A S l A ’ S L E A D l N G m aga z l ne f o r t h e p las t l c s and r u b b e r l nd u s t r y
業 界新 聞 物料商情 : 生物基領域的競賽遊戲
In this issue 4
Volume 27, No 196
publlshed slnce 1985
26 A S l A’ S L E A D l N G m aga z l ne f o r the plastlcs and rubber lndustry
Features 焦 點 內 容 6 Composites
Publisher Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
18 Front Cover Feature
Executive Editor Tej Fernandez Tel: +60 3 4260 4575 Email: email@example.com
Advancements in composites technology are allowing the polymers to stretch their limits and uses At Chinaplas this year, machinery firm Davis-Standard is introducing a new line for the Asian markets and will also share with visitors the regional activities undertaken to date
22 Film Extrusion
Updates to equipment and materials for the flexible packaging sector
24 Film Extrusion
Macchi’s Mauro Andreoli waxes lyrical about the five-layer extrusion technology
26 Medical Plastics
Plastics use in medical devices and other applications is increasing, against the back of continuous improvements to the polymers
Regulars 概 要
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Supplements 副 刊 Silicones are making headway in the use of home healthcare devices Growth of vehicle sales will translate to increased use of rubber in the automotive sector
On the Cover New technology at Chinaplas: Davis-Standard plans to showcase the new dsX™ flex-pack extrusion coating line for flexible packaging
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10 Machinery News
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8 Materials News
Chinese Editor Koh Bee Ling
4 Industry News
A S l A’ S L E A D l N G M A G A Z l N E F O R THE PLASTlCS AND RUBBER lNDUSTRY
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TRENDSETTERS 5 layer polyolefin-dedicated (POD) technology was introduced by Macchi in 2001 to foster film production economies and quality enhancement by expanding the product design option. Today that break-through concept is still well alive. Together with the synergistic developments made possible by the new resins offering unprecedented possibilities of downgauging, output rates and product performances for new business opportunities across the flexible packaging value chain.
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Partnerships to build chemical plants
o cater to the strengthening chlorinated PVC market, US-based TPU maker Lubrizol is building a new CPVC plant in Thailand through a joint venture with Tokyo-based Sekisui Chemical. The US$50 million Phase 1 project will have a capacity of 30,000 tonnes/year and will be online by 2014. Phase 2 will double the capacity, with an additional investment of US$50 million and start up by end of 2016. It will be Lubrizol's fourth global CPVC plant. Other plants are located in the US and in Belgium; while a US$125 million plant is currently being built in Texas. Japanese firm Teijin Chemicals and South Korean chemical producer SK Chemicals are entering into a 34:66 joint venture to set up a polyphenylene
sulfide (PPS) resins and compounds plant in Ulsan, South Korea. It will have an initial capacity of 12,000 tonnes/year in 2015, with the partners aiming for a 20% market share by 2020 and sales of US$320 million in 2024. Capacity is expected to reach 20,000 tonnes to meet growing demand due to the popularity of electric and hybrid vehicles and the on-going expansion of electronics markets in emerging countries. In Indonesia, speciality chemical firm Celanese has entered into an MOU with state-owned energy firm Pertamina to develop synthetic fuel ethanol projects utilising Celanese’s proprietary TCX ethanol process technology. The partners will select the first production location, initiate project permits and negotiate coal supply
M&As across the globe • US compounder A. Schulman offered to buy speciality chemicals firm Ferro Corp for US$563 million, but the latter rejected the bid saying it was better off on its own. Early this year Ferro sold assets related to its shrinking business that made conductive pastes used in making solar cells to Germany-based precious metals and technology company Heraeus for an undisclosed sum. It also said it would cut about 120 jobs in Europe as a result of having posted a loss of US$316 million in the last quarter. • Austrian chemicals firm Borealis has acquired
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Dutch firm DEXPlastomers VOF from 50:50 joint venture partners DSM and ExxonMobil Benelux Holdings. The Chemelot industrial park site produces speciality products. Around 100 employees will be transferred to Borealis Plastomers 1 (formerly DSM Plastomers) and other Borealis group companies outside the Netherlands. • Japanese firm Mitsubishi Chemical will purchase Belgian firm Tessenderlo Group’s Compounds activities, including four production sites in France, Poland and China and one R&D site in Belgium. The 50-year old compounding unit produces a range of
and other industrial partner agreements by the end of 2013, with the production of fuel grade ethanol to begin 30 months later upon receiving government approvals. Pertamina says the project is in line with the government’s call to increase the contribution from gas and other non-fossil energy contribution, as well as liquefaction coal, which is targeted to contribute about 2% by 2025. Germany-based TPE maker Kraiburg, meanwhile, is preparing for commercial production of its TPE made using Shell Risella X, a premium process oil derived from Shell’s Gas to Liquid (GTL) technology. The firm says tests have shown improved compatibility in the TPE matrix due to the chemical structure of the oil. As the basic building block
thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) and PVCs for applications in the building, automotive and cabling sectors; employs 360 staff and generated a revenue of EUR120 million in 2011. • Belgian manufacturer and distributor of plastic fluid handling systems Aliaxis Group and Indian uPVC and cPVC pipes and fittings manufacturer Ashirvad Pipes are tying up to expand Ashirvad’s product range in the building and sanitary segments in India. Aliaxis will own the majority of the joint venture with a significant shareholding retained by the Poddars, the founders of Ashirvad. Financial details were not disclosed. Ashirvad has a network
for Risella X is natural gas, rather than crude oil, it has a different chemical structure to conventional mineral-oil based process oils. GTL is the product of almost 40 years of research and technology driven by Shell. Using a technology known as Fischer-Tropsch, developed by German scientists in the 1920s and refined by Shell, GTL enables large scale production of base oils for the manufacture of premium finished lubricants and process oils from clean-burning natural gas. This technology has been brought to life in the GTL Pearl plant, a joint development between Qatar Petroleum and Shell, which has a capacity of 260,000 barrels/day of oil. The plant in Qatar is the world’s largest source of GTL products, including low emission transport fuels, chemical feedstocks and premium base oils.
of 1,200 distributors and 14,000 dealers and is expected to achieve gross sales of EUR140 million for the financial year ending 31 March 2013. • US machinery firm Milacron is to acquire 100% equity of Canadian hot runner maker MoldMasters for C$975 million from UK-based private equity owner 3i. Milacron is backed by its private equity investor owner CCMP Capital Advisors. The deal was reached at the end of an auction process initiated by 3i late last year. • DuPont’s performance coatings business has been sold to private equity firm Carlyle Group for US$4.9 billion in cash.
Plants and set-ups in China
hina is still the growth engine for the Asia Pacific region and its for this reason that companies are setting up plants in the country. Germany-based Oxea Advanced Derivatives is constructing its first oxo derivatives plant in Nanjing Industrial Chemical Park with completion scheduled end of 2013. Oxo derivatives are key ingredients for the automotive, construction, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and personal care products. Initially, the plant will produce speciality esters, phthalate-free plasticisers and other oxo derivatives. The plant will also service the booming Asian market for plasticised PVB film, which is used in safety glass laminates for automotive, architectural and decorative glass. Another German firm BASF has tied up with Xinjiang Markor Chemical Industry to establish two joint ventures for the production of butanediol (BDO) and polytetrahydrofuran (PolyTHF) in Korla, Xinjiang Uygur, Northwest China. The companies will build a 100,000 tonne/year-BDO plant and a 50,000 tonne/year-PolyTHF facility, to go on stream in 2015. Besides its use in elastic spandex fibres, PolyTHF
In Brief Ascend feedstock facility for nylon US firm Ascend Performance Materials is setting up a US$1.2 billion plant for feedstock propylene in Texas, using the propane dehydrogenation method. Ascend will require some of the feedstock to make its Vydyne-brand nylon 6/6 as well as other plastics and fibres. The rest is expected to be made available to the tight US market, which has experienced volatile PP prices due to the shortage of the feedstock. Pell-Tec changes name and makes a move Effective 1 March 2013, PellTec Pelletizing Technology has changed its company name to Coperion Pelletizing Technology. The company recently relocated from Niedernberg to the Coperion site at Offenbach also in Germany
also serves as a chemical building block for TPUs. Other applications include thermoplastic polyetheresters, polyetheramides and cast elastomers for the production of wheels for skateboards and inline skates. BDO is used in the manufacturing of technical plastics, polyurethanes, solvents, electronic chemicals and elastic fibres. BASF produces 250,000 tonnes/ year of PolyTHF in the US, Germany, South Korea and in Shanghai. It has a capacity of 535,000 tonnes/year of BDO at its sites in the US, Germany, Japan, China and Malaysia. Markor has a capacity of 160,000 tonnes/year for BDO and is the largest producer in China. To date, the company has invested EUR600 million in Markor Chemical Park. Meanwhile, Germany-based blow moulding machine maker Kautex Maschinenbau has opened a new facility close to its previous one in Shunde. The new facility will allow the manufacturing of larger machines. Elsewhere, Germany-headquartered Breyer has started operations of its new service and sales office in Shanghai. To date, over 100 Breyer systems are already operating in Southeast Asia.
and is currently developing larger pelletising systems with an output of 6,000 kg/hour, as well as pelletisers featuring higher wear resistance and more powerful drive systems for use in processing engineering plastics with high glass fibre content. Starlinger goes east Austria-headquartered Starlinger has opened an independent regional office in Surabaya, Indonesia to enhance sales and service support for customers in Southeast Asia. It will cater to the growing woven packaging market in the region, especially the agricultural sector, where 95% of all agricultural products destined for the local markets are transported in woven plastic bags; and the expanding cement and chemical industries, together with fast growing export rates, provide further markets for flexible woven packaging.
Breaking the barriers of traditional materials Advancements in technology have made material engineering more complex, but the payoff is greater. Composite products today exhibit better tensile strength and more durability, yet lighter weight.
n its latest market research on the US$5.1 billion high performance industry in the US, consultancy firm Freedonia says the country’s demand for advanced fibre-reinforced polymers will reach nearly 15% per year to US$10.2 billion in 2016. Rapid growth in the aerospace and energy market segments is projected and carbon will continue to dominate the fibres segment with S-glass coming in a close second. Four main industries that are making waves are construction, automotive, aerospace and wind energy. Meanwhile, glass fibre-reinforced plastics (GFRPs), having higher strength to weight ratios, are replacing steel or glass in many construction applications. In Visiongain’s 2013-2023 market analysis on GFRPs, this material is expected to have a market value of US$29.4 billion this year, given the global economy is improving and potential demand is coming from China and India. The US and Europe are in the R&D stage whilst developing countries are entering the early phases of product development. Visiongain, in its report on the automotive composites market, has determined that the total revenue from this segment this year is expected to reach US$8.85 billion. With the aerospace segment increasing its integration of composites into aircraft design, market demand is expected to soar to US$3.95 billion by 2016, amidst complex regulatory requirements, according to a market analysis by TechNavio, covering the US, APAC and EMEA regions in the study. Like the automotive sector, the aerospace industry is also focusing on reduced weight of aircraft for fuel efficiency, without compromising critical material qualities of traditional metals and thermosets. Meanwhile, Indian consulting group Composites Insight has forecast via its 2012-2017 global wind energy composites report that consumption of composite materials in this segment will reach US$3.9 million by 2017; and by end of that year, global wind power installed capacity would have reached 561 GW. Recent releases at the JEC Composites show in France include the following:• German firm Wacker Chemie featured two low profile additives (LPAs) for “perfect non-shrink surfaces”. Low-viscosity VINNAPAS LL 8251, a copolymer of vinyl acetate and crotonic acid, can be used in construction applications such as windows, doors, industrial profiles and railings as well as for automotive. VINNAPAS LL 8588, a polymer architecture of acetate and PS, is ideal for production of non-shrink composite parts in lowtemperature processes.
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• France-based Nidaplast Composites, a subsidiary of building materials firm Etex, developed 100%aluminium sandwich panels (honeycomb core and aluminium skin). Weighing 55 kg/cu m with a thickness of 20 mm and resistance of 108.68 MPa, the panels are suitable for railway construction, automotive, transport and building sectors. Another new product, Nidaskin, consists of PP honeycomb core with a range of five different skins. It is suitable for internal/external finishing, partitioning, furniture and worktops. • Belgium-based fibreglass manufacturer 3B launched a new E-CR glass roving (SE4740) specifically designed and formulated for acrylic resins allowing for the manufacture of glass-reinforced PMMA thermoplastic composites. The sizing for the new glass roving was developed in close collaboration with France-based partners Arkema and Chomarat. The new combination of 3B’s optimised SE4740 and TP resin system is compatible with thermoplastic resin transfer moulding (T-RTM) and vacuum assisted resin infusion (VARI) with parts displaying mechanical properties similar to traditional thermoset composites.
3B’s HiPer-tex high performance fibre has been used in the Madshus Cross Country skis
• German chemicals firm BASF has developed Kerdyn PET-based foam, supplied in the form of panels and used inside wind rotor blades. Other new epoxy and PU systems can be used to produce automotive composite parts by means of Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM). The Baxxodur System 2220 transparent epoxy resin is developed for high pressure RTM. It has a demoulding time of 2.5 minutes at 120°C, whilst offering a high toughness. Meanwhile, the custom formulated PU system RTM Elastolit R 8800 is compatible with all established fibre sizings and offers fatigue strength
BASF’s new PET structural foam (light blue) is used for production of wind turbine rotor blades and serves as the core of the blade, which is glass fibre-reinforced (grey), then encapsulated by epoxy resin (yellow) and subsequently finished with weatherproof coatings
as well as high damage tolerance. Both thermosetting resins employ novel curing mechanisms, allowing quick crosslinking. • J E C T h e r m o p l a s t i c c a t e g o r y a w a r d e e A r k e m a launched styrene-free Altuglas Composite, a thermoplastic resin that processes like thermosets. It possesses mechanical properties similar to those of thermoset parts, but the thermoplastic nature brings added advantages of thermoformability, weldability and recyclability. It also enables more possibilities for composite/composite or composite/metal assemblies, with high mechanical strength achieved through the use of methacrylate-based structural adhesives or welding. Meanwhile, Arkema’s Luperox peroxide initiators allow optimised polymerisation. The resins, which are used for shaped truck parts, bus body panels as well as hoods for agricultural machinery, are developed within the R&D partnership between Arkema and PPE (Pôle de Plasturgie de l’Est) and collaboration with Brazil’s MVC, France’s Chomarat and Belgium’s 3B.
• Spain-headquartered Future Fibres with partner Persico have produced prototypes of the carbon composite tub for RPx Automotive’s sports car, RP-one, which will go into production in December 2013. The 35 kg-carbon fibre composite for the tub contributes to the light weight of the 480 kg car. The complete tub structure, which integrates the dashboard and tub cards, weighs less than 55 kg. Aside from automotive, Future Fibres is also expanding into non-marine projects in civil engineering and military as well as the industrial sectors to produce cranes, hoists and lifting equipment. • Polymer manufacturer Victrex’s PEEK is being used in carbon fibre composite brackets for aircrafts by US-based Tri-Mack Plastics Manufacturing. The firm estimates that if the brackets can take 100 kg off the weight, an airline with 500 short-range aircraft could save up to US$5 million per year in fuel costs by making the switch from metal to composite. In addition, the material enables chemical and corrosion resistance to jet fuel, hydraulic fluid, de-icing solution, salt, steam, water and other commonly used service fluids.
Aircraft carbon fibre composite brackets made using Victrex PEEK
GREEN Materials News
In the race for a biobased sector The global shift towards a biobased economy has placed pressure on plastic producers to seek alternatives to oil-based plastic products. It is for this reason that manufacturers are in the race to introduce novelties like CO2-polyols, meat-based bioplastics and high heatresistant PLA for more market applications while bioresins are also beginning to be featured in mass produced vehicles. Asian push for biopolymer sector A recent report by Germany's Nova Institute says that global biopolymer production is expected to exceed the growth of overall plastics production, from 1.5% of global production in 2011 to 3% in 2020. The study also says that of the four manufacturing regions of Asia, Europe, North America and South America, Asia is expected to grow the fastest (52% to 55%), followed by South America (13% to 18%), with shrinking percentages in Europe (from 20% to 14%) and North America (from 15% to 13%). In Asia, countries like Thailand, India, China and Japan are key drivers in biopolymer production. In terms of biopolymers, PLA and PHA are expected to lead followed by drop-in versions of PET, PE and PP. The latter are expected to develop further in Asia egged on by SME converters “that cannot afford important alterations to their existing processing equipment," said the study. Using waste carbon dioxide in polyols U S - b a s e d m a t e r i a l s f i r m N o v o m e r, w h i c h h a s pioneered a family of high-performance polymers and other chemicals from renewable feedstocks such as carbon dioxide (CO2), has produced 7 tonnes of polypropylene carbonate (PPC) polyol, using modified Albemarle equipment. This work was completed in conjunction with Novomer's three-year, US$25 million US Department of Energy (DOE) award. The 1,000-molecular weight PPC diol will be used to replace conventional petroleum-based polyether, polyester and polycarbonate polyols and adopted in conventional PU applications including flexible and rigid foams, adhesives and sealants, coatings and elastomers. The polyols are based on the co-polymerisation of carbon dioxide (CO2) and epoxides and the resulting products contain more than 40% waste CO2 by weight. In terms of performance, the PPC polyol has a unique polycarbonate backbone that increases the strength and durability of PU foams, with higher tensile, tear strength and load bearing capacity; adhesives and coatings with improved adhesion, cohesive strength, and weatherabilty; and elastomers with greater tensile and flexural strength. Bioplastics from meat and high-heat PLAs New Zealand-based Aduro Biopolymers, which is
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currently turning bloodmeal from by-products of red meat and poultry into bioplastics, has secured investment from Wallace Corporation, the country’s largest meat processor. Aduro is a spin-off company formed by WaikatoLink, the technology transfer office of the University of Waikato. Aduro’s first product is Novatein, a bioplastic that will be price competitive with petrochemical plastics. The firm says the manufacturing process for Novatein is quite simple, thus allowing for low capital costs. Bloodmeal produced by the red meat industry is processed into granules, which have been modified and optimised to suit a chosen product’s attributes. The granules can then be manufactured into injection moulded or extruded products using industry-standard equipment.
Novatein granules from bloodmeal
Novatein has been in development since 2007 and has received investment support from KiwiNet’s PreSeed Accelerator Fund from the Ministry of Science and Innovation. Aduro is working with commercial partners in New Zealand and Australia to develop Novatein for a range of product lines. Bioplastics firm Purac is offering its Puralact lactide-based PLA (polylactic acid) resins for testing to companies interested in exploring the benefits of high performance bioplastics. Using its technology, the Dutch firm says it is able to produce PLA homopolymers that can deliver peak heat resistance of up to 120°C, useful for applications in consumer electronics, high heat packaging, automotive interiors, automotive under-the-hood components, apparel and non-wovens.
Green Materials News The engine cover, used on turbocharged gasolineengine versions of the new A-Class, has to meet demanding performance specifications, which are complicated by its large size. With dimensions of 575 x 550 mm, and operating in an environment that can reach temperatures more than 200°C, resistance to warpage and high dimensional stability are important. In addition, the engine cover is required to resist high dynamic loads deriving from engine vibrations and it needs to be light. The target was to develop the new A-Class with better fuel-efficiency than the previous generation; overall consumption has been improved by 26%. A range of PLA serviceware based on Puralact lactides from Purac is produced by Chinese firm New Sunrise Plastics and retailed in Singapore
The firm also has a range of PLLA homopolymer res i n s w i t h h i g h s t e r e o c h e m i c a l p u r i t y : available in a r a n g e o f v i s c o s i t i e s , s p e c i a l l y d e v e loped for film extrusion, thermoforming, film blowing, fibre spinning, compounding and injection moulding applications. Its PDLA homopolymer resins feature high stereochemical purity and are available as a nucleating agent for PLLA homopolymer resins. PDLA, when combined with PLLA, will yield a compound suitable for injection moulding or thermoforming that shows both an improved heat performance and a reduction in the processing cycle time. The PLA compounded blends, containing PLLA and PDLA homopolymers, have a heat performance similar to traditional PS, PP and ABS. Solazyme and Mitsui to jointly develop algal oils Renewable oil and bio-products company Solazyme and Japan-based Mitsui have entered into a US$20 million multi-year deal to develop a suite of triglyceride oils for use primarily in the oleochemical industry. The agreement includes further development of Solazyme’s breakthrough high myristic algal oil as well as additional oils that Solazyme is developing for the oleochemical and industrial sectors. Product development is expected to span a multiyear period, with periodic product introductions throughout the development period. End use applications may include renewable, high-performance polymer additives for plastic applications, aviation lubricants and toiletry and household products. Au t o m o t i v e t a k e : e n g i n e c o v e r a n d s e a ting from biobased resins Mercedes-Benz has selected a high performance polyamide largely made from renewable resources for the engine cover of the brand-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Around 70% of the raw materials used to make the polyamide 410 in Dutch firm DSM’s EcoPaXX Q-HGM24 reinforced compound are derived from the castor plant.
Mercedes Benz has selected DSM’s biopolyamide for the engine cover of its new A Class
EcoPaXX Q-HGM24 has good heat resistance, demonstrated by a deflection temperature under 1.8 MPa load (DTUL) of 200°C. The 1.32 kg cover can survive continuous-use temperatures of 200°C, with short term peaks of 235°C. The glass fibre and mineral particulate reinforced compound produces a better surface appearance than any other polyamide currently used for this type of application, DSM says. This is the first time that EcoPaXX Q-HGM24 has been used for high volume mass-production, according to DSM. Meanwhile, Japanese firms Teijin, Suminoe Teijin Techno and Nissan Motors have co-developed seat and interior trim surface using Teijin’s proprietary biobased polyester fibre material. The 30% sugarcanebased Eco Circle Plantfiber bio-polyester will be used in the all-electric Nissan LEAF, a first for the material's use in seats, parts of the door trim, headrests and centre armrest of a mass-produced vehicle. Teijin has been expanding the global market for applications ranging from apparel, car seats and interiors to personal hygiene products. The company aims to increase sales to over 50% of its total polyester fibre sales for automotive seats and interiors by 2015. MARCH / APRIL 2013
Machinery Industry News 10
Soffiaggio’s blow moulder augurs simplicity
talian machine maker ST Soffiaggio Tecnica recently introduced the ISIT extrusion blow moulder for industrial packaging applications and technical articles. ISIT is a combination of “ISI”, which is generally how the locals pronunce the word “easy”; and the abbreviation of the Italian adjective, IT. The machine features clamping units with two columns in a diagonal support, to make the platens slide, thus allowing for easier gripping and extraction of the blown product from the mould. The clamping unit is based on three plates: one each to support each half mould and the third one attached with the only hydraulic cylinder, which moves the other two plates. The clamping force is applied to the rear of the latter through a bending bar, which avoids the transmission of unbalanced forces and any deformation. The roller bearing-driven platens can reach large openings. Based on a High Output Extrusion (HEX) technology, the single-screw extruder has a high plasticising capacity. Therefore, it was possible to reduce the screw diameters without affecting the capacity, allowing for energy savings, says the Italian firm. The machine also boasts electric heating elements with a level of efficiency almost equal to 1, claims ST. MARCH / APRIL 2013
The FIFO (First In First Out) accumulator head is equipped with a diverter for a balanced parison. The blowing unit is connected to the main frame through a ball bearing guide, a solution which during the mould change allows to "move" the blowing unit under one half of the mould and to accurately adjust the blow pin position. The device does not need any lubrication, avoiding product contamination and the grippers are water-cooled. Currently, the clamping forces range from 30-150 tonnes, the head accumulation volume from 3-40 litres and the screw diameters are from 50-120 mm.
uxiliary equipment maker Conair’s new NCF super-tangential granulators feature 30% lower footprint, compared to other granulators with similar capabilities. The cutting chamber configuration is able to handle lightweight bulky parts such as bottles and also produces clean uniform granulate from runners and small parts, says the US equipment maker. Four different models feature 203-mm diameter rotors, in widths of 240, 360, 480 and 600 mm and deliver standard maximum throughputs ranging from 68-205 kg. A tilt-back hopper and drop-down screen cradle provide easy access to the cutting chamber for maintenance. Conair says that these features contribute to increased
productivity and reduced downtime. An optional sound attenuation package also makes the NCF Series quieter than other small granulators. The super-tangential chamber design ensures that the rotor grips bulky scrap on the downward stroke, drawing it into the knives and preventing it from bouncing on the rotor. Standard tangential and straight-drop in-feed configurations are also available. The rotor itself can be open with three rows of double-angled knives for a clean scissors cut with minimum heat generation. For tougher materials, a solid rotor can be equipped with three rows of up to five cassette knives in a staggered array.
ccording to Italian auxiliary firm Piovan, its Digitemp Thermorefrigerators are a new solution of water-cooled chillers that yield maximum cooling with minimum energy consumption. Available in three models in the single or dual circuit versions and a working range of -5°C to a maximum of 90°C per circuit, the chillers are designed especially for injection and
blow moulding machines. The units supply water at a specific temperature, pressure and flow rate, performing the dual function of heating and cooling the process circuit. The main characteristic of the thermorefrigerators is the digital scroll compressor, which has the advantage of being able to work continuously and reduce the cooling capacity from 10 to 100%. The result is optimised use of energy, which varies according to the cooling power/thermal yield, but also a more precise temperature control, with no fluctuations, in comparison with traditional compressors. In addition, the use of the electronic expansion valve and only one pump per circuit further enhance the energy efficiency of the Digitemp units, with overall energy saving from 30-50%, compared to equivalent models on the market. Lastly the possibility of integrating the free-cooling system in the unit for supplying water from a dry cooler or a cooling tower, even in the presence of glycol, permits further energy efficiency as well as reduced running cost. Digitemp also uses refrigerant gas R410a, anticipating EU regulations, and takes up 0.4 sq m floor space, saving production space.
Piovan's water-cooled chiller features a digital scroll compressor
Large screen changer goes to the Middle East
wiss firm Maag has delivered a screen changer filter, based on Uhde Inventa-Fischerâ€™s MTR (Melt-To-Resin) process, for the worldâ€™s largest PET production line. The main challenge faced today by PET plant manufacturers is the sourcing of screen changers combining both a small footprint and the largest filtration surface in one single package. Maag says it has developed tailor-made filtration units in co-operation with Uhde Inventa-Fischer for an expansion project at a major facility in the Middle East. With a total additional capacity of 500,000 tonnes/ year of PET bottle grade resin, the plants have seen the deployment of the largest MTR reactors in existence, with Maag also providing a complete range of melt pump equipment. The reactors are now joined by a number of continuous screen changers, with patent-pending arched filters to maximise the filtration surface available, thus allowing a low melt residence time, especially in high viscosity resin applications. Maag says it pioneered the production of supersized screen changers with a worldfirst delivery for virgin polymer production six years ago. Those were equipped with candle filters and reduced the residence time of the resin to less than 30 seconds, something not previously achieved with large area filters.
The company has kept pushing the envelope and resorted to arched filters based on the same technology, but with â€œone way filtersâ€? that can be disposed of after use. This in turn eliminates the process of cleaning the candle filter bundles, which normally involves vacuum ovens, acids, solvents and subsequent bubble point tests to determine if the filters are still useable. Ueli ThĂźrig, Maagâ€™s CEO said that though duplex and simplex filters are still widely used, piston-based screenchangers have been added to the portfolio. â€œAs for the adoption of arched screens it allows manufacturers to dedicate 75% of the surface of the cylinder to filtration. Finally, and contrary to traditional breaker plates facing each other, our very smart design also permits straight pump connections that reduce the investment further with no need for additional pipe work,â€? he added. The firm says changeovers now take less than 10 minutes, with only one operator, without requiring cranes or complex tools, thus allowing for a constant operation of the system from process to process. And depending on the melt contamination (solid or gel), the screens can be made from Woven Wire Mesh (WWM) or Fibre Metal Melt (FMM).
Maagâ€™s screen changer with the arched technology
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Front Cover Feature
Uncovering globalisation and transformation efforts Machinery firm DavisStandard is looking forward to sharing ongoing globalisation and transformation initiatives at the upcoming Chinaplas 2013 show, to be held from 20-23 May in Guangzhou, at Hall 5.1, Booth R01.
Following up successes in China and Asia In addition to Davis-Standard's continuous activities in China and in the Asia Pacific region in the past, it has recently incorporated new efforts in order to better support its customer base in the region. The company has expanded its manufacturing footprint and capabilities in Asia in the last several months, with a new manufacturing plant in Suzhou.
Davis-Standard’s Chinese facility in Suzhou
Furthermore, the firm has assembled a regional team with a thorough knowledge of the Asian market who will be responsible for identifying and creating value for the region. Other efforts are concentrated in developing and manufacturing a product platform designed specifically for the Asian market that will provide customers with a competitive advantage. Davis-Standard believes that its customers in this region and throughout the world deserve “nothing less than the best efforts.” Employees at the Suzhou facility mounting electrical components on a subpanel that will be installed in a control panel
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Chinaplas 2013 focus Chinaplas 2013 will not be “business as usual” for Davis-Standard (Hall 5.1,
Front Cover Feature Davis-Standard's new dsX flex-packTM extrusion coating line is targeted at the flexible packaging market in Asia
“Davis-Standard has chosen Chinaplas as a platform to premiere its new dsX flex-pack extrusion coating line.”
Booth R01). The firm has begun its globalisation efforts with China, and is now looking forward to sharing all its recent regional activities during China’s largest regional show. DavisStandard’s Global Advantage team says it is enthusiastic and promises that this year’s exhibit will be bigger and bolder than ever. Davis-Standard’s Global Advantage philosophy includes a commitment to investments that will provide more localised capabilities and support for customers. Thus, the Davis-Standard team will be available at Chinaplas to showcase the company’s proven converting and extrusion technology, with accumulated industry experience from one of the largest installed bases of extrusion and converting systems in the world. Also on the cards will be the unveiling of new products that the firm is developing and manufacturing for the Chinese and Asia Pacific markets in medical tubing, cast film and extrusion coating for flexible packaging. dsX flex-pack TM unveiled Davis-Standard has chosen Chinaplas as a platform to premiere its new dsX flex-pack TM extrusion coating Unwinder for the new dsX flex-packTM line
line. The market for flexible packaging in Asia continues to grow and the number of applications is expanding. The Davis-Standard dsX flexpack TM extruder is a high-value, competitively-priced extruder developed specifically for customers looking to increase their flexible packaging business. TM The dsX flex-pack TM system merges customers’ demands with Davis-Standard expert engineering and is said to feature the best components in the industry. It is pre-engineered and optimised for cost-sensitive flexible packaging applications where fast and reliable production is essential. It is also valued for a fast return on investment. Advantages include reduced variability for consistently highquality products; greater uptime and productivity, which allows customers to meet market demands; reduced waste and production costs; and application versatility that enable customers to develop new business opportunities. According to Davis-Standard, its proven reliability in this new technology translates into greater uptime and higher profits. The system contains a flexible packaging unwinder with a phantom axis turret that allows for a lower loading position while maintaining 1,000 mm-roll capacity, a combined corona treater and pull roll for tension isolation, a two-roll direct gravure coater/dryer system, a three-roller design extrusion laminator and a driven pull roller with nip to provide tension isolation prior to the winder. All the drives, controls and touchscreen are in one panel for ease of use for customers. The new dsX flex-pack TM extrusion coating system is, thus, engineered with an adaptable machine configuration, making it an ideal solution for converters, printing companies, multinational companies and start-ups. MARCH / APRIL 2013
Front Cover Feature The medical tubing sector is one that is being targeted by the company with equipment like this MEDD (Medical Direct Drive) extruder
Medical tubing R&D laboratory in China Davis-Standard will also exhibit medical tubing technology at Chinaplas, designed to support China’s developing medical markets and impending healthcare initiatives. Davis-Standard has sold numerous medical tubing lines in China, but none compare to the line being unveiled at Chinaplas, according to the company. This medical tubing line is compact in design and offers a smaller footprint for clean rooms. It also features a language-specific control system. The line’s co-extruders are engineered to provide processing versatility and value, enabling processors to use materials ranging from polypropylene (PP) to fluorinated ethylene polypropylene (FEP) with a simple feedscrew change. It also includes a melt pump for processing thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) and nylons. After the show, the line will be a centrepiece and will be installed at DavisStandard’s Suzhou facility, providing customers regional research and development access to medical tubing equipment. Management with expertise in the Asian market In addition to the new technologies, Davis-Standard says its regional and global management team is
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enthusiastic about being at Chinaplas, including Robert Preston, CEO, and Fred Pereira, DavisStandard’s President of the Asia Pacific region. Both men have on-the-ground experience in Asia and bring extensive expertise and a wealth of knowledge to this market. Tasked with leading efforts to expand regional capabilities in sales, service and process support to better serve Davis-Standard customers in the region, Pereira has accumulated more than 30 years of business experience in Asia. He has worked in various segments of the plastics industry including chemical and engineered materials, speciality additives, packaging, product development and manufacturing. Preston also brings extensive international business experience, including 12 years of working in China. Against the backdrop of this “elite” team, Davis-Standard plans to continue expanding its management, sales and manufacturing teams to include regional specialists that will bring “the most value to customers in the Asia Pacific region.” It says, “Customers will be able to realise these continued advantages in terms of regional products, marketing and technology and customer support.” Growing regional capabilities in Asia Davis-Standard started the year 2012 with a growing presence in Asia. It started 2013 with a manufacturing facility in China and regional capabilities that are positively impacting customer satisfaction rates. The opening of the Suzhou site represents just part of the investment Davis-
The 2.5 m-Davis-Standard XP Express® j-stack upstack rollstand for sheet extrusion features detachable cooling rolls for ease of changing them for rolls with different finishes for various applications, including packaging
Front Cover Feature S4 cast film winder
Standard is making in the Asia Pacific region. The new facility supports sales, technical support, equipment production, aftermarket and service programs and start-up operations. It will also feature research and development equipment for customer trials. Davis-Standard’s transformation and expansion of regional capabilities in Asia is part of its Global Advantage plan. The company says that everything it is doing is geared toward “delighting customers in terms of quality, value and performance, with a focus on transformation from being a good company to being a great company.” The company’s goals include setting the global benchmark in order to benefit all its customers, existing and potential. What’s next for Davis-Standard? Davis-Standard will continue to build regional capabilities that allow global thinking, but regional action. One of the plans is to continue to expand its facility in Suzhou as well as look to other markets. “We will be aggressive in establishing a regional presence and building capabilities that separate us from the rest of the industry,” says the firm. The future will also bring a strengthening in new product development. Davis-Standard spent a good part of 2012 developing a series of new products that will be launched in 2013 to meet customers’ needs. In fact, the firm says it has already received commitments for several machines that haven’t been built yet. Examples of technology already impacting the marketplace include a high-speed aseptic packaging line, new high-speed, high-output extruder and a scrapless horizontal winder. As a global leader serving the food and beverage packaging industries, Davis-Standard is providing these technology and product developments to help customers reduce waste and become more productive.
In addition to expanding its resources in the Asia Pacific region, Davis-Standard plans to focus on growing markets as well as green technologies that offer energy savings, reduced scrap and improved processing for both extrusion and converting operations. Seven-layer blown film line
Davis-Standard systems encompass over ten product lines to support manufacturing applications and customers within every major industry, including the agriculture, automotive, construction, healthcare, energy, electronics, food and beverage packaging and retail industries, among others. For more information prior to the show, visit www.davis-standard.com MARCH / APRIL 2013
Catering to flexible packaging needs With the flexible packaging market continuing to grow, the demand for new packaging materials is on the rise due to pressure for longer product shelf life, a smaller CO2 footprint, reduced packaging weight and better optics.
Compact extrusion laminating line Extrusion lamination is increasingly competing with traditional, adhesive laminating processes in the flexible packaging industry and offers major advantages. Since extrusion lamination is solvent-free, no additional curing time is required before the laminate passes to the next downstream process. With this in mind, Austrian firm SML has introduced an extrusion laminating line Flexpack 1500, which sets new benchmarks for its compact design, for product widths from 700-1,350 mm. Two automatic turret unwinders are able to handle a wide range of substrates such as paper, films, aluminium foil and nonwovens. SML’s extrusion laminating Enforcement grids can also be added to line the structure using a third unwinder, which is available as an option. The extrusion unit consists of two extruders, a co-extrusion feedblock and a flat die with internal deckling system, that are all mounted together on a three-axis adjustable carriage. It has a maximum line speed of 320 m/minute while a larger machine, Flexpack 1800, is available with the same features for products with widths of up to 1,650 mm. Cleaning of die lip made easy Guided by feedback from converters worldwide, US firm Nordson EDI has re-engineered its EPC edge bead-reducing extrusion coating die, yielding what it says is a more robust system that is easier to operate and cuts back substantially on downtime for width changes and cleaning. The system will be shown at Chinaplas 2013. The EPC system incorporates an Autoflex VI automatic gauge profile control; an Ultraflow V feedblock for multilayer coatings; a new-design deckle system for rapid width adjustment and simplified removal for die cleaning; and a device for quick removal of die build-up. Within the Ultraflow V feedblock are adjustable “combining planes,” located where the melt streams join the central flow channel, that operate in two modes – either automatically adjusting layer material flows or permitting fine tuning through manual adjustment. With the new changes, the EPC die eliminates the need to disassemble the deckle system for cleanouts of carbonised polymer build-up inside the lip. Also, because it is now possible to remove the entire deckle assembly as a self-contained unit, it takes half the time to completely open the die for ‘split-and-clean’ maintenance, says the firm. Deckles are mounted at either end of a die and used for varying the width of the coating. The EPC extrusion coating die is said to reduce downtime As in the past, the EPC die includes an external and control edge bead deckle as a secondary seal to prevent leakage
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Film Extrusion and an internal deckle system that sets coat width and seals polymer at the die exit. Internal deckle parts provide independently adjustable components that seal off portions of the internal flow channel and can be positioned to minimise edge bead. Similarly, a manual or automated system for adjusting a flexible lip of the die makes it possible to maintain coat weight uniformity. On-line measurement improved In response to the industry’s requests for direct, noncontacting, non-nuclear coat weight measurement capability, US firm NDC has launched its IG710S backscatter sensor that produces high-resolution coat weight, laminate and moisture measurement without the need for a base stock sensor. Similarly, NDC’s SR710S infrared reflectance gauge is a solution for directly measuring thin, clear coatings on metallic foils or metalised paper and plastics. Meanwhile, NDC’s Same Spot Measurement synchronises the position of multi-scanner sensors so that their measurements are taken from the same spot on the web. The programme coordinates the sampling and data collection of both the substrate and the coated product for accurate coat weight measurement irrespective of substrate variations. Thinner and stronger packaging from new mPE With the launch of the new metallocene polyethylene (mPE) film material Lumicene Supertough 32ST05, Total says flexible packaging converters are able to achieve films that are up to 25% thinner and stronger than existing solutions for film on the market. Lumicene Supertough 32ST05 is targeted at the industrial packaging, personal care/hygiene and food sectors. The new mPE offers a combination of strength and toughness, even at low temperatures, thereby overcoming the drawbacks of thinner films, allowing converters to create a strong film using less material but with the easy processing advantages of LDPE, says Total. Several multilayer applications already demonstrating the grade’s potential include compression packaging, such as for heavy mattresses and lightweight diapers, deepfreeze and lamination films and shrink applications, for example glass bottle unitisation. The new grade is an extension of Total’s Lumicene portfolio that covers the full range of low (mLLDPE), medium (mMDPE) to high (mHDPE) densities.
Total’s new mPE is targeted at compression packaging for heavy mattresses
Setting the trends with five-layer machinery By Mauro Andreoli, Sales and Marketing Director, Macchi
Following the trends Film co-extrusion is today a fully grown and consolidated area of polymer processing. The benefits and the applications in the flexible packaging are here to stay, with the newest trends driven by the consumer market that is also indicating the developments required to satisfy the barrier and convenience demands of an ageing population. From the early time of excessive barrier layers conflicting with modern requirements of a resource-conscious design, to the fanciest trends in easy opening and reclosable films, the technology has remained focused on barrier polymers. The typical barrier machine was a coex 5 featuring a couple of beefy skin extruders, two tiny adhesive layer intermediate units and a core extruder for processing nylons or EVOH. It was a straightforward symmetrical structure, ubiquitous in vacuum packaging applications. These early structures became natural developments for seven-layer barrier enhancement and barrier layer duplications along with the coex 9 structure, managing a careful cost and feature control of the layers. General purpose packaging, lamination grades and collation shrink, no matter their remarkable business volumes, had their role covered by a plethora of three-layer co-extruders. Downgauging with five-layer lines Non-barrier packaging operators started to get involved into a novel approach of more structured layering led by the significant development in the application market. Converters were challenged by end-users to provide film with lower gauge of sealant, enhanced optical properties and the word â€œdowngaugingâ€? started to be used, requiring the use of more exotic polymers and more attention to machinery. Remaining limited by three layers started to be, for some key players, a clear wake-up sign to explore new possibilities to be able to serve both ends of flexible packaging demands, from low end traditional applications to the high quality and fast-rated packaging lines. Five-layer polyolefin-dedicated (POD) technology was introduced by Macchi in 2001 to foster these film production economies and quality enhancement by expanding the product design option. Initially, it has been mostly a method to apply a thin layer of glossy metallocene polymer over a traditional three ply. After that it was the FFS industrial heavy duty tubular bag to venture into the advantages of using a tough core of polyamide as a structural resin. It has been the explosive growth of the collation film in the beverage industry that acted as a catalyst for all the film improvements that we have witnessed in the last few years.
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Dull, 90-micron gauge, 70/30% simple PE films were replaced by co-extruded glossy 50 micron-webs that may even be considered as development for quality printing substrates. On the machinery front, five co-extruders became instrumental in the continuous race toward product downgauging, until the current levels of 28/30 microns, made in 1-1-6-1-1 structures. Obviously, the shrink properties were also addressed to cater for the demands of the brand owners and their different needs of product presentation at the point of sale. Today, that breakthrough concept that Macchi envisioned early 2000 is well alive and together with the synergistic developments permitted by new resins, it offers unprecedented possibilities of downgauging, output rates and product performances for new business opportunities all across the flexible packaging value chain. Better, stronger, thinner and, most of all, price competitive. These POD applications are running parallel to resin and totally redesigned film structures. Collation shrink film (1 million tonnes of PE, second to stretch film) is such a driver. It is expected that the five-layer POD technology will quickly become the new industry standard. According to industry sources, the three-layer business will decline from the current 85-90% market share to 30% in the next 15 years, whilst the five-layer business, now at around 5-8% of market share, is forecast to reach 75% in the same period.
Beverage packaging maker Ominik Nigeria is installing its third Macchi line: a 3,200 mm wide coex5 POD machine, designed to run at rates exceeding 1,000 kg/hour, according to Mauro Andreoli
Plastics use surging in medical applications Widely used in the medical sector now, plastics have evolved in use and composition, for instance, plastic implants are implanted in the body to introduce treatment or enhance the function of a certain device. Plastics in the medical sector have now become a staple and essential material, says Angelica Buan in this report.
Elasto, part of the Hexpol TPE family, has developed a Mediprene TPE compound for use in the Happy Ears earplugs, which are said to reduce noise while effectively reproducing sound
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etals, glass and ceramics used to be the materials that made up most medical devices, but with surging healthcare costs, the demand for lower-cost equipment and devices has gone up. Thus, polymers have become a viable material option due to the potential for design flexibility, weight savings and cost efficiency. A US market analysis by Frost & Sullivan suggests that the total market volume of plastics in medical devices is about 600,000 tonnes. With such a volume, revenue turn out is expected to reach US$1.45 billion by 2018, at a CAGR of 5.2%. The report also indicates that commodity plastics such as PVC, PE and PE account for most of the total volume. Healthy growth in Western markets The US remains to be the main driver of growth for medical plastics, according to Frost & Sullivan. This finding is reaffirmed by Lucintel, a global management consulting and market research firm, that says the US accounts for 46% of the global market. Lucintel also reported that technological advancements, nanotechnology applications as well as robotics will create a new segment in the medical device industry. Meanwhile, Southeast Asiaâ€™s medical device markets have had marked growth, especially in imports of medical devices and increasing healthcare expenditures amongst end-consumers, according to a study published by UK-based Epsicom Business Intelligence. It also noted that although demand is strong, impeding factors, such as tariff regulations imposed through free trade agreements with the more developed economies, will affect market expansions. Maintaining a safety check Material safety has set the stage for comparison: which is the best material that could ensure a patientâ€™s safety? Several incidences of complications with metallic devices, such as knee replacements and transvaginal mesh, have been reported. Recently, the US FDA recalled a metal hip replacement made by Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedics. It was found to be releasing fragments of metal, causing tissue damage and at times seeping into the bloodstream. Nevertheless, plastics are not without their problems. For instance, health-risk concerns have prompted companies such as Kaiser Permanente to ban DEHP plasticiser-containing PVCs, amidst claims of leeching. Last year, the French government passed a law unilaterally banning the use of tubing containing DEHP phthalate from paediatric, neonatal and maternity wards. The ban will come into force in 2015. Typically 20-40% content of DEHP is used to soften PVC blood bags. Nevertheless, the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers (ECVM) claims that there is currently no viable plastic material that could be used to replace PVC, which has been used for manufacturing blood bags for over 50 years. The PVC-DEHP combination has proven itself highly suitable for the manufacture of blood bags because DEHP stabilises red blood cells, minimising hemolysis (the rupturing of red blood cells).
Medical PLASTICS Thus, it is not surprising that increasing regulatory requirements are in place for plastics, against the backdrop of widespread environment concerns, awareness for safety and shelf life of consumables and rising allergy threats. These concerns have, thus, put pressure on polymer manufacturers and engineers to come up with viable solutions. For instance, Teknor Apex has developed three new TPE wire and cable compounds as alternatives to PVC that can be used by hospitals for meeting stringent medical standards, the company says. Medalist 8421, 8431, and 8451 elastomers can be used for insulation, jacketing, and moulded fittings and connectors. They have Shore A hardness levels of 92, 69, and 82, respectively, a flammability classification of HB (UL-94), and a maximum continuous operating temperature rating of 105ºC (UL-1581). The three compounds retain high levels of tensile strength, tensile modulus and elongation after autoclave, gamma irradiation, and EtO sterilisation. They are resistant to the cleaning solutions commonly used in medical facilities. The new TPEs are analogs to specific Elexar non-medical wire and cable compounds from Teknor Apex and provide comparable properties but are manufactured in an ISO-13485 facility dedicated to Medalist medical elastomers. A patient with electromonitoring wires made of Teknor Apex’s TPE
Citing the Frost & Sullivan study on polymers in medical devices, there has been an ongoing focus now on engineered polymers such as co-polyether-ester elastomers (COPE), polyether block amides (PEBA) and acetal chemistries that are suitable for advanced applications like implants and tissue engineering. PEEK developments in spinal implants US-based Solvay Specialty Polymers says that TranS1, a supplier of minimally invasive spinal implants and medical devices, has commercialised the VEO Direct Lateral Access and Interbody Fusion System that incorporates a lumbar fusion cage implant made of Solvay’s Zeniva PEEK resin. The VEO system also features a tubular retractor made of Solvay’s Radel PPSU resin for radiolucency and the ability to withstand repeated steam sterilisation.
VEO’s interbody cage is made from Zeniva PEEK rod stock that TranS1 offers in various sizes, including widths of 17 mm and 22 mm and lengths from 40-60 mm. The implant has a large centre channel to allow bone growth through the device, fusing the adjacent bony surfaces of the vertebrae. Zeniva PEEK has a modulus very close to that of bone plus toughness and fatigue resistance. It is certified to meet the full requirements of the ASTM F2026 standard for PEEK used in implantable surgical devices. The VEO brings clear and direct visualisation to lateral fusion surgery, thus minimising iatrogenic trauma to the psoas muscle and the nerve plexus to help reduce the risk of post-operative complications. German chemical firm Evonik's Vestakeep PEEK that has been used by US-based K7 for its K7C Cervical Spacer spinal implant device has received the FDA’s 510(K) approval for use as an Intervertebral Body Fusion (IBF) device, a first for the material for this kind of product. The material is known for its biocompatibility and biostability as well as sterilisation resistance and good combination of stiffness and ductility. The Vestakeep PEEK material also has regulatory clearance for spinal implants in Europe and Asia. With this 510(K) approval, customers will now have easier access to regulatory approvals in the US market. Meanwhile, complementing innovations for polymer implants, researchers from the North Carolina State University have developed and successfully implemented a bioactive film coating for PEEK polymer implants used in spinal surgeries. The film coating enhances the efficacy of PEEK polymer implants, since the researchers say PEEK does not bond well with bone or other tissues in the body. Over time, the implant rubs against the surrounding tissues and this can cause complications. The technique coats the implant with a thin film of yttria-stabilised zirconia (YSZ) and thereafter a coating of hydroxyapatite, which is a calcium phosphate that bonds well with bone. The hydroxyapatite layer is then heated using microwaves. The YSZ layer acts as a heat shield, preventing the PEEK from melting. Meanwhile, North Carolina University: the top scanning electron microscope image (b) shows a cross section of the bioactive hydroxyapatite/YSZ coating without heat treatment. Note how the two layers are distinct. The bottom image (f) shows the coating after heat treatment and the layers that are now integrated
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Medical PLASTICS the heat gives the hydroxyapatite a crystalline structure that makes it more stable in the body, enabling bonding with the surrounding bone. The University says it has received funding from the National Institute of Health to proceed with animal testing to fine-tune the technique. Medical-grade plastics Supporting the use of appropriate materials for medical devices, French chemicals firm Arkema says that it only recommends special, higher-priced grades of MED resins for medical applications. The castor oil-based speciality polyamides have a distinct set of properties such as good chemical resistance, compared to fossil fuel-based materials. Most polymers used in minimally invasive surgical devices are hydrophobic and create friction against moist bodily tissue. Hydrophilic coatings are often applied to these polymer components to reduce friction and avoid tissue trauma, yet they add additional manufacturing steps and may provide more lubricity than necessary. Arkema’s hydrophilic Pebax MV 1074 SA 01 MED polymer absorbs up to 48% of moisture from the surrounding environment and forms hydrogen bonds that create a wet film on the component surface that enhance lubricity against bodily tissue. Comparatively, in the same conditions, Pebax SA 01 MED copolymers commonly used for medical devices absorb only 1.2% moisture. Meanwhile, Pebax MV 1074 SA 01 MED is a flexible thermoplastic elastomer with a 40 Shore D hardness and 80 MPa flexural modulus. Ease of processing and melt compatibility with traditional polyether block amide and polymers offer excellent opportunities in co-extrusion applications. Pebax MV 1074 SA 01 MED polymer can be extruded as a hydrophilic polymer layer in a multi-layer tube or film extrusion for surfaces directly in contact with bodily tissue that require high moisture absorption. Germany-based Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) has also introduced a PC-grade Makrolon Rx2440 for medical devices. The material is said to offer a faster recovery time in colour shift and can also be sterilised with high-energy radiation (gamma or e-beam) and ETO. It is suitable for applications requiring biocompatibility that meet ISO 10993-1 and USP Class VI. According to BMS, its new PC material can be used in a variety of medical device applications, such as IV access, respiratory, surgical and renal care. Elsewhere, US-based speciality chemicals firm Lubrizol has recently launched eight new medical materials that are available in four clear grades and four radiopaque grades that include a 20% loading of barium sulphate. An extension of the Carbothane line of PC-based TPUs, the materials are designed to feature improved chemical/creep resistance and are suitable for long-term implant applications, including catheters and devices that will remain in the body for more than 30 days, and for permanent spinal and orthopedic implants.
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In other news, Lubrizol has a new formulation of synthetic biochemically absorbable polymers, or “bioabsorbable polymers,” which are plastic-based materials that dissolve into compounds the body can safely absorb or eliminate. Absorbability is useful in a wide variety of applications, as it enables the safe internal use of medical With the development of advanced devices, wound care technology, Lubrizol says its implements and drug bioabsorbable polymers are delivery systems, set to become valuable tools in without requiring orthopaedic treatments, wound removal. By being care and tissue engineering truly “tunable,” Lubrizol’s bioabsorbable polymers overcome the strength and longevity challenges that have prevented the widespread use of existing bioabsorbable materials in some applications. Currently, bioabsorbable polymers are used for operative assistance, damage healing and drug release. With the development of advanced technology from Lubrizol, bioabsorbable polymers are set to become valuable tools in orthopaedic treatments, wound care and tissue engineering. Another US-based materials firm Styron has introduced two new compounds: Emerge PC/ABS 7700 and Magnum Mass ABS for medical equipment housings. The PC/ABS blend used for powered medical devices offer ignition resistance and longer colour stability, whilst the ABS resins are manufactured in a continuous mass production process that offers improved lot-to-lot consistency, natural whiteness and easy processing characteristics. Meanwhile, US compounder RTP developed a custom RTP 2900 Series polyether-block-amide thermoplastic elastomer (PEBA) compound for Pl sticos y Materias Primas (PyMPSA), a Mexican manufacturer of medical devices and components, for a new catheter for epidural anesthesia. The firm had first specified a biocompatible nylon material that was radiopaque so it could be readily observed during x-ray imaging to ensure proper placement but Catheter produced from RTP's PEBA compound
Medical Plastics the efforts were disappointing with the extruded nylon ending up with a lot of air bubbles. RTP says its material has passed ISO 10993 biocompatibility testing conducted by PyMPSA. It solved the air bubble problem, leading to the successful development of the new SET ESPICAT catheter. The success of the catheter project has led to PyMPSA working with RTP on producing the catheter in several different colours to help medical and manufacturing personnel quickly identify different diameter versions. Bone growth using plastic scaffolds Growing bones using plastic scaffold has been made possible with a group of British scientists from the University of Southampton having developed a honeycomb scaffold using biomedical implantable PC. This could lead to revolutionary bone repair therapies for people with bone fractures or those who need hip replacement surgery due to osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. The structure was created in a nano-topographical pattern that funnels the human embryonic stem cells toward the bone cells. It is also porous so that it allows blood to flow through, thus enabling stem cells from a patientâ€™s bone marrow to attach to the scaffold and grow new bone cells. As the new bone grows, the scaffold gradually decomposes. Welding made safe in medical devices US-based Eastman Chemical says that a new technology from IPG Photonics for welding clear-toclear polymers with fibre lasers is available to weld products made with its Tritan copolyester, including medical devices. Eastman says that welding techniques typically require an energyabsorbing additive to be added to the polymer, and with medical applications, there is always the question of biocompatibility with the polymer. Thus, the new technique eliminates the A new welding technology from IPG need for additives Photonics is able to weld and because the components made with Eastmanâ€™s welding work is Tritan done via laser, no tools come into contact with the medical device material, making this a highly clean and controllable process. Other benefits are a fully hermetic leak-proof precision joint that has a smooth weld that will not entrap bio-burden.
Antimicrobial plastics use silver technology Sabic Innovative Plastics has introduced new silver technology antimicrobial compounds to help medical device manufacturers reduce healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) amongst patients and clinicians. The compounds have been tested for long reduction values, with the level of microbes eliminating from a surface, based on the ISO 22196-2007 standards. The company offers nine different antimicrobial grades across four product families, namely Lexan EXL copolymer, Lexan PC, Xenoy PC/PBT and PP resins with and without fibreglass reinforcement. Of these grades, five have a high antimicrobial effect and four have a low antimicrobial effect. These variations will allow users to choose the right formulation they require for their end-product application. According to Sabic, the silver technology is widely accepted as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial, with activity against many pathogens including gramme-positive and gramme-negative bacteria, moulds and fungi. Potential applications include fluid and drug-delivery applications, surgical instruments, monitoring and imaging devices as well as hospital furniture such as hospital beds and operating tables. Germany-headquartered chemical company BASF has also developed a medical device technology that prevents infectious germ build-up on surfaces, utilising the silver-based antimicrobial technology. Included in its solutions line is the HyGentic antimicrobial technology that prevents bacterial growth on surfaces and protection against bacterial colonisation on a variety of polymeric surfaces. Also available is HyGentic SBC, a transparent injectionmouldable styrene butadiene block (SBR) copolymer material; HyGentic PA, glass fibre-reinforced, injection-mouldable polyamide; and HyGentic NW, synthetic non-woven technology with builtin antimicrobial activity that is ideal for medical applications such as surgical masks, drapes, gowns and surgical kit wraps. Meanwhile, a novel research suggests that needles of the Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), a common pine tree in the US can be used to sterilise nano devices meant for medical applications. The research led by Poushpi Dwivedi from India, which was published in the International Journal of Biomedical Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, detailed that from these needles, nanoparticles with silver nitrate solution are able to be extracted. The derived self-sterilising composite material - silver/ chitosan bionano composite - can be used to safely coat medical implants and surgical devices to prevent microbial growth. The scientists explained that bacterial infection in implanted medical devices, prosthetics and sensors happens despite advances in sterilisation procedures. The antimicrobial composites could thwart the disease causing microbes to permeate biomaterials and tissues. MARCH / APRIL 2013
Injection Moulding Asia Automotive News
VW installs Sumitomo Demag machine
olkswagen’s Braunschweig plant has installed a fully electric IntElect 2201100 injection moulding machine from Sumitomo (SHI) Demag for producing lighting dial trims for the Golf VII. An advantage of the IntElect series compared to hydraulic machines is the low energy consumption of the direct drives in the plasticisation and injection procedure, as well as when opening and closing the mould. In addition, the braking energy from each main axis is temporarily stored in order to provide energy for the other axes. In this way, IntElect machines save up to 85% of the energy compared to conventional solutions, says SHI. Direct drives convert less energy into heat than hydraulic drives do, so in addition, they require less cooling power than comparable conventional machines. VW adds that the firm has improved cycle time by 15%, compared to a hydraulic machine, and reduced scrap because of the increased precision and repeat accuracy.
Volkswagen will use the new machine to produce precision parts
Teijin steps up efforts for CFRTPs
Seating plant for Grammer in China
apanese carbon fibres and composites firm Teijin has started operating a carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) unit at its Japanese facility. It is using its proprietary mass-production technology for CFRTP components, which significantly cuts cycle time for moulding composite products to a fraction of a minute, enabling speedy production of prototypes and performance evaluation tests, including complexshaped moulded products and large components. Aiming to step up collaboration with automotive makers worldwide, Teijin expects the new plant to realise this and at the same time create markets for other applications. Continued developments are being pushed through joint efforts with Teijin Composites Innovation Centre and US-based Teijin Composites Application Centre, a technical centre that opened early this year. Teijin’s conventional CFRTP is also being used in a Japanese sports car Lexus LFA cabin, which is made up of 65% CFRTP, accounting for its light weight compared to an aluminium cabin.
ermany-based Grammer and Chinese supplier of components for commercial vehicles and passenger cars Jiangsu Yuhua Automobile Parts have established a joint venture for the production and distribution of truck and bus seats in China. Grammer owns 60% of the Jiangyinlocated firm, while Yuhua has a 40% stake. Yuhua provides a new manufacturing location and will, among other things, also bring its existing truck-seat business and a well-established customer base into the joint venture.
Engel supplies new automated machines to BMW Leipzig
ustrian machinery group Engel is supplying injection moulding machines to BMW’s Leipzig factory in Germany to make lightweight components for car body shells. Engel’s latest delivery to BMW Leipzig consists of two Duo injection moulding machines with clamping forces of 4,000 and 2,700 tonnes. These systems are also equipped with Engel’s energy-saving system, ecodrive, because sustainability is another main aspect of this project.
The machine processing cells are each made up of two machines installed back-to-back to create double systems. In master/slave mode, both machines can be controlled together so that two components are injection-moulded and completed simultaneously. The bodywork components will, however, only comply with the high quality requirements if they both undergo exactly the same aging process after the moulding stage. Machines, which have been linked together, can also be separated from each other and fitted with different moulds. This increases the availability of the systems and enables them to guarantee a high degree of production flexibility. The systems supplied to BMW are automated and include a menu-driven mould changing feature, a system display screen, and data tracing. The huge range of parts,which the manufacturing cells will be making in the future was taken into consideration from the very beginning.
Engel’s two duo injection moulding systems to make lightweight car parts
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Injection Moulding Asia Technology News
Engel/PME tie-up for WIT
Moulders consolidate to expand markets
ustrian machine maker Engel and PME fluidtec have formed a partnership for water injection technology (WIT) that will encompass clientspecific system solutions and worldwide sales. Engel’s Watermelt WIT is used for the production of long media lines and complex hollow parts such as handles, beverage crates and engine components via injection moulding. The injection of water into a cavity partially filled with plastic melt ensures even wall thickness distribution and smooth internal surfaces, even where part geometries are complex; other advantages include the economical use of raw materials and short cycle times. A pioneer in WIT, PME fluidtec has been developing and producing systems for fluid-based injection moulding using internal pressure technology for 12 years now. Under the terms of the partnership, PME fluidtec will be responsible for WIT systems and process and mould technology as well as service for WIT units; whilst Engel will be responsible for adapting injection moulding machines, automation and peripheral units.
Engel and PME fluidtec are partnering in water injection technology
in the plastics industry to help position the company for continued growth and future expansion in the automotive, healthcare and clean energy sectors.
S-public listed mobile phone and electronic products maker Jabil Circuit is acquiring US-based custom moulder Nypro for US$665 million. The acquisition is expected to be completed during Jabil’s fiscal third quarter. Nypro manufactures precision products for the healthcare, packaging and consumer electronics industries, with over US$1 billion in total annual revenues and operations in ten countries. The 12,000-staffed Nypro has capabilities in product design, tooling, injection moulding, surface decoration and complete product manufacturing. In other news, Baird Capital Partners Asia, the China-focused investment group of Baird Private Equity, has invested an undisclosed amount in Boston Plastics, a high precision plastic injection moulding and subassemblies company based in Singapore. Terms were not disclosed. Founded in 2005, Boston Plastics manufactures products for the automotive, consumer electronics, imaging and industrial markets, serving an extensive international customer base that is seeking to tap into the growing demands of the Chinese consumer. Boston Plastics has facilities in Shanghai, Changchun and Taicang. Through this investment, it is expected that Boston Plastics’s management team will draw from Baird’s expertise
CoreTech unveils enhanced software
aiwanese firm CoreTech System (Moldex3D), the True 3D CAE simulation solution provider, has released Moldex3D R12.0, a design validation and optimisation software for injection moulding simulation. It has several enhancements on troubleshooting capabilities, analysis accuracy, user friendliness and calculation efficiency, says the Hsinchubased firm. Moldex3D has been a plastic simulation standard in the automotive, digital electronics, medical and consumer products. To prevent defects or warpage on plastics, Moldex3D assists in visualising the melt flow behaviour injected into a mould cavity and predicts potential moulding problems upfront. The latest version R12.0 supports more special shaped gates, runners, and runner ends, such as cashew gate with arc geometry, tapered ejector pins, or lock pin design. The enhancements on mesh quality and density allow users to build more realistic 3D mesh of complicated runner systems. It also supports the auto re-meshing capability when a gate location changes, thereby avoiding repeated re-meshing work on a cavity. Additionally, users now can directly import a CAD model in Parasolid format.
The R12.0 also introduces the industrial geometry healing technology developed by Elysium. A CADdoctor, it enables multi-CAD data exchange, geometry simplification and verification. When users generate Boundary Layer Mesh (BLM), they can automatically check and fix poor-quality geometry. Furthermore, the software has an 80% increase in the computing speed of the filling analysis while the computation time for a model with 1 million elements will be shortened by nearly 50%. Troubleshooting capabilities are reinforced in the solver kernels, such as flow behaviour visualisation, cooling optimisation, fibre orientation, stress evaluation, injection compression moulding simulation and encapsulation moulding simulation. It also supports advanced venting analysis, fibre breakage prediction and annealing analysis. The venting analysis provides trapped air temperature and pressure results to help users maintain mechanical strength and evaluate the quality of welding lines. In the fibre analysis, users can quickly check if the high shear stress inside the cavity or near the gates will cause fibre breakage and damage the strength of a part. Users can also simulate the post-moulding annealing process in order to prevent deformation and stress cracking on a part. The simulation solution can be applied to compression moulding, powder injection moulding and multicomponent moulding.
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Injection Moulding Asia Medical Silicones
Rediscovering LSRs in home healthcare medical devices Emerging infectious diseases and the rising number of lifestyle diseases are pushing the shortage of hospital beds to critical levels. Several initiatives have been undertaken but the most practical step is to go back to the basics, which is home healthcare. This trend is paving way for an increasing demand for portable and single use devices, says Angelica Buan.
Bluestar Silicone’s Silbione LSR 4301 shows strong physical properties and easy processing in a low-durometer material
Single-use devices he worst scenarios to have been reported as a result of hospital bed shortages are that patients are either refused treatment or discharged prematurely. And in many cases, hospital corridors become extensions of wards, compromising patient privacy as well as the contraction of infections. Home healthcare is one way of easing the burden of a healthcare system that is struggling from the lack of healthcare professionals and adequate facilities. The availability of technologies for single-use treatment devices, disposables and portable medical tools facilitate patient transition from the hospital to the home. This demand has given rise to the growth of liquid silicone rubber (LSR) as a material of choice for devices that offer hypoallergenic qualities, as well as ease of cleaning and sterilisation. The global silicone market, based on a forecast by Global Industry Analysts (GIA), is expected to reach US$17.2 billion by 2017. Preference for LSRs is increasing, because unlike latex rubber, which produces allergic reactions to some users, LSR is non-allergenic. A single-use first of its kind in the market nasal device for migraine has been developed by Tian Medical in the US. Collaborating with medical moulder Plas-Tech Engineering, the new Tx360 Nasal Applicator device is intended for use on adult patients to deliver small amounts of fluid into the inner crannies of the nasal pathway. Meanwhile, British scientists from the King’s College in London have also developed a breakthrough LSR-moulded device that delivers needle-less dry vaccinations through the skin, which is ideal for use in warm climates (as it needs no refrigeration) as well as resource-limited countries.
Better than other elastomers s a material, LSR allows for a greater degree of clarity and chemical as well as temperature resistance, unlike high-consistency silicone rubber (HCR) and other elastomers. The flexible material also works favourably for intricately-shaped parts and smooth surfaces that require high precision. Compared to PVC, LSR does not contain phthalates and plasticisers. US-based Bluestar Silicones recently launched its Silbione low-durometer LSR, room temperature vulcanised silicones, gels and skin adhesives and a new patent-pending silicone foam. The 1 Shore A hardness product, Silbione LSR 4301, exhibits strong physical properties and easy processing in a low-durometer material. The company’s patentpending silicone foam technology, cited in last year’s Frost & Sullivan Product Differentiation Award, offers low-density open cell silicone foam for flexible, breathable and durable applications. According to Bluestar, the soft silicones physical properties, such as high tear strength and elongation, can now be achieved in low durometer soft silicones, ideal for use in a broader range of applications in the healthcare sector. NuSil Technology, a US company producing silicone compounds for the healthcare, pharmaceutical and drug delivery industries, has introduced MED-5440, a translucent 100 mol% fluorosilicone elastomer. The two-part silicone rubber with a 1:1 mix ratio has a Type A durometer of 40. Designed for liquid injection moulding processes, MED-5440 cures rapidly when exposed to heat. It also resists swelling when in contact with or immersed in dimethyl fluids and most solvents or oils. Some typical applications for MED-5440 include
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Medical Silicones O-rings, gaskets, seals, and precision moulded parts for implant applications requiring silicones of medium durometers. Recently, Munich-based chemical group Wacker Chemie launched a new silicone rubber of variable hardness for orthopaedic and prosthetic applications. The low-viscosity Silpuran 2410 A/B, an additioncuring silicone, can be made harder or softer in the lower Shore A range by varying the mixing ratio of its two components. The material cures to a highly elastic, translucent elastomer. It is breathable and compatible with the skin. It possesses good damping properties and exerts a soft and gentle compressive effect.
Dow Corning ‘s QP1 LSR grades are developed for short-term and nonimplant and insertion applications
that can reduce cycle times. The firm also says the materials are formulated without the use of peroxides, peroxide by-products, chlorophenyls or PCBs and are totally free of organic plasticisers, phthalates or latex additives. Applications include short-term (29 days or less) implants such as wound drains and gastric feeding tubes; non-implant devices, such as needleless access valves; surgical devices such as anaesthesia masks, and consumer products including nasal aspirators.
Wacker Chemie‘s SILPURAN 2410 A/B silicone offers hardness flexibility ideal for orthopaedic and prosthetic devices
According to Wacker Chemie, the compounds are suitable for soft and elastic orthopaedic products, such as shoe insoles, heel cushions and truss pads, adding that they can be freely combined and processed with each other. This also applies to elastomers of different Shore hardness values; crosslinking occurs rapidly at elevated temperatures and no byproducts are released. US firm Dow Corning has also come up with new LSR grades that give medical device manufacturers and fabricators broader material choices for intricate devices and components. The QP1 family of eight translucent silicone elastomers is targeted at short-term and non-implant and insertion applications. The twopart, platinum-catalysed silicone elastomers, supplied in a kit, are suitable for liquid injection moulding. They combine high tear strength for optimal durability in applications facing tough physical demands, such as membranes, with low compression set, which is of particular value for parts such as seals or valves that are subjected to compression during use, the manufacturer states. Dow’s US-FDA food contact compliant materials are available in a wide range of durometers with tear strength as well as other processing advantages
Challenges of LSRs iven that the right moulding machine is used, manufacturers can fully benefit from the minimal waste and faster cycle times of LSR during processing, also since it requires no secondary operations. Wider applications of LSR are only limited by designers’ depth of experience, education and creativity, and manufacturers’ experience and willingness to explore new innovative uses of this medical material. These benefits outweigh the fact that LSRs cost five times as much as other materials, such as TPEs and TPUs. Not to mention that moulding the silicone parts is a challenge in terms of engineering processes and the selection of the appropriate machine. Injection moulders also have to be capable of precision LSR moulding required for many medical devices. Adequate training to mould LSR as well as being equipped with a cleanroom to produce precision moulding are vital to optimising LSR’s potential for a wide range of applications.
4 MARCH / APRIL 2013
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Injection Moulding Asia In-Mould Labelling
Automation of IML packaging By Nicolas Beck, Head of Marketing & Sales, Beck Automation Increased shelf impact n increasing number of companies are choosing IML (In-Mould Labelling), instead of other methods of decoration and packaging. Decisive factors are the photographic quality and the fact that packaging today is no longer just a functional container but a communication channel. Price and packaging of a product are extremely important at a point of sale and in influencing purchasing decisions.
Another benefit is that IML offers a great deal of flexibility for new, additional or promotional packaging motifs and their variants. In the case of multi-colour printing, this is harder to achieve and is not necessarily more cost-effective. Meanwhile, producers of paint tins, with conventional labels or printing, are switching to plastic containers with IML. This is due to the benefits mentioned and additionally, the smaller footprint since IML packaging is lighter and therefore requires less energy for transportation. A further example is the enhanced premium feel of thermoforming packaging in the food sector. By changing to injection-moulded IML packaging, a company can upgrade the look of its products.
IML trends ew foils are being developed with one of Beckâ€™s partners, Verstraete Printing Company in Maldegem, Belgium, producing an increasing range of metallic-effect IML labels. Gold and silver are currently top of the list of favourite colours. These UV-resistant metallic colours achieve the look and feel of rotogravure and flexographic printing. Unilever was the pioneer for margarine tubs with metallic IML. But IML has become an important option for packaging design in non-food applications too, especially in cosmetic packaging, where there is a demand for very high quality gold and silver colours.
â€œCamera-based vision systems are becoming an increasingly dominant method of monitoring the flow of materials and parts,â€? says Nicolas Beck of family-run Swiss IML equipment supplier Beck Automation
Last year alone, Beck Automation delivered around 40 plants. It has a total of 550 IML automation machines in the market today, with some of these in operation for over 15 years. The food packaging sector continues to dominate, with around 66% of all machines sold last year going to the food packaging sector. The remaining were solutions for containers for paints and oils, technical parts and for the cosmetics sector.
Automation technology asically, there are three requirements for automation: improvements in cycle times with a high number of cavities; high levels of availability and excellent process quality and consistency. There have also been a number of developments in the area of remote diagnosis, since service is a relevant factor today.
Apart from food packaging, IML today is increasingly being applied in the cosmetics sector
IML compared to cheaper decorating packages odern packaging has long overcome its role as a simple container and is now a media with significant means of communication. For example, due to its photorealistic, high quality imaging, IML can get a product noticed on the shelf.
Four-double label station
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In-Mould Labelling Quality assurance is also becoming increasingly important, with camera-based vision systems becoming a dominant method of monitoring the flow of materials and parts. This trend took off in 2010 in high-tech markets that were driven by short cycle times. With very fast IML machines, with six cavities, up to six cameras are required. This is a 10-15% cost increase per machine. However, the additional investment pays for itself very quickly if a manufacturer is able to monitor output. In the long term, deployment of vision system monitoring is set to grow. As developments in the packaging industry are very fast moving, cycle times can today be less than 3 seconds. The number of cavities continues to rise each year, thus requiring increasingly complex systems.
engineering, there are lots of components that are procured worldwide. Then there are elements that allow less potential for added value, which are imported. However, the majority of Beck’s parts still come from Switzerland. Beck is also involved in the development of the mandrels. These are the parts that pick up the labels. Today, these mandrels are made from a solid block of plastic. The connections for the vacuum and static charge are complex areas of design and manufacture. Modern manufacturing methods are opening up new possibilities and the mandrels can now be manufactured to be more ergonomic, lighter and cheaper to make. Development of markets n the packaging industry, markets are very global indeed. However, there are differences in terms of quality demands and IML packaging can be found in the premium segment. Alongside established markets such as Europe and the US, other countries like Russia, Middle Eastern countries, South Africa, Iran and Brazil are catching up fast. Wherever multinationals, such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble or Nestlé, penetrate markets, IML gains more prominence. In addition, markets with clean room and cosmetic applications look set for future growth. From a production perspective, IML opens up a real singlestage process to packaging, and visually, there are numerous options with attractive, metallic-looking foils plus innovative ways of depicting instructions for use, something very relevant in the area of medical applications. Another example is the launch of IML into the roll-on deodorant market. IML excels with key benefits that reinforce the premium quality of a product. At the same time, global players ensure that this application is spreading throughout product categories. Totally new areas of application are also coming into force, such as technical products in the medical field and the cosmetics market, with the future of the sector looking promising indeed.
Camera inspection system
Training and communication are also very important – from the procurement side with suppliers of labels for instance, and with sales partners as well as with tool makers and manufacturers of injection moulding machines. Furthermore, application-specific consultation, advice concerning prevention measures, internet-based communication and remote diagnosis are all vitally important “soft factors”. The majority of machines are tailor-made, either optimised for rapid feed and removal of parts or designed for maximum flexibility to cover a specific product family. In order to achieve optimal customisation results, time is required for engineering, thereby customers are involved right from the development phase of a product and the production solution.
Acknowledgement: ounded in 1934, Beck Automation in Oberengstringen, Switzerland, supplies IML automation solutions for injection moulding applications. Its core business is providing solutions for the decoration and labelling of lids, tubs, trays and buckets for a wide range of applications. The Swiss firm delivers some 35 to 45 machines a year. In 2012, company turnover was CHF10 million and it employed 37 staff.
Proudly Swiss-made n order for an industrial product to claim that is “Swiss-made” at least 50% of its added value has to be of Swiss origin. As is commonplace in mechanical
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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News
Lanxess switches from ESBR to SSBR in Brazil
erman speciality chemicals firm Lanxess is switching production of emulsion styrene butadiene rubber (E-SBR) used in standard tyres to solution styrene butadiene rubber (S-SBR) used in “green tyres” at its site in Brazil. The future capacity for S-SBR in Triunfo will be 110,000 tonnes/ year, the same as the current E-SBR capacity. The switch in production technology represents an investment of EUR80 million and the plant will produce the latest grades of S-SBR at the end of 2014. A regular supply of E-SBR to customers will be maintained from the company’s plant in Duque de Caxias (Rio de Janeiro) in Brazil, which has enough production capacity to supply the entire Brazilian E-SBR demand. E-SBR is mainly used in the manufacturing and retreading of truck tyres, which means tyre carcasses can be reused several times, thus saving raw materials for tyre production. Global growth for both rubber types is estimated at roughly 10% a year, up to 2017, as consumers shift to more fuel-efficient green tyres, with demand being driven by the megatrend mobility in the regions of Asia and Latin America. In addition, demand will accelerate as tyre labelling continues to be introduced around the world, with the 2012
launch of mandatory tyre labelling in the European Union (EU), similar to the consumer labels found on refrigerators and washing machines. Tyres are graded from A (best) to G according to their fuel efficiency and from A to F according to their wet grip. Rolling noise is also measured. Japan and South Korea were the first countries in the world to introduce a labelling system. Studies show that 20-30% of a vehicle’s fuel consumption and 24% of road vehicle’s CO2 emissions are related to tyres. Green tyres are able to reduce fuel consumption by 5-7% and have a shorter cost amortisation period in comparison to other fuelsaving technologies in cars such as automatic startstop systems and hybrid drives. In the past two years, Lanxess has increased its global capacities for S-SBR and Nd-PBR by 70,000 tonnes by debottlenecking its plants in Germany, the US and Brazil. In addition, the company produces S-SBR at its facility in Port Jérôme, France. The company is also constructing a EUR200 million, 140,000 tonne/year Nd-PBR plant in Singapore to serve the growing Asian tyre industry.
construction of its 100,000 tonne/year-butyl rubber plant in Jamnagar, which is expected to come on stream by 2015. The plant will be India’s only one for butyl rubber and will be amongst the world’s top five producers of butyl rubber. A technology licensing deal has been signed between Reliance and Sibur with the latter to provide proprietary butyl rubber production technology, including a basic engineering package (BEP) and provision of experienced technical personnel on both the project and operational stages. Meanwhile, Reliance will supply the monomer as well as provide the infrastructure and utilities. It has also already started marketing butyl rubber from Sibur in India.
Supermax to expand to Middle East/Latin America
alaysian glove maker Supermax is expanding its operations into the Latin American and Middle Eastern countries to expand its markets. Supermax’s Executive Chairman and Group Managing Director Datuk Seri Stanley Thai noted that Egypt would be the company’s gateway to the Northern African and Middle Eastern regions, whilst Uruguay would provide the access to Latin America. “These countries would be the springboard to build our brand in the global market. Currently, 69% of our production
Indian butyl plant on track
he joint venture between Indian conglomerate Reliance (75%) and Russian petrochemical firm Sibur, Reliance Sibur Elastomers, has commenced
gloves are sold under our own proprietary brand,” he said. He said Supermax is also setting up more distribution centres to better cater to the market, and also spread out into Eastern Europe. Supermax, which accounts for 12% market share of the total global rubber glove industry, has six distribution centres/ corporate offices based in the US, Brazil, Europe and Canada; and has 250 independent distributors. For this year, Supermax has allocated RM65.8 million as capital expenditure for its planned shift to automation. It expects up to 50% labour cost savings. With the new expansions, Supermax’s production capacity is expected to reach 23 billion pieces of gloves by end-2013. It also plans to increase its nitrile glove production capacity to 52%, or 12.3 billion nitrile gloves.
Continental achieves higher sales, amidst a gloomy outlook
erman firm Continental Corporation has set new records last year, against the back of a difficult market environment, achieving a profit of EUR1.9 billion and 7.3% higher sales to EUR32.7 billion and EUR25 billion in incoming orders. The firm says this success is set to continue in 2013 and despite muted market prospects, the international automotive
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Rubber Journal Asia supplier is aiming to boost sales by 5% to more than EUR34 billion this year. CFO Wolfgang Schäfer noted that Continental has had an unusually strong free cash flow in 2012: “At more than EUR1.6 billion, free cash flow was significantly higher than we had anticipated. This is the result of solid net earnings and successful efforts to reduce our working capital ratio relative to sales. Comparatively quiet business in December was likewise of help here, translating into fewer customer receivables for that month. In addition, more customer receivables than expected were reduced in that same month,” explained Schäfer. “Operating receivables declined by around EUR360 million against the previous year. Working capital was down by over EUR560 million. In the current year we hope to generate a free cash flow of more than EUR700 million.” The number of employees also reflects the company’s positive performance. The workforce increased by 5,850 to around 170,000 as of the end of 2012. At significantly more than EUR1.7 billion, expenses for research and development were again roughly 10% higher than the previous year’s figure. The firm spent nearly 8% of sales on research and development in the automotive segment alone.
Indian firm to plant in Africa
An order from automotive manufacturer Qoros was the deciding factor for expansion of the company’s research competencies in Asia. In 2010, the ContiTech Vibration Control business unit won the bid to collaborate with its engine mounts in the development of the central platform for assembly of Qoros first production model. The new centre is located in Jiangsu Province, which is home to several automotive manufacturers. In addition to China, Asian markets in South Korea, Japan, and India can also be ideally served from the Changshu location.
ndian firm Harrisons Malayalam is planning to develop rubber plantations on 4,0005,000 ha of land in Ghana on a long-term lease basis. The RP Sanjiv Goenka Group, which owns tea and rubber plantations is reportedly investing almost US$65 million for undertaking the planting of rubber. According to N. Dharmaraj, Executive Director, negotiations have been held for developing the plantation but are not yet conclusive.
ContiTech sets up R&D in China
erman automotive parts supplier ContiTech’s Changshu centre will develop products for vehicle mounting and vibration control technology in close collaboration with customers such as Geely, Great Wall Motor Company, General Motors, Shanghai Volkswagen and Qoros. ContiTech has invested about EUR8 million in the technical centre, which will employ 30 engineers by the end of this year.
Modifier adds silicone to surfaces
itsui Chemicals and whollyowned subsidiary Mitsui Fine Chemicals are test marketing the Exfola modifier, said to transform surfaces when added in small amounts to polyolefins like PP and PE. During moulding, the additive modifies surfaces to assume characteristics of silicone (release properties, water repellency, oil repellency and abrasion resistance). In addition, this new material resolves disadvantages of conventional siliconebased modifiers, such as contamination and transfer caused by bleed
Continental’s China R&D
Technology News out, changes over time, incompatibility with polyolefin materials and poor formability. As Exfola is compatible with film and sheet moulding, injection/blow moulding, a wide range of applications are expected in the electric/electronic, food packaging, automotive, building, medical and industrial sectors.
Zeon’s IR series for the glove market
apanese firm Zeon has succeeded in applying polyisoprene emulsion to a line of commercial products using its proprietary emulsion production technology and has begun marketing these products as Nipol ME. Zeon’ s polyisoprene rubber (Nipol IR) is used as a raw material for the new series. Nipol ME is suitable for highly pliant, tightfitting products that require tensile strength and tear strength equivalent to natural rubber. In addition, while natural rubber has been a source of growing concern in recent years as a cause of Type I allergic reactions, the ME series does not contain the proteins found in natural rubber latex. The series is therefore expected to serve as an alternative line of materials for surgical gloves and medical devices.
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Rubber Journal Asia Technology News
Kraiburg TPEs from GTL oil
ermany-based TPE maker Kraiburg is preparing for commercial production of its TPE made using Shell Risella X, a premium process oil derived from Shell’s Gas to Liquid (GTL) technology. The firm says tests have shown improved compatibility in the TPE matrix due to the chemical structure of the oil. As the basic building block for Risella X is natural gas, rather than crude oil, it has a different chemical structure to conventional mineral-oil based process oils. GTL is the product of almost 40 years of research and technology driven by Shell. Using a technology known as FischerTropsch, developed by German scientists in the 1920s and refined by Shell, GTL enables large scale production of base oils for the manufacture of premium finished lubricants and process oils from cleanburning natural gas. This technology has been brought to life in the GTL Pearl plant, a joint
Kraiburg is using GTL oil from Shell for its new TPEs
development between Qatar Petroleum and Shell, which has a capacity of 260,000 barrels/day of oil. The plant in Qatar is the world’s largest source of GTL products, including low emission transport fuels, chemical feedstocks and premium base oils.
construction of its greenfield site in Sumter, South Carolina, as the last steel beam of the basic structure was secured in the 1 million sq ft production facility. The site is expected to be completed by the end of this year. In addition, a number of milestones have been met in the recent months, including the delivery and installation of the first pieces of machinery, which will soon contribute to the production of Continental and General brand passenger and light truck tyres in Sumter. To start up by early 2014, the plant is expected to reach a production capacity of 5 million units/year by 2017. A second phase is expected to bring the plant’s full production capacity to 8 million units/year by 2021.
Bridgestone’s new facility in China
apanese tyre maker Bridgestone is setting up a facility in Shengyang, as part of its relocation project that is expected to be operational in 2014. Currently located in Shenyang City in the Liaoning Province the facility manufactures truck and bus radial tyres. It will be relocated to Shenyang Chemical Industry Park, in accordance with Shenyang City development policies, which were revised following an urbanisation plan in the area surrounding the Shenyang Plant. The new plant’s site was acquired in 2012, and has been approved for the construction of tyre production. The US$299.7 million investment includes construction of the plant and production equipment. Production capacity is anticipated to be 5,000 tyres/day.
Production kicks off at Hankook’s Chinese facility
outh Korean tyre maker Hankook’s plant located in Chongqing has been officially put into operation after several months of trial production. The US$954 million plant, covering an area of 796 acres, will be producing an initial capacity goal of 2,400 tyres/ day for passenger cars, trucks and buses. The plant expects to attain an annual capacity of 10 million car tyres and 1.6 million tyres for trucks and buses by 2015. Hankook’s two existing Chinese factories, which are located in Jiaxin, Jiangsu Province and Hunan, Zhejiang Province,
Conti on track with US facility construction
ontinental Tire Americas is on track with the
have a combined annual production capacity of some 30 million tyres. Hankook officials report that sales in China now account for nearly 18% of the company’s total revenue and the tyre maker currently holds a 15% share of the market. The top contenders in the Chinese market are Goodyear and Michelin, which has an 18 18% share of the Chinese tyre market.
Bridgestone starts up Indian plant
apanese tyre maker Bridgestone has started up production at its US$540 million Indian plant in Pune, where it is producing passenger tyres and expects production of truck tyres to begin in October. Bridgestone India marked the opening in a ceremony recently, featuring company and local government officials. Daily passenger tyre capacity at the plant is expected to reach 10,000 units by the end of 2014, while capacity for truck and bus radials should reach 3,000/ day by mid-2017. The firm says the plant will help the company offer its customers in India a higher level of service and supply, and will strengthen its ability to supply tyres to Indian customers. The factory, in Maharashtra State, opened with 500 employees for the startup phase.
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Rubber Journal Asia Materials News
Alternative rubbers make their rounds With the global demand for natural rubber to
KeyGene, which describes itself as a molecular genetics R&D company, uses an approach that analyses specimens of a given crop, scanning for mutations that will be beneficial in terms of yield or sustainability. The genetic material of strains with desirable characteristics is isolated and sequenced to create improved crops. As for the dandelion, it has involved “making crosses between” the Russian dandelion with the common dandelion, using DNA profiling technologies. KeyGene says that its method represents a quicker and more economical way of crop improvement than genetic modification Another tyre maker Bridgestone Americas is also testing the dandelion at its testing facilities and will engage in largerscale testing in 2014.
outstrip supply by 20% in 2020, efforts are being made to develop alternative sources of natural rubber and using these in the tyre sector. Vegetable oil-based rubber roduction of a synthetic rubber that is both sustainable and reduces the dependency of fossil fuel is now being developed at Zeon Chemicals’s Hattiesburg facility in the US. An epichlorohydrin monomer derived from palm and other vegetable oils is being used in production trials of Hydrin elastomers. “Use of the bio-derived monomer allows us to have a more environmentally conscious production, in accordance with our corporate social responsibility initiatives,” said Clark Cable, Hydrin Business Manager. Specific characteristics of the Hydrin line include a broad temperature range, from -40°C to >125°C continuous; >150°C in the short-term. It also has a range of damping to resilient properties, is inherently electrostatic dissipative; very permeation-resistant to gases (exceeding butyl in most instances) and is hydrocarbon resistant. With the unique balances of temperature, permeation and fuel resistance, Hydrin is used in a wide range of applications, such as automotive hoses, air ducts, diaphragms, laser printer rolls and vibration dampening devices.
Bridgestone is undertaking its guayule development in Arizona, with a research centre planned nearby the farm
Meanwhile, Italian elastomer firm Versalis and US-based guayule biomass specialist Yulex are to manufacture guayule-based biorubber materials. Within the partnership, the companies will launch an industrial-scale production complex in Southern Europe. The partnership will cover the entire manufacturing chain from crop science to biorubber extraction to the construction of a biomass power station. Versalis will manufacture materials for various applications: after an initial focus on consumer and medical speciality markets, the target is to optimise the process to reach the tyre industry. The partnership will leverage Yulex’s core competencies including crop science and biorubber extraction technologies, to boost Versalis’s bio-based portfolio. The investment will include a research project to develop technologies targeting the tyre industry. Guayule (Parthenium argentatum) is a renewable, nonfood crop that requires little water usage, no pesticides and is an alternative source of natural rubber because, unlike Hevea rubber, the latex produced from guayule is non-allergenic. Last year, Yulex entered into a cooperation with tyre maker Cooper Tire & Rubber with a view towards producing the rubber alternative in the US and the firms received a US$6.9 million grant for research into the guayule plant. The grant covers a four-year period and is intended for research focused on developing enhanced manufacturing processes, testing and utilising guayule natural rubber for use in tyres, and evaluating the remaining guayule plant biomass as a source of bio-fuel for the transportation industry.
Dandelion and guayule rubbers: attraction for the tyre sector ith supply falling short of demand for natural rubber, scientists at the Dutch biotech firm KeyGene are engaged in developing the dandelion into a promising source of rubber. The dandelion’s roots contain latex, the milky liquid that is a source for natural rubber. The latex from dandelion roots could serve as a needed source of material for tyres for which KeyGene is working with tyre maker Apollo Vredestein. Because the dandelion’s roots are smaller than ideal for commercial rubber production, KeyGene scientists have subjected the plant to its phenotyping process, to achieve a more useful variety with a fatter root and higher yield, to better meet the demands of industrial processing. Apollo Vredestein and KeyGene have produced a prototype tyre that will undergo extensive testing before commercialisation. Prototype dandelion tyre
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Rubber Journal Asia Automotive Industry
Different strokes to hit growth targets in Asia In the highly competitive global automotive
It also forecasts that China will b e i n f o r a maelst rom compet it ion ag ainst forei gn ma rket s t hat will increase incent ives t o g ain ma rket share b y eng ag ing local aut omot ive ma kers. This year, growth pace will be slo w e r b y 2 5 % , compared to the average in the past 1 4 y e a r s , even t houg h t he indust ry cont inues t o expa n d . The group said that China, in ord e r t o maint ain it s st anding as an aut omoti v e superpower, needs t o increase it s fo c us on R&D by leveraging on government s u p p o r t . Presently, automotive makers allot l e s s t h a n 2 % of t heir revenues on R&D, which is merel y h a l f t he g lob al averag e.
sector, Asia asserts dominance in the field pitting against the rebounding US. Looking at China, India and the ASEAN bloc, each has succeeded in weathering challenges in varying levels through the strategies employed. But which strategy calls the shots, asks Angelica Buan in this report.
I nstitutio nalised suppo r t f o r g r o wth i n In d i a ndia’s aut omot ive sect or cont inues t o sh o w K- b a se d r e s earc h firm L M C A utom o t ive st reng t h, wit h US-b ased mark et ana l yst p r e d i c t s t h at global automotive sales will Research and Markets stating in a re c e n t r e p o r t c l i mb 2 . 4 % t o 8 2.7 m illion th is year. T h e car sales t hat t he indust ry ’s t urnover will rea c h U S $ 2 0 0 b o o s t c a n h e l p pull up rubber prices especially b illion t hroug h 2016. It also indicat e d t h a t f o r t h e t o p A s i an rubber producers of Thailand, most g lob al OEMs have est ab lished presen c e I n d o n e s i a a n d Malaysia, which account for 67% in India amidst a limit ed supply b ase, w h i c h i s o f g l o b a l o u t p ut. Demand for rubber, mostly for attributed to low production volume s . t y r e s , w i l l i n c r ease and reduce the surplus by According to the report, Maruti S u z u k i , 6 1 % t h i s y e a r , as th e th ree c ountries c ont inue Hyundai and Tata Motors collectivel y a c c o u n t t o st o c k pi l e r u b ber, c u t d own trees an d reduce for 76% of t he passeng er car mark et , i n t erms of e xpo r t s t o b o o st p ric es . volume, and only suppliers wit h st ro n g l i n ka ges M e a n w h i l e , global consultancy firm Ernst to the Asian OEMs have easier acces s t o o r d e r s . & Y o u n g , i n i t s recent market report on Light Aut omot ive mak ers lik e F ord Motor a n d Ve h i c l e s, f o r e c as ts a s ignific ant trans ition for Hyundai Motor also use India as a lo w - c o s t t h e se c t o r i n t h e A SE A N region , owing to t he vehicle production hub and a spring b o a r d t o f l o u r i s h i n g e c o nomic activity and strengthened further expan s i o n i n A s i a . p u r c h a si n g po w er. India’s rapid expa n si o n i s A l s o c i t e d i n the report “….car sales boost can aligned with t h e n a t i o n a l i s a 1 0 . 6 % C AG R in an help pull up rubber prices Aut omot ive Mi ssi on e i g h t - y e a r pe r i o d s tarting Plan’ s projecti on t h a t by f r om 2 0 1 1 , c u l minating to especially for the top Asian 2016 t he sect o r w i l l h a v e 4 . 1 m i l l i o n u n i t s by 2019, of rubber producers…” account ed for more t h a n w h i c h , m o r e t h an 40% will 10% of India’s GD P a n d c o m e f r o m I n d onesia and employ ed 25 m i l l i o n mo re 3 3 % f r o m T h a i l and. people than it did in 2006. Wit h t he Nat ional Elect ric Mob ili t y M i ssi on M o r e R & D t o a c h ieve goals in Ch in a Plan in place, more technologically- e n g i n e e r e d h i n a ’ s m i r e d economy is gradually bouncing tyres, which are safer and may redu c e r o a d b a c k a n d veh ic le s ales , inc lud ing buses and accident s b y 5%, are b eing int roduce d , c a r s , a r e e x p e c ted to increase by 5%, according according t o MF F arooqui, Secret ary of t h e to t h e C h i n a As s oc iation of A utom obile Depart ment of Heavy Indust ry . M a n u f a c t u r e r s (CAAM). It says that total However wit h all t hat it has g oing, t h e a u t o m o t i v e s a l es, including passenger and country’s efforts to promote the loca l c a r c o m m e r c i a l v e hicles climbed 4% to 5% last year indust ry are not clearly drawn up in t h e n ew to a n e st i ma t e d 19 m illion units . T h e as sociat ion Union Budg et for 2013-2014, g iven t h a t t h e e x p e c t e d s a l e s to recover this year at an increased excise dut ies imposed on most cat egori es 7%.
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Rubber Journal Asia Automotive Industry o f im po r t e d c a rs rem ain “…Thailand still holds its 28,400 unit s last yea r, up u n c h a n g e d a t 1 2% . T hat 14% from 24,88 0 u n i t s a title as Asia’s Detroit….” y ear earlier, w h i l e sa l es of c o m b i n e d w i t h the high i n t e r e s t r a t e s a nd increasing light commerci a l v e h i c l e s d i e se l pr i c e s, sales of p as s enger c ars an d vans increased b y 9% t o 12,116 unit s. a r e e x pe c t e d t o gen erate m od es t growths. The free t rade ag reement cont inues t o st un t local vehicles sales whilst t he impor t ed on es a re T h a i l a n d : b e n e fiting from Japanese expecting sales growth of 10% this y e a r a m i d s t i n v e s t m e nt s t he count ry ’s economic prog ress. h e c o u n t r y s till h old s its title as “A s ia’s The Philippine’s 16-manufact urer s D e t r o i t ” a n d in fac t n ew inves tm en ts are aut omot ive sect or account s for 12% o f t h e p o u r i n g i n t o t h e sector, with the country’s local count ry ’s indust rial sect or out put , la ggi n g ca p a c i t y f o r e c a st to ris e 30% to 3 m illion unit s behind Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysi a , a n d by 2 0 1 5 , a c c o r d ing to M ac q u arie Grou p . The V iet nam. a u t o mo t i ve se c tor in T hailand is a key pillar in t h e c o u n t r y ’ s e conomy, growing at around 8.1% Malay sia: lev y cuts to pr o m o te inv e s t me n t s not her car mak ing count ry , Mal a ysi a ’ s of GDP. previous st rat eg y of imposing a d ut y of N i s s a n , J a p a n’s second-largest carmaker, 15% and 13.6%, respect ively , on import ed c a rs p l an s t o i n ve st U S$369 m illion to build a second from Japan and Aust ralia, b ack fired w h en t h e p l an t i n T h a i l a nd wh ile H on d a s aid rec ent ly country failed to generate further in v e s t m e n t s , i t w i l l i n ve st a b out 44.6 billion yen in a new losing out to incentive-friendly Thai l a n d . f a c t o r y w i t h a n nual c ap ac ity of 120,000 cars. Moreover, an excise t ax of b et ween 6 5 % a n d M e a n w h i l e , T oyota M otor, whic h has t hree 105% as well as 10% sales tax that ar e i m p o s e d f a c t o r i e s i n t h e c ou ntry, ex p orted 406,00 0 unit s t o provide local car mak ers Prot on Hol d i n gs o u t o f t h e 8 8 0 , 000 Hilux trucks, Fortuner SUVs, and Perusahaan Ot omob il Kedua a b et t er ed ge I n n o v a v a n s a n d other vehicles it built there last in the domestic market, are also hin d e r i n g y e a r , t h e c o m p any said. These sales have helped foreig n car mak ers. th e S o u t h e a st A s ian nation overtake China as However, t he count ry is reversing t h e T o y o t a ’s t h i r d- bigges t global p rod u c tion hub st rat eg y t o at t ract foreig n car manuf a c t urers last year. and will st art reducing dut ies b y 201 6 . T h e b i g g e st g rowth d river for T hailand’s a u t o mo t i ve i n dus try is the ex p ans ion of it s My anm ar : lo o king to incr easing its e x p ort s e x p o r t c a p a c i t y , plus the country has fewer y anmar, current ly rank ed seven t h i n l a b o u r i ssu e s c om p ared with China or India, rubber production in Southeast A s i a , s a i d Ko j i En do , an analys t at A d van c ed Research behind Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysi a , J a pa n . Laos, Camb odia and t he Philippines by t h e International Rubber Research and D e v e l o p m e n t P h i l i ppi ne s : a n ti-d u mp in g laws to h elp Board (IRRDB), is poised t o serve t h e d om e s t i c s a l e s h e P h i l i ppi nes is p lanning to s ubd u e t he int ernat ional aut omot ive mark et , no w t h a t i t s i m p o r t s o f vehicles from exports have incre a s e d b y a ma j o r Asi a n a u t om otive m akers t hird t his y ear. “…Myanmar has i n o r d e r t o p r o tect the local The count ry h a s i n du st r y . T h e Minis try of intensified promotion int ensified promot i on of i t s F i n a n c e a n d t h e Dep artm ent of rubber, which is c o m p a r a b l y of its rubber…” T r a d e a n d I n d u stry are jointly lower priced t han w h a t i s d r aw i n g mo ve s to file antioffered in other So u t h e a s t d u m pi n g c a se s agains t s om e A s ian automot ive mark et s. Having ent irely depended on export s ma k e r s. I t i s z e roin g in on ex p ortin g c ount ries to China last year, the country is loo k i n g t o t h a t d e c l a r e l o wer production value or sell their exporting more of its rubber to Sout h K o r e a , ca rs a t l o w e r pric es c om p ared to their home Vietnam and Singapore. It is also bu i l d i n g ma r k e t s, t h o u g h the m ove c an als o inc rease interests from Germany, Austria, De n m a r k a n d p r ic e s ( o f t h e i mp orted c ars ) for d om es tic New Zealand. c o n s u m e r s a s well as impact sales of imported The My anmar Rub b er Plant ers an d Prod uc ers ca rs. Associat ion (MRPPA) project s t hat th i s yea r A c c o r d i n g t o recent data, car firms including sales of rub b er will reach 150,000 t on n es, up Hy u n da i , C h e vrolet an d Subaru , s old a t ot al of from 95,000 t onnes last y ear.
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Rubber Journal Asia Country Focus
Indian rubber sector: looking into the future with a 2020 vision Emerging market India has worked out its
population. Thus, it has a sufficient domestic consumer base for its locally made rubber products. Overall, India has become a favourable bailiwick for manufacturing a wide array of rubber products, which currently number AIRIA President Niraj Thakker around 35,000 different says the countryâ€™s inverted types. duty structure is creating an Resilient to a volatile uncompetitive market environment natural rubber (NR) market, the fourth largest producer and second largest consumer of NR in the world has posted an increase in production and consumption of NR for this year at 970,000 tonnes from last yearâ€™s 920,000 tonnes, according to the India Rubber Board. To date, the Indian rubber industry has a large concentration of plantations in the southern state of Kerala. Both the Government and the Indian Rubber Board are implementing measures to expand the production to the North East, including Tripura. Meanwhile, the Singapore-based International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) forecasts that India will be basking in huge demand for NR until 2020, fuelled by a rising demand from the tyre sector. Also by the same year, rubber consumption by the domestic tyre industry will be estimated at 1.4 million tonnes of NR and 0.6 million tonnes of synthetic rubber (SR). Market research firm JD Power Asia Pacific indicates that by 2020, India will become the third largest market in the world after China and the US for light vehicles, including passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs). However, rubber production may not be able to keep up with the demand, and by 2020, the supplydemand gap would have widened by over 1 million tonnes, said IRSG. To ease the projected shortage, importing the polymer will be inevitable, but the current high import levy on raw rubber and low customs duty on finished rubber goods may cause a regress in the industry. Currently, import duty on raw rubber ranges between 20-70%, whilst imported finished goods from neighbouring countries are only imposed a 10% duty. According to the All India Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA), the inverted duty structure is creating an uncompetitive market environment, especially for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), of which 5,000 are in the rubber segment.
economic strategies and these will come full circle by 2020 â€“ the year when all segments of economic metrics, from the GDP to CAGR and exports value, are expected to pull up and outpace developed markets, says Angelica Buan in this report that takes a look at the effect the economy will have on the rubber sector.
y 2020, India would have become the second largest global player in the rubber sector, after China. It is also being positioned to rank amongst the top three global automotive markets, likely to outpace Japan. Currently, the South Asian country is serving an increasing demand for rubber for its more than 1 billion-tyres/year market segment, as well as its non-tyre segment. The targets seem doable, since after all, India has got more than what it takes: Rapid urbanisation, which is expected to increase by 35% by 2025; more than half of the population in the workforce; ample number of skilled manpower and certified professionals like engineers; and an estimated 720 million consumer base in the rural areas. The country has R&D capabilities and testing centres, not to mention access to materials such as carbon blacks, zinc oxide, chemicals and raw rubber. Its economy, one of the fastest growing at 7.6%, based on 2011-2012 estimates, is youth driven and the market is reinforced by the growing 1.2 billion middle class
India is serving an increasing rubber demand for its more than 1 billiontyres/year segment
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Rubber Journal Asia Country Focus Omnova produces emulsion polymers and speciality chemicals at its Ankleshwar, Gujarat plant, which currently has a capacity of 25,000 tonnes and is planned to increase to 40,000 tonnes. The company exports 10% of the materials produced to the US, Europe and other Asian countries. It has a global turnover of US$1.2 million. German machine manufacturer and overhauler of used machines, Deguma has been doing business in India for 35 years now, rebuilding and dealing used rubber machinery. Thorsten Orf from Deguma’s sales unit said that because refurbished machines are cheaper than brand new ones, demand has been brisk. According to Orf, European and German-made machines are refurbished in Germany, then sold to countries like India, South America, Thailand and Indonesia. And whilst the company has found its niche in the Indian market, it has no plans to set up a factory in the country as yet. In the future, the company, which posted an estimated EUR7 million turnover in 2011, plans to increase exports and introduce products into the local market, said Orf, who also opined that breaking into the Indian market is price intensive, and therefore, not easy. Netherlands-based VMI Group, which showcased its Germany-made retreading machinery and gear pump systems at the show, said that it supplies its machines, which are used to manufacture rubber tyres and automotive rubber parts, to major Indian tyre companies. Gerry Pol, VMI’s Sales Manager for Technical Rubber Industry, said the firm had a 10% growth in 2012 in Southeast Asia, China, India and Brazil. VMI, a subsidiary of the EUR1 billion TKH Group, has set up a business centre in Malaysia to handle the Asian markets, but has no plans to expand into India. Pol also observed that the growing Indian market, especially the automotive segment, is “more quality-conscious”. Maplan, an Austrian-based manufacturer of rubber injection moulding machines, is also not setting up a facility in India although it has been operating a marketing and sales office in New Delhi for two years now. According to the company’s President/CEO Dietmar L. Morwitzer, Maplan is looking at increasing exports to India, which currently gains 2% market share in the firm’s total output, and also introducing new products into the market. Demand for Maplan’s products is greater in Asia than in other countries. In India, customers demand for quality parts, reliable supply and the best price, he said. Morwitzer also mentioned that Maplan has achieved 15% annual growth in China, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam; and anticipates an average turnover of EUR47 million for 2012, an improved figure from the posted turnover of EUR40 million in 2011. At the IRE, the company showcased its latest rubber Injection technology, with features like less energy consumption in producing parts and reduced cycle time for faster production.
One of the exhibitors at IRE, German chemicals firm Lanxess was displaying its solutions for the tyre market
Vote of confidence from exhibitors at IRE ssues confronting the industry signify that it is yet to reach its potential. Nonetheless, during the recently concluded India Rubber Expo (IRE) held in January, an estimated 550 local and international companies participated to market, network and tap opportunity leads. Exhibitor Wacker Metroark Chemicals, an Indian silicones subsidiary formed with Germany-based Wacker Chemie and Indian firm Metroark in 1999, focuses exclusively on serving local clients. It noted that the domestic market is fast growing and whilst the growth rate in Europe is slow, said Aditya Nawalgaria, Marketing Manager. Wacker Metroark produces silicone rubber products used in various applications, including healthcare, personal care and construction, at its Kolkata plant that churns out a production of several thousand tonnes and is expandable as demand requires, according to the company website. It also plans to set up a technical centre to meet local needs. The company posted a 20% growth in India, China and Brazil in 2012, whilst Nawalgaria also noted that parent company Wacker posted a turnover of EUR5 billion in the same period. With new expansions and plans to increase exports to India, Nawalgaria mentioned that new products will also be introduced but stressed that support from the national government as well as adoption of new technologies are needed. Another materials provider Omnova Solutions sees growth in the automotive sector as a key to realising the 2020 vision for India’s rubber sector. Dr Ashok Moodbidri Prabhu, Omnova’s Senior General Manager for Marketing and Technical Services told PRA that demand from the automotive sector accounts for 80% of the firm’s growth while the construction and footwear sectors take up the remaining percentage.
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