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

業 界新 聞 薄膜及片材工業 漫長的彈性征途


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PRA (ENG)–210(w) x 276(H)mm+3mm出血位.pdf 2012/1/10 10:56:43

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c o n t e n t s 目 錄 R E G U L A R S 概要

4 Industry News 8 Materials News 12 業 界 新 聞

Volume 27, No 188

publlshed slnce 1985

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

F E A T U R E S 焦點內容

16 薄漫 膜長 及的 片彈 材性 工征 業途 :

22 Octal’s DPET sheet for packaging

Story – Lanxess is firming 18 Cover up its focus on the Indian market, with three plant openings recently at its facility in Gujarat – for the plastics and rubber sectors

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

Film & Sheet Industry – 22 adaptation to new market situations

Chinese Editor Koh Bee Ling

and flexible packaging requirements are driving manufacturers to reinvent technology

30 Lohia displayed a wide range of machinery options at Plastindia

Plastics – the plastics 26 Medical handover clearly shows how the materials have come a long way; meanwhile the sector’s future growth lies in antimicrobial and regenerative medicine

Focus – Highlights 30 Country from the Plastindia exhibition, held

RJA 1 Nike Sole’s rubber/plastic shoe sole for competitive amputees

from 1-6 February in New Delhi, showcase plastics industry players that are beefing up their technology and investments, given the surge expected in the sector

Supplements in this issue ….. A round-up of moulding and automotive news, plus a review of the recent Plastindia show ……. Asia is TSRC’s springboard to furthering its strength as a global synthetic rubber industry player

Cover photo:

The booming Indian automotive market renders a favourable climate for Lanxess, which recently inaugurated its new engineering resins facility in Jhagadia



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Publisher Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 Email: arthur@kenter.nl

Editorial/Production Coordinator Angelica Buan Email: gel@plasticsandrubberasia.com Circulation Santhi Nair Email: pramalaysia@gmail.com Singapore Office Contact: Anthony Chan Tel: +65 63457368 Email: acesap@gmail.com

Permits ISSN 1360-1245

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

PRA is published 8 times a year in Mandarin and English by Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this publication is correct, the publisher makes no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the nature or accuracy of such material to the extent permitted by applicable law. © 2012 Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or used in any form, or by any means, without specific prior permission from the publisher. PRA is circulated free to trade readers in the plastics and rubber industry. Airmail subscriptions are available at US$160 within Asia and US$250 to all other countries outside Asia.

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INDUSTRY

News Companies on acquisition trail around the globe

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n a bid to secure its raw material supply, Thailandbased polyester maker Indorama Ventures is acquiring 100% equity in US ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol producer Old World Industries for US$795 million. Old World has the largest single EO/EG production facility in the US with crude EO capacity of 435,000 tonnes/year. Mono ethylene glycol (MEG) is one of the key components, together with purified terephthalic Acid (PTA), in the manufacture of PET and polyester fibres and yarns, both downstream products of Indorama. The acquisition is expected to allow Indorama to further integrate within the polyester value chain into its key raw material MEG, making it the only global polyester player with integration into both PTA and MEG. Early this year, Indorama also announced its entry into India with the construction of a US$700 million plant to produce PET, PTA and polyester. Meanwhile, piping systems and chemicals supplier Mexichem has acquired Netherlands-based pipe maker Wavin in a deal worth around EUR531 million. The combination of Wavin



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and Mexichem creates the global market leader in plastic pipe systems with total annual sales of around EUR4 billion. The companies state they will capitalise on a strong complementary fit in geography, product portfolio, R&D and business lines and will be better equipped for future growth from consolidation and expansion into new markets. Also in the plastic pipe market, Belgian plastics and chemicals firm Solvay has exited the industry by selling its 50% stake in Pipelife to Austrian firm Wienerberger, its joint venture partner, for US$225 million. Viennabased Wienerberger, which is the world’s largest brick maker, and Solvay set up Pipelife in 1990. The latter employs 2,600 worldwide and had sales of more than US$1 billion last year. Solvay says it will use the proceeds from the sale to pursue its strategy of sustainable and profitable growth and focus on more strategic activities. Elsewhere in Europe, US compounder A. Schulman is expanding its presence and boosting its speciality colour masterbatch business by buying French firm Elian SAS from UKbased Vita. Schulman

says it has reached a definitive agreement to buy Elian for EUR48 million. The US firm also says the acquisition will allow it to serve the fastgrowing healthcare and cosmetics markets in Europe where it already has operations in Belgium, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, the UK and Italy. It is looking at moving up the ranks to third position in France’s colour masterbatch market. Vita bought Elian for US$28.2 million in cash in 1999. In the machinery sector, Swiss polymer melt technology specialist Maag Group has been sold by Clyde Blowers Capital, a Scottish industrial investor, and CGS Management, a Swiss industrial investment firm, to US business Dover Corp. Maag produces gear pumps, pelletisers and filtration systems for plastics, chemicals and other industries and will become part of the Pump Solutions Group, a business unit within Dover’s Fluid Solutions platform. Maag was established in 2010 through the merger of Maag Pump Systems and Automatik Plastics Machinery. It has more than 500 employees and garnered sales of about EUR130 million for the year ended December. It also has offices in Germany, the US, France, Italy,

Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, China and Brazil. Illinois-headquartered Dover is a multi-billion dollar diversified global manufacturer with 34,000 employees with a focus on Energy, Communication Technologies, Engineered Systems and Printing & Identification. Its pump solutions subsidiary makes positive displacement pumps and supporting technologies and has locations in the US, France, Germany, India and China. Another US firm Dynisco, a measurement and control technology supplier, has bought the assets of Shanghaibased Hao-Ying Measurement & Control Technology to further pave its way into the Chinese market, where it already has had a presence for more than two decades. Hao-Ying is one of top two Chinese producers of temperature sensors, melt-pressure transducers, transmitters and gauges and other instrumentation used in plastics extrusion and related processes. The platform for business going forward will be known as Dynisco China and will make and sell products under the Hao-Ying and Dynisco brands. Dynisco has manufacturing facilities in the US and Malaysia.


News INDUSTRY

Foreign firms size up the Indian market

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he Indian market for the plastics industry has high growth potential based on the recent moves. US auxiliary equipment supplier Charles Ross & Son has relocated its Indian Ross Process Equipment (RPE) firm into a new plant in Pune, which is triple the size of its previous facility. RPE manufactures many product lines including tumble/ribbon blenders, planetary mixers, multi-shaft mixers, high speed dispersers, high shear mixers, as well as pressure vessels, tanks and other fabricated equipment. Ross operates five other facilities in the US and two in China. RPE was set up in 2007 to serve the process industries in India and in neighbouring Asian countries. The booming market in this region has

driven the rapid expansion of RPE. Meanwhile, chemical distributor Brenntag has set up a new head office in Mumbai, to cater to its planned growth over the next few years. Brenntag established its presence in India in 2008 and focuses on various industry segments such as agro, coatings, food & beverage, leather, lubricants, personal care, pharmaceuticals, plastics & polymers, polyurethanes, solvents and textile. The 15,000 sq ft office has an in-house technical centre for the food & beverage and personal care sectors and is expected to house 100 employees. In addition, Brenntag has offices and distribution facilities in Baddi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Gurgaon, Haridwar and Hyderabad.

DSM’s emphasis on nylons at Taiwanese facility

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utch firm DSM is investing further in its Kaohsiung polymerisation facility in Taiwan to upgrade and develop its speciality polyamide capabilities for its Novamid and Akulon PA business. The Kaohsiung site has been a part of DSM since 2010 and already produces speciality Novamid PA6 and 6/66. Construction has already begun and the investment is expected to be completed by the last quarter of 2012. The amount of



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investment was not disclosed. The company says this investment is in line with its strategy of focused growth and part of the continued expansion of its PA product lines. DSM added Novamid to its portfolio through a swap deal with Mitsubishi in 2010. The Novamid product line gave DSM not only a foothold in the PA6 business in the Japanese market but also added PA copolymers and other specialities to its PA portfolio.

German machine makers achieve record sales

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fter a sustained surge in sales over the last two years, German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers have now broken the previous record set in 2008 with sales set to soar to EUR6 billion for 2011, says machinery association VDMA. It also says members sales were up by 23% by the end of last year. Domestic sales were up by 18% while exports rose 25%, although demand from Euro area countries, up 15%, lagged behind that from the rest of the world. By November last year, exports were 35%

News In Brief Engineering resins hq in Singapore Dutch firm DSM Engineering Plastics is set to complete the move of its global headquarters to Singapore this year. The company first announced the move in 2010. It has facilities in the Netherlands, US, Japan, China, Taiwan, India, Belgium and Russia and has moved a number of its key functions to Asia in order to underline its commitment to the Asian market, which is expected to represent a major share of the company’s growth in the coming years. The company also intends to establish research capabilities in Japan and India.

more than the previous year and as a result of the export ratio, which had fallen by 70% over the last two years, the industry is now back to pre-crisis levels, says VDMA. It also adds that exports will reach a new record high of EUR4 billion. For the year as a whole, incoming orders were 3% higher than the previous year’s high but last quarter’s figures were down compared to the previous year’s high. However, the association says “many firms have very full order books, keeping them busy for months ahead.”

Huntsman to set up ATC US firm Huntsman recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Asia Pacific Technology Centre (ATC) in Shanghai. The US$40 million facility will be operational by mid2013. The centre will focus on supporting Asia’s fast-growing industries, including developing cutting-edge energy-saving material solutions for strategic emerging industries as outlined in China’s 12th Five-Year Plan, said the company. It will form an integrated technology and innovation campus together with the existing technology centre that was opened in 2008 and include machine halls, laboratories and offices to accommodate up to 400 technical experts.


News

GREEN MATERIALS

Pairing up to push bio aims In this round-up, we focus on the recent announcements by firms to jointly research and produce biomaterials, while brand owners are introducing new products that contain biomaterials and recycled content. Jointly working on biomaterials Rhodia, a member of the Solvay Group, and Dutch firm Avantium, are partnering to develop a range of bio-based polyamides and have also entered into a multi-year contract to commercialise the resins. This partnership completes the previously announced agreement in the field of bio-based engineering plastics between Solvay and Avantium. Building on the newly combined forces of Rhodia and Solvay, the companies say this offers a wider opportunity to explore a range of compositions and applications based on Avantium’s YXY technology in the larger nylon field. Rhodia will test the new polyamides for fibres and engineering applications in consumer goods, automotive and electronic sectors. U S b i o p o l y m e r s / P L A m a k e r N a t u r e Wo r k s a n d Canadian biochemicals firm BioAmber have set up AmberWorks to develop bio-based polymers. BioAmber produces bio-based succinic acid, a feedstock for bio-based modified polybutylene succinic polymers (mPBS), and owns the PLA/PBS compounding intellectual property. Meanwhile last year, Thailand’s largest chemical producer PTT Chemical agreed to invest US$150 million equity in NatureWorks, still under regulatory approval. With the joint venture, NatureWorks will commercialise a new family of its compounded Ingeo PLA/PBS grades and is offering samples for thermoforming and injection moulding of food service ware products like cups, lids and cutlery. The new materials expand Ingeo properties in terms of flexibility, toughness and heat resistance. Based on market interest, further formulated solutions for a number of other applications will be assessed over the next two years, says NatureWorks. The new products are expected to broaden its existing product portfolio, allowing for bio-based solutions in applications that were previously difficult to address, s a y s t h e c o m p a n y, a d d i n g t h a t t h e p r o p e r t i e s o f PLA and PBS are complementary and making Ingeo compounds using both materials “will result in a broad and attractive property profile for a number of different applications.” BioAmber currently makes bio-succinic acid at an industrial fermenting plant in France and plans to build a plant for bio-succinic acid and 1,4 butanediol (BDO) in Sarnia, Ontario, under a partnership with Mitsui. It is expected to start up by 2013. Another American green chemical maker Genomatica has entered into a joint venture with bioplastics producer Novamont to set up the first industrial plant



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Novamont will use Genomatica’s process to produce BDO from renewable feedstocks at a facility in Italy

in Europe producing BDO directly from renewable feedstocks, with an investment of up to US$50 million. The plant will have a capacity of around 20,000 tonnes/ year and is expected to start up by 2013. Novamont has committed to purchasing all of the output from the plant to use it in its Mater-Bi biopolymer products that incorporate BDO as a key monomer, as an alternative to the petroleum-based BDO. Meanwhile, Genomatica says it may purchase a portion to support further market development. The agreement also contemplates Novamont building and operating a second BDO plant using G e n o m a t i c a ’s p r o c e s s , w h i c h i s e x p e c t e d t o u s e biomass sugars as the renewable feedstock. Elsewhere, Dutch DSM Functional Materials is teaming up with Brazil-based Empresa Brasileira de Biotechnologia (Ebrabiotech) to develop castor oilbased materials for the concrete floor coatings market. This development is also aimed at contributing to DSM’s commitment to filling more than 80% of its innovation pipeline by 2015 with eco-friendly products. Meanwhile, US material firms Dow Electrical & Telecommunications (Dow E&T), a business of Dow Chemical, and Teknor Apex are working together to introduce bio flexible PVC compounds for consumer and industrial products, medical devices, automotive components and wire/cable products. The compounds use Dow’s Ecolibrium biobased plasticisers. Teknor Apex has also been granted exclusive marketing rights in the US for these and will introduce the new compounds at NPE 2012 in April. Dow says its Ecolibrium is made from 100% renewable feedstocks and may help companies reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40% if used instead of traditional


GREEN MATERIALS NEWS

diisononyl phthalate PVC plasticisers. I n J a p a n , A j i n o m o t o a n d To r a y I n d u s t r i e s a r e partnering in research on biobased nylon and its raw material 1,5-pentanediamine (1,5-PD) from the amino acid lysine. It will be produced from plant materials by decarbonating the amino acid lysine through an enzyme reaction to make 1,5-PD, which Toray will then polymerise with dicarboxylic acid. The amino acid lysine is a core product of Ajinomoto produced using fermentation technology. The two companies have already carried out successful test production of 1,5-PD using Ajinomoto’s feed-use lysine and biobased nylon. They plan to further expand the scope of their collaboration to include development of production processes and evaluation of use of the biobased nylon in textile and plastics applications.

the “ability to create eco-conscious products and meet end-use sustainability goals.” Varying levels of impact modification are available allowing for notched Izod impact performance as high as 30 times that of neat PLA, making it comparable to PC/ABS. Nucleators are used to raise the heat deflection temperature up to 1.5 times, giving the compounds performance similar to ABS, HIPS (high-impact polystyrene) and acrylic. The compounds are available in both opaque and

PLAs alternative to resins US compounder RTP has expanded its line o f P L A b i o p l a s t i c c o m p o u n d s t o include impact-modified grades suitable for select semi-durable and durable applications, such as molded covers, housings, and structural components for appliance, consumer electronics, furniture, lawn/garden, medical devices, office equipment, sporting goods, tools and toys. The injection and extrusion compounds are said to deliver enhanced impact strength and higher heat deflection temperatures than are possible with unmodified PLA resin, providing performance that is equivalent to traditional thermoplastics. The company says it now has a full line of PLA-based compounds, including PLA alloyed with traditional thermoplastic resins and glass fibre-reinforced PLAs, that allow bioplastics to be considered for broader use, giving product designers

RTP’s impact-modified PLAs cater to a broader use

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News GREEN MATERIALS

translucent versions and can also incorporate FDA compliant ingredients. Something fishy in wood packaging? Scandinavian research organisation Sintef is working on creating a bioplastic for seafood packaging from wood fibre. Cellulose can be broken down into what is called microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) that consists of plant fibres that are only 100 nanometres in diameter but can be extremely long, making them suitable as a reinforcement material for biodegradable plastics. MFC membranes have also been shown to be impermeable to gases such as oxygen and can therefore be used to protect foodstuffs. Sintef has worked before on barrier properties of food packaging, making use of nanotechnology to improve the shelf life of foods by limiting their exposure to oxygen. This previous experience will benefit the new project, which involves 15 Norwegian and foreign participants including packaging manufacturers from Greece (Argo), Portugal (Logoplaste) and Sweden (Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget). The total budget of the project is EUR9.9 million, of which EUR7.2 million is from the European Union (EU). The project is in line with the EU’s objective to offer fresher fish and seafood in packaging that prolongs the shelf life. In Norway, Borregaard is one of the main suppliers involved in the project as the company produces the fibrils that will make bioplastics impermeable to oxygen. Come this March, the company will start up a pilot plant in Sarpsborg to produce the cellulose. The first phase of the project will look at methods and a range of possibilities. Work on the first prototype is expected to be underway in a couple of years. Brand owners get in the race US telecommunications firm AT&T’s branded phone accessories are now in a clamshell, thermoformed case made of 30% renewable-sourced c o n t e n t Te r r a P E T, w h i c h i s supplied by Klöckner Pentaplast. Te r r a P E T i s s o u r c e d f r o m ethanol harvested from natural sugarcane. Previously, AT&T was using rPET with 30 to 60% recycled pre-consumer content but made the changeover since its distributor Tessco wanted to use a packaging material that was more green. The use of TerraPET instead of rPET allows for the replacement of a third of the fossil fuels that are traditionally used in AT&T’s accessory ATT has taken the sweet route with its new packaging for phone accessories packaging, says

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The disposable toothbrush’s handle is moulded from a bioplastic reinforced with paper

Tessco. It first redesigned the packaging in 2010 by switching from 35% recycled paperboard to 100% as well as using soy and/or vegetable-based ink. A company that claims to have supplied half the moulds worldwide for making toothbrushes has pushed the frontier forward with a disposable product. German mould maker Zahoransky collaborated with the West Saxony High School Zwickau to develop the biopolymer composite material of the toothbrush, which is targeted at hotels and airplanes. The biologically degradable fibre-filled compound for the toothbrush handle is composed of waste paper fibres that have been pressed to free-flowing bulk solids and a biobased material of either PHB or PLA. The university worked jointly on the tooling and the injection moulding. In another project, in cooperation with the German Chemnitz University of Technology and a stationery manufacturer, Zahoransky has also developed a new lead and coloured pencil manufacturing process, in which the sheaths are made completely of natural fibre-reinforced bioplastic. Both sheath and lead are produced in a single operation during the two-component injection moulding process, doing away with the 13 steps required in the traditional process. Also getting a handle on sustainability is US manufacturer Schick that has launched the first disposable razor to use 100% recycled PP in its handle. The company estimates savings of 46,720 tonnes/year of virgin plastics. Supplied by NextLife, the resins are derived from postSchick says its razor is the consumer plastic waste first in the market to have like clothes hangers, pails recycled content and other products. In addition, the packaging of the Xtreme3 Eco is made of 100% post-consumer paper, with Schick estimating savings of 7,000 tonnes of virgin paper. ◆


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Cover Story

Lanxess corners the Indian market With the aim of locating all its product offerings under one roof, German speciality chemicals company Lanxess recently inaugurated its Indian facility in Jhagadia, in the state of Gujarat. It expects a multifold growth of its business in the medium term, driven mainly by the country’s booming automotive market. India – one of fastest growing markets Trailing closely behind China is the colossal South Asian Indian subcontinent. The country’s booming economy is being driven by the growing affluence of the middle classes, all hungry for new products and technology! According to analysts, India is projecting 70 million middle class households that will propel the end user industries and a strong growing economy with a base of around US$1.7 trillion. In fact, this year, the economy is expected to grow by 8% with the automotive industry to grow by 9.5%. Already, global automotive makers as well as their suppliers are active in India and investing in new plants. German firm Lanxess is one such supplier of speciality plastics that is pumping up investments in the country and has spent EUR150 million in assets in the last three years. This includes setting up a greenfield manufacturing site in Jhagadia, acquiring and upgrading the Nagda facility in Madhya Pradesh and establishing a new office building in Thane, near Mumbai. The latter serves as the head office for Lanxess’s operations in India, housing 225 employees. Lanxess currently employs around 860 people in India.

The building that houses Material Protection Products and Rhein Chemie production

At its Jhagadia site, Lanxess recently inaugurated three new plants to serve the growing Indian market. It has invested EUR70 million in the site, created around 300 new jobs and is already on track to recouping its total investments as indicated by Werner Breuers, member of Lanxess Board of Management, at the recent inauguration ceremony. “ We s u r p a s s e d o u r 2 0 1 0 s a l e s a l r e a d y i n t h e first nine months of 2011,” he said, adding, “We see a promising future for India, with our customer industries all showing healthy growth rates.” The firm’s Indian sales were around EUR184 million in the first nine months of 2011. Meanwhile, Michael Zobel, Business Unit Head of Semi-Crystalline Products (SCP) said that a 60% growth is expected in the Indian business over the next five years. “India is one of the cornerstones of innovation and we plan to have an ongoing investment activity.” Speaking at a recent chemical industry conference i n I n d i a , J o e r g S t r a s s b u r g e r, M a n a g i n g D i r e c t o r and Country Representative, Lanxess India, echoed Zobel by stating that the industry holds “immense” potential and is poised for strong growth.

…“We surpassed our 2010 sales already in the first

nine months of 2011….”

Lanxess’s headquarters in Thane, Mumbai

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Cover Story

terephthalate). It Five plants on one site expects full capacity Given this scenario, the utilisation “in the company is underlining shortest time possible its strategy at its (in a year)” and will Jhagadia plant site. produce black and It recently opened white grades initially. three plants including Since India is on one for high-tech course to become the plastics, the Material third largest consumer Protection Products market for high-tech business unit plant for plastics after the US biocides used in the and China, a majority construction industry of the production from and Lanxess subsidiary the Jhagadia plant is R h e i n C h e m i e ’s p l a n t intended to be marketed for release agents and in the country. additives used in the “The automotive manufacturing of tyres and electronics/ and rubber products. electrical industry are Both plants were Lanxess executives inaugurating the high-tech plastics plant in Jhagadia. the largest customer relocated from a former From left to right: Jörg Strassburger, Country Representative of Lanxess segments for the site in Madurai, Tamil India; Michael Zobel, Head of Business Unit SCP; Leopold-Theodor SCP business unit,” Nadu state, during the Heldman, Consul General of Germany in India; Werner Breuers, Member said Sushmita Datta, course of last year. of the Lanxess Board of Management; and Dattaprasad Talekar, Site General Manager of the The 18 ha site already Manager of Jhagadia SCP business unit in includes a facility for ion India, at the company’s exchange resins, used PlastIndia booth in in water purification, February. and a rubber chemicals “In India, 75% of plant serving the tyre our business comes from the automotive sector. Some and rubber processing industries. Both started up of the automotive components made out of Durethan production in 2010. are hybrid front end module, outer door handles, Jhagadia is Lanxess’s second largest production site outer mirror components, oil filters and connectors,” in India after Nagda. It offers geographical advantages she added. since it is in proximity to international ports for a The set up of the 12,000 sq m plant is, thus, timely regular supply of raw materials as well as for onward as the western state of Gujarat is fast emerging as the delivery to customers outside India. next major automotive hub in India, attracting global OEMs and supporting industries. The company expects Full steam ahead for engineering plastics to add to its customer base leading car manufacturers At its new EUR10 million SCP plant, the company like Tata Motors, Volkswagen and Ford, all of whom will compound 20,000 tonnes of its high-tech plastics have indicated setting up plants in Gujarat. Durethan (polyamide) and Pocan (polybutylene According to the International Organisation of M o t o r Ve h i c l e M a n u f a c t u r e r s , I n d i a h a s a l r e a d y surpassed Brazil as the sixth largest automotive market in the world and is projected to be the third largest by 2017. All of this should augur well for Lanxess. The Indian facility is expected to have a similar g r o w t h m o m e n t u m a s t h e c o m p a n y ’s C h i n e s e c o m p o u n d i n g s i t e i n Wu x i , w h i c h h a s a c a p a c i t y of 60,000 tonnes/year. Thus, it will cater to export markets. Speaking at the inauguration, Dattaprasad Talekar, Executive Director of Lanxess India said, “The Indian market is growing but we will also sell our capacity to Asia, where ever our automotive With the burgeoning customers are.” middle class in India, the In fact, during the facility visit, Talekar pointed out demand for passenger cars is that space is available for another three lines to bring on the rise and Lanxess expects this to the total capacity of the facility to 80,000 tonnes/year. trigger more usage of its high-tech plastics

….“In India, 75% of our business comes from the automotive sector….”

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Cover Story

Another easy flow Durethan DP BKV 60 H2.0 EF PA6 GF60 grade for air intake manifolds allows for low warpage, low creep, high strength and stiffness and is a high strength material for turbo charged engines, says the firm. Also on show at the booth was a tube made from D u r e t h a n B K V 3 5 H T S f o r t u r b o c h a r g e d e n g i n e s . The material is said to offer good dynamic strength under oscillating mechanical load; weight and cost reductions; dimensional stability and long term heat resistance resistant for turbo-charged engines.

Lanxess expects to market its hybrid technology in India. It focuses on parts made from plastic and metal or nylon composite sheet to replace heavy sheet metal parts

Towards lighter vehicles Ve h i c l e OE M s a r e u n d e r i n c r e a s i n g p r e s s u r e t o reduce weight to improve fuel efficiency without c o m p r o m i s i n g s a f e t y. T h i s i s t h e d r a w f a c t o r for companies like Lanxess that are promoting lighter weight plastics as alternatives to metals in automotive parts, thereby reducing the weight of a car by as much as 30%. It is forecast that usage of plastics in Indian passenger cars is set to move towards 120 kg/car from the current level of 77 kg/ car. Lanxess is also working with automotive makers and suppliers to introduce hybrid components made from plastic and metal or nylon composite sheet to replace heavy sheet metal parts. W h e n a s k e d a b o u t s u s t a i n a b i l i t y, S u s h m i t a s a y s i t i s a t t h e c o r e o f t h e c o m p a n y ’s b u s i n e s s elements. “The Durethan and Pocan product range improves performance of cars by reducing fuel consumption and thus reduces carbon emissions. Plastic parts made of Durethan and Pocan are particularly valued for their resistance, versatility and lightweight design. In addition, these products enable car makers and car parts suppliers to make considerable savings through cheaper production and easier assembly.” One of the products showcased during Plastindia w a s D u r e t h a n A K V 3 0 H R PA 6 6 G F 3 0 , a h e a t a n d hydrolysis-stabilised nylon for gas and water injection technology processes that allows for improved interior and exterior surfaces in coolant water pipes. Also making their debut at the show were the Durethan PA6 impact-modified grades for blow moulding fuel tanks.

In keeping with the current trend of sustainability, the company operates a gas-based cogeneration plant to supply steam and electricity to the plants. It is said to generate around 5MW fed by “green fuel” resulting in low nitrogen oxides from the off-gas

M e a n w h i l e , t h e c o m p a n y ’s P o c a n P B T f i n d s several applications in the electrical and electronics industry like a refrigerator d i s p l a y, l i g h t n i n g a r r e s t o r f o r photovoltaics, micro USB plug, bobbin for electrical motors and washing machines, all of which were exhibited at PlastIndia.

“…..Indian tyre

manufacturers are

approaching the magic

threshold of 100 million

Serving the tyre market Another unit that will serve the Indian automotive market from the Jhagadia site is Rhein Chemie that will produce the pre-dispersed rubber additive Rhenogran and the release agent Rhenodiv. Rhenogran is used in the production of tyres and other rubber products while the water-based Rhenodiv is used to prevent rubber vulcanisates from sticking to moulds, thus enabling smoother automated processes. The annual combined production capacity of the plant is 2,500 tonnes.

tyres…”

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Cover Story

The Vulkanox rubber chemical plant has been operational for the past two years

Rhein Chemie has continuously increased its presence in India in recent years, with its business having more than tripled in the past four years. Last y e a r, t h e f i r m e x p a n d e d b y a c q u i r i n g A r g e n t i n a based Darmae, a specialist maker of curing bladders and release agents, and also took over the tyre release agent business of German supplier Wacker Chemie. Also on the site is the 7,500-tonne/year rubber chemical plant. It manufactures liquid and solid antidegradants/antioxidants, which are sold under the brand name Vulkanox and are used to protect rubber during the vulcanisation process. According to recent studies, Indian tyre manufacturers are approaching the magic threshold of 100 million tyres, with 7% growth expected this year and a further plus of around 5% forecast by 2 0 1 5 . L a n x e s s ’s I n d i a n c u s t o m e r s i n c l u d e t y r e manufacturers Apollo, JK Tyres, MRF and Ceat. In this sector too, Lanxess is promoting sustainability by cooperating with Hari Shankar S i n g h a n i a E l a s t o m e r a n d R a j a s t h a n - b a s e d Ty r e Research Institute (HASETRI). The cooperation will ass i s t c u r r e n t a n d f u t u r e c u s t o m e r s o n Lanxess’s PBR and SSBR (solution styrene-butadiene rubber) application issues. Tackling the challenges Though the country has a lot of potential for the chemical industry, there are some corrections that are required for sustained growth, especially in terms of infrastructure, manpower and governmental support. Speaking at the chemical meeting in February, Strassburger said, “In the backdrop of growth shifting from western markets to the Asia Pacific and favourably growing consumer-driven industries in India, the country has the potential to build a US$80 to U S $ 1 0 0 b i l l i o n s p e c i a l i t y c h e m i c a l i n dustry by 2020.”

B u t h e s a i d f o r t h e a b o v e t o b e a r e a l i t y, t h e industry requires continuous power supply and natural gas, connections to common sewage and effluent treatment plants from the sites, good connectivity to major industrial clusters by highways, ports and airports. He also noted scarce availability of land for plant set-ups, with higher cost and nonavailability of feedstock are a handicap for scaling up manufacturing operations (Lanxess will be importing its raw materials from its Belgian site). He also mentioned the complex tax structures, lack of a single window clearance for necessary permits and approvals and rising manpower costs as some of the additional challenges that a growing chemical company in India has to deal with. “The potential of the Indian chemical industry can be leveraged if the concerns are addressed,” added Strassburger.

“…Though the country has a lot of potential for the chemical industry, there are some corrections that are required for sustained growth….”

The waste water treatment plant on site is based on a storage process for 3 million litres of effluents/day

On this note, Lanxess is gearing up for its push into a market that brings with it both promises and challenges. But the firm looks at pacing itself over the next few years, in line with the growth in the country. ◆

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Film and sheet industry

Flexibility in the industry goes a long way Machinery makers are catering to flexible requirements brought on as a result of the global financial crisis that are forcing producers to rapidly adapt themselves to new market situations, while sustainability is making an impact in the packaging sector. Barrier sheet on the rise in Asia With a growth rate of 5-8%, PP and PS barrier sheet for food packaging is in strong demand in Asia, especially in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, driven by climatic conditions, transport over long distances as well as the products to be packaged, which require packaging for a long shelf life. Shown here are fruit cups made from Kuraray’s EVAL

Fruit packaging of mangoes and pineapples in small quantities are also increasingly found in European and North American supermarkets. While such sheet, and sometimes also the cups made from it, was still exported from Europe until a few years ago, it is now being manufactured in the fruit-producing countries. Here in particular, packaging with barrier layers is advantageous. With its gas barrier function, which prevents oxygen from affecting foodstuff and thus lengthens its shelf life, the package also preserves the fragrance, flavour and taste of its contents and prevents short-term degradation of ingredients such as vitamins. Austrian machine maker Battenfeld-Cincinnati says it is leading in this sector having received the second order this year for a multi-layer thermoforming sheet extrusion line from an Asian packaging manufacturer. This makes it a total of six multi-layer lines in three years the machine manufacturer has supplied. While the first line this year was a nine-layer PP sheet line, the new order is for a seven-layer PP/PS sheet extrusion line. The latter is equipped with five extruders, reaches an output of up to 1,200 kg/hour and is laid out for sheet thicknesses ranging from 350 to 2,500 microns. With this extrusion line, the customer will produce trays, cups and lids for foodstuffs with an extended shelf life, such as sauces, baby foods, soups, convenience foods and dairy products. Food trays that can be sterilised and trays for fruit packaging, as an alternative to cans, will also be manufactured.

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Battenfeld-Cincinatti’s nine-layer sheet extrusion line

A core component of the lines is the single-screw extruders, with a 45 mm high-speed extruder model in addition to the 75 mm screw size, which has already been on the market for several years. In the multi-layer lines, the 75 mm extruders take care of plasticising the main layers with an output between 300 and 1,000 kg/hour, while the 45 mm extruders produce the functional layers such as bonding adhesives and barrier materials, but also surface covers and high-gloss finish. The feedblock-die combination ensures an even distribution of all layers both across the width of the sheet and in the direction of extrusion, which is required for a reliable barrier effect. The feedblock and die also feature an edge-encapsulating system to allow for resource-saving processing of the barrier material as well as all other materials. This includes direct, in-production reclaim of the mono-sheet edge trim thus generated. Finally, the polishing stack, with polishing rolls and post-cooling rolls arranged close to each other, favours optimal sheet properties and transparency. Meeting to need for flexible solutions From Germany, Reifenhäuser Extrusion says it is recording a remarkable increase in incoming orders for thermoforming sheet extrusion lines featuring production capacities between 700 and 1,500 kg/hour. It says that it has sold ten lines, used to produce drinking cups and PP/PS deli containers for the dairy industry, since the K2010 show where the line was exhibited. The company says the interest in these lines is based mainly on the flexibility required by the market due to the soaring raw material costs, smaller orders and a strong pressure on end user prices. This is only possible to a limited extent using high-performance, single-


Film and sheet industry

purpose extruders that are optimised for processing a specific raw material recipe. Product changes require costly and time consuming machine re-settings that can frequently only be realised by installing a new screw. H e n c e , M i c h a e l B e c k h o f f , S a l e s M a n a g e r a t Reifenhäuser Extrusion says, “Single-purpose extruders were discussed as an upcoming trend before the financial crisis. Now it seems that a more differentiated view on this subject is being taken since there is an increased demand for flexible solutions instead of high performance for a single product. Our order books clearly reflect this development because Reifenhäuser lines provide the requested flexibility.”

Shown here are two polishing stacks for Reifenhäuser’s thermoforming sheet lines that are ready to be shipped

The company says its lines are designed for a medium speed range and the processing of a large spectrum of raw materials using the same screw. The modular line can also be tailored to the specific requirements of customers. For the production of finished cups, an automatic in-line vacuum former can be integrated in the system. Catering to film demand in China German rigid film specialist Klöckner Pentaplast is constructing its first manufacturing facility in the Suzhou Industrial Park in China with an investment of US$29.5 million. The first phase of the 12,000 sq m facility, which will include an R&D centre, will focus on producing transverse-direction oriented shrink-label films, increasing its global capacity by 6,000 tonnes. It is targeted for completion by 2013 and is expected to employ 100 people. The firm’s Pentalabel shrink films are for full-body or partial shrink-sleeve labels, roll-sleeve labels, promotion packs/multi-packs, tamper-evident closures, capsules (wine caps) and pressure-sensitive labels. Klöckner has US$1.4 billion in annual sales, with 17 factories in 11 countries. It says it is the only company with shrink-label manufacturing in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

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Sustainability on the rise in packaging Brand owners are rising up to meet the calls for sustainability. One of the latest is Procter & Gamble’s packaging for its Oral-B manual toothbrush that is now made with PET resin and sheet producer Octal Petrochemicals’s proprietary DPET (direct PET) sheet. Previously, it was made of PVC, which is difficult to dispose of, hence the switch to PET that is recyclable. According to Octal, DPET sheet can be processed on thermoforming equipment already being used for PVC, HI P S a n d O P S w i t h o n l y minor modifications of hardware and processing parameters. Octal also says it delivers a high roll-toroll uniformity and a typical caliper variation of around Octal’s DPET sheet is used 1% lower than other PET in the packaging of these toothrbrushes, allowing for sheets, allowing for downa more sustainable solution gauging and less material use according to its maker P&G in thermoforming of trays. Further, it says conventional PET sheet manufacturing depends on five reactors to make the resin and has a separate process for sheet production but Octal uses a 2R (two reactor) system for producing resin and direct-tosheet technology for the sheet, thereby utilising 67% less electricity (verified by third party sources) Octal produces its sheet in Oman. Meanwhile another US brand owner Kraft Foods has introduced a new sustainable flexible pouch for salad dressings, in line with its initiative to eliminate 45,400 tonnes of packaging material from its products worldwide by 2015. Made from a flexible nylon/PE blend of films, the Yes Pack is a stand-up pouch with dual handles and a rigid screw cap closure that replaces the traditional rigid plastic container for salad dressings. The company says the new pouch is more compact than rigid jugs and flattens when empty, thus allowing for easy disposal. Kraft also says it uses about 60% less plastic and requires 70% lower inbound transportation required since it no longer requires trucks to return the empty bottles back. Kraft partnered with Germany-based PE International to conduct a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which quantified the environmental benefits of the Yes Pack. The LCA is a standardised method of evaluating environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of a product from raw material production, manufacturing and use, all the way through disposal. ◆ At the moment the Yes Pack is designed only for Kraft’s foodservice salad dressing


Medical Plastics

Healthy growth for sector Metals used to be preferred materials for medical devices due to the natural strength properties. With technology having eased off in favour of new plastics, better innovations in the sector are making inroads. Furthermore, the sectors of antimicrobial and regenerative medicine are expected to drive the growth for plastics, while eco-friendly alternatives to PVC and PC are being offered, says Angelica Buan in this report. Antimicrobial sector growing A fast-rising medical plastics segment is the antimicrobial sector, which is forecast to hit 221,758 tonnes by the year 2017, according to a global market report by research firm Global Industry Analysts. The increased awareness in healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), which are said to affect one out of every 20 hospitalised patients, are pushing the demand for antimicrobial/antibacterial plastics – usually made with inorganic silver-based biocides additives, which may represent a small yet highrevenue segment of the plastics additives sector and accounts for about 20% of the global plastics market.

Sabic says its customised antimicrobial compounds cater to healthcare-associated infections

The US will remain the largest global market, with Asia Pacific following and expanding at the strongest CAGR of 16% through 2017. China and India, due to factors including high population density, which may lead to greater risk for hygiene-related infections, among others, are potential markets for antimicrobial plastic-based products, the report noted. One such supplier of customised antimicrobial compounds is US-based Sabic Innovative Plastics. “Intense and rising focus among regulators, hospitals and consumers to protect patients from harm,

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particularly from HAIs, is putting healthcare device makers under tremendous pressure to enhance their products with antimicrobial properties and other safety attributes,” said Thomas O’Brien, Global Product Marketing Director, recently. Another supplier PolyOne has a new addition to its Geon PVC family with a chemical resistant-grade for medical device housings. “Hospitals and medical professionals are increasingly concerned about the transmission of hospital-acquired infections, which has resulted in increased use of stronger chemical disinfectants,” said Rob Rosenau, President, Performance Products & Solutions. “This has led to an increase in medical device failures due to polymer cracking and crazing,” he said. He also said independent testing has indicated that Geon HC has improved chemical resistance compared to many engineering thermoplastic alternatives for medical housings. Retooling with plastics Price reduction, changing environment regulations and comfort are also a few of the important drivers for the sector. Taking this into account, Japanese Toray Industries has improved its Toraylight NV polysulfone membrane dialysis or artificial kidney device to limit platelet adhesion, which affects antithrombotic performance. A challenge with earlier systems was the need to stop biological defense reactions from causing platelet and protein adhesion when the blood is in contact with the hollow-fibre membranes. The firm says that with Toraylight NV, platelet adhesion has been reduced to less than one-hundredth of the level that occurred previously. The new material is also described as compatible with Toray’s proprietary gamma ray crosslinked polymer sterilisation technology, which minimises elution. With a view to capturing demand in China, the firm is setting up a plant in Quingdao. The 6 billion yen plant will start up in 2014, thus doubling Toray’s capacity for the products. U S f l u i d m a n a g e m e n t c o m p o n e n t s f i r m Va l u e Plastics, meanwhile, has designed a series of ports for single-use bags used to transfer media and drug compounds in the biopharmaceutical industry. The products also feature animal derivative-free


Medical Plastics

qualification, USP Class VI certification, with heat sealing and conformance with PE bags as well as 24-hour resistance to alcohol stress cracking. The new bag ports also reduce process time and potential damage to expensive media. Parabolic lead-ins on the ports shorten the time required to drain a bag by up to 24%, while alignment ribs improve fluid flow dynamics by reducing shear impact as material exits the bag. For widespread industry compatibility, the new ports are designed to work with common tubing sizes as well as industry-standard fittings, filters and other devices. Taking over the role of PVCs and PCs Sustainability is becoming an issue in the medical s e c t o r. A m e r i c a n h e a l t h c a r e c o m p a n y K a i s e r Permanente has stated that it will be converting its IV solution bags to “more eco-friendly a l t e r n a t i v e s ” t h a t a r e f r e e o f P V C a n d DE H P phthalate and dioxins, which it says “have been shown to have harmful effects on health.” Kaiser purchases 4.9 million IV tubings and 9.2 million solution bags each year and the conversion will affect nearly 100 tonnes of medical equipment and is also expected to save close to US$5 million a year. Kaiser undertook the move in line with its Sustainability Scorecard, the first of its kind in healthcare and a model for green purchasing in the sector, launched in 2010. The company did not state the material it would be applying instead of PVC. Material candidates that are being proposed include thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) that will see a gain of 7.9% per year through 2015 to 158,000 tonnes in the medical sector, according to US-based market researcher Freedonia Group. T P E ’s p o p u l a r i t y i s d u e t o t h e e a s i n g u s e o f latex rubber and PVC, since TPEs do not contain plasticisers and exhibit less potential to cause allergic reactions than natural rubber. US TPE supplier Teknor Apex, which also makes PVC, has introduced its Medalist MD-500 series for tubing fabrication, with testimonies from medical contract manufacturers saying that the new product allows for ease of fabrication in diverse

Assembled tubing made from Medalist medical elastomer shows results of post-extrusion processes, including hole punching, tipping, printing and insert moulding

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Medical Plastics

downstream processes, “enhancing the suitability of these compounds as replacements for PVC.” The company says high performances were attained in the in-line cutting to length and secondary operations including hole punching, tipping, printing and insert moulding. In comparison with PVC, the tubing compounds are said to exhibit equivalent clarity and mechanical properties; provide similar clamp resilience and r e s i s t a n c e t o k i n k i n g a n d n e c k i n g ; h ave a similar “feel” and are less dense than PVC, says the firm. They also undergo minimal colour shift upon heat ageing after exposure to gamma irradiation, than gamma-stabilised PVC. Teknor Apex also has patent-pending technologies for bonding Medalist-based tubing to traditional connectors. Meanwhile, another US supplier Eastman C h e m i c a l s i s p r o m o t i n g i t s B P A - f r e e Tr i t a n copolyester to replace PC in blood therapy surgical and blood management devices. The firm says the replacement can help decrease processing bottlenecks and improve yield while reducing overall system cost. Plus, manufacturers have the potential to eliminate the secondary annealing step required to reduce potential stress cracking issues that often occur with PC. “ A d d i t i o n a l l y, t h e t o u g h n e s s o f Tr i t a n m e a n s less stress and strains that are common during secondary operations as well as the reduced potential for devices breaking during shipping,” it says. An additional benefit of the copolyester is its chemical resistance, which allows devices to remain functional after exposure to blood, lipids and aggressive disinfectants. It also retains its glass-like transparency after gamma or electron beam radiation and sterilisation with ethylene oxide gas. G e r m a n y - h e a d q u a r t e r e d To p a s A d v a n c e d P o l y m e r s i s s u p p l y i n g i t s To p a s C O C t o m a c h i n e maker Sodick Plustech to mould a medical syringe at the NPE show in April. Based on product evaluations, the new elastomers possess strength and stiffness, with tensile modulus of 6400 psi whilst elongation a t b r e a k i s g r e a t e r t h a n 4 5 0 % , s a y s t h e s u p p l i e r. The material also features low dielectric properties, comparable to some fluoroelastomers, providing electrical insulation performance, notwithstanding its ability to maintain ductility at temperatures below -80°C. COC is also finding its way into tubing and while the company agrees that it is more expensive than nylon or PVC, since it offers in-plant recyclability “COC is more cost-competitive”, says Topas. Chemical resistance strong influence In parts requiring chemical resistance from sterilisation solutions and cleaning agents/ disinfectants, two examples are offered. Solvay Specialty Polymers’s Radel polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) resin boasts higher chemical resistance

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than acetal and is targeted at quick couplings for surgical sterilisation units. The couplings connect/ disconnect a hose to transport sterilisation solution from a tank/reservoir to the sterilisation machine. The couplings are made up of a body, internal valve and end termination, which are injection moulded and then assembled with automation equipment and ultrasonic welding. Previous, quick couplings made of acetal suffered from chemical attack as the sterilisation solution became entrapped in exposed O-rings and standard shut-off valves, resulting in added maintenance, says the maker LinkTech Quick Couplings.

LinkTech Quick Couplings selected Solvay’s Radel for its couplings for sterlisation units citing strength, high thermal capabilities, chemical resistance and ability to be moulded with low draft angles for cylindrical sealing surfaces without parting lines

M e a n w h i l e , Q u a d r a n t E P P ’s P r o t e u s LS G H S heat-stabilised PP for medical parts is offered as an alternative to PPSU for surgical trays. It is able to withstand repeated steam and autoclave sterilisation cycles due to its deflection temperature (HDT) of over 149°C and under 66 psi load. It is, thus, suitable for surgical trays and parts that are difficult to produce by injection moulding, owing to their complexity and the need to use a high viscosity resin. The material will be available in a plate form and the production process includes a proprietary heat-treatment phase.

Quadrant’s PP plates are offered as an alternative to PPSU, especially in applications where less temperature resistance is required but resistance to repeated sterilisation cycles is still needed, such as surgical trays


Medical Plastics

Low friction properties played a part in DuPont’s Delrin acetal resin being used by Swiss maker Ypsomed for its UnoPen, a disposable, variable-dose injector pen for insulin and other therapies. The material is used to mould the pen’s dose dial sleeve. Its low-friction behaviour facilitates use of the pen by diabetes patients who are required to administer daily injections of insulin either by themselves or with the help of a health care professional. Other attributes are its mechanical properties and compatibility with laser marking when using a masterbatch. Regenerative medicine to boost plastics Breakthroughs in regenerative medicine are the next big step for medical polymers. Here, stem cells are used to either repair or replace damaged organs in the body, a market estimated at US$7.2 billion in 2010. Of course, most of the work is being spearheaded by US institutions like the Wake Forest, South Carolina, Cornell and California universities. Already, success stories have been reported with two synthetic t r a c h e a t r a n s p l a n t s o n i n d i v i d u a l s f r o m t h e U S . T h e p a t i e n t ’s stem cells are grown on a synthetic bioresorbable structure using bioreactors. Scaffolds are often made on bioprinters, which print out polymers in 3D formats using a CAD file. In the trachea transplants, bioartificial nanocomposite tracheas were grown in US manufacturer of specialised products for regenerative medicine Harvard Bioscience’s InBreath bioreactor. The trachea is made from a synthetic scaffold from Nanofiber Solutions and is seeded with the stem cells. The scaffold is then placed in a culturing device for a few days and the patient’s tissue grows on it. The patient’s organ is then removed and the artificial organ that’s grown on the scaffold is implanted into the patient. Scaffold maker Nanofiber, a Ohio State University spin-off, says its technology could be used to create scaffolds for a number of other types of hollow organs, such as intestines, blood vessels and kidneys. Nanofiber says its standard plates include polycaprolactone (PCL) nanofibres averaging less than a micron in diameter, with fibre dimensions and specific physical properties optimised to produce ideal synthetic in vitro models. “This is in comparison to using tissue culture polystyrene (TCPS), which is cheap and optically clear but that lacks a 3D component,” it adds. While the trachea transplant represents an important step toward using stem cell or regenerative techniques, experts say there are still many unanswered questions about how the body will react to such newly introduced tissues. The types of devices that require plastics in regenerative medicine include bioreactors, transplant transporters, stem cell delivery systems, scaffolds, surgical instruments, infusion pumps and physiological assessment analysis tools. Harvard Medicine says in its investment report that the global market for disposables is worth US$795 million/ year, at US$5,000 per disposable cost per procedure. ◆ A man-made trachea constructed of plastics and ready to be seeded with a patient’s stem cells


Country Focus

Show curries favour with technology India’s plastics sector had been growing at 15% but dropped to 12% last year, due to the slower global economy. However, this does not seem to have had much effect, as witnessed at India’s largest plastics show, Plastindia 2012, staged from 1-6 February in New Delhi, where new technologies were on display. Industry uplift needed The triennial Plastindia has grown and this year spanned an area of around 100,000 sq m, 20% more than the last staging in 2009, making it the third largest after Germany’s K and Chinaplas. But unfortunately, it does not compare with its compatriots. One of the reasons is the venue, the 30-year old Pragati Maidan complex, which is entangled in bureaucracy preventing any improvements from being made or even the setting up of a new exhibition centre. M e a n w h i l e , t h e s h o w ’s organiser Plastindia Foundation, a plastics trade association that has volunteer members from the industry on its committees, has been getting a lot of flak for its organising. In fact, prior to the show being staged, an email had been circulating voicing unfair space allocation of domestic exhibitors. Speaking to PRA, Raj Kumar Lohia, Chairman of the National Executive Council in Plastindia, Raj Kumar Lohia, Chairman of the National said, “We were not able to Executive Council in a l l o c a t e e v e r y o n e a p r i m e Plastindia, said the location. This year, there were exhibition’s popularity more foreign exhibitors (530) has increased in recent and we had to open up more years “as everyone is still outdoor pavilions to cater to trying to grow in India” everyone.” Lohia who is also Chairman/Managing Director of converting machinery maker Lohia Starlinger, added, “We tried to keep everyone happy.” Nevertheless, the show is important to the foundation, not least the industry, since it is ploughing back whatever it makes to improve the sector. One such plan is the setting up of the Plastindia International University with curriculum to be provided by US-based University of WisconsinMadison Polymer Engineering Centre and the University of Massachusetts. “The aim is to improve plastics technology in the country and develop more plastics engineers,” said Lohia. Expected to break ground later this year and open within three years, the university will be located in Vapi,

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Gujarat, one of the largest plastics manufacturing regions in India. The foundation has allocated US$6 million to kickstart construction work, Lohia explained, adding that a further US$30 million would have to be privately raised by the foundation. The association has appointed American architectural firm SWA Group to prepare a preliminary design for the campus that will cater to 2,000 students. With a per capita plastics consumption of only 8 kg/ person, well below the world average of 27 kg/person, India’s plastics sector still has a lot of catching up to do. Plus, the country accounts for only 4% of global plastics consumption but makes up 18% of the world’s population. Technology parade through tie-ups One of the busiest halls in the exhibition was Hall 4, displaying local exhibits of extrusion and injection moulding machinery. Blown film and sheet extrusion line manufacturer Rajoo Engineers was running a five-layer blown film line towering 14.5 m high, said to be the only barrier film line at the show, with trimless winding, a feature that allows for material savings. The hybrid line, with dies and extruders from Hosokawa Alpine in Germany, had been presold to Synthetic Packers in Bangalore, making it the 19th line it has sold to the processor in 20 years, said Sunil Jain, President of Rajoo.

Rajoo’s showcase included the hybrid blown film line that had been presold to Synthetic Packers


Country Focus

It also had a PVC pipe plant, developed in conjunction with Italian pipe machinery maker Bausano and a thermoformer and sheet line that had also been presold to Falcon from UAE. Asked how much business the company had generated from the show, Sunil replied, “Normally, we are not really concerned about this since such shows serve to publicise our technology prowess and not as a sales showroom. But in spite of this, I am proud to say that we concluded business worth around US$2 million.” This includes the sale of a seven-layer IBC blown film line to Dev Akash in Madurai, and a repeat order for a five-layer blown film line with multi-component gravimetric dosing from Classic Welding in Hosur. Another Indian extrusion machinery maker Kabra Extrusiontechnik (KET), meanwhile, has further strengthened its collaboration with German partner Battenfeld Extrusiontechnik, a partnership it has had since 1983. In 2006, this partnership was further expanded with Battenfeld taking up 14% equity in KET and subsequently including technology from Austrian sister company Battenfeld-Cincinnati. Under the new agreement, KET will be able to manufacture more Battenfeld-Cincinnati extruders, including its solEx single-screw extruder, twinEx and konos twin-screw models and its fiberEx wood-plastic composite

system. The agreement will allow the companies to make better use of their worldwide network to tailor products to specific markets, said KET Chairman SV Kabra. He also pointed out that the company would be able to offer new machines, particularly the woodplastic composite line, in India and the lower cost of manufacturing afforded by the Daman facility would allow for cheaper exports. But the Indian firm will not export to locations where Battenfeld-Cincinnati operates its facilities in Austria, China, Germany and the US. Not all machine makers in India seem to have benefited from foreign partnerships. Extrusion machine maker Mamata Machinery has decided to dissolve the joint venture it set up with Canadian firm Brampton Engineering 15 years ago. “This will give Mamata more freedom to grow,” said Vice-President Apurva Kane. The joint venture had been making blown film lines at the Ahmedabad facility but had restrictions on export sales. “We will now be able to sell our three-layer lines globally, with five and seven-layer lines to India and South Africa.” He added, “It will be a much healthier relationship than before and we can also expand our portfolio to include cast lines.” Thus, Mamata has purchased all the equity from Brampton and set up a company known as Mamata Extrusion Systems. It will still use Brampton dies for its five and seven-layer lines, under a license agreement,

VISIT US W3P41

18-21 APRIL 2012 SNIEC,SHANGHAI, CHINA


Country Focus

is available, we will consider acquiring the company.” Lohia showcased a wide range of lines but the one that attracted most attention was its latest development, which is the coex100hs line for co-extrusion of PP tape (flat yarn), with melt output of 600 kg/hour. The company is conducting trials at its facility to develop various recipes and applications of co-extruded tapes for woven fabric. This includes optimising the use of additives like UV stabilisers, antifogging agents and colouring and recycled materials. It is confident that co-extrusion can be successfully applied in this sector. It is also developing a five-layer tape line for applications in geo-textiles, agro- textiles and composites.

Mamata was showing its Vegaflex blown film line that is priced 30% lower but has an output capability of 250 kg/hour, catering to the need for small job batches, for the Indian market

while another license allows both companies to buy/sell parts/assemblies from each other. Plus, to enjoy cost advantages Brampton will still outsource components from India. Mahendra Patel, Chairman of Mamata Group, said, “This better reflects the changing needs of the market place and gives both companies the independence to focus on respective target markets.” Exhibitions serve not only as a showcase for technology but to allow for new enquiries to be chanelled to exhibitors. “After Plastindia 2009, we had a big boom so we are hoping that it will happen again after this show,” said extrusion machinery Windsor Machine’s Dipen Shah. He added that business last year was “good but not encouraging”. At the show, it was running a three-layer co-extrusion blown film line produced in a technical collaboration with German firm Kuhne that supplied the die and air ring. “These critical parts have been improved. Other features are the high blow pressure as a result of the elevated air ring,” said Shah. The hybrid line was processing ExxonMobil’s Exceed and Enable metallocene resins, producing a 30-micron lamination film. “With ExxonMobil’s material, processors are able to reduce metallocene content by 15-20% or reduce the film thickness, making it an economical line for the Indian market,” he added. Woven plastics and flexible packaging machine supplier Lohia Starlinger, meanwhile, is enjoying a boom in the market. “Our business is growing fine, around 10-15% a year,” said company Chairman Raj Kumar Lohia. Now, the focus of the Kanpur-based company is on exports, with more than 50% of its output already sold overseas. Without elaborating further on the 2009 joint venture Lohia set up with Italian firm Techne to produce blow moulding machines in India (Techne has since been bought by US bottle maker Graham Packaging), he said the company is always on the look out for acquisitions. “If good technology

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Apart from the co-ex tape line, another attraction at Lohia’s booth was its lofil 80/8 HT spin-draw-wind model for up to 80 kg/hour melt output. The machine was shown producing 3000 and 1000 denier intermingled yarn simultaneously on one side and four yarns of 1000 denier on the other side. The line allows bag producers or even yarn producers to produce tailor-made yarn in 600 to 4,800 denier ranges, in desired quantities and specific needs of strength and aesthetics

High-end focus for material suppliers in India Clariant Chemicals India is meeting the demand for its masterbatches by building a facility with a capacity of 10,000 tonnes/year at MIDC, Ambernath, 35 km from its Thane facility, to start up by 2013. “We will add on speciality grades to cater to the market potential of our product range. The facility will also feature high-capacity machines for efficient production operations, to save costs and improve quality,” said Sahadeo Patil, Senior VicePresident of the masterbatch business unit, speaking to PRA at Plastindia. Other plans are to set up a R&D centre to reduce lead times. “The development of new products is vital as we not only supply products but also cater to customers needs for testing, product development and quality,” said Patil. Switzerland-headquartered Clariant was promoting processing aids and performance boosters including Mevopur colour and performance masterbatches and additives for medical devices and pharmaceutical packaging; Hydrocerol chemical foaming agents and


Country Focus

halogenated Exolit OP fire retardants. With a market share of 8% in India, of the total masterbatch sector, Patil says the company is still in the “growth stage.” He adds, “We were the first MNC to set up a facility in Thane in 2003. With 18 lines and an output of 5,000 tonnes/year, the facility has an operating capacity of 80%.” The company has grown by 15-20% a year and averages a Clariant’s Sahadeo Patil turnover of 100 crores/year. “The says the new facility will have a technical centre growth is coming from the highfor development of new end sector, with export-oriented products companies seeking out more compliance regulatory norms. MNCs are also shifting their production bases to India, making product quality a must as India’s plastics processors work more closely with the MNCs. All of this will require high-end speciality products,” he explained. Of the markets sectors, Patil said beverage packaging has seen the fastest growth in the country followed by personal care/home care and lifestyle-related consumer goods. He also expects the agriculture sector to catch up in the near future, especially for greenhouse and mulch/ speciality films. The company has invested up to 40 crores in its first facility and will pump in another 80 crores in the subsequent plant. In the engineering resins compounding market, PBT and polyamide (PA) compounds are expected to account for the fastest growth in the country. German firm BASF is ready to meet this need, having set up a 9,000 tonne/yearplant in Thane in 2009. Still in the growth stage, the Indian market demands 67,000 tonnes/year for both compounds

or 6% of the total usage in Asia, said Andy Postlethwaite, Senior Vice-President of engineering plastics. He also went on to say, “We would like a second or third plant in the country and will invest when the need arises. There is sufficient capacity for now, but we are continually assessing the market.” Of the total amount produced, the company sells 5060% to the automotive market and the rest is for electronic/ electrical products. “In the automotive industry, we focus on high-end applications like critical parts where we can add value to the process. Our focus is not on the twowheeler market, which uses recycled PA.” It is for the above reason that the firm has a technical centre in Thane, working with almost all the automotive OEMs. “PA accounts for about 20 kg of cars in Western Europe but in India, this is much lower. As such we are working with OEMs to change this situation.” At Plastindia, it showcased the Hyundai i-flow concept car at its booth, for which BASF developed 25 innovations, with the car maker applying seven of these in the Sonata model. “This has resulted in 50% reduction in carbon dioxide output, compared to 150 g/km in a standard vehicle,” said Postlethwaite. It was also promoting the Ultrasim CAE simulation for developing automotive parts using its engineering resins. The growth of the Indian automotive market is also a reason for Indo-American joint venture compounding firm, Intercontinental Polymers, setting up a 20,000 tonnes/ year plant in Gujarat. The joint venture is between Indian injection moulder and tool maker Jyoti Plastic Works and US-based Intercontinental Export-Import, which is part of Naik Group. Director of Jyoti Plastics, Raju Desai, said, “Since there is a huge potential for metal to plastics conversion in India, we will also target the more traditional markets like agricultural equipment.” The new facility will boast four twin-screw extrusion lines from Western machinery suppliers to cater to MNCs and OEMs setting up in the country. ◆


Injection Moulding Asia Moulding

Nissei upgrades its electric series

Improved cavity filling from additive

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S-based Axel Plastics has developed a proprietary process aid additive targeted at processors using PBT and PBT resin blends. The additive was developed in response to increased use of highperformance polymer blends in the automotive, transportation and electronics markets. MoldWiz INT-35PHT is said to allow more flexibility in the incorporation of filler types and loading levels as well as an easier cavity fill and release performance for the resins. In developmental extrusion testing utilising a Zenoy 5220U resin (a PC/PBT alloy by Sabic), the additive is said to have significantly decreased resin viscosity, minimised fluctuations in torque and increased output from 50 to 100%. Initial evaluations were conducted at loading levels of 0.31% and there was no reduction in the physical properties of moulded parts, says the company. A proprietary synergistic blend of modified polymers, organic fatty amides and glycerides, the product is available as a free-flowing powder or 100% active pellet (carrier and binder free), allowing for incorporation into masterbatches, gravitationally mixed or fed at the throat of a moulding machine.

Sodick’s two-stage machine will be used to demonstrate the moulding of a syringe in COC, a first for the medical industry, at the NPE exhibition

COC in medical moulding, a first

reciprocating screw system, the plasticising screw remains stationary during material transfer, minimising axial wear and ensuring each pellet has the same heat profile. The two-stage plunger injection unit provides an optimum screw size and plunger size combination (for example, 40 mm screw with 32 mm plunger injection) for an ideal recovery time and shot size. The injection unit is controlled by a closed-loop system comparing actual speed to set speed and maximum melt pressure. User selectable limits can be added on the process monitor screen. Once the exact amount of material is transferred into the injection chamber, the injection plunger that is retracted via the melt is maintained to a set position. This eliminates the need for a check valve, a primary source of material degradation and shot volume inconsistency. Prior to injection, the plasticising screw is indexed forward creating a positive shut-off (exact dosing). This action prevents any opportunity for backflow of molten material back into the melt stream.

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S injection moulding machinery maker Sodick Plustech will show its V-Line two-stage plunger system at NPE 2012 in Florida in April moulding a medical syringe made of Topas cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) from Topas Advanced Polymers in a mould from Nypro. The prototype application demonstrates the use of COC, which has improved moisture barrier and dimensional consistency, as a replacement for glass in syringes. The polymer is said to offer a nonionic, minimally reactive surface. It also does not promote adsorption, denaturation, aggregation, or precipitation. With lower leachables and extractables, the resin preserves long-term drug purity ensuring better quality at high yields and potentially lower part cost, says Topas. Sodick Plustech says its injection system utilises a two-stage V-Line method for plasticising and injection, allowing for consistent shot volumes and melt densities. Unlike a conventional in-line

apanese firm Nissei Plastic Industrial has updated its flagship Nex electric machine range. Six small and mediumsize types, ranging from 30 to 180 tonnes, are now available under the NEX-III series with an updated plasticising device (injection unit) and new controller Tact IV. The plasticising device has been designed to provide better performance by subdividing and optimising the barrel temperature control zones, thus reducing moulding defects. The newly designed nozzle and barrel permit better thermal conduction, shortening the heatup time by 25% and saving power by 8%, according to Nissei. The fluctuation of resin temperature, which occurs upon starting up a moulding machine, is also eliminated, allowing for stable plasticising of non-reinforced PBT, LCP, PA66, PP and PCTA. The two-zone controlled rear heater also shortens plasticising time. The Tact IV controller offers a larger screen, newly designed operation panel and a user-friendly software.

Nissei’s latest upgraded Nex electric machine

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Improving performance through filming

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o identify and subsequently implement optimisation measures for the daily work routine, German injection moulding machine maker Arburg is videoing its workers undertaking a job and then reviewing it to see where improvements can be made. Arburg says it was one of the first companies to implement this in 2010, with selected groups within its production receiving preliminary training in the use of video analysis. On a selected day, the video films were first shot with external assistance and subsequently subjected to systematic evaluation. Workshops on set-up time optimisation were first held in production before being extended to the assembly process. Between five and six employees are invited to take part in each session with at least two operators teaming up for the actual compilation of the analysis video. One of them films what the other is currently doing. This then forms the basis for analysis and

Arburg is using its video filming to improve productivity

Moulding subsequent development of appropriate activities. Arburg notes that the agreed steps are more likely to be put into practice when video analysis is used than without this as many otherwise unnoticed things become apparent when viewing the video. Arburg also says that video recording is particularly important for the “Single Minute Exchange of Die” or SMED, which reduces set-up times of machines to single digits. “SMED is only implemented to perfection when a onepiece flow can be realised without the need for interventions in running production,” says the company. Arburg has already held eight of the 14 intended workshops to allow operators and their line manager to view the filming. Though the company does agree that videoing an employee during everyday work appears to be a sensitive issue, the workshops demonstrate that the aim is to optimise the processes and not to criticise the operators’ work.


Injection Moulding Asia Moulding

Redesigning LEDS with Aura

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erman chemical firm Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) has licensed its Aura infusion technology for improving UV protection of moulded/extruded PC parts to US-based Radco Infusion Technologies for worldwide use. Because UV light attacks PC at the surface, UV protection is most effective when concentrated there, but this is not possible with traditional compounding of additives. This limits UV absorber effectiveness in outdoor applications, such as lenses and covers for lighting fixtures. Aura can be used with any of BMS’s Makrolon transparent PC lighting grades, allowing for what the company says is a breakthrough for lighting manufacturers, since it helps overcome the issue of yellowing after extended UV exposure. The infusion of UV additives via Aura utilises the same process used to add custom colourants. In this new twist, finished plastic parts are immersed in a mostly aqueous solution containing UV additives. The parts are removed from the solution after a short period of

LED lenses are the target for the new Aura infusion process

time, rinsed with water to remove excess solution from the surface and then dried to produce a marketready product. This allows the use of heat-sensitive additives that break down at extrusion/moulding temperatures but remain viable at the lower temperatures associated with infusion technology. The first commercial application using Aura will be launched this year by a major lighting OEM for an outdoor-use product with an LED lens injection moulded of Makrolon LED2643 clear tint plastic.

circular systems, for easy tip replacement in the press. The patent pending design is said to produce faster cycles because of an additional temperature control at the gate. The firm’s iFlow manifold brazing is also used for higher flow balance. Automation firm CBW will run Melt-Cube in a 16cavity system producing a 5-6 cc PP medical syringe with IML to showcase an anti-piracy tag. The mould will be supplied by Tech Mold and machine by Milacron.

An eye on coinjection and new gating system

Automotive

Toray and GMD to pursue automotive work

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ot runner supplier Mold-Masters will showcase its new coinjection hot runner technology for medical, beverage and food applications at the NPE event in April. IRIS will be shown in a workcell producing HDPE closures in a 16-cavity mould. The system will also incorporate a secondary injection unit and servodriven-valve gate control. The cap will be moulded with a 3-6% EVOH barrier encased in its centre, without the need for a secondary operation. Swiss supplier IMD will provide testing equipment along with downstream IMDvista INOX line for cooling, sorting and packing of the parts. Other partners include Engel Machinery that will provide the machine and F&S Tool, the tooling. Mold-Masters will also launch its linear side gate system Melt-Cube, said to allow for 20% higher pitch density than

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apanese carbon fibrereinforced plastics (CFRP) supplier Toray Industries has entered into a technical partnership with UK-based Gordon Murray Design (GMD) to pursue further development of GMD’s iStream manufacturing system and explore further opportunities for Toray’s materials in the automotive sector. Toray recently commissioned GMD to build a prototype twoseater electric sports car, subsequently named the TEEWAVE AR.1 (Toray Eco Efficient WAVE Advanced Roadster 1). It utilises the firm’s CFRPs and has a light body weight of 846 kg, including the battery. Both companies will further cooperate to reduce weight and cut costs in automotive design. The iStream is a design process in the making for 15 years said to reduce a facility size by 20% and investments by 80%.

Lower weight bumpers with new resin

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apanese vehicle maker Mazda and Japan Polypropylene have developed a PP/rubber resin for vehicle parts that maintains the same rigidity as parts made with conventional materials but with a weight reduction of 20%, especially in bumpers. In bumper production, a reduced thickness allows for a shorter cooling period for moulding and by using computeraided engineering (CAE) technology, the fluidity of the resin can also be optimised. As a result, the moulding time, previously 60 seconds, has been halved to 30 seconds. Mazda blended two components found in polypropylene (PP) and rubber, that have different properties, and succeeded in distributing them in a double-layer structure in line with the required function for the surface and the inside of the base bumper material. Thus, the surface has improved paint film adhesion and the inner section retains high rigidity and impact absorption, with reduced thickness. Mazda plans to adopt the light bumpers in its CX-5 SUV as well as in other upcoming new models.

The new Mazda with lighter bumpers to be launched later this year

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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery

Indian IMM market witnesses growth country but pulled out due to the 2009 anti-dumping levy imposed by the Indian government on Chinese machines. Haitian subsequently set up a facility in Vietnam and says the latter will “serve as a bridge to the Indian market.” At Plastindia, Zhafir showed its all-electrics, since the latter and 1,000 tonne-machines are exempt from the tariff ruling. Another Chinese machine maker, Welltec Machinery, has also found a way around the tariff issue by partnering with Indian firm Jishu Hozen Machines. The Sino-Indian alliance has been operating a facility in Ahmedabad since last year. The investment seems to have paid off and it is now planning on doubling the size of its facility to 3,000 sq m and increasing output to 100 machines a year, said its Director HR Nagadia to PRA. The company sold 50 machines in the first year of its operations and now plans to set up branch offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata to further market its machines, said Nagadia.

Of the approximately 8,000 plastic machines sold last year in India, 70% was injection moulding machinery (IMM). This demand factor is the draw for foreign companies entering the Indian market. Facility set-ups aving opened its new factory in Chennai late last year, Canada-based machine maker Husky Injection Molding is able to offer mould conversion, mould and hot runner refurbishment for preforms. The US$20 million facility will cater to local as well as regional demand in South Asia, said Dinesh Budapanahalli, Vice-President, Sales & Services, Global Tooling, speaking to PRA during the Plastindia show in February. “We will be able to expand our engineering capacity for hot runners and preforms to handle increased demand, allowing for reduced lead times and faster time to market,” he added. The 5,700 sq m facility also houses a technical centre. It has already stocked up on spare parts, “to minimise downtime”, and started its engineering services, said Dinesh. In India, the company is seeing a growth in the water and juice beverage market. “This is a seasonal business and usually peaks at the end of the year, but our investments have to be ready to cater to all the seasons,” he explained. Making its debut at the show was the H-PET AE (all-electric) preform solution, with a 32-cavity mould producing a 19 g EcoBase preform for a 1 litre bottle. Launched two years ago, the system has been wellreceived in the market, especially in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, said Dinesh. Other systems shown for the first in India were the Ultra Sidegate and UltraSync hot runners. Germany-based Zhafir Plastics Machinery, a subsidiary of Chinese IMM maker Haitian International Holdings, is also making its entry into India by setting up its first regional office, since it expects an increasing demand for its technology in the country. The Mumbai office will start operating later this year with 18 persons. Zhafir, which makes all-electric machinery, has also increased its production area in Ningbo to 18,000 sq m to cater to demand in China. Plus, it increased its turnover by 80% last year, compared to the previous year, and has sold 2,000 of its Venus allelectrics since the launch in 2008. The firm also said it has received 30 orders for its new Mercury series, launched at K2010. Haitian previously collaborated with Indian machine maker Electronica to sell machines in the

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Machinery improvements ne of India’s largest machine makers L&T Plastics Machinery, meanwhile, has expanded its scope for all-electrics. The Chennai-based company introduced a 160-tonne E-Tech, which is belt-driven as opposed to the use of direct-drive technology, adding on to the 100-tonne it introduced last year. Another new market entry, the two-platen 450-tonne, developed last year, was also showcased. It had been sold to Indian customer VDS Plastics. US-based Milacron, which operates in India through a joint venture with Mamata Machinery known as Ferromatik Milacron, will transplant production of the Magna Servo machines to its facility in the US. The machines were developed by Ferromatik Milacron at its Ahmedabad plant and have been in production there since 2008. Milacron been importing these machines but due to increased demand has decided to also build them in the US. The company says that servodriven-pumps are revitalising traditional hydraulic technology, thus increasing the demand for the Magna in the US, “because they’re similar in price to standard hydraulics and provide almost as much energy savings as all-electrics.” The Magna uses a variablespeed AC servomotor to drive a fixed-volume gear pump, thus delivering only as much oil as is necessary for each stage of the process. The servomotor can also reverse the direction of pumping to reduce pressure, if necessary. If no additional flow is required, the pump will stop. As a result, the system requires less energy for oil cooling and ejects less heat into the plant.

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Rubber Journal Asia Technology News

Chinese EPDM plant to use Italian technology

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talian petrochemical technology firm FasTech has licensed its EPDM technology to petrochemical firm Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Yanan Energy and Chemical that will build a 50,000 tonne/year-plant in Xian. Yanchang’s plant will start up in 2014 and will be fed with monomers to be produced in the new methanol to olefins (MTO) plant, which Yanchang is building in the same location. FasTech will supply Yanchang with an extended Process Design Package (PDP) and other technical services. Chengdu-based Chengda Engineering will subsequently develop the engineering services for the plant.

VMI’s latest tyre building machine

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utch rubber and tyre machinery supplier VMI has launched its Exxium car and light truck tyre building machine that has a cycle time of 44 seconds. The machine can handle 12”-24” rim diameter tyres and can be automated. With more complex tyre designs, with additional full rubber components, steel and/or fabric chafer strips, it requires operator involvement, to allow for quality assurance. VMI says it has used a design approach to completely rethink the actual purpose, simplify where possible and question the conventions. Based on this it has launched two other machines, the Maxx and the EdgiQ

breaker cutter splicer. The Maxx machine has been further improved and is distinguished from the Exxium by a complete hands-off and eyes-off philosophy, featuring robots and requiring special apexed bead stacking equipment. Amputee triathlete Sarah Reinertsen helped design the Nike Sole

Vystar’s first Chinese patent

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S-based Vystar has received its third US and first Chinese patents for its Vytex natural rubber latex (NRL). The US patent expands the claims beyond just reducing proteins and recognises that the process also reduces the level of non-rubber components in Vytex. The Chinese patent not only validates the US patent but also extends intellectual property right protection for the product. The company says that since China is one of the leading producers of NRL products, the protection of the process is important for its growth. Its aim is to add on product differentiation to the US$4.6 billion NRL global market. The company now has a total of five issued patents in the US and abroad, with more than a dozen pending. Meanwhile, Vytex also qualifies as the first and only commercially available material for a new latex category with a maximum 0.5% non-rubber content approved in 2010 by ASTM.

sole that can be used with prosthetic specialist Össur’s Flex-Run prosthetic blade for amputee athletes. The Nike Sole features an integrated layered sole including an outsole, midsole and thermal PU called Aeroply, made of recycled Nike Air Bag units, serving as a moderator between Nike Sole and the Flex-Run blade. Nine nylon plastic tabs serve as fingers that wrap snugly around the Flex-Run carbon fibre blade for secure lock down and easy on-off. A stretch rubber leash with tactile grip tab for easy placement over a medallion fastener provides additional security. The first prototype sole used by Reinertsen was made from a Nike Free 5.0 Trail outsole, which was adhered to a plastic-based sleeve that would slide onto the blade. This was tweaked based on her feedback wear while testing the sole unit.

Industry News

Plastic/rubber shoe sole for prosthetics

Sumitomo breaks ground on facilities in Singapore and Brazil

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S shoe maker Nike worked with competitive amputee triathlete Sarah Reinertsen to develop a composite shoe 1

MARCH 2012

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apanese firm Sumitomo Chemical recently held

a groundbreaking ceremony for its new 40,000 tonnes/year solution styrene butadiene rubber (SSBR) plant in Singapore, based on the high growth of SSBR in tyres. The company says it decided to construct the new SSBR plant in Singapore because of its geographical advantage in the supply to rapidly growing Asian markets and stable procurement of the raw material butadiene as well as tie-ups with existing businesses of the group in the region. The facility is scheduled for completion in June 2013 and commercial operations are planned to begin during the fourth quarter of 2013. The company, expecting further demand growth, is working on a plan to build an additional plant to increase production. It also has a 10,000 tonne/ year-plant in Japan. Another subsidiary in the group, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, also recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for its first tyre production factory in South America. The ceremony was carried out on the construction site of the passenger tyre factory in Fazenda Rio Grande City, Parana State, Brazil. The company says it is catering to the growing automotive and tyre sectors in the country. Sumitomo plans to begin producing passenger tyres at the plant in October 2013. Production capacity will be 15,000 tyres/day by the end of 2016. w w w. r u b b e r j o u r n a l a s i a . c o m


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Rubber Journal Asia Second rubber park in India

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ndia has set up a Rs23 crore industrial rubber park in Bodhungnagar in Western Tripura. A joint venture between the Tripura Industrial Development Corporation (TIDC) and the Rubber Board, it is the second of its kind in the country after the rubber park in Irapuram, Kerala. Tripura is the second largest natural rubber producer in the country after Kerala.

Koppers’s Chinese carbon plant

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S-based carbon compound and treated wood products maker Koppers is setting up three coal-tar based carbon product plants in Jiangsu, China, with Nippon Steel Chemical, Sojitz JECT, Yizhou Group and the Pizhou government. The facilities will comprise a 250,000 tonne coal tar distillation plant and two downstream plants producing needle coke and carbon black. It is envisioned that the carbon black and needle coke facilities will be wholly-owned subsidiaries of Nippon Steel and the coal tar distillation facility will be owned by Koppers and Yizhou, with Koppers owning a majority share. Plant construction is expected to commence in 2012 with completion targeted for early 2014.

Thai government props up glove sector

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he Thai government is intervening in the rubber gloves industry by offering soft loans of 5 billion baht to local

agricultural institutes and 10 billion baht soft loans to rubber estate organisations, enabling latex prices to stay above US$2.30 in the short term. The intervention was done through the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives to increase the price of locally-grown natural rubber.

cable and household goods industries. Siliconas Silam has been compounding and marketing the German firm’s products in the region for more than a decade. Silicone compounds are usually made by mixing crosslinker, pigments and other additives into the rubber base. Typical applications range from high temperature-resistant hoses for the automotive sector to cable insulation and to heat-resistant gaskets for oven doors.

Hexpol acquires TPE maker

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erman firm Hexpol’s acquisition of Müller Kunststoffe has been finalised, with the latter becoming a part of business area of the compounding business thereby broadening Hexpol’s TPE portfolio. According to Hexpol, the acquisition price of EUR39 million is funded by a combination of cash and existing bank loans. The 90-employee Müller, which has an estimated yearly turnover of EUR46 million, has two production units in Germany. Hexpol expects the market for TPE compounding to grow, especially in the field of medical, consumer, general industry and automotive sectors. Müller complements its European TPE compounding operations where it already has units in the UK and Sweden and the company is also building a facility in China.

Sales of vehicles grow in Asia and UK

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apan’s Automotive Manufacturers’ Association (JAMA) expects a 19% or 5.02 million unit increase in the total vehicle sales this year. The figure includes sales of new passenger cars and commercial vehicles at 3.24 million units, up by 20.3% from 2011; and the mini-vehicle sales increasing by 17% to 1.78 million units. The previous year had seen a decline of 15.1% to 4.21 million units for sales of passenger cars and commercial vehicles, whilst demand for new passenger cars and commercial vehicles totalled 2.69 million units, a 16.7% drop from the 2010 figure. Meanwhile, mini-vehicle demand was also down by 11.9% to 1.52 million units during the same year. In the UK, new car registrations only inched up by 0.03% to 128,853 compared with January last year while truck registrations climbed 45.4% to a total of 3,586 trucks at the onset of the year compared to same period last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

Wacker extends silicones supply

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unich-based chemicals group Wacker has tied up with Spanish silicones compounder Siliconas Silam to sell ready-to-use products made from Wacker silicone rubber base under its own label. Customers include the automotive, construction,

(SMMT). Meanwhile, sales volumes are up by 24.6% to 44,063. Also, small number van registrations will result in a decrease in the wider commercial vehicle market, which fell by 16.4% year-onyear to 14,338.

Reliance and Sibur firm up Indian jv

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eliance Industries, India’s largest private company, and Russia-based Sibur, Eastern Europe’s largest petrochemical company, have firmed up the setting up of a US$450 million joint venture facility to produce 100,000 tonnes/ year of butyl rubber in Jamnagar, Gujarat, by 2014. Both the companies made the announcement a few years ago and have now committed to moving this forward. Reliance Sibur Elastomers will be the first manufacturer of butyl rubber in India and the fourth largest supplier of the polymer in the world. Reliance will have a 74.9% equity in the stake while Sibur will take up 25.1%. Both companies also signed a technology licence agreement facilitating use of Sibur’s proprietary butyl rubber technology. Besides the ready availability of feedstock, Gujarat state is also where major automotive makers have confirmed setting up their plants and the new facility will cater to the growing demand for synthetic rubber in the country, pegged at 75,000 tonnes/year and currently satisfied by imports. Car sales in India rose 13% last year to 12.75 million units, helped by demand for two wheelers and commercial vehicles in the world’s second fastest-growing economy.

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Rubber Journal Asia Ansell grooming for wellness

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ustralian glove and condom firm Ansell’s first-half profit increased by 1.1% or US$64.9 million in the six months to 31 December, slightly higher compared to the previous corresponding period. In the wake of a sluggish revenue at US$597.7 million, down by 3.9% from US$621.8 million, Ansell is batting for recovery, observing that a recouping US economy and strong Asian markets may offset the gloom in the European economy. With the company’s implementation of its enterprise resource plan (ERP), recovery is expected during the second half through fiscal 2013. Moreover, it is optimistic with the turnout of its sexual wellness business.

Analysts give thumbs up to Sime Darby’s buy

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alaysian conglomerate Sime Darby’s acquisition of a 95% stake in Indonesian company PT Indo Sukses Lestari Makmur for US$4.36 million has been given the thumbs up by analysts. It has been reported that the acquisition, through its indirect wholly-owned subsidiary PT Minamas Gemilang involves a “minimal investment” while the development cost is over a 15-year period.

PT Indo Sukses, which is involved in the forestry business, has applied for an exploitation licence from Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry (MOF) for over 10,000 ha of rubber forest in East Belitung Regency, Bangka Belitung Province. The deal will involve PT Minamas Gemilang buying 3,500 and 300 ordinary shares in PT Indo Sukses from SLT Capital and PT Entete Mining respectively and is dependent on PT Indo Sukses’s obtaining the exploitation licence from Indonesia’s MOF. Sime Darby’s plantation business is principally in oil palm, with about 314,000 ha planted in Malaysia and 208,000 ha in Indonesia. The deal is not expected to have a significant impact on Sime Darby’s earnings in the 20122014 financial years as the land needs to be developed and it is “small” compared with the conglomerate’s land bank in Malaysia and Indonesia. Analysts also point out that the deal is competitively priced since recent rubber plantation land transactions in Malaysia and Thailand have been priced between RM20,000 and RM25,000 per ha.

tyre maker Continental has introduced Conti. eContact for e-cars and hybrid cars. A requirement was to reduce the rolling resistance by 30% to increase the travel range of e-cars and to facilitate longer operation with the electric motor in hybrid vehicles. To maintain high standards for directional stability and handling, different tread variants are produced in some cases, also for use on the front and rear axle. The tyre sizes also differ depending on the type of vehicle. For example, smaller, narrower dimensions are required for light urban vehicles, while e-cars with more volume use tyres for the 20 in. rims. Continental engineers achieved the reduction in rolling resistance by using a large and narrow tyre dimension. Thus, deformation of the tyre is reduced when entering the contact patch, lowering rolling resistance considerably. This also means that the same load bearing capacity can be achieved as for conventional tyres. In addition, the side wall of the tyre was designed in such a way that less energy is lost when the tyre deflects and rebounds and the tyre weight was further reduced. These measures also lower the rolling resistance. With its combination of four longitudinal grooves, high number of sipes, the absence of traverse grooves

Tyre News

Conti rolls out ecar tyre

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o cater to the 2.8 million electric cars expected by 2020, representing a market share of 3%, German

The e-car tyre has been approved for use in Renault’s Twizy

and the rigidity of the tread ribs, the tread has been optimised for low rolling resistance and low noise emission. In this way, precise handling properties and safe braking distances on wet surfaces were achieved as well. The very flat tyre contour prevents the tyre’s belt elements from moving more, thus further reducing rolling resistance. The side wall has also been designed for low energy consumption. Here, the developers did not use the usual edges and design elements in order to keep air resistance as low as possible. By reducing rolling resistance, Continental aims to cut the energy required by e-cars and thus increase the operational radius of this new type of vehicle. The extended range this makes possible will significantly increase end-consumer acceptance of these vehicles, while at the same time reducing the energy used per 100 km and the time required to charge the batteries.

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Rubber Journal Asia Hitting the million mark

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ddressing the growing vehicle market in the country, Indian tyre maker Apollo Tyres’s Chennai facility has produced a million truck-bus radial (TBR) tyres. The TBR unit went on-stream with an initial production of 250 tyres/ day in 2010 and has been gradually ramped up to now reach 4,000 a day. Truck-bus radials account for 19% of the total commercial vehicle tyres produced by Apollo, which mirrors the overall radialisation of 20% in the category in India. The company expects to speed up the process and hit its next million in the next ten months. The Chennai unit, which has been operational for around two years, has already produced 3 million passenger car tyres and currently produces 7,500 passenger vehicle tyres/day. Meanwhile in the US, at Japanese tyre maker Bridgestone’s Aiken County passenger and light truck tyre facility, it hit the 100 millionth mark. The facility began operations in 1999 and currently employs 95. In 2011, the company announced two phases of expansion for the plant. In related news, Bridgestone also plans to increase large and ultra-large OTR tyre production capacity at its three-year-old Kitakyushu radial OTR tyre plant by20 tonnes/ day by 2014. Its capacity at the end of 2011 was 90 tonnes/day.

be registered by the industrial and other tyre segment, which includes a variety of types, including bicycle, motorcycle and off-road tyres.

Michelin targeting double-digit billion mark

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rench tyre maker Michelin expects to capitalise on a number of unique competitive advantages to drive at least 25% growth and generate positive free cash flow over the 20112015 period. Meanwhile, it has raised its 2015 operating income target to EUR2.5 billion. Its advantages include forefront positions both in the premium tyre segment and in all of its speciality businesses as well as a balanced global footprint that will be further strengthened in 2012 with the start-up of new plants in Brazil and China. Michelin says it has also introduced a new programme to improve the competitiveness of its manufacturing operations and services by around EUR1 billion over five years.

New subsidiary for MHI

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apanese firm Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) will establish a whollyowned subsidiary to handle the industrial machinery business, including material handling systems and rubber and tyre machinery, effective April. It will be created by integrating the industrial machinery business, currently being operated by the Industrial Machinery Business, Technology & Solutions Division of MHI, and three existing group companies, including MEC Engineering Service (MEC).

Tyre makers expand in Vietnam and Bangladesh

Global tyre demand to accelerate

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he Southern Rubber Industry JSC (Casumina) has started construction on a US$160 million car tyre plant in southern Binh Duong Province. The plant will cover an area of 70,000 sq.m, with a production capacity of 1 million tyres/year. Construction will be divided into three phases with the first phase scheduled to finish in the first quarter of 2013 with an annual capacity of

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orld demand for tyres is forecast to rise 4.7% per year through 2015 to 3.3 billion units according to US research firm Freedonia Group. In value terms, the tyre market is projected to advance 6.5% annually over the same span to US$220 billion. The large vehicle tyre market will see an acceleration in growth through 2015. Stronger gains will

350,000 units. Meanwhile Indian tyre maker Ceat is investing up to Rs250 crore to set up its first manufacturing plant in Bangladesh within the next two years. With a capacity of 65 tonnes/ day, the company says it will be the first such large tyre plant in Bangladesh. The company is initially targeting to roll out only cross-ply tyres for various segments such as trucks and light commercial segments.

Wide range for “green tyres”

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ith an annual growth rate of 10%, “green tyres” are the fastest growing in the market. This is prompting companies like German chemicals supplier Lanxess to focus on synthetic rubber offerings, as pointed out by its participation in the recent Tire Technology Expo, where it introduced several concepts. The company focused on advancements in the field of butyl and styrene-polybutadiene rubber, the development of new grades for winter treads using the nanoadditive Nanoprene, functionalised styrenebutadiene rubber products for “green tyres” and process improvements with modified neodymiumpolybutadiene rubber (Nd-PBR) at the German show. In technical presentations, Heike Kloppenburg, head of

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Rubber Journal Asia

Dietmar Hoff accepting the award on behalf of Rhein Chemie that won the tyre technology award at the show

Product and Process Development in the Performance Butadiene Rubbers business unit (BU PBR), spoke about modifying Nd-PBR for easy rubber processing, explaining how classical conflicts between processability and tyre properties can be resolved using modified Nd-PBR. Meanwhile, Fernanda Albino from the PBR business unit described how rolling resistance can be improved with both functionalised styrene-butadiene rubber and SSBR grades with a variable vinyl and styrene content. Functionalised SSBR rubber products also were the main topic of a presentation by David Hardy, Technical Marketing Manager, PBR business unit. “These products have the potential to deliver the rolling resistance and wet grip properties typical of silica, without the expensive silane additives. This also would reduce the number of blending steps – when using innovative SSBR rubber grades with suitable functional groups across the entire polymer molecule,” he said. Dietmar Hoff from

Yokohama defers sales target and sets up Chinese R&D

Marketing and Sales of Release Agents and Bladders at Lanxess subsidiary Rhein Chemie, explained in his paper on “High Performance Curing Bladders” how the application of expertise in rubber and manufacturing technology combined with the targeted use of highly effective release agents can increase bladder service life, while at the same time reducing vulcanisation time and increasing surface quality, which ultimately reduces reject rates. Lanxess’s focus on the sector is reflected in its investments. It has significantly expanded production capacities for Nd-PBR at three locations worldwide; another facility is in the planning for Singapore and scheduled to start production in 2015. With an investment volume of some EUR200 million, it is the secondlargest project of its kind since company inception. The company also made the largest single investment its history, totalling EUR400 million, in a butyl rubber plant at the same location, which is to begin operation in 2013. Work is underway at the Triunfo site in Brazil to convert production to SSBR for use in green tyres. The final decision on the investment, estimated at well over EUR10 million, is to be made in mid-2012. At present, Lanxess already produces these rubber grades in the US, Brazil and in France.

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apanese firm Yokohama Rubber says it is deferring its 1 trillion yen sales target to 2019 or 2020, which it was targeting to achieve in 2017, its centennial year. In the three-year plan ending 2014, the firm is targeting to achieve sales of 630 billion yen, income of 60 billion yen and return on sales of 9.5%. Started in 2006, the plan comprises four three-year phases and is targeting annual net sales of 1 trillion yen, operating income of 100 billion yen and return on sales of 10%. Now, due to changes in the operating environment Yokohama says it will not achieve its sales target but expects to achieve its operating income by 2017. In Japan, the persistently strong yen weighs heavily on exports and the scheduled increases in the national sales tax could dampen consumption but demand associated with the rebuilding effort in areas affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami will stimulate GDP growth. Tyres are the focus of Yokohama’s growth plans and company expects to expand its global supply capacity. For the period ended 31 December 2011, the firm posted a 36.7% higher income and 1.9% higher sales due to strongerthan-expected sales of replacement tyres in Japan and overseas and higher sales of winter tyres. In other news, the

company has established a technical centre as the base for testing and evaluating raw materials on the premises of the tyre plant of Hangzhou Yokohama Tire in Zhejiang province. The 250 million yen centre, which includes evaluation/analysis machines and analytical instrument, is Yokohama Rubber’s first overseas base for testing raw materials for tyres and industrial products. The centre will also advise Chinese makers of raw materials on quality control and quality assurance through auditing. Advantages include easy confirmation of workability of raw materials at the adjacent tyre plant.

Chinese firm buys rubber company

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zeck Republic-based tyre and technical rubber company CGS Group has sold its 100% share in piston and rubber machinery maker Buzuluk. to China-based Dalian Rubber & Plastics Machinery. CGS says it wants to focus on its core business of selling off-road tyres and technical rubber. Of Buzuluk, Dalian Rubber says it intends to utilise the location of the company and the tradition of machinery manufacturing in Komarov. “First, we will implement new technologies and develop production, R&D of rubber industry machinery and piston rings. We will also utilise the sales base of Buzuluk to introduce our machinery to the European market,” it said. Financial details were not disclosed.

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Rubber Journal Asia Corporate Profile

Growing alongside the synthetic rubber market already surpassed those of its home base of Taiwan. Said President/CEO of TSRC, Tu Wei-Hua, “Around 60-70% of our SBR and BR outputs are exported to Asia. Over the years, we have been actively expanding our overseas business and the supply network is well built. Despite the stalled economic growth in European and American countries, the emerging markets in Asia have The company’s President been developing rapidly.” Tu Wei-Hua says TSRC In terms of ESBR, it has a has finally created a new production capacity of 100,000 global channel tonnes/year at its Kaohsiung plant in Taiwan while a Chinese joint venture between Japan-based Marubeni and Nantong Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, ShenHua Chemical Industrial, produces 180,000 tonnes/ year in China. To meet the growing demands of clients and to increase its competitiveness in the Asia Pacific market, TSRC has aggressively built up its supply network in China. For example, TSRC-UBE (Nantong) Chemical Industrial, a joint venture of TSRC, Japanese UBE Industries and Marubeni based in Nantong, Jiangsu Province, is increasing its capacity from 50,000 to 72,000 tonnes by this year. In terms of BR, it has a 60,000-tonne/year plant in Kaohsiung while a joint venture in Thailand, Thai Synthetic Rubber, with Japanese firms UBE Industries and Marubeni, offers an additional output of 72,000 tonnes/year. Meanwhile, recognising the double-digit growth expected for NBR in China, TSRC has co-invested in a US$50 million Chinese joint venture with German chemicals firm Lanxess. Situated in Nantong, the plant is expected to start up in the second quarter of 2012 with a capacity of 30,000 tonnes/year of NBR. TSRC has also been firming up its market entry into India. Last year, together with Marubeni and Indian Oil, it inked a partnership to form Indian Synthetic Rubber, which has already started work on the 120,000 tonne/year-SBR plant in Panipat, Haryana. The project is being constructed near a naptha cracker that will supply the raw material butadiene. When the plant starts commercial operation in 2013, TSRC says it will allow it to claim the title of “sole supplier” in the country.

Bereft of oil resources, Taiwan has successfully emerged as a petrochemical titan and currently ranks the ninth largest producer in the world. However, the country’s dependence on crude oil supply has made it vulnerable to pricing fluctuations. Thus, by value adding oil-related products it has managed to secure market leverage and perpetuate a miracle economy legacy. Taiwan Synthetic Rubber Corp (TSRC) is a company that was born out of this strategy. PRA spoke to President/CEO of TSRC, Tu Wei-Hua, to ascertain its business activities. Asia a major growth driver et up in 1973, TSRC, the largest synthetic rubber (SR) manufacturer and supplier in Taiwan, was established by Glyn TH Ing to support the government’s policy on developing the country’s petrochemical industry. Today, it has an output of 600,000 tonnes/year of SRs like SBR, BR, NBR, TPE and TPE compounds and had a group turnover of US$18 billion last year, a record in its history. Asia continues to serve as a key growth driver for the SR market and for TSRC, with the automotive sector as well as non-rubber finished goods sector demonstrating optimistic growth. With vehicle growth to skyrocket in China, the country is an important investment destination for the firm and it is no surprise that its output and sales have

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Shen-Hua, TSRC’s joint venture in Nantong produces ESBR

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Rubber Journal Asia Corporate Profile To extend the upstream value chain, at the end of last year, TSRC set up a US$286 million joint venture with CPC Corporation and Fubon Financial Holding Venture Capital, known as Taiwan Advanced Materials, to build a C5 separation, SIS and tackifier plant. There are only around ten companies in the world engaged in C5 petroleum resins products. “It is a significant step for Taiwan’s petrochemical industry to move towards a high value-added cooperation model among upstream and downstream players,” says Tu. Moreover, SIS, which can be used for medical products and highquality adhesives, currently fetches high market value, according to Tu. To start up by the end of 2013, Taiwan Advanced Materials is projecting a turnover of NT$5.8 billion/ year.

Technology key to competitiveness hen asked how the company has managed to attain its leadership in the industry, Tu explains, “TSRC’s applied polymer business has a long history of operating in the SBS, SIS, SEBS and TPE compounding segments to accommodate various customer needs. We enjoy a unique competitive advantage in customised products.” And in recent years, TSRC has been actively expanding its rubber development niches through collaborations with international players. The company has worked with Japanese firms UBE Industries and Marubeni on its BR plants; stateowned Indian Oil and Marubeni on the ESBR plant and with Lanxess on its NBR plant. TSRC has also been acquiring technology. The recent acquisition of US-based styrenic block copolymer (SBC) producer Dexco Polymers is intended to launch TSRC into the SBC market and place it in the top five global players ranking in the business. “The acquisition will enhance our global competitiveness as well as allow us to develop more differentiated and higher value-added products for our customers,” adds Tu.

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Green mobility drives growth burgeoning demand for “green” tyres enforced by consumer consciousness and the labelling system of tyres in key countries in Asia and Europe is harbinger to the company adding on new elastomers to its portfolio. Since SBR clinches the largest segment in the SR market to produce tyres with characteristics such as improved abrasion resistance, safety and fuel efficiency, all of which are now favoured in the market, TSRC has started mass commercial production of SSBR for high performance and energy-saving tyres. SSBR is used in the tread of “green” tyres to reduce rolling resistance whilst improving wet grip. Moreover, it can decrease fuel consumption by an average of 5 to 7%, thus reducing CO2 emissions. Tu explains, “The properties of SSBR differ from traditional rubber as it can be customised according to the processing and application demands. SSBR is mainly used in energy-conserving (low rolling resistance), high performance, and all-season tyres.” He also says that in preparation for the increasing demand of SSBR, last year, TSRC commercialised a SSBR production line in Taiwan with an output of 30,000 tonnes/year. TSRC is also working on a project aptly known as “Energy-saving, Eco-friendly Tyres, Material & Applied Researcher Alliance Project”. But the company is not disclosing details of the project at the moment. “TSRC has put in every effort possible in the industry for many years and now has finally created a new global channel,“ says Tu. “As a leader in Asian rubber industry, TSRC will continue to move forward and strive to enhance the quality of human life,” the executive concludes.

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The TSRCUBE plant is a joint venture of TSRC, Marubeni and and Ube. Seen in this photo are the process columns

TSRC also signed an SBS technical license agreement with OJSC Sibur of Russia and brought in several core technologies from multiple sources abroad to strengthen its existing production capacity, says Tu. 8 MARCH 2012

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Rubber Journal Asia Medical silicones

Silicones big ticket to health sector Long associated with feeding bottle nipples and

Healthy Asian market ust how big the silicone industry has become can be gleaned from a recent global silicone market report by Freedonia Group. It points to the Asia Pacific region as the largest and fastest-growing outlet for silicones through 2015 that also accounts largely for the 6.2% growth for silicones in various industries including healthcare. Moreover, the unique properties of silicones, such as thermal stability, good electrical insulation, high gas permeability, low chemical reactivity, non-stick and water repellent factors, are being sought after in several types of industries; notwithstanding the biofriendly nature of the polymer that makes it a viable option in healthcare. Freedonia pegs the industry’s worth at US$12.4 billion by 2015, citing also that the growing silicone market in China factors in the double-digit gains despite a slowing from the nearly 20% growth marked during the 2000-2010 period. The economic recession, particularly in North America and Western Europe, the historical centres of the world silicone industry, as Freedonia says, has slackened demand. But this will be balanced out by the incremental demands in Asian countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, India and Japan and an above-average growth in Central and South America, Eastern Europe and the Africa/Middle-East region, the report also indicates. Overall, the increased demand for silicone has undergone some baptism of fire. Today’s consumer standards have raised the bar for the silicone industry that it has to keep at stringent materials and environmental regulations as well as standards for biocompatibility, high performance and bacterial resistance.

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breast implants, silicone rubber is forecast to be the next billion dollar industry to tap the changing yet highly lucrative prospects in the medical and healthcare sectors, says Angelica Buan in this article.

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steady pipeline of innovative materials is becoming a prescription for big-ticket health and lifestyle industry and its medical and healthcare sectors. Thanks to the discovery of pathogens and improved management of emerging diseases that call for technical innovations in materials, the healthcare sector is expanding deep and wide. Alongside this, the silicones industry is filling in created niches by broadening its scope of application as well as improving properties. The basic raw material for silicone rubber is sand or silicon dioxide (silica). Sand is processed into pure silicone metal and then is reacted with methyl chloride, followed by an additional series of steps to create the many forms of silicone, from fluids and polymers to finished rubber bases and compounds. Unlike most plastics, silicones have a backbone of alternating atoms of silicon and carbon, with organic side chains that impart curability and other properties. One such form is liquid silicone rubber (LSR) that has some processing characteristics in common with thermoplastics, along with some notable differences that are inherent in a thermoset. LSR, thus, offers properties not obtainable with today’s TPEs. LSR’s are crosslinked utilising a platinumcatalysed reaction that produces no by-products. Once cured, LSR cannot be reshaped or easily reused or recycled. To do so requires a great deal of energy to overcome and break apart the crosslinks and/or the backbone itself. This same molecular structure makes LSR useful over a wide range of temperatures. At the same time, the strong bonds between the silicon and oxygen atoms mean that the polymer does not degrade until heated to temperatures above those that most other polymers can withstand. Another of LSR’s major attributes is its chemical inertness or purity. Coupled with its ability to withstand sterilisation processes, this makes LSR’s ideal for many medical and baby care products.

An alternative to latex ilicone products for medical and healthcare use vary and include, but are not limited to, tubes, drains, feeding tubes catheters and implants for long and short term use. Exhibiting a unique blend of characteristics including excellent biocompatibility with human tissue, silicones enable medical devices to be used comfortably and without producing an allergic or negative body reaction, compared to the use of natural rubber latex. A recent example of the use of silicone use instead of latex comes from US-based medical products maker MedPlast that has devised an assembly for a silicone pessary balloon used in a variety of female gynecological conditions, including prolapse. In years past, such devices were made of latex, which

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Medical silicones MedPlast’s new design for the pessary balloon includes gluedon silicone extrusion

is relatively easy to work with, but from the medical standpoint contains proteins that can cause an allergic reaction. As a result, medical product makers may now specify silicone, which offers advantages for patients but represent a manufacturing challenge since silicone offers poor tear resistance compared to natural rubber. MedPlast says that the balloon section of the multi-piece product is thin and has to be stretched and there are difficult de-moulding transitions. For this, the company made a special part to de-mould without over-extending the piece. This Inflat-o-Ball pessary, created by MedPlast for CooperSurgical, includes a moulded part, a check ball and a glued-on silicone extrusion. Safe materials ith inherently low toxicity, pure silicones present a low risk of unfavourable biological reactions and have gained widespread medical recognition and acceptance. Medical grade silicones, classified as non-implantable, shortterm implantable and long-term implantable, have been tested for biocompatibility and are appropriate to be used for medical applications. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates materials implanted into the body. Medical grades are approved as USP Class V and VI with most medical silicones falling in the Class VI certification. While the latter can be in contact with human tissue no longer than 29 days, implantable silicone grades can be implanted in the human body indefinitely. Several companies are engaged in manufacturing raw silicones, which include Wacker Chemie, Bayer, Dow Corning, Shin Etsu, NuSil Technologies and Momentive Performance Materials. For these companies testing is continuously done to ensure material safety. Over the years, there have been concerns over potential liability and risk of silicone use and that has prompted several large providers to stop producing long-term implantable silicones. US-based NuSil Technologies, a manufacturer of silicone compounds for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, is one company that still continues to manufacture silicones for longterm implants. Continuously innovating long-term implant silicones, the company announced recently the release of MED-6671, a room temperature curable coating that is said to significantly decrease the coefficient of friction of a cured silicone surface. The new product is designated unrestricted and may be considered for longterm implant applications of 29 days or longer.

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Rubber Journal Asia Medical silicones A one-part silicone coating, it is dispersed in tert-butyl acetate. Once cured, the coating chemically bonds to the silicone elastomer substrate, imitating its mechanical properties. This results in a smooth finish with a durable, yet flexible coating that resists abrasion from moving, sliding and rubbing parts.

with mechanical strength, making it ideal for permanently bonding components of medical devices. At a recent medical exhibition in the US, Momentive Performance Materials presented a case study that demonstrates the ability to use UV light to vulcanise silicone elastomers that contain different thermally sensitive materials at multiple concentrations. The new Addisil UV60EX elastomer can be cured on demand by exposure to UV light, making it an ideal candidate in medical applications where lower temperatures during the manufacturing process and typical silicone rubber physical properties are required. UV cure silicone elastomers are just one of the proprietary platforms of enabling technology and Momentive says it is helping drive innovation in the medical device industry. StatSil antimicrobial elastomer, developed using a technology that provides built-in antimicrobial protection in silicone-based elastomers, continues to be a featured product line. Responding to the medical industry’s heightened concern over bacterial contamination on critical device surfaces, StatSil elastomer may allow product designers to incorporate into the medical device itself antimicrobial protection for the purpose of controlling microbes in or on the human body, in examples such as catheters and wound drains. The firm says that representative samples of StatSil HCR 50 HC and StatSil HCR 55 HC have passed USP Class VI and ISO 10993 tests.

New silicone grades t the K2010 show, German chemical firm Wacker introduced a range of silicones for the medical industry. Included are solid silicone rubber grades that cure to elastomers of low surface friction. Of this, Silpuran 8630/60 is a high-purity silicone product developed specifically for medical applications. The low friction effect of the solid silicone is based on a special formulation concept that circumvents the drawbacks of traditional oilexuding silicones. Last year, Wacker also introduced a LSR grade for radiation-sterilisable silicone valves used in medical devices. Silpuran 6610/40 serves in the production of biocompatible silicone valves whose slits do not close up or “heal” during radiation sterilisation. The company says it, thus, allows such valves to be made without the use of additional auxiliaries. For instance, silicone valves ensure that infusion systems administer the correct dose of liquid medication. It also introduced Silpuran 4200 singlecomponent adhesive, which is a condensationcuring silicone rubber formulation. Upon vulcanisation, it forms a silicone elastomer

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Future of silicones here are two issues that affect the future of silicones as a biomedical product. The first is the continued availability of its component silicon. Environmentalists are now very concerned about the rapid depletion of oil, and, to a lesser extent coal, and many other non-renewable minerals mined from the planet. Silicon is also used in the telecommunications and IT industries and since it is a non-renewable resource, it will eventually become more difficult to find and extract and thus become increasingly expensive. It is probable that the more commercial telecoms and IT sectors may be better able to carry price increases than the medical sector, whose customers tend to be government- financed healthcare systems. The second issue, also environmental, is the disposability of waste silicone. This is the lesser of the problems, since silicone is not regarded as a toxic substance and is therefore safe if it finishes up as landfill. However, the whole issue of waste creation and disposal are also under review and may become a more serious issue later.

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Radiation-sterilised membrane, made from a standard silicone elastomer (left) and from Wacker’s Silpuran 6610/40 (right). The dosing slit in a standard silicone elastomer (left), gradually heals during irradiation with gamma radiation or E-beam unless a release agent is used. But the firm says its Silpuran is different as the silicone elastomer is formulated so that the slit remains completely intact, without the need for a release coating

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2 0 1 2 8-10 MARCH Rubber Technology Expo Venue: BITEC, Bangkok, Thailand Tel: +66 2 833 077 Fax: +66 2 538 1325 Email: peram@rubbertechnology-expo.com Internet: www.rubbertechnology-expo.com 9-11 MARCH Guangzou International Wood-Plastics Composites Fair Venue: China Import and Export Fair Pazhou Complex, Guangzhou, China Tel: +86 20 22106419 Fax: +86 20 82579220 Email: woodenhousechina@gmail.com Internet: www.musuz.com 13-14 MARCH Latex & Synthetic Polymer Dispersions Venue: KL Concorde Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel: +44 (0)1939 250383 Email: conferences@ismithers.net Internet: www.polymerconferences.com

18-21 APRIL Chinaplas Venue: Shanghai New International Expo Centre, Shanghai, China Tel: +852 25 16 3374 Fax: +852 2516 5024 Email: chinaplas@adsale.com.hk Internet: www.chinaplasonline.com 19-22 APRIL Diemould India Venue: Bombay Exhibition Centre, Goregaon, Mumbai, India Tel: +91 22 2852 6876 Fax: +91 22 2850 3273 Email: mumbai@tagmaindia.org Internet: www.tagmaindia.org 19-22 MAY China Rubber Expo Venue: Shangri-La Hotel Quingdao, China Tel: +86 10 8492 4091 Fax: +86 10 8492 4398 Email: expo@cria.org.cn Internet: www.cria.org.cn/CRIAWebSite/crc/en/conference.aspx

26-28 MARCH Masterbatch Asia Venue: Swissotel, The Stamford, Singapore Tel: +44(0)117 924 9442 Fax: +44(0)117 989 2128 Email: info@amiplastics.com Internet: www.amiplastics.com

5-8 JUNE Vietnam Plas Hanoi Venue: Vietnam Exhibition Fair Center (VEFAC), Giang Vo Ba Dinh, Hanoi, Vietnam Tel: +886 2 26596000 ext.185 Fax: +886 2 26597000 Email: exfdp@chanchao.com.tw Internet: www.vietnamplas.com

1-5 APRIL NPE Venue: Orange County Convention Centre, Orlando, Florida, USA Tel: +1 703 259 6132 (US and CAN) Email: exhibit@npe.org Internet: www.npe.org

12-16 JUNE China International Machine Tool & Tools Exhibition (CIMES) Venue: New China International Exhibition Center (NCIEC), Beijing, China Tel: +86 10 59339072 Fax: +86 10 59339099 Email: cimes@reedhuayin.com.cn Internet: www.cimes.net.cn

11-14 APRIL Indoplas Venue: Jakarta Indonesia Expo Kemayoran, Jakarta, Indonesia Tel: +65 6332 9620 Fax: +65 6337 4633 Email: indoplas@mda.com.sg Internet: www.indoplas.com

13-16 JUNE ProPak Asia Venue: Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC), Bangkok, Thailand Tel: +66 02 615 1255 Fax: +66 02 615 2991 Email: piyaporn@besallworld.com Internet: www.propakasia.com

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of enDless variety!

fUnCtional fillers for siliCone rUbber our new developed product aKtisil Q opens up a vast number of applications for you. for example in HCr silicone rubber, where high tensile strength and moduli with low compression set even without post-cure are requested. as functional filler aKtisil Q provides enormous advantages: excellent collapse resistance with good surface appearance, reduced stickiness and minimized blooming of extrusions, and all that with markedly improved oil resistance. aKtisil Q is a new surface treated product on basis of neuburg siliceous earth. we have the know-how. Use it.

We supply material for good ideas

23.02.2011 14:47:54 Uhr


PRA March 2012 - Issue