PRA May 2014 Edition

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

業界新聞 材 料 新 聞: 化石基塑膠的替代解決方案

In this issue

Volume 29, No 205

publlshed slnce 1985

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

Features 焦 點 內 容 20 US Machinery &Technology

Publisher Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 Email:

22 US Machinery & Technology

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

US firms are expanding their services and capacities in China; in view of the growing domestic market and to cater to the rest of the region Extrusion machinery maker Davis-Standard, with a significant global footprint and US$300 million sales, is packaged as a technology company that provides solutions through an innovation framework

24 Country Focus

An upward trend in foreign and local visits at the recent Chinaplas indicates a solid Chinese market that remains an atelier for innovative materials and applications

28 Medical Plastics

Chinese Editor Koh Bee Ling Circulation Abril Castro Email:

Successfully hurdling safety issues, demand for medical plastics are peaking, including in China where regulations are getting stricter than before

Admin & Finance Manager Tean Arul Email:

Regulars 概要

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

4 Industry News


8 Machinery News

ISSN 1360-1245

MCI (P) 029/08/2013

10 Materials News

Printer KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd

12 Composites News 14 業界新聞

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

18 材料新聞: 化石基塑膠的替代解決方案

Supplements 副 刊 European/US machine makers are gearing up for expansions as locally-made machines begin to top sales From personal care to automotive, silicones play a versatile role in serving a wide range of sectors

Outweighing metals, medical plastics are becoming more sophisticated to keep up with demands of technical advances in the healthcare sector

Connect @ MAY 2014

Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this publication is correct, the publisher makes no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the nature or accuracy of such material to the extent permitted by applicable law. © 2013 Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or used in any form, or by any means, without specific prior permission from the publisher. PRA is circulated free to trade readers in the plastics and rubber industry. Airmail subscriptions are available at US$160 within Asia and US$250 to all other countries outside Asia.

On the Cover


Editorial/Production Coordinator Angelica Buan Email:

is a member of ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation)

5 layer POD film coextrusion line. A technology definitely here to stay.

Macchi S.p.A. • 21040 Venegono Inferiore (VA) Italy via Papa Paolo VI, 5 • +39 0331 827 717 •

Industry News

M&As • US chemicals firm Axiall has acquired a 50% stake in Indian PVC compounder Shriram Vinyl Polytech, a 100% subsidiary of DCM Shriram, for US$5.7 million. • Europe’s two largest makers of PVC Ineos Group and Solvay have received approval from the European Union for a EUR4.3 billion joint venture of their PVC units after agreeing to sell their plants. Ineos will seek a buyer for sites producing suspension PVC and related assets. Ineos and Solvay will not be able to close the deal until they have a binding agreement with a purchaser approved by EU regulators.

• Thailand-headquartered Indorama has taken up a 51% stake in Turkish PET producer SASA Polyester Sanayi, a public-listed company, from Hacı Ömer Sabancı Holding. SASA incorporates integrated feedstock and polymer facilities producing DMT, staple fibres, filament yarns, PET, PBT polymers and speciality chemicals with a total plant capacity of 600,000 tonnes/ year. It supplies both Turkish and European markets. • Dubai-headquartered Taghleef Industries is acquiring Spanish maker of speciality films for flexible packaging converters Derprosa Film from 3i Group, Baring and other minority shareholders. Taghleef is also investing in its Hungarian

manufacturing plant to boost its five-layer capacity in Europe to 60,000 tonnes/year. • Indian chemical firm Artek Surfin has acquired a 100% stake in US additives supplier Galata Chemicals from joint owner Aterian Investment Partners. • UK-based rigid packaging maker RPC Group will buy Hong Kong-based ACE Corporation for US$430 million to enter the Asian market. ACE has five manufacturing plants in China, including one adjacent to Unilever’s biggest Chinese plant. Early this year, RPC also bought rigid plastic packaging supplier Maynard & Harris Group and Helioplast. • South Korean firm

Plant/Office set-ups/Capacity Increases • German chemicals company BASF has doubled capacity of its non-phthalate plasticiser Hexamoll Dinch from 100,000 to 200,000 tonnes/year at its site in Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF is also building a 12,000-tonne/year world-scale plant for the production of speciality amines in Ludwigshafen, scheduled for 2015. Earlier, it also announced an amines plant in China, which is due


MAY 2014

to start-up operations in 2015 and will produce dimethylaminopropylamine (DMAPA) and polyetheramine (PEA). • BASF-YPC, a BASF and Sinopec joint venture, will build a new world-scale production plant for Neopentylglycol (NPG) in Nanjing, China. The plant, with a capacity of about 40,000 tonnes/year, is planned to come on stream by 2015.

NPG is a polyalcohol offering high chemical and thermal stability. It is mainly used as a building block in polyester resins for coatings, unsaturated polyester and alkyd resins, lubricants and plasticisers. BASF-YPC has also inaugurated two new plants for acrylic acid and superabsorbent polymers (SAP) in Nanjing. Additionally, a new butyl acrylate plant will begin production later this

Songwon Industrial Group has acquired India-based SeQuent Scientific’s specialty chemicals business, including the stabiliser business and a production site in Panoli, Gujarat, together with the local R&D team. • Against the back of the cheap shale gas boom, US chemicals firm Westlake Chemical is filing for an IPO for Westlake Chemical Partners, a new subsidiary that will operate ethylene production facilities and an ethylene pipeline. It intends to raise US$272 million from the IPO. The new firm will include Westlake’s ethylene plants in Louisiana and Kentucky, which together would have a capacity of around 1.4 million tonnes/ year.

year. The new plants will further strengthen the C3 (propylene) value chain. With a capacity of 60,000 tonnes/year, the SAP plant will serve the Chinese market of baby diapers, adult incontinence and feminine care products. • UK-headquartered Colloids, part of the Tosaf Group, is setting up a new masterbatch plant in Changshu, China. The US$6 million, 3,700 sq m plant is scheduled

INDUSTRY NEWS to start up late 2014. It will have an initial capacity of 3,500 tonnes/year with future targeted capacity of 6,000 tonnes/year. Colloids, which manufactures white, colour, additive and black masterbatch has two facilities in the UK. • German speciality chemicals firm Lanxess has inaugurated its new compounding plant in Porto Feliz, Brazil. The EUR20 million facility will initially produce 20,000 tonnes/year of PA and PBT compounds for the automotive sector. • US-based speciality chemicals firm Lubrizol has broken ground for a new TempRite CPVC compounding plant in Dahej, India, part of the company’s US$400 million global expansion of its resin and compounding manufacturing capacity. The US$50 million plant will have the capacity to produce 55,000 tonnes/year of compounds. • South Korean Lotte Chemical’s Wilton site in the UK will house a 200,000-tonne PET resin plant that includes a 25-tonne/hour filtration and pelletising system commissioned by Nordson BKG. Due to start-up later this year, the £60-million project will more than double the capacity for PET. Also located at the site is an existing 150 kilotonnes/year PET, which started up plant last year. • Malaysia’s state oil and gas company Petronas has obtained Board approval to invest US$27 billion in the development of the Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC) in Johor. It comprises a world-scale Refinery and Petrochemical

Integrated Development (Rapid) and petrochemical project. Rapid is estimated to cost US$16 billion, while associated facilities, including raw water supply and power co-generation plants, and a liquefied natural gas regasification terminal, will involve an investment of about US$11 billion. The first stage of the project is the refinery, which is expected to start up by 2019. • Polyolefins maker Borealis is expanding capacity for its crosslinked polyethylene (XLPE) in Stenungsund, Sweden, by 2015. Borealis first invested in a high pressure low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plant in Stenungsund in 2010. Now, it will add on 20,000 tonnes/year of its Borlink extra high voltage (EHV), high voltage direct current (HVDC) and high voltage (HV) PE compounds produced in closed or controlled loop processes. • Munich-based chemical company Wacker has opened a Philippine representative office in Manila to distribute products of the chemical business divisions Wacker Silicones, Wacker Polymers and Wacker Biosolutions, catering for customers in the construction, adhesives, automotive, electronics, textile, leather, personal care and food industry. • German polymers firm Bayer MaterialScience is investing EUR15 million into a new production line that will involve the use of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide as a building block for polyols and targeting 5,000 tonnes of the material from 2016 at its Dormagen site. The CO2 will be used to produce a precursor for premium polyurethane foam.

Industry News

Asian footprint sets success trail


lobally active chemical company Wacker Chemie posted a solid first quarter sales for 2014, led by growth in the Asian region. For the current year, the Munich-based firm expects EBIDTA to climb 10% above the prior-year figure of EUR679 million. Wacker owes this positive forecast to sales of its silicones and to Asia’s higher standards of living. Sales in Asia shot up by 13% to EUR490.2 million. By 2017, Wacker expects to hit a global sales target of EUR6.5 billion. According to Dr Tobias Ohler, Wacker Executive Board, in 2013, Wacker generated Dr Tobias Ohler, Member EUR1.83 billion or 40% of of the Executive Board its sales in Asia, with China accounting for 58% of this. Speaking at the company’s recent media briefing in Burghausen, to commemorate Wacker’s centennial history, Ohler said the region is shown to provide the largest overall growth compared to US and Europe. To take advantage of the burgeoning middle class and changing consumer habits, Wacker is looking at Southeast Asia’s economic strength as a harbinger for the company’s regional growth. Demand hike for chemicals Asia is the largest manufacturer and consumer of chemicals and pharmaceutical products, with China as the largest single market for chemical products since 2009, according to Ohler’s presentation. In 2012, of the total global consumption, major markets in Asia accounted for more than the combined consumption of the US and the EU. China alone accounted for 29%, followed by Japan and South Korea (9%) and the rest of the region (12%). “The importance of developing economies as a chemical market is rising; there is high future growth potential in emerging countries,” he said. Again, China is expected to raise its chemical production by 8.8%, outpacing the global production increase at 3.8%, according to Wacker’s chemical production outlook for 2014. Wacker Metroark Chemicals’ Ohler said that enlarged technical centre in Wacker’s products serve Kolkata, India, now spans the global trends in 1,800 sq m. It has technology aspects of urbanisation, and test equipment for energy, health, living silicone products needed in the textiles, personal care and comfort, saving resources construction industry and digitisation.


MAY 2014

By 2025, 21 of the world’s 37 megacities will be in Asia; thus, electricity demand will double between 2010 and 2035. Investments for energy will climb US$11.7 trillion until 2035, Ohler said in his presentation. Supplementing the energy requirements are Wacker’s silicone elastomer insulators, polymer dispersions, silicone sealants and adhesives. With the growing population and longer life span, health awareness and self- indulgence are increasing, and thus improved medical treatment is required, and this can be served by Wacker’s biotech products. Meanwhile, Wacker’s dispersible powders (external thermal insulation systems), hyperpure silicon and silicone encapsulants serve the requirement for more efficient heating of buildings; demand for solar power applications; as well as consumer electronics and smartphones. Roots in Asia Wacker has carved its market in Asia for more than 40 years now. The company has had its major “firsts” in Asia, too. For instance, in 1970, the firm started its first business activities in China. In 1983, it set up its first sales office in Tokyo. Its first joint venture, with Metroark, was the basis for its base in India in 1998. The following year, it entered into a joint venture with Asahi Kasei to produce silicones (fluids, emulsions, elastomers) for the automotive, chemical and rubber industries. In 2000, the first regional technical centre was set-up in Shanghai, China, where the first production plant for silicone emulsions was also established in 2004. Biodegradable food packaging The following year, in 2005, is gaining in popularity. At it formed Wacker Dynamic K2013, Wacker presented the Silicones in Shunde, in a Vinnex binder system that joint venture with Dynamic enables enhanced processing Chemicals, to produce of bioplastics silicones (fluids, emulsions, elastomers) for the textile industry. Wacker established its first production plant for dispersible polymer powders in Zhangjiagang, which is also the site of its first joint venture integrated production plant for siloxanes and fumed-silica set up in 2008. In the same year, it launched its 300-mm wafer fabrication joint venture facility in Singapore. In 2010, it acquired South Korean silicone sealants manufacturer Lucky Silicones. To date, Wacker’s Asian footprint includes 25 sales offices, nine technical centres, four academy centres and nine production plants in various locations across 11 Asian countries. Its network includes Bangladesh, India, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines, where it recently opened a sales office to distribute products of the chemical business divisions.

Machinery Industry News

Catering to window profile production in China


erman firm KraussMaffei Berstorff and Austria-based Greiner Extrusion are providing the equipment for production of a new

The Ecolife window profile has a core made of a compound consisting of wood fibre and PO recycled materials, with a HDPE outer layer and an aluminium cladding

window profile system to Kappes Environment Technology (KET) for its plant in Bengbu (in Anhui province, China). Production is planned for August 2014. The windows, made from a composite containing 50% wood-fibre, HDPE outer layer and PO recycled materials, will be marketed in China under the brand name Ecolife. The system includes a modular compounding plant with the ZE130R twin-screw extruder, designed for a high output of over 1,500 kg/hour. It is also compact, due to the limited ceiling height. Using gravimetric metering, the extruder is

fed with thermoplastics and additives, which are melted on the front part of the 50-D-long processing unit. A side feeder meters the wood flour that is not predried. Two degassing units extract the humidity that can reach up to 12%. Together with the atmospheric degassing, a water ring pump ensures that high steam levels are dissipated. Combined with the free screw volume, the 6-D-long venting port with special wood composite inserts ensure the humidity is removed. The two-stage process includes three production lines with co-extruder

combinations for wood composite processing – combined with tools and downstream units supplied by Greiner Extrusion. Since it was founded in 2007, KET – a GermanChinese start-up company – has focused on developing resourceconserving generation of windows. The first patent was awarded in China in 2008. Additional manufacturing plants near Beijing, Shenyang and Chengdu are already being planned. After successfully launching on the Chinese market, KET is already aiming to expand into the global window market.

Reifenhäuser scores on the extrusion market


ithin a period of six months, extrusion machinery company Reifenhäuser Cast Sheet Coating says it has sold ten sheet extrusion lines provided with the new MIREX-MT-V polishing stack, which was launched at the K2013 last year. It says it has sold the system mainly for the production of PET film. The new mechatronic roll set-on system is based on up-to-date technology of high-precision machine tools, it adds.

“Reasons to buy the new polishing stack are the extremely short times for changing from one film thickness to another, and thin films of thicknesses impossible to be reached so far,” claims the German company. Depending on configuration and product parameters, 120 microns and less can be achieved in the production of PET film, with improved tolerances for quality products polished on both sides. Until now,

Reifenhäuser expects to launch other models of the polishing stack to cater to PS and PP films


MAY 2014

minimum film thicknesses of 150 microns could be realised in the industry only by using special equipment. Thanks to the reduction in thickness, producers of blister and display packaging can benefit from cost advantages, as well as reduce their product changeover times and rejects by 80% and adjust the polishing nip automatically and precisely by a factor of ten during running production. All parameters are 100% reproducible, adds the Troisdorf-headquartered firm. Following the success of the system, Reifenhäuser says it is now going to provide a further series of the patentpending system to target producers of PS and PP films. In related news,

Suzhou-based Reifenhäuser Plastic Machinery, a subsidiary of Reifenhäuser Group, is one of the largest importers of extrusion systems to China. CEO Ralf Pampus says, “We see great potential for further growth in Asia and especially here in China. Within the next few months we expect the import of 18 extrusion lines of the Reifenhäuser Group.” Especially in China, the firm has seen a considerable growth in sales, mainly for PET applications, barrier films, surface protection films, agricultural films and nonwovens. With this growth in mind, the company recently appointed Eberhard Wenger to oversee the management of the sales and service business of Reifenhäuser in China.

GREEN Materials News

Alternative solutions to fossil-based plastics With the ongoing move from a fossil fuel-based economy to a more sustainable biobased one, manufacturers are looking for alternative solutions. And since China is a big market for biomaterials, given its population and the growth of biodegradable shopping bags and mulch film, Chinese firms are cashing in with the production of biodegradable PABT and PPC. Biosuccinic acid goes into PBS and pigments At Chinaplas 2014, Reverdia, a joint venture between Netherlands firms DSM and starch and starch-derivatives company Roquette Frères, was demonstrating a 100% biobased succinic acid. Using a proprietary biotechnology process, feedstock is converted to Biosuccinium, via low pH yeast process, developed by Reverdia. It enables the production of biobased PBS (polybutylene succinate) that can be used as a single polymer or in compounds for both durable and biodegradable applications. Other applications include polyols for polyurethanes, coating and composite resins and phthalate-free plasticisers. End products include footwear, packaging, paints and many more. The company claims improved abrasion resistance in microcellular polyurethanes and better chemical resistance in TPU-based systems. In 2012, Reverdia started producing Biosuccinium in Cassano Spinola, Italy, with a capacity of about 10,000 tonnes/year, and for which, the company becomes known as the world's first dedicated large-scale plant. Reverdia says it is preparing for a next phase with further expansion of its production. Meanwhile, Swiss speciality chemicals producer Clariant says it is the first pigment producer to offer high performance pigments that are based on biosuccinic acid. It is incorporating renewable raw materials into its Quinacridone pigments produced at its Frankfurt-Hoechst facility in Germany. The biosuccinic acid is supplied by Myriant. The pigments are targeted at the automotive, architectural and plastics industries as well as colourants used in printing applications tailored to individual needs. Successful pilot plants for PHA and biobased DDDA Privately held biopolymer maker Meredian and speciality food ingredients and solutions provider Tate & Lyle have started up pilot production of Meredian’s PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) formulation process, which converts biomass fermentation products to PHA. Tate & Lyle contributed its fermentation technology to the pilot trial; it supplies fermentation products like acidulants.


MAY 2014

Meridian recently received food contact approval for its PHA from the US FDA, for use in packaging and storage containers. The pilot project also achieved production rates that make commercial production viable, thus opening the door for mass production of completely biodegradable plastics. US-based industrial biotechnology company Verdezyne recently produced more than 1 tonne of biobased DDDA (dodecanedioic) acid using its proprietary yeast platform and downstream process. The Michigan Biotechnology Institute (MBI) and the Michigan State University (MSU) Bioeconomy Institute (BEI) worked with Verdezyne to run the process at the 4,000-l scale. The biobased DDDA is a raw material used to produce nylon 6.12 and resins. The privately held company is currently evaluating several potential sites for producing plant oil-based DDDA in Malaysia. The facility will serve up to 30% of the US$200 million a year global market requirement for DDDA, which has been growing at an annual rate of 5.4%. Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby along with existing investors BP Alternative Energy Ventures, DSM Venturing, OVP Venture Partners and Monitor Ventures, have taken up a an investment of US$48 million in Verdezyne. With a 30% stake, Sime Darby is the single-largest shareholder in Verdezyne. Chinese cash in with PABT and PPC Chinese biodegradable/compostable polymer maker Jinhui Zhaolong High Technology has set up a 20,000tonne/year line for PABT in Shanxi province, having completed its pre-trialling last year. The US$35 million facility expects to sell 70% of its output to Europe. The firm, a subsidiary of Shanxi Jinhui Energy Group, is also tying up with a South Korean materials supplier, it said at the Chinaplas show in Shanghai. The US FDA-approved Ecoworld PABT is a terpolymer that is said to be completely biodegradable. It can be decomposed into carbon dioxide and water in 180 days by microorganisms under compostable conditions. It is made of 1.4 butanediol, adipic acid (feedstock for PA) and terephthalic acid using a onestep polymerisation technology. It allows for film

Green Materials News properties, ageing resistance as well as 120% tear resistance and 130% impact strength, compared to PE, owing to its benzene ring, says Jinhui. With its properties, it is targeted at agriculture mulch film, rubbish bags, compostable bags and cling wrap, to name a few. The shelf life of PABT is 12 months, even after being processed to film products, says Jinhui. But Jinhui’s PABT cannot be used on its own. It has to be compounded with other biodegradable materials such as PLA or starch. Jinhui is also collaborating with another Chinese producer Tian Guan to use its PPC (PP carbonate) degradable composite in compounding Ecoworld PABT. Tian Guan says it formulated PPC to counter the high price of barrier materials like EVOH. The new PPC formula comprises 40-50% carbon dioxide and the monomer is PP, polymerised to obtain the PPC. It is said to cost 60% less than EVOH, while still maintaining oxygen resistance at the same level and it is biodegradable, says Tian Guan. Tian Guan received an award from the Chinese government in 2009. It has 50 local and three US patents on the biodegradable material. Packaging sector growing for biomaterials Packaging solutions provider Tetra Pak says that all of the packaging it produces in Brazil is now using biobased low-density polyethylene (LDPE), which is produced by Brazilian materials maker Braskem.

Inside package

Polyethylene Polyethylene Aluminium

Bio-based polyethylene Paperboard Bio-based polyethylene

Diagram showing Tetra Pak’s bio-packaging

Combined with paperboard, the use of sugar canebased LDPE increases the content of materials from renewable sources to as much as 82% in a Tetra Brik Aseptic 1,000 ml Base packaging. Tetra Pak says it is also aiming to develop a 100% renewable packaging.

In February, Coca-Cola Brazil became the first company to use the new packaging for its Del Valle juice beverages, previously sold in regular cartons. Following that success, the pilot is now being extended to include all 150 customers that source from Tetra Pak Brazil – a total of more than 13 billion packs/year. No modification of the machine is needed for customers to switch to the new packaging materials. Tetra Pak has initially prioritised the Brazilian market but intends to expand the offer to more markets in future.

Coca Cola in Brazil is the first to use Tetra Pak’s biobased packaging

Meanwhile in Germany, BASF says it replaces up to 100% of the fossil resources Outside used at the beginning of the package integrated production process with certified biomass for its Ultramid polyamide. The share of renewable raw materials in the sales product is then indicated in the respective quantity. A third-party certification confirms to customers that BASF has used the required quantities of renewable raw materials which the customer has ordered in the value chain. The resulting Ultramid, which is produced according to the so called mass balance approach, is identical in terms of formulation and quality but associated with lower green house gas emissions and saving of fossil resources. Also, existing plants and technologies along the value chain can continue to be used without changes. BASF operates Ultramid polymerisation plants in Ludwigshafen, Germany; Antwerp, Belgium; Freeport, Texas and São Paulo, Brazil. Another plant is under construction in Shanghai, China. MAY 2014



Reinventing cars with CFRPs The automotive industry, an epitome of technology revolution, is going back to milling practical and functional vehicles. Composites and other lightweight materials are expected to play integral roles in the design and manufacture of this next generation of vehicles, says Angelica Buan in this report.

Less weight driving Carbon fibre has already enjoyed a good following, particularly among car makers who are shifting to using carbon fibre composites in major parts. For instance, German luxury automotive maker BMW and carbon fibre maker SGL Group will triple production of carbon fibre at the US plant to 9,000 tonnes/year, as BMW prepares to expand the use of CFRPs in its electric i and M series. BMW’s i3, the first fully electric vehicle, features a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and a passenger cell and other parts constructed of CFRPs.


n average car normally weighs between 3,000-4,000 kg. But times are changing and metals are being replaced by carbon fibrereinforced polymers (CFRPs) to produce more robust yet lighter vehicles. Comparably, CFRPs are stiffer by unit weight than glass fibre and metals, and 50% lighter than conventional steel as well as 30% lighter than aluminium. A CFRP study by the India-headquartered research firm Industry Experts revealed that global volume demand for CFRPs was estimated at around 67,000 tonnes in 2012 but by 2020, consumption will reach 210,000 tonnes, with a 15.3% CAGR. In terms of value, demand for CFRPs, estimated at US$10.25 billion in 2012, is expected to grow by 11.9% over 2012-2020 and reach US$25.2 billion by 2020.

The Audi Sport Quattro features a number of CFRP parts


MAY 2014

BMW’s i3, the first fully electric vehicle, features a passenger cell and other parts constructed of CFRPs

BMW also plans to start production of its first plug-in hybrid two-plus-two sports car, the i8, that will feature a passenger cell and other parts made from CFRPs. Germany’s Audi debuted its plug-in hybrid vehicle last year and showed an improved model at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The splitter is made of CFRP as is the diffuser. Rounding up the grille package is the CFRP facing and flared sills. Canada-headquartered automotive parts supplier Magna Exteriors is supplying CFRP painted automotive body panels for two 2016 model vehicles. Magna utilises Zoltek’s Panex 35 carbon fibre to develop CFS-Z carbon fibre sheet moulding compound. Meanwhile, the continuous fibre-reinforced Tepex composites from Germany-based Lanxess subsidiary Bond-Laminates are finding new applications in the area of automotive bodywork. One example is the use of a variant of Tepex dynalite to provide engine compartment protection in the MINI John Cooper Works GP. The protector is manufactured by compounding PP with continuous glass fibre rovings and forming the component directly from the resulting DLFT (Direct Long Fibre Thermoplastic) mass in a compression mould.


Compression moulding for CFRPs is increasing. Voestalpine Plastics Solutions succeeded in processing Lanxess's Tepex dynalite with a DLFT polyamide in a production mould for a PP-based GMT to produce a trunk recess for a sports vehicle from a German manufacturer

Harri Dittmar, Lightweight Design Expert at BondLaminates believes there is immense scope for using Tepex dynalite as underbody protection in cars – especially in vehicles destined for countries with poor roads that therefore require extra protection. “Sandwich DLFT solutions can be up to 50% lighter than steel and 20% lighter than aluminium protection. Thermoplastic sandwich composites also provide more effective sound insulation from stone hits – in other words they demonstrate superior acoustic properties too,” Dittmar adds. In view of the properties of carbon fibre, other leading car makers like General Motors, Toyota and Daimler are likewise developing models using the composites. Carbon fibre Alongside the increase in use for CFRPs in cars, suppliers are developing new products and speeding up processing techniques. In its 2013 review, Carbon Composites eV (CCeV), the German association of composite companies and research institutes, says that members of CCeV accounted for 40% of global fibre production in 2012. About 97% of carbon fibre used in composite materials is processed into CFRPs, according to the report. The increased consumption for carbon fibre has seen the concurrent increase of capacities. For instance, Japanese producer Toray Industries increased its carbon fibre capacity to 21,100 tonnes and acquired Zoltek this year, which also ramped up capacity to 17,600 tonnes/year in 2013. Others like Russia-based Argon (CJSC Holding Company Composite) and Alabuga Fibers, each has expanded capacity by 1,500 tonnes/year while South Korea’s Taekwang Industrial has expanded its capacity to 1,500 tonnes/year. In 2012, Dow Chemical and Turkish acrylic fibre maker Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii set up DowAksa Advanced Composites to manufacture and commercialise carbon fibre. Last year, the joint venture partners tied up with nanotechnology company Rusnano and Russian carbon fibre maker Holding Company Composite (HCC) to launch production of carbon fibre intermediates, composite

materials, and solutions in Russia. DowAksa has 3,600 tonnes of capacity in Yalova near Istanbul. Still according to CCeV data, the largest installed carbon fibre capacities are found in the US, with Europe (including Turkey) and Japan, each accounting for some 23%-24% of global output. Meanwhile, China has expanded its production to around 11% of total global capacity (based on the 2013 review); Taiwan, South Korea, Russia, India and Mexico are also contributing significantly to the global output. In the automotive sector, Europe accounts for 56% of the global consumption, while North America and Japan take up 26% and 14%, respectively. Not going full blast yet The sky is the limit for the growth of carbon fibre and CFRP use in the automotive industry but it has not reached its full potential yet. There are indeed barriers that have to be addressed, says the American Chemistry Council (ACC). Firstly, the cost is a hindrance, followed by recycling and environmental pressures placed on automotive makers to ensure that the composite components are recyclable. The cost of raw carbon fibre can be between five to 25 times more than fibre glass; CFRPs cost even more compared to steel. There are also applications where conductivity is a requirement and carbon fibre needs to be used, against other materials. But hopes are high that CFRPs will benefit from advanced technologies to lower their costs, and thereby, widen their applications, especially for serial production of automotive vehicles. A research team at US-based Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is developing new carbon fibre materials that cost lower. The US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a US$35-million grant for the R&D venture as part of the agency’s Vehicle Technologies Programme that has ploughed an investment of around US$20 million. Industrial consortium members include 3M, BASF, Dow Chemical, Ford, GE, Graftech International, SGL, Toho Tenax America, United Technologies, and Volkswagen, as well as other government agencies. The pilot plant is capable of producing up to 25 tonnes/year. Initially, materials such as low-cost polymers, inexpensive textiles made from low-grade, low-quality plant fibres, and renewable natural fibres such as lignin, which is a by-product of paper mills, will be tried out. Various processes will also be employed to come up with modified or substitute versions of the precursor polyacrylonitrile (PAN). About 90% of the carbon fibres are made from PAN, which is expensive, thereby hiking up manufacturing costs. Similarly, in an effort to gain further adoption of CFRPs, the US automotive and polymer industries have also created a roadmap towards 2030, under the guidance of the ACC Plastics Division. With this, it will recognise plastics and polymer composites as preferred material solutions that meet, and in many cases set, automotive performance and sustainability requirements. MAY 2014


US Machinery and Technology ExxonMobil Chemical/W&H’s POD blown film technology attracts global attention Global chemicals firm ExxonMobil Chemical and German extrusion machine maker Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H) say the five-layer technology for dedicated polyolefin (POD) blown films has taken off in a big way. Speaking at Chinaplas, officials from both companies said the technology is “breaking through global markets, with a huge turnaround expected in the next two to three years.”

ExxonMobil Chemical’s Exceed and Enable mPE resins are targeted for collation shrink film for carbonated beverage bottles

The technology was first introduced at K2010 in Germany and shown at K2013 by W&H. At Chinaplas, it promoted its latest Varex II line based on ExxonMobil Chemical’s Exceed and Enable metallocene polyethylene (mPE) resins for collation shrink film for carbonated beverage bottles. The line is paired with a polyolefindedicated 400-mm Maxicone die; new high performance Arctis air ring and new Filmatic S II winder. Dirk Van der Sanden, Global Processing and Converting Advisor, Polyolefins Technology, ExxonMobil Chemical, said that compared to conventional three-layer PE films, converters can benefit from higher productivity and greater flexibility to produce a broader range of film solutions from a single line. According to Dirk, the additional two layers in the five-layer film structure allow for optical, mechanical and improved toughness/stiffness properties. “To achieve similar flexibility with a three-layer technology would possibly require two lines that could be more expensive to buy and to operate,” he added, explaining that when assuming a further downgauging of around 10 to 20% the ROI on the incremental investment of a five-layer over a three-layer line would typically be three years.


MAY 2014

Meanwhile, Haridass Kalidas, PE AP Market Development Manager, ExxonMobil Chemical, said that the leap from three-layer to a five-layer film technology would allow a processor to stay ahead of the competition and afford extra capabilities. This was reinforced by Michael Fischer, W&H’s CEO Asia Pacific, “The main leaders in the packaging industry have successfully transcended to three layers and are now discussing the POD five-layer line. This is because it offers higher output and it allows up to 30% downgauging. Furthermore, the move from threelayer formulations to five-layer structures significantly increases the options available for product development.” He also said the five-layer POD technology would be ideal for the high volume Chinese market adding, “a processor only needs to focus on one machine and one product.” Fischer also said W&H had sold its first Varex II line in China. Besides the optical properties, high output and downgauging, formulations can be designed to provide balanced in-use performance and a high holding force. “Basically, it is how to put the benefits into practice; and to structure the layers so that the right material is in the right layer for a beneficial end strategy,” said Dirk. Both the W&H and ExxonMobil Chemical officials say that the companies work together jointly to make the POD technology a success. “While W&H provides the hardware, ExxonMobil supplies the software: coupling state-of-the-art blown film equipment technology with the newest resin developments and film formulations.” As to why the five-layer POD technology is successful globally, the ExxonMobil Chemical executives say that there is a “big pull from the downstream market as major brand owners are more concerned on using less material.”

W&H's latest Varex II line features the new Arctis air ring, an upgrade of the Opticool air ring presented in 2009, said to substantially contribute to a further increase in output. The air flow concept leads to maximum cooling efficiency and optimum performance and also provides easy access to the die components, says the machinery maker

US Machinery and Technology Polyone and Celanese invest in China to expand their businesses Specialised polymer materials provider PolyOne Corporation is establishing a new Innovation centre in Shanghai that will focus on R&D using its engineered materials. Spanning 1,700 sq m, the facility will employ 50 persons to facilitate collaboration, accelerate application development and increase speed-to-market for customers in the Asia Pacific region, said Mark Crist, Vice-President of PolyOne Asia. It is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2014. Meanwhile, according to Eng Guan Soh, General Manager Asia, the company will also realign its assets in Singapore and Suzhou. “This means we will move the R&D from Singapore and Suzhou to Shanghai. But the two facilities will still maintain production, sales/marketing and other commercial aspects of the business,” he explained during a press conference held in conjunction with Chinaplas 2014 in Shanghai. Eng did not want to disclose the investment into the new facility. At Chinaplas, PolyOne introduced its OnCap Light Shield additives for clear packaging. These new solutions effectively absorb both ultraviolet (UV) and visible light before either can reach light-sensitive contents such as food or pharmaceuticals, helping to reduce their degradation. In some cases, using OnCap Light Shield additives can also eliminate the need to have an extra coating or layer, reducing material usage

Speciality materials company Celanese Corporation will expand its compounding capabilities at its integrated chemical complex in Nanjing to include Fortron polyphenylene sulphide (PPS). It is expected to be operational by year-end 2014. “The Fortron PPS compounding expansion is part of the Celanese growth strategy to directly serve our customers in China and the broader Asia region, which are both experiencing impressive growth,” said Phil McDivitt, Vice-President and General Manager. “Leveraging our resources at the Nanjing facility – and our network of technical and sales support in China – accelerates our ability to deliver innovative solutions and grades, including the recently launched CES50, ICE, FLEX and our existing proven materials, which deliver value for our customers in Asia.” Fortron PPS is a high-performance polymer that can withstand high thermal, chemical and mechanical stress and is used in a wide variety of applications in the automotive, electrical/electronics, aerospace, fluid handling and industrial/consumer sectors. It is also inherently flame retardant and does not require the use of halogen-containing flame retardants to achieve UL94 V0 rating.

Milliken and Schulman boost innovations Additives supplier Milliken is planning a major capacity expansion of its Millad NX 8000 clarifying agent for PP at its Allen facility in the US. The company will double its production and add an additional redundant manufacturing line. Milliken says this is its most significant capital investment in its Millad clarifier business to date. The expansion is scheduled for completion in 2015.

Milliken's Millad NX 8000 clarifying agent has been used for transparent PP applications like food containers

Allen Jacoby, Vice-President, Plastics Additives, said that the need for a capacity expansion comes from Millad NX 8000’s success. It has been used for new, transparent PP applications, from food storage to personal care packaging. The fast adoption of the technology over traditional clarifiers has been driven by the material’s cleaner, fresher look and inherent sustainability benefits versus competitive products, says Jacoby. Its improved solubility enables clarified PP to be processed at cooler temperatures, thus taking advantage of higher melt flow resins. “Customers using this technology have experienced energy savings of up to 13%, cycle times accelerated up to 18% and carbon emissions reduced by as much as 13%,” added Jacoby. The clarifying agent also allows manufacturers to replace high-density resins, such as PC, PS and PET with lower-density PP to reduce costs and weight, he added. Meanwhile, materials firm A. Schulman showcased Papermatch, a multi-component system of speciality additives and minerals as a solution for synthetic film applications. While ensuring that it looks and feels like paper, it can also support a great degree of flexibility in design, to create new products in various shapes, to help customers constantly gain new business opportunities, said the firm. It can be used in applications such as labels, brochures and advertising materials, maps, banners, posters and book covers. Another new solution, Polybatch antimicrobial and antibacterial masterbatches, contains EPA registered agents that effectively resist the growth of a wide range of microbes. When incorporated into a film or moulded structure, these additives can render treated articles inert to microbial attack. MAY 2014


US Machinery and Technology

Presenting innovations for a global advantage With 30% of its business accounted for by Asia, particularly in China, US-headquartered extrusion machinery supplier Davis-Standard is “very successful” in the region, said company executives speaking at a media briefing during Chinaplas.

Flexible packaging is a growth market of interest to Davis-Standard


n fact, the company says that China is already its “home”, a strategy of its Global Advantage initiative path, which includes the addition of assets in Asia/China. In 2012, the firm set up a 4,300 sq m facility in Suzhou, making control panels and other components. It has now expanded to the manufacture of extruders and gear boxes, said Sekaran Murugaiah, Vice-President, Business Development for Asia Pacific. He also said the facility presently employs 150 people, complemented by a sales/ support team of 15 people in Shanghai. Early this year, Davis-Standard also opened a spare parts/service centre in Suzhou. “We now have the capability to allow customers to upgrade their lines and equipment, since some machines in China are old,” said Sekaran. Besides allowing for retrofitting of gears and feed screws, the Suzhou facility also has an extensive inventory of high usage parts, explained Sekaran, adding that in the past customers had to place orders in US/Europe. “We are able to supply parts within 24 hours of ordering from Suzhou,” he added, explaining that local language support and acceptance of payment in RMB are other benefits offered. Furthermore, to help raise customer productivity, Davis-Standard also launched a new website to serve a broad range of essential information on its 12 business platforms, according to Jim Murphy, President, Extrusion Systems. The online portal contains product videos and photos, innovation updates, for example on the dsX product lines; information on service capabilities and global contact information. Catering to market needs with new lines Meanwhile, under the umbrella of the dsX range of equipment products Davis-Standard’s aim is to provide highly engineered and predefined solutions that serve specific end markets. At last year’s Chinaplas and K2013 shows, Davis-Standard introduced the dsX flex pack for flexible packaging, running a line at its facility in Dusseldorf. Said Murphy, “Flexible packaging is a fast growing category that works around weight reduction and extra protection for packaging.” As an end-use product-configurable solution, the line is engineered to fit the flexible packaging needs of customers.


MAY 2014

US Machinery and Technology

The dsX med-tube medical tubing line has been introduced to cater to the fast growing market sector in Asia

It also introduced the dsX med-tech for medical tubing/catheters, which has been installed for trial runs at the Suzhou facility. “Medical tubing is fast growing in Asia, China in particular. We are able to demonstrate the line to customers in China, in terms of specific requirements for materials,” explained Murphy. The sector continues to be an area where Davis-Standard has seen strong growth over last five years and expects strong future growth driven by market demand, added Murphy. At Chinaplas this year, the firm was promoting the dsX stretch line for the stretch film market. It is a high speed line capable of 750 m/minute for 8 micron-films. It also has what is said to be a unique coreless winder, with the capability of restretching to make film even thinner. The stretch line is targeted at film producers serving the stretch film market, especially those that are looking at replacing older lines to allow for more efficiency and for manufacturers who are eyeing an optimised stretch film technology to minimise losses from damaged goods through the supply chain, added Murphy. “The stretch film market continues to grow faster than any other markets as customers realise palletising is important during shipment to protect products. It serves distributors and vertical integrated manufacturing,” explained Murphy. Explaining the new dsX product range, he added, “It brings to light lots of core competencies such as screw design, web handling and winding as well as control systems capabilities of the company.” In the dsX, the X stands for value

and Davis-Standard’s ability to deliver value to customers, he further explained. Enhancing the product range for customer benefits In line with its global strategy, the firm says it will continue to introduce new products for the wire/ cable, sheet and medical markets in China/Asia. When asked why a processor would select Davis-Standard equipment, Carlos Flores, DavisStandard’s Global Vice-President of Marketing, said the company brings experience in engineering solutions from its installed base in Asia, plus it is also building and investing in a global footprint and in technology centres. The company’s focus is also on catering to the needs of small to medium sized processors that are sprouting up in Asia. “We are committed to finding unique solutions for customers to help them grow their businesses,” said Flores. “Davis-Standard has a global advantage in bringing pre-engineered solutions and the right sized equipment to players in Asia,” he added. Currently, Davis-Standard has six manufacturing facilities: three are located in the US, and the other three are in China, Germany and the UK, respectively. The firm also has two R&D centres in the US and one in China. In line with its innovation-driven framework, it enables pilot facilities for testing new processes and applications with customers. It also conducts internal trials to support the development of screw designs and innovative extrusion solutions; as well as provide process expertise throughout product lines. MAY 2014


Country Focus

China on route to more innovations Chinaplas, held in Shanghai from 23-26 April, attracted 130,370 visitors, up 14.26%, a new record since the show first debuted in 1983, according to Hong Kongbased organiser Adsale Exhibition Services. The number of overseas visitors was up by 19.73% to 36,841, accounting for 28.26% of total visitors. The Chinese market is still attractive for materials suppliers, with more expansions announced recently to cater to China’s move towards a more innovationdriven economy. Chemicals growth expected A robust demand for consumer products, housing and durable goods in China, which includes electronics, appliances, construction materials and automotive, combined with an improving economy, is driving increased domestic demand for plastics to produce these goods, says research firm IHS Chemical. “In just the next five years, from 2013 to 2018, China is going to add 9 million tonnes of domestic PE capacity alone, which is significant,” said Nick Vafiadis, Senior Director, Global Olefins and Plastics, during an executive briefing organised by IHS at Chinaplas. He went on to say that much of the new Chinese production capacity will be quite competitive on a cash-cost basis due to advances in coal-to-olefins technologies. The firm also estimates that during the period 2000-2020, China will grow its basic chemicals capacity production (which includes benzene, chlorine, methanol, propylene and ethanol), by nearly 170 million tonnes. In other words, China will add 47% of the estimated global total additions expected for basic chemical production during the period. The two next largest producing countries for expected capacity additions in basic chemicals during the same period are Saudi Arabia, at 7% capacity addition, followed by the US at 6%.


MAY 2014

Chinaplas this year had over 3,000 exhibitors from 39 countries, of which over 400 were new to the show. In addition to 17 exhibition halls, 13 additional outdoor halls and six exhibition suites were also set up to cope with the number of exhibitors, resulting in a total exhibition area of 220,000 sq m

Borouge and Kraiburg expand reach; cater to niche applications Middle Eastern supplier of polyolefin solutions Borouge is one such supplier that is expanding its presence in China. According to Tarmo Raudsepp, Senior Vice-President for Asia South, “The increase in investments will allow us to efficiently enhance our competitive advantage and service offering in the local market.” It is expanding compounding capacity at its Shanghai plant from 50,000-90,000 tonnes/year. It is also expanding the Asia North regional sales office in Shanghai and adding two new warehouses in Ningbo

Borouge’s two advanced grades of BorPure HDPE for caps and closures are said to support the beverage industry’s increasing adoption of lightweight, standard shortneck closures (PCO 1881) that bring savings for the total packaging application

Country Focus and Tianjin. It will also relocate its technical centre in Shanghai to Pudong this year. Raudsepp explained that China is a strong market, unlike the fragmented markets in the rest of Asia, and thus, the compounding investment is justified. The addition of more sales and marketing resources is to improve “logistical support”, he said. “We intend to sell to customers directly to have a better dialogue and to find out what materials they require to improve their processes/end products.” Meanwhile, the company’s capacity at its petrochemical plant at Ruwais, Abu Dhabi, UAE, has grown by a whopping 700% from 2010 (when the start-up of Borouge 2 tripled production capacity to 2 million tonnes/year). Nevertheless, it will increase capacity further from 2 million-4.5 million tonnes/year in Borouge 3. The plant will include additional capacity for PP (1.1 million tonnes) and PE (1.1 million tonnes) as well as the start-up of LDPE (300,000 tonnes) for wire/cable compounds. At the show, Borouge debuted PP solutions including new grades of Boreco for pipes, crosslinked polyethylene (XLPE) cable insulation for High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cables, Daplen and Fibremod for automotive components production, BorPure for the plastic’s caps and closures market, and Borstar greenhouse films solution. “Our vision is to create and sell products that add value and differentiate, especially for niche market applications, and not to compete with local producers of commodity resins,” explained Raudsepp. Another supplier targeting niche applications is thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) maker Kraiburg. It introduced a new Asia Pacific portfolio, with seven different TPE grades, to serve the region. “We realise there is potential for growth of TPEs in Asia Pacific and that is why we are gearing up for it,” said Roland Ritter, Director Asia-Pacific. Included in the new line-up are grades for adhesion to PA; natural-coloured and translucent solutions for food contact applications; PP adhesion solutions for technical applications; and automotive exterior grades.

The company also offers tailor-made product services like fragrance and colour matching. But this would not be possible without R&D. “The key in a growing market is to have localised development. We have increased our headcount for R&D in Malaysia, where our facility is, to handle Asian product development, and technical consultancy for product development,” said Ritter. Technical support is important in China, where a growth market for Kraiburg is its DW compounds (drinking water series) for the shower/faucet sector. “Approvals are not easy and getting tighter.” Meanwhile, Ritter said Kraiburg will consider a capacity expansion in two years to cater to the growing Asian market. The Germanyheadquartered firm’s facility is located in Malaysia, where it has three lines with a total capacity of 8,000 tonnes/year. Solvay and Sabic focus on capacity build-ups The be-all and end-all market for chemical group Solvay is China and it plays a major role in its development. In line with this, Solvay Specialty Polymers will start-up two plants in Changshu: for Tecnoflon FKM production by 2015 and Solef PVDF production in 2016. It also signed an MOU with Shanghai 3F New Material to set up a joint venture on PTFE in Changshu. Along the same vein, Solvay Engineering Plastics will increase its Technyl polyamides compounding capacity in Shanghai by 25% by 2016. Meanwhile, innovation plays a substantive part in the group’s push of its products in Asia, said Frank Laganier, Asia-Pacific Director for Solvay Engineering Plastics, adding that the group generates 20% of its sales from products that are less than five years old. Solvay has a new R&D building in Shanghai combining both the Specialty Polymers and Engineering Plastics capabilities, with new laboratories for colour development and FKM applications for polymers.

Kraiburg recently cooperated with German components maker Veritas to develop an under-the-hood part using Hipex. Compared with other TPEs, Hipex is permanently heatresistant at high temperatures as well as oil and grease resistant also at high temperatures

Solvay is pumping up efforts for its business in China

MAY 2014


Country Focus In addition, a main focus of Solvay in China is to promote sustainable products, since China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection has committed to reduce vehicle emissions, which are said to be the source of about a quarter of the country’s air pollution. With this in mind, Solvay was promoting new automotive solutions, for lightweight performance and powertrain efficiency. For energy consumption reduction, smart energy management and sustainable designs, Solvay offers the Halar ECTFE (ethylene chlorotrifluoroethylene) film grades for front sheets and Solef PVDF back sheet as well as Technyl flame retardant materials for photovoltaic modules. Another supplier with an eye on weight reduction for improved fuel economy and lower emissions, is Sabic Innovative Plastics. It is investing in a production line for its Stamax long glass fibrereinforced polypropylene resin at its manufacturing site in Shanghai. The material is targeted at the automotive sector as compared to the use of steel, Stamax can allow for weight savings of up to 50%, according to Sabic. Stamax is used by automotive makers for large components and semi-structural parts such as frontend modules, instrument panel carriers, tailgates and seat structures. The new capacity is expected to come on stream in 2015. Sabic currently produces Stamax in Genk, Belgium, and in Mississippi, US. “With this move to bring local supply of Stamax resin to China and Asia Pacific, we are demonstrating our commitment to ensure our expanding customer base in the region has a reliable supply,” said Alan Leung, Vice-President of Global and Asia Pacific Commercial Operations. In addition, Sabic is also adding on-the-ground specialists in China and Asia Pacific to strengthen

Sabic has worked with Changan, one of China’s largest automotive makers, on an all-plastic front-end module for its CX30 model, said to be the first Chinese vehicle with this type of part. It used Stamax resin to replace steel, cutting part weight by up to 40% and total vehicle weight by 4 kg


MAY 2014

its design support offering in the region for process and mould designs. Services include ultra-light mechanical design, mechanical calculations, mould flow studies and warpage simulations. Styrolution and Clariant share plans for new projects German styrenics maker Styrolution, a joint venture of BASF and Ineos, has had a presence in China for a number of years. Thus, it is imminent that it will set up a facility in China, according to CEO Roberto Gualdoni, speaking at a media briefing. In 2013, China accounted for 8% of the group’s EUR5.8 billion global sales and Asia represented 20% of the geographic pie, said Gualdoni.

Styrolution CEO Roberto Gualdoni says the company is studying the feasibility of adding on capacity in China

In 2012, Styrolution tied up with Plastic World China (PW), under a licensing agreement, for the production of ASA, ABS and high-heat ABS for the Chinese market at PW's Shenzhen plant. PW added on additional capacity of 4,500 tonnes/year to complement Styrolution's existing production capacity in South Korea, Thailand and India. Now, the company is evaluating its options, but Gualdoni said the overcapacity and competitive market situation would provide a challenging environment for the company’s high value-added products. “We need to understand what our customers require and then we will be ready to look further at investments or acquisitions.” As for India, Gualdoni said the country is one of the key strategic markets in Asia where Styrolution plans to accelerate growth and expand its footprint, which is in line with its ‘Triple Shift' growth strategy to invest in emerging countries Hence, Styrolution recently inaugurated a new line for its Absolan styrene acrylonitrile copolymer (SAN) in Gujarat, India. It augments Styrolution's current 60,000 tonnes/year capacity bringing the total capacity to 100,000 tonnes/year in India. SAN is commonly used in applications, such as household appliances, stationery, cosmetic packaging and general injection moulding. Another company that witnessed higher sales in China is Swiss speciality chemicals firm Clariant. In 2013, its sales went up by 7.3% or CHF 646 million.

Country Focus Planned investments to strengthen its on-theground support for customers will include new units at Clariant’s production site in Zhenjiang. Here, the additives business unit is currently evaluating options for a new Ceridust production facility to provide micronised waxes for the domestic market, and the addition of new capacity for polymer additives preparations to provide Addworks solutions for the fibre, agriculture, packaging, E&E and automotive industries, said Christian Kohlpaintner, Executive Committee member. Following its acquisition of the Organic Pigment Business of Jiangsu Multicolor Fine Chemical last year, the pigments business unit will construct a world scale PV 23 plant at Zhenjiang, planned to open in 2016. The pigments unit has also doubled its technical service and sales organisations in China. It has recently added seven new positions at Clariant’s Technical Centres in Shanghai and Guangzhou to enhance technical service capabilities in the region, and seven new sales positions in China. At its Guangzhou plant, Clariant’s masterbatches business unit is in the process of doubling production capacity. Kohlpaintner said Clariant sees great potential for growth in China, adding, “Innovation is the key to taking the market to the next level.” BASF and DSM work on innovations for the Chinese market Germany-based BASF introduced its new patentpending co-extrudable Ultradur PBT for the reinforcement of thermally insulated PVC window profiles. Jointly developed with Dalian Shide Group, the new material has a melting point closer to that of PVC, which enables a one-step optimised extrusion process of the window profiles and the replacement of steel so far used as reinforcement. “Window profiles made with durable, lightweight and highly thermal insulating Ultradur enable energy efficient construction and contributes to a reduction in energy required for heating and cooling of buildings,” BASF and Dalian Shide introduced a patent pending one-step extrusion process for energy efficient window profiles

said Andy Postlethwaite, Senior Vice President, Performance Materials Asia Pacific, BASF. He added that the window profiles meet with increasingly stringent insulation requirements and also translate to energy cost savings for consumers. The co-extrudable Ultradur is the first engineering plastics innovation developed at BASF’s Innovation Campus in Shanghai while the patent pending onestep extrusion process is enabled by Dalian Shide’s mould design. “It is more efficient and accordingly optimises the production process of our window manufacturing customers,” said Xu Bin, Chairman, Dalian Shide Group. In a similar fashion, Dutch materials maker DSM showcased its Stanyl and Stanyl ForTii polyamides for DDR4 memory connectors at Chinaplas.

DSM was promoting its Stanyl and Stanyl ForTii for memory connectors for servers

DDR4 is the latest type of DRAM now coming onto the market. It has data transfer rates up to twice as high as DDR3, the previous generation of memory connectors. Furthermore, DDR4 will provide computers with significantly improved power management and increased speed and performance. At the same time, the technology puts higher demands on materials used to house and insulate the memory modules and sockets. DSM says connector maker like Lotes in Taiwan is already using Stanyl ForTii for DDR4 connectors, instead of liquid crystal plastic (LCP) and polyphthalamide (PPA), which it also tested for the application. The processor notes advantages such as the low warpage after the reflow soldering process, its outstanding toughness and stiffness, pin retention forces and the freedom allowing components to be made in different colours. Meanwhile, Chinese company WanJie Electronic has also used the Stanyl ForTii T11 for SMT-soldered terminal blocks. The halogenfree, high temperature 4T polyamide is said to feature outstanding thermal and mechanical performance. MAY 2014


Medical Plastics

Quality takes precedence in medical devices More often than not, quality comes with a hefty price tag. But in the medical sector, since only the technically sophisticated and high-quality plastic grades find their way into healthcare applications, and since plastics afford the potential to optimise system costs as well as improve processability, the polymers are getting the preferential treatment over other materials, says Angelica Buan in this report.


lastics have been the subject of debate for both safety and efficiency. Fortunately, recent studies have debunked most of these assumptions, with the positive appraisals thus propelling medical plastics in the limelight. The increasing need for medical devices with a high shelf life, increasing export and import of medical devices, increasing demand for sterilised and disposable devices are some of the factors driving the sales of the medical plastics market, according to research company Transparency Market Research. American plastics industry association SPI says plastics are responsible for reducing contamination both in the home and hospital setting for medical packaging, prostheses, implantable, wearable and drug delivery devices. Being key components in many modern devices, plastics provide ease of use, light weight and efficiency. Surprisingly, these benefits are said to help minimise healthcare costs. Medical device manufacturers also find medical plastics less expensive than metallic components such as titanium. Furthermore, the increasing use of non magnetic equipment around heavily magnetised medical equipment such as an MRI, are other factors serving as market drivers for the medical plastics market.


MAY 2014

The medical plastics sector is varied ranging from diagnostic disposables to more sophisticated devices

Plastics have long been used in medical technology, even before synthetics. For example, the first PMMA contact lenses and plastic material artificial limbs were made in the US in the 1930s. Today, a growing opportunity for medical device manufacturers includes a shift from using traditional metal or other fibre-filled materials in their applications to plastics. Thus, sophisticated composites, like carbon fibre-reinforced plastics (CFRPs), are being used to make such unusual prostheses like the one used by the now infamous South African athlete, Oscar Pistorius. Hence, expectations and demands on plastics for use in medical technology are growing. This has seen the advent of improved silicone elastomers, thermoplastics with antimicrobial finishes, resistance to fungal and bacteria contamination as well as nanotechnology to expand applications. Growth for convenience It is little surprise that sales of medical plastics are constantly high. Transparency Market Research says that the global medical plastics market may hit US$3.5 billion in 2018, driven by developing markets and an ageing population. Though the US has the maximum market share in the market because of factors like technological advancements and availability of sophisticated medical devices coupled with high diligence concerning healthcare awareness, the rising economies in Asia will propel the growth of the sector in the region.

Medical Plastics NanoMarkets, another research firm based in Virginia, US, supports this forecast with its own estimate that medical plastics, including acrylics, styrenics and PP, will account for US$1.6 billion in polymer sales by 2018. Plastics for use in diagnostic systems are expected to earn more than US$1 billion over the same period. Meanwhile, a new report by iData Research says the US knee reconstruction device market , which is made up of primary knee implants, partial knee implants, revision implants and cutting blocks, is expected to grow to over US$5 billion by 2020. This is due to the increasing number of people who require revision knee implants. The demographics of knee arthroplasty patients have also been changing to include younger patients. As revision implants carry the highest price of implants in this market, they will continue to aid the growth of the knee reconstruction device market, which is expected to grow to over US$1 billion by 2020. According to iData Research, the main players driving this growth are Zimmer, DePuy Synthes and Stryker. Overcoming trust issues The public has not yet gotten over incidences relating to healthcare products and medical devices (mostly implantable) containing additives such as bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates that are considered to pose health risks. Nevertheless, ortho-phthalates, including DEHP, are commonly used vinyl softeners that act as an important ingredient in the manufacture of medical devices, most notably blood bags and flexible tubing. Based on decades of testing and use, these phthalates have been confirmed as safe by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Commission and other regulatory and product safety authorities around the world for their intended uses. As well, the SPI published a “White Paper on Marketing Claims Related to Phthalates in Medical Devices” in 2012 in response to industry requests for guidance on an appropriate way to communicate with the supply chain about the presence of phthalates using terminology that indicates a de minimis amount that will not be misunderstood.

Micro-tubing is also beginning to be offered with variable flexibility. US-based RiverTech Medical, a Vention Medical Company, has developed micro-tubing in two to three different stiffness and flexibilities within one tubing component for catheter-based medical device procedures such as angioplasty, stent placements, and thrombectomy. It is made with RiverTech’s proprietary film cast technique, resulting small-diameter, thinwall parts with tight tolerances

Sabic Innovative Plastics two new grades: LNP Thermocomp EC006AQH compound, a 30% carbon fibre-reinforced PEI resin, and LNP Lubricomp DCI06APH compound, a 30% carbon fibrereinforced PC, are targeted at disposable or re-usable surgical instruments, patient transport devices, fixation devices and medical device housings. The materials are also suitable for high-strength components where the use of metals or other fibre-filled thermoplastics with poor flow can create design and manufacturing challenges

Meanwhile, European trade association PlasticsEurope, in a 2013 report, wrote that plastics are safe despite that fact that they occasionally figure in health and safety debates. Surgical devices manufacturer Ethicon, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, conducted a study via a US-based independent laboratory NAMSA on the safety of PC medical devices. The company disclosed that levels of residual BPA in devices moulded from medical-grade PC are significantly below the levels that could present a threat to human health. The Ethicon study reveals that sterilisation has no impact on the medical-grade PCs, compared to sterilised drinking cups, which it says shows a difference in the amount of BPA when extracted by ethanol. Further to this, Denmark’s Environmental Protection Agency, Health and Medicines Authority and the PVC Information Council also conducted a study on phthalates in medical devices, evaluating ten existing PVC plasticisers. The PVCMed Alliance partners say that most of the alternatives to DEHP that have been assessed for impact on human health and environment are considered to be safe. Nonetheless, it said that some of the alternatives are wanting of data for a safety assessment to be carried out. Why then are these alternatives still being used? It is because certain types of medical devices require properties such as softness, sterility, resistance to chemicals, stress and cracking, and flexibility. China’s medical device market under scrutiny To keep a tight rein on the possibility of health threats, medical plastics undergo strict regulations. Despite the increasing sales of medical plastics, under the purview of diligent government regulations, there are still a significant number of medical device product recalls due to patient safety issues. These are major stumbling blocks for the medical plastics market, says Transparency Market Research. MAY 2014


Medical Plastics

There is still room for further growth in the medical plastics sector

China, a huge market for medical devices, with forecasted sales to climb to more than US$50 billion by 2020 (according to research company Global Data), has been an imputed source for cheap and low quality goods. It is for this reason that its government recently announced it is toughening regulations for the medical device sector. The new rules will raise the fines for illegal manufacturing or selling of medical equipment to 20 times the value of the goods. Originally, the cap was only five times the value of the goods. Other penalties include closure of establishments or revocation of licences. The new rules also categorise medical devices into three segments, based on the level of potential risk to consumers. A monitoring system will also be enforced in lieu of the regulations. This move is evidence that the country is stepping up the quality range of its medical devices sector. Speakers at US-based Society of Plastic Engineers (SPE)’s first conference on medical devices, hosted in China last year, said that the country’s manufacturing capability is levelling up and that it is shifting towards producing quality medical goods. What makes China a lucrative market is the fact that it has a population of more than 1 billion, which by itself is a large market base both domestically and globally. Furthermore, driving the growth is the country’s middle class population of 83 million, with less than 10% in the ageing category, according to the conference presenters. It was also noted that the country’s elderly population will increase three times to over 300 million by 2050. Thus, the need for long-term care will be evident, spurring imports of medical devices, particularly from the US, according to SPE.


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Plastics as opposed to metals Plastics are excellent candidates for replacing metals in medical devices. This is because medical devices must withstand ever increasing in-service demands due to more complex designs, performance requirements and regulations. With new compounds coming on the market, medical device manufacturers are able to expand their use of injection-mouldable engineering thermoplastics for several reasons. These include the potential for reducing system costs, achieving greater design flexibility and enhancing device compatibility with image guided surgeries. In addition, replacing metal can also enable part consolidation, which can reduce both the effort and cost of manufacturing devices. Meanwhile, rapid prototyping (RP), one option from the new “box of tricks” offered by advanced manufacturing techniques, is opening up new opportunities to deliver prototypes quickly and speed up the development process. Coupled with rapid manufacturing (RM) that allows quick production of small series using only CAD data and without any moulds, these processing techniques are ideal for medical technology, where the short life cycles of products make rapid implementation of new ideas essential. Arguably, whether it is contact lenses, intubation tubes, blood bags, single-use syringes or cannulas, more than half of all medical products manufactured globally are made of plastics. But more than above these mass-produced articles, the prospects for polymer materials in more sophisticated device applications and for high-quality medical technology remain optimistic with still room for further growth.

US-based Fitbionic, an upstart developer and manufacturer of next-generation prosthetic technology, has launched its first product, which is a prosthetic foot that features high load-carrying bearings made of Torlon polyamide-imide (PAI) from Solvay Specialty Polymers. The prosthetic foot, developed specifically for loweractivity and diabetic amputees who comprise more than 80% of the US amputee population, utilises Active Stability technology to help wearers feel more stable and potentially prevent injuries while walking

Injection Moulding Asia • Automotive components maker Visteon Corporation is divesting the majority of its global automotive interiors business to an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management, in line with its strategy to focus on thermal management and cockpit electronic ecosystems. Early this year, it sold its 50% ownership stake in a Korean automotive interiors joint venture, Duckyang Industry, to shareholders and associated parties for US$24 million. • Germany-based automotive parts supplier Hella Group has set up a joint venture with Chinese automobile manufacturer BAIC. Hella BHAP Automotive Lighting, which has a nominal capital of EUR30 million, is to expand the already existing Hella location in Beijing by turning it into a full service provider of car lighting. • US-based, privately held company Techniplas, which primarily serves the automotive, industrial and medium and heavy truck industries, has acquired the Plastics Technology Automotive and Industrial (A & I) division of Switzerland-based Weidmann International Corporation (WICOR group). Weidmann’s key technology areas include air/water separation components, lighting technology, under-the-hood components and a variety of interior and exterior decorative components and modules. • Italian specialist in lighting application moulds/hot runners Inglass has acquired Ermo, a French company that manufactures multi-cavity high precision moulds. This transaction will lead Inglass

to a further diversification process development of its activities from the automotive sector. Both firms will jointly represent a group of 800 employees and an expected turnover of EUR110 million in 2014. Meanwhile, Inglass subsidiary HRSflow will set up a production plant for hot runners in Michigan, US, by 2015.

• German luxury automotive maker BMW and carbon fibre maker SGL Group will triple production of carbon fibre to 9,000 tonnes/year, as BMW prepares to expand the use of CFRPs (carbon fibre-reinforced plastics) in its electric i and M series. BMW and SGL will invest US$200 million in the factory in Washington, US, as part of a multi-stage investment plan to expand the number of production lines from two to six by early 2015, making the plant the world’s largest carbon fibre plant. • Italy-based Sacmi Group, which has businesses in ceramics and packaging, is selling its entire Plastics Division to the Kingsbury Group, a US-based player in the automotive, aerospace and electronic components industries. The plastics division includes injection moulding machine maker Negri Bossi and robot maker Roboline-Sytrama. • Canadian tooling solutions provider StackTeck says its Quick Product Change (QPC) fitted on a big stack mould is able to shorten the changeover times. This mould runs in a Husky Injection Molding 1,000tonne machine, in 2x4 format enabling moulding of eight large flat panels per cycle of the machine, thereby

Industry News

StackTeck’s QPC for moulds is said to reduce changeover times

allowing production that should be done on a larger machine to be undertaken on a smaller machine. A QPC mould is designed with two major components: frame and modules. The frame is designed to remain in the machine with all water, air, and electrical hookups remaining in place. The modules consist of core/cavity assemblies and plate systems. Every QPC mould can be converted from single face to a stack mould configuration. The QPC approach has built in features for the alignment of modules to the frame, as well as plate-to-plate connections for services, thus reducing changeover times. • Injection moulding machine maker Arburg has broken ground for a new assembly hall at its facility in Lossburg, Germany, which will expand the central production location by 13% to just under 165,000 sq m. With the new building section, Arburg is responding to the increasing demand for large injection moulding machines and complete production cells. It says it has invested “tens of millions of Euros.”

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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery News

Machine makers roll out expansion plans in China Wintec will target the large commodity applications segment and will supply machines that will be different to Engel’s product range, offering reduced modularity and a smaller range of options. With the reduced complexity and specifications, the firm says it will be able to offer more competitive prices and with short delivery times. Basically, it intends to capture the market share currently occupied by Asian suppliers from Taiwan, South Korea and China. “We are entering a segment competing with Asian machines and not Western machines; the price value correlation will show that it is worthwhile for customers to invest in a Wintec machine rather than an Asian one,” said Neumann, adding that all the parts will be made locally, except for the controls that will come from Europe. Engel already operates a facility in Shanghai for producing large machines. “The reason why w e decided to start a second facility is to focus on three main applications: white goods; automotive and technical parts,” added Neumann. Wintec is also establishing a completely independent sales and service structure in China. Another European supplier that already has a facility in China and is on an expansion mode is Demag Plastics Machinery (Ningbo), a 100% subsidiary of Sumitomo (SHI) Demag. It recently broke ground on a EUR7 million facility, located around 10 km from its existing plant in Ningbo. With a built-up area of 12,330 sq m, the plant will come on stream in July 2015. It is expected to have a production capacity of up to 1,000 machines/year from its current capacity of 650 machines/year.

The Chinese injection moulding machine market has undergone a transformation where more hightech machines are being produced domestically. This trend was started by foreign machine makers that are now on an expansion drive, as observed at the recent Chinaplas 2014 show.

More locally made machinery n 2013, China’s total consumption of plastic machinery (excluding parts) was valued at RMB49 billion, compared to RMB49.3 billion in 2012. Of this, imports constituted 23%, compared to 27% the previous year, while local machinery produced was 77%, over the 73% from 2012, according to China Plastics Machinery Industry Association (CPMIA). Meanwhile in 2013, imports of machinery from countries like Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Italy were all down, against 2012 data, with the exception of South Korea. China’s processing market grew by 14.3% reaching USD304 billion in 2013. Hence, the domestic market constitutes the largest sales market for Chinese plastics machinery makers and grew by 12% or a value of RMB42 billion in 2013. China’s largest injection moulding machine maker Haitian International Holdings also recorded higher domestic sales of 18.8% in 2013. But according to Helmar Franz, the company’s Chief Strategy Officer, who was speaking at a media briefing, a slower growth of 5% is expected for 2014, with more challenging times expected.


Full speed ahead for Engel and Demag China ven with the slower growth expected there is no letting up in plans for expansions. Austria-headquartered Engel Holding is setting up a 22,000 sq m production plant in Changzhou, Jiangsu, through its 100%-owned subsidiary, Wintec Engel Machinery. With 100 employees, the plant is targeting a capacity of 300 machines/year. The core target market will be China, as well as processors in Southeast Asia, South Korea, Taiwan, and India. “Wintec will appeal to processors looking for relatively standardised machines with a limited range of options,” said CEO Peter Neumann, speaking at a media briefing. He also said with Engel’s market share of 11% in Asia, “there is room for growth.”


Officials from Demag Ningbo recently laid the foundation stone for the new facility in Ningbo, which is planned to come on stream next year

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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery News Stephan Greif, CEO Demag China, said that since its establishment in 1998, Demag Ningbo has been operating on rented production sites. The new facility will be the company’s first own site and is expected to boost the company’s global growth. Demag Ningbo is currently producing the Systec C machine series, which is available with clamping forces of between 50-1,000 tonnes. In July 2015, additional machine series are planned to enhance the product portfolio in China. The company also envisages increasing its exports, currently at 25%. In addition to local processors, Demag Ningbo supplies markets in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. KraussMaffei and Milacron expand their facilities nother machine maker that is reaping the bountiful growth is Germany-based KraussMaffei. “China is the fastest growing market (growing at a double digit growth) for us,” said Christian Blatt, CEO of KraussMaffei China. In view of this, the firm has inaugurated a second production hall at a current facility in Haiyan. With this expansion, the production space has been doubled to 22,000 sq m.


KraussMaffei’s MX series, which is manufactured and assembled locally in China, is said to be a favourite amongst Asian customers. Besides catering to the automotive, packaging and logistics industries, the company says nine MX machines were recently delivered to Chinese electronics group TCL, supposedly the thirdlargest manufacturer of televisions in the world, for the production of television casings

Its target is to produce 300 machines/year and it has already produced 50 machines at the Haiyan plant it set up last year, which “is still at the ramping up stage”, said Blatt, during a media briefing. It is producing the MX series, in a range of 850-3,200 tonnes, for the Asian market, targeting the automotive, packaging and electronics sectors.

Injection Moulding Asia Machinery News Using optimised production processes, the output times are shortened by almost half, which is welcome news for customers, explained Blatt. Added to this are the time and cost advantages since there is no need to transport items from Europe, along with a faster availability of spare parts and a service package that is tailored to meet local needs, emphasised Blatt. When asked if other types of machines will be produced, Blatt said the GX series would “come later”. Shown at Chinaplas was a new GX Spinform, with cube form technology on a swivel platen machine. It was demonstrating the production of a PP/LLDPE push-pull closure in a cycle time of 6.4 seconds. KraussMaffei has been present for more than 13 years in the Chinese market. It started off producing extrusion machinery in 2006, adding on rubber equipment in 2009 and reaction process machinery in 2011. “We have a strong market presence in China with three strong brands: KraussMaffei, KraussMaffeiBerstorff and Netstal,” added Blatt. Subsidiary company PET machine maker Netstal is also considering assembling machines in China, said CEO Hans Ulrich Golz, adding that a local operation would be set up to replicate the Switzerland facility. Swiss-made Netstal machines have been sold in China for 11 years. To strengthen its presence further, Netstal has now opened a demonstration and training centre, with test facilities, at the Haiyan plant. It houses a fully electric 220-tonne Elion machine, which demonstrated production of blood collection

tubes during the new plant inauguration. As a demonstration plant for the beverage industry, Netstal also installed a complete PET-LINE system with cooling and drying units back in September 2013. Moreover, in order to offer its customers better local service, it will also stock up spare parts for the market. US-based Milacron also announced that it is doubling the capacity of its China factory to produce 950 injection moulding machines/year, and will start manufacturing extrusion and blow moulding equipment at a later stage. Milacron President/CEO Tom Goeke was quoted as having said that the first phase would comprise the production of hybrid machines followed by machine models that are currently manufactured in the US and India and Europe. The investment of up to US$5 million in its Milacron Plastics Machinery (Jiangyin) facility in Jiangsu province will open in July, and aims to tap more heavily into growth in China, Goeke said. The company already produces the Elektron all-electric series in China and will expand the range from 30 tonnes to up to 650 tonnes clamping force. Servo-driven versions of its hydraulic Maxima series are also being manufactured at the current facility. It will also begin exporting the China-made Elektron series to the US, even though the growth of the Chinese facility is primarily driven by the local Chinese market, which accounts for about 80% of sales, according to Goeke. Meanwhile, the demand for all-electric machines is growing in China, with 18,821 units sold in 2012 (according to research firm Interconnection). Hence, Milacron is banking on the growth to expand its small market share in allelectrics to more than 10%. Arburg sells more to local processors ut not all foreign machine makers are in a hurry to set up local production in China, resorting instead to expanding support services. German machinery maker Arburg operates two subsidiaries in Shanghai (since 2004) and Shenzhen (set up in 2006) that sell made-in-Germany machinery. Against the growth of the domestic processing sector and the requirement for higher technology, the company has witnessed a changing trend. “While customers were mainly global players to begin with, around 80% of our customers are now local businesses who are increasingly using our high-tech machines,” said Max Man, Managing Director of Arburg China, adding that the focus is on the booming packaging and medical technology industries.


At Netstal’s new demonstration and training centre, on show is a fully electric 220-tonne Elion machine, which demonstrated production of blood collection tubes recently

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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery News of fully electric machines has started up while the second 150,000 sq m-plant for large-size two-platen machines will start up next year. The new facilities are required since demand for Haitian’s machinery is growing, having delivered 27,000 machines in 2013, compared to 22,000 units the previous year. It boasted 13.7% higher turnover of US$1.2 billion in 2013. The export business also grew by 3.6% and also set a new peak of US$340 million. Especially positive in 2013 were higher sales in Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa, and US. Its best seller continues to be the servohydraulic Mars series, of which it has sold 100,000 over the past six years, said Franz. In the fully-electric sector, Haitian subsidiary Zhafir Plastics Machinery is seeing continuing success with the Venus series, having sold 1,000 machines last year. At Chinaplas, Zhafir also presented its new electric Zeres machines, based on electric technology and equipped with an integrated hydraulic unit. Other new exhibits from Haitian were a high-performance version of the Mars with 170-480 tonnes clamping force for thinwall packaging and a high-performance two-platen Jupiter model with clamping force from 1,000-1,600 tonnes. Meanwhile, to cater to its clientele in Qingdao another machinery maker, Ningbo Haitai Machinery is targeting the opening of its second facility by the end of this year, said a spokesperson. Haitai currently operates from a 150,000 sq m facility in Ningbo where it produces about 20 different models. It also exports around 70% of its machine output.

Arburg displayed a LED Hotmelt process that ensures highgrade sealing of sensitive electronics, used in the automotive sector, by overmoulding of electronic components with the Hotmelt adhesive. The production of the electronic component was shown on a vertical Allrounder 275 V, with a cylinder module with a special screw assembly adapted for processing the material

In view of the growing demand, Arburg is expanding its premises in Shenzhen to provide more support. “We will move into our new 1,250 sq m premises, affording us significantly more room in which to offer our customers even better support. The showroom alone measures 200 sq m, providing space to demonstrate three sets of Allrounders. Furthermore, there’s a machine stock room with capacity for up to seven Allrounders; to allow instant order delivery,” explained Man. Another milestone last year was the opening of its machine warehouse in Shanghai. A range of electric, hybrid and hydraulic Allrounder machines are available and can be adapted to specific customer requirements as required. “This helps us achieve extremely short delivery times, making us faster than local providers,” claimed Man. At Chinaplas, Arburg displayed its Allrounder series, hybrid machine and a vertical model. It also had product and sector-specific machine configurations for the key industries in China such as packaging, medical technology and electronics as well as the production of IML packaging and syringe barrels with short cycle times and the processing of Hotmelt material.

Haitian’s new plant in Chunxiao, Ningbo

Chinese machinery makers cashing in aitian is opening two new plants in Ningbo, said Franz at the media briefing. The 120,000 sq m plant for the company’ s production


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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • Polish synthetic rubber producer Synthos will build a new plant in Rio Grande, Brazil for the production of neodymium polybutadiene rubber. Capacity at the tentatively planned facility, which will sit on about 24 acres, is expected to reach 80,000 tonnes/year. • Italian chemical producer Versalis is expanding capacity for EPDM rubber at its plant in Ferarra. When the expansion is completed in the second half of 2016, the subsidiary of oil and petrochemicals group Eni said the fourth production unit will bring total capacity at the site to 130,000 tonnes/year. • Ceat Kelani Holdings, the company that manufactures half of Sri Lanka’s tyres, is investing in a new plant to produce high-end radial tyres. The firm will increase its radial tyre building and curing capacity by 70% or from 23,000 to 39,000 tyres/ month. It has a market share of 57% for truck/light truck tyres, 32% in radials, 46% in three-wheeler tyres, 19% in motorcycle tyres, and 73% in the agriculture segment. A third of Ceat’s output of 1,450 tonnes/month is exported to South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. • Scandinavian Tyre & Wheel will expand its plant in Sri Lanka to help meet rising demand for its Tusker and Unicorn forklift tyre lines. Opened in 2012, the plant had an original capacity of 80,000 tyres/year and an investment of about US$4.4 million. Meanwhile, the new investment will be for a rubber compound mixing line, to reduce costs and improve delivery service.

• Europe’s largest tyre maker Michelin plans to close its Budapest facility by 2015 because of growing competition and slumping demand for truck tyres. The manufacturer is cutting jobs as European automotive makers struggle to recover from a six-year contraction stemming from the effects of the sovereign-debt crisis. Demand for truck tyres in Europe has dropped 23% from a 2007 peak, and Michelin has a target of reducing costs by EUR1 billion by 2016. It has other factories in Poland, Romania and Germany.

• Trelleborg is setting up an agricultural tyre facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina, US, to start up by 2015. It will invest SEK325 million from 2014-2018, mainly in production equipment.

• The world’s largest tyre recycling company Genan has opened a US$140 million facility in Houston, US. A global leader in the extraction and production of rubber granulate (crumb rubber), rubber powder and steel from scrap tyres, it currently operates the world’s four largest tyre processing plants in Germany and Denmark. The new plant has the capacity to recycle approximately 10 million passenger car tyres/ year, about a third of all the used tyres in Texas. The company plans to set up a network of four new plants across the US in the coming years. The end products are suited for applications such as asphalt and bitumen modifications, synthetic turf, playground and recreational facilities, building/injection moulded products, industrial applications and noise insulation.

• Indian tyre maker Apollo Tyres is investing US$685 million over four years to build a car and truck tyre plant in Eastern Europe. Apollo has not identified the location for the new plant that is expected to have a capacity for 16,000 passenger and 3,000 truck tyres a day. The firm says it has capacity constraints at its existing facility in Enschede, the Netherlands. In line with its expansion to Europe, which accounts for around 30% of its global sales, Apollo acquired Vredestein Banden N.V. in 2009.

• Toyo Tire & Rubber has set up a sales subsidiary in Germany to bolster its European tyre sales business, in addition to supplying the European market with tyres from the Malaysian plant that began operation last year.

• Speciality chemicals company Lanxess is mothballing pilot plants in Zwijndrecht, Belgium, after successful development of a new production process for sustainable production of butyl rubber. Butyl rubber is used in tyre inner liners and for chewing gum production. Lanxess also operates butyl facilities in Sarnia, Canada, and Singapore.

• Germany-based Evonik Industries recently inaugurated a new building to house precipitated silica applied technology for tyre and rubber at its Wesseling site near Cologne. A combination of precipitated silica and sulphur-functional silanes enable tyre manufacturers to reduce their products’ rolling resistance and improve their wet-grip. This can reduce fuel consumption by up to 8% in comparison to conventional tyres. Evonik has also made other silica investments by opening facilities in Thailand, Brazil and in the US. Evonik’s global silica production capacity will increase by 30% over its 2010 capacity by the end of 2014.

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Rubber Journal Asia Silicones

Jack of all trades in key sectors Our modern lifestyles desire the development

Global demand for silicones will increase from 1.7 million tonnes in 2012 to 2.4 million tonnes in 2018, which represents an average annual growth rate of nearly 6% from 2012-2018, says IHS.

of sophisticated and advanced applications. A special material like silicones commands versatility in the most cost effective way and meet

China – over the top with silicones eanwhile, a robust demand for silicones in China, combined with an improving economy, is driving market growth for these versatile polymers. But even so, aggressive capacity expansion of silicone production by China since 2009 is generating significant global excess capacity that is impacting profitability and growth and is driving less profitable producers or operations to rationalise their production. China is expected to build additional capacity, equivalent to nearly 20% of the 2012 global demand, through 2016. This excess capacity is causing prices to fall, according to the author of the IHS Chemical Economics Handbook: Silicones report, Aida Jebens. Now the largest producer of silicones in the world, China owns nearly 40% of global silicone production capacity. This feat was made possible by the start-up of several world-scale silicones manufacturing plants built since the mid-2000s, noted the IHS report. Some of these plants are joint ventures with foreign companies such as US-based Dow Corning and German firm Wacker Chemie. According to IHS, further capacity additions are scheduled to come on stream in China through 2016 that will see China’s share of the global capacity rise to 50%. In comparison, no significant capacity additions occurred in the other regions in the last five years and none is expected through 2016. With the increased domestic supply of silicones, China’s consumption of silicones has grown very rapidly in a short period of time — consumption rates of the product increased 25% a year from 2002-2012, enabling China to surpass the traditional demand powerhouses of the US and Western Europe. “As economies improve and consumers in developing countries like China expand their disposable incomes,” Jebens said, “the demand for personal care items and automobiles, which are produced using silicone components, increase. Likewise, improving economic conditions drive more construction, which is heavily dependent upon silicone-based materials.” China’s projected consumption growth for silicones will slow, although it will still grow at close to 10% a year, pulling the overall global growth rate close to 6% a year from 2012-2018, said Jebens. As the most dominant player in the market, any major shifts in either Chinese demand or production capacity will have significant implications for the global silicones market.


the requirements, according to Angelica Buan, who also highlights China’s hold on the silicones global market.


he world’s increasing wants and needs inevitably create new markets for new applications. Silicones, or polysiloxanes, are versatile polymers of silicone and oxygen with carbon, hydrogen, or occasionally, other elements. Silicones can be classified as fluids, elastomers or resins. The solidification process of all heat-activated cure thermosets, including silicone rubber, is caused by a chemical reaction called vulcanisation, or cure. Silicones possess physical and chemical properties that allow their use in a multitude of diverse applications from personal care items for our skin and hair to industrial applications such as automotive lubricants and polishes, as well as sealants and protective coatings for construction. Medical applications for silicones are also quite diverse: from artificial tears, to burn treatment and wound care, as coatings for tablets and capsules, for implants, and in the treatment of blood handling equipment. According to a new report by US research firm IHS, global demand growth for silicone fluids will grow about 4%, driven primarily by the cosmetics, toiletries, and medicinal/pharmaceutical applications. For silicone elastomers, which are critical to the growing construction and automotive industries, a stronger demand growth at 7% a year is expected, whereas for silicone resins, which are also tied to the construction industry, a more modest growth of 3% a year is expected. Silicone overmoulding on substrate materials provides many benefits to medical product designers

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Rubber Journal Asia Silicones IHS expects above-average growth may also occur in Central and Eastern Europe, Central and South America, and the Middle East and Africa, although consumption levels in these regions are still fairly low. Consumption in North America and Western Europe is expected to increase between 3%-3.5% a year, while Japan’s market will grow only slightly. Besides Dow Corning and Wacker Chemie, the largest manufacturers of silicones, in terms of capacity, are US-based Momentive Performance Materials (which recently filed for bankruptcy and is undergoing restructuring), Shin-Etsu Chemical (Japan), and Bluestar Silicones (France).

Wacker’s platinum-cured LSR 3022/60 features very low compression set, thus making it suitable for making seals for cooling systems in cars. Its resilience also ensures leak-tightness in the seal groove. Wacker says that standard silicone elastomers are not exactly ideal as sealants in the hot areas of engine cooling circuits, because some of the key properties deteriorate once they come into contact with a coolant of over 100°C. Injection moulding LSRs ue to their good physical properties and chemical resistance, LSRs are giving standard plastics a run for their money. Furthermore, compared to high-consistency silicone rubber (HCR) and other elastomers, LSRs can withstand extreme temperatures from –55°C to 200°C. in spite of the higher cost for LSRs, which is about three to five times as much as TPEs and TPUs, the products are finding uses in injection moulding applications. Said Joyce Meng, Global Product market Manager of Dow Corning’s Xiameter LSR brand, “Liquid silicone rubber has evolved from a very specific need to produce silicone rubber parts and products more efficiently and economically.” She added that Xiameter RBL-9200 Series LSRs are setting new standards for processing speed and end-product quality. LSRs in the series can be used for end products such as kitchenware, baby/infant care products, electrical insulation, keypads, grommets, gaskets and seals. Dow Corning teamed up with moulding machine manufacturer Maplan to demonstrate the processing benefits of its Xiameter RBL-9200 series at the International Rubber show in the US last year. Maplan was using its MHF200L/200EDITION machine to inject the LSR into a beverage cup mould from M.R. Mold & Engineering Corp. Unlike plastics, which are injected at high temperatures and cooled inside the mould, elastomers are injected at lower temperatures and cured by heating the mould. Thus, LSR moulds can be more difficult to clean and maintain. LSRs also require special treatment, such as uniform distributive mixing. In addition, the material must be maintained at a constant temperature up until it is pushed into the heated cavity and vulcanised. One way moulders are standardising LSR moulding is with the use of cold runners. Besides reducing waste, a standard cold runner system can reduce cycle and setting times. Finished parts are immediately available for use or in assembly processes. Furthermore, LSR’s excellent adhesion to plastics and metals, allows it to be the ideal material for two-shot and over-moulding injection moulding of LSRs – also known as multi-shot or assembly injection moulding. Two-shot moulding allows for the combination of two materials – one with a cold runner and the other with a hot runner – directly in the same mould, thereby saving expensive assembly steps while allowing for the integration of multiple functional features in one ejected, finished part. This process makes consistency possible.


Performance-level LSRs iquid silicone rubber (LSR) is a silicone rubber that has the same structure, with a lower viscosity, and provides an edge over solid silicone rubber in many ways. LSRs come in a variety of forms, including self-adhesives; faster curing grades for larger, thicker parts; self-lubricating formulas to reduce friction on surfaces that need to be slippery; and liquid fluorosilicone elastomers. Advantages to using LSR include minimal waste; faster cycle times; flashless technology; no secondary operations and limited likelihood of cross-contamination. Thus, it is no surprise that LSR is a strong growth driver for silicones and is expected to reach US$17.2 billion by 2017, according to a report by research firm Global Industry Analysts (GIA). US research firm Freedonia, in its 2012 study, says that LSR is increasingly valued for its ease of processing, flexibility, and ability to form high precision parts. Among other factors, advancements in equipment and materials are spurring the market for LSR to develop further. The shift in usage results from OEMs finding solutions to substituting chemical polyisoprene with LSR. While LSR is mostly adaptive to the requirements of the medical market, it also renders use for automotive, military, consumer, and space applications.


Wacker’s coolant and heat-resistant Elastosil LSR 3022/60 is especially suitable for producing gaskets for installation in engine cooling systems

Wacker Chemie showcased its heat-resistant solid silicones for the automotive and household appliances at the recently staged Chinaplas in Shanghai. Its Elastosil R756, R416/70 and R416/70 are heat and coolant resistant, making them suitable for manufacturing components that are constantly exposed to high temperatures, such as tubing or seals placed near the engine or exhaust pipe or vehicles or gaskets for oven doors with pyrolytic self-cleaning features. 3 M AY 2 0 1 4

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Rubber Journal Asia Silicones LSRs in healthcare edical grade LSRs are also being used extensively in the healthcare sector, primarily for advantages such as transparency, easy sterilisation and biocompatibility as well as resistance to UV and stains. LSR also has a soft feel similar to that of skin, allowing it to be used in devices that contact the body. In comparison to latex rubber, which poses allergy risk to sensitive end-users, and PVC, which contains health-hazardous phthalates, LSR is found to be safe. In fact, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standard-approved LSR is ideal for use in implantable devices. LSR also works particularly well for parts with intricate geometries and smooth surfaces that require high precision, including liquid feeding bottles and catheters. One company that is broadening its speciality LSR products is Bluestar Silicones. It recently introduced its Bluesil ESA products for medical electronics, designed to bond to most plastics and metals. The product line offers deep-section cure with no released by-products, dielectric properties, thermal management and corrosion resistance. “It’s an exciting time at Bluestar Silicones,” says Karen O’Keefe, Healthcare Market Manager. “We are


US firm Minnesota Rubber and Plastics custom moulds LSR instrument trays that are said to make storage and autoclaving simple. Advantages include a clean moulding process with no material preprocessing; minimal flash and short cycle times, thereby eliminating most secondary operations

investing in new products, new markets and continuous improvements in our new plant to deliver the highest quality silicone solutions to the healthcare and medical market.” The products are manufactured in a clean room environment at Bluestar Silicone’s new 226,000-sq-ft facility in the US.

Events 2014 17 - 19 JULY PIEC Venue: Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre, Thailand Tel: +66 2 933 0077 Fax: +66 2 955 9971 Email: Internet: 8 - 11 AUGUST IPLEX Venue: Hyderabad, India Tel: +91 40 23201214 Fax: +91 40 23201247 Email: Internet: 14 - 16 AUGUST Sri Lanka Plast Venue: Sri Lanka Exhibition & Convention Centre, Colombo., Sri Lanka Tel: + 91 97890 95247 Email: Internet: 3 - 6 SEPTEMBER Indoplas Venue: Jakarta International Expo Kemayoran, Indonesia Tel: +65 6332 9620 Fax: +65 6337 4633 Email: Internet:

15 - 18 OCTOBER CIRI Expo Venue: Qingdao International Convention Centre, China Tel: +86 532-68662160 Email: Internet: 28 OCTOBER - 1 NOVEMBER IPF Japan Venue: Makuhari Messe, Tokyo, Japan Tel: +81 3 3542 1487 Fax: +81 3 3543 0619 Email: Internet: 6 - 9 NOVEMBER Plast Show Rajkot Venue: Race Course Ground, Rajkot, Guj, India Tel: +91 281 3910137 Email: Internet: 17 - 19 NOVEMBER JEC Asia Venue: Suntec, Singapore Tel: +33 1 5836 1501 Fax: +33 1 5836 1515 Email: Internet:


4 - 6 SEPTEMBER Plastics & Rubber Myanmar Venue: Myanmar Convention Centre, Myanmar Tel: +66 02 615 1255 Fax: +66 02 615 2991 Email: Internet:

5 - 10 FEBRUARY Plastindia Venue: Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India Tel: +91 22 26832911 Fax:+91 22 26845861 Email: Internet:

24 - 26 SEPTEMBER Plastic Osaka Venue: Intex, Osaka, Japan Tel: +81 3 3349 8519 Email: Internet:

3 - 5 APRIL Plastics Myanmar Venue: TADMADAW, Yangon, Myanmar Tel: +91 79 26469725 Fax: +91 79 26403087 Email: Internet:

26 - 30 SEPTEMBER Taipeiplas Venue: Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall, Taiwan Tel: +886 2 2725 5200 Email: Internet:

5 - 9 MAY PLAST Venue: Milan Tel: +39 02 8228371 FAX:+39 02 57512490 Email: Internet:

14 - 18 OCTOBER Fakuma Venue: Friedrichshafen, Germany Tel: +49 (0) 7025 9206 0 Fax: +49 (0) 7025 9206 620 Email: Internet:

23 - 25 JULY Plastics Vietnam Venue: SECC, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tel: +91 79 26469725 Fax: +91 79 26403087 Email: Internet:

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Ultra SideGate helps you reduce variability and improve your bottom line Variability adds risk to your business and costs you money. Husky Ultra SideGate hot runners help make it easy for you to ­minimize variability in your injection molding process. It’s easy to integrate into the mold, assemble and maintain. A ­single-piece cavity design and a tip that’s always aligned with the gate on center makes it easy for you to keep making ­perfect parts, even when using tough to mold resins. By switching from a cold runner to a SideGate hot runner, one customer was able to cut their cycle time by more than half, ­making it possible to reduce the number of cavities and run the mold in a smaller machine. Husky helps you reduce variability in your injection molding process so you can focus on what matters most—satisfied ­customers and a healthy bottom line. Visit to learn more about the benefits of Husky SideGate technology

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