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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


contents 目 錄 R E G U L A R S 概要

4 Industry News 6 Materials News 8 業界新聞


Volume 26, No 180

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

Macchi’s line hinges on reducing costs

F E A T U R E S 焦點內容


Film and sheet extrusion – Asia is the lifeline for the global

film and sheet market, with growth to come from China and India; machinery makers introduce new developments

relationship 16 Customer marketing – This is the second

22 Sabic’s resins are used for a new X-ray machine

part of an article by Bob Wrighton that looks at how customers can influence the way you run your business

Schöttli cap mould with slider system

Singapore Office Contact: Anthony Chan Tel: +65 63457368 e-mail: ISSN 1360-1245

Medical Industry – Plastics 22 may be just what the doctor

Printer KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd

ordered for the medical device market in this report that looks at new resins and innovations

Faced with the need to reduce weight, make products more sustainable, drive down costs and minimise patient risks, materials suppliers like Borealis are innovating resins that ensure a consistent approach to the medical and healthcare market MARCH 2011


Engineers is on a path of growth through investments

……. Silicones balance healthcare needs


Editorial/Production Coordinator Angelica Buan e-mail:

and Corema International, hone in on the selection of thermoregulation systems

…..A round-up of a preform moulding cell and barrier moulding

Chinese Editor Koh Bee Ling

18 suppliers, Frigel Firenze, Eurochiller

Supplements in this issue

Cover photo:

Executive Editor Tej Fernandez Tel: +60 3 4260 4575 e-mail:

Circulation Dona Margaret e-mail:

Auxiliary equipment – Italian

Corporate Profile – Indian 20 extrusion machinery maker Rajoo


Publisher Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 e-mail:

MICA (P) 187/08/2010 KDN PPS 1700/12/2010 (028142)

PRA is published 8 times a year in Mandarin and English by Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this publication is correct, the publisher makes no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the nature or accuracy of such material to the extent permitted by applicable law. © 2011 Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or used in any form, or by any means, without specific prior permission from the publisher. PRA is circulated free to trade readers in the plastics and rubber industry. Airmail subscriptions are available at US$160 within Asia and US$250 to all other countries outside Asia.

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





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02.03.2011 13:09:50


Asian cars to use more high-tech resins


he automotive sector of China and India will provide the thrust for further growth of the global engineering plastics market. With an output of more than 20 million tonnes by 2015, Asia Pacific and Europe will account for a lion’s share, says a new report by Global Industry Analysts. The US research company also says that growth will be driven by the continued shifting of global production bases to low-cost Asian countries, increase in foreign investments and

a rise in the number of new facilities. Growth in the PC market is being driven by expanding applications in automotives, construction and medical products, in addition to increased use of PC in combination with other plastics. With the growth of the materials in the automotive market expected at 5% a year, this sector will focus on the use of lightweight composite nylon resins in under-the-hood applications to decrease weight, lower costs and obtain design flexibility.

Earthquake to affect chemical prices


ith earthquakehit Japan accounting for about 5.5% of global capacity of ethylene, global prices of the chemical are expected to rise while prices of naphtha, which is used to make 90% of the country’s ethylene, may fall. This is according to a report by US-based Alembic Global Advisors, which says that Japan accounts for 4.1% PE and 5.5% PP capacity globally, with about 2 to 4% of both PE and PP output exported. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake resulted in a 7 m high tsunami that devastated the northern coast of the country and caused chemical plants in the area to shut down. It is expected that by 2017, global ethylene revenue will reach the 2008 volume of US$160


MARCH 2011

billion. Ethylene prices recovered last year, after declining by 35% in 2009, says a new study from US company Ceresana Research. Propylene, an important starter for PP, will increase to more than 20 million tonnes by 2017. Sales peaked to US$90 billion in 2008 and will surpass this in 2012, according to another study by Ceresana. The massive capacity expansions for propylene, ethylene and downstream products in the Middle East and China will double global supply and demand by 2015. Asia Pacific will continue to dominate the market and generate more than 30 to 45% of the demand for ethylene and propylene, with China to become the largest consumer of both chemicals this year, edging the US to second place.

Major global players include BASF that recently announced a capacity increase at its South Korean plant. The expansion from the current 17,000 to 30,000 tonnes/year will be completed by the end of 2011. The plant produces

Ultramid PA and Ultradur PBT compounds and will meet the 6% a year growth of the market in South Korea. Together with a recently announced capacity expansion in China, BASF’s total engineering plastics capacity in Asia will exceed 220,000 tonnes/year by 2015.

Companies step up expansions in China


K-based BP plans to expand capacity of its purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant, which is a precursor to PET, in Zhuhai. The debottlenecking will increase capacity by more than 200,000 tonnes/year, making the total PTA capacity of the Zhuhai site 1.7 million tonnes/year by 2012. The joint venture company with Zhuhai Port will also build its third PTA plant. With a capacity of 1.25 million tonnes/year, it will come on stream in 2014. This will make Zhuhai the largest PTA site in BP’s global PTA system. It will also be the first to employ BP’s latest PTA technology, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and other waste streams. Meanwhile in downstream news, Evonik Industries is expanding capacity for its PEEK resin. Though it did not disclose the increase, the company will entail this by modernising an existing plant in Changchun, scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2011.

US company Invista is moving ahead with its plans to build a nylon 6.6 and nylon intermediates plant in Shanghai. The project was planned in 2007 but put on hold due to the global economic crisis. Construction is expected in 2012 with the plant scheduled to start production in phases beginning in 2014. Belgian Solutia will establish a facility for ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) solar encapsulants at its Suzhou site, which produces Saflex polyvinyl butyral (PVB) films. It plans to commercialise it in the second quarter of 2011 and cater to the rapidly growing solar sector in China since the country produces more than half of all modules installed globally. Claiming to be the only manufacturer of all major module encapsulant technologies including EVA, PVB and thermal polyurethane (TPU), the Chinese plant is Solutia’s first new EVA facility after it acquired Etimex Solar, a supplier of Vistasolar EVA encapsulants for the European photovoltaic market.


Asia sees more activity in composites


ith market research and consulting company Lucintel predicting that the global composites industry will witness higher growth and a revenue of US$78 billion in 2016 in its latest report, it is no surprise that the bulk of the activity will be in Asia. Hence, Mumbai headquartered Braj Binani Group, one of India’s fastest growing conglomerates with interests in cement, zinc, glass fibre and composites, has merged with American Composite Products (CPI) to form CPI Binani. CPI undertakes inline compounding and moulding of thermoplastic composites. Also in India, Netherlands-based DSM and Indian Kemrock

Industries and Exports have tied up in a 51:49 joint venture to build a US$25 million plant in Pune. It will make unsaturated polyester resins and vinyl ester resins that are used in composites. Scheduled to start up by 2013 with a capacity of 25,000 tonnes/year, the plant will cater to both the Indian and overseas markets. Meanwhile in China, US company Owens Corning has started up a new composites plant in Hangzhou. The plant significantly expands the company’s capacity in China and will serve the fast-growing automotive, wind energy and high pressure piping sectors. The plant, which will produce the company’s patented Advantex glass fibres, will also cater to the Asia Pacific market. The company now

BMS expands PU business further in India


ayer MaterialScience (BMS) has opened a EUR20 million facility for polyisocyanates at Ankleshwar, Gujarat, as it continues with its strategy to expand its business in the country. Recently, the company opened a Color Competence and Design Centre in Greater Noida, near New Delhi, on a site that already houses a PU systems unit. The Ankleshwar plant will make Desmodur N isocyanates grades for

coatings and adhesives based on aliphatic hexamethylene diisocyanate and Desmodur L grades from aromatic toluylene diisocyanate. Initial capacity is 15,000 tonnes and this will be increased in stages in the next few years in line with the predicted growth for PU coatings and adhesives. BMS also produces TPUs in Cuddalore and has an applications development laboratory for coatings and adhesives in Thane.

operates four glass fibre composites facilities in China, bringing the number of sites in Asia to eight. Dutch DSM’s joint venture company, Jinling DSM Resins, will build a US$50 million

News In Brief Plastic cap market expanding in Asia With world demand for caps and closures projected to rise 4.6% a year to US$40 billion in 2014, the fastest growth will take place in Asia, according to a new report from Freedonia Group. With globalisation, urbanisation and a shift in product mix toward higher-value closures, Africa, Middle East, Central and South America and Eastern Europe are expected to push the impetus for growth, apart from the US. PTA facility in China China Prosperity Petrochemical has started up 600,000 tonnes/year PTA facility in Jiangyin that uses US company Invisita’s process technology. Ineos takeover of PS fast tracked UK-based Ineos Group’s takeover of a PS/EPS joint venture it operated with Canadian Nova Chemicals since 2005 has been approved by the European Commission, under a simplified merger review procedure. The joint venture has 11 facilities in six countries including Europe and Canada

composite resin facility in Nanjing. It will replace the current facility and will be among the largest manufacturing plants for composite resins in the world. DSM has a 75% stake in the joint venture with Sinopec Assets Management holding the rest.

and produces styrene monomer, PS and EPS. NZ appeal for toilets The earthquake that hit Christchurch in February severely damaged the public sewage system and it may not be operable for a year. Local plastics association, Plastics New Zealand, is appealing for plastic portable toilets ( More Vespel in Singapore DuPont Performance Polymers has doubled capacity for Vespel CR6000 parts at its site in Tuas, Singapore, which opened in 2008. Vespel parts are designed to replace metals and provide high-creep resistance for seals and machinability for tight tolerance parts. Japanese PET joint venture Mitsui Chemicals and Teijin have set up MCT PET Resin to integrate their domestic PET resin businesses, from supply chains to production, thereby improving quality and cost competitiveness. Mitsui owns 80% and Teijin 20% in the new company that has a capacity of 145,000 tonnes/year of PET.


MARCH 2011



Bioresins pick up the pace Thai companies are getting into the game of partnering with renewable chemical companies to produce bioresins. Other news focuses on capacity increases and enhancements to the materials as well as new end products. Thai companies forge ahead T h a i l a n d ’s l a r g e s t p e t r o c h e m i c a l p r o d u c e r P T T Chemical has tied up with Myriant, a private USbased biotech firm that manufactures renewable bio-based chemicals. PTT will invest US$60 million strategic equity in this venture with Myriant for an ongoing development of its products. Moreover, it will help fund the commercialisation of its succinic acid platform, as well as the construction of a 13,000 tonnes/year plant in Louisiana, which will be the world’s largest. PTT has inked other deals including the 2009 joint-venture pact with Mitsubishi Chemical (MCC) for the development of bio-polybutylene succinate. Meanwhile, Netherlands-based lactic acid derivatives producer Purac, a subsidiary of CSM, and Thai Indorama Ventures, will set up a PLA plant in Thailand. The plant will have an initial capacity of 10,000 tonnes/year, with the potential to expand to 100,000 tonnes. Purac, a supplier of lactide monomers, will provide the feedstock from its plant in Rayong, Thailand, while Indorama will market the PLAs. T h e t w o c o m p a n i e s s a y t h a t t h e P L A th ey w il l produce will be stable at much higher temperature ranges than other bioplastics. Its properties will enable it to be used for textile and packaging applications not possible with other bio-based products. Europeans step up operations BASF has started its expanded Ecoflex biodegradable resins plant in Germany, having increased its capacity by 60,000 tonnes to 74,000 tonnes/year. At the same time, BASF will ramp up compounding capacity for Ecovio, a derivative of Ecoflex. Ecoflex has the properties of conventional PE but is fully biodegradable under industrial composting conditions, in accordance with DIN EN13432. Ecovio contains up to 75% renewable raw materials. Typical applications are shopping bags, organic waste bags, mulch films for agricultural applications, and food packaging. A new product line is Ecovio FS Paper, which is used to provide a biodegradable waterproof coating on the interior surfaces of paper cups and cardboard containers. BASF says the expansion is timely as the market for biodegradable and bio-based plastics is currently growing by more than 20% a


MARCH 2011

year. In the US, Italian bioplastics producer Novamont h a s s e t u p a U S c o m p a n y t o m a r k e t i t s M a t e r- B i compostable and biodegradable bioplastics. It also plans to make significant investments and will expand into manufacturing. Novamont has a capacity of 80,000 tonnes/year and sales of EUR88 million last year. PLAs get an additives boost US-based supplier of colour concentrates and additive masterbatches Plastics Color Corp. (PCC) has expanded its line of additives and toner packages for modification of PLA for food and beverage packaging. Specifically, SoluPLAs additives, which include impact modifiers, mould release agents, denesters, UV absorbers, antistatic agents and toners, offer improvement in terms of impact resistance and clarity for injection moulding and extrusion applications. The additives can be formulated to meet FDA medical, pharmaceutical and food-contact PCC’s new additive packages are designed to enhance the physical properties and aesthetics of PLA, imparting enhanced functionality and the potential for PLA to be considered for a much broader range of applications, says the company

requirements. Meanwhile, another US company Teknor Apex has introduced a clear impact modifier masterbatch for use with PLA. The Terraloy 90000 Series masterbatch increases the toughness and reduces the brittleness of PLA, making it more suitable for a wider range of packaging applications where clarity is essential, according to the US company. By adding the new masterbatch to 2 mil thick cast film at levels of 5 and 10% increased the Gardner impact strength nine-fold and 16-fold, respectively, says the company. The masterbatches are formulated using a Biostrength impact modifier from Arkema and Ingeo PLA from NatureWorks. Making cost competitive bioacrylic US-based renewable chemical and biofuel company OPX Biotechnologies (OPXBIO) has achieved the commercial bioprocess performance and cost goals for its BioAcrylic. The company says that after 18 months of pilot-scale development, it achieved a manufacturing cost of


The production cost for petroleum-based acrylic is on the rise and is currently estimated to be US$0.75 cents/kg. The company’s pilot process achieved 79% production yield generating 70 g/litre bioproduct concentration in 26 hour fermentations. During the next stage of larger demonstration-scale production, the company expects to further improve the process towards its cost target of US$0.50 cents/kg using corn sugar and less than US$0.40 cents/kg using cane sugar. It plans to begin commercial-scale production in 2014. OPXBIO uses its proprietary Efficiency Directed Genome Engineering (EDGE) technology to engineer high-performing microbes and bioprocesses faster and better than is possible with conventional methods. More end products end up with bioplastics From a toothpaste tube to printers and solar panels, consumers are beginning to see more use of bioplastics in end products. What is said to be the world’s “first truly” biodegradable toothpaste tube is being made in Sweden by Tectubes using Germany-based FKuR’s Bio-Flex, which is a blend of co-polyester and PLA bioplastics. The tube is for Allveggie toothpaste, which is made from natural materials and is considered Fair Trade as it does not exploit nature or people. The tube combines an extruded body with an injection moulded shoulder and cap. Tectubes is an international producer of tubes making more than 300 million/year at its factories in Sweden and the US. As well as the Bio-Flex, FKuR makes Biograde cellulose ester compounds and Fibrolon wood/plastic compounds based on PLA The first and PP.

“truly” biodegradable toothpaste tube

US company BioSolar, which produces bio-based materials for photovoltaic (PV) solar modules, has had production samples of its BioBacksheet product successfully tested to Underwriters Laboratories (UL) initial material property tests. The company says that having started its sales and marketing efforts in 2010, it has received encouraging interest from solar manufacturers from all over the world. BioSolar says it has developed a low cost bio-based material that meets the manufacturing and operating requirements of PV solar systems. It can be used as the backsheet, substrate as well as superstrate. Japan-based printer producer OKI Data Corporation has introduced a bioplastic part consisting at least 25% (by weight) of PLA material in all its printers and multifunctional peripherals. OKI says this is in line with its commitment to reducing its CO 2 emissions, having set a goal to cut emissions by 6% relative to 2007 levels, by 2012.

Fujitsu says its new mouse is more comfortable to use since the Biograde shell has more elasticity, allowing for an ergonomic design that is suitable for both left and right-hand users

Meanwhile, Japanese computer equipment producer Fujitsu Technology Solutions has launched a new computer mouse, made of biodegradable plastics, as part of its “Green IT” product range. Made with Biograde C7500 CL cellulose ester (acetate) compound material from FKuR and Arboform lignin-based plastic from Tecnaro, the M440 Eco mouse is said to be the world’s first computer mouse made 100% in naturally reoccurring materials. These materials were also used for the housing and palm rest of the KBPC PX ECO keyboard launched last year. Fujitsu estimates that by making the switch to renewable materials for this product, it saves approximately 60,000 kg of plastics per year. US retailer Heinz’s 20 oz ketchup bottles will be the next to use Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle PET packaging. It intends to sell 120 million bottles in 2011 and Coke will use more than 5 billion this year with full transition to the material by 2020. Currently, PlantBottle can be found in nine markets including Canada, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the US, with plans to expand to over a dozen new markets this year. At the moment, PlantBottle contains 30% sugarcane ethanol that comes from Brazil. ◆ Heinz will be using Coke’s PlantBottle material for its ketchup bottle


MARCH 2011

新聞 業 界


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新聞 業 界


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MARCH 2011


Film & Sheet Extrusion

Asia to capture film and sheet growth The film and sheet market will see its highest growth in Asia, says a new study; extrusion machinery suppliers like W&H, Davis-Standard and Macchi highlight new developments, and Indian machinery maker Kabra buys a stake in US-based Gloucester. Other news focuses on Asian processors expanding their horizons further afield to the Western markets. Asia to drive film and sheet market The highest growth in the film and sheet market is expected to come from Asia Pacific, says a new report by Global Industry Analysts. The growth of 4% will be driven by the enormous potential in China and India, in line with the countries’ economic growth and low capita consumption of film sheet, says the US company. Globally, the market will reach 50.7 million tonnes by 2015, with slower growth expected in the mature markets of the US, Japan and Western Europe while Africa, Middle East, Latin America and Eastern Europe are expected to be future growth areas. In terms of the types of film, PE film will take up the largest segment of global demand, with PP film closely trailing behind. Meanwhile, LDPE film is losing its market share to LLDPE while HDPE film is expanding at a consistent rate, though not as dynamically as LLDPE. However, the fastest growing segment in terms of volume is the BOPP film market that has bounced back from the economic downturn, growing at a rate of 3-4%. From the 2010-2013 period, BOPP production capacity globally will expand from 2.2 million to 2.4 million tonnes, with the Middle East accounting for the bulk of the capacity expansion. Aquarex line to blow over to Asia Having shown its water blown Aquarex film line at an open house in Lengerich, during the K2010 trade fair, producing PP infusion (IV) bags, German machine manufacturer Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H) says the new line will be especially useful in countries like China that have banned the use of PVC for IV bags. The Aquarex line shown was running a three-layer, 200 micron, high-clarity PP film for the production of IV bags. The clarity of the film, which is especially important for IV bags, is achieved from the “shock” cooling of the melt. Traditionally, IV bags have been made of PVC but concerns about the effects of phthalate plasticisers have seen the increasing use of PP film W&H’s upside down with the company stating that Aquarex water quenched blown film line is expected the latter is expected to replace to generate interest in Asia PVC in this application.



MARCH 2011

In the Aquarex line, the film is blown downwards and the bubble is quenched with water rather than air, thus increasing the cooling time by a factor of 30, says W&H. The sudden freezing of the melt minimises the build up of crystallites in the plastic, thereby creating an amorphous structure with improved optical properties. Meanwhile, the biaxial stretching effect, which can only be achieved with the blown film process, is maintained. Aside from the optical properties, the process also improves mechanical properties, such as puncture resistance and dart-drop-value, while the amorphous micro structure improves sealability. The company says that the new extrusion process can be used for other applications in the flexible packaging industry, other than medical applications. Sound die design makes the case for higher layers Over the last one year, Italian extrusion machinery producer Macchi has delivered a number of co-extrusion film lines that include five and seven-layer lines and three nine-layer lines. Two of these are for Italy and the third is for the Chinese market, thus confirming the surge of interest for high-end film systems in flexible packaging. In fact, at the K2010 show last year, Macchi was running a nine-layer PE film line, with an EVOH barrier material and tie layers, at the show, one of two suppliers to do this (the other was Germany’s Reifenhäuser). Counting itself as one of a few suppliers in the ninelayer line arena, with a number of “successful installations”, Macchi says another driving force for higher layer structures is the latest buzz word in the flexible packaging industry: sustainability.

Macchi is seeing a growing number of installations in the ninelayer film sector

Film & Sheet Extrusion

“The extruders and the die arrangement becomes, in such complex set-ups, an issue,“ it says. Furthermore, the application of jointly developed new generation Siemens torque motors, featuring the screw removal from behind the extruder, allows for advantages such as faster set-up and easier accessibility for maintenance as well as a reduced footprint. As far as the die is concerned, Macchi says it is using its latest compact version, made to cater to multi-layer films, since this has reported “flawless performance”. The Coex Flex die’s compact design is achieved by eliminating the traditional radial lower distributor resulting in the height of the unit reduced by almost a third. The polymer is fed to the individual distribution elements through a combination of binary melt splits and spiral distribution zones. This has also resulted in shorter lengths for the spirals. More importantly, the residence time is reduced and, by fine tuning the spirals, savings are made on the additional height. The residence time is a critical issue since the melt has to travel a long way to the die, thereby exposing it to temperature fluctuations. The reduced wetted surface area on the dies makes a difference. The reduction of residence times has other benefits like doing away with thermal insulation and allowing for longer production runs of barrier film before purging, not forgetting the shorter changeover times, thereby allowing for material savings. The concept also warrants improved results in layerto-layer distribution, due to the symmetrical merging of the melt streams. As well, the company says its Coex Flex positively contributes to lower leakages, due to the large sealing area that does not require seal-plate gaskets. It goes on to say, “Since individual layer tolerances are a result of the die design itself – where melt flow follows its own rheology – and there is no automatic gauge control system that can influence the individual layer tolerance, a sound die design should be a major concern for barrier film.” The idea of processing seven or nine layers is to reduce the use of expensive barrier and tie-layer resins, says Macchi, adding that processors are aiming for 3-5 micron EVOH layers (with an example of a customer running a 1.5 micron EVOH layer in a total of 15 micron, seven-layer film structure). Hence, if the individual layer tolerance is not consistent, a film below barrier specification might be produced, thus increasing the layer thickness, resulting in an expensive film. Triple air ring raises the benchmark US-based Davis-Standard’s says its new blown film pilot line at its laboratory in New Jersey, which is equipped with the Triple Lip air ring and the vertex die, allows for increased cooling capacity and output rates. In fact, the company has been conducting trials to demonstrate advantages. It gives an example of an mLLDPE co-extruded film that was limited to a rate of 15 ppi (pounds per inch of die circumference) due to high ambient temperatures and the use of older cooling technology. During a trial run using its new components, rates of 23-24 ppi were obtained, with an improved thickness control of 4%. Another customer developed a proprietary MDPE/LLD blend and experienced a growing market for the product that soon exceeded its production capability. The trial showed



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DavisStandard says its Triple Lip air ring has been shown to provide processors with a wide production range and improved outputs

rates of 34 ppi with the potential of 35-37 ppi, which is 50% higher, says the company. In addition, it says that several can liner customers have been able to use the pilot line to run 0.9 mil, 100% fractional melt LLDPE at rates of 23-25 ppi, with improved gauge tolerance. The Triple Lip features a singular design of one air ring, blower and chiller, instead of two. It has a counter-cooling concept along the hi-stalk and an easily adjustable elevator system. Processors have a wider production range and improved outputs with a BUR (blow up ratio) of 2:1 to 4.4:1. Performance increases in the 30-40% range are common with improved thickness control. Featuring simplified maintenance, the air ring is available on new lines or as a retrofit to existing Davis-Standard lines. Indian companies expand into international markets Claiming that it is India’s first plastic machinery company to acquire a stake in an overseas company, public-listed extrusion machinery supplier Kabra Extrusiontechnik (KET) has taken up 15% equity in US film line maker Gloucester Engineering (GEC). KET will acquire a stake in the company’s equity and debt and provide additional capital resources to GEC. Additional terms were not disclosed. KET says that through the stake, it will be able to gain exposure to newer markets like the US and Europe, outside its realm of the Middle East, Africa and India. Part of the US$120 million Kolsite Group, KET has a market share of about 40% in India’s pipe/profile and blown film machinery sector. It has over 8,000 installations in 65 countries. In 2009, GEC and Kolsite established a joint venture, Kabra Gloucester Engineering (KGE), in Daman, to produce lower end GEC equipment in India for the price-conscious emerging markets. Kabra owns 55% and GEC 45% of the joint venture. It recently received an order for a five-layer blown film line from Propyl Pack India and says it is actively developing new products to address international markets. GEC, which makes sheet, blown and cast film extrusion lines and only recently exited from bankruptcy, says Kabra will help develop opportunities for it in Southeast Asia, thereby “ensuring the company and its pipe line remain robust.” Private equity firm Blue Wolf Capital Fund II has a majority equity stake in GEC. Meanwhile, India’s largest flexible packaging manufacturer Uflex is stepping into the European market by investing US$90 million into a BOPET film facility in Poland. The company is ranked globally as the fifth largest producer of packaging products including plain and metallised films, laminates, bags and pouches. It also produces PET resins, holographic

Film & Sheet Extrusion

materials, printing inks and coatings, adhesives, rotogravure cylinders, flexographic plates and packaging and converting machinery. With a yearly revenue of US$870 million, it has manufacturing plants in India, Dubai, Mexico and Egypt. Uflex’s Polish facility will be its fifth and the company aims to cater to the growing demand in Europe and Russia. Due to start up in 2012, the new facility will have a capacity of 36,000 tonnes/year of packaging film. Together with the Polish facility, Uflex will have a total capacity of 383,000 tonnes/year. The Noida-based company is also commissioning two 8.7 m BOPET film lines at its Mexico and Egypt facilities and a new CPP film line in Egypt. Once these lines have been installed, Uflex says it will become one of the world’s top three BOPET film producers.

Chinese processor spreads its wings to Europe Chinese processor Greatview Aseptic Packaging (GA Pack), said to be the second largest supplier of roll-fed aseptic packaging in the world, is investing EUR50 million to build a plant in Halle, Germany. The Beijing-based company, which has another facility in China, expects to significantly expand its activities in Europe and grow its market share with this set up. The European plant will also provide additional capacity for exports to the Middle East and the US. Production of aseptic packaging material at the plant is scheduled to start in 2012. The factory is targeting to have annual capacity of 4 billion packages by the end of 2013. GA Pack is traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and is backed by USbased Bain Capital, which also owns chemical firm Styron. ◆


MARCH 2011


Customer Relationship Marketing

Evaluating CRM in a different context This is the second of a two-part article by Bob Wrighton that supports the benefits of a customercentred approach to marketing over a product-centred approach. The material related to customer relationship marketing (CRM) is based on a recent book titled "Managing Customers Profitably" (John Wiley and Sons, 2008) by Professor Lynette Ryals of Cranfield Management College UK. The product-profit approach In the last article, we explored the product-profit approach to selling – basically the cost-plus model – and suggested that it was not the best approach to help make your business successful. We suggested that this approach was inward looking and caused a company to concentrate on its products and processes almost to the exclusion of the customer. We also noted that attitudes shape behaviour, so if you think of product rather than customer, you will always be stuck in this mindset. The objective of this article is to persuade you that it is better for your business to think of the customer rather than the product because this will change the way you run your business and in fact, change your behaviour.

sunk. If you then spend time developing relationships with the customers you already have, you can get them to buy more of your products and the costs to do that are much less than those to get new customers, resulting in increased profit. It is actually easier on your sales force, too. Talking with people you know, and who know your company and your product, is easier than knocking on doors and cold-calling. For the sales force, this may be a new thought. Certainly, Professor Ryals seems to think it is a new thought for many companies in the UK. In her definition, Professor Ryals talks about a balance between these two customer processes. It is worthwhile to explore what she means by this.

What is customer relationship marketing? Professor Ryals defines it as an approach to marketing and sales that looks to balance customer acquisition with customer retention. Relationship marketing places more emphasis on customer retention than traditional approaches. Based on the notion that retained customers tend to be more profitable (provided the relationship is managed well, the overall relationship with the customer is considered to be more important than the individual products or services that the customer buys, according to Professor Ryals. This changes your focus. From looking inwards and focusing on production and maybe distribution, the new focus is outward looking – on the customer. You clearly need to still think about production and distribution, of course, but the central focus is the customer.

All customers are not equal This is a point she regularly stresses in her book. She explores many ways of classifying customers, the most basic of which is to differentiate between profitable and unprofitable customers. When companies begin to work on this analysis, they are often horrified by the results, finding that sometimes up to 40% of their customers are unprofitable. To put it absolutely bluntly: it costs you money to serve them.

"With a product-profit

approach, sales emphasis tends to be on finding new customers and selling….

Customer retention and customer acquisition With a product-profit approach, sales emphasis tends to be on finding new customers and selling, selling, selling. The difficulty with customer acquisition is that it is timeconsuming, tough and expensive. And everybody is doing it, so it is easy for your products to become commoditised and when that happens the selling point becomes price, price, price, which can lead to price wars and discounting. One of the arguments in support of customer relationship marketing is that you already have customers. You have already done the cold-calling and courting of the customers. The costs incurred in that process are already



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There are three implications here: • It is not sensible to maintain too many unprofitable customers • If you have analysed your profitable customers, you will be able to guide your sales force to seek out customers with the same characteristics • If you don’t do this analysis, your sales force may waste their time – and your money – recruiting more unprofitable customers. Relational value Professor Ryals clarifies this as relating to ways in which the customer creates value that lies outside the financial measure of customer profitability. So there may be customers who are not financially profitable, but are worth having because of their so-called relational value. There are four ways in which customers may have relational value: reference, referral, learning and innovation value.

Customer Relationship Marketing

Reference value Some companies in the UK proudly note on their letterheads and on their websites that they are purveyors to Buckingham Palace and the royalty who live therein. Potential customers may accept that if the Queen uses this product, it will be good enough for them. This is one example of reference value. At a somewhat less exalted level, it can be publicised that your product is stocked by a high profile store, for instance in the US a supplier may refer to Wal-Mart. So reference value lies in being a provider to a quality customer to whom people can look up to. A second sort of reference value lies in a trusted customer having a relationship with you such that you may use them as a reference in making a sale, even to the extent of a prospective customer physically calling them to check you out. This latter reference value is somewhat akin to benchmarking, and it mustn’t be used too often. There is a sad tale of an American company that won the prestigious Baldrige Award for excellence, but in the following year spent so much time hosting companies who wanted to visit to see how they had done it that the company almost went out of business! Some companies seek to benchmark what they have done – perhaps with the help of expensive consultants – to save the cost of hiring consultants for themselves. Benchmarking can thus become freeloading!

(this is a reference example!). Some large suppliers even set up training for their customers to ensure that problems are minimised. Innovation value Have you ever bought a product and thought “if only this small alteration were to be made, this would be perfect for me?” This is an example of the potential of innovation value. Aircraft owner Boeing is known to have used its airline crew extensively when designing the 888 series and the Lexus car was designed with considerable input from users. Small enhancements made following feedback from customers may result in product modifications, or even in the development of new products. Developing relational value Developing the relational process takes time as a new customer is not likely to agree to this arrangement. There seem to be two key processes in developing a relationship with a customer. The first is probably obvious – communication, which needs to be ongoing. This means sales staff, or a key account manager, need to be in frequent contact with the customer. Not to sell, but to build a relationship and learn. The second element is sharing and openness, which also do not happen immediately.

Customer relationship " marketing is a comparatively new concept that looks at customers as assets

Referral value Referral value lies in a customer company becoming an advocate for you. At an individual level, if you are looking for a restaurant in which you will entertain a potential client, it is likely that the advice of a friend or colleague – his/her referral – will help you decide, rather than the restaurant’s expensive advertising. In fact, one of the measures of referral value is the extent to which a customer will recommend you to other potential customers. An advocate company in fact becomes part of your sales force. Learning value As you get more intimate with your customers, there is ample opportunity for learning from each other. This is particularly so in the process area, both in the manufacturing process and, more particularly, back office process. A comparatively recent trend internationally between large suppliers and customers is to actually position a member of staff in the facilities of the customer. There are many advantages arising from this situation. Problems get raised instantly and, hopefully, can be solved quickly. Having a representative in the building also beats having to call the head office, which may be at the other end of the city, and then waiting until someone can come down to explore the problem. Toyota is one company that is well known for this practice of having an in-house representative


Conclusion Customer relationship marketing is a comparatively new concept as it needs you to look at your most profitable and/ or prestigious customers as assets, which will highlight the need for new behaviours towards them. You may find that your present sales force is not able to meet the new requirements and this gives rise to problems of its own. Under product-profit motivation, a good customer may be seen just as a source of income. Under relationship marketing, such a customer becomes an asset to your company, and needs to be managed like any other asset. Conventional wisdom suggests that a large, regular customer should be regarded simply as a “cash cow” – this may be a misconception! ◆

Acknowledgement: Bob is an English-born New Zealander who has lived in Asia for the past 20 years. He has been in the field of human resources his entire working life and has been a management consultant since 1980. Most recently, he has been functioning as an ideas broker, which means reading widely, mining new ideas and linking them with ideas already mined, then sharing them with managers and companies that are interested in keeping themselves at the cutting edge. Bob shares ideas on his free blog at


MARCH 2011


Auxiliary Equipment

Thermoregulation up close The construction and selection of a thermoregulation system is based on a number of factors that range from the type of processing machinery and material used to the final application. Close cooperation is also required between the processor and the machinery manufacturer, says the Italian association for plastic machinery Assocomaplast, which highlights new developments from three Italian companies. More cooling capacity without more water In order to increase its production, US-based SSI Schaefer, a manufacturer of refuse containers, returnable packaging and storage systems for automated warehousing, needed a way to add 40% more cooling capacity without increasing its use of water. A solution was offered in the Ecodry closed-loop cooling system supplied by cooling and temperature control equipment supplier Frigel Firenze. The previous process cooling system, a 500-tonne (1,7600 kW) cooling tower and 400-tonne (1,400 kW) chiller, consumed large volumes of water. Furthermore, in the closed-loop cooling system the evaporation process is completely eliminated and only a limited consumption of water has to be considered for the adiabatic operation of the chamber during the hottest hours of summer. In addition to this, thanks to the adiabatic chamber, the accumulation of scale on the exchanger with c o n s e q u e n t l o s s o f e f f i c i e n c y, w h i c h i s a t y p i c a l disadvantage of closed-loop cooling systems, is eliminated, says the Florence-based Frigel Firenze. The advantages of the Ecodry include lower water and energy consumption, increase in productivity and cleaner water. In fact, Frigel Firenze says that

Frigel Firenze’s Ecodry system added cooling capacity and reduced maintenance and water use for a US company



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Schaefer is realising 97% water savings and is seeing a 15% reduction in energy costs from free cooling opportunities alone. Ecodry not only played a role in meeting the w at e r c o n se r v at i o n c h al l e ng e bu t a l s o t h e h e av y contamination problems, due to bacterial growth and presence of sludge in the water. Fees for dumping the contaminated water were higher than the cost of the water consumption itself. The ability to provide consistent clean water with nearly zero water loss is a clear benefit. With a modular and compact design, the system is available in a self-draining version, without the need of glycol in the water. Other problems that it helped to solve were the scale accumulation and frequent maintenance hassles in traditional cooling systems. Water heaters made efficient Meanwhile, Milan-based process chiller and temperature controller supplier Eurochiller has developed the 3Flows project for water heaters, for applications within a temperature range of 20-140°C and heating capacity of 6-24 kW. The main target is to get the best energy efficiency, sparing the so called “cold zone” of the heater and thus getting an upgraded efficiency. When compared to traditional heaters, the main difference is the reduction of the time of temperature increase as well as the start-up time of the heating element, resulting in a reduction of energy consumption. The 3Flows name underlines the set course of water into the collector holding the heater. Before flowing towards the process, the water runs three times close to the heating element: this exchange optimises the fluid temperature, has no temperature fluctuations and provides for a prompt reaction to the thermal load changes. R e c e n t l y, t h e c o m p a n y p r o d u c e d a h o r i z o n t a l block consisting of six pressurised water temperature controllers (3Flows P 606/45), assembled into a single painted frame with hydraulic manifolds to provide cooling water to the heat exchangers inside machines. The manifolds are equipped with check and ball valves isolating each area to allow the temporary exclusion of all temperature controllers so that, should one way be excluded, the cooling water does not circulate into the unit which is excluded, unnecessarily

Auxiliary Equipment

increasing the upstream thermal load. The collector size was calculated to ensure the probable simultaneous operation of all solenoid valves fitted on the heat exchangers into the unit. This unit has been supplied to a company that uses it at enslavement of its lines for extrusion lines and coating of electric cables. Despite the common structure, each single temperature controller independently adjusts the corresponding extruder zone. This is advantageous as it allows end-users to maximise production.

By optimising the temperature for cooling both the air ring and the IBC (internal bubble cooling), the extrusion process can achieve production consistency in any climatic part of the world, says the company, with a minimum output increase of 25-30% and improvement of final products, especially in terms of brightness of the film produced. â—†

Modular cold air supply for blown film lines The Modulair range of cold air generators developed by Corema International, now a division of the Frigosystem Group, offers characteristics that make it particularly suitable for cooling blown film lines. These units have added on the most recent i n n o v a t i o n s o f F r i g o s y s t e m ’s technology after the acquisition, with a significant impact on the size, an important issue for both machinery manufacturers and processors. Hence, Modulair chillers are said to be the most compact available on the market. The main features of these units include low power consumption and the ability to select an optimal temperature, according to the material being processed.

Corema’s cold air units for blown film lines allow for output increases and improve the brightness of film produced


MARCH 2010


Corporate Profile

Taking the technologydriven path Set up more than 25 years ago, Indian extrusion machinery maker Rajoo Engineers has upped its ante by having tied up with Western machinery makers to produce higher technology machines in the country. On a recent visit to the company’s headquarters in Rajkot, India, PRA Editor Tej Fernandez was given an update of its activities.


railing closely behind the world’s most populous country in the world, India is set to emerge as a power house in the global economy and companies like extrusion machinery maker Rajoo Engineers are making a difference with their contributions. On an earlier visit, nearly ten years ago, PRA noted that the company’s premises were adequate. But it is a different story now. Having undergone a US$3.5 million makeover, the premises look spanking new and PRA can go so far as to say that the upgrading will allow Rajoo to compete on a level playing field with European counterparts.

“We want to provide a wholesome working environment for our staff,” said Khushboo of the facility’s extensive landscaping undertaken last year

Rajoo President, Sunil Jain, affirms, “The objective of the investment was not just to enhance capacity but to also improve quality, increase consistency and reduce lead times.” Capacity, meanwhile, has been increased by 30%, plus the plant now has the capability to run wet runs of blown film lines with a height of 20 m.



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The facility is able to undertake all the fabrication work, including critical parts, except for gear boxes and panels that are still outsourced, said Khushboo Doshi, Head of Marketing and Communications, who is the daughter of the founder of Rajoo, CN Doshi.

The company undertakes all fabrication work in-house, with the exception of gears

Staying close to its technology focus Being in an arena where competition is a major part of the game plan, the blown film, sheet and thermoforming machinery maker relies on technology to give it the edge over competitors. Last year, it acquired Nasik-based thermoforming machinery supplier Wonderpack Industries and is now able to penetrate markets it was not present in. Earlier in 2007, Rajoo obtained a license from USbased Commodore Technology to produce its EPS thermoforming machinery, for EPS foam packaging, and sell it to the Indian, Asian and African markets. More recently, to expand its portfolio for the domestic market, Rajoo set up a 49:51 joint venture with Italy-based pipe/profile extruder supplier Bausano to manufacture pipe and profile machinery in India. The Indian firm will be buying parts from Bausano and assembling the lines at a new facility to be set up close to its Rajkot plant. The company is investing US$3 million in this joint venture, according to Sunil. The partners will manufacture PVC/HDPE pipe extrusion and wood composite profile extrusion lines, with the first machine to roll out in six months. It expects to revolutionise pipe manufacturing technology in India. “Local processors who currently use short extruders (18-20 L/D) will now be offered Rajoo-Bausano 30 L/D extruders to enhance melt homogenisation at much higher output levels using similar size extruder and motor ratings,” adds Sunil. Moreover, the new partnership will be utilising Bausano’s patented high-torque multi-drive system, which uses four synchronised motors has less power consumption and lower maintenance than the older, albeit, widely used technology. Sunil also explains that Italian experts from Bausano will be on hand to provide advice and oversee concerns of users. Not content to rest on its laurels, Rajoo has also tied

Corporate Profile

he expects future growth to come mainly from Asia and Africa. But it will cover new markets. “In the forthcoming financial year, India will continue to be in focus with emphasis on new applications for the existing product lines and also increasing presence in newly industrialised regions (West Bengal and other Eastern States). On the export front, we will be targeting penetration in virgin territories like Russia, erstwhile CIS countries, and Australia. We also plan to increase our presence in South Africa and will continue to strengthen our base in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East,” explains Sunil.

The newly refurbished dust-free tooling room is able to undertake a variety of die work. “We christened it Shree Yantralaya (a Sanskrit phrase that means abode for tools dedicated to the Lord),” said Khushboo, adding that the CNC machines are not only from India but also Germany, France, Spain and Taiwan

up with Hosokawa Alpine of Germany to produce hybrid machines. Rajoo will not only sell and service Hosokawa Alpine machinery in the country, it will also build up to nine-layer lines at its facility, utilising hot parts (screws/ barrels and dies) from Hosokawa Alpine. The machines will be marketed as Rajoo-Alpine. When asked how the collaboration came about, Sunil said, “Rajoo is one of two or three companies that are at the top of the extrusion machine market in India and so it has the advantage to compete with European suppliers. That is why we have joined hands with the best machinery supplier. It also gives Alpine the opportunity to enter the Indian market in a bigger way.” When asked when this will take off, Sunil replied, “We have already finalised the specifications of the hybrid lines and are already in discussion with various processors who will be the most appropriate candidates for such lines. We expect to have the first customer in the next couple of months and the first hybrid line to be up and running early next year.” According to the arrangement with Hosokawa Alpine, Rajoo will cover markets where it has an established presence and performance, including India and parts of Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana).

Future stability on the horizon Listed on the Mumbai Stock Exchange, Rajoo has a financial obligation to its stakeholders and it says it has managed to deliver an above average multi-faceted growth for its sales and bottom lines. “The top line of Rajoo has far exceeded the industry performance all these years. In the last five years, the sales CAGR has been nearly 28% and in the previous financial year it was a whopping 52%,” says Sunil. Nevertheless, the company expects consolidation with a 10% growth in the financial year ending March 2011, according to Sunil. As for the year ahead, he predicts, “It has been a stabilising year and we are looking forward to a growth of 20-25%.” And with the machinery tie-ups it has, it expects to reach its objective. “We are on target to achieving this given the company’s encouraging performance over the past six months,” concluded Sunil. ◆

Market penetration a core factor The merger with Wonderpack gives Rajoo a market share of 80% in thinwall thermoforming, 55%, in terms of installed capacity, in the blown film segment and 70% in sheet extrusion. Nevertheless, the Indian market is still a small player in the global plastics industry (India’s per capita plastic consumption is 7 kg compared to a world average of 23 kg). But the export potential is enormous and Indian companies like Rajoo are able to spur these exports and, along the way, boost the economy. Thus, more than half its output is exported to Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, the UK and the Middle East. However, Sunil says the market is shrinking and


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Medical Industry

Healthy prospects from suppliers for OEMs Increasing regulations, importance of patient safety and the shift to sustainable alternatives in the healthcare industry are prompting suppliers to introduce materials that meet stringent requirements for a wide variety of end uses. Lending support to OEMs Diversification is key for materials suppliers that work closely with healthcare OEMs to ensure that materials meet the requirements. DSM Biomedical’s Dyneema Purity fibre is diversifying into the medical implant area with Ovesco Endoscopy using it for its FDA-approved OTSC gastrointestinal system. The material’s high strength, low elongation and high pliability provide the tension forces required to align the clips used for compression in the digestive tract. The US arm of German company Evonik has introduced Cyrolite Protect, an acrylic compound with antimicrobial properties. Incorporating a silver additive, it is designed for Class I and II devices like luer connectors, spikes, Y-sites, check valves, and filter housings. It is chemical resistant and sterilisable by radiation and EtO. Meanwhile, because of light weight, chemical resistance and durability, Sabic Innovative Plastics’s Valox and Xylex resins are used by GE Healthcare for the housing and storage bins, respectively, of its new X-ray machine. Valox is a polyester/PC blend, which is flame-retardant and UVstabilised, with a moulded-in colour capability for use as an alternative to painted metal. Xylex, on the other hand, is a blend of PC and amorphous polyester that provides enhanced chemical resistance to reduce hospital-acquired infections. Polyester also enhances the resin’s ESCR and lower processing temperatures. To address upcoming changes to the lead replacement exemption for Category 8 products under the European Union’s (EU’s) Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive, Sabic is also promoting its LNP Thermocomp high specific gravity (HSG) compounds for radiation shielding. In alternative care delivery, the GE Healthcare is using Sabic’s Valox resin for the housing and Xylex resin for the storage bins of its new Optima mobile X-ray machine



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company’s LNP Faradex compounds integrate protection against interference from wireless patient monitoring systems increasingly used in the home or long-term care facility. Re-introducing grades Re-launching new products are US-based Lubrizol, which was recently bought by American billionaire Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway for US$9.7 billion, and Austrian supplier Borealis. After its supplier shut down, Lubrizol sourced for an alternative polycarbonate diol raw material supply and has re-launched its Carbothane aliphatic, PC-based TPUs for implantable devices. The 13 injection moulding and extrusion grades, with 20% barium sulphateloaded grades in five hardnesses ranging from 75A-72D, display Lubrizol has a complete facility for similar chemical prop- TPU resins and tubes in Wilmington erties, biocompatibility and have passed a 30-day implant testing by an independent testing agency. Compared to typical TPU polyethers and polyesters, the new resins are said to offer improved oxidative and hydrolytic stability, better solvent interaction as well as improved colour fastness, chemical resistance and biostability. Prior to it being acquired by Berkshire Hathaway, Lubrizol bought Dow Chemical’s Pellethane TPUs and Isoplast rigid/soft TPUs for medical instruments, neonatal tubing and catheter systems. And it’s not stopping there as it has set up a new medical business unit to expand into wound dressings/tapes, medical bags and orthodontics and into other polymers. Meanwhile Borealis, absent from the market for some months due to the sale of its dedicated production centre, has re-launched its autoclaved sterilisable Bormed LE6609PH and LE6601PH LDPE grades for ampoules and bottles. The latter does not require post-steam sterilisation and can

Medical Industry

be converted on standard blow moulding and blow, fill and seal (BFS) machines. Complex shapes are possible, since wall thickness and ampoule weight are easy to control, thanks to its optimised molecular weight distribution that produces material with low swell. TPEs – no need to reinvent the wheel Materials companies are assisting healthcare OEMs by introducing not only new materials but also reinventing the way tried and tested materials can be used. Falling back on the soft grip features of TPEs, is a prefilled syringe made by New York-based kitchen gadget manufacturer Oxo for Belgian biopharmaceutical company UCB using US firm PolyOne’s Versaflex OM 1060X9. The TPE is used in a non-slip PolyOne’s finger grip and an overmoulded TPE is used ergonomic thumb pad of the in a nonslip finger syringe, which medicates arthritis grip and an and Crohn’s disease. overmoulded Meanwhile another US ergonomic company, Teknor Apex went thumb pad of back to a 20-year old grade that this syringe has been used by the nonmedical wire/cable sector and reformulated it for the medical market. Medalist MD458 is a medical-grade analogue to Teknor Apex’s Elexar EL9431. The styrenic TPE has passed ISO10993-5 cytotoxicity testing, has a hardness of 70A and UL-1581 continuous operating temperature rating of 105ºC. It has also passed standard tests for oil resistance. The injection moulding grade has been introduced as an alternative to the use of PVC in medical device cables.

or halogens. It also has lower residual stress than PC, reducing costs needed for separate annealing processes, and a higher glass-transition temperature (Tg) of 118°C compared to other copolyesters, allowing for faster cycle times. Other benefits are its resistance to blood, lipids, isopropyl alcohol and bonding solvents as well as Danish Lina Medical has improved toughness, used Eastman’s Tritan high clarity and colour co-polyester grade for its MaxFlow system for stability after radiation minimally invasive sterilsation. gynecological procedures, due Meanwhile, Swiss to its high-flow processing masterbatch supplier capabilities, making it suitable for Clariant is now able thinwall applications to offer processors of Tritan and Topas’s COC resin other readily available colour options that are pretested and compliant with standards governing materials used in medical applications. The Mevopur colour concentrates and pre-colour compounds are produced in ISO13485-certified plants, using raw materials that have been biologically evaluated against USP parts 87 and 88 (Class VI devices) and/or the international standard ISO10993, and spectroscopically analysed on delivery. ◆

Staying true to the environment and medical pigments Of the two new PP random co-polymers Sabic has introduced, the injection moulding grade PCGR25, allows for lower melt processing temperatures than are normal for conventional random co-polymers, allowing for shorter cycle times and energy savings of up to 15%. It also features the high clarity and good antistatic properties necessary for disposable syringes while its optical properties and broad processing window open it up for use in other components. Targeted at bottles and ampoules, the second PCGR02 resin is an extrusion blow moulding grade, said to exhibit good contact transparency, impact strength and processability. Another company that is taking the environment friendly route is US firm Eastman Chemical. Its latest Tritan MX811 co-polyester, an injection moulding grade aimed at higher temperature applications like renal-care device housings, is offered as an alternative to resins that contain bisphenol A (BPA), phthalate plasticisers


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IndustryNEWS Speeding up CFRP technologies for vehicles Cycle time reduction for automotive parts made of composites is becoming vital to make the materials viable for mass production. Various companies are working towards this objective with German chemical company BASF recently introducing resin systems to reduce curing times and joint ventures for producing carbon fibrebased (CRFP) automotive components being set up between car maker BMW and carbon fibre supplier SGL Carbon as well as Daimler and the world’s largest manufacturer of carbon fibres Toray. Recently, another Japanese company Teijin introduced a technology using thermoplastic composites with carbon fibre as a substitute for conventional thermosetting composites, which the company says reduce curing times from five minutes to one minute. Teijin has also developed technologies for welding thermoplastic

of speeds up to 60 km/ hour and has a cruising range of 100 km. Teijin says it will use the car to introduce its technologies to car makers and parts suppliers and also to promote joint initiatives to develop lighter vehicles. Teijin is also aiming to enter the moulding business by supplying CFRP parts to the market. As well as car

CFRP parts together and for bonding CFRP to materials like steel. By impregnating carbon fibre with thermoplastic resins like PP and PA, Teijin developed three intermediate materials for the production of CFRP. Able to be used selectively depending on the required strength and cost of the part, the three materials are unidirectional intermediate with very high strength in a particular direction; isotropic intermediate with an optimum balance of shape flexibility and multi-directional strength and long-fibre thermoplastic pellets suitable for injection moulding. To demonstrate the new technologies, Teijin has developed an electric vehicle concept car with a cabin frame made entirely from thermoplastic CFRP and weighing only 47 kg, or roughly one-fifth the weight of a conventional car ’s cabin frame. The four-seat vehicle is capable

NEWS in brief PBT compounding expansion The PBT joint venture between DuPont and Lanxess, DuBay Polymers, is doubling its compounding capacity with an investment of EUR10 million at its German facility. Commissioning of the new expansion stage is scheduled for early 2012. Set up in 2003, the facility enabled both partners to benefit from economies of scale. It also allowed DuPont to produce its Crastin PBT and Lanxess its Pocan PBT. Lanxess has also started work on a 20,000 tonnes/year compounding facility for Durethan nylon 6 and 66 and Pocan PBT in the US. It is scheduled to start up in 2012. The German company is also building a 20,000 tonnes/year Durethan and Pocan compounding plant in India.

Husky expands turnkey solutions US-based Husky Injection Molding Systems is buying Austrian closure mould maker KTW Group, allowing it to expand its business. Husky will offer KTW-branded moulds as part of its fully integrated turnkey closure systems, including the mould, machine, hot runner, temperature controller as well as a range of consulting and after-sales services. The companies did not disclose the value of the deal, which is expected to close in May. Husky also plans to initiate a strategic review

parts, Teijin intends to develop mass production applications for CFRP in other items that require structural strength, such as machine tools and industrial robots. To accelerate its expansion of advanced composite materials, the company has combined its carbon fibre and composite materials units into the Carbon Fibers and Composites Business Group.

process for KTW’s custom injection moulding division, Injectoplast. Although a growing business with many strong customer relationships, the step is necessary to ensure the future success of Injectoplast and avoid any potential conflict of interest with Husky’s customers. Set up in 1979, KTW employs more than 350 people at its three locations and manufactures single face, stack and cube moulds up to 128 cavities. 1

I n j e c t i o n M o u l d i n g A s ia • M A R C H 2 0 1 1

Thixomat reinvents itself Thixomat Technologies has been established as the holding company for the Thixomat group of companies that include Thixomat, developer of the Thixomolding injection moulding process that converts magnesium alloys into precision parts; nanoMAG, inventor of a new lightweight, high-strength magnesium sheet technology and Molded Magnesium Products, a 50:50 joint venture of Mag-Tec Casting and Thixomat that uses Thixomolding to produce a range of components for the electronics, sporting goods, defence and automotive markets. The new holding company is part of Thixomat’s strategy to expand its licensing business into closely related value-added products and manufacturing.

IndustryNEWS Welltec to produce Chinese machines in India Since the Indian government imposed high tariffs on imported Chinese-made injection moulding machinery in 2009, Hong Kongbased injection machine producer Welltec Machinery has set up a joint venture company with Indian Jishu-Hozen Machines to manufacture machines in Ahmedabad. JH-Welltec Machines is expected to start manufacturing the Se Greenline servodriven energy-saving injection moulding machines ranging from 90-750 tonnes, with the first batch to be launched by November. Director of the Punebased Jishu-Hozen, Hiten Nagadia believes that the sales of injection moulding machines in India will grow in the

near future since “demand exceeds supply after the implementation of the anti-dumping rules.” He went on to say that processors often have to wait a long time before they get the machines with some even choosing to buy second-hand machines. “The establishment of this joint venture can just fill the market vacancy,” he said, adding that the goal is to be one of top five injection moulding machine manufacturers in the Indian market within three to five years. The joint venture will make use of Jishu-Hozen’s sales networks in India’s industrial cities to market its machines. The new set up is also the first foray into the international market for Welltec’s parent company Cosmos Machinery.

Licence expands potential of moulded-on gaskets Evonik Degussa has granted US chemical company DuPont a license to use its patented multi-shot technology for injection moulding nylon 66 and nylon 6, beyond its use for nylon 612. The technology eliminates process steps in the production of twocomponent assemblies combining DuPont’s Vamac ethylene acrylic elastomer or Viton fluoroelastomers with its Zytel nylons. The company says this leads to cost and processing efficiencies as well as enhanced part quality and reliability. The two-component

moulding allows the direct bonding of rubber and plastics for integrated automotive parts and simplifies assembly by eliminating the need for primer or anchoring. Applications include air intakes, rocker covers, oil pan gaskets, oil filter seals and quick connectors. The technology also enables automotive parts makers and Tier 1 suppliers to mount parts more easily due to the exact positioning of the elastomeric seal or gasket on to the thermoplastic part, thereby reducing the risk of potential misplacement and consequent leakage.

Moulds Cap moulds with multiple ejection systems In line with the diversified range of customer requirements, Swiss company Schöttli says it is able to supply a variety of cap moulds with slider or collet chucks removal concepts, for removing tamper evident (TE) banded caps. A popular alternative, sliding split moulds remove the TE band by opening the sliders, which are available with different geometries and are used for demoulding undercuts of moulded parts. Collet chuck moulds represent a smaller market segment, as only a few suppliers are able to manufacture them. Nonetheless, the market is growing steadily since it allows freedom of cap design and production on relatively small injection moulding machines. Collet chucks ensure that all bridges that connect to the TE band are demoulded in a geometrically identical

seeing a trend for processors using smaller collet chuck moulds moving to moulds with a higher number of cavities. Bottling specialists in the US, Europe and in China, meanwhile prefer caps with continuously gated TE bands that become operable by means of folding or slitting in downstream stations. This mould concept does not require demoulding by sliders or collet chucks. Nonetheless, demoulding of small undercuts also has to be ensured. The core must withstand the

manner because of the opening in six directions. This approach is beneficial for contract bottling companies as well as for consumers. The constant and even geometry of bridges has an advantage as it allows a virtually uninterrupted capping operation at the bottle filling line as the TE band is evenly distended during capping. During this process, all connecting bridges are subjected to an identical load, so that weak connections are not torn during capping. This is particularly important for the bottling process as it guarantees an errorfree closing procedure. The collet chucks have a lifespan of 5 million cycles, despite the fact that they are under high mechanical stress due to frequently changing loads. The company also says that processors who have opted for collet chucks as an alternative to slider systems stay with them. It is also

forces applied during stripping. Here, Schöttli adapts the forced ejection method where after injection moulding, the individual screw caps are routed past cutting knives that are rotating at high speed, in order to partially cut open the closed TE band. Up until recently, cap producers have been using compression moulding for the postfolding and slitting but are changing to injection moulding. But forced ejection is still preferred to allow the use of existing downstream equipment for folding and slitting.

Trialling overmoulded fibrereinforced preforms Austrian machinery producer Engel has installed an injection moulding cell, comprising its vertical insert 1800 H/500 L/400/90 machine, for the development of lightweight structural components at the Technical University of Chemnitz in Germany. The cell features Engel’s Organomelt technology where fibre-reinforced plastic preforms are thermoformed and then assembled into a component by overmoulding in a mould, a process that the company displayed at the K2010 show last year. The scientists at the university are collaborating with partners from the machine and plant engineering, automotive and aerospace industries, to introduce

A 96-cavity cap mould with collet chuck demoulding

3 I n j e c t i o n M o u l d i n g A s ia • M A R C H 2 0 1 1

new processes for this technology that is targeted at the automotive and aerospace sectors. The cell is integrated with a Kuka articulated arm robot and features what Engel says is a unique combination of prepreg and injection moulding module. The prepreg module is positioned as an additional clamping unit above the rotary plate on the vertical injection machine and moulds the fibre prepregs into the right shape for back injection. The system supports a variety of process combinations such as injection-compression moulding, twocomponent moulding and microstructure foaming. The multiaxis robot provides an interface to future solutions.

Moulds Inspection system for barrier containers Teaming up with US coinjection systems specialist Kortec, German automation systems manufacturer Waldorf Technik has developed a multicomponent moulding system that allows for high-volume moulding of PP containers with an EVOH barrier. This is paired with a quality assessment equipment, Check´n Pack system, for inline verifying of the barrier layer’s consistency. The technology, which has been optimised for high volume processing using 32 or 64-cavity stack moulds to produce retortable thin three-layer structures (PP-EVOHPP plus tie layers), is

wall, bottom and injection point inspection. Waldorf says that the barrier packaging can be used for sensitive products such as fish, meat, fruit and pet food, which are usually retort or aseptically filled or in cans, with a shelf life of up to two years. It also says that by using its inspection system, processors can realise production and logistics savings of up to 40%. Waldorf also has another barrier solution it has developed that involves 3D in-line vacuum coating with various PVD or PECVD coatings provided by Germany-based Cavonic. The company says these coatings provide a low-cost

repeatable and does not negatively affect cycle times. Though co-injection is not new, the company says there was no system that could check if the EVOH layer was consistent throughout the complete body of a container. This is now possible with its in-line system that is said to provide 100% control of the complete EVOH layer, 100% inline extraction of rejects and is a fully automated process and logistics system. Stating that standard inspection systems have problems with EVOH, Waldorf goes on to say that its system allows 360 degree rim, 360 degree side

4 I n j e c t i o n M o u l d i n g A s ia • M A R C H 2 0 1 1

option with solid barrier and similar hermetic property to glass. One of its major advantages is its suitability for existing injection moulding processes. The company says that laboratory tests have been successful and it is ready for the aseptic process, with the target of complete sterilisation. Its tests show that barrier against oxygen permeability currently achieves 99.15% after sterilisation. In addition, the combination of thinwall performance, barrier properties and low production costs make this technology, which can be adjusted to biodegradable polymers, an attractive proposition, says the company.

INDUSTRYNEWS Lanxess invests into bio-based rubber


erman speciality chemicals company Lanxess is investing more in new technology to produce synthetic rubber from bio-based raw materials. From producing isobutene from renewable resources, it has now increased its minority shareholding in US-based renewable chemical company Gevo. Lanxess initially invested US$10 million in Gevo last year and now has increased its stake with a US$17 million investment in a public flotation, bringing its ownership to 9.1%.

an agreement that gives Lanxess certain exclusive rights to purchase biobased isobutanol from Gevo, while Gevo receives an exclusive first right to supply Lanxess with specified quantities of bio-based isobutanol over a ten-year period. Details of the arrangement are still to be worked out. Gevo’s isobutanol can also be used directly as a speciality chemical, blended into petrol, used as a jet feedstock and converted into plastics, fibres and other polymers. Gevo is currently retrofitting its first ethanol facility to

Isobutene, which is used to produce butyl rubber, is conventionally produced in steam crackers that use various petrochemical-based materials as feedstock. Gevo is developing a fermentation process to produce the organic compound isobutanol from the fermentable sugars in biomass, starting with corn. At the same time, Lanxess is developing a dehydration process to convert isobutanol into isobutene. In addition to the share deal, both companies have signed

Research for improvements to rubber


eading universities in the US have innovated technology that allows rubber recovery while a new type of sensor will help in sensing structural damage on infrastructure. University of Akron researcher Avraam Isayev’s rubber recovery technology is expected to cause a major shift

companies funded the studies. Isayev founded Avraam Corp. to develop an industrial ultrasonic extruder to carry out the process of recovering rubber from tyres, roofing materials, shoe soles and other industrially significant products. World leading athletic shoe supplier Nike funded the research.

in rubber reprocessing for industrial use. The method uses a novel technique of ultrasonic devulcanisation of the sulphur crosslink bonds in the rubber compound, permitting the once scrap material to be reprocessed and reused. The National Science Foundation, NASA and a number of industrial

aims to protect and cultivate safe plants and crop varieties that meet standards that are congruent with the international treaties that Vietnam has signed. Meanwhile in Indonesia, Japanbased Bridgestone, in collaboration with the National Institute of Advanced

Japanese push for NR in Asia


apan’s International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will help Vietnam to improve the country’s rubber industry with a plan to replace synthetic rubber, which is made from fossil fuels, with natural rubber (NR). The five-year US$3.9 million project

involves the Vietnamese government and JICA. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will also coordinate with JICA to implement a fouryear project that will improve agricultural production and the quality of produce. The US$3.4 million project 1

rubber journal ASIA • MARCH 2011

produce 50,000 tonnes of isobutanol in the first half of 2012. It also plans to expand its production capacity in the coming years through acquisitions and joint ventures to have more than 1 million tonnes of capacity by 2015. Lanxess’s dehydration process has progressed to small-scale reactor level at Leverkusen in Germany over a period of several months. The company says that tests have shown that the process can deliver biobased butyl rubber that meets the tyre industry’s specifications, an industry that represents 25% of Lanxess’s sales. Meanwhile, researchers at Princeton University in the US have built a new type of sensor that could help engineers quickly assess the health of a building or bridge. The sensor is an organic laser, deposited on a sheet of rubber. When it is stretched - by the formation of a crack, for instance - the colour of light it emits changes.

Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and the Indonesian Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology, will conduct a cooperative research project on NR. Bridgestone will use its resources to develop molecular breeding technology to increase the production of latex in the country.

INDUSTRYNEWS NEWS in brief Sabic/ExxonMobil rubber facility in Middle East Sabic and ExxonMobil Chemical have selected Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia, as the location of a new joint venture plant that will produce 400 kilotonnes/year of EPDM/TPE, TPO, butyl rubber, SBR/PBR and carbon black to serve markets in Asia and the Middle East. This will allow the joint venture to integrate the new set up with Kemya Al-Jubail Petrochemical, another Sabic/ExxonMobil joint venture already located in Al-Jubail. The project will also include a vocational training institute and product application development and support centre. PBR technology to Asia Italian technology and engineering company FasTech has licensed its second proprietary technology to manufacture its Nd-PBR to a leading petrochemical operator in East Asia. The licence agreement includes engineering and other technical services. The first one was to a Middle East-based petrochemical company. The engineering work for a 45,000-tonne plant to be built in the region is in progress. FasTech offers both slurry and solution technologies as well as caprolactam, isoprene and ethylidene norbornene (ENB). Maine sells pneumatic tyre unit As part of its global

restructuring plan, US-based Maine Industrial Tire has sold its China-based pneumatic tyre manufacturing assets to Trelleborg Wheel Systems. Maine Tire will continue to operate and retain ownership over the solid tyre portion of the Hebei facility and will have no impact on current tyre production. New NBR grade China-based WestMoonint has added a crosslinkpowdered acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) products line for automotive brake making, the cable and wire industry and seal applications. The company will also launch other types of nitrile rubber soon, such as cold/hot and antioxidant NBRs. Formosa invests in Chinese rubber industry Taiwan-based Formosa Plastics will invest US$300 million to set up a synthetic rubber plant in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. Construction of the plant will begin this year with production to start in two years. Initially the plant will produce 50,000 tonnes/year of isobutylene-isoprene rubber. The group will invest in the rubber industry in both Taiwan and China through its subsidiary Formosa Synthetic Rubber. In addition to the Ningbo plant, the group has three other proposals related to the production of tyres in China, bringing its overall investments to US$500 million. 2 rubber journal ASIA • MARCH 2011

Medical Industry

Silicones balance healthcare needs of patients Developments by silicone suppliers allow for OEMs to advance in the healthcare market with tailormade solutions while a UV-activated silicone adhesive and elastomer allow for new innovations to be introduced.

component, addition-curing silicone adhesive that can be used for wound dressings. The adhesive contains a UV-sensitive curing agent that upon irradiation with UV light converts the agent into its active form, whereupon the crosslinking reaction starts. In contrast to conventional addition-curing silicones, which utilise heat-activated catalysts, the new silicone adhesive cures at room temperature and on its own after the curing mechanism has been triggered with UV light. The curing time can be individually set via the UV radiation dose and the process temperature.

Tailor-made solutions Bluestar Silicones has launched a customised approach to the manufacture of antimicrobial silicone products that offers OEMs and processors tailored material solutions to meet specific healthcare application needs. Unlike competitive offerings that are “one size fits all,” Bluestar says it is able to fine-tune its products and deliver materials that precisely fit the application without sacrificing performance. Medical device makers are seeking new material solutions to inhibit bacterial growth and combat the increase in cases of hospital-borne infections. During a two-year R&D project, Bluestar says it examined a wide range of antimicrobial additives, both organic and inorganic, and assessed their impact on silicone materials. This it says enabled it to provide the tailormade antimicrobial products. The company says it is not limited to one type of material and has a broad material “tool box”. Coupled with this and customers’ requirements, it can anticipate in advance and develop a customised formulation. The company said that by closely matching the antimicrobial a d d i t i v e w i t h t he si licone , core prop ert ies can b e maintained while antimicrobial protection is added. Bluestar offers a range of material solutions based on its Silbione line of LSRs, heat-cured rubbers (HCR) and reactive thermoplastic vulcanisates (RTVs). These are targeted at applications like needle-less valves, IV construction and catheters, as well as consumer applications. The US$700 million global company, which was set up in 2007 after China National Bluestar Corporation (now China National Bluestar Group) acquired Rhodia Silicones, is also expanding its footprint in the US. To be commissioned in 2013, the 19.4-acre site will provide significant room for the company’s expansion, to support its global five-year strategic plan to grow in the existing speciality markets and enter new silicone markets.

At the K show last year, Wacker Silicones introduced what it says is the first UV-activated biocompatible silicone adhesive for the manufacture of wound dressings and dressings for scar treatment

Processors benefit from the new technology in a number of ways, says the company. As the crosslinking reaction only starts when the uncrosslinked material is irradiated with UV light, Silpuran 2149 has a large processing window despite its high reactivity. At the same time, processors can cure their products faster and shorten their process times. Since the silicone does not have to be oven cured, even thermally sensitive substrates can be coated with the new adhesive coating. Considerable energy cost savings can also be made. The adhesive is ideally suited for the manufacture of wound dressings as it forms a thin layer between the multi-layer composite and the skin and helps to create a moist environment that is beneficial for the wound

UV-activated silicone adhesive raises the bar Last year at the K2010 exhibition in Germany, Wacker Silicones launched several UV-activated silicone rubbers. One of them, Silpuran 2149 UV, is a pourable, two3

rubber journal ASIA • MARCH 2011

Medical Industry healing process. The company says its ISO 10993-1 and USP Class VI biocompatibility-certified Silpuran silicones do not contain organic plasticisers, are able to withstand radiation and are easy to sterilise.

Wacker’s Silpuran 2149 is said to cure quickly after short UV irradiation at room temperature

Low temperature UV silicone Meanwhile, US firm Momentive Performance Materials has expanded its platform of silicone rubber that can be cured on demand by exposure to UV light with the introduction of Addisil UV 60 EX elastomer. It is targeted at medical applications where lower temperatures are required during manufacturing, yet typical silicone rubber physical properties are also mandatory. The Addisil platform allows for a combination products where silicone rubber-extruded parts are combined with heat-sensitive materials. Since some substances used in healthcare applications may not be able to withstand the high temperatures reached during the typical heat curing process, with Addisil’s UV cure technology, however, processors can consider a much broader range of ingredients in their silicone mixtures. The company also notes the potential for cost savings from the processing advantages of extrusion without heat, with shorter curing times and higher outputs. In addition, the elastomer has minimal shrinkage and reduced air entrapment when compared to heat-cured materials. It can be used with existing silicone extrusion equipment and common UV light curing systems and enables a number of new geometries and technical solutions that were not previously possible. Momentive also has other LSRS for the healthcare market, including a self bonding 2740 TP3783 that offers primerless adhesion to a wide range of substrates, including metals and engineering plastics, without adhesion to the mould. The grade is suitable for moulding high volumes of parts in integrated processes such as multi-component or insert moulding. A family of platinum-catalysed, two-component LSRs, Silopren LSR4600 FC, is offered in a variety of different durometers. With faster cure at lower temperatures such as 100°C, it can be injection moulded onto lower temperature substrates such as PC. When compared to typical silicone elastomers, it has shown improved chemical resistance to cleaning agents commonly used for respiratory masks. Silopren LSR 7000 is targeted at applications where both enhanced optical transparency and high temperature stability are needed and the potential for stress cracking of thermoplastics is of concern. The company also offers StatSil antimicrobial elastomers, a customised platform based on the direct incorporation of a silver-based antimicrobial additive into a base silicone elastomer for healthcare applications where controlling the growth of microbes in or on the body is of concern. ◆

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2 0 1 1 29-31 MARCH Tyrexpo Asia Venue: Singapore Expo Centre, Singapore Contact: ECI International Tel: +44 1892 863888 Fax: +44 1892 863828 e-mail: Internet: 30 MARCH-2 APRIL Indoplas Venue: Jakarta International Expo, Jakarta, Indonesia Contact: PT. Wahana Kemalaniaga Makmur Tel: +62 21 5366 0804 Fax: +62 21 532 5887 email: Internet: 19-22 APRIL VietnamPlas Venue: Giang Vo Exhibition & Fairground, Hanoi, Vietnam Contact: Chan Chao Int’l Tel: +886 2 2659 6000 Fax: +886 2 2659 7000 e-mail: Internet: 10-13 MAY IIME Vietnam Venue: Saigon Exhibition and Covention Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Contact: Top Repute Tel: +852 2851 8603 Fax: +852 2851 8637 e-mail: Internet: 17-20 MAY Chinaplas Venue: China Import & Export Fair Pazhou Complex, Guangzhou, China Contact: Adsale Exhibition Services Tel: +852 2516 3325 Fax: +852 2516 5024 e-mail: Internet: 15-18 JUNE Propak Asia Venue: BITEC, Bangkok, Thailand Contact: Bangkok Exhibition Services Tel: +66 0 2615 1255 Fax: +66 0 2615 2993 e-mail: Internet: 23-26 JUNE Interplas Thailand Venue: BITEC, Bangkok, Thailand Contact: Reed Tradex Tel: +66 2686 7251 Fax: +66 2686 7288 Internet:

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23.02.2011 14:47:54 Uhr

PRA March-April 2011  

Plastics and Rubber Asia Magazine, March/April 2011 Issue

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