strain Hardening Test method will accelerate adoption of its latest Vestolen A RELY grades of bimodal HDPE for high-pressure pipes. The Full Notch Creep Test (FNCT) and Notched Pipe Test are old methods that take months, and sometimes years, to prove that new material meets the highly-demanding requirements of a certain pipe system. On top of that, the tests are costly and the reliability is uncertain. In recent years, an increasing number of countries in Europe have begun adopting tougher requirements for pressure pipes, as laid down in the Publicly Accessible Standard (PAS) 1075. This requires higher resistance to slow crack growth (SCG) than is called for in the PE100 specification. Sabic says its method is faster and more cost-efficient than

traditional methods of obtaining data on long-term performance in pipes. In addition, it requires neither a special notched specimen nor detergents. “It is easy to implement in laboratories, is suitable in the development of new grades by researchers and also very valuable as a batch release test for resin suppliers. It is a method that saves time, money and energy,” says Lada Kurelec, Technical Marketing Manager for HDPE at Sabic.

Sabic has introduced a precision strain hardening test method that reduces the time taken to bring the HDPE pressure pipes from the laboratory to the market

The method has also been attested by Netherlands-based Kiwa Technology that found that the test delivers reproducible results. The move to develop a quicker test method comes as a result of the increased use of new trenchless pipe installation methods such as guided boring and horizontal directional drilling. Though these methods have a positive impact on the environment, they pose higher demand on pipe properties, due to potentially higher surface damage that can ultimately lead to prior pipe deterioration. Sabic is involved in the initiative to use the Strain Hardening Method as a standard test method for the pipe industry by test institutes in Europe and around the world.




Cover Feature

Exploring the world of green packaging The valueadding power of packaging to products has taken on a new level. With the emergence of technological advancement that enhances material properties and applications, production of packaging that meets the criteria for environmental safety and consumer demands has become widespread. This report summarises PRA’s second Green Packaging Conference to be held June 15 in Bangkok, Thailand.





ased on a report by Freedonia Group, global demand for green packaging, which includes reusable and degradable packaging as well as packaging with recycled-content, will reach a growth of 5.7% per year to US$212 billion by 2015. The research consultancy firm Pike Research has also projected an optimistic 32% growth for sustainable packaging, accounting for US$140 billion global revenue from the overall packaging total of US$429 billion by 2014. Amidst these uptrend figures, an expert from the research firm said that more innovation efforts must be exerted from various sectors, including industry advocates, manufacturers, end-users and governments. Technology as well as materials sources have remained vital issues why green packaging has not yet acquired the bite to a yet bigger sector. On the other hand, companies that are implementing sustainable packaging are doing so for marketing tactics and to avoid environmental-related regulations.

PRA takes steps in education Last year in November, the first Green Packaging Conference hosted by PRA tackled sustainable packaging in terms of production and the legislative standpoint. Experts from different companies such as Germany-based BASF, Indonesian firm PT Aneka Lestari Kimia, Italian extrusion machine company Macchi and institutions such as the Indonesian Packaging Federation (IPF) gathered to discuss the concept of green packaging and to delineate it from green washing. The concept of green packaging has successfully redefined product brands but it has remained ambiguous. This laxity has hatched the concept of green washing. For packaging to be considered sustainable, experts have laid down criteria such as functionality, cost effectiveness and environment and human safety. Masterbatch specialist Inter Aneka Lestari Kimia, defined concepts that are sometimes used interchangeably such as oxo-degradable versus oxo-biodegradable, the latter being non-degradable per se and only contains 15% recycled materials. Theresia Indrawanti Pudyanto, a plastics specialist and polymers practitioner who emphasised the importance of codification in the industry, pointed out the green packaging terminologies such as biobased, renewable and compostable, which she said vary in definitions and therefore could be misleading. She also said that the colour “green� neither defines nor identifies a plastic material but is used to differentiate the type, make and material composition. Destination Thailand In its second run this year, the Green Packaging Conference, which will be held on June 15 in Bangkok, Thailand, is going to take a more expansive look at sustainable packaging and how it is gaining acceptance in the industry, which used to be reluctant to follow the green trail due to limitations in technology and constraints with cost and supply of feedstock. Thailand is an apt host country for the conference, since it is being groomed to be a bioplastics hub in the Asian region, especially with the recent hive of activity and investments. Resource persons from various speciality firms and key institutions such as PTT PM, BASF, PolyOne and Davis Standard, will present developments in sustainable packaging, highlighting new solutions and processing. Chinnawat Srirojpinyo from PTT MCC Biochem, a joint venture of Thai petrochemical firm PTT and Japan-based Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC) will be exploring the market potential of bio-PBS (polybutylene succinate) in packaging.

Cover Feature The two companies co-invested 7 billion baht on a 50:50 basis in 2011 to set up the world’s first PBS factory. The said plant is being constructed on an 8 ha industrial area in Rayong and is expected to commence operation by 2014. MCC has been producing PBS from petroleum and the new facility will be using sugar as feedstock to produce biobased PBS. The company projects that global demand for PBS would have jumped to 20,000 tonnes/year by 2014 (by the time the new plant starts operating) from the prevailing projection of 12,000 tonnes/year with an annual growth rate of 20%. It has likewise projected a revenue of 5 billion baht/ year at full capacity. A senior researcher from the Thai Packaging Centre will be presenting

an innovative packaging solution, which was undertaken by the Royal Project Foundation to sustain its farm-to-market goals for Thailand’s produce. The Royal Project Foundation was established in 1992 after its predecessor, The Royal Project was created by the King of Thailand in 1969. To boost marketing of the country’s homegrown produce, the foundation has devised film packaging solutions adaptive to produce’s varied shelf-life. German chemicals firm BASF is making a comeback presentation to highlight its 100% biodegradable materials for sustainable packaging applications, the Ecoflex, a biodegradable aliphatic-aromatic copolyester based on starch blends – a combination of thermoplastic starch with biodegradable synthetic

polymers; and Ecovio, a combination of Ecoflex and corn-based PLA. Compounder PolyOne will also be presenting its line of green chemicals, having introduced several biopolymer compounds. Sustainable processes will be represented by USbased extrusion machinery specialist Davis-Standard that will delve on PLA processing. The company has embarked on producing equipment for processing bioresins such as PLA and PHA for flexible and rigid packaging applications. Pilot project on bioplastics in Thailand A speaker from the Thai Bioplastics Industry Association (TBIA) will speak about the development of an upstream pilot plant for bioplastics with investment capital of US$9.7 million.

Private investors will be invited and the pilot plant will be built by 2015, with a production of 1,00010,000 tonnes/year. Along with the plant’s inception, TBIA is raising awareness and acceptance of bioplastics among consumers, selecting Koh Samet island in Rayong, as a prototype project to showcase bioplastic products. Residents will be urged to use biodegradable plastic bags to improve their waste-disposal habits, while plans call for beefing up the campaign this year with the use of biodegradable plastic utensils to replace foam and glass. In addition, an organic fertiliser plant has been established on the island for disposal of bioplastics. Koh Samet normally produces 37 tonnes of waste during the tourist season.


Converting waste plastics into precious fuel As landfill and incineration become more expensive and more harmful to the environment, the recycling of waste plastic is gaining importance plus with the rising cost of crude oil, recycling plastics back to oil may prove to be an option to counter this, says Lyn Cacha in this report.

Agilyx has received funding to proceed with its patented process


n Asia Pacific, as well as many other developing regions, plastic consumption has increased much more than the world average due to the rapid urbanisation and economic development. This implies that on the one hand, more resources are being used to meet the increased demand of plastics and on the other hand, more waste plastics are being generated. Hence, more emphasis is being given to new disposal options, which have high energy recovery values and are more environmentally attractive. Turning plastics into fuel can be a solution, since a key component of plastics is petroleum and recovering it into fuel again makes sense. However, a substantial amount of the waste plastics still ends up in landfills. The main hindrance to the implementation of plastics recycling is the inhomogeneity of many waste plastics. Nevertheless, investors and large corporations are increasingly turning their attention toward technologies for recycling and “resource recovery� to capitalise on the growing tide of waste and rising fuel prices. Breaking the inhomogeneity barriers Late last year, US alternative energy firm Agilyx secured funding worth US$25 million from Keating Capital. Prior to it, the company secured a US$22 million fund to accelerate business operations that are involved in recycling mixed plastics into crude oil. Though the company admits it was difficult to develop a process, it has innovated a patented and proprietary system that converts all types of discarded plastics into crude oil. The system consists of four primary vessels, namely the indirect heating of waste plastics, gasification and movement, condensing gases into oil and final transfer and storage of oil. An average 0.004 l of plastic is able to result in 3.7 l of synthetic crude oil, with the system capable of converting approximately 10 tonnes of plastics into approximately 7.57 l of oil per day. Agilyx sells, licenses and provides its technology to large producers and recyclers of waste plastics (post-industrial market segment) as well as material recovery facilities (MRFs) and transfer stations (post-consumer market segment) throughout the world. The company claims its fuel is competitive with crude oil at US$65 to US$70 per 117.3 l. Its synthetic crude oil is sold to refiners or speciality petrochemical processors. The types of gasoline products it produces include ancillary gasoline products and ultra-sweet, synthetic crude oil, which can be refined via standard micro-refinery technology or at existing refineries. Agilyx believes that the era of cheap oil is over and with around 117,347 l consumed per second, the prices are likely to remain elevated. The company has a refinery off-take agreement in the industry and currently ships crude oil from its Portland facility in Oregon to a refinery in the US Pacific Northwest. The company’s revenue in 2011 was US$15 million. Extracting value using less energy Washington DC-based company Envion claims that it can process plastics into an oil-like fuel for just US$10 a barrel simply because its process is energy efficient. According to the company, the resulting fuel can be blended with other components and used as either petroleum or diesel.





Envion says that it has an energyefficient process for recycling plastics into fuel

Envion’s proprietary technology enables plastic-to-oil conversion by heating up plastics to a pre-set temperature using infrared energy. The process removes hydrocarbons without the use of a catalyst, resulting in a net gain of captured energy. As such, 82% of all material that goes in is transformed into fuel. In the past, attempts to turn plastics into fuel have resulted in a net loss of energy. The system’s generator extracts the hydrocarbons embedded in waste plastic without the use of a catalyst while the reactor utilises a heating system that converts plastics into oil through low temperature thermal cracking in a vacuum. It can process up to 10,000 tonnes of waste plastics each year (including bottle caps) and produce three to five barrels of fuel per tonne with a total electricity cost of US$0.07-$0.12 cents per 3.78 l. The company has forged agreements with clients looking to lessen their ecological footprint, including Ruakuri Contracting and Gull Petroleum. Skipping the refinement process While other processors require a refining procedure, North American JBI Inc is promoting its patentpending Plastic2Oil (P2O) process that is able to transform unwashed waste plastic into ultra-clean, ultralow sulphur fuel without the need for refinement. General operations involve monitoring the control room screens and cameras to track each processor’s operating parameters as well as loading plastics onto the in-feed system. The main reactor condenses and separates the fuel oil and diesel

from the plastics and proceeds into temporary fuel tanks. All the gaseous materials, such as methane and ethane, exit the system and are used to fuel the furnaces. Although many sources of feedstock are compatible with the P2O process, at its Niagara Falls facility, the bulk of JBI’s sources come from post-commercial and industrial sectors. The company is targeting to work with companies that currently have to pay to dispose of this waste plastics. JBI is also partnering with businesses and municipalities that collect waste plastics. Typically, this waste plastic is delivered to independent Material Recycling Facilities (MRFs), where it is often sent to landfills. The aim is to help redirect these waste plastic streams, preventing them from entering local landfills. In February this year, the company brought its second P2O processor online at the same facility. The new processor comes with substantial upgrades based on information retrieved while working with the original processor. The enhancements include a replicable and deployable modular design that leverages economies of scale with manufacturers, enabling the production of specific fuels to meet customers’ needs. With two processors, the company expects to double the plastics feedstock throughput from 0.907 tonnes/hour/processor to 1.81 tonnes/hour, which should double the amount of fuel output that each processor can produce. The company is now fabricating its third processor and hopes to put it online in the near future. Early this year, it secured financing of its P2O technology from Indigo Energy Partners and XTR Energy. The funding is valued at US$2.795 million. Later in May, JBI said that investors have agreed to invest US$10 million of equity capital via a private placement of unregistered securities at US$0.80 cents per share. The investment group participating consists of prominent private equity investors, venture capitalists, investment bankers and accomplished corporate executives.

Asian technology enables energy savings While the above examples come from the US, in Asia, with the increasing urbanisation in developing countries, companies such as Eco Creation are also trying to get a slice of the recycling pie. The South Korean company has developed a CE-approved machine that converts waste plastics into oil. Called the ECP-101, it can recycle PVC, foam, fishnets and plastic bottles (PP, PE, PET and PS) into fuel. The semi-automated ECP-101 is designed to be compact thereby requiring less space. It is said to be energy efficient due to its electric heater that enables fast thermal decomposition. According to the company, the machine has an average converting ratio of up to 90%, thereby making it highly efficient. It can take up 300-350 kg of waste plastics and takes about two hours to start producing oil. According to Eco Creation, the Korean Institute of Petroleum Management has tested and certified that the oil can be refined into gasoline, diesel oil, kerosene and heavy oil. In Japan, Blest has invented what it says is a safe and user-friendly machine that converts plastics to oil. The machine employs an electric heater that controls temperature instead of flame, making the conversion technologically safe. The machine is capable of recycling PS, PE and PP while it says that PET bottles that fall under number 1 category cannot be processed. The process results in crude gas that can be effectively used to fuel stoves or generators. Processed with more refinement, the gas products can be upgraded to a gasoline substitute. According to the company, 1 kg of plastic using 1 kW of electricity is capable of producing 1 l of oil. Blest manufactures these machines in different sizes and so far had installed them at 60 places including fisheries, farms and small factories in Japan and abroad. At present, the smallest version of the machine is priced at US$9,500.




Injection Moulding Asia Technology News

resin, a new PA66 resin with improved heat ageing properties, which can be positioned in applications that are challenging the limits of conventional nylon 6.6. While approximately 45% of Invista’s PA66 compounded products go into the automotive market, the company also sells to consumer and E&E markets. Since the business was launched in 2009, Invista has used a network of compounders to support its operations. It says this allows it to speed its products to market. Now, with a business presence in the US, South America, Europe and Asia, the US firm is pursuing the second phase of its development: investing in compounding capabilities of its own. It is in the process of building a nylon 6.6 intermediates and polymer plant in the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park with production to start up in phases beginning in 2014.

Large machines for automotive parts


erman firm KraussMaffei has extended its dual platen machine line with the GX series that features the GearX locking device and the GuideX guide shoe. Available in six machines, ranging from 400 to 650 tonnes, the GX is targeted at the automotive and consumer goods sectors. The company says that with the GuideX guide shoe, forces are ideally absorbed and the service life of the moulds is increased. Besides being an eye-catching design, it allows for platen parallelism due to the stable design. The GearX locking system is arranged in a space-saving way behind the moving mould fixing platen. KraussMaffei says its proven screw system is also installed. It is able to process PC, PMMA, PET, PC/PBT blends and is supported by an in-line injection unit, which has a rotary piston design and transmits force centrally via the injection piston to the screw to allow for precision and reproducibility. This is rounded up by the MC6 control system, equipped with an Eco optimum setting and the new SplitScreen technology that displays production processes. The integrated ProcessDesigner tool presents all current processes in visual terms and enables modifications, depending on requirements, by means of simple drag-and-drop movements or wiping movements.

In the new machine, the GearX locking system is arranged in a space-saving way behind the moving mould fixing platen

A GX 550-4300 was delivered to WAFA Kunststofftechnik in Augsburg in October 2011.

Invista pursues growth in China


he world’s largest producer of PA6.6 polymer, Invista unveiled its Torzen resin at Chinaplas, with the aim to further expand its presence. This comes against the back of growing company sales in compounding resin while prime feedstock sales in Asia Pacific region have grown several-fold in the past 18 months, says the firm. In order to help its customers simplify their operations, Invista says it has introduced a range of global compounded products to its engineering polymers portfolio, enabling the use of a few products in manufacturing multiple applications. In China, it introduced the Torzen Marathon

Industry News

Yamaha zooms into India


apanese motorcycle maker Yamaha Motor is building a new assembly plant in Chennai, India, with an investment of US$280 million over five years. It is among the several Japanese companies that are taking advantage of the strong currency to diversify and expand their operations overseas. To start up by 2014, the facility will produce 1.8 million motorcycles/year from 2018.

In lieu with this development, the company, which reported a drop in its January-March quarter net profit of 11.52 billion yen from 13.43 billion yen during the same quarter period in the previous year, predicts that motorcycle sales in India could reach 25 million units/year. It already has a motorcycle parts and assembly plant in Northern India, where it is planning on increasing production from 600,000 units to 1 million by 2018.

Tie-up for carbon fibre


olymer materials supplier PolyOne has entered into an agreement with Italy-based Xenia Unipersonale in the development and production of carbonfibre-reinforced polymer compounds for metal and thermoset replacement. As part of this cooperation, US-based PolyOne will offer customers design and prototyping assistance to speed their projects to market. Xenia says its carbon fibre-reinforced Xecarb materials are already in use in racing and sport components and in mechanical parts. The product line consists of eight grades, ranging in loading from 2030%, with nylon, TPU, PPS, and PEKK base resins.

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Wittmann growing in India

Industry News


ince its founding in 2008, Austrian firm Wittmann Battenfeld’s Indian subsidiary has enjoyed uninterrupted growth, in line with the double-digit growth of the Indian plastics sector, says Managing Director Nanda Kumar. “The firm is independently developing customised automation solutions, including linear robots. Wittmann Battenfeld’s new premises in Chennai Another leadership role has been earned in the with the corresponding Wittmann field of powder injection moulding M7.2 control. He is also confident with specially adapted machines of that the EcoPower machines as the Battenfeld HM series.” well as the automation of blow Kumar sees potential for further moulding machines will make growth in automation and central a strong impact on the Indian drying and conveying systems market.

Adding a spring to vehicles and new Vamac grade


uffer-stops injection moulded from the low-emission grade Delrin 100PE acetal resin from DuPont Performance Polymers cushion the impact when mechanically-adjustable steering columns from ThyssenKrupp Presta reach full horizontal adjustment. Decisive factors in its specification were the material’s compliance with stringent emission levels demanded by some of Germany’s automotive OEMs for interior applications and its steel-like springiness. The material is also characterised by its vibration damping effect, notched impact strength and sliding properties. The buffer-stop takes up little installation space with its 1 4 x 9 x 6 m m dimensions. Held by a rivet, it slides during adjustment of the steering column on metal guide rails until they reach their limit at the end of the adjustment range. Although the associated jolt may in some cases be hard, two small springs

Automotive News on either side of the bufferstop are enough to cushion the impact both mechanically and acoustically. Moreover, as a direct benefit of the sliding properties of the resin, the buffer-stop will continue to move easily on the guide rails for the entire lifetime of the vehicle. DuPont has also extended its Vamac family with an Ultra HT ethylene acrylic elastomer (AEM) that offers enhanced continuous heat resistance up to 180°C, with peaks to 200°C, making it suitable for demanding automotive applications such as turbo hoses and air ducts. It also delivers enhanced mechanical properties such as higher flex fatigue resistance, better low temperature flexibility and acid resistance in exhaust gas recirculation environments. Its higher viscosity also improves processing versus standard AEM grades, including better green strength and scorch resistance for extrusion processes. 2

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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery

Speed and efficiency a focus Manufacturing operations are among the most energy-intensive in the world. Whether making plastic products, refining oil or rubber, there is a great potential for improving energy efficiency. With the progression of energy efficiency requirements, manufacturers are now faced with the challenge to achieve substantial energy reductions. At the Chinaplas show in April, this was exactly what machine makers and systems suppliers were highlighting.

Gerardo Chiaia, Husky’s VicePresident, Global Sales for Beverage Packaging, says the new system is a result of three years of R&D

shut-down. This is rounded up with the latest generation Polaris Control with a single interface for central control of the entire system, including the hot runner temperature controller and auxiliary equipment. Gerardo said that five to six lines will be installed close to Husky’s manufacturing facility for trial runs, before the commercial launch in 2013. “We will supply it as a complete solution with the mould, machine and downstream equipment such as cap inspection.” He also said the firm had encouraging response at Chinaplas, stating, “It has attracted attention from current and new customers.” Husky also showed its H-PET AE (all-electric) moulding system. “We have reintroduced the PET system to the market in China. It caters to lower volumes for custom preform producers,” said Gerardo. The firm also had a medical workcell running at its Shanghai Technical Centre consisting of its H-MED AE (all-electric) machine for cleanroom medical moulding, Ultra SideGate hot runner, Altanium temperature controller and Shotscope NX process and productivity monitoring software. Also on display were the new Ultra SideGate and UltraSync-E hot runners. Ultra SideGate provides an easy-to-use solution for direct gating parts that cannot be effectively gated with a regular nozzle while UltraSync-E offers shot-to-shot and part-to-part consistency through precise stem closing to help eliminate variability from the moulding process.

Upping the speed of closure moulding anadian injection moulding machine and preform system supplier Husky Injection Molding Systems introduced its HyCAP High Performance Package (HPP), said to be the world’s fastest for moulding beverage closures, running a 1.85 second-cycle using a 72-cavity KTW beverage closure mould. The company combined its existing capabilities with those of tooling firm KTW, a company it acquired in 2011, to render better economies of pressure. While Husky was closely guarding the mechanics behind its mould system, one thing was evident: the system does not require the mould to open and close, using only a proprietary internal ejection system. “The elimination of some of the movements and waste as well as optimisation of not just the mould but the entire system reduces the cycle time by 20% and uses up to 20% less energy over our previous generation product,” said Gerardo Chiaia, VicePresident, Global Sales for Beverage Packaging. He also said that the cost of retooling will be lower since a family mould allows for quick changeovers. Other improvements include direct drives instead of a gear box and smaller injection unit, allowing for more repeatability and reliability. HyCAP HPP also incorporates a start/stop feature for easier start-up and


Strong sales in China erman machine maker Arburg sold 12 machines on the exhibition floor, according to Sales Director Helmut Heinson. “We normally don’t sell machines on the exhibition floor but see this as a trend. This proves that price is not just a factor (in the price sensitive markets of Asia) but also the performance of our machines.” The firm also notes a trend in the customer base in China. “When we started in the market eight years ago, we were selling mainly to global companies but today 80% of our sales are to local processors. This shows that Chinese customers appreciate the value, quality and higher performance.” The firm has two subsidiaries in Shanghai and Shenzhen but has no plans to start any kind of assembly or production in China, said Heinson.


Husky’s latest HyCAP HPP system that was not fully shown during the exhibition

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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery Frank Peters, Vice-President of Sales, meanwhile, noted four major trends in the evolving Chinese market, including growth in the infrastructure sector; higher demand for food packaging, more emphasis on energy-efficient and automated machines and a focus on hybrid composites for lighter vehicles. He said that all the four trends are met by the group’s machinery solutions. As for sister company Netstal, it has witnessed a “remarkable increase” in the PET preform and sealing cap sectors and plans to build a PET laboratory and training centre in Haiyan to support the growth. Golz also said the group has had a successful start to the year with the integration of Switzerlandbased Netstal, which plans to maintain an independent market presence, with clearly defined product portfolios. Besides the facility in Haiyan, KraussMaffei has offices in Shanghai and Shenzhen and employs more than 300 staff in China. Another firm that is expanding its product portfolio in China is Japanese/German company Sumitomo-Demag, formed in 2008 by the merger of Sumitomo Heavy Industries (SHI) and Demag Plastics Group. It has been producing machinery in Ningbo since 1998 and is now expanding the product range by introducing smaller models of the hydraulic Systec C series. The firm is also setting up an automation department at its Ningbo facility, in partnership with French robot maker Sepro for highend turnkey solutions and China-based Max Robot for medium-range solutions, said CEO Stephan Greif.

Arburg’s highlight at the show was a compression moulding machine for producing light guide panels

A highlight at the show was the 250-tonne Allrounder hydraulic compression moulding machine designed to produce 12 in. light guide panels that are 0.5 mm-thick and have a flow/path wall thickness of 350:1. The panels are for use in tablets and thin film transistor (TFT) screens using light-emitting diode (LED) lighting. To achieve a high luminous efficiency, the panels must be as thin as possible and require a specific optical surface structure, which is only achievable with compression injection. “The patented machine has a coining feature. The mould is not completely closed and maintains a 1 mm gap until the last 50 milliseconds of the process,” explained Heinson. The two-cavity mould is also designed so that the cavity is sealed, even when it is partially open, thus allowing for lower shrinkage and deformities as well as precision moulding. Heinson also said that by using this process to mould the light guide panels, the cycle time is lowered by 30%, thus allowing for higher productivity. Arburg is targeting the machine for the Chinese and Taiwanese markets. “Light guide panels are usually 20-in thick but we are targeting the machine at the production of thinner light guide panels,” said Heinson. Other machines on display were the new Edrive Allrounder, shown for the first time in Asia, and the Allrounder 570 H, from the Hidrive hybrid highperformance series. Manufacturing in China erman machine maker KraussMaffei has started to manufacture its injection moulding machines in its Haiyan factory. The first China-made model, MX850-6100, was shown. Targeted at the automotive market, the firm says the series is specially designed for a hard, continuous operation and combines short machine times with quick cycles. It will produce all the models, up to 400 tonnes, in China. To meet future capacity, the firm will double production space to 30,000 sq m by next year, said Hans Ulrich Golz, the newly appointed President of the Injection Moulding Machinery Segment. KraussMaffei has been manufacturing extrusion machinery and downstream units in the Haiyan facility for seven years.


Demag showed a total of five machines, including two models of its Systec C machine series from the Chinese production

Currently, the firm makes 3,000 machines in China and receives another 3,000 machines from its Schwaig facility in Germany. Greif said the main export markets are countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. This year it will expand its sales activities to Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, “to boost the export proportion of Chinese production from 10% in 2010 to 30%.” In the local market, with the Chinese government pushing for more activity in other parts of the country, Demag Ningbo will also be expanding its sales and service to Guangdong and Suzhou, said Greif. 4

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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery to create 550 to 650-tonne all-electric machines,” said Schley. The shift from hydraulics to electrics is due to growing concern on energy efficiency, said Schley, adding that the Elektron series uses 60% less energy and 90% less water than hydraulic machines.

Elsewhere, it is full speed ahead for Ferromatik Milacron’s business. Imbibing a sense of optimism, the Germany-based company (part of US-based Milacron) has experienced substantial growth with its latest order of 113 machines from a single customer in China. In the first quarter, it received an order for 85 Elektron all-electric presses, ranging from 50-155 tonnes, and the same customer ordered 28 additional 260-tonne Elektrons at the Chinaplas. Though the firm did not disclose the customer, it did say it is involved in electronics components for a “well-known American manufacturer of computers and entertainment devices.”

Chinese machine makers basking in limelight aitian International, regarded as the largest supplier of injection moulding machines in the world in terms of volume with annual production of 30,000 machines, aims to address energy efficiency through innovation. The equipment maker introduced its second-generation solutions as well as its best sellers at this year’s Chinaplas – the all-electric Venus, energy-saving Mars and large Jupiter series. The firm says it takes four years for R&D and most of these innovations would not be possible if it were not for close collaborations with clients who express their pressing needs. “We’ve received a huge amount of feedback from processors who are extremely happy with their machines but nonetheless their input has enabled us to further improve,” acknowledges Helmar Franz, Executive Director and Chief Strategy Officer of Haitian. Franz continued to explain that in 2006, the firm placed its focus on customers’ future challenges rather than on what competitors were offering. It summarised its findings and discovered that energy and raw materials costs will become a major challenge in the next five years. With that knowledge in hand, Haitian decided that instead of cutting back during the previous recession, it had to take the opposite approach and to increase R&D expenditure. “This helped strengthen our position in the upturn that followed. Market rewards followed, although not immediately,” stressed Franz. The company’s second-generation machines have improvements in performance and ergonomics that have risen largely from customer requirements. This means, according to Franz, that the new machines are much more customer-oriented than before and equipped with features such as the new kinematic design that provides smoother movement and enhanced safety; a revised injection parameter and a new screw design; and an updated controller.


The all-electric Elektron is a big hit in China for Milacron where the firm has secured a large order

Milacron has produced its Elektron presses at its Jiangyin factory since 2009, where its output is 500 machines/year, with 90% targeted for local consumption. Vice-President of the China operations, Gerold Schley, says the price-performance ratio coupled with fast delivery times and outstanding service from China helped close the sale. The customer is currently discussing an additional order for 10 multi-component models from Ferromatik Milacron in Malterdingen. Schley also said the customer is already running about 40 of the K-Tec hydraulic multi-component moulding machines. “There’s a trend in China to go towards higher technology machines.” Schley said, adding that aside from this trend, clients are getting interested in larger machines that can produce more with less energy. During the exhibition, the company displayed a new 450-tonne machine that was producing 4.5 l PP buckets. Another highlight was a 110-tonne all-electric machine producing optical lenses for mobile phone cameras. Both machines are built in China. “We are focused here in China on the automotive, packaging, electronic component and medical sectors,” explained Schley, adding, “the Elektron brand is well established in China and has had a growing presence in the European market over the past two years.” Clearly poised for additional growth, the company has hired new personnel, increasing the total workforce at the facility to 120. Increasing the clamp tonnage and sizes of the machines are part of the company’s R&D direction for the next 12 months. “From the development perspective, we’re planning

Helmar Franz from Haitian expects growth from export markets in the near future

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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery construction of its third production base at Wushu Industrial Park. With a production value of RMB2.5 billion, the new facility, together with existing facilities, will help meet the growing demand. Despite all of this, the company is not resting on its laurels and will in fact continue to strengthen its R&D by carrying out research on conserving energy in the heating part of the barrel unit. “We’re introducing large, sophisticated machines that will help save energy. This will be deployed widely this year. We are also focusing on servo machines and developing small and medium machines,” said Li. At Chinaplas, the firm displayed its PET-48A, said to be among the first to integrate servo pump technology, thus enabling energy savings of over 30%. According to Li, this is achieved by designing the pump’s power output in accordance with the load requirements to help reduce machine power loss. Yizumi is also strengthening its reach into new markets. In 2010, it developed 48 and 72-cavity PET preform moulding systems for the medical supplies sector. The following year, the company gained a share in some sub-markets in the medical industry with clients such as Jiangxi Kelun Pharmaceutical, Zhejiang Tianrui Pharmaceutical, Wuhan Shuanghe Pharmaceutical and Weigao Holding. Asked how it thrives in a challenging industry, Li said that the company’s overall competitiveness has made the difference. “Firstly, our team members are mostly technical elites in injection moulding machinery. Secondly, our wealth of talent is continually supported by a programme that includes training, assessment and promotion. Thirdly, we empathise with our customers by leaving a good impression in every step of the process. And lastly, we have an extensive sales network covering all the regions in China,” Li explained. The company has recently launched its East China headquarters to support customers in East and North China. “We also intend to develop a VIP client resource base that will include a Fortune 500 company, nine listed companies, five of China’s top brand enterprises, as well as acquire a huge market share in the medical segment,” added Li. Despite the many preparations – expansions and acquisitions –Yizumi has made, Li still foresees a challenging market ahead. “I’m not so positive about the circumstances this year. Uncertain factors in domestic and overseas markets are increasing. Appreciation of RMB is further squeezing profits on exports.” But he says there are still opportunities to look forward to and predicts that with the implementation of the national policy on energy conservation and emission reduction as well as stricter customer requirements, energy-saving, automatic precision moulding machines will become a trend. He also believes that the firm’s rivals are no match for it since it has expertise in cost control, quality manufacturing and brand marketing to boot.

Franz claims that the Mars machines can save energy and operational costs over the first seven years of a company’s operation, compared to existing presses. Aside from this, the mid-size machines cost 40 to 60% less than a fully electric machine. Its large Jupiter series, meanwhile, has been transformed into a two-platen machine without an extra “half-platen” to support the tie-bars. Haitian has delivered 60,000 Mars machines since it debuted five years ago. It has also sold 750 units of its all-electric Venus series that is manufactured by sister company Zhafir Plastics Machinery in Germany. Haitian will boost production capacity from 85 units/month to 140 units/month at its German plant. “Once we reach the 1,000 machines/year level, we will be considered a serious player and enter the phalanx of the Japanese big five,” says Franz, adding that demand will be mainly driven by the automotive and handheld device segments. In terms of overall sales, Franz said the company has sold more than 60,000 machines in the past five years and claims a market share of more than 40% for all injection machines in China’s domestic market and up to 70% market share in the 1,000-tonne plus range. Meanwhile, another company that figures largely on the injection press scene in China is Hong Kong-based Chen Hsong that sold about 15,000 machines last year, with a majority sold in China, said Executive Director Stephen Chung. At Chinaplas, the firm launched a new line of dual-platen machinery, which it is manufacturing under license from Japanese firm Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Plastic Technology. The MMX series, for sale in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong only, is targeted at the automotive sector. “By manufacturing in China, we are offering a better price-performance ratio,” said Chung. Another firm touting a two-platen machine at the show was Borch Machinery. “This is targeted at the home appliances, automotive, and logistics industries,” said a spokesperson. Established eight years ago, Borch has two production and research centres in Guangzhou and Hangzhou. The firm claims its combined 180,000 sq m facilities are able to produce 15,000 machines/year. Apart from the two-platen machine, the firm was also showing a machine with five separate injection units for multicolour moulding. But its not just large machines that are gaining a foothold in China and surprises do come in small packages as seen for Guangdong Yizumi Precision Machinery. The company’s injection moulding division realised 30% sales growth, mostly from the sale of small and medium machines, which accounted for 87% and 65%, respectively, of the turnover. Last year was also “a year full of surprises,” as described by Deputy General Manager Li Donghai. “We attained milestones in 2011.” Yizumi was transformed into a company limited by shares and is now preparing for an IPO. Plus, the firm purchased the intellectual property of US-based press maker HPM. In the production aspect, the company has started 6 J U N E / J U LY


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Rubber Journal Asia Technology News

Substitutes for NR


apanese tyre maker Bridgestone together with its collaborators says that the Russian dandelion could be a viable alternative for natural rubber (NR) and can be turned into a renewable source of high-quality, tyre-grade rubber. Bridgestone scrutinised the performance levels using rubber extracted from Russian dandelion and will conduct further testing at its technical centres in Akron and Tokyo, with larger scale testing to follow in 2014. This news follows a recent project to research and develop guayule, a shrub native to south-western US and northern Mexico, as an alternative to NR. In that project, Bridgestone Americas is establishing a pilot farm and constructing a rubber research centre in the southwest of US. The firm says that Russian dandelion and guayule have almost identical qualities compared to NR harvested from the Hevea tree, which is currently the primary source for tyre makers. The parent company is providing the funding and strategic input for these projects while Bridgestone Americas is responsible for the execution.

Russian dandelion is in the running for large-scale rubber production

Okin Rubber ties up with university

apiece. In the early 1990s, petrol stations that didn’t meet air quality standards were required to use the vapour recovery systems. The new ruling will help most drivers who find the fuel nozzle incompatible with their vehicles.


eal maker Qingdao Okin Rubber Industry is working with the Rubber Professional Research Institution of Qingdao University to research new technologies and materials for rubber and plastic sealing. The R&D project will focus on new TPVs and TPEs. With the increasing EPDM price, labour costs and more competitors, the firm says it is compelled to improve its technology in order to get better production efficiency and product quality.

New machine for determining the resistance of elastomers to cracking

Updated ozone test cabinets


erman ozone technology specialist Anseros Klaus Nonnenmacher has revised its ozone test chambers. The machines comply with the latest local and international standards and help determine the resistance of elastomers to cracking under ozone exposure. Previously ozone cabinets had been designed in accordance to DIN 53 509 but this standard has been replaced by DIN ISO 1431-1. As such, the new ozone test cabinet, SIM7300-TH, has been designed to comply with the new requirements and is equipped with elaborate testing tools needed for static and dynamic ageing tests following the demands of DIN ISO 1431-1.

A majority of cars are now equipped with on-board systems that capture the harmful vapours.

US phasing out rubber fittings


he US government and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intend to phase out rubber boots used on petrol pump handles that capture harmful vapours while refuelling cars. EPA says the removal is necessary because more than 70% of cars on the road are now equipped with on-board systems that capture the harmful vapours. About 31,000 petrol stations in mostly urban areas in the US will be affected, resulting in savings of US$3,000

Actuator simplifies replacement


anover-based ContiTech, a division of Continental, has added the D-type series to its actuator product range, designed to simplify and speed up replacement of every single component up to the rubber bellows. The aluminium connecting plates for the D-type series come in diameters of up to 175 mm. This is the standard material in many pneumatic products and is now available in the ContiTech air actuators as well. The actuator is available in eight different sizes, each of which is available as a one, two or three-convolution bellows and has dimensions of 80 mm/type 22 up to 435 mm/type 816. Without a piston rod, strokes of more than 400 mm are possible. The feasible lifting force range extends from 0.5-80 kN. Applications of the Dtypes are power collectors in trains (pantographs) and paper machines and also to complement triedand-tested air actuators with firmly attached connecting parts (Cseries), air actuators with bead ring connecting parts (R-series) and rolling lobe actuators with plastic connecting parts (S-series).

ContiTech’s new actuator simplifies the replacement of components

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With over 200 exhibits, PU China 2012 will offer the PU industry the ideal opportunity to see the developments in this fast moving region. In 2012 PU China will be hosted in Shenzhen, one of the key hubs for the PU market in China. Along with the leading suppliers to the market, this event will show case all the developments and products on show from this region.

In such a vast market it is important that PU China moves location every year, to enable the industry in the regions to have the opportunity to see the latest technologies, and for the exhibitors to experience a fresh audience every time. PU China 2012 promises to be the biggest PU event in Shenzhen to date, so put the dates in your diary and we look forward to seeing you there.

To visit PU China please visit To exhibit at PU China please contact our sales team on

+ 44 208 253 9607

Rubber Journal Asia Technology News

Recycled tyre-to-oil meets standards

Higher productivity from new press


S firm Green EnviroTech Holdings (GETH) says its recycled tyre and plastic to oil samples surpassed all of the specifications and qualifications required by refineries enabling the produced oil to be sold commercially as crude oil. The last round of tests confirmed that with the installation of the additional equipment that the samples were processed through, the oil was well within the limits set by refineries in order for them to purchase the oil. GETH utilised Intertek, a global testing laboratory that also works directly with the oil industry, and Cempro, to test samples over the past six months. GETH is working in partnership with Ebbros Energy Partners with the latter to develop the tyre and plastic to oil plants and lease the same back to GETH. Ebbros will also purchase all of the oils produced at the plants, which is estimated to be as much as 10,700 barrels/ month at each site.


rench maker of rubber injection moulding machines REP has launched a new machine in its RT9 series, said to match the Japanese standard and compatibility, according to Export Manager Pascal Consolaro. The so-called J model is made in conjunction with its eight-year partnership with Taiwanese machine maker Tung Yu. The new model is equipped with REP’s Tempinverter technology that enables users to increase and homogenise temperature; decrease the scorch risk; increase the flow ability; reduce cure and injection times; decrease energy consumption and reduce the reject rate. According to Pascal, the RT9 has been sold mainly to the automotive and industrial sectors in China, India and South Korea. “Compared to competitor machines, there is no reduction of the section and it does not affect material properties, making it an uncomplicated machine. The temperature is adjusted so that it is homogenous all over the material flow.” He also said that for processing natural rubber parts, it offers gains up to 40% and for EPDM parts more than 30%. Other milestones for REP include the introduction of its G9 energy saving press with a servodrive and dive

REP’s new RT9 J model that is said to be equal to Japanese standards

control to reduce heating power consumption. Furthermore, its Fillbalancer technology from Turbocure is increasingly being used on moulds. “Complementing Tempinverter, Fillbalancer decreases cure time while improving part characteristics and quality,” said Pascal. The firm also launched its C-frame V19 press range available in 25 and 40 tonnes with a top closing unit for injection moulding of rubber or plastic. In the horizontal range, it introduced a 300-tonne H59 model. This press is equipped with special brushes and an air blow system. Meanwhile, Pascal said that this year REP has expanded its reach to Thailand, where it has set up a technical centre together with its agent Centrewest. And after setting up subsidiaries in Germany, Italy, the US, Brazil and China, REP’s next stop was Russia, where it now has a presence.

Silicones for baby teats


unich-based chemical group Wacker has introduced injection moulding silicone rubber grades for manufacturing pacifiers and bottle nipples for infants and toddlers. The new grades include two liquid silicones of the Elastosil LR 3040 product line and two Elastosil R plus 4020 solid silicones. A feature of all four products is the high tear strength of the cured rubber, with the two 4020

solid grades exhibiting even higher tear strength, over 50 N/mm, measured as per ASTM D 624 B, which until now, has been unattainable with silicones in baby care applications. Hence, the 4020 enables the manufacture of thinwall products which, at the same time, exhibit practical bite resistance. Low wall thicknesses make for greater freedom of design and facilitate the manufacture of orthodontically correct products.

Industry News

NBR in growth mode


rom automotive and aerospace to industrial and consumer goods, nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) will enjoy limitless uses from these applications, says Global Industry Analysts (GIA) in its latest report. Demand for NBR is closely tied to strong GDP growth, which is reflective of gains in the manufacturing and industrial sectors, fuelling need for synthetic rubber. Although the NBR industry displayed dormancy in recent years owing to poor economic conditions, it is now in a growth mode. For instance, consumption of NBR in automotive parts is poised to grow, especially in developing countries since manufacturers are moving production to low cost countries. Thus, automotive parts manufacturers from low-cost countries are expected to address over 40% of the global parts market by 2015. In the medical industry,

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Rubber Journal Asia production shortages in raw materials like vinyl and the declining role of latex, which until now was the dominant material used in the manufacture of medical gloves, is helping trigger demand for NBR in this sector. Plus, nitrile gloves are puncture-resistant in comparison to gloves made from natural rubber. China, Japan and the US continue to be the leading consumers, with China, in particular, being the epicentre, owing to robust growth in domestic production of industrial goods and vehicles. Other regions in Asia-Pacific are also expected to clock up significant growth, owing to healthy economics, growth of vehicles and increasing number of tyre plants.

Thailand to clear illegal rubber farms


he Natural Resources and Environment Ministry of Thailand will invest US$1.58 million to clear extensive illegal rubber plantations in headwater areas in the south. According to the ministry, there has been extensive encroachment into national forest reserves and wildlife parks because parawood is retailing at a higher price. Three years ago, 22.4 million sq m of restricted land was encroached upon and replaced by rubber plantations, while 4.9 million cu m of wood from trees was felled illegally and is still unaccounted for. To date, 552 suspects have been arrested in 1,515 cases.

Lanxess’s rubber plant in Belgium

Lanxess beefs up rubber plant in Belgium


erman speciality chemicals company Lanxess has strengthened its butyl rubber plant in Zwijndrecht, Belgium, expanding its capacity by 10% and building two new pilot plants for R&D for butyl rubber. The biggest share of butyl rubber produced in Zwijndrecht is premium halobutyl rubber, used mainly in tyre inner liners to keep tyre pressure constant over a long period. Butyl rubbers can also be used in the tread of a tyre allowing better grip and comfort. Special applications include protective clothing and medical devices as well as for chewing gum production. With the EUR20 million expansion, the capacity of the facility is 150,000 tonnes/year. Lanxess is also building a new butyl rubber facility on Jurong Island, Singapore, with a total capacity of 100,000 tonnes/year, to start up by 2013. Lanxess has another butyl rubber plant in Sarnia, Canada, with a capacity of 150,000 tonnes/year. The new pilot plants at Zwijndrecht will test innovative production

technology since butyl rubber is highly complex and requires process steps at temperatures ranging between -95 to +200ÂşC. The new process, which the firm is developing makes use of fewer resources and this is more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA), tyre production and exports increased by 6% and 24%, respectively, in the April 2011 to February 2012 period. Import and export of NR in 201112 was 205,433 tonnes and 27,145 tonnes, respectively.

Trelleborg gets a go signal for jv

Sibur/Sinopec to produce nitrile rubber


he European Commission has approved the proposed joint venture between Trelleborg and Freudenberg in antivibration solutions for light and heavy vehicles. With the go signal at hand, the two companies will start the last phase of preparations to bring the joint venture to fruition by the end of this year.

Indian NR rubber on a high


atural rubber production in India increased by 4.3% in fiscal 2011-12, according to the Rubber Board, with the growth to continue without much fluctuation. Production and consumption of NR in 2011-12 was 899,400 tonnes and 966,750 tonnes, respectively. NR consumption in the tyre sector increased by 6.3%, whereas in the non-tyre sector it declined by 5.4%. According to the


ussian petrochemicals firm Sibur and Chinabased Sinopec have entered into a joint venture to produce butadiene nitrile rubber in Russia. Sinopec will have a 25.1% stake in the Russian rubber plant, which will have a capacity of up to 56,000 tonnes/year. A final decision on the establishment of the joint venture is expected by end2012. Early this year, Sibur entered into a joint venture with Indian conglomerate Reliance to produce 100,000 tonnes of butyl rubber in India, where the current demand of 75,000 tonnes/year is being met by imports. Reliance will own 74.9% of the joint venture firm that will invest US$450 million to construct the facility, which will be commissioned by 2014.

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Rubber Journal Asia Tyre News

Sun ramps up capacity


ndia-based Sun Tyre & Wheel Systems, a division of Sundaram Industries, plans to build a factory for making solid industrial tyres and related products at a new facility in South India. Sun Tyre did not disclose information pertaining to the plant´s size or investment for the plant that will be operational end 2012. After completing its acquisition of Watts Lanka in Sri Lanka in 2010, Sun Tyre has been expanding capacity for solid resilient and press-on band tyres at the plant and this year expects to realise additional capacity for solid skid steer tyres as well. The company goes to market under the Numa, Tantor and Talon brand names.

Continental takes over Malaysian jv


erman firm Continental has purchased the remaining 30% interest from its Continental Sime Tyre joint venture in Malaysia from partner Sime Darby. Continental paid US$31 million in 2003 for a 30% in the unit, then increased its share to 51% in 2004 and then to 70% in 2006. With full ownership, the tyre company will rename it Continental Tyre Malaysia. The firm says the transaction underlines its long term interest and commitment to the Asia Pacific region. Continental operates two

tyre plants in Malaysia for truck, passenger and bus radials and agricultural, industrial and OTR tyres as well as motorcycle tyres, along with a technology centre.

a 17.1% year-over-year increase. Hankook’s global sales performance was driven by accelerated sales growth in major markets including the US, Europe, which make up 19.8% and 26.7% respectively of its total global sales. Additionally, sales in emerging markets including, South America and Southeast Asia, increased by 32.8%. Meanwhile, Indian Apollo Tyres says its consolidated annual revenues across operations in Asia, Africa and Europe grew 37% for fiscal year 2011-12. Its Indian operations revenue grew 49% this year as compared to the previous year; Europe saw a growth of 27%, while the African operations also witnessed a 10% growth, despite challenging local circumstances. The total operating profit grew 18%.

Tyre makers report healthy revenues


talian tyre maker Pirelli’s revenues in Q1 2012 reached EUR1.55 million, up by 11.1% compared to Q1 2011. The combined operating result after restructuring charges was EUR209.4 million, a 46.1% increase compared to Q1 2011. The firm also recorded a payment of EUR154.5 million for the acquisition of the Russian plants in Kirov and Voronezh. Japanese firm Yokohama Rubber’s net sales in Q1 2012 increased 7.4% over the same period of the previous year and its operating income increased by 403% to reach US$117 million. The Q1 sales growth reflected strong gains in sales of tyres to automotive makers in Japan and progress in raising prices for tyres and other products in Japan and overseas. Meanwhile, Nokian Tyres reported increased net sales of EUR384.3 million, a 32.9% boost from EUR289.2 million in Q1 2011. The company said the demand and order book for its car tyres are strong in all its core markets, especially in Russia. Elsewhere, Hankook Tire continued strong sales growth for Q1 2012, with global consolidated sales of KRW1.71 trillion,

Truck tyre radialisation a focus


ext year’s Tyrexpo India show in Chennai, to take place from 9-11 July, will focus on the increased radialisation of truck and bus tyres in India. According to ECI International, the show organiser, this is a reflection of the huge investments local and international tyre manufacturers are making in producing TBR radials for the domestic market. Amongst the manufacturers are Indian tyre makers Apollo, BKT, Bridgestone India, Ceat, Dunlop India, Falcon Tyres and JK Tyre that are in the process of building new tyre facto-

ries, dedicated to producing truck and bus radials. Industry analysts estimate that by 2013 there will be an additional 25% manufacturing capacity for TBR radial tyres. External manufacturers are investing in the change, too. Michelin is to invest US$800 million in its new Chennai plant, which will have a capacity of 300,000 radial tyres and Continental is said to be spending EUR50 million to increase its truck radial capacity in India by 2013. Although the market for TBR radials only account for a mere 15% of the huge commercial vehicle market, due to a variety of factors, including poor roads infrastructure, heavily overloaded commercial vehicles and a subsequent lack of OEM demand, the time is right now for growth. This is because the government plans to build 35,000 km of new roads over the next two years as well as a 2005 court ruling on the overloading of trucks has increased interest in radial tyres. Industry sources estimate the Indian tyre industry’s annual turnover at Rs 300,000 million, with exports accounting for Rs 36,000 of this. During the year to the end of September 2011 an estimated 119.2 million tyres were produced in India by 39 tyre companies; the 10 largest manufacturers produced 95% of the total. Truck and bus tyres accounted for 65% of the tyre industry turnover, with the replacement market making up around 70% of this.

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Tyre companies seek financial support


wo start-up companies, Galileo Wheel and SciTech Industries, are seeking support for their new tyre innovations: CupWheel and an airless tyre respectively. According to Avishay Novoplanski, Founder and Chief Technical Officer of Israel-based Galileo, the firm’s CupWheel tyre eliminates some of the boundaries of traditional tyres because it requires very little air and has an integral run-flat capability. Other advantages of the tyre include a bigger footprint than pneumatic tyres, better load distribution, greater traction, higher efficiency, increased safety and a smoother ride, he said. SciTech, meanwhile, has innovated a completely airless tyre and is very close to having it ready for commercial production, said Michael Moon, Vice-President of Engineering at SciTech. The design is based on the works of Gyula Subotics, the former R&D head of the now-defunct Taurus tyre company in Hungary. Ten years of development work has produced a radical, patented new tyre design with supports made from a thermoplastic glass fibre composite that has never before been used in the tyre industry, the firm says. A tyre design was moulded at a contract tyre factory in Eastern Europe and tested successfully, on a standard rim, at a laboratory in the US. SciTech believes its tyre will improve vehicle fuel economy by as much as 2%, thanks to less sidewall flex than pneumatic tyres, according to Moon. The tyre never runs hot, and the absence of air eliminates slow leaks and tread separations caused by under inflation.

Tyre News The company also has successfully retreaded the airless tyre, using both pre-cure and mould-cure technologies.

Meeting OTR tyre shortage


S-based Xtreme OTR Tire and Bridgestone Americas are launching OTR (off-the-road) tyre projects to help meet the global shortfall. The worldwide shortage of giant OTR tyres is having a negative impact on production in the mining and construction industries, which consume a substantial amount of the OTR tyre supply. Companies needing replacement tyres are said to be having a difficult time finding any substantial inventory of OTR radial or bias tyres for their heavy equipment and it is for this reason that Xtreme OTR Tires says it has entered the market with its wide range of tyres. Meanwhile, Bridgestone is embarking on a US$19.5 million expansion project at its OTR plant. Expected to be completed in mid2013, the additional capacity will go primarily to the production of tyres used in the heavy industry. The investment follows a September 2011 announcement of a US$1.3 billion investment in tyre plants in Aiken County; Warren County and Des Moines as well as an expansion by parent company Bridgestone at its steel cord plant in Clarksville.

Rubber Journal Asia Corporate Profile

Synthomer eyeing Asia for expansion The investment above follows a major expansion of the 100,000 tonne/year-acrylonitrile butadiene latex (XNBR) facility, also in Pasir Gudang, to support increasing customer demand from the fast expanding synthetic latex glove market. Catlow added that when completed, the facility will be the world’s largest for nitrile latex. At present, a bulk of the company’s production of nitrile latex comes from Asia. It has a 40% share of the global market, which is estimated to be 550,000 tonnes. “We are the world’s largest supplier of nitrile latex,” affirmed Catlow, adding that most of the output is used to make nitrile gloves for the medical and healthcare sectors. The world market for nitrile latex is seen to be growing at 15% a year. The firm has eight plants in Malaysia on four different sites. Its site in Kluang, Johor, alone houses five independent plants. “We have expanded every year since 2007. From 45,000 tonnes, the Synthomer plant in Kluang has expanded to 120,000 tonnes of nitrile latex. With the acquisition of PolymerLatex, we have added another 100,000 tonnes and today we have a capacity of 220,000 tonnes of nitrile latex,” said Catlow. By 2013, the combined capacity of the Pasir Gudang and Kluang plants will be 300,000 tonnes/year. Synthomer also makes high solid styrene-butadienecopolymer (HS-SBR), for producing textile floor coverings and latex foam mattresses, as well as acrylic and vinyl dispersions that are used in surface coatings.

UK-headquartered synthetic dispersions and latices manufacturer Synthomer Asia, which is part of the public-listed British firm Yule Catto, is increasingly looking to China and the rest of Asia to expand its business across the region, says Dr Brendan Catlow, Asia Managing Director, in this interview with Lyn Cacha.

Boosting output in Malaysia ured by investment incentives and a rosy outlook, Synthomer has expanded its business across the region by investing in its first carboxylated styrene-butadiene rubber (XSBR) facility in Asia. The 70,000-tonne/year plant, located at the company’s Pasir Gudang facility in Malaysia, will be operational by the first quarter of 2013. Synthomer’s XSBR is used by the paper and board coating and construction sectors. “The Asian coated paper industry is growing rapidly, particularly in China, Indonesia and India, and our choice of Pasir Gudang for this investment reflects its ideal location for raw material supply and outbound logistics,” said Catlow.


Synthomer’s nitrile plant in Pasir Gudang

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Rubber Journal Asia Corporate Profile the world. With over thousands of paper makers, the sector produced about 86 million tonnes while over 80 million tonnes were consumed in 2010, according to industry figures. The annual growth rate is expected to reach more than 10%. Catlow cites the rising middle class and urbanisation as driving factors for increased paper consumption in China. Meanwhile, Catlow describes India as “a market of considerable interest” although the firm has no plans to set up a facility just yet. “We’re setting up businesses in the right locations to enable us to practice cost-effective production and to collaborate closely with our customers and suppliers,” he added. Catlow, who has 25 years experience in the chemical industry, reinforced the message that commercial success can only happen through detailed understanding of customer needs and perceptions.

Growth to follow he company has invested over EUR50 million in the capacity expansions in both the Malaysian XNBR and XSBR latice facilities this year alone, attesting to its commitment to the region. The investments are also in line with the firm’s goal of achieving more sales from emerging markets and towards its vision of being the third Brendan Catlow says with largest emulsion polymer the recent investments, company globally. “By 2015, we aim to establish the firm is developing Malaysia as a platform a number one or two position in our chosen markets and to serve customers in the geographies, with half our sales entire Asian region being generated from emerging markets such as China, Indonesia and India,” added Catlow. Over the next three years, the company has forecast a 5% YoY EBIT growth. It had a turnover of EUR1.45 billion last year, with Europe accounting for 55%, followed by the Middle East and Africa (10%), Americas (4%) and Eastern Europe (4%). Its sales in Asia alone reached EUR400 million or 27% of the total pie. In terms of products, the company’s SBR accounted for 31%, followed by dispersions with 23%, specialities with 22%, NBR with 19% and compounds with 5%. “After the acquisition of PolymerLatex in 2010, we doubled our capacity making us an important global player in our markets. We’re now among the top five suppliers of synthetic polymers and this was achieved by having organised the firm into six business units,” explained Catlow. (Parent company Yule Catto paid EUR443 million to acquire its German competitor PolymerLatex to expand its rubber chemicals empire.) Synthomer’s business units comprise construction and coatings (23%); health and protection (22%), followed by carpet, compounds and foam (19%), paper (15%), functional polymers (14%) and performance polymers.


Innovations to boost sales n terms of R&D directions, the company has longterm technological and logistics partnerships with local organisations and universities. In Malaysia, Synthomer works with University Technology Malaysia (UTM) though Catlow did not go into the details. When asked how much is allocated towards R&D, Catlow said, “How much we spend on R&D is almost irrelevant. The true measure we use is the percentage of total sales from new products introduced and last year it was more than 60% for XNBR.” He added, “For the health and protection market, we’re looking to improve our offer of nitrile latex. Generally, we’re improving the performance of our existing products and also testing and differentiating as well as introducing new features according to market needs.” In conclusion, Catlow highlighted the need for flexibility in achieving innovations, stating that many successful ideas came from collaborations.


Businesses in the right locations or the past five years, Synthomer has had a sales office in Guangzhou, China. Taking a big step forward, it established a trade office in Shanghai in January this year. Staffed with about 17 professionals, the office provides technical support to clients in the region. Catlow said that staff population will double over the next 12 months. The additional resources will also cater to the growing coated paper industry in China, where paper and paperboard production is the second largest in


Analytical laboratory at Synthomer’s global technical centre in Kluang

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Rubber Journal Asia Tyres

Green tyres to roll out sustainability and efficiency For years, the latex harvests in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, which account for more than 90% of global production, have not come close to meeting t h e i n c r e a s i n g demand even though rubber planters increased supply by 9% last year. Plus, the projects that are being undertaken in the US and Europe on natural rubber alternatives like guayule and Lanxess’s Ron the Russian dandelion may Commander’s prediction take years to fully materialise. of higher global rubber According to Pongsak Kerdvongbundit, President of consumption is supported the Thai Rubber Association, bad by IRSG’s figures of an weather conditions and the increase of 4% in 2011. lack of skilled workers have Of the increase, synthetic hampered tree-tapping across rubber consumption Asian plantations. In Thailand, went up by 6%, said about 30% of output this year Commander will be wasted due to planting on the wrong type of land. “Global production will lag behind soaring demand in the next few years,” he predicted at the summit. Threatened by less plantation areas and low yields, the National Association of Smallholders President Aliasak Ambia said that Malaysia’s rubber plantations shrunk from 17 trillion sq m to 10 trillion sq m, which the government is trying to maintain. This is certainly a challenge for the tyre industry since natural rubber accounts for as much as 40% of a tyre’s weight, said Michel Rollier, former Managing Chairman of French tyre maker Michelin. “Replacement of natural rubber by synthetic rubber is limited and slow because of its unique properties.” Another major grower of rubber, India has reached a plateau when it comes to planting. “Planters should leverage on genetic modification and biotechnology to produce high-yielding varieties that help maximise returns,” said India Rubber Board chairperson Sheela Thomas. Meanwhile, Fahnemann said that reviving natural rubber’s glory days would also call for a series of actions that include banning illegal clearing and introducing a certification system that would assess the whole value chain from tree planning, tapping and collecting latex to the endproduct.

At this year’s World Rubber Summit, which was hosted by the International Rubber Study Group and held from 23 to 24 May in Singapore, it was noted that tyre manufacturers are continuing to develop and improve tyres to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions, says Lyn Cacha in this report.


ore vehicles are expected on the roads this year, especially in China, Brazil and India. “About 900 million cars will need tyres,” said Thomas Fahnemann, CEO of Semperit, an Austrian company that makes industrial hoses as well as gloves. He also said this requirement will definitely boost the natural and synthetic rubber sectors. With this and the European Union’s tyre labelling system, which will become effective this year, the demand for green tyres will certainly be increased. The labelling of tyre performance comes as no surprise as tyres contribute about 30% of a passenger car’s fuel consumption and 24% of carbon dioxide emissions, according to speciality chemicals firm Lanxess that supplies its synthetic rubber to major tyre makers. Meanwhile, Jens Barvencik, Group Purchasing Exterior Manager at vehicle maker Volkswagen, observed that more buyers are choosing bigger tyres. “The preference towards high-performance tyres instead of the standard has also boosted demand for tyres in the automotive replacement market,” he added. Pressing issues in natural rubber supply espite the good news, some industry leaders pointed out the challenges this growth poses. The world market will consume 25 million tonnes/ year of rubber and 60% of it will come from Asia, forecasted Magnus Bocker, CEO of the Singapore Exchange. “How will rubber suppliers be able to facilitate this?” he asked during his presentation at the World Rubber Summit. As natural rubber is indispensable to many industries, including the tyre industry, it is not possible to simply replace it with a synthetic variant.


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Rubber Journal Asia Tyres With this assistance, Cambodia has increased the number of approved agricultural projects. P lus, its potential for rubber cultivation, coupled with demand led to significant increase in foreign investments. Last year, it approved projects worth US$674 million. Aside from doing research, Bridgestone, together with the Agriculture and Technology department of Tokyo University and Kyushu University, has spent the last two years developing a preventive solution for white root disease, which is a leading cause of the death of rubber trees. The result is a simple diagnostic technique that uses infrared technology.

Building a sustainable rubber economy s though the shortage of natural rubber is not enough, the development of new tyre technologies that will contribute to the realisation of a sustainable society is another pressing issue, as emphasised by Shoshi Arakawa, Japanese tyre maker Bridgestone’s Board Chairman. He said that the group sees the potential to Bridgestone’s Shoshi significantly lessen the impact Arakawa says part of on the environment by ensuring the firm’s long-term that both ends of the spectrum – environmental goals customers and rubber producers – are kept satisfied. And then towards 2050 is to only can a truly sustainable develop synthetic rubber, economy be realised. carbon black and rubber Arakawa said that the firm’s compounding agents concept of a 100% sustainable that can be created from tyre encompasses major areas biomass materials such as improved vehicle efficiency (carbon emission reduction) safety, enhanced reuse, reduction and recyclability (through retread, half weight and runflat technologies), and resource diversification and renewability. In terms of the latter, Bridgestone shared how it has leveraged its technical capabilities, as well as diversified and expanded the range of renewable resources it uses in the production of tyres. Further, it has also diversified the regions in which it produces natural rubber and expanded the range of plant fibres it uses in its tyres. Collaboration and cooperation with smallholders is important, said Arakawa. He presented how the company has helped contribute to the livelihoods and preservation of biodiversity through activities that include donating high-yielding clones, providing training for proper tapping and improving postharvesting methods. Last year, the firm conducted a research project on natural rubber with Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and the Indonesian Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology to develop methods to increase the production of natural rubber in Indonesia, the world’s second largest producer of the polymer. Cambodia, another potential rubber-producing country, also constructed and strengthened its qualifying certification system through the help of Bridgestone, the Cambodia Rubber Research Institute and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Overseas Development Cooperation and Rubber Manufacturers Association.


A brighter future for synthetic rubber rea shortage and unskilled labour in the natural rubber industry, combined with climate change issues, raises a complex and somewhat speculative question as to the future of synthetic rubber – can it meet the rising demand? Taking on the affirmative, Germany-based Lanxess predicts a promising future for the synthetic rubber industry driven mainly by global megatrends of green mobility and rapid urbanisation. Ron Commander, Global Head for the Butyl Rubber Business Unit, shared Lanxess’s plans to ramp up its global production capacity, including an overview of the company’s two upcoming facilities in Singapore for butyl rubber and neodymium polybutadiene that will come on stream in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Commander also shared the company’s solutions and technologies for sustainable synthetic rubber production. “We’ve made investments of about SG$34 million in the development of a biobased isobutene. We have developed a dehydration process that converts corn-based isobutanol to isobutene.” Commander added that this rubber is of the highest quality and meets the industry’s entire specifications. On an industrial level, Lanxess has embarked on a project to transform its Sarnia facility in Canada to use biobased raw materials, which it expects to account for 50% of synthetic rubber production. “At our plant in Brazil, we are beginning to produce EPDM rubber made from ethylene derived from sugar cane,” said Commander. It will be manufacturing 10,000 tonnes of biobased rubber. At the summit, Commander concluded that in the future, synthetic rubber will become even more important than it is now. The reason is that the world is facing an energy crisis – fossil fuels are increasingly difficult to exploit and global warming is calling for alternative sources.


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Rubber Journal Asia Reclaimed Rubber

Turning waste into profit

The growing quantity of used and waste latex gloves has posed an environmental problem for many years. Following the success of its ultrafine black carbon filler for PVC and PU resins, low SG Pura Carbon, and Pura Cell, a powdered or granular rubber, PT Pura Agung, an Indonesian specialist in reclaimed rubber, unveiled its latest white reclaimed rubber made of used and waste latex gloves at this year’s Chinaplas event in April, says Lyn Cacha in this report.

Robert Mulyono Putra says that the business has been growing every year

We strive for excellence by continually providing innovative products as well as coming up with solutions that help address the rubber wastage and raw material shortage problem,” said Robert Mulyono Putra, Managing Director and Co-Founder, adding that there is enormous potential for reclamation and reuse of rubber in developing countries such as China. “This reclaimed white rubber is available in a prime grade material. It is odourless and does not contain any harmful processing agents. It The firm displayed its full product range of can be used for shoe soles and for a wide range reclaimed rubber at the Chinaplas event of rubber applications,” said Robert, adding that it is easy to use due to its neat packaging that allows for faster compounding. The rejected and waste latex gloves are sourced locally from glove manufacturers and hospitals. “Producing rubber from reclaim actually requires less energy in the total production process than virgin material,” he added. The firm uses a patented vulcanised process to produce its materials, unlike the standard devulcanised process. “We also use the latest German technology, assuring a better quality and consistency of our products,” explained Robert. However, despite the obvious incentives to reduce compounding cost and to conserve raw materials and energy, the use of reclaim rubber constitutes only a very small percentage of raw material consumption. “Contrary to popular belief, reclaimed rubber has some properties that are better than those of virgin rubber,” said Robert. The company’s products come in Super, Prime and Ecco grades and boast good dispersion ability, surface quality and compression set. Other benefits include lower processing temperature, shorter breakdown in mixing, minimum reversion, ageing properties and improved dimensional stability. “For the tyre industry, we recommend the Super grade that is widely used in truck tyres and tread rubber. Prime grades are mostly used in automotive tyres, rubber mats and also rubber moulded goods. The Ecco grade is commonly used in rubber belts, sheets, tyres, flaps and floor mats.” Robert explained that the reclaimed rubber products can also be used as alternatives to using conventional fillers, such as calcium carbonate and china clay. In the business for the past six years, the company is one of the largest manufacturers of reclaimed rubber, crumb rubber, carbon black and carbon filler. According to Robert, the rubber crumb or powder is among the cleanest in the market as it contains less than 1% impurities, with granules available in 3-6 mm sizes. Located in Surabaya Margomulyo Industrial Area, the company’s first factory spanned 5,000 sq m and had only 50 employees. In 2008, it moved 50 km to the west of Surabaya city and today, the ISO9001-certified facility spans an area of 6 ha with about 250 workers. The company also recently increased its manufacturing capacity to reach 5,000 tonnes/month. In terms of R&D, Robert said that the firm is looking to further improve the tensile strength, elongation and surface smoothness of its reclaimed rubber products. “We will try our best to serve the demands of all our clients globally.” The company is also developing new products suitable for ship chain stoppers. It ships about 70% of its total output to overseas markets, including Japan, Columbia, Turkey, Austria, Peru, Czech Republic, India, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, as well as the legislation-abiding markets of Europe and the US. “We have supplied our material to many well-known tyre brands in Europe so our products have passed the stringent quality requirements of the European market,” concluded Robert. 11

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2012 Events 18 - 20 JULY Propak China Venue: Shanghai New International Expo Centre, China Tel: +86 21 6209 5209 Fax: +86 21 6209 5210 Email: Internet: 19 - 22 JULY M’sia Plas Venue: Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel: +603 9132 1922 Fax: +603 9133 1920 Email: Internet: 10 - 12 AUGUST Sri Lanka Plast Venue: Sri Lanka Exhibition & Convention Centre, Colombo, Sri Lanka Tel: +91 97890 95247 Email: Internet: 17 - 20 AUGUST Camboplas Venue: Diamond Island Convention & Exhibition Centre, Phnom Penh, Cambodia Tel: +886 2 2659 6000 Fax: +886 2 2659 7000 Email: Internet: 4 - 6 SEPTEMBER International Rubber Glove Conference and Exhibition Venue: Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia Tel: +603 7727 3197 Fax: +603 7727 3191 Email: Internet: 21 - 25 SEPTEMBER Taipei Plas Taipei World Trade Centre Nangang Exhibition Hall, Taiwan Tel: +886 2 2725 5200 Fax: +886 2 2757 6245 Email: Internet: 22 - 25 SEPTEMBER China Pec Venue: Taizhou International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Zhejiang, China Tel: +86 576 8253 1122 Fax: +86 576 8253 1016 Email: Internet:


5 - 8 OCTOBER Indplas Venue: Science City Ground, Kolkata, India Tel: +91 33 2217 5699 Fax: +91 33 2217 6005 Email: Internet: 10 - 13 OCTOBER Propak Indonesia Venue: Jakarta International Expo Kemayoran, Indonesia Tel: +62 21 316 2001 Fax: +62 21 316 1981 Email: Internet: 10 - 13 OCTOBER Plastics Philippines Venue: SMX Convention Centre, Pasay City, Philippines Tel: +63 2 750 8588 Fax: +632 750 8585 Email: Internet: 16 - 20 OCTOBER Fakuma Venue: Friedrichshafen Messegelande, Germany Tel: +49 (0)702 592 06 0 Fax: +49 (0)702 592 06 620 Email: Internet: 18 - 20 OCTOBER AP Plas Venue: Binhai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Tianjin, China Tel: +86 10 6603 9351 Fax: +86 10 6606 7681 Email: Internet: 1 - 3 NOVEMBER India Composites Show Venue: Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India Tel: +91 997 1600355 Fax: +91 120 4273922 Email: Internet:

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