PRA June-July 2014 Edition

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

In this issue

Volume 29, No 206

publlshed slnce 1985

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

Features 焦 點 內 容 16 材料新聞: 頁岩氣帶動生物基化學品 18 Cover Feature

Publisher Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 Email:

22 Packaging

Associate Publisher/Editor Tej Fernandez Tel: +60 3 4260 4575 Email:

With a focus on the Asian market, Mitsui Chemicals has undertaken a number of capacity expansions in recent years, to meet the demand for its products for the packaging sector DuPont Packaging and Industrial Polymers is collaborating with market players and machine suppliers to expand the possibilities for new packaging innovations and technology

24 Thermoforming Machinery

European suppliers of thermoforming machinery are racking up sales in Asia

26 Taiwanese Machinery and Technology

For Taiwanese machinery makers, China remains its biggest market as well as the gateway to other markets worldwide, said exhibitors interviewed at the Chinaplas show in April

Chinese Editor Koh Bee Ling Circulation Abril Castro Email:

28 Country Focus

Admin & Finance Manager Tean Arul Email:

30 Corporate Profile

Singapore Office Contact: Anthony Chan Tel: +65 63457368 Email:

Though India’s growing consumption power is driving its packaging sector, the new government has an uphill task to iron out infrastructure issues As auxiliary equipment maker Piovan celebrates its 50th anniversary in business, it takes a look back and shares its vision for the future


Regulars 概 要

ISSN 1360-1245

MCI (P) 029/08/2013

4 Industry News

Printer KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd

6 Machinery News 8 Composites

is published 8 times a year in Mandarin and English by Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV.

10 Materials News 12 業界新聞

Supplements 副 刊 Technology-driven concept cars are inspiring the automotive sector’s present and future A solution to an age-old problem of discarding end-of-life tyres is solved by recycling PRINT+DIGITAL

Mitusi Chemicals’s innovative packaging materials cater to the broad sector of the packaging industry

Connect @ JUNE / JULY 2014

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. © 2014 Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or used in any form, or by any means, without specific prior permission from the publisher. PRA is circulated free to trade readers in the plastics and rubber industry. Airmail subscriptions are available at US$160 within Asia and US$250 to all other countries outside Asia.

On the Cover



Editorial/Production Coordinator Angelica Buan Email:

is a member of ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation)

Industry News


100% stake in Artenius TurkPET, based in Adana, Turkey. Artenius, which had been part of insolvent Spanish company La Seda de Barcelona, produces 130,000 tonnes/year of PET resin. IVL had in April announced a 51% stake in another Turkish PET producer SASA Polyester Sanayi.

• Global packaging giant Amcor, with headquarters in Australia, is acquiring Bella Prima Packaging, an Indonesian flexible packaging business for A$27 million. The investment is reported to be seven times the calendar 2013 earnings of Amcor before EBITDA. • US compounder A. Schulman is purchasing a selected majority of the assets of the Specialty Plastics business segment of Ferro for US$91 million in cash, including four facilities located in the US as well as operations in Spain but excluding its plastics business and operations in Edison (US) and Carabobo (Venezuela). • Thailand-headquartered polyester value chain producer Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL) has acquired a

• Following clearance from the European Commission, Ineos Enterprises has completed the purchase of Sasol Solvents Germany. The acquisition includes production facilities at Moers on the Lower Rhine, and Herne in Germany's industrial Ruhr district. Both sites and their products will now be integrated into the new business to be called Ineos Solvents, a part of Ineos. The latter will also continue to operate the maleic anhydride plant at the Moers site for the

ongoing joint venture between Sasol and Huntsman. • US-based colour/additive masterbatch supplier Ampacet Corporation is to acquire Australiaheadquartered Allied Color and Additives (ACA), which specialises in colour and functional additive masterbatch for the Australian and New Zealand markets. Ampacet has 22 manufacturing sites located in 15 countries. • US-based Westlake Chemical Corporation is to acquire German company Vinnolit Holdings and its subsidiaries for EUR490 million, from private equity firm Advent International. Vinnolit is an integrated global leader in speciality PVC resins. • Privately held US firm Koch Industries is acquiring PetroLogistics,

New plant set-ups/Capacity increases • Sabic and South Korean petrochemical company, SK Global Chemical, are investing US$595 million in a 50/50 joint venture company to manufacture a range of high-performance polyethylene products using SK’s Nexlene solution technology. To be based in Singapore, the joint venture is expected to operate a series of manufacturing plants, the first of which was recently completed by SK at its complex in Ulsan, South Korea, with


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an expected capacity of 230,000 tonnes/year; while a second plant is planned for Saudi Arabia. This is Sabic’s second investment in manufacturing capability in Asia. The first was its partnership with China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec).

• Ineos Olefins & Polymers USA and Sasol Chemicals North America have formed a 50/50 joint venture to build a HDPE plant in LaPorte, Texas. Plant start-up

is expected in 2016. The joint venture will produce 470 kilotonnes/ year of bimodal HDPE using Innovene S process technology licensed from Ineos Technologies. The ethylene required for the production of the HDPE will be supplied by Ineos and Sasol in proportion to their respective ownership positions. • US speciality materials company firm Celanese Corporation has opened a technology centre in Pangyo, South Korea,

through subsidiary Fling Hills Resources, for US$2.1 billion, including debt. PetroLogistics owns and operates the only propane dehydrogenation facility in the US, and its plant is among the largest of its kind in the world. The facility began operations in 2010 and has an annual production capacity of approximately 1.45 billion pounds. With the acquisition, Koch will be able to convert shale gas into propylene for petrochemicals. • German chemicals firm BASF and Chinese extrusion machinery maker Guangdong Jinming Machinery have signed a strategic partnership that will offer flexible film manufacturers a complete solution including BASF’s Ultramid polyamide combined with Guangdong Jinming’s extrusion machinery technology, the firms say. which will support industries such as electrical and electronics, automotive, consumer products, and information technology, as well as the emerging markets of life sciences, robotics and semiconductors. This is its second R&D facility in Asia, following the Shanghai research centre established in 2010. • Swiss speciality chemicals firm Clariant has doubled its masterbatch and pigments capacity at its Tangerang facility in Indonesia. Last year, the Southeast Asian market

INDUSTRY News accounted for 30% of Clariant’s sales in Asia and 7% of global sales. • Tooling solutions provider for the injection moulding industry, StackTeck, has doubled its hard milling capacity in the last three years, with high speed specialised machines that are capable of reaching up to 42,000 RPM spindle speed. A recent acquisition for its plate machining line includes, what it says are, the largest machines in North America with grinding capacity of 1x2 m. In its test facilities, it has also recently added a new Netstal ELION 4200. • Samsung Cheil Industries Chemical has completed the construction of a new engineering plastics (EP) factory in Dongguan, China. It will have a capacity of 27,000 tonnes/ year. The company now runs two factories in China, in Dongguan and Tianjin; and one in Yeosu, South Korea. • US dispensing equipment supplier Nordson has broken ground on a new 115,000 sq ft-facility, in Loveland, Colorado, to meet growing demand in medical end markets for its singleuse plastic-moulded fluid management components. • Hot runner maker Incoe has opened its latest facility in Germany, joining other recent expansion projects in China and the US. Full operations are anticipated to commence

in the first half of 2015. • Athena Automation, a Canadian preform machine maker, recently broke ground for a new systems centre for machine assembly and integration. The 14,400 sq m plant, which is located next to Athena’s current research and assembly facility in Vaughan, Ontario, will feature mould trials, a quality control laboratory and an office area. The plant will allow Athena to ship more customised machines starting in 2016, assemble higher-tonnage machines, and showcase “lights-out” plant engineering services. • Facing rising costs in China and Malaysia, Singaporean tooling, mould and plastic products maker Sunningdale Tech has set up a company in Brazil. Sunningdale Tech Plásticos (Brasil) will start up in the third quarter of this year “barring any unforeseen circumstances”. Sunningdale also operates a facility in Mexico. • Global vehicle interiors supplier International Automotive Components (IAC) has opened its Asia headquarters in Shanghai. In addition to housing a technical centre, the 30,000-sq ft headquarters will host the region’s administrative activities along with global and domestic design/engineering, procurement and manufacturing.

Machinery News

China bolsters sales for machinery China is still a leading market for made-in-Germany machinery, even with its slower growth. Meanwhile, domestic-based machinery supplier Jinming is expanding its innovation level, to up its ante in the technology sector. VDMA anticipates lower sales in 2014 Germany’s plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers expect sales to increase by 3% in the current year, meaning that output will hit the EUR7 billion mark for the first time. But this is lower than the 6% growth pointed out by Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association (VDMA), at the K2013 show last year. In 2013, output growth amounted to 3.9%, while exports were up by 4.3%. Both figures set new records for the industry, while in 2015, sales are set to rise by 4% to just under EUR7.3 billion. Sales to foreign customers are set to record small increases in both 2014 and 2015. “The outlook for the industry’s two most important markets, China and the US, continues to be positive, even though the very high recent growth rates will level off,” confirms Thorsten Kühmann, Managing Director of the Association. “However, the trend in deliveries to Russia, Brazil, Turkey and India is markedly negative. In Russia, the third largest sales market of the past few years, the potential effects of the political crisis surrounding Ukraine are not yet reflected in the figures at all.” Meanwhile, the order intake from Germany has been gaining momentum again for several months now with growth rates well ahead of those recorded for foreign orders. Even with the lower sales growth expected, German foreign deliveries of plastics and rubber machinery have achieved a small increase in their share of global exports. Almost a quarter of all machines exported (24.5%) was

manufactured in Germany; China ranks second, a long way behind, with a share of 12.3%, Japan is third with 9.9% and Italy fourth with a 9.1% share. Large machinery for producing washing machine tubs One company that is adding on to the increase in sales of the German sector is injection moulding machine maker KraussMaffei, which recently inaugurated the second phase of its Chinese plant in Haiyan. The German machine maker is supplying four injection moulding machines, manufactured in China, to BSH Bosch and Siemens Hausgeräte (BSH)’s facility in China. The large MX series machines will be delivered to the BSH facility in Nanjing where they will be used to produce washing-machine tubs. BSH Nanjing has already been using linear robots from KraussMaffei since 2008. BSH manufactures these tubs in three large plants in Russia, Turkey and China. Two of the four new large machines from the MX series were put into operation back in February 2014. The other two MX850-8100 machines will be installed soon. The BSH laundry experts decided to use the fully automated injection moulding solutions with LRX linear robots. Once the metal bushings required for the tub have been checked, the LRX500 is used to place them into the mould and remove the finished parts. Bushings of varying diameters are needed depending on the size of the tub being made, and the robots provide these bushings. Getting this right is especially important because the accuracy of the bushing/bearing unit design is a decisive factor in the longevity of the washing machines. From its production plant in Haiyan, KraussMaffei says it supplies production solutions that are specially tailored to the needs of Asian customers and meet the company's globally applicable quality standards. The MX series of large machines, which are manufactured and assembled locally in China, are designed for use in the automotive, electronics, packaging and transport industries.

KraussMaffei’s MX series, manufactured in China, is supplied for the production of washing tubs


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Machinery News Jinming takes on technology role in China Established in 1987, Chinese extrusion machinery maker Guangdong Jinming Machinery has taken the well-travelled path. One of the leading providers of blown film lines, cast film lines and blow moulding machines in China, it now has a clear view of its market, said Alu Wyen Chan, Overseas Sales Director. “We now know where we are placed in the industry. We are competing not only with European machine makers but also with the American, Indian, Taiwanese and other Chinese equipment makers,” said Chan, speaking at the April-held Chinaplas show. Chan claimed that Jinming had positioned itself as close to the top in the extrusion machinery market, “near to Italian extrusion machine makers.” Marcelo Lu, Vice-President of Polyamide and Precursors, Monomers Asia With this positioning, it has a commitment Pacific, BASF and Ma Zhenxin, Chairman of Jinming, signed the strategic to its customers, which is to continuously partnership agreement recently focus on new technology. One of its newest innovations is the five-layer dedicated polyolefin (POD) “The POD line was the first step for us. Now, we blown film line. are developing a new formulation for a five-layer line, L a s t y e a r, a t t h e K 2 0 1 3 s h o w i n G e r m a n y, i t specifically targeting the packaging industry. It will be collaborated with US materials supplier ExxonMobil paired with a 500-mm die and the expected output will Chemical on a POD machine run, purported to lower be 900-1,000 kg/hour,” claimed Chan. costs and save on materials. “Our aim is to sell not just machinery but Jinming’s blown film machine was running a fiveapplications,” said Chan. layer POD structure for collation shrink multipack display In line with its technology focus, and in parallel to film with ExxonMobil’s Exceed and Enable metallocene its cooperation with ExxonMobil Chemical, Jinming PE (mPE) resins. The shrink multipack display film recently tied up with German chemicals firm BASF included Enable mPE resin-based sub-skin sandwich to jointly develop solutions for the co-extrusion layers and Exceed mPE resin-based outer layers. film industry. The partnership will offer flexible film “It has nice distribution layers: with a big core layer, manufacturers a complete solution including BASF’s which is not small, and skin layers,” explained Chan. Ultramid polyamide combined with the Chinese Though the five-layer technology is not totally new supplier’s extrusion machinery technology. in the industry since barrier resins have been used Marcelo Lu, Vice President, Polyamides and before, now Jinming’s five-layer die has been optimised P r e c u r s o r s A s i a P a c i f i c , B A S F, s a i d t h a t w i t h t h e for dedicated POD film structures. cooperation, BASF expects its solutions to come faster Chan said that Jinming was the first Chinese into the market, as well as “enhance film functionality, extrusion machinery maker to introduce the five-layer optimise production process, and reduce waste and POD line in China. cost during trials.” “Over the last six months, we have received Both companies will carry out a wide range of tests an encouraging number of orders from Chinese and trials to provide customised Ultramid formulation customers,” he said, though not disclosing how many for each multi-layer film type and equipment to flexible orders it had received. film producers. “Packaging film for the food and household goods “We are dedicated to developing our enterprise sectors is a big trend in China now. Plus, the POD through science and technological advancement. line allows for downgauging and offers the ability to We see technical know-how and expertise as game adjust material distribution to lower costs. The average changers in the co-extrusion film market,” said Ma formulation cost will be lower and this is a big advantage Zhenxin, Chairman of Jinming. “By working closely with for processors.” BASF, it will not only greatly enhance our international Jinming also has a three-layer line for a 170-micron competitiveness and improve our technical skills along liquid packaging film. “It uses 13% less material,” the value chain, but also add value to the domestic claimed Chan. flexible packaging industry.” The CE, ISO9001 and ISO14001-certified company, This cooperation will also include a joint marketing which exports almost 50% of its output, with a value of campaign, the development of new applications in food up to US$10 million, is also launching a new technology and industrial packaging, comprehensive testing of film this year, according to Chan. structures and material and equipment matching. JUNE / JULY 2014



Composites take centrestage Composites use is growing in Asia, particularly in China. The industry is also marked by a flurry of activities, including tie-ups for advancements and replacement of metals by thermoplastic composites.

GRP composites growing in Asia The glass fibre reinforced plastic (GRP) composites market is expected to be worth US$45.12 billion by 2019, with China showing the highest growth rates, according to a report from MarketsandMarkets. Glass fibre accounts for about 90% of the reinforcements used in composites consumption globally. China is the leading consumer of GRP products globally, and the largest supplier, estimated to grow at a CAGR above the global average, to 2019. China and India have enormous potential whereas the US and European countries are leading in R&D of high performance glass fibre products. GRP composites are widely used in the transportation and infrastructure as well as construction sectors. The demand for renewable energy in the form of wind turbines, and for lightweight fuel efficient aircraft and cars, plus the demand for GRP pipe, tanks and other corrosion-resistant equipment, are major drivers for their increased use in the coming years. The transportation and aerospace/defence sectors accounted for 49% (by value) of the GRP composites market in 2013. The highest growth is expected from the wind energy and the aerospace/defence markets in the near future. China composites market outpaces the US The American composites market represents 36% of the global composites industry in value (EUR22 billion) and 35% in volume (2.7 million tonnes) of 9 million tonnes of the total composites sector, according to the JEC Group that recently staged the JEC Americas show in Atlanta. But the US is still lagging behind China’s consumption of 2.9 million tonnes, with Europe and Asia, excluding China, both accounting for 1.5 million tonnes in 2013. The increased GDP in the US has also raised the volume of composites per capita around 8-9 kg, whereas it is only 1-2 kg per capita in China, for instance, said the Parisbased composites association. JEC predicts that the global composites sector will grow by 6% a year by volume from 2013-2018. China will account for 45% of that growth rate over the five-year period, nearly twice as much as North America (23%). The composites trade group will hold another JEC Americas in Boston, from 28-29 October, and JEC Asia in Singapore from 17-19 November.

Engel/Fill are cooperating to introduce mass produced FRPs


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Partners tie-up for wood-carbon fibre and mass production processes of FRPs Carbon fibre is strong and light and has many applications but its usage is mainly limited by its high cost. As a result, the material is primarily used in products where performance is more important than price. As such, Swedish research institutes Innventia and Swerea SICOMP are working on carbon fibre from lignin, a wood raw material, with the target of launching it by 2025 for use primarily in advanced composite materials. The firms are planning a joint demonstration facility with a capacity of 50 tonnes/year. Another tie-up comes from Austrian companies Engel and Fill to work together to produce tailored turnkey solutions for the industrial manufacturing of fibrereinforced plastic (FRP) components for automotive lightweight construction. At the moment, the biggest challenge is developing economic processes for the mass production of composite parts.

Composites Injection moulding machine manufacturer Engel will provide its system and automation expertise while Fill will provide experience in preform manufacturing and processing. The two partners have already completed their first projects for international automotive groups successfully. Engel has in 2012 set up its own technology centre for lightweight composites at its large-scale machine factory in St. Valentin, Austria. Composites replacing metals With composites use growing in the transportation sector, the National Composites Centre (NCC) in the UK is investigating FRP use in the new highspeed railway (HS2) network. Working in partnership with Composites UK, the trade association for the UK composites industry, the partners will look at composite overhead line gantries, composite noise barriers, composite architectural roofing and station fittings; and composite bridges for further development. Professor Andrew McNaughton, HS2 Technical Director said, "HS2 has the opportunity to generate significant cost savings through exploring the use of advanced composite materials. Composites are extremely low maintenance and as such can drastically reduce the whole life cost of components. Also being extremely light they can be significantly cheaper to install." The UK government gave the go ahead for HS2 in 2012. It will be a Y-shaped rail network providing direct rail links between London and Birmingham and onto Manchester and Leeds. In other news, US supplier Celanese and wire and cable producer Southwire have developed overhead electric transmission lines made from thermoplastic composites, to replace the traditional aluminium conductor and steel-reinforced lines. Called the C-7 Overhead Conductor, the power line uses a bundled strand composite core of Celstran long fibre-reinforced thermoplastics combined with heatresistant Fortron polyphenylene sulphide, and capped with a layer of PEEK (polyetherether ketone). The bundle of cables is encased in jacketing made of an aluminium-zirconium alloy.

The C-7 Overhead Conductor features a multi-strand composite core of CFR-TPR to achieve flexibility, reliability and ruggedness

Benefits include a minimal increase in line sag under high power transfer, thanks to minimised thermal expansion. The so-called stranded core design means there is no single point of possible failure, which can happen with monolithic cable constructions. The life expectancy of the composite wire is also more than 40 years.

Sabic and Kringlan are developing the world’s first thermoplastic carbon composite wheel

Another use of thermoplastic composite comes from Sabic and Kringlan Composites’s plans to develop the world’s first thermoplastic composite wheel. The new project uses Sabic’s Ultem resin system and Kringlan’s three-dimensional (3D) composite design processes to create a solution that can be used to replace metal and aluminium. The significant weight savings made possible through Kringlan’s wheel design, coupled with the ground-breaking material technology employed, can improve fuel economy. The concept also offers a more sustainable solution as emissions can be reduced and the wheel can be manufactured with less environmental impact. The design of the part also provides the flexibility for the wheel to be mounted with traditional metal spokes, or spokes with carbon fibre-reinforced composites, enabling weight savings. The full composite wheel prototype complies with current standards set for metal wheels by the German testing institute TüV, increasing the opportunity to work with other automotive manufacturers for the prototyping of lightweight wheels according to their specific design and specifications. While both companies have been working on a prototype for a German automotive manufacturer, its potential reach extends to multiple industries where weight reduction is a key driver. With this carbon fibre composite, appliance OEMs can replace metal with a lighter and equally strong technology. In washing machines, for example, this new 3D carbon fibre composite technology can reduce the inertia compared to current metal alternatives, saving costs by reducing the number of secondary operations required to develop key parts. JUNE / JULY 2014


GREEN Materials News

Biobased chemicals receive boost from shale gas Biobased chemicals are the unexpected beneficiaries of the North American shale gas boom, says a special report from research firm IHS. Meanwhile, technologies and sustainability factors are driving the market, with feedstock suppliers working with speciality chemicals producers to launch the chemicals.


ugars, glycerine and other plant-derived feedstocks are emerging as economically competitive starting materials for a range of commodity chemicals, in part, the report says, because of tight supplies of conventional feedstocks such as propylene, isobutylene, butadiene and isoprene. The shortfall is due to the shale gas boom. North American ethylene producers have switched from petroleum-derived naphtha to lighter, natural gasbased feedstocks, reducing the output of valuable C3, C4, C5 and pygas co-products. These co-products, in turn, are the starting materials for a variety of chemical intermediates and polymers. Examples include synthetic rubber, an essential material for tyre production, as well as nylon 6.6, used for fibre production and automotive parts, according to the IHS Chemical Special Report: Chemical Building Blocks from Renewables. “Production capacity for renewable chemicals is significant, even though it accounts for a small share of overall chemical production capacity,” said Marifaith Hackett, Director of Speciality Chemicals at IHS Chemical and the report’s lead author. “In 2013, total annual production capacity for renewably sourced chemicals was approximately 113 million tonnes, including nearly 89 million tonnes of ethanol capacity.” Of the biobased chemicals now in commercial production (excluding ethanol), fatty acids accounted for 46% of total global biobased chemical production capacity in 2013, followed by sorbitol at approximately 16%; glycerine at 14%, and fatty alcohols production at 11%. Lactic acid, furfural and several other small-volume chemicals rounded out the biobased production capacity for 2013. Of course, Hackett noted, capacity share varies by chemical. In some cases, biobased chemicals account for a sliver of total (biobased plus fossil fuel-based) production capacity; in other cases, the most widely used production routes rely on renewable feedstocks. Biobased ethylene, for example, accounts for a minuscule share of total production capacity. In contrast, the bulk of glycerine and fatty acid production depends on renewable feedstocks. In the case of glycerine and fatty acids, economics favour the biobased route over the fossil fuel–based.


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Process technologies and sustainability giving the push Hackett also said that as the process technologies for these chemicals evolve, the gap between biobased and fossil fuel-based production costs is shrinking. “The key is that, increasingly, processes based on renewable starting materials provide a critical alternative source of “on-purpose” production for certain chemicals that are in short supply — like butadiene. Tyre and rubber producers, in particular, want to ensure stable long-term supplies of the key chemical precursors for their products, and biobased chemicals have the potential to address that need along with offering greater price stability.” In addition to supply chain considerations, Hackett said, consumer demand and corporate sustainability initiatives are driving the increased use of biobased chemicals. But economics also play a significant impact on demand. “Cost and performance considerations continue to outweigh sustainability in most corporate purchasing decisions. Some manufacturers are willing to pay a premium for the sustainability benefits and customer appeal, but performance of these renewable chemicals has to equal that of their fossil fuel-based equivalents.” Recently, computer giant Dell Inc said it is targeting for 100% of its packaging materials to be made from sustainable materials by 2020. Dell has turned to Newlight Technologies’ to use its AirCarbon plastic for a pilot project to manufacture protective bags out of plastic made not from oil but from carbon pulled out of the air.

Dell will use protective bags made from PHA for its Latitude notebooks

Newlight has been working on plastics such as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) made by biochemical reaction of air with greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. Carbon dioxide is generated in many industrial and power systems, while methane sources can come from landfills or wastewater treatment plants.

Green Materials News Dell says it is the first in the IT industry to use AirCarbon. While the initial pilot project will focus on packaging – specifically for the protective bags for Dell Latitude notebooks shipped to the US and Canada – AirCarbon’s functional flexibility makes it attractive for other possible uses with Dell products. Emergence of suppliers Since these biobased chemicals are derived from agricultural products, the value chain differs significantly from that of the chemical industry, Hackett said. She added that nontraditional players – notably industrial biotechnology firms and start-up companies with focused expertise in chemical catalysis – are emerging as chemical producers. In many cases, these companies are partnering with established agricultural processors and chemical manufacturers to gain access to capital, fermentation or chemical processing expertise, proprietary technology, or feedstocks. Natural fats and oils have, for many years, served as feedstocks for fatty acids and fatty alcohols; starches and sugars are well established starting materials for ethanol, lactic acid and sorbitol. More recently, plant-derived feedstocks have emerged as economically viable starting materials for commodity chemicals such as butanediol, isoprene and paraxylene, as well as for novel chemicals such as 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid and isosorbide. For example, US firm Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is producing propylene glycol from glycerine, a co-product of biodiesel production. ADM is also supplying cornbased isosorbide, an alternative to petroleum-based chemical Bisphenol A, under the brand name of Evolution Chemicals. Germany-based BASF and Dutch firm DSM, both licensees of US-based Genomatica’s technology, are supplying biobased 1,4-butanediol (BDO). Last year, German speciality chemicals firm Lanxess and Genomatica successfully ran a production campaign of biobased PBT using 20 tonnes of biobased BDO. Meanwhile, US firms Invista and LanzaTech are also investigating the production of butadiene in a two-step process from LanzaTech CO2 -derived BDO as a route to biobased butadiene, for Invista’s use in the production of nylon. Another US firm, agricultural processor Cargill Inc, a producer of sorbitol and lactic acid, is developing routes to biobased acrylic acid with Novozymes and BASF. Also from the US, DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products, a joint venture of chemical producer DuPont and food ingredient supplier Tate & Lyle, is now producing biobased 1,3-propanediol, a starting material for fibres and engineering plastics. Gevo Inc produces biobased isobutanol on a commercial scale and biobased paraxylene (a precursor of PET-bottle resin) on a pilot scale. Laihe Rockley Biochemicals produces biobased butanol and acetone from agricultural waste (corn stover and corn cobs). Elsewhere, Solvay, Jiangsu Yangnong Chemical and Vinythai Public Co are producing biobased epichlorohydrin from glycerine.

Meanwhile, BASF also offers its Ultramid S Balance PA6.10, partly based on biobased sebacic acid in a version for monofilament applications. BASF and Dutch firm Purac are also in a joint venture to make biobased succinic acid. Privately held biopolymer maker Meredian and Tate & Lyle have started up pilot production of Meredian’s PHA formulation process. US materials company Novomer has commercialised Converge polypropylene carbonate (PPC) polyols for use in polyurethane formulations. Rigid foam with Novomer PPC polyol produced on a highpressure foam machine with an average cell size of 150 microns

Other companies have also made announcements on similar PPC polyols with German polymers firm Bayer MaterialScience investing EUR15 million into a new production line that will involve the use of carbon dioxide as a building block for polyols and targeting 5,000 tonnes of the material from 2016. Although biobased synthetic rubber from biobased isoprene or biobased butadiene is not yet at commercialscale production, several tyre manufacturers have also formed alliances.

Autotravi, a major South American automotive supplier supplies Marcopolo, a prominent Brazilian bus manufacturer, with window rubber seals made of biobased EPDM Keltan Eco 5470 rubber from Lanxess

Lanxess has also successfully launched a biobased EPDM rubber, which contains 70% of ethylene obtained from sugarcane. JUNE / JULY 2014



WM WRAPPING MACHINERY SA Via Dei Pioppi 3 . CH 6855 Stabio . Switzerland Tel (+41) 91 6407050 . Fax (+41) 91 6407059

see to

19/22 November 2014 - Jakarta

Cover Feature

Innovative packaging materials made for finer living Contributing broadly to society by providing high quality products and services to customers through innovations and the creation of materials, while keeping in harmony with the global environment, have been the aims of Mitsui Chemical Asia Pacific since its inception.



ith a focus on the Asian market, Mitsui Chemicals has completed several projects in recent years including the completion of the second TafmerTM plant based in Singapore (2010). Next was the establishment of the Mitsui Chemicals Singapore R&D Centre (2011); Technical Support Centre (2012) and commissioning of Siam Tohcello Co Ltd production in Thailand (2014). This will be followed by the completion of the new Prime Evolue Singapore Pte Ltd plant in 2015, in an effort to further strengthen the support and presence of the company in the region. “The number of projects in Asia is directly proportional to our belief of the potential that this region holds,” says the company. In line with this, Mitsui Chemicals has also embarked on innovations and presents below a portfolio of its current and future innovations and technologies that it will be bringing to the market.

Mitsui Chemicals Singapore R&D Centre (MS-R&D) Mitsui Chemicals opened its first overseas R&D centre in Singapore in 2011. Mitsui Chemicals Singapore R&D Centre (MS-R&D) works with local partners as a solution provider in the ASEAN region with proprietary technologies in polymeric materials and catalysis science. Since the 1980s, this R&D capability has extended the group’s business opportunities in the region, along with other capabilities for sales, marketing, manufacturing, and technical support. In creating new values with new nanomaterials, MS-R&D is developing unique organic and inorganic nanomaterials (one nanometer is 10-9 m). Examples include:



• Stable polymer nanoparticle dispersion in water Hydrophobic polyethylene (PE) and hydrophilic polyethylene glycol (PEG) are combined together as a block copolymer, which is designed to form a micelle-like nanoparticle having a uniform size (10-20 nm) when dispersed in water. In contrast to low molecular weight surfactants, this particle is stable towards heat (up to 100˚C), pH (1-13), or its concentration. The nanoparticle can encapsulate functional molecules such as water-insoluble 20nm molecules to be dispersed and functional in water [Figure 1]. This material can be used as a material Figure 1. TEM imageimage of PE-PEG Figure 1. TEM of PE-PEG nanoparticles responsive to(a) external stimuli for sensors and probes, smart ink, film and nanoparticles (a) and aqueous dispersions coating, drug delivery and nanoreactor applications. and aqueous dispersions of encapsulated waterof encapsulated water-insoluble dye (b) insoluble dyechemical (b) and (c) fluorescent chemical and fluorescent


• Mesoporous silica MS-R&D’s mesoporous silica has large and uniform pores with the size of 10-20 nm. These pores are arranged in an ordered manner and connected through a narrow channel. Porosity and surface area of the mesoporous silica can be controlled in a wide range (up to 900 m2/g). This mesoporous silica is available as a fine particle with various sizes in nano and micrometer scale. The particles, which are smaller than 100 nm, are transparent


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Figure 1. xTEM image of PE-PEG nanoparticles (a) x Catalystdispersions of encapsulated waterEthylene and aqueous 1-Hexene Evolue Hydrogen insoluble dye (b) and fluorescent chemical (c) TM

Cover Feature

Fig. 1-2

With the escalating need for high value packaging, the usage of Evolue™ has grown simultaneously. To meet In comparison with conventional LLDPE, EvolueTM has narrower MWD, thus it this overwhelming demand, Prime Polymer has decided contains less amount of low and high molecular weight components. As a result, it to expand the production of Evolue™ outside of Japan. demonstrates odour and blocking, good heat seal and In subsidiary addition, Bimodal Asless a result, Prime Evolue Singapore Pteclarity. Ltd, a broader MWD than monomodal grades. Hence it is easy to process while EvolueTM has of Prime Polymer, was established in October 2012. maintaining excellent properties. EvolueTM (Metallocene catalysed Bimodal process)

Figure 2. TEM image of mesoporous silica nanoparticles

EvolueTM (Metallocene catalysed Monomodal process)

to visible light, and can be applied to optical materials Conventional LLDPE Figure 2. TEM image of mesoporous silica nanoparticles [Figure 2]. (Multi-site catalysed Other applications include heat-insulation material, anti-reflection coating and film, low-k material and as a carrier of functional chemicals. In addition to these nanomaterials, MS-R&D has developed a process to manufacture telechelic olefin polymers (possessing two reactive functional groups situated at the chain termini). Such telechelic olefin polymers are a useful building block to create block copolymers consisting of polar segments and nonpolar olefin polymer segments. This technology was recently reported in a scientific journal (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 8177-8180). Evolue™ – the perfect solution for high value packaging Prime Polymer Co Ltd (Prime Polymer) was established in April 2005 as part of a comprehensive tie-up with Mitsui Chemicals Inc and Idemitsu Kosan Co Ltd. Prime Polymer’s global polyolefin business activities for research, production and marketing have been completely integrated to create a synergistic impact within the company and for the stakeholders. As a result, one of Prime Polymer’s strategic and core product is Evolue™, a metallocene catalysed, hexene-based linear low density polyethylene (m-LLDPE) produced by Mitsui Chemicals’s bi-modal technology. Boasting impressive ease of processing, excellent heat seal-ability, coupled with low odour and low “gel” properties, Evolue™ is said to be the perfect solution in Technology meeting high value packaging requirements. Evolue™ Bimodal process is produced an advanced technology which makes use of two is currently only in Ichihara, Japan, by cascaded Prime reactors (Fig. 1-2) producing polymers with precisely controlled composition Polymer, with a capacity of 300,000 tonnes/year. and molecular weight distributions (CD and MWD) (Fig. 1-3). 1st Reactor

x Ethylene 1-Hexene Hydrogen

2nd Reactor

x Catalyst EvolueTM

Fig. 1-2 Evolue™ Bi-Modal Technology

In comparison with conventional LLDPE, EvolueTM has narrower MWD, thus it contains less amount of low and high molecular weight components. As a result, it demonstrates less odour and blocking, good heat seal and clarity. In addition, Bimodal EvolueTM has broader MWD than monomodal grades. Hence it is easy to process while

Monomodal process) Low MW components; Blocking problem Odour problem


Molecular Weight (MW)


High MW components; Less transparency Less heat seal-ability

Fig. 1-3

Bimodal process produces polymers with precisely controlled composition and molecular weight distributions (CD and MWD)

An upcoming new manufacturing facility, dedicated to producing Evolue™, will be located in Jurong Island, Singapore. The new manufacturing facility, which is scheduled to come on stream in mid-2015 with a capacity of 300,000 tonnes/year, will bring Prime Polymer Group’s total capacity of Evolue™ to 600,000 tonnes/year. Singapore, having a well-established infrastructure and the availability of critical feedstock, an efficient workforce and free trade agreements with many countries, provides an excellent platform for Prime Polymer Group to meet and satisfy the exponentially growing demand of customers’ needs and to discover new business opportunities. Prime Polymer Group says it aims to congeal its position, especially within the fast growing Asian market, through “providing perfect solutions for high value packaging via Evolue™.” T.U.X™ - Strengthen Competitiveness with Cost Reduction With more than 80 years of experience, Mitsui Chemicals Tohcello Inc (MCTI) is a leading manufacturer and supplier of film products to the food packaging industry. As a business sector of Mitsui Chemicals group, MCTI also offers protective films for industrial applications in such areas as the semi-conductor and photovoltaic industries. MCTI strives to offer innovative and competitive products while maintaining its reputation as a stable supplier. MCTI offers a wide range of food packaging films, from conventional BOPP film to high performance L-LDPE sealant film. It is little wonder that the T.U.X™ L-LDPE sealant film has become the market leader in the Japanese food packaging industry. The company’s goal is to spread this success by sharing its industry knowledge and expertise throughout ASEAN. JUNE / JULY 2014


Cover Feature T.U.X™ is a 100% metallocene L-LDPE component T-Die cast film. Performing as a sealant film, T.U.X™ has excellent properties: • Good heat seal strength • Good hot tack strength • Good cold resistance • Good transparency • Outstanding gloss With an already extensive experience in the ASEAN area, MCTI realised that there is an urgent need to resolve leakage issues that are due to poor package sealing or rough handling of products, which causes output losses. By taking advantage of the excellent heat seal strength of T.U.X™, leakage issues can be solved immediately. Thus, T.U.X™ can help to reduce losses and increase profits. It also serves to solve the problem of transportation to end consumers and food and retail Benefits of TUX are outlets that is full of unpredictable machine-ability, good film appearance problems, for example rough and excellent seal handling by unskilled employees strength and poor condition of roads. Success case when changing to T.U.X™ Premise: 1) Cost of content is 0.4 2) Ratio of loss for conventional film is 1% 3) Quantity of input is 1,000,000

Conventional L-LDPE film





Cost of content



Cost of package 0.001

0.0014 (40% up is assumed)

Ratio of loss (package failure)



Quantity of input



Quantity of output



Product selling price




1*990,000- (0.4+0.001) *1,000,000 = 589,000

1*1,000,000(0.4+0.0014) *1,000,000 = 598,600

Profit PLUS


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By using TUX for stand up pouches, downgauging is possible and there are no leakages

From the above case study, it is clear that T.U.X™ reduces costs and adds to customers’ profits, which becomes even more critical with a high value product. In order to satisfy increasing demand in the ASEAN market for T.U.X™ high performance L-LDPE sealant film, MCTI has partnered with SCG Chemicals, a leading chemical company in Thailand, to establish a new manufacturer known as Siam Tohcello Co Ltd (STC). STC has launched mass production of the material from January 2014. STC says it is on a mission to provide reliable quality with a stable supply based on MCTI’s food packaging film For oil expertise. “Combining sachets, TUX the expertise and allows for industry knowledge with increased local production, T.U.X™ packing can eliminate output speed and no losses, thus allowing our customers to pinholes in the packaging increase their profits,” says STC. TPX for food containers for microwave cooking TPX is a functional polyolefin, which only Mitsui Chemicals Inc is producing in the world. It is a 4-methyl1-pentene-based crystalline olefin copolymer with excellent clarity, heat resistance, chemical resistance, light weight, and non-stick properties. Taking advantages of its properties, TPX has been widely used for industrial materials, including mandrels and sheaths in the manufacture of high-pressure rubber hoses, mould cups to create Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), and other applications such as release films for Flexible Printed Circuit (FPC) manufacturing process and release papers in the manufacture of synthetic leather like PVC or PU. Furthermore, TPX possesses the lowest density among existing thermoplastic polymers leading to lower weight products. This reduces the environmental load during transportation and also total polymer used. It should also be noted that TPX is a halogenfree polymer and denoted as environmentally-friendly material.

Cover Feature

Table 1. Performance comparison of various materials used for microwavable containers

The benefits of using TPX as microwavable containers: Table 1 shows the performance comparison of various materials used for microwavable containers. First of all, being a polyolefin resin, TPX is completely BPA-free and thus environmentally-friendly. Secondly, TPX shows the best non-stick property among the competitors. This means that a TPX container is easily washable with less use of detergent, even after it is used with curry, meat sauce, and ketchup. Thirdly, especially compared to PC and co-polyester, TPX shows better steam resistance. This means that TPX can be used in dish washers for much more time, leading to longer shelf life and thus leading to less wastage. Finally, compared to PP containers, TPX shows much better heat resistance. Hence, TPX containers can be applied especially for oily foods, which require heating up in the microwave oven. Indeed, recently TPX has been an increasingly popular material for food containers for microwave cooking, especially in Japan. APEL for plastic lenses with excellent quality APEL is a highly transparent polyolefin suitable for high quality plastic lenses, developed by Mitsui Chemicals. A cyclic olefin copolymer (COC), APEL shows the highest refractive index among existing amorphous polyolefins and also the lowest birefringence resulting in the best optical isotropy, significant in plastic lens application, as proven by a lot of success stories mainly in Asia, including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China. Furthermore, APEL also shows excellent moistureproof properties and chemical resistance and is used as a medical packaging material.

Table 2 shows a comparison of properties with representative competing materials used for plastic lenses. As shown in the Table, APEL shows the lowest birefringence, leading to excellent optical isotropy. This excellent optical isotropy helps to obtain far clearer vision with almost no optical defect. In addition, as refractive index of APEL is higher than competing amorphous polyolefin (cyclic olefin polymer; COP), by using APEL, thinner lenses can be produced, leading to a certain downgauging. Refractive index

Birefringence (Stress Optical Coefficient)

Water absorption



Low (200Br)




Middle (~1,500Br)




Low (-180Br)




High (5,000Br)


Table 2. Comparison of properties with competitor material

Compared to PC and PMMA, APEL is a non-polar polyolefin and hence shows low water absorption, leading to far better consistency of optical properties. Thus, APEL definitely helps customers to produce plastic lenses with extremely high quality, compared with existing competitors.

For further enquiries, please contact:

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Collaborating for sustainable success US firm DuPont Packaging and Industrial Polymers highlighted how its collaboration with market players can open up multiple possibilities for increasing the functionality and attractiveness of plastic packaging, while at the same time reducing footprint and wastage of food, at the Aprilheld Chinaplas show in Shanghai.


uPont Packaging and Industrial Polymers focused on a range of new materials for thinner, multi-layer films for lidding applications and thermoformed trays, special adhesive resins for the TripleBubble technology, renewably sourced tie-resins and polymer modifiers, as well as compatibilisers for use in the recycling of mixed plastic waste. Roger Kant, Regional Marketing Director, Asia Pacific, explained that there are two ways of reducing the use of materials in packaging: by downgauging and by improving packaging functionality that in turn can reduce food waste at source. “An important new technology is the ultra-thin reorientation structure, which is just entering the market place,” he said, adding that DuPont is collaborating with equipment suppliers to develop this technology with special adhesives. "It's an embryonic technology," added the Australia-based executive. “But it will become important for the packaging technology over the next few years. In fact, the first line is being installed in China, even as we speak,” said Kant. Collaborations with machine makers As such, DuPont and blown film machine maker Reifenhäuser Kiefel Extrusion, based in Worms, Germany, have collaborated to bring a new APET-based Appeel sealant resin. It is used for the production of PA-based lidding films, which seal directly to trays of 100% APET, obviating the need for APET/LDPE tray laminates. Another novelty is a special grade of Surlyn packaging that allows the production of thermoformable barrier films that can be made 20% thinner than conventional seven-layer PA/PE films, allowing for lower costs, improved optical properties, higher puncture/abrasion resistance and improved sealing properties. In both of the above examples, DuPont contributes its know-how in packaging plastics, while Reifenhäuser optimises its Evolution barrier blown film technology. DuPont and another German machine maker Kuhne have also cooperated to extend the latter’s TripleBubble process for the production of biaxially stretched films. With up to 11 layers of functional plastics, Surlyn packaging resins and DuPont’s Bynel adhesive resins, these films are available in thicknesses of 20-110 microns. Benefits are adjustable shrinkage of up to 60%, high barrier properties, high gloss and, despite the comparatively low thickness, high tear strength and puncture resistance. Raw material savings of up to 50% are possible.

DuPont says its collaboration with market players can open up multiple possibilities for the packaging market


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Stretching the sustainability curve A new development is DuPont’s Entira EP compatibilisers that lower the barriers for the material recycling of packaging. The company says that small additions of 4% to the regrind of inherently incompatible packaging polymers make for a more

Packaging economical and efficient re-compounding process. Consequently, the tensile strength, elongation at break and, in particular, the impact strength of the recyclate is increased to a level that meets the demands for highperformance applications. Grades optimised for specific applications are currently at the development stage. Meanwhile, in bioplastics, DuPont is working with Brazilian biopolymer maker Braskem to develop renewably sourced tie-resins and polymer modifiers to extend its existing range of Bynel and Fusabond resins. “Recycling multi-layer films is challenging, especially at the post-consumer stage, but with the addition of the biobased Fusabond, these films can be recycled,” said Kant. Thus, DuPont will use Braskem’s sugarcanesourced PE to produce drop-in alternatives that are fully recyclable in PE waste streams. The US firm says its aim is to help multi-layer packaging manufacturers that have started to use Braskem’s green PE to increase the renewable material content in their overall structures. Target applications for biobased Fusabond include applications like wood/plastic composites, starch/ PE compounds and glass-fibre/PE compounds where

use of a renewably sourced modifier significantly increases the renewable material percentage in the structures. China’s meat packaging next Kant also said that the company is looking at China’s growing market for meat packaging. “We are collaborating with major retailers to understand the needs of consumers, in terms of food safety. Packaging to meet these needs is the future and we want to work alongside retailers in China," he said. Philippe Hanck, the division's Shanghai-based Managing Director for Asia Pacific, said, “Science driven innovations continue to be a strong basis for DuPont’s answers to global market demands. However, we strongly believe that sustainable success needs more than the efforts of a single company.” He added, “There is a need to work through collaboration through the value chain; not only with direct customers but with machine suppliers and converters.” Hanck says that solutions for the major challenges of today’s world require global collaborations. “This is particularly true for the development of safe packaging solutions,” he concluded.

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Thermoforming Machinery

Forming ties in Asia European suppliers are racking up machinery sales in Asia; with Amut having sold two machines to Vietnam and Malaysia and Battenfeld-Cincinnati delivering its Multi-Touch roll stack technology to China. Meanwhile, WM Wrapping Machinery highlights a line for the production of two-colour disposable cups made of multi-layer PP.

Amut’s thermoforming plants boast an output of 600 kg/hour and for up to 38% of recycled material use

Amut scores in Asia Amut Comi, a member of the Amut Group, says its sales are increasing in Asia. Andrea Peretto, Sales Manager for the Southeast Asian market, says the company has recently delivered an AMP 630-GP second generation extrusion and thermoforming plant, to South Vietnam. “It is equipped with an in-line automatic pickup stacker and an EA100 extruder. The plant is able to produce 95 mm-diameter PP disposable cups,” he explained. Peretto also Amut Comi’s machine is able stated that the machine has to produce large quantities of a capability of high volumes disposable cups of 33,000 cups/hour for 500 ml size cups and 35,000 cups/hour for 450 ml size cups. The system comes complete with a three-station volumetric dosing unit, with a capacity up to 600 kg/hour, a static mixer and an in-line mill to grind the thermoformed scraps, placed after the thermoforming machine. Another thermoforming plant for PP cups, model AMP 850-GP, will be delivered in the next few months to a customer in Malaysia. The machine has a 32-cavity mould and 40 dry cycles/minute. The production realised from this machine is 55,000 cups/hour for 360 ml cups, 50,000 cups/hour for 500 ml sizes and 46,000 cups/ hour for the 700 ml ones. Peretto also says that the sheet used comprises 67% of PP and 33% of regrind. A feature of this machine is the fully automated pick-up stacker: the cups are picked up by vacuum ejection with the usage of mandrels, which are mounted on a suction plate. The suction plate turns 180 degrees and pushes the cups, with bottoms first, into a stacking mask. Amut Comi, a 100% Italian company operating since 2002, manufactures thermoforming machines that are said to be sturdy and modular and that run at high performances at low energy consumption. The machines boast durability and are able to cut tough materials like PET and PP at high cycles. The EA100 extruder (100 mm) permits a production output of 600 kg/hour and allows for up to 38% of recycled material in the sheet. Multi-Touch goes to China Chinese company Guangdong Huasheng Plastics in Shantou has purchased a thermoforming sheet extrusion line with a high-speed extruder and a Multi-Touch roll stack from the Packaging Division of Battenfeld-Cincinnati, Germany. This is the first time that the MultiTouch has been delivered to a Chinese company, says BattenfeldCincinnati, adding that it is its fourth Multi-Touch installation in Asia.


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Thermoforming Machinery Huasheng, established in 1997, already operates two manufacturing plants, where some 90 tonnes of cups and other types of containers are produced daily in addition to 120 tonnes of PP, PS, PET, EVOH and PLA sheet. These products are used in the packaging industry, both locally and globally. Huasheng exports its products to more than 30 countries.

Huasheng Plastics produces cups, trays and other types of containers, in addition to PP, PS, PET, EVOH and PLA sheet

Previously, the company used only locally produced extrusion equipment, and has now decided to acquire a German line for its newly built production hall. Company owner Wei Yunan comments: “The Chinese packaging market is one of the markets with the highest growth rates worldwide. We have also noticed a rise in the demand for higher standards of quality and efficiency, to which we are responding with this investment. Since its production start-up in March, the Multi-Touch roll stack from Battenfeld-Cincinnati has already contributed substantially to improving our product quality.” The new line, with the BC-75-40 DV T4 high-speed extruder that has an output of up to 1,400 kg/hour of PP sheet, is replacing a total of four to six previously used Chinese extrusion lines, thereby allowing for a reduction in space requirements and operation expenditure. In addition to its high output, the new sheet extrusion line distinguishes itself with its sheet quality and high flexibility. It is able to produce sheet ranging from 3502,500 microns in thickness. However, the unique selling point of this line is the new Multi-Touch roll stack, which has come on the market only recently. It is said to deliver improved sheet quality due to a unique roll configuration. First, a two-roll stack takes care of pre-calibrating the material coming out of the flat sheet die, then the sheet passes through the recalibration unit equipped with up to seven smaller rolls. Thus, consistent roll contact and consequently uniform cooling on both sides of the sheet is ensured, even at maximum line speeds. According to Battenfeld-Cincinnati, the outcome is a significant improvement in sheet tolerances and production of stress-free sheet with optimal transparency, flatness and a uniform thickness profile.

WM’s multi-layer PP cup line WM Wrapping Machinery from Stabio (Switzerland) has successfully tested a complete line for the production of two-colour disposable cups made of multi-layer PP. The plant is for a leading European manufacturer of disposables items, which also has another WM complete in-line system for the production of plates made of co-extruded polystyrene HIPS. The WM Wrapping is INTEC FT supplying a line 900/3 line for producing two-colour consists PP cups of an automatic dosing and feeding unit, including an in-line system for managing and recycling waste. It also comes with a 120 mm-diameter main extruder and two 80-mm co-extruders. The total extrusion capacity is 1,096 kg/hour. The flat die head of the extrusion feeds a vertical laminating calender with three rolls, creating a sheet with a width of 930 mm and a thickness ranging from 0.2-2 mm. The extruded sheet is then sent in line to the transport system with toothed chains of the FT900 thermoforming machine, which has a tilting lower platen and a servoassisted plugging unit. The forming tool can accommodate moulds with a maximum size of 880 x 520 mm and has a clamping force of 75,000 DaN. The tilting system of the movable lower platen is based on an innovative double Desmodromic system of cams and levers operated by a servomotor. The 51-cavity mould allows for the production of cups with a finished border diameter of 73 mm and a height of 95 mm. Once thermoformed and cut (an operation that occurs simultaneously in the same mould), the cups are removed from the bottom half-mould, which tilts at 75 degrees by a plate with aspirating spindles, and automatically transported to a collection cage that unloads the various rows of stacked cups on a conveyor belt and continuously feeds a rimming unit (a WM system) with three rotating screws. This turns up the upper edge of the cups and then sends the rods to the accessory counting and packing units. The waste or the residual perforated PP sheet, from which the cups are made, is ground using an in-line soundproofed grinding mill. The flakes are then, by means of a blower, sent to the dosing/mixing unit located above the extrusion unit. This creates a closed loop system, from the raw material to the finished product, with the direct in-line recycling of waste materials. The INTEC 900/3 system can produce up to 120,000 cups/hour of 200 cc cups, minimising energy consumption and reducing necessary personnel. JUNE / JULY 2014


Taiwanese Machinery & Technology

Taiwanese machinery makers view potential of Chinese market In 2012, China was the largest export market for Taiwanese plastics machinery makers, with a value of US$454 million, according to the Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry. In fact, machinery exports to China grew by 7.9%, compared to 2011. Since China is the destination for almost 50% of Taiwanese plastics machinery, the recent Chinaplas show in Shanghai was an important meeting place for not only local visitors but also international buyers of machinery, said Taiwanese exhibitors interviewed at the show.

Lung Meng updates bag making machinery At the Chinaplas show in April, extrusion machinery maker Lung Meng Machinery, which makes bag making, blown film lines and recycling equipment, was showcasing an improved converting system that is targeted at producing rubbish bags-on-a-roll. “With the integrated servodriven system, the speed of the TA-IPD-S four-axis shuttle bag making series has been improved from 90 m/minutes to 130 m/minutes,” said Kelly Kao, Sales Manager. Other attributes of the machine include a hot air sealing system allowing for stable sealing; automated draw tape feeding system; PLC touch screen control system and a compact rotary overlap bag winder. “The machine has been improved to allow for a complete synchronisation of infeed/outfeed, sealing and shuttle motion,” claimed Kao. Two models are available: for bag widths of 400-1,000 mm and bag lengths of 450-1,200 mm. The model on display had been sold to a Chinese customer that exports its output to the US, according to Kao. “We are exhibiting the model to showcase to prospective buyers from all over the world, not just for Chinese customers,” said Kao, adding that Lung Meng’s market spanned from the Middle East and Asia to Europe/US. “Our bag making machinery are especially popular in the Middle East, while sales of our multi-layer blown film lines are increasing to Europe and the US.” The Tainan-headquartered firm that was established in 1976 operates four facilities in Taiwan, with one of the facilities dedicated to R&D. “Our business has been growing and so we had to expand our operations. We started one facility this year and another last year,” said Kao. At the upcoming Taipeiplas show in Taiwan, to be held from 26-30 September, Lung Meng will be exhibiting two machines. “Definitely one of the machines will be for bag making and/or a blown film line,” said Kao, adding that with the dedicated R&D centre, Lung Meng would be able to innovate new concepts for the market. Lung Meng showcased its bag making machinery at Chinaplas


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Taiwanese Machinery & Technology STC harnesses R&D for product portfolio Extrusion machinery maker Shang Ta Chia (STC) Industrial is another company that was using the Chinaplas show to exhibit its machinery for markets other than China. “Our machinery is targeted at growth markets like Vietnam, Indonesia, India and Turkey. Chinaplas gives us the opportunity to focus on the worldwide market because it has a number of foreign visitors,” said Carrol Tung from the Sales Department. STC’s product portfolio comprises lines for PP/PC hollow profile sheet extrusion; PC corrugated sheet and PC/PMMA, PC/ABS and PP/PS sheet co-extrusion; PET/ PLA/PS sheet co-extrusion; PP sheet extrusion and PET sheet twin extrusion.

STC produces profile extrusion lines

“Our output is around 35 machines/year. But this year, we expect a lower number of machinery to be produced because our customers have been facing market challenges.” She explained that the escalating prices of raw materials is one of the reasons for the lower sales. Even so, the company, which was established in 1984, is active in R&D. “We pursue total customer satisfaction, with quality, high production and profitable production machinery. All these are win-win situations for our customers,” said Tung. “Some of our new lines include for PP hollow bubble sheet co-extrusion; for the diamond-type PP hollow profile sheet extrusion and for HDPE sheet co-extrusion,” added Tung, explaining that STC is working on a new line for Taipeiplas. Jenn Chong relies on customisation Armed with the knowledge that the market is inundated with machinery makers, extrusion machinery maker Jenn Chong Plastics Machinery Works prefers to focus on customised lines, according to General Manager of the company, Tony Wang. The firm produces a range of strap tape, monofilament strap and blown film lines, with 95% of the machinery exported. “China is not our main market; we participated in Chinaplas to meet customers from other countries,” said Wang. And though the company is a new contender in the market, having started up only in 1981, it has already won accolades. For instance, it won an award in the previous Taipeiplas show in 2012 for a three-layer blown film line (JC-3CX series), which boasts a lower bubble height; Sypro air ring from Italy and servodriven drives. This even though its main forte is monofilament, tape and strapping band extrusion lines (70% of the output). “We cannot compete with pricing in blown film lines since there are numerous competitors in Taiwan selling blown film lines. That is why we customise our

technology to suit our customers’ needs,” explained Wang. “Since 1993, we have worked together with the government-backed Taiwan Plastics Industry Development Centre to have a continuous update on market trends in this fast moving industry,” he added. “This is our strong advantage,” said Wang. The company produces a wide range of monofilament extrusion lines for heavy gauge and crimped monofilaments with different profiles and diameters from 0.1-5 mm for applications in the agriculture, fishery and industrial sectors. At the upcoming Taipeiplas show in September, Wang said that Jenn Chong will show a customised co-extrusion monofilament line targeted at the water filtration sector. Cheng Yieu creates fresher look for traditional machines Counting itself as a major player in the Asian market is Cheng Yieu Development Machinery or CYKF, a specialised manufacturer of twin-screw and singlescrew extruders and pelletising extruders. Other machinery in its stable includes pipe/profile, PP strap making and recycling machines. “We sell around 15 lines a year in Asia,” said ViceGeneral Manager Bill Hsu. “This year, we are expanding our sales to Japan, Russia and east Europe (Romania and Hungary).” At Chinaplas, it showed a laboratory co-rotating twin-screw extruder (CK-42HT), which is a new compounding pelletiser that can be custom-sized to suit requirements, according to Hsu. It comes with a lossin-weight doser/feeder, made by in-house Cheng Yieu, Siemens controls and screw diameter of 80 mm. It was shown compounding TPE pellets. “It is especially suitable for materials with low melting temperature, high viscosity and those that are difficult to cut with conventional strand pelletiser systems. We are also able to make pelletising equipment for ABS and PLA pellets,” claimed Hsu. He added, “The average age of CYKF staff is only 35 years old. We believe in both theory and practice as far as designing our machines and a new, fresh outlook for traditional industrial extruders.” Hsu also claimed that the Taiwanese machinery maker only uses Japanese or European parts, adding that “no Chinese components are used”. Cheng Yieu displayed the co-rotating twin-screw extruder for TPE pellets JUNE / JULY 2014


Country Focus

India’s packaging sector to take off; challenges looming Forecasted to be the world’s fifth largest consumer economy by 2025, by consultancy McKinsey & Co, India’s growing consumption power is driving its retailready packaging sector, which is also adopting new technologies, says Angelica Buan in this report. But all is not rosy on the domestic front, with the country's new government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, facing challenges such as power and skilled labour shortages, to improve India’s appeal as an investment destination.


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growing retail ready packaging (RRP) market is earmarked for the Asia Pacific region, attributed to emerging trends such as ease of product replenishment, a progressive organised retail sector and its use as a marketing tool or branding, according to a study by Research and Markets. The UK-headquartered analyst group says that globally, RRP is positioned for a CAGR of 3.57% over the period from 2013-2018. In the region, China and India will top the RRP sales growth over the next five years, growing at annual rates of 9% and 8% respectively, according to Smithers Rapra in its Future of Retail Ready Packaging to 2017 report. India’s middle classes to drive packaging growth India’s growing middle class and increased consumerism are driving the growth of RRP. The food and beverage (F&B) industry, as well as the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sectors, are pushing the demand for both rigid and flexible plastics packaging, with the preference being flexible packaging. In-mould labelling is also gaining popularity as are technologies using bioplastics and nanoparticle layered plastic packaging, according to market intelligence firm Netscribes Inc. The domestic plastic packaging market is clearly segmented into the organised and unorganised sectors wherein the organised sector caters to the larger industry base that requires plastic packaging. Large number of industry players There are a number of players in the country’s retail plastic packaging sector, says the British Plastics Federation (BPF) that indicates India’s processing sector is comprised of some 25,000 companies, engaging an estimated 3 million workers. Gujarat state in Western India leads in plastics processing, with over 5,000 plastics firms. In line with the BPF study, it projects that plastics consumption could reach 16 kg/head by 2015. In addition, Plastindia Foundation’s (Plastindia is the apex body of major associations in the country) assessment is that India will be among the top ten packaging consumers by 2016, with demand surging to US$24 billion, while the country’s Union Minister for State for Commerce and Industry forecasts that the Indian packaging industry will be valued at US$32 billion by 2025. Packaging accounts for 48% of all commodity polymer consumption in the country and is growing at 15% annually, gargantuan by all standards. The main application areas include multi-layer films, BOPP films, shrink and stretch wraps as well as thinwall, thermoformed and blow moulded containers. Unravelling the issues But the upbeat packaging industry is also peppered with downsides. In its report titled Plastic Packaging Market in India 2014, Netscribes says the industry has to contend with several bottlenecks. For instance, non-governmental groups are trying to get the government to ban PET in pharmaceutical packaging. Meanwhile, the domestic market is being flooded with cheaper Chinese imports. Feeling the strain in the competition, and also due to the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), AIPMA (All India Plastics Manufacturers Association) is urging the government to hike the custom duty on finished imported goods to 20%. AIPMA also says the increase in the import duty on raw materials from 5% to 7.5% is not helping the small/medium-size players in the plastics sector. Plus, this has had a cascading effect on polymer raw material prices that have seen unprecedented rises, to the tune of 30%.

Country Focus Furthermore, the shortage of skilled labour is dragging the industry down. While India has a sizeable population of 1.15 billion, its manufacturing sector workforce lacks the required skills. As China’s labour market becomes more expensive, India’s vast, inexpensive workforce and sizeable domestic market should see it becoming the world’s next industrial powerhouse. Instead, the manufacturing sector has held steady at about 15% of national output for a generation or more. Consultant McKinsey & Co describes India as suffering from “a glut of subscale, low productivity” industrial enterprises. Only 11% of those who work in Indian manufacturing do so in Plastindia is setting up a university dedicated to the plastics sector businesses with 200 or more employees, packaging is also pushing local processors to upgrade the compared with 29% in Indonesia and more than half in standards of their packaging. China. The country’s manufacturers suffer dismally low This can only be done with the use of high-tech productivity, too. machinery. Based on industry data, India imports US$125 McKinsey says remedial measures include labour million worth of packaging machinery from Germany, laws to reducing arcane inspections and rationalising the Italy, South Korea and China, with 45% of these imports tax system. coming from Germany and Italy. A wide range of Finally, the most crucial issue facing the industry is machines, from plastic packaging to labelling, bar coding power shortage, an electricity demand deficit of between and scanning, as well as technologies for speciality 12-13%. India’s power woes in 2012 saw a two-day black film and laminates, multi-layer films, roto-moulded out and more recent power outages triggered protests in containers, are now available to local manufacturers. India's capital of New Delhi. Meanwhile, agencies like the Indian Institute of Nearly 300 million people in India have limited or no Packaging (IIP) are strengthening the manufacturing access to electricity, according to the World Bank. India segment of the country. IIP, which operates under the currently has around 245 gigawatts of generating capacity Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has set up an and is trying to boost that to 288 gigawatts by 2017. By International Packaging Centre (IPC) and academic comparison, China, with a larger population, had 1,247 facilities for packaging technology and management gigawatts of installed capacity in 2013. India’s power programmes in Andheri, Mumbai. With this effort, IIP plants operate at only around 70% of capacity, largely aims to produce packaging professionals who will fill the because of coal and natural-gas shortages. labour gap, to keep the industry going. India’s newly elected Prime Minister Modi has To bridge the gap in manpower shortages, Plastindia provided new hopes to the industry sectors with plans Foundation is setting up a university in Vapi, Gujarat, to revamp the sector as he did in the western state of offering courses in polymer processing technology and Gujarat, where he served as Chief Minister for more than moulds and design production technology. a decade. Gujarat is now one of a few states in India that generates more electricity than it consumes. Good tidings for growth Over the past two years, India's economic expansion Strength in technology has slowed markedly, growing by 4.7% in the 2013-14 Technology advancements are also being touted to financial year and marking the second year of sub-5% support the growth of the packaging sector, according to growth. But expectations of an investment-led economic Mumbai-based Packaging Industry Association of India turnaround after Prime Minister Modi's victory have (PIAI). These include aseptic, retort and biodegradable brought in copious capital. India's new government has packaging to enhance product shelf life. The 6.8 millionalso unveiled a programme for rapid economic reforms tonne plastic packaging market will expand further aimed at creating jobs and boosting foreign investment, along with the increasing use of innovative packaging including plans designed to simplify taxation and reduce equipment and the growth of the flexible packaging inflation. market, according to PIAI. All this should bode well for the plastics sector, says Technology-wise, multinational companies (MNCs) Arvind Mehta, Chairman of AIPMA, as he paints a more are better equipped than local manufacturers, basically positive picture where the industry is expected to more because MNCs have dedicated R&D facilities. PIAI explains than double its polymer consumption by 2020 to 20 that the rivalry for innovation to serve the wants of million tonnes. consumers for hygienic, safe and aesthetically appealing JUNE / JULY 2014


Corporate Profile

Looking beyond the golden years Capping its 50th year of business in the plastics industry this year, Italian auxiliary machine manufacturer Piovan looks towards reaching into more markets and broadening its client base with an ever-fresh dedication to innovative technology.

According to Giorgio Santella, Piovan's model of business is that of constant growth


iovan’s roots are steeped in history, starting from 1934 when Costante Piovan & Figli was founded in Padua as a metalworking shop and took its name from its founder. It was among the many firms that shaped the modern world starting from the period of industrialisation in the 1950s. As it celebrates its 50 years of leadership in auxiliary machinery for the plastics industry, Piovan’s business strategy is far from being archaic. The firm has come a long way since 1964 when it launched its first equipment, a granulator and a material loader, in Italy. Founder Constante Piovan’s legacy of customer orientation has also filtered down to the three generations that have run the company since. Constante’s son, Luigi Piovan, joined the company in 1960. And in 2000, Nicola Piovan took the helm as Piovan’s President, and made a strong move into international markets. It is now a multinational company with five production facilities in Italy, Germany, Brazil, China and the US, 21 subsidiaries, agents in more than 70 countries and 900 employees, of which 140 are customer assistance engineers. “Piovan's model of business has one main prerogative, and that is of constant growth,” Giorgio Santella, Chief Marketing Officer of Piovan told PRA. This growth is hemmed in the firm’s continuous expansion, capacity build-ups and broad product offering, he said. It has also been on an acquisition trail and bought US-based Universal Dynamics (UNA-DYN) in 2008 and a majority stake in FDM, a German company specialising in extrusion technology, in 2010. “Structural expansions are already undergoing, with the just completed increase of production capacity of Piovan do Brasil in São Paulo (Brazil), the planned expansion for Universal Dynamics in Woodbridge (Washington) in the US, and FDM’s move to a larger facility in Cologne, Germany,” Santella added. Innovation a criteria Today, Piovan provides the plastics industry a complete range of products and services, including feeding, blending, drying and recycling systems. It also produces industrial chillers and temperature controllers. It integrates its wide array of equipment with proprietary production monitoring and control software. Hinging on its endurance to innovation, Piovan says it takes pride in its R&D capabilities, naming it as one of its “very strategic asset.”


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Corporate Profile This is further reinforced by Nicola Piovan. “During our long history of growth and challenges, values and individual skills have become the Piovan corporate culture. However, one key factor has always stayed the same as a guideline for our way of doing business: maximum commitment to innovation for the success of our clients.” Santella explains, “Our R&D activity is becoming more important. Innovation is one of the three pillars that has in all the 50 years of our business in the plastics industry supported our growth, along with customers and people. Piovan has always had the ability of keeping a constant attentive eye on any technological development, taking place in the industry, and applying that to the equipment we manufacture.”

One of its latest products, Modula, is said to be the only auto-adaptive multiple hopper drying system available in the market

Of bottles, cars and medical devices At the heart of Piovan’s machinery line is the Modula multiple hopper drying system, featuring an automatic dual dryer operation, inverter controlled process blowers, IE2 and IE3 class motors, new PLC control with proprietary software, regeneration heat recovery, and system configurations. For the reason that Modula is the only autoadaptive system available in the market, the system has been installed by German automotive maker BMW at its plants. “We have obtained the status of preferred supplier of BMW for resin conveying, blending and drying equipment. Particularly in drying, Modula has allowed us to win a very tough confrontation when BMW itself selected a supplier for its new production plants,” says Santella. Besides breaking into the automotive segment, Piovan’s hold in the PET production segment is as strong as ever. The company started its specialisation in PET as early as the 1980s. “One out of two PET bottles in the world is produced with our equipment and this is an incredible achievement on its own,” claims Santella. Along with packaging and automotive, medical is the other sector showing great potential for Piovan.


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Quantum, the new generation of gravimetric batch blenders, is said to be the "most adequate for accuracy, flexibility and safety"

One of its latest product launches is Quantum, the new generation of gravimetric batch blenders that is proving to be “the most adequate when accuracy, flexibility and safety is an absolute must.” Machinery made in Asia Branching out to the various markets, since it made its initial offering on the Italian market five decades ago, Piovan has also planted its seed in Asia. It has branches located in China, India, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. It has two main headquarters in the region: in China, where it has a manufacturing facility in Suzhou, and in Bangkok, Thailand, (Piovan Asia Pacific). “Spanning 10,000 sq m of assembly area, our facility in Suzhou is expanding further the range of Piovan equipment produced, while Piovan Asia Pacific covers sales for the entire territory of Southeast Asia,” said Santella.

The Chinese facility spans 10,000 sq m of assembly area

The region’s budding plastics industry has become a growth area for a number of European companies specialising in plastics machinery. Of particular interest is China, given that the country is indeed a huge market. “Yes, China is a strategic market,” agrees Santella, adding, “The rate of growth here is exceptional and to keep up with it companies must expand their set ups and product range. We have recently started the production of large-size chillers in our factory in China that has been producing small and medium-size chillers for quite some time.”

Corporate Profile Chinese processors are also making inroads in manufacturing equipment that more or less have similar functions as the European made ones, but are lower priced. Having said this, Piovan has also been producing its equipment in China in accordance to similar standards as its equipment produced in Europe, in Italy and Germany, as well as the US and Brazil, according to Santella. When asked how Piovan differentiates its market sectors and pricing of its equipment, Santella explained, “Our Chinese production is targeting Asian markets, our Italian and German productions are targeting European, African and Middle Eastern markets, and our American productions target the North and South American markets.” People-centred strategy Over the years, Piovan has honed its experience in polymer processing, techniques, which the company says it has its quality staff to thank for, owing to their “enthusiasm, concrete ability and vision.” The firmly crafted expertise backing Piovan’s innovations is shared with its customers, with the firm adding that it strives to be like a partner to them, working alongside them, and sharing their challenges. What is next for Piovan, now that it has hit its golden year? Santella says the company will continue gearing for growth.

The company's headquarters in Italy is based in Santa Maria di Sala, near Venice

Nonetheless, there is one thing that will remain unchanged. “Piovan’s business philosophy has been constant through its 50 years of existence. This philosophy is well expressed by our mission statement, and that is: customers, the core of our innovation,” adds Santella. This is echoed by Piovan’s President, Nicola Piovan. “Our international presence worldwide means closeness to the customers is no empty promise,” he said.

Injection Moulding Asia Machinery

Taiwanese machine makers step up efforts in China FCS counts China as one of its top export markets, selling 30% of its output to the country, said Export Manager Scott Lin. “Since we entered the Chinese market quite early, our machinery is quite popular,” he added, explaining further that FCS is one of the largest exporters of plastics machinery in Taiwan. It produces 1,200 machines/year in Tainan, Taiwan, and has a combined total of 2,160 machines/year output from its Chinese plants. Against the backdrop of higher costs in China, Lin said FCS was considering expanding its operations to Brazil. “We are evaluating a location and will first assemble machines before deciding on full production,” he added. Another machinery maker lamenting the higher costs in China is injection machine maker Multiplas that has a factory in Kunshan (with a capacity of 100 units/month). “Labour costs are increasing in China. This is one of the reasons why we are expanding our Taiwanese factory in Taoyuan where labour rates are more competitive,” according to General Manager David Wu. It has acquired a 30,000 sq m site, with the first stage of the 3,000 sq m factory to be commissioned by May 2015, said Wu. “We will build the factory step-by-step. The first stage will consist of a machine shop and pre-assembling. We will do the final assembly at our main facility David Wu of (also in Taoyuan),” he added. Multiplas said the Wu was coy about the targeted firm is expanding its capacity. “We are conservative operations in Taiwan about the output,” he said. But not all machine makers are bailing out of China, especially those that have considerable business potential in the country. One such example is Victor Taichung. Having sold 5,600 machines over a 20-year period to its largest customer in its stable, Taiwanese multinational electronics contract manufacturing company Foxconn, it has its roots firmly planted in China, said Martin Li, Manager, Overseas Marketing Division. Foxconn operates a number of facilities in China as does Delta Electronics to whom Victor Taichung has sold 1,000 machines prompting Li to comment that there is “good potential in the future.” Victor Taichung operates three factories each in Guangzhou (injection machinery), Tianjin (component parts) and Shanghai (machine tooling centres). “All the output produced in Guangzhou is for the domestic market,” said Li.

Notwithstanding the fact that Taiwanese machinery companies have had a head start in the Chinese market (with some over 20 years), compared to European, US and Japanese compatriots, China’s rising costs of production are affecting their operations. Meanwhile, highlights from Chinaplas 2014 in April are multi-material and IML (in-mould label) moulding machines; rubber moulding and footwear injection machinery.

Cost factor for FCS, Multiplas; Victor Taichung takes it in its stride ne of the first companies to enter the Chinese market, injection moulding machine maker Fu Chun Shin Machinery Manufacture (FCS) set up its first facility in Dongguan in 1994 followed by Ningbo in 2004. FCS Dongguan makes machinery with clamping forces from 60-1,000 tonnes, while FCS Ningbo produces large-sized machines of up to 3,500 tonnes.


Victor Taichung’s booth at Chinaplas

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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery The firm also has four factories in Taiwan that employ 900 workers. “Our main markets are China and Taiwan (60%) with the rest of Asia and Europe accounting for 40%,” said Li, adding that the group turnover for the conglomerate, which also makes CNC lathes and machining centres, averages NT12 billion (with injection moulding machinery accounting for 30% of the business). Multi-material and IML moulding aiwanese machinery makers are also upping the ante technology-wise. FCS was showing its A-Pack IML turnkey system; FB-SV two-component moulding machine and LN-SV two-platen hydraulic machine. The A-Pack solution, consisting of AF-200 hybrid closed-loop machine, hot runner mould, Wetec product stacking and label inserting system and Shini material handling, can be applied to a wide range of beverage, dairy or food containers. “A highlight is that the whole system is CE-certified and has a new appearance that completely suits the European market requirements,” explained Scott Lin. He also claimed that FCS was the only firm at Chinaplas showing a double-sided labelling feature in the system. “We try to launch a new concept every year.” Other attributes are that the solution is designed to increase the production efficiency. “For example, to produce a 200 cc yoghurt container using two cavities, the cycle time could be under 5 seconds,” said Lin. Meanwhile, in multi-material moulding, FCS claims it has been leading in developing the direction of the industry. “The FB-SV series employs a single-cylinder injection structure and assures stability of the machine. It has a patented locking system to assure the rotary table turning to accurate position. “This series i s suitable for producing all kinds of two component goods and its maximum clamping force can reach 1,900 tonnes,” explained Lin. The FB-SV model is suitable for producing mobile-phone parts, tool handles, pens and automotive lamp covers. The model shown at Chinaplas was made at the Ningbo facility. Finally, the two-platen LNV series is touted as having a smaller footprint. “It has a shorter clamping unit, allowing for 30% savings in factory space, and the mould adjustment only takes 5-10 seconds,” said Lin of the attributes. To cater to the needs of specialised requirements of Chinese customers, Multiplas was exhibiting an integrated multi-material cell (complete with machinery, robotics and CCD camera inspection) for the production of two-colour screwdrivers. The system consists of two vertical injection machines with rotary and sliding tables that make the core of the screwdriver in two colours. A third horizontal machine with a hydraulic clamp insert moulds the packaging for the screwdriver.


The two-colour screwdrivers produced in a multi-material cell offered by Multiplas

The process system first made its debut at the Taipeiplas 2012 show. “Since then the cycle time has been improved,” said David Wu, adding that the system is promoted for producing electronic components for smartphones and for automotive parts. Tung Yu improves aesthetics of rubber machine ung Yu, a manufacturer of vacuum hydraulic, compression, transfer moulding, rubber injection moulding and vulcanising processing machinery, is seeing growing acceptance of its machinery in China. From its facility in Ningbo it is able to produce customised machines, said Lynn Chang, Vice General Manager. She explained of the range, “Our machinery is designed for processes involved with temperature and pressure; rubber and silicone-based applications are the majority but there are some metal processes as well. Our customers are in the sectors of automotive, 3C, aerospace, military, medical equipment, transportation, tyre-retread, solid tyre, rubber blocks and conveyor belts. Clamping forces range up to 10,000 tonnes.” She added, “In fact, our Ningbo facility has sold three 13,000-tonne conveyor belt vulcanising machines for Chinese customers producing conveyor belts with a width of 2.8 m and length of 12.6 m.” At Chinaplas, Tung Yu was exhibiting an improved version of the TIP-2000 vertical injection machine. “The exterior of the machine has been improved to feature a more aesthetic design,” Chang explained. Applying the FILO system, the TIP utilises variable pumps, allowing for energy savings of up to 30%; plus the improved model has a new colour touchscreen and 20% faster cycle time, said Chang.


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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery Tung Yu’s re-designed rubber injection moulding machine

Tien Kang, which was e s t a b l i s h e d in 1982 in Taiwan, produces 300-400 machines a year for the industry. “We are the only manufacturer able to provide a large range of machinery for processing a variety of materials for footwear,” claimed Su. In 1999, it established an alliance with Italian footwear machine maker Wintech. From this collaboration, the company has produced CE-certified EVA and TR/TPU injection moulding machinery as well as PVC/TPR two-colour machinery for producing rain boots. “For multi-coloured soles, TR or TPU can be injection moulded or extruded. Our machines have a unique rotating head mechanism for fast mould positioning,” explained Su. Meanwhile, rotary-type injection moulding machines are used to produce shoe soles/uppers/ outsoles as well as anti-vibration plates and brushes. Tien Kang also credits itself for being the first company to develop the two-colour EVA machine for the mass production of sports shoes. “It has a unique design as two moulds of different thicknesses can be used on a single machine, allowing for higher volumes,” explained Su, adding that this bodes well for the industry that is faced with competitive prices. She also said that in line with Tien Kang’s pioneering spirit, it is working with other European companies to develop rubber and PU machinery. These are targeted at the footwear market for producing outsoles and straps as well as the automotive industry for producing O-rings and seals. Footwear aside, Tien Kang is also developing EVA machines for other items. “A growing market is saddles for bicycles.” While its current sales are centred on Southeast Asia, Africa, India and Latin America, Su says the company is noticing a new trend. “More US footwear manufacturers are moving back home (from developing countries),” she said, adding that Tien Kang expects to target its sales to the US as well.

A new sector to the company is the tyre curing process. “Previously, we were only catering to the retreading sector. Now, we have launched our new presses that are different from traditional designs since our machines use FEA (Finite Elements Analysis) to enhance mechanical strength.” Other advantages of the TPS series include the ability to accept thicker tyre moulds; stainless steel centre mechanism cylinder and heating platen with radial circuit design for better temperature uniformity and heat transfer efficiency. Tien Kang on a stronger footing he global footwear market is expected to reach a value of US$195 billion by 2015, with volume sales exceeding 13 billion pairs, according to research from Global Industry Analysts. In terms of geographical make-up, the global footwear industry is famously footloose having migrated from Taiwan and South Korea in the 1980s to Southern China in the 1990s. And now, despite its rising costs, China still offers advantages that shoe manufacturers are reluctant to abandon – such as the skilled workforce. Based on this, footwear and rubber machinery maker Tien Kang Plastic Machinery is starting up a 75,000 sq m-facility in Fujian at the end of the year. The location was selected due to the “growing footwear activity in Fujian and the company’s need to be close to its customers”, according to Charlene Su, Sales Director. It also operates a 65,000 sq m-facility in Suzhou, which was set up in 2008.


Tien Kang’s machinery is used to produce a wide range of products

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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Industry

Navigating the future with concept cars The automotive industry is going through a period of

BCG suggests that OEMs will need to expand their R&D capabilities in electronics and software. For instance, the demand these days is for vehicles to be fitted with mobile devices. This demand is being met, BCG says, adding that it is fortunate that mobile devices are now cheaper, and thus do not add too much to production costs. Moreover, heightened regulatory compliance (lower carbon emissions, and therefore the use of renewable energy to power cars), and also the need for lightweight materials are pushing the development of concept cars.

decline – a phase that could also be a wake-up call for car makers, OEMs and parts suppliers to devise novel ways to uplift the industry. A good starting point would be to tap the emerging breed of tech-savvy consumers who are eager to get behind the wheels of concept cars featuring e-mobility and connectivity, says Angelica Buan in this report.

Taking into consideration the needs of the young o cater to customers in emerging markets, who are much younger, car makers are making a play on technology. French firm Renault, through its subsidiary in India, has built its first concept car outside Europe, which will be marketed to young customers in India. The Kwid concept has its very own unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which Renault’s Kwid features seats that are suspended could help the over a solid base in white, with a two-tone driver scout elastomer material, inspired by a bird’s nest ahead for traffic, take aerial photos of the surrounding landscape and detect obstacles on the road. Said to be the first of its kind in the automotive world, the Flying Companion is stored in a rotating rear portion of the Kwid’s roof when not in use. When activated, the panel slides open and the quadrocopter - named after the device’s four motors - can be operated in one of two modes. Though the Kwid resembles an off-road buggy thanks to the oversized wings, mud guards and wheel arches, Renault says the car will come in a two-wheel drive instead of four.



hen Google recently showed a novel computerised and self-driving concept car, without a steering wheel, brake or accelerator and only functional buttons to manipulate the movement of the car and a computer screen to show the route, the industry had gotten the signal that we are indeed ushering in a bolder and more advanced phase of technology-driven cars. However, consumer markets seek practicality and functionality in cars rather than merely a showcase of the almost infiniteness of technology. According to US consultant McKinsey & Co, consumers want more connectivity, active safety and ease of use. Another research firm, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), also says that global automotive companies are exploring solutions to provide connectivity, active safety and assisted driving. These features, combined with fuel economy and cost competitiveness, are challenging automotive makers, OEMs and parts suppliers.

Lightweighting still a heavy factor hile hybrids and electrics may hog the headlines, the real frontier in fuel economy is the switch to lightweight materials. According to financial services firm Morgan Stanley, by shaving off 50 kg in each of the 1 billion cars on the roads, US$40 billion in fuel could be saved a year.


Google, which has been demonstrating its driverless technology for several years by retrofitting Toyotas, Lexuses and other cars with cameras and sensors, has unveiled a prototype of its own. The company plans to build about 100 prototype vehicles and begin testing them. It says it eventually hopes to partner with a vehicle maker to produce the self-driving vehicles instead of building them itself

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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Industry Generating environmental benefits from futuristic concepts eanwhile, hybrids are getting a facelift. Early this year, Ford debuted the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept, the first-of-its-kind sun-powered vehicle. Instead of powering its battery from an electrical outlet, the vehicle harnesses the power of the sun by using a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass, directing intense rays to solar panels on the vehicle roof. It takes a day’s worth of sunlight to deliver the same performance as the conventional C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, which draws its power from the electric grid. SunPower, which has been Ford’s solar technology partner since 2011, is providing high-efficiency solar cells for the roof. Because of the extended time it takes to absorb enough energy to fully charge the vehicle, Ford turned to Georgia Institute of Technology for a way to amplify the sunlight in order to make a solar-powered hybrid feasible for daily use. Ford says the positive environmental impact could be significant as it would reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions from the average US car owner by as much as 4 tonnes/year. Another sustainable design comes from Finnish company UPM’s Biofore, which is manufactured in partnership with Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation and several other firms. It replaces plastics in many of the car’s parts utilising UPM’s biomaterials, such as the Grada thermoformable wood material for the passenger compartment floor, centre console, display panel cover and door panels. UPM’s Formi recyclable biocomposite, manufactured from cellulose fibre and plastics, is used to make the front mask, side skirts, dashboard, door panels and interior panels.


Ford’s Lightweight Concept is part of its efforts to offer sustainable vehicle designs

US automotive maker Ford Motors recently launched its prototype Lightweight Concept vehicle, developed with the US Department of Energy and Cosma International, a subsidiary of supplier Magna International. It is about 360 kg or 25% lighter than a typical Fusion, thanks to changes in parts and materials. Thus, the instrument panel is made from carbon fibre and nylon composite, which is 30% lighter than steel; the rear window is made from polycarbonate, which is 50% lighter than glass; the windshield glass is made from a hybrid chemically toughened laminate, which is 35% lighter than glass. Furthermore, the seats are fashioned from carbon fibre frames instead of steel, while the aluminium brake rotors are 39% lighter than cast iron ones and carbon fibre wheels weigh 42% less than aluminium ones. Already, Ford has unveiled the 2015 F-150 pick-up truck, which is 320 kg lighter compared to the current version. Magna International also showcased its MILA Blue vehicle concept at the Geneva Motor Show early this year. The A-segment lightweight vehicle offers weight savings of 300 kg less compared to typical current A-segment vehicles. This comes from replacing the plastic interior trim with structural parts suitably designed with laminable, visually surfaces; utilising multi-materials, including aluminium, magnesium and composite materials, and leveraging smaller, lighter components. Furthermore, it is powered by natural-biogas producing less than 49 g CO2/km.

UPM’s Biofore car uses biomaterials in the interior

Furthermore, it is fitted with a modern internal combustion diesel engine and driven with UPM’s BioVerno, a wood-based renewable diesel, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly compared to fossil fuels.

MILA Blue achieves a weight savings of 300 kg, compared to typical current A-segment vehicles

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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Industry Fuel cell versus electric cars n a race to capture the market for zero emission cars, Japanese vehicle maker Toyota Motor will launch its fuelcell vehicle (FCV) by 2015, playing catch up with Honda Motors, Daimler and Hyundai Motor. FCVs are powered by electricity generated through the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen in the air, with by-product being only water. Cars that run on hydrogen can typically go around 500 km on a tank of the gas and then must be refilled. They differ from electric vehicles, which use rechargeable lithium ion batteries to store electricity or hybrid vehicles that use only the battery-powered electric motors while the petrol engine remains shut off.

A pipe dream? lthough concept cars are already within an arm’s length, seeing many of them on the roads may not be happening soon. For instance, Renault’s Kwid will go on sale in India within two years. “Young customers in India are often trend setters, looking forward to pushing the envelope when it comes to technology and enjoyable drives,” explained Gilles Normand, Chairman of Renault’s Asia Pacific Region. But how it will take off on India’s congested roads still remains to be seen. Plus, the Kwid being a two-seater means it’s more likely to be for city dwellers than rural ones, where mobility is restricted. Meanwhile, though Ford’s Lightweight car will not be commercialised any time soon, due to its high cost, the manufacturer says it represents the third phase in a larger plan to improve fuel efficiency with advances that can be applied in nearly every vehicle in its line-up in three to five years. In the same vein, Magna says its MILA Blue innovation is still a work in progress. While it has successfully discovered how to charge the car with 8 kwh/day using pure sunlight, applying this in a practical situation is another story. The need to integrate technology is acknowledged by the industry, and thus, allocation for R&D has increased, according to the BCG study. R&D spending by OEMs has risen to 3%, from 2001 to 2012, and at an annual rate of 8%, since 2009, says BCG.



Toyota’s FCV will include a proprietary small, lightweight fuel cell stack and two 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tanks

FCVs are still in trial stages and even Toyota only expects tens of thousands of FCVs to be sold each year a decade from now as the new technology will need time to gain traction. Even so, Toyota is preparing its Motomachi plant for commercial manufacture and is looking at producing 100 cars/month. A major challenge for fuel-cell automotive makers is a lack of infrastructure, with few hydrogen fuel stations in the world. Thus, in Japan, Toyota expects its FCVs to be sold mainly in areas where hydrogen stations will be available, in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka. Even Toyota says the number of stations in Japan, currently totalling 17 with an additional 31 commissioned, may be insufficient to facilitate the practical use of FCVs. Added to this are the high costs that have slowed down construction of these fuelling stations, which are mostly run by petroleum companies. But the firm is hopeful that the Japanese government will subsidise a portion of the construction fees to increase the number of hydrogen stations to 100 by 2015. Meanwhile, competitors making electric cars say that hydrogen is a highly flammable element when not handled properly. These include the likes of Nissan Motor, Tesla Motors, BMW, GM, Ford Motor and Chinese vehicle makers. China offers generous purchase incentives for buyers of electric cars and aims to have 5 million “new energy” vehicles -- mostly all-electric and near all-electric plug-in hybrids -- on the road by 2020.

With its drone concept, Renault’s Kwid is targeted at young Indian buyers

However, manufacturing costs for commercial-scale production of a concept car prototype is a barrier to a majority of these car concepts, which once hatched are not on the roads. Added to this are the high costs. Toyota estimates the FCV to cost anywhere between US$50,000-US$100,000. With the cost of electrics dropping along with the cost of lithium-ion batteries, FCVs will have a long road ahead to convince car buyers. So are concept cars merely eye-candy at automotive shows? Maybe not, since concept cars represent the industry’s almost boundless capabilities to design and build. Previous concept cars have provided inspirations for designs in current commercially-produced vehicles, such as the hybridelectric vehicles. The new designs also embody the industry’s adaptability to a changing economic and market landscape. 6

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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • Hexpol Compounding, a Belgian provider of elastomer compounds, has acquired Robbins, a US rubber compounding firm and a manufacturer of envelopes and curing tubes for tyres. Robbins will provide tyre compound volumes of 226.8 kg/day or prototype formulations as small as 45 kg for custom compounds. Other products include moulded envelopes as retreading option to cover tyres during the curing process and curing tubes to force the tread rubber into the mould.

• Medical moulder FMI has opened an ultra-clean manufacturing facility in Suzhou, China. The ISO Class 7 cleanroom for medical device manufacturing is an addition to a facility owned and operated since 2004 by parent company Flexan Corporation. FMI specialises in manufacturing silicone-based critical parts for implantable and disposable medical devices, surgical devices, laboratory equipment, and delivery systems.

• Nokian Tyres North America, a member of Nokian Tyres Group, has acquired the tyre distribution business from Import Tire based in Glastonbury, Connecticut. The buy-out includes Import Tire’s warehouse containing 50,000 tyres, its customer base as well as machinery and equipment. Nokian Tyres’s Vermont operation has sales of US$150 million/year, while Import Tires has a turnover of US$10 million/year.

• After earning a US patent for its silica masterbatch Cooper Tire & Rubber Company and Mexican supplier Industrias Negromex (Insa), a subsidiary of Grupo Kuo, say that tyres produced with silica masterbatch offer a range of benefits compared with tyres produced using conventional dry silica mixing technology. Tyre evaluations were undertaken at Insa’s plant in Altamira, Mexico and consisted of traction and handling, treadwear, all-season capability, and rolling resistance.

• Taiwan tyre maker Federal Corp is building a second factory in an industrial park near the Taoyuan Airport, close to its existing 1960s factory. Start up of the plant, with a nameplate capacity of 6 million/year of passenger and light truck radials, is expected in 2016. Federal, which had an alliance with Sumitomo Rubber Industries from 1981-2000, also operates a factory in China. • UK firm, Remapol has approached the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) to build a multi-million tyre recycling facility in Machakos town. Remapol will recycle tyres into steel and rubber granules and process the granules into a wide range of rubber products. The products are destined for the local and international markets.

• South Korean Hankook Tire recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new R&D centre in Daejeon. It is also setting up a new R&D Hankook Technodome centre in Daeduk with a total investment of KRW266 billion by 2016. Upon completion, this facility will become an incubator for new technologies with future-oriented features. Meanwhile, Hankook is also expanding its Indonesian plant in Cikarang, West Java. The US$353 million plant was launched last year with 30% of production for the domestic market. • Public-listed Indonesian plantation firm PT Jaya Agra Wattie (JAWA) is targeting to export to South Korea, despite

a downward trend in rubber prices since the beginning of this year. JAWA produced 13,257 tonnes of rubber last year, up 28% from the previous year. The domestic market absorbs 77% of JAWA’s rubber output, leaving about 3,048 tonnes for overseas destinations

• Indonesian tyre maker Gajah Tunggal is targeting exports to Mexico. The listed company, which partners with French tyre maker Michelin for its North America distribution, has already entered the market in Brazil. In the first quarter of 2014, Gajah Tunggal’s exports to the Americas rose to 49%, compared with 33% last year. In comparison, sales to Europe shrank to 12% (from 13%), sales to the Middle East declined to 17% (from 25%). Sales to Asian countries, excluding China, also declined to 14% from 19%. Gajah Tunggal expects revenue growth of 15% this year, anticipating an increase in sales volume and a possible price hike. The tyre maker has also set aside US$135 million for capital expenditure this year, including US$20 million to develop truck and radial tyres and US$20 million to increase the production capacity of existing facilities through efficiency modifications. Giti Tire, Singapore-based tyre manufacturer that owns a 22.5% stake in Gajah Tunggal, is investing US$560 million on its first greenfield plant in the US. The 1.8-million-sq foot manufacturing facility, to be set up in South Carolina state, is expected to create 1,700 new jobs over the next decade. It will make passenger and light truck tyres and have an initial capacity of 5 million tyres/year. South Carolina is deemed as the US’s tyre capital and Giti is the fifth OEM to set up in the state.

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Rubber Journal Asia Reclaimed Rubber

Rubber reclaiming gains traction Increased consumption of rubber is

Natural rubber is also vulnerable to the effects of climate change, population growth, and economic developments. This situation is cascading to final goods, specifically the tyre sector. Today, a large percentage of the world’s scrap tyres is incinerated in cement kilns for tyre-derived fuel, disposed of in landfills or utilised in civil engineering filling operations. However, this end use of a valuable resource prohibits the beneficial recovery for the replacement of new virgin material. Numerous scientific studies and life cycle assessments have demonstrated that recycling used tyres, compared to incineration for tyrederived fuel and civil engineering filling operations, dramatically reduces greenhouse gas emissions, acidification and fossil fuel demand.

outpacing supply, thus resulting in shortages. One way of countering this is by recycling tyres to obtain crumb rubber, a practice that is becoming a preferred option due its sustainability, says Angelica Buan. As a result, more suppliers are also rolling out reclaimed rubber from end-of-life tyres.

Asian countries step up recycling efforts hina, a large consumer of rubber, is pushing a comprehensive utilisation of its waste rubber policy, as part of its 11th five-year agenda, according to the Ministry of Energy Saving and Comprehensive Utilisation Department. It produces a huge bulk of waste rubber, especially from tyres, according to the China Rubber Industry Association (CRIA). Thus, the country’s recycling market is among the most vigorous in the world, expected to reach nearly US$156 billion by 2018, says BCC Research. Since the country lacks rubber resources, it also relies on reclaimed rubber as a solution. The country’s edge is in having the technology to produce rubber, as well as tyre shredding at room temperature. China has put the recycling industry high on its development agenda for the next decade. Increasing environmental concerns and governmental regulation will forsee growth in this market over the near term, adds BCC. Thailand also produces waste tyres amounting to 600,000 tonnes and reclaims rubber from this resource, according to a National Science and Technology Development Agency-sponsored paper presented to the Faculty of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2013. It says that the reclaimed rubber, which is economically and environmentally viable, can be reused independently to produce rubber mats, rubber sheets, and rubber tubing. It can also be used as an additive for new rubber products, like new tyres. Another large rubber consumer, India, is reshaping its views on recycling. While tyre recycling is not unknown in India, only now are automated processes being used to achieve outputs of 99.99% pure granulate.



ubber output from Asia, home of the world’s major rubber producing countries, namely, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Vietnam, China, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Cambodia, should be enough to cover the global requirement for rubber and ensure a stable supply of the commodity. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While the region’s rubber production accounts for nearly 93% of the global supply, it only caters to 57% of the global demand for the commodity, according to the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC). There has been an unsteady stream of rubber supply worldwide, which is being remedied in various ways. For example, India, the world’s third largest consumer of rubber, is increasing its import of rubber by as much as 38%, to compensate the shortage. The Rubber Board of India says that the gap between local production and consumption of rubber is widening. Total production during the JanuaryApril period of the current financial year was 723,000 tonnes, while consumption was 811,110 tonnes, leaving a deficit of 88,110 tonnes. Tyres a main user of rubber he surge in automobile demand is also a reason for the shortage of rubber supply. Research firm Freedonia, in its World Tires’ study says that the Asia Pacific region will account for two-thirds of total global growth for tyres, expected to reach 2.9 billion units until 2017. Thus, the popular usage of commercial vehicle radial tyres and growing demand in the fastdeveloping economies like China and India is also triggering a supply-consumption imbalance.


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Rubber Journal Asia Reclaimed Rubber Pitching new technologies he focus on innovations such as the European Union’s DRIVE4EU project, a demonstration project aimed at the development of the production chain of natural rubber and inulin from Russian dandelions, will take considerable time to develop due to the high costs of R&D. Coordinated by Wageningen UR, the aim of the project is to allow the EU to become less dependent on the import of natural rubber and at the same time to respond to the threat of a global rubber shortage.

cooperating with the French tyre collection company Aliapur, which is partly owned by large, international tyre manufacturers. Yet another US firm, Lehigh Technologies, which makes micronised rubber powder (MRP) from end-oflife tyres and other post-industrial rubber, is building its second facility in Europe. It is cooperating with Spanish waste-to-resource company HERA to cater to the region. Lehigh is already operating a facility in Atlanta, US, which yields 70,000 tonnes/year, and is also looking into expanding in Asia since it has an already established market for MRP in the region for tyre makers, particularly in Japan, Southeast Asia and Australia. Lehigh says that it is targeting to push its Asian business growth above 30% year-on-year.


In a bid to counter the rubber shortages, the EU is running a project to produce rubber from the Russian dandelion

While the research might not see light of day soon, there are firms that are actively engaged in the augmenting of the availability of the material, by reclaiming rubber waste. Polyurethane and recycled rubber products manufacturer Accella Performance Materials (formerly Dash Multi-Corp) has recently acquired two firms, RTH Processing and RDT Manufacturing, allowing it to become the only manufacturer that is fully vertically integrated as it now produces its own recycled tyre crumb. US-based Accella makes its products in ten plants in various countries around the world. Meanwhile, Danish firm Genan, which claims it is the world’s largest tyre recycler in the world, has opened a US$140 million facility in Houston, US, said to be the largest of its kind in the world, with a capability of processing 100,000 tonnes of used tyres/ year, about a third of all the used tyres in Texas. Houston is the first manufacturing location launched by Genan in the US, in an effort to capture 10% of the American recycled tyre market. The company’s strategic expansion plans include a network of four new plants to be built across the US in the coming years. In April, Genan opened a 70,000 tonne/year-facility in France, its fifth in Europe. It is

Lehigh’s micronised rubber from end-of-life tyres and other postindustrial rubber products

Lehigh‘s proprietary cryogenic turbo mill technology transforms crumb rubber material into micron-scale rubber powders of various sizes, including 80 mesh and down to 300 mesh. Unlike other technologies, Lehigh says its MRP is virtually metal and fibre-free, enabling its use in a wider range of products including high-performance tyres, plastics, coatings and roofing systems. The company claims that to date, more than 250 million tyres have been manufactured using Lehigh’s MRP. Other suppliers jump on the bandwagon eanwhile, Titan International, through its subsidiary, Titan Tire Reclamation, plans to set up a reclaiming unit in Canada. It will be building a pyrolysis unit on 10 acres of land to reclaim rubber, carbon black (which Titan will be using for its own tyre production) and steel from off-the-road tyres and conveyor belts, employing a system developed by Green Carbon. With a capacity to process 44,000 tonnes/year of rubber, the facility is expected to start in 2015. The Green Carbon system uses 75% gas from tyres in a special reactor. Each tyre produces an estimated 500 gallons of oil, 1,800 kg of carbon black, and 900 kg of steel.


Genan’s latest tyre recycling facility in the US

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Rubber Journal Asia Reclaimed Rubber Another Canadian innovation, hatched by the University of Waterloo, is start-up firm Tyromer with its rubber devulcanisation technology. Countries such as Croatia, Hungary, Spain, Russia, and Turkey are soon to use the technology, when licences are available. The company granted its first licence in France in 2013.

materials used in tyre manufacturing. The alcohol derived from used tyres will be included in the BioButterfly butadiene production project alongside biomass alcohol from such sources as sugar, wood and agricultural waste. For the TREC Regeneration mechanical technology, French industrial company SDTech and Protéus, a subsidiary of speciality chemicals producer PCAS Group, are working with Michelin. The TREC Alcohol is a collaborative effort between Michelin, the Alternative Energies & Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) of France and Proteus. TREC has an allotted budget of EUR51 million, extending over eight years, and an additional EUR13.3 million for both Michelin and SDTech courtesy of France’s Agency for the Environment and Energy Management (ADEME). In light of the growth forecasts for the global tyre market, demand for raw materials will increase considerably in the coming decades. As a result, the deployment of new solutions for using used tyres comes at a particularly good time. By reincorporating recycled materials from used tyres in new tyres on an industrial scale, the new technologies will allow for a circular economy in synergy with existing channels.

Michelin’s tyre recycling project will span eight years

French tyre maker Michelin also launched its tyre recycling project early this year to mechanically and chemically obtain rubber from used tyres. It is designed to develop two uses for used tyres. The first, TREC Regeneration, involves regenerating rubber compounds to make new tyres, while the second, TREC Alcohol, will enable the production of a chemical intermediate needed to synthesise raw


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