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A S l A â€™ S L E A D l N G m aga z l ne f o r t h e p las t l c s and r u b b e r l nd u s t r y
In this issue
Volume 30, No 213
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 Front Cover US-headquartered machinery maker Davis-Standard is stretching its capabilities in Asia, with innovative solutions, capabilities and services
24 German Machinery & Technology German machinery will be on display at Chinaplas 2015, which will be held at the China Import & Export Fair Complex in Pazhou, Guangzhou, from 20-23 May 2015
30 Additives China continues to play a prominent role in the global flame retardant chemical market, according to Jessie Xi Jiang, Senior Analyst at GCiS China Strategic Research
33 Corporate Profile Provider of PET solutions for liquid packaging Sidel is matching the competitive requirements of the global beverage industry with its offerings
36 Thermoforming Thermoforming machine makers will showcase a variety of machinery and technology updates at the upcoming Chinaplas
38 Recycling Asia’s growing pile of waste plastics is a worrying trend; yet only a handful of countries have adopted recycling
41 Medical Industry With healthcare needs becoming more sophisticated, R&D in the medical industry is keeping pace with advancements for new polymers
Regulars 概 要 4 Industry News 8 Materials News 12 Composites News 14 業界新聞 18 複合材料: 麻用途亮綠燈
Publisher Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 Email: email@example.com Associate Publisher/Editor Tej Fernandez Tel: +60 3 4260 4575 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial/Production Coordinator Angelica Buan Email: email@example.com Chinese Editor Koh Bee Ling Circulation Abril Castro Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admin & Finance Manager Tean Arul Email: email@example.com
Permits ISSN 1360-1245
MCI (P) 045/08/2014 KDN PQ 1780/4200/A Printer United Mission Press is published 8 times a year in Mandarin and English by Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this publication is correct, the publisher makes no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the nature or accuracy of such material to the extent permitted by applicable law.
Supplements 副 刊 IMA – 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing is becoming more technologically advanced Are rubber plantations and deforestation causing an ecological imbalance?
On the Cover
© 2015 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.
A S l A’ S L E A D l N G M A G A Z l N E F O R THE PLASTlCS AND RUBBER lNDUSTRY
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Davis-Standard will showcase the first in-line pre-stretch cast film line at the Chinaplas
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EXTRUSION | PRINTING | CONVERTING
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PACKAGING 4.0 – intelligent, intuitive, integrated. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the full production chain from resin to finished packaging. • intelligent process chains in production • intuitive ergonomics in machine operation and handling • integrated automation modules, sensors and data streams Come see for yourself. We hope to see you there!
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M&As/Investments • Germany-based Krones, a manufacturer of beverage filling and packaging technology, has purchased a 100% stake in labelling company Gernep Group, Barbing, Germany. Besides the beverage industry, the company’s principal markets are food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Krones is thus strengthening its activities in these market segments. • US-based Inteva Products, a global automotive supplier of engineered components and systems, has acquired a majority ownership in its joint venture with SL Corporation, Korean Door Systems (KDS). The latter manufactures products for the closure systems and motors & electronics product lines, as well as power folding actuators and glass actuators for outside mirrors for SL Corporation. It supports customers such as Hyundai, General Motors Korea, Ssangyong Motor, Volkswagen, PSA, Renault Samsung Motors and Renault. • Johnson Controls, (JCI), a global multi-industrial company, and Yanfeng Automotive Trim Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Huayu Automotive Systems, the component group of
Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), have signed an agreement for a global automotive interiors joint venture. Headquartered in Shanghai, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors will be the largest automotive interiors company in the world with revenues of US$8.5 billion, with a backlog to reach US$10 billion in the next few years. Yanfeng will hold the majority 70% share in the joint venture, and Johnson Controls will have a 30% share. The product portfolio will include instrument panels and cockpit systems, door panels, floor consoles and overhead consoles. • Japan-based chemical company Kuraray has acquired Australia’s biobased film maker Plantic Technologies. Plantic film is used in a broad range of products in the barrier packaging sector and is supplied to major supermarkets and brand owners on three continents (Australia, North America and Europe). • Finland-based Uponor Infra, a subsidiary of Uponor Corporation that makes plastic pipe systems for plumbing, underfloor heating and cooling and infrastructure, has sold its fully owned Finnish subsidiary, Extron Engineering
to Mecanor, also based in Finland. Both Extron and Mecanor manufacture machinery for producing pipes. • German chemicals firm Evonik increased its R&D spending by 5% in 2014, and is investing EUR4 billion over the next decade to achieve this aim. Around 80% of the R&D spending goes to activities within the operative businesses, which are specifically aligned with their respective core technologies and markets. Another 10% is used by the operative units to research and develop new business; and the remaining 10% goes to the strategic research of Evonik's innovation unit, Creavis, for establishing new high-tech activities outside of the existing group portfolio. The company held over 25,000 patents and patent applications in 2014. Some 250 new patents were filed last year, the equivalent of almost one invention per business day. • US-based machinery company Milacron Holdings Corp, which is owned by private equity firm CCMP Capital Advisors, is going for an IPO. The number of shares to be offered and the price range of the proposed offering have not yet been determined but the company is expected to raise US$100 million through the IPO. In the filing
for the IPO, Milacron says it generated sales of US$1.2 billion in 2014, with sales of equipment generating US$476 million; for melt delivery and control systems it had sales of US$407 million, aftermarket services were US$200 million and fluid technologies, US$129 million. • Thailand’s integrated PET producer Indorama Ventures PCL (IVL) has bought the purified terephthalic acid (PTA) business of Montrealbased Cespa Química – a wholly owned affiliate of Cepsa, and IQ Chemie, a subsidiary of Investissement Québec. The acquisition will allow IVL to expand its footprint in North America since the newly acquired Cepsa is the only PTA facility in Canada, and one of only three in North America. • German extrusion machinery maker Reifenhäuser Group has acquired Germanybased spinneret manufacturer and longstanding supplier Enka Tecnica. The extrusion tool maker also serves the wet and dry spinning, melt spinning, and micro components segments. Enka has two production sites and in addition to Troisdorf, Worms, and Lampertheim, Reifenhäuser will have these two additional production sites in Germany.
INDUSTRY NEWS • Spain-based automotive interior systems supplier Grupo Antolin is to purchase Canadian automotive
parts giant Magna International's interiors unit in a deal valued at about US$525 million. The transaction includes
36 manufacturing operations and approximately 12,000 employees located in Europe, North America and Asia. Full
year 2014 sales for the operations were US$2.4 billion. Magna's seating business is not included in this transaction.
Plant Set-ups/Capacity Increases • Inteva has opened two new manufacturing plants in Oradea, Romania, its second plant in Romania, and Wuhan, China; as well as relocated its Wuppertal technical centre to a new larger facility in Solingen, Germany. Both new plants will manufacture roof system components. The Wuhan site will be Inteva’s seventh facility
in the country, besides Changchun, Chengdu, Waigaoqiao and Zhenjiang. Inteva also has two joint ventures, SDADS and SAMAP, in Shanghai. • Magna is setting up a new US$135 million automotive exteriors facility in Queretaro, Mexico. The 26,400-sq m facility will employ 600 people within the
first year and produce moulded and painted exterior parts including fascias and rocker panels for global automotive makers. It will be launched in 2016. With this new facility, Magna will have 30 manufacturing facilities, one engineering & product development centre, and more than 24,000 employees in Mexico.
• US-based compound supplier A. Schulman is setting up a new masterbatch plant in Turkey. When fully operational, the facility will produce 18,000 tonnes of the company's additive, white, and breathable masterbatches for food and industrial packaging customers in Turkey and other fast-growing countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
• Japanese chemicals firm Teijin has set up a new automotive subsidiary for automotive-use carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRTP). The Automotive Business Development Group, a new entity directly under the Carbon Fibres & Composites Business unit, will market thermoplastic CFRP formerly handled by the Teijin Composites Innovation Centre and thermoset CFRP formerly handled by Toho Tenax, the core company of the group’s carbon fibres and composites business. • Oleochemical additives producer Peter Greven, that has sites in Germany, Malaysia and the Netherlands, has started up a new facility for metallic soaps at its site in Penang (Malaysia) to meet the increasing demand for high-quality metallic stearates in the Asian markets. The natural, renewable products that will be produced are different qualities of metallic stearates under the brand name Palmstar. • Roquette, the world's fifth largest starch producer, has launched a new industrial unit for the production of isosorbide at its site in Lestrem, Pas-de-Calais, France. The unit, which has a capacity of 20,000 tonnes, will be able to offer a range of Polysorb isosorbide,
used in plastics such as thermoplastics (polyesters, polycarbonates, thermoplastic polyurethanes) and curable resins (polyurethanes, epoxy resins, unsaturated resins, coatings). Family-owned Roquette processes plant-based raw materials based on maize, wheat, potatoes, peas and micro-algae. • Thai petrochemical giant PTT Global Chemical and Japanese Marubeni Corp are considering building a cracker in Belmont, Ohio, in northeast US, to take advantage of the ethane being produced using natural gas in the Marcellus and Utica shale deposit areas. The site would include an ethane cracker to produce ethylene feedstocks and resins like PE. The engineering design and permitting is expected to take 12-16 months to complete, with the companies to make a formal investment decision in 2016, and construction scheduled to take place in 2017, if the decision to build the unit is made. The PTT/Marubeni project is one of at least four other crackers under consideration for the Marcellus region. Other parties include Shell as well as Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht and petrochemicals producer Braskem that are building the ASCENT (Appalachian
Shale Cracker Enterprise) project in West Virginia.
Omnium’s revenue grew 23% while the Chinese automotive production increased by 9%. Plastic Omnium is expecting increased market share in 2018 in China, totalling 25% in bumpers (2014: 18%) and 15% in fuel systems (2014: 8%). Revenue will double, with EUR1 billion expected in 2018, compared with EUR0.5 billion in 2014.
• Engel, the Austriabased manufacturer of injection moulding machines, is building a 3,600-tonne machine for a research centre studying the possibility of integrating composites into high volume automotive production. The machine is intended for the Open Hybrid LabFactory e.V. association in Wolfsburg and is being built at Engel’s large-scale machine plant in St. Valentin, Austria. One machine in the same clamping force is installed at BMW’s Landshut factory, where large structural components of fibre-reinforced plastic composites are manufactured using the HP-RTM process.
• Hitachi Automotive Systems (India) will start manufacturing electrical automotive components at its new factory at the OneHub industrial park in Chennai. Hitachi will initially make valve timing control systems (VTCs) and ignition coils. Its production will cater to domestic and international markets such as Brazil, Europe and the ASEAN.
• China represents a major source of growth for Plastic Omnium, the Tier I producer of automotive exterior parts and fuel systems. After commissioning four new plants in 2014, the Paris-headquartered group will launch four new production units in 2015-2016, thereby increasing its network in China to 25 plants. Plastic Omnium is now established in seven major Chinese production areas (Shenyang, Beijing, Yantai, Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou and Chongqing). In China in 2014, Plastic
• Trelleborg Marine Systems has opened a new headquarters in the US and manufacturing facility in Berryville, while closing its older Virginia factory. Completed cearlier this year, the new facility features 3,344 sq m of manufacturing space and approximately 836 sq m area for sales and business development. The company also invested in advanced polyurethane spraying and foam winding equipment, which will increase production efficiencies at the new plant.
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European petrochem market improves; new ethylene process Petrochemical markets are heavily impacted by changes in the crude oil price, since crude oil and its derivative naphtha, are essential steam-cracker feedstocks for the production of numerous chemicals. Changes in crude oil prices influence not only the overall price level for petrochemicals like olefins and aromatics, but are also a primary driver behind the supply and demand picture. IHS Chemical provides an overview of the market in Europe. Meanwhile, a new process that produces ethylene from natural gas through oxidative coupling of methane (OCM) is expected to change the ethylene market landscape.
rude oil price swings in recent months, combined with a devalued Euro, have created a volatile, but profitable marketplace for European petrochemical producers, with European steam-crackers achieving record margins in fourth quarter 2014, according to analysis from research house IHS. “After crude oil prices started dropping in the summer of 2014 descending to a low of approximately US$46 per barrel in January 2015, entire value chains for chemicals and polymers went into a destocking mode, and buyers began postponing their buying decisions for as long as possible, waiting for prices to bottom out,” said Michael Smith, Vice-President of European chemicals, at IHS Chemical. He adds that with crude oil prices now around US$62 per barrel, consumption is improving, and buyers throughout the value chain are focused on restocking their inventories. “The challenge now for buyers is simply sourcing material, not negotiating on price, which is a welcomed advantage for European petrochemical producers. These producers are asking how long will these good times last?” IHS Chemical will hold its EMEA Aromatics and Olefins Conference June 9-10 at the Divani Caravel Hotel in Athens, Greece, where Smith says this will be the topic of discussion. “Polymer and other petrochemical buyers are currently facing a once in a generation supply squeeze,” said Matthew Thoelke, Director of Olefins at IHS Chemical. “For buyers, the current market scenario is a perfect storm in reverse. At IHS, we see four main factors contributing to this unusual situation: buyers have an incentive to restock, European consumption is improving, imports are at reduced levels thanks to a devalued Euro,
and lastly, as a result of these factors, buyers of polymers face a virtual supply nightmare." Weak Euro prompting improvements Ironically, IHS says the weakened Euro has been contributed to the Eurozone’s recent improved performance along with very low oil prices and stimulus from the European Central Bank, which is benefitting industries such as petrochemicals. Howard Archer, Chief European and UK Economist, IHS Economics and Country Risk adds, “In particular, the weakened euro has provided a significant boost to the competitiveness of Eurozone manufacturers, particularly in export markets. With the Euro climbing off its mid-March lows and Eurozone growth expected to continue to firm, IHS thinks it is unlikely that the Euro will dip below parity against the dollar, so the advantage here for European producers, in terms of the Euro disparity, is likely to erode. However, the euros’ performance could be impacted by whether or not Greece stays in the Eurozone. But how long the tight supply petrochemical market will last in Europe is the big question that depends on oil prices. According to Thoelke, “Currently, the Brent crude oil price very stubbornly hovers above the US$60 per barrel mark, but this can change rapidly. Lower crude prices could send petchem prices tumbling. Fundamentals still point to an oversupplied oil market, and our colleagues at IHS Energy expect the Brent price to fall back to US$50 per barrel in the coming months, when close to 2 million barrels per day of crude oil will be heading into storage. If this happens, demand is likely to ease, though producers will have the opportunity to see a repeat of Q4 2014, as prices would trail costs downward and margins will once again strengthen.”
“…the challenge now for buyers is simply sourcing material, not negotiating on price, which is a welcomed advantage for European petrochemical producers…”
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Converting methane into ethylene via new OCM process For the last three decades, chemical companies worldwide have been working to develop a process to convert methane (natural gas) into ethylene, the world’s largest-volume commodity chemical, with global demand for 2015 estimated at more than 146 million tonnes, according to IHS Chemical. Last year, IHS Chemical discussed the promise of a new technology, called the Siluria process, which produces ethylene directly from natural gas through oxidative coupling of methane (OCM). With the start-up of Siluria’s new demonstration plant recently in La Porte, Texas, that technology has now moved one step closer to the long-sought reality of a commercial process for converting methane to ethylene. The plant is wholly owned by San Francisco-based Siluria Technologies, and co-located at a plant operated by Braskem America. IHS says the technology – in terms of the science behind it – is only part of the story. It is the engineering and project development implementation of the science that makes this particular Siluria process noteworthy. Essentially, the Siluria process is potentially a game-changer for the industry. Other companies are working on similar technologies, but no other company is at this level, says IHS. That is no small accomplishment in a mature industry like petrochemicals, where major technological leaps forward are rare. According to Siluria ”this breakthrough was achieved using a combination of new innovations in catalyst development and advances in catalyst screening.” Siluria has previously announced its partnership with Linde to offer licenses to the ethylene industry worldwide. Siluria estimates that at 1 million tonnes/year scale, Siluria's technology would have a US$100/tonnes cost advantage over ethane cracking and US$350/tonnes for naphtha cracking. IHS estimates the ethylene cashcost to be US$515/tonnes when methane is US$4.12/MM BTU. Siluria has also scaled up production of the catalyst, which is quite different. Capex for the 1-tonne/year OCM demonstration plant is US$15 million. Siluria is working with Linde to offer design for 75,000 to 1 million tonnes/ year scale methane to ethylene plants. According to a IHS analysis Siluria has appeared to
have unlocked the code, developing a patented process for the production of polymer-grade ethylene via oxidative coupling of methane. It says this is still timely for producers seeking to further leverage an abundance of shale gas resources available in North America and other regions into essential petrochemicals. Currently, ethylene, which is considered the workhorse petrochemical building block, is predominantly produced using high-temperature steam cracking of ethane and naphtha feedstocks. Since the development of the steam-cracking process of higher carbon alkanes to produce ethylene and heavier olefinic co-products, all process developments have been evolutionary, not revolutionary in nature. That said, R&D chemists have investigated the elusive process of coupling the simple, one-carbon methane molecule to form an economically viable two-carbon ethylene molecule. Such a route has been technically and economically problematic with respect to yield, selection and process stability, due to high-reaction temperatures, and non-specific catalysts. IHS says it believes that this simple, but elusive, chemical process route is much more likely to be achieved with development of Siluria Technologies’ catalyst and process technology. Plus, it says it appears to be technologically feasible and commercially competitive as compared to naphtha cracking and even ethane cracking to ethylene when ethane/methane price ratios are above certain levels. This technology, when implemented on a commercial scale, could contribute to a global feedstock reshuffle for basic commodity chemicals. IHS suggests that the Siluria process will be cost effective at lower natural gas (methane) prices and at higher ethane prices. The economics suggest that OCM to ethylene is a capital-intensive process primarily driven by the cost of heat exchangers and compressors used in modifying the temperature and pressure of light gasses in the process. However, the process also generates value-added co-products energy that reduce the effect of the raw material and utilities costs. Specifically, IHS estimates that (based on methane at US$4.12/MM Btu) such credits reduce the raw material cost of US$567/tonne of ethylene to a net variable cost of US$426/tonne. When considering fixed cost, the plant cash-cost that IHS expects for a world-scale OCM-based ethylene plant is US$515/tonne of production; and at US$3/MM Btu: US$420/tonne of OCM-produced ethylene.
“…IHS Chemical discussed the promise of a new technology, called the Siluria process, which produces ethylene directly from natural gas through oxidative coupling of methane (OCM)…”
Hemp gets the green light The numerous potential applications for industrial hemp match the nearly utopian dream of the composites industry that is on the look out for stronger yet cheaper materials, with a lower carbon footprint, says Angelica Buan in this report. Potential, but outlawed The cannabis plant, commonly known as marijuana, is a strictly regulated plant that is classified as a narcotic and one that has been receiving attention lately due to its potential to cure cancer. Aside from its medicinal properties, the weed, also known as Cannabis Sativa L, possesses ideal properties for a wide variety of industrial applications. While marijuana is of the Cannabis Indica variety, the hemp used as industrial composite material is Cannabis Sativa, a non-psychoactive variety.
Industrial hemp farming is sustainable and requires no chemicals, pesticides or herbicides
Nevertheless, industrial hemp has suffered the blow of being akin to its psychoactive substance-containing twin, marijuana. The cultivation of what would have been a nostrum material to drive market value for major industries has been politically curbed. For instance, the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act implemented in the US almost maimed the potential of industrial hemp, believed to be useful for nearly 50,000 variety of products ranging from building composites and cellophane to automotive parts. But recent developments have pushed several states in the US to legalise industrial hemp farming and research. Countries like China, the UK and Canada (the latter has legalised industrial hemp production since 1992) continue to grow industrial hemp, while elsewhere, cultivating all varieties of cannabis is outlawed. The origin of hemp can be traced back to Central/South Asia and its cultivation for fibre goes back to ancient China. Hemp is defined as containing less than 0.3%
of the intoxicating substance Tetrahydrocannabinoids (THCs), compared to marijuanaâ€™s THC range of 10% to 30%. Hemp farming is sustainable, as growing hemp requires no chemicals, pesticides or herbicides. In fact, hemp adds on and conditions the soil where it grows, while as a cash crop, hemp is grown in rotation with other crops. Getting high on hemp Industrial hemp as a material for the plastics industry has been known since the early 20th century, when hempderived cellulose was promoted as an affordable and renewable raw material. Of all natural fibres, hemp merits as being the strongest and most durable. Hence, hemp-reinforced plastics are found to be up to ten times stronger than petroleumbased plastics, as well as 100% biodegradable. Today, it is seeing its use in a variety of industries. In 2014, Canadian company Hempearth commissioned a Florida-based aircraft manufacturer to build the worldâ€™s first hemp fibre-based plane. Currently crowdfunding for an initial working capital of US$500,000, the company has designed a four-seater, two-engine aircraft with a cruising speed a little over 340 km/hour. It also has a wingspan of 12 m that will be constructed from at least 75% hemp, including the wings, seats, pillows, and outer shell. The colour of the plane will be that of natural hemp fibre and the plan is for it to run completely on hemp biofuel, derived from the seed of the weed.
The world's first hemp plane will take off in North Carolina in 2016
Using hemp as a biofuel could improve carbon efficiency, too, citing research done by Professor Richard Parnas at the University of Connecticut. He found that hemp converts to biodiesel at a 97% efficiency rate and can burn at lower temperatures than any other biodiesel available on the market.
COMPOSITES News According to Hempearth, it has tested the strength and durability of woven hemp material and says it is comparable to fibreglass, which is traditionally the material used in aircraft. As well, hemp is carbon neutral whereas fibreglass releases styrene into the environment. Hempearth plans to fly the hemp plane in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 2016. Rolling out fibre cars Hemp is also making inroads into the car design segment and biodegradable cars are no longer a pipe dream. The concept has been around since Henry Ford’s biocomposite-made prototype car was built in 1941. The Ford prototype exhibited strength akin to steel, yet was 450 kg lighter than steel. In 2010, Canada-based car maker Motive Industries unveiled the world’s first production-ready electric car (EV) with a body partly made of hemp. The three-door, four-seater hatchback Kestrel EV features a top speed of 90 km/hour and a range of 100 miles before it needs to be recharged. The resin-infused hemp body of the car is impact-resistant and exhibits strength comparable to fibreglass boats, but is lighter. In fact, the Kestrel weighs less at 1,133 kg, with the battery, compared to similar-sized Ford Fusion weighing 1,690 kg. This means the Kestrel is 30% more fuel efficient, with the hemp composite helping lower the weight of the car panel by about 10%. Following suit is German car maker BMW that released in 2013 its EV model. It features hemp composites and a weight of 1,224 kg. The EV is powered by a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery, which is essential for the car to also weigh less (aside from ensuring fuel efficiency), as the battery accounts for about 20% of the car’s total mass. The latest addition to the roster of hemp-based vehicles is the sports car produced by US car maker Renew. The Florida-based company manufactures the Ultra-Low Carbon Footprint (ULCF) sports car using hemp.
The Renew ULCF sports car has a body made from carbonneutral hemp fibres
Aiming to create 100% carbon-neutral and nonpolluting cars, Renew’s gas-powered EVs feature 10% lower carbon footprint than average cars of this type, the company said, adding that once cellulosic hemp ethanol becomes available, the Renew EV model will be 50-85% greener. Sniffing out opportunities The changing climate has spurred research activities, specifically in the US, making the probability of hemp markets opening up becoming high. Recently, a research project conducted at Bradley University, US, combined hemp fibre, sawdust and cotton with a recyclable solvent to replace PP resin. Luke Haverhals, Assistant Professor at Bradley is working with Brent Tiserat, a researcher at the USDA, to also find natural-based building materials. Other new applications for hemp include skateboards pioneered by US-based apparel and skateboards maker Lotus Boards, which is producing what it says is the world’s first hemp-based 3D printed skateboard. The moulded grip-patterned skateboard is composed of 30% hemp, weighs 0.8 kg, and has energy savings between 22-45%, while carbon emission is reduced by 70%, compared to similar processes, according to Lotus Boards. Powering batteries Hemp fibres are found to be not only as strong as steel and more impact-resistant than fibreglass, but also better than graphene in terms of energy storage. This property, thus, makes hemp a suitable material for high performance energy storage devices. Moreover, hemp fibre is found to be more conductive than copper and more flexible than rubber. It also makes sheets with a high surface area, ideal for supercapacitors, a type of high-discharge battery. According to a study presented at the American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting held last year in San Francisco, part of the procedure involves processing cannabis via hydrothermal synthesis into carbon nanosheets for the supercapacitors. Using hemp for this purpose is cheaper than graphene, according to Dr David Mitlin of Clarkson University, New York. He also adds that the hemp’s electrochemical performance is at par, if not better, than graphene. The part of the hemp used for the study was actually the leftover bast fibre, the inner bark, which typically ends up in landfills. The recycled waste fibre is, thus, made into energy storage devices that can be useful for EVs (for regenerative braking) and power tools, to name a few. Meanwhile, start up Canadian company Alta Supercaps plans to scale up production of the hempbased supercapacitors for the oil and gas industry. Hence, the legalisation of industrial hemp farming and more R&D are seeing various opportunities for this previously outlawed fibre. MAY 2015
Front Cover Feature
Davis-Standard stretches its capabilities in Asia Global plastics manufacturing has expanded, specifically in terms of advancement in technologies to increase production efficiency and capacities, in line with the competitive nature of the sectors being served. As well, the incremental enduser applications for plastics are also fuelling growth for the manufacturing sector. It is against this backdrop that global plastics and rubber extrusion and converting systems machinery specialist Davis-Standard is reinforcing its commitment in the Asian region.
Global advantage brand Innovative solutions that are efficient and sustainable are a common denominator for plastics processors and manufacturers to vie in the global market. In the same way, solutions providers that have a proven track record for high-quality equipment and services tend to stay ahead of the league. Headquartered in Pawcatuck, Connecticut, US, Davis-Standard says it provides the highly required features for equipment, such as cost efficiency and durability, with a high return on investment. Davis-Standard has extended its frontiers across the various markets around the globe through its “The Global Advantage” brand. Ditto to the company’s goals, it is able to supply technologically-advanced extrusion solutions to plastics processing industries around the world. Catering to various markets with different consumer needs remains to be the cardinal element in The Global Advantage formula, which the company sums up as “quality service on global scale”. Having established a presence in several key markets in the US, Europe and Asia Pacific with sales and aftermarket offices, the company says global customers are assured of fast response by service technicians, as well as access to quality equipment upgrades. According to Davis-Standard, whether processors need to add new capabilities or upgrade existing equipment, the company has spare parts, including current drives and controls, extruder refurbishing, extrusion feedscrew services, and extruder gearbox retrofits as well as modernisation packages to support cost-effective results with a fast turnaround. This is the company’s way of staying close to its customer base to serve thoroughly and promptly.
Davis-Standard’s extrusion lab
China – the be all market China is an important market for DavisStandard: the company has a facility located in the country, serving as the centrifuge for the other Asian markets. Set up in 2012, the Suzhou facility covers an area of 4,300 sq m. It certainly is in an advantageous position in China, a country which, according to a report by Transparency Market Research (TMR), is expected to be the largest market for film machinery in the coming years. Moreover, China is in proximity to other emerging economies in the Asian region. The TMR forecast points to Taiwan and India as anticipated markets to propel demand for film machinery, owing to an increasing demand from the packaging industry in view of the increase in the middle class population and industrialisation.
Front Cover Feature Jim Murphy, Vice-President of Global Sales and Marketing at Davis-Standard, says the company’s dsX machines have been well received in Asia and throughout the world “because they address price, performance and delivery”
Come 20-23 May, DavisStandard will once again exhibit at Chinaplas, dubbed as Asia’s largest plastics and rubber trade fair, to be held in Guangzhou. The extrusion specialist will showcase its dsX product line, specifically the new dsX s-tretch line for cast film. PRA interviewed Jim Murphy, Vice-President of Global Sales and Marketing at Davis-Standard, to find out more about the company’s plans. PRA: How did Davis-Standard fare in 2014 in terms of market growth and sales? Jim: Our main area of focus for 2014 was the extrusion systems, where we saw a significant growth of nearly 80% followed by cast lines, 15%, and extrusion coating, 10%. PRA: Being globally present has become a main course of action for major players in the plastics industry. Davis-Standard fulfills this through its Global Advantage mantra. How does DavisStandard undertake this compared to its competitors? Jim: There are three main reasons why our Global Advantage stands apart from the competition:
Our R&D capabilities are among the best in the world. Examples of recent technologies impacting the marketplace include our high-speed aseptic packaging line; a new high-speed, high-output extruder; and our scrapless horizontal winder. As a global leader in supplying equipment to the food and beverage packaging industries, we’re helping customers reduce waste and become more productive. We’ve also set ourselves apart from second tier suppliers due to customer access to full- scale laboratory facilities. We continue to invest in our laboratories with new equipment and staff.
Cast film technology for food packaging, personal care markets, stretch and cling film applications
PRA: What will Davis-Standard display at Chinaplas 2015? What are the benefits of this machinery? Jim: We plan to promote our dsX product line, specifically our new dsX s-tretch line for cast film. This line is the first in-line pre-stretch cast film line of its kind, featuring integrated pre-stretch capabilities as an alternative to traditional prestretching methods, thus enabling processors to produce stronger, thinner film with greater efficiency. The system is available in three, five and seven-layer cast film options, which utilise the company’s proprietary and patented technologies.
a) We offer the industry’s most diverse offering of trusted equipment brands.
We are the company we are today because we offer a range of converting and extrusion systems. We have capabilities to customise solutions and also produce standard equipment to serve our customers.
b) We have established brand recognition and sell products in every continent.
The key to our continued success has centered on building regional capabilities that allow us to think globally, but act locally. The continued expansion of our capabilities in China is an example of how we’re working to establish regional capabilities in the areas of service, installation and aftermarket support. We intend to continue to make progress in this area to separate us from others in the industry.
c) We are a leader in technology and new product development.
It offers high-speed extrusion lines for producing cables
Advantages include a comprehensive, flexible and pre-configured design, and a smaller footprint at 2 m wide to simplify installation start-up. This line is capable of processing ultra thin films at speeds up to 1,000 m/minute. From a cost and environmental standpoint, benefits include consistently high quality pre-stretch film produced with greater efficiency and reduced waste via coreless winding. MAY 2015
Front Cover Feature PRA: What does the dsX series of machinery comprise? Jim: The new dsX technology is representative of the many new innovations to be introduced as part of Davis-Standardâ€™s Global Advantage initiative, helping customers gain a competitive edge by optimising their ability to respond to the everchanging needs of their markets. The dsX flex-pack extrusion coating line
Introduced worldwide in 2013, the dsX series also includes the dsX flex-pack, dsX flex-film and dsX med-tube lines. The latter is a versatile solution for medical tubing allowing for materials processing ranging from polypropylene (PP) to fluorinated ethylene polypropylene (FEP) with a unique co-extruder arrangement and simple feedscrew changes. It offers a smaller footprint for clean rooms, a language-specific control system and fast delivery. Systems are available for single lumen, multi-lumen, IV catheter, corrugated drainage, integrated bump tubing and multi-layer tubing. The dsX flex-pack extrusion coating line is a pre-configured system, available in two layouts, which support cost-sensitive flexible packaging applications. It was developed specifically for converters and printers looking to increase their flexible packaging business. The system ensures end-product quality, application versatility, greater uptime, and reduced productivity costs. Since it is designed as a high-value, pre-engineered system, it can be delivered in as fast as six months, while providing distinct advantages in the price-sensitive global flexible packaging market. The dsX s-tretch is designed with spacesaving versatility
Pipe/profile and tubing lines are also available
It caters to a variety of emerging application opportunities including: salted snack and noodle bags, toothpaste tubes, sachet packs personal care products, condiment packs and stand-up pouches. The dsX flex-film is the latest in the line of the dsX technology. This pre-engineered blown film line is designed to serve the core of the blown film industry for applications in printing and laminating, flexible packaging, collation shrink and bag making, hood shrink and surface printing. Available in 1,900 mm and 2,500 mm sizes, processors can take advantage of DavisStandard's high performance technology at an affordable price. This includes industry-leading air rings (UpJet), die and feedscrew designs for film uniformity, high output rates and long-lasting equipment performance. Options for different widths, die sizes and accommodations for multiple applications are available.
Liquid coating systems for tapes and labels, silicone-coated products and speciality coating markets
As for the UpJet air ring, it is geared toward commodity markets such as stretch film, can liners and industrial films. It can be used on existing and new blown film lines in manual or auto-profile mode. When used with Davis-Standard's automatic profile control and Centrex or Vertex dies, output increases have been as much as 40%. It is available in sizes ranging from 180 to 1,016 mm in manual or motorised elevation control and passive or automatic thickness profile control configurations. PRA: Following up on the dsX series of machines, how have these fared in the Asian market sector?
Front Cover Feature Lab lines in China and the US support medical tubing application development
Jim: Our dsX machines have been very well received in Asia and throughout the world because they address price, performance and delivery. We’ve especially seen demand in Asia for the dsX med-tube and dsX flex-pack lines due to high demands in medical tubing and flexible packaging applications. We have sold dsX s-tretch and dsX flex-pack lines as well, the first of their kind in Asia. And we estimate the demand for the dsX series to continue to grow. PRA: What types of machinery is the Suzhou facility producing? Are these sold to the Chinese market only or have there been orders fulfilled by Suzhou for other Asian countries? Are there any new services offered by the facility? Jim: Suzhou has been a game-changer for us in Asia because it gives us regional manufacturing capabilities. Suzhou serves every major converting and extrusion coating market in the region. Spare parts ranging from feedscrews and barrels to thermocouples, heaters and motors are in stock
The main products being manufactured in Suzhou and sold in China and throughout the ASEAN region include our feedscrews and control systems, Super Blue® extruder as well as the high speed FPVC systems for medical tubing. FPVC medical tubing line
Medical tubing line
In addition to this, Suzhou can assemble and refurbish gear boxes and control panels. And in the future, we are looking at fabrication and assembly of downstream equipment to service the China and Asia markets. PRA: What sectors does Davis-Standard expect will generate demand for equipment/solutions? Jim: We definitely see an increased demand for upgrades of existing lines especially downstream equipment and control systems. PRA: Are there any updates on Davis-Standard’s green market solutions? Jim: All of our equipment is geared toward energy efficiency, reduced scrap and better processing. We expect this to be a continued effort for all our future equipment launches. For instance, our dsX series of equipment is engineered to ensure: • Energy efficiency • Smaller footprint • Less waste PRA: How will Davis-Standard’s participation in Chinaplas 2015 push further the Global Advantage brand? Jim: Chinaplas is Asia’s largest plastics and rubber trade exhibition and the second most influential exhibition in the world. Any time you have an opportunity to reach over 120,000 visitors, you need to take advantage! We look forward to seeing existing and potential customers at our booth, # 2.2E31. To round-up, Davis-Standard systems encompass over ten product lines to support manufacturing applications and customers within every major industry. This includes the agriculture, automotive, construction, healthcare, energy, electronics, food and beverage packaging, and retail industries, among others. With more than 950 employees worldwide and a network of independent sales agents and suppliers in nearly every country, we also have three manufacturing and technical facilities in the US, as well as subsidiaries with facilities in China, Germany and the UK. MAY 2015
German Machinery and Technology
All-round machinery and technology Touted as one of the largest plastics and rubber trade exhibitions in Asia, Chinaplas 2015’s 29th international exhibition will be held at the China Import & Export Fair Complex in Pazhou, Guangzhou, from 20-23 May 2015.
he Germans will be at the show in full force with 143 exhibitors, occupying 3,733 sq m of exhibition space. In 2013, worldwide supplies of plastics and rubber machines to China was EUR2.5 billion, which is a slight decrease of 1.3% compared to the preceding year. However, Germany is No. 1 in world exports to China with a share of 34.9%, followed by Japan (18.5%), Taiwan (11.4%), and South Korea (6.1%).
Lehmann & Voss’s Luvocom XTF is a new generation of polymers lubricated with a proprietary PTFE formulation. Said to exhibit significantly increased wear resistance, especially at high loads, compared to standard formulations, they open up opportunities in automotive, industrial and oil and gas market applications, as well as high precision machined components via stock shapes. Benefits also include short running-in behaviour and the PTFE remains intact with the polymer during injection moulding. The first compounds in the series are based on PEEK, with other formulations to follow.
Extrusion Machinery • With a rising demand for hygiene products and especially for breathable film, Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H) will show blown and cast film lines. Formerly produced on cast film lines, breathable film output is now shifting towards blown film featuring enhanced properties, less thickness and therefore also material and cost savings. In general, breathable film is produced by embedding small particles of calcium
Materials • Kraiburg TPE will reveal its new automotive compound, targeting interior, exterior, under-thehood and window encapsulation applications. With high flow technology, long and thin flow paths are realisable with low cavity pressure of up to 50%. Furthermore, the encapsulation of laminated safety glass is also made possible. The compounds also have characteristics like resistance to sink marks, glass breakage, uniform gloss finishing all over the part surface, colour matchability, UV and detergent resistance, with mechanical properties. Applications include back window sealing lip, frame rear and rear quarter windows. •
BASF will participate in the Design x Innovation concurrent event with experts, including the designfabrik and Ultrasim team, discussing upcoming trends and insights into design, materials, and how plastics technology unleashes design possibilities and address fast-changing market needs in mobility, electrical & electronics and lifestyle sectors. External guest speakers include Akihiro Nagaya of Yamaha, Luo An of Teams Shanghai, Oliver Risse of Floatility, Tian Hao of LKK Design Shenzhen, Wing Lee, Designer at Milk Design, as well as experts from SAIC Motor Corporation. MAY 2015
W&H’s Varex II blown film line
German Machinery and Technology application, it provides lines up to a maximum film carbonate in the film. After extrusion, the film is thickness of 400 micron and a width up to 7 m. For stretched in machine direction orientation (MDO) to production of packaging films, lines with a thickness create micro-holes around the embedded particles range of 8-125 micron, a trimmed width of 8,700 mm which do not stretch. W&H says it has invested years and speeds up to 500 m/minute are available. For of research to be able to offer its own MDO, fully PP applications, the Dornier lines are designed for a integrated with the blown film line and with special thickness of 10-50 microns, a trimmed width of 8,700 configured winders for handling the higher speeds that mm and production speeds of 500 m/minute. are required. Rounding this up are high speed flexo printing machines to handle this sensitive material, to guarantee high printing speed and quality. Parallel to the exhibition, W&H, in cooperation with its subsidiary BSW Machinery, will host the ADProtex open house at the production site of Guangzhou Shengqing Package Technology to present woven cement sack production. The two focal points of the technology Leading Wear Protection talks and live demonstrations will be the ecoTEX 1600L extrusion laminating line, which is able to produce OPP/woven or paper/woven composite materials and the converTex SLC bottomer, which will turn the composite material into finished sacks. Both machines will be running during the show. •
Brückner Maschinenbau will showcase its Intelligent Line Management (ILM), including an energy monitor for measuring and analysing the energy consumption of the film production process based on the ISO50001 standard. ILM will support the operator to optimise the energy use of each product to achieve film quality on lowest energy input. At the joint booth, visitors will also find Brückner Servtec, promoting film stretching lines, Kiefel, showing developments for the packaging, automotive, medical & appliance industry, and PackSys Global, presenting packaging equipment. Lindauer Dornier will promote its film lines for the production of mono and biaxially oriented films. For polyester condenser film there are plants available for a final thickness down to 1 micron and a trimmed width of 5.5 m and for thick film
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German Machinery and Technology •
Andritz Biax will present sequential stretching lines with Sedyn technology, including the latest generation biaXline Sedyn aXcess Mesim concept that has been designed for high-capacity production of BOPP flexible packaging film. It is a solution for the production of speciality films, such as optical film, battery separators, capacitor film, or BOPA high-quality packaging.
Dieffenbacher has commissioned a fully automated LFT-D plant for China, for a newly established joint venture of American company CSP (Continental Structural Plastics) and Chinese company Victall. Dieffenbacher has supplied ten presses and six LFT-D plants to CSP, a supplier of composite components in the automotive industry. Victall operates primarily in the field of railway engineering. The supply includes a 4,300 tonne press with a punch press, in-line compounding, convection ovens and complete automation. A large portion of the plant will be built in the Dieffenbacher production plant in Shanghai. The LFT-D production line will be in Tangshan, in the north of China. The plant supplies components in a 30 second cycle and with double belt-loading, with an output of 1 million components/year.
from 10 to 11.3 Nm/cm³ and is part of Coperion’s ZSK MEGAcompounder method patent, with an output up to 27% as well as decreased melt temperature due to higher screw filling. It also comes with Coperion-branded gearboxes. Screw speed has been increased from 800 to 900 rpm. To improve cleaning and quick change for masterbatch applications, it is equipped with new hoppers with inserts and a redesigned die head. The screw shaft coupling is similar to the ZSK Mc 18 series. Sister company, Coperion K-Tron, will also be at the booth. •
Motan-Colortronic China will introduce the new Metro G material loader range for raw materials conveying, that can be integrated in automatic central systems. The modular system allows configuration for specific applications. A dust removal module removes fine dust, essential for some engineering plastics. The system can also be fitted with a tangential material inlet to provide a cyclone effect for processing materials where separation of coarse dust is required.
Auxiliary Equipment • ProTec Polymer Processing will present the revised SSP (solid state post-condensation) discontinuous tumble reactor. It no longer features a double jacket but is designed as a single-shell unit. A multi-duct system of half-pipe coils for transporting the heat transfer oil is welded to the outside of the vessel. The optimised weight of the reactor combined with a gear wheel direct drive system have cut energy use by 25%, along with batch times for material treatment. Meanwhile, ProTec has developed a pultrusion system for producing long fibre-reinforced thermoplastic (LFT) from carbon fibre-reinforced PP, previously not possible. The line can be equipped with a twin-screw extruder and this "in-line compounding" allows the fibre-matrix compound to be individually adapted to the respective application. •
Coperion’s latest STS Mc 11 twin-screw extruder is making its debut. It features an increase in torque Motan will show the Metro G series
Coperion’s next generation STS compounding extruder
It will also show the new Miniblend V, a volumetric dosing and mixing unit for smallquantity dosing. Three different disc sizes as well as dosing modules made of stainless steel or glass, and special wear-resistant discs for hard and abrasive materials are available. The unit can be operated by Motan’s volumetric controls VOLU MC or VOLUnet MC, which is equipped with an Ethernet interface.
German Machinery and Technology •
Gneuss, which has established its Multi Rotation System extruder for processing PET reclaim without pre-drying, will show the SFpvc, the latest addition of screen changers for PVC. It is characterised by the adaptability to match the individual extruder and robust drive system to handle contamination surges. This model has proven itself in recycling of PVC plastic windows.
Injection Moulding Machinery • Arburg will launch its Freeformer for additive manufacturing for the Asian market. It will demonstrate the potential of plastic Freeforming for functional parts as one-off items or in multivariant small-volume batches, manufactured from standard granulate based on 3D CAD data, without a mould. The company says it can achieve far more than a simple 3D printer. The granulate is first melted in a plasticising cylinder. The second discharge unit can be used to produce multi-component/colour parts. One Freeformer will combine a TPU material with a special supporting material – a first in additive manufacturing. Possible applications include bellows, hoses, sleeves, or flexible parts for robotic grippers. The supporting structures can subsequently be removed in a water bath. Last year, the Freeformer received the internationally renowned Red Dot Award for industrial design, next to top brands such as Apple, Audi and Adidas. Arburg demonstrated the process for the first time at the Fakuma 2014 (Germany) producing an office scissors with individualised lettering. Arburg will also present the hybrid Allrounder 570H designed for thinwall packaging applications. A 2+2-cavity stack mould is used
Arburg will present a medical technology application, in which prefillable syringe barrels made from COP are manufactured as a substitute for glass
for the IML application, which compared to a conventional four-cavity mould, permits the use of a smaller machine. It will produce four 200 ml margarine tubs in a cycle time of around 3.2 seconds. The automated process is performed by a two-axis robotic system. It inserts two so-called butterfly labels on both the fixed and moving mould platens and removes the finished parts from the central block. It will also display an electric Allrounder 470E demonstrating the production of prefillable syringe barrels made of COP (cyclic olefin polymer), which is transparent and has similar barrier properties to glass, but almost unbreakable and more costefficient. In a subsequent step, the syringe barrels can be pre-filled, assembled and packaged ready for use. The Multilift Select robotic system from Arburg is used to remove the barrels.
Boy will be showing its 60E that is equipped with a servo motor pump drive, similar to the E-series, boasting up to 50% energy savings. It will be shown making thinwall ABS caskets, each consisting of two under parts and upper parts in a 2+2-family mould in 5 seconds. A 22A at the South Chinese distributor Trillion Machinery is equipped with a cantilevered clamping unit for accessibility for automation equipment or other devices.
Having reworked its CX small machine series (35-160 tonnes), KraussMaffei Technologies will show a new CXV 160 at its booth. The company says it uses 10% less energy, is 15% faster, 30% quieter, with the oil volume reduced by 20%, and 25% more efficient. With automation and faster set-up times, it has 100% added value for the customer, says the firm. Additional highlights include the new sprue picker, the ejector coupling and the BluePower Vario Drive concept.
Blow Moulding Machinery • Kautex Maschinenbau will be showing a KB25 suction blow moulding machine that has been modernised at its Shunde plant. Used for manufacturing air ducts, it has been fitted with a 1.8 l high-temperature accumulator head, a low-wear E60 extruder and a full suction blow moulder. Some 25% of Kautex's turnover is generated by its range of servicing programmes, including retrofitting. This is now possible at Kautex’s plant in Shunde, opened 20 years ago, which in 1995 became the first German joint venture to be set up in the southern region of Guangdong. MAY 2015
German Machinery and Technology Other European Machinery • Extrusion machinery manufacturer battenfeld-cincinnati Extrusion Systems has been active in China for 19 years. At Chinaplas, the company will introduce its new management, and the extended turnkey LeanEX extrusion line for pipe diameters up to 400 mm. In March, Toni Bernards was confirmed as CEO and Bruce Lamont as COO of battenfeld-cincinnati’s Chinese subsidiary. In addition, Bernards will also serve as Head of Global Sourcing for the group. Bernards explains on the Chinese market: “We have a strong position in the market and an experienced team of engineers and sales people. The market situation is becoming more difficult as overall growth rates in China decrease. However, last year, 75% of customers ordering with us were new customers. This is a good basis.” Following customer demand in Southeast Asia, South America, Africa, the Middle East and Russia, battenfeld-cincinnati China has extended its basic line solution for PO pipes to four sizes: 63, 160, 250 and 400 mm. The lines are equipped with the LeanEX extruders in one of three sizes: LeanEX 60-30 (output HDPE 350 kg/ hour, PP-R 280 kg/hour), LeanEX 75-30 (output HDPE 500 kg/hour, PP-R 400 kg/hour) and LeanEX 90-30 (output HDPE 800 kg/hour, PP-R 640 kg/hour). LeanEX turnkey lines cater to companies that need a low cost line for small, standard pipe applications. They are offered in a basic package with limited options, a smaller control panel and control system, as well as locally sourced screws, barrels, motor and drive. The pipe heads are from the standard helix series. The company also recently introduced solEX single-screw and twinEX twin-screw extruders to the local market. These machines are equipped with energyefficient AC motors and, in combination with gravimetric dosing systems, can save up to 3% material in PE pipe extrusion, while consuming about 200 kWh less than the average local extruder when producing 1 tonne of PE pipe. It will show a solEX 60-40-C and a twinEX 93-28-C at Chinaplas. Meanwhile, for thermoforming sheet extrusion, last year, battenfeld-cincinnati sold the fourth sheet line with high-speed extruder and Multi-Touch roll stack in Asia
to Chinese company Guangdong Huasheng Plastics, Shantou. With a capacity of 1,400 kg/hour, this line replaces four to six of the previously used Chinese lines. It can produce sheet ranging from 350-2,500 microns in thickness. •
Maag’s newlydesigned underwater pelletising system
• battenfeldcincinnati’s LeanEX 60-30-C, one of the three extruder sizes available for turnkey PO pipe extrusion lines
Swiss company Maag will show the new design of its underwater pelletising system, Sphero S, making it ideally suited for masterbatch and recycling applications with medium outputs between 700-3,000 kg/hour. Improvements include a new frame that allows it to be mounted on a single mobile structure for a reduced footprint. The design of the cutter head facilitates startup, to ensure less agglomeration and production of evenly shaped pellets.
The Baoli line of dry-cut strand pelletisers for the Chinese market are manufactured in Maag-Automatiks's local facility. The series is available in three basic machine sizes with operating widths of 100 mm, 200 mm and 300 mm. Another highlight will be the extrex series gear pump and filtration system for extrusion, compounding and recycling applications. It generates the required pressure for downstream processing with energy efficiency, while at the same time reducing the burden on the upstream extruder by eliminating pulsations and pressure surges. Maag’s extrex EA is a localised extrusion pump that is assembled at its facility in Lingang near Shanghai, with key components, such as gears and bearings made in Maag’s European facility. Maag is now extending the EA pump with the sizes extrex 36-EA and 110-EA for an output range of up to 4,200 kg/hour. Recycling equipment supplier Erema's focus will be on its new Intarema system featuring the core technology Counter Current. The Austrian firm says it has already sold 150 systems worldwide since the launch in 2013. As the trend is continuing in Asia, too, Erema will present an Intarema 1007 TVEplus system with a melt filter SW4/104 RTF as an exhibit. With an output of 300-350 kg/hour, the system will be shown operating to demonstrate the recycling of heavily printed LDPE materials.
FR market in China poised for strong growth
by Jessie Xi Jiang, Senior Analyst at GCiS China Strategic Research
China continues to play a prominent role in the global flame retardant chemical market in terms of production, domestic consumption as well as direct exports, and is expected to lead in global market growth.
ocally produced phosphorus flame retardant (FR) chemical is gradually replacing previously popular halogen-containing chemicals in a broad range of applications, particularly in the plastics and rubber sector. Consumption of inorganic FR is also on the rise. Currently, there are five key product types being used in China: phosphorous, brominated, inorganic, chloride and other types of FR chemicals. The majority of fire retardant chemicals used in the plastics and rubber industries act as important additives to PP, PE, PU, engineering plastics for automobile and electronics, as well as flexible PVC. This is closely followed by the electrical & electronics, chemical (mostly coatings), and electric wire manufacturing industries. Other key applications of consideration include chemical, textile, wood processing, paper and more, though the size of demand is relatively low in these sectors.
Market overview GCiS China Strategic Research estimates that the domestic market for FR chemicals in China is valued at nearly RMB6.8 billion or roughly US$1.1 billion, as of the year end of 2014, up by 5.9% over 2013. Roughly 700,000 tonnes of FR chemicals were produced in China in 2014 and roughly 400,000 tonnes were consumed domestically. GCiS observed a tremendous increase in production over the years, especially for phosphorous FR. The largest two domestic companies – who manufacture exclusively phosphorous FR – have listed themselves on the stock market to acquire sufficient financial support needed for capacity expansion. Revenues and Sales by Products (2014) China is a net exporter of FRs, and of the estimated 700,000 tonnes of FRs produced domestically, it is estimated that nearly 30% was shipped abroad/exported. For both phosphorous and brominated FRs (such as 2% 7% DBDPE and TBBPA which are still permitted), the largest export markets are the US, EU, South Korea and Japan. In 34% addition to the raw export of FR, significant amounts of FRs 7% 6% are exported via the sales of domestically manufactured 24% 25% final products, such as cable, wire, plastic products, and electronics. Of the approximately 400 suppliers active in the 15% 49% domestic market for the target products, 16 can be classified as “large” suppliers, with revenues in 2014 of over RMB100 million (excluding exports). The vast majority of suppliers (around 300) are defined as “very small” 32% companies, with FR revenues in 2014 that were less than RMB5 million. These companies typically manufacture inorganic FR as their main product. Top suppliers in the China market include: Albemarle Revenue Corporation, Jiangsu Yoke Technology, Shouguang Phosphorous Inorganic Other Weidong Chemical, Zhejiang Wansheng, Clariant, Brominated Chlorine Hsikwangshan Twinkling Star (Hts), Jinan Taixing Fine Chemicals, Chemtura and Sino-Brom Compound (ICL).
ADDITIVES Environmental concerns Both domestic and overseas fire retardant standards and environmental regulations are the driving forces behind this trend. However, notwithstanding the optimistic expectations of industry participants, weak law enforcement and supervision in China may hinder this transition. Halogen-based FRs have the best polymer compatibility and are considered to be the most effective type of FR. However, this types of FR poses certain environmental and health concerns. In some end-user industries where FR requirements are more rigid than others, such as cable wire and electronics, it is difficult to completely substitute halogen-based FR for other types of FR. While phosphorus FR is not superior to halogen-based FR in terms of fire-resistance efficiency, considering trending concern for environmentally friendly products, the scope and quality of non-halogen products available in China (phosphorus, inorganic-zinc compounds, aluminium hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide), its product technology maturity, as well as its availability and pricing, it is anticipated that phosphorus FR has the strongest potential for growth. Raw material resources are more available in China for phosphorus FR, and technology for this type of FR has been mastered by the domestic companies. Most of the Chinese end-user industries are not yet ready to accept the much more expensive but better performance inorganic FR offered by foreign suppliers, and presently there are no domestic suppliers capable of producing FR that can match foreign quality. To compensate for this, large amounts of low quality inorganic FR manufactured by domestic suppliers are needed to be added to the plastics in order to achieve the same results as other types of FR. However, this can worsen the mechanical and electrical properties of the plastics. Biobased FRs In relation to environmental concerns, developments are underway for biobased flame retardants, which are both renewable and non-halogenated, in developed markets. In China, biobased FR is still at the research stage. Institute of Chemical Industry of Forest Products has recently developed and tested biobased flame retardant polyester polyols in which the content of renewable raw materials ranges from 40-50%. This being said, for the market in China, it is still a long way to go for biobased FRs to have any substantial and commercial deployment. In China, phosphorus FR is considered a superior option to replace halogen-based FR, and leading domestic suppliers R&D remains in the area of increasing phosphate content and providing customised FRs for engineering plastics, PCB, and PU foams. Recent regulation development in China still focuses on mandating flame retardant standards to be implemented by different downstream products, like insulation materials. Areas such as foam cushions in furniture are still void of inflammability standards. There is virtually no regulation in China with regards to FRâ€™s impact on the environment and human health, with the exception of banning PBB and PBDE usage in electronics products sold in China. Non-halogenated FRs are mostly adopted by multinational companies in China following global production and safety
ADDITIVES standards or manufacturers that export, following regulations such as RoSH and REACH in the EU and California proposition 65 in the US. This explains the slow progress of non-halogenated products substitution but also indicates a large, as yet untapped potential in the Chinese FR market to be exploited in the future. With government starting to tackle environment issues on all fronts, we are optimistic about forthcoming standards and legislations to drive the market towards an eco-friendly direction. Going forward The domestic market will grow from RMB6.8 billion in 2014 to around RMB9.1 billion by 2019, with more evident trend of phosphorous FRs replacing brominated FRs to become the largest product segment by value. The market for FRs as a whole is growing at a rate slightly lower than GDP and GCiS expects that the
are still used more frequently for the manufacturing of general purpose plastics such as PVC and PP, which are intended to be sold domestically given the Chinese governmentâ€™s lower requirements on fire retardant standards. Brominated FR is still preferred because of its high fire retardant capability per unit count. But, in terms of performance, advancements to the production and product technology of phosphorous FR will gradually solve this problem. On the other hand, downward pressure is being placed on the industry coming mainly from the rubber industry, where due to anti-dumping policies, the export of rubber has been prohibited. Additionally, shrinking profit margins caused by increasing manufacturing costs will also slightly compromise demands for FRs in this downstream vertical segment of the market.
Market Size (RMB Bn)
plastics and rubber industry will remain the largest consumer of FRs in upcoming years. Pointing to an increasing demand for more advanced engineering plastic products as well as plastic products as a whole, experts from inside the plastics industry are highly optimistic about industry growth. The proportion of flame retardant added to plastic products in China is significantly lower than that of other mature markets, which presents another potential for growth, provided regulations are tightened. Going forward, phosphorous FR will be used more frequently, especially in the manufacturing of PU, flexible PVC, PP, PE and other plastic products. Note that compared to phosphorous FR, brominated FRs
2014 to 2019 flame retardant chemical market size
Acknowledgement Set up in 1997, GCiS (www.GCiS.com.cn) is a China-based market research and advisory firm focused on business to business markets. This GCiS market study draws on a three-month in-depth primary survey of 58 of the marketâ€™s suppliers and channel players. Major areas covered include: market size and shares, fiveyear projections, market structure, pricing trends, distribution, an assessment of key suppliers and more. For additional information about the report, please contact email@example.com
Uncorking solutions for beverage packaging Bottled water is forecast to have sales that would exceed that of carbonated drinks, says research company Canadean. The role of packaging in delivering safe water from source to end-user, as well as other beverages cannot be undermined. Provider of PET solutions for liquid packaging Sidel says it matches the requirements of the global beverage industry. The Hünenberg, Switzerlandheadquartered company has 40 years of aseptic packaging expertise, and was one of the first to introduce PET bottles over 30 years ago.
Sidel Matrix fillers for still water and carbonated soft drinks
A grail of packaging options Ensuring safety of beverages requires stringently produced packaging. According to Sidel, it assures compliance with food safety standards, as well as “strong ethical, Dominique Lipinski, Zone good corporate governance and the Vice President, Sidel right environmental and sustainability approach”. To date, it has installed around 30,000 machines in 190 countries. The Asian region is important for Sidel, specifically the Southeast & Asia Pacific (SEAP) geographical zone. Its Asian head office is in Bangkok, Thailand, and it operates in six operational subzones: IND (India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka), TCM (Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar), IMS ( Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore), JKK (Japan, North Korea, South Korea), VLP (Vietnam, LAO PDR, Philippines), and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Fiji and other Pacific countries). It also operates through nine locations in the main countries, plus has a blow moulding machinery facility in India. PRA interviewed Dominique Lipinski, who assumed the post as Zone Vice-President SEAP early this year. The Bangkok-based executive will be celebrating his 22nd year with Sidel. PRA: What are the latest offerings from Sidel for the Asian market? Dominique Lipinski: We are continuing to develop and evolve our new Sidel Matrix modular approach to PET bottling equipment. It is a broad, proven and upgradeable system that is our most powerful solution yet in terms of performance, flexibility, cost savings and sustainability. It ensures product safety and quality with a very high standard of hygiene. It features optimally proportioned equipment configured to provide increased production capacity for various beverages, to meet the growing demand in world consumption. Through our strategy of global experience, backed by local sales and service support, we are constantly looking at how we can invest to further support our customers in their respective markets. We are continuing to focus globally on PET as the most sustainable packaging material of choice. It is strong, shatterproof, lightweight, transparent, safe and, importantly, recyclable, with an inherent barrier, which makes it particularly suited to a wide range of food and beverage applications. Almost 56% of the world’s population live in the Asia and Pacific region. The continuing importance of China and the Asia Pacific region was reflected in the decision to hold the fourth KNOWLEDGEshare Live series of beverage MAY 2015
Corporate Profile industry events, hosted by Sidel, in Chengdu, China, in March. Almost 500 participants from all areas of the beverage supply chain attended. As well, KNOWLEDGEshare is also an online forum (www.knowledgeshare.com). Japan is another important market in our SEAP zone. Sidel Japan has recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. A notable recent project saw Sidel supply a PET bottle blowing line, featuring Sidel Predis, a dry preform decontamination system, to a major Japanese manufacturer of pharmaceutical water. The product is based on scientific research into how drinks containing electrolytes can help supply nutrients, based on the concept of intravenous hydration. PRA: Are there new trends in PET packaging or new beverage packaging technologies developed for the Asian markets? Dominique Lipinski: One of our most recent technological innovations is Intelliblower, a significant innovation that brings control and self-regulation to the blow moulding process. The patented technology ensures greater accuracy in distribution of material during the production of individual bottles, with the elimination of inconsistencies resulting in improved quality, regardless of bottle weight.
Sidel's spare parts service aims at lowering costs for beverage producers
an importance which is growing as consumers look for healthier beverages. Indonesia is a good example of this, following the current global trend of more healthconscious consumers, a trend that is set to continue, with younger people. Dairy products, such as drinkable yoghurts, are already one area that has been positively influenced by the emerging trend, with single-serve, “on-the-go”, rigid plastic formats performing particularly well. Sensitive products present particular challenges in terms of ensuring product safety. Our Sidel Predis replaces wet bottle sterilisation. It provides 100% decontamination of all preforms using hydrogen peroxide mist, removing the need for water and requiring only small amounts of chemicals. It protects the integrity and safety of any beverage, either high or low acidity, distributed at ambient temperatures. With the Sidel Combi Predis FMa, the preform decontamination, blowing, filling and capping functions are housed in a single production enclosure. Predis enhances production flexibility and helps to protect liquid packaging from micro-organisms, preserving sensitive drink integrity and lengthening shelf life. PRA: What are the growth markets in the coming years? Dominique Lipinski: There is potential for growth throughout the region, with PET offering excellent opportunities for material substitution. One of the major contributors to a country’s growth potential in terms of beverage consumption is the size of the population and whether it is increasing or declining. In 2010, India represented 30.8% of the world’s population, a figure that is projected to continue to increase with India anticipated to become the most populous country in Asia, and therefore the world, around 2020. Over half of India’s population are less than 25 years old, which represents opportunities for greater adoption of new trends and developments in packaging, such as the single-serve formats that are becoming increasingly popular. PRA: What can we expect from Sidel SEAP in the future?
The blow moulding process is becoming increasingly important as the drive for ultimate lightweighting of PET bottles within the industry continues. Poor or irregular material distribution within the production of bottles can adversely affect quality throughout the entire process and can even lead to a total shutdown of the line. Because the appearance and handling of the bottle is what ultimately affects how any brand is perceived, Sidel is continually striving to create quality and performance possible in PET bottles. PRA: Are there challenges that Sidel has encountered in the Asian markets in the past year? Dominique Lipinski: One of the characteristics of the Southeast Asia Pacific region is the importance of “sensitive” beverages such as juice and milk products,
Dominique Lipinski: The focus on our R&D programmes is ongoing to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of customers today and tomorrow, recognising emerging trends and providing the solutions to meet them. For example, there is a shift away from a reactive approach to a much more proactive one, undoubtedly helped by the technology that is increasingly being implemented in bottling lines. One of the characteristics of today’s equipment is that it is much more intelligent, with “black box” devices providing wide ranging data that can be invaluable in helping to automate, for example, some of the maintenance functions. This has led to the adoption of processes such as Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), which combines three elements: autonomous maintenance, in which operators are trained to handle minor repairs and maintenance; preventive maintenance
Corporate Profile which is about taking proactive measures; and continuous improvement based on hard data analysis. The data available from today’s modern production lines, including the potential for remote analysis and proactive services from the equipment manufacturers themselves, provides opportunities to optimise the services function. By taking data from
Drinking for health, pops up demand Water is a shared resource and an important substance to man’s survival. While population growth boosts economies, it also impacts water consumption. Moreover, access to adequate safe water is significantly becoming a global concern, for which packaging can provide a practical solution. According to a 2011 United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) report on access to water and sanitation, nearly 900 million people were unable to access improved water sources; while in Asia and the Pacific, the number of people with access increased from 74% in 1990 to 89% in 2008. Although at present, the pressure for more widespread availability for clean and affordable water is not only against what is alleged as the gradual commodification of water but also the waning commitment to improve infrastructure for delivering safe water. According to a study published in 2000 by the World Water Council, major investments in wastewater treatment over the recent decades “have improved the quality of surface water in many developed countries”. The incremental global consumption of water bolsters the market for bottled water. According to Grandview Research, the Asia Pacific, with its growing beverage market dispenses along huge opportunities for market players. It said that the increasing disposable income and rising consumption of soft and energy drinks, particularly in China and India, are expected to drive the beverage industry growth. In yet another new research, it finds that rising awareness towards incorporation of vitamins and flavouring agents in packaged water bottles is projected to have a positive impact on bottled water market through 2020.
multiple sources, it is possible to become predictive about line conditions, quickly forming conclusions about what is happening, what could happen and what actions to take to continue positive or improved performance. This allows for the provision of support, trouble-shooting and analysis in real-time, detecting or preventing errors and optimising performance.
Technology updates in forming At the upcoming Chinaplas show in Guangzhou, thermoforming machine makers will showcase a variety of machinery and technology updates.
Amutâ€™s VPK-C84 model
eaf Machines claims its sheet extrusion lines for film and sheet reduce energy consumption by up to 50% compared to competitors. Its H-series achieves this through a combination of a screw and barrel design, utilisation of heating and cooling in combination with IE2/3/4-class motors. Another important feature is the low RPMâ€™s required (less than 200) and achieving high outputs with high ratios of regrind. Coupled with this is the inline KMS600 thermoforming machine. Major advantages for working in-line include the ability to directly feed the hot sheet allowing for constant quality; cycles/minute are higher than with a traditional offline system due to direct feeding. Furthermore, the Dutch machine maker says that continuous production results in less waste material (for example â€“ eliminating the need for side trims) and the closed-loop grinding, filling and dosing system ensures less foreign materials and dust will enter the production process. In human resources, operating in-line requires less operators than producing with two separate lines, thereby saving labour costs. The KMS600 is equipped with tilting technology and allows the production of cups up to 180 mm across the entire form area. Optional features include a servo driven plug assist, fully automatic lubrication system for all major parts, with individually controlled heating zones in lower heating frames as a standard. Germany-based Illig Maschinenbau will be presenting its RDK and RV series. Trays and hinged packs, used for protection of food during transport and as sales packs, are produced on these thermoformers from thermoplastic roll stock. At the show, hinged food packs will be manufactured on an IC-RDK 80 thermoformer out of APET, with a maximum forming area of 756 mm x 565 mm. Equipped with a ten-up mould, the line is able to reach a speed of up to 50 cycles/minute. With the new IC (Intelligent Control Concept), the servo-driven thermoformers can be utilised to the full extent, with RDK machines reaching speeds up to 55 cycles/minute. These machines work in the forming-punching method. Illig will also show the RV 53d, featuring a forming area of 500 mm x 350 mm and speed of 50 cycles/minute. As a rule, a user can build moulds by using a system of standard parts available from Illig. Italy-based Amut Group will present in operation the VPK-C84 automatic thermoforming machine for producing rigid packaging, such as trays, punnets and containers. The 25-tonne VPK-84 is composed by three stations: forming, steel rule die cutting and stacking, with a forming and punching area of 840 x 650 mm and a dry cycle of 45 cycles/minute. It is a fourcolumn forming and cutting press. The upper and/or lower plugs are operated by servomotors; forming is undertaken with compressed air and/or vacuum, while a quick clamp system is used for forming and punching mould, cutting and stacking tools. Large vacuum former Swiss company WM Wrapping Machinery has supplied a large vacuum-pressure forming machine to a Brazilian company near Sao Paolo. The FC 1000 IM Speedmaster Plus has a forming area of 1,060 x 750 mm and a clamping force of 130 tonnes. WM has increased by 40% the clamping force in order to reduce at minimum the deflection off the platens and have less wear of the steel rule knife, with consequent better stability of the process.
WM's latest version of the Speedmaster Plus model, with steel rule cutting station and fully automated counting and stacking robot system
Forming and cutting operations are simultaneously operated in the same mould by an incorporated steel rule cutting blade. The in-mould cutting makes possible a high accuracy of the peripheral size, improving the quality of the final product. Installed on the upper platen of the machine is a third motion servo-driven plug assist unit, and programmed pre-stretching can be performed for better distribution of the material, improving the stiffness and reducing the final weight. The stacking and counting of the thermoformed products, after forming and cutting, is undertaken by a three-axis robot including the A-B-C stacking possibility. The machine is equipped with latest generation software while a B&R PLC, equipped with a colour touchscreen control keyboard, is fitted on a sliding arm and moves right along the operator side of the machine. The system includes a cycle self-setting processor. By keying in the type of material processed, the thickness and type of product, as well as the width and pitch of the sheet, the software automatically provides the basic settings for the ideal forming cycle and for the machine operating functions, from heating through stacking. The system can also store all the data and information already set on a USB memory stick and an Ethernet port allows the connection of the machine to one or more computers through the company network as well as to the printer, as standard equipment. All WM Speedmaster thermoforming machines also use the integrated power regeneration. The kinetic energy generated during braking movements is converted to electrical energy, which is restored into the power system of the machine for energy savings. Copolymer for transparent PP parts results in benefits A new study released by CMT Materials, a US-based plugassist materials supplier for the thermoforming industry, reveals that syntactic foam plug assists deliver greater
performance benefits than solid polymer plug assists for thermoforming of transparent PP parts. While measuring the influence of different plugassist materials, CMT says it found statistically significant improvements in haze, material distribution, and crush strength for thermoformed PP parts, which utilised syntactic foam plug assists. Plug surface quality that was affected by machining and polishing techniques was also identified as a critical factor. CMTâ€™s Hytac C1R is a toughened copolymer thermoset syntactic foam modified to provide high friction. It is said to be easy to machine, durable and easy to modify/polish. Relatively new to the market (introduced in 2012), it was initially used for deep draw or zero draft application areas where high friction was needed. Now, CMT has discovered that C1R offers benefits beyond deep draw. Thermoforming trials with 1.39 mm-thick PP sheet, clarified with Milliken Chemicalâ€™s Millad NX 8000, were run at uVu Technologies to determine if CMTâ€™s C1R copolymer could provide all the benefits of syntactic foam without any loss in optical properties compared to solid polymers such as PEI and acetyl. The formed part was a 89 mm tall cup with a rim inner diameter of 66 mm and a bottom diameter of 51 mm, resulting in a draw ratio of 3.4. Hytac-C1R resulted in cups with 20% lower haze compared to PEI. Forming cups with C1R instead of PEI also resulted in a 10% increase in cup weight. In addition, cups formed with C1R weighed 3% more than those formed with acetyl, says CMT The high-friction copolymer base maximises the ability to pull sheet material into the tool compared to other plug materials, according to CMT that also says it increased the minimum sidewall thickness by 28% compared to PEI and 20% compared to acetyl. For thermoformers, part thickness is related to crush resistance. The increased cup weight and minimum sidewall thickness obtained with Hytac foam resulted in 31% higher cup crush strength compared to plugs made from PEI. Ultimately, CMT says its copplymer resulted in equivalent or improved optical properties compared to PEI and acetyl while improving material distribution and leading to stronger cups.
CMT says crush resistance is extremely important for thermoforming since the container needs to survive its intended use without any signs of failure. It says that a clear drink cup needs to be rigid enough to avoid buckling and spillage when the lid is applied MAY 2015
Asia takes a spin on waste plastics In Asia, the increasing heaps of waste plastics outshine the usefulness of plastics. As a solution, recycling is regarded as the most effective form of making use of waste plastics, yet, growth in this mode is still moderate, says Angelica Buan in this report.
Plastics litter piling up from Asia The false image painted of plastics being a nuisance and responsible for clogged water ways, marine litter and climate change, may take a toll on the industryâ€™s growth, according to speakers at the Asia Plastics Forum held during the Plastindia show in February at Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Industry delegates during the conference observed that, especially in packaging, the increasing volume of plastic wastes is the negative payback for using too much of plastics. The issues ranging from marine litter to mismanaged landfills have spurred measures like plastic bag bans, which, consequently, affect the industry. As demand surges for plastic packaging, more waste management issues are created. A highly-publicised issue, marine litter, has been trending lately in the plastics sector. A new study published in the Science journal, finds that the massive bulk of plastic garbage that litter the oceans comes from Asian countries and China. The latterâ€™s heavy coastal population has been estimated to contribute 1.3 million to 3.5 million tonnes of plastics waste/year. Eight countries in Asia are also found to be top contributors to the 8 million tonnes of waste plastics produced. These include Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh. The amount is projected to increase ten times by 2025, without inadequate waste management systems. The study suggests that insufficient infrastructure for waste management and disposal could not cut back the stream of wastes being generated. Even the US, which has a well-developed infrastructure for handling solid waste, still contributes 40,000 to 110,000 tonnes/year of waste. The study drew its findings from waste plastics generated from coastal population areas using indirect methods to measure how much of the waste was not properly disposed of, and estimated the quantity of the waste that would end up in oceans.
Recycling vs waste disposal According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in Southeast Asia, solid waste management is expensive and mainly involves collection and transportation, which are also labour-intensive areas. In many cases, the cost is passed on to the public sector. Already, privatisation (of waste management services) is practiced in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia. Waste plastics also constitute waste from the raw materials that are used to produce end-products. About 4% of the global oil production is used as feedstock to produce plastics and a further 3-4% is utilised to provide energy for their manufacture. Sustainable consumption and production of plastics to minimise the use of virgin materials and green gasses emissions, while delivering clean material cycles, are current practices, according to a report from Austria-based International Solid Waste Association (ISWA). In a paper published by UKâ€™s national academy of science, The Royal Society, in 2009, it said that the current applications for plastics in disposable products or in durable polymer-based items A recent study identified eight Asian countries as top contributors to marine pollution that end up in landfills after end-of-life use, are not sustainable.
Recycling Recycling can reduce the impact of these unsustainable practices to the environment. It, thus, provides opportunities to reduce oil usage, carbon dioxide emissions and the quantities of waste requiring disposal.
sustainability in packaging and promotion of the circular economy whereby materials and products are designed for recycling, according to Douglas Woodring, founder of ORA. The rPET also represents a significantly improved technology for production from recycled PET, which can also enable producing larger volumes of the bottles. The technology used allows an extensive process of selection, crushing, washing and drying to produce pure, rPET, say the suppliers.
Varying recycling rates for Asian countries Several Asian countries are continuously improving their recycling rates. China has had a steady increase of domestic collection and utilisation of plastic scrap, pegged to have reached 30% in 2013, according to the Plastics Recycling Committee (PRC) of the China Plastics Processing Industry Association. The association also cited that within the Chinese plastics recycling industry, more than 40% of the total volume is managed by medium-sized or large companies that are mostly located in the coastal regions. The country has also paved the way for other novel means of repurposing plastics. For example, in the capital city of Beijing, recyclable plastic bottles can be exchanged for subway credit, usually between US$0.05 and US$0.15 cents. The city government and recycling firm Incom have recently installed more PET bottle-to-subway credit reverse vending machines in rapid transit stations across Beijing, after the scheme gained a large following since its launch in 2012.
Incom's PET CMY bottle-toK subway credit reverse vending machines installed in Beijing's rapid transit stations
The machine, with its built-in scanners, detects the type and weight of the plastic to determine its value. The bottles are also crushed and sorted by colour and type by the machine. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, a newly launched recycled PET bottle has received recommendation from US-based Ocean Recovery Alliance (ORA), a non-profit organisation. Watsons Water, a leading manufacturer of pure distilled water in Asia, has turned to rPET bottles for its product. Claimed as the first in Asia to be made of 100% rPET, the new bottle will create a positive impact on
Watsons Water designed the 100% rPET Go Green bottle
India, which is forecast by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to likely outpace China’s economic growth this year to 2016, may also face environmental mayhem as a result of its industrial growth. Data from the World Bank indicate that while highincome countries generally produce more waste per capita than low-income ones, India and parts of China are found to generate high volumes of rubbish. In Mumbai, more than 450 g of material a day goes to the bin, accounting for more than 6% of the entire country’s waste. The nearby Deonar dumpsite is also amongst the largest of its kind in the world. According to the study, on top marine polluting countries, India was cited as responsible for dumping an estimated 0.24 million tonnes of plastic every year; whereas the amount of mismanaged plastic waste per year amounts to approximately 0.6 million tonnes. Mumbai's Deonar dumping ground is one of the world's largest dumpsites
Honing into Southeast Asian countries In Singapore, recycling waste is reported to have declined by 1% in 2014 from 61% rate a year ago, according to data from the National Environment Agency. The country’s target of reaching a recycling rate of 70% by 2030 may fall short of expectation with the reported drop, quoted to be the first time in 15 years.
On the other hand, Thailand shows an uptrend in its recycling rates, according to analysis from Bangkokheadquartered Kasikorn Research Centre. In 2013, Thailand recycled over 0.8 million tonnes of plastic scrap, increasing 48.8% over 2012 when only 0.5 million tonnes was recycled. The value of resin from recycled plastic in Thailand may reach THB23.56 billion in 2014, up 14.7% year-on-year. Moreover, the presence of large local and international recycling operators, who are highly-experienced in the field, particularly in sorting waste, is pushing up recycling rates. Hence, the research projects that the proportion of plastic waste going into the recycling process will jump to 40% this year from 37.9% in 2014. Also this year, the market for resin from recycled plastic is expected to grow to nearly 23% year-on-year to almost THB30 billion. Recyclable waste trade opportunity – China biggest The scale of recycling may vary from country to country, sometimes, regardless of the adequacy of recycling systems. Since recycling, a mode of waste management is still capital and labour-intensive, this affects how the waste is handled. In this context, globalised trade in waste plastics is becoming a favoured option. According to ISWA, recycling operations for traded recyclable wastes are being shifted to Asia, accounting for 40% by weight of total world production, with China being the largest single country accounting for 24%. ISWA suggests that the drivers were “increasing local demand and lower costs on labour as well as environmental and health and safety costs, due to the initial absence of regulations and/or their implementation in both manufacturing and reprocessing.” Most of plastic waste exports (by weight) from Europe go to China and Hong Kong, it said. Recycled plastic trade is a lucrative business. The market for waste is now worth an estimated US$443 billion, according to an article published by the University of Bologna, School of Economics, Management and Statistics. Leading the league for used plastics import is China, which ISWA said needs affordable secondary plastics to meet the increased demand for plastic products, which are partly coming from local recycling, and partly from the international market. However, the locally recycled plastics are found to be mostly inferior and not suitable for use in larger, more advanced manufacturing facilities for export goods. According to a paper by the Institute of Developing Economies Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), China began importing recyclable waste in the 1990s because of scarcity of locally sourced raw materials. The country then imported various recyclable waste to sustain its high economic growth, nevertheless it also has had issues of environmental pollution being generated by improper recycling. Meanwhile, global economic integration is also driving the international trade of recyclable waste, including hazardous wastes. Transboundary movement of these wastes have yet to be looked into seriously and appropriate trade regulations should be adopted and enforced, according to JETRO.
Rediscovering medical polymers Healthcare needs are becoming more sophisticated. Luckily, R&D in the medical industry has kept pace with advancements to spot new applications for materials, says Angelica Buan in this report.
rovision for healthcare remains the top priority of individuals as well as nations. The Asia Pacific healthcare spending is projected to reach US$2.2 trillion by 2018 at 10.5% CAGR, as stated by Frost & Sullivan. Globally, per capita spending for healthcare is outpacing per capita income. By 2050, healthcare spending would have accounted for 20-30% of the GDPs of many countries. Industry analysis indicates that the trend is going towards simplified and frugal innovations. Even so, these require ongoing R&D for technologies to simplify healthcare processes and tools, such as the utilisation of polymers to reduce the weight and add on flexibility or a soft-feel coating for accessories, without compromising important features like durability and sterilisability Medical polymers have a healthy growth The market for medical polymers is projected to be valued at US$17.13 billion by 2020, reaching a CAGR of 8.3% from 2014, according to Transparency Market Research. Polymers, categorised as plastic resins/fibres and elastomers, are widely used in implants and devices, diagnostic systems, and hospital accessories. Medical devices and equipment lead in the area of applications, accounting for a share of over 47% of the overall volume in 2013, due to high demand for disposable medical equipment. Rapid growth is also expected in medical packaging, due to increasing demand for lightweight, safe, and easy to transport packaging. Capable of replacing metals or glass as primary material for a wide range of medical products, polymersâ€™ unprecedented growth in this segment may be impeded by safety regulations becoming more stringent. Meanwhile, Nanomarkets in its research says that medical polymer manufacturers are required to follow stringent manufacturing technology processes in all stages of production, including storage. They must also control the quantity, quality, molecular characteristics, and leaching properties of all of the materials used to produce the polymers, as well as ensure biocompatibility and compliance with region-specific regulations. Furthermore, other impediments cited by Transparency Market Research include price fluctuation of raw materials (affected by crude oil prices), which impacts prices of polymers and that could lead to shortages and price increases. Nevertheless, new breakthroughs in polymers for medical applications continue to outweigh the stumbling blocks to its market growth, considering that polymersâ€™ versatility stretches its applications beyond conventional medical devices. Exploring biocompatibility use In medical implants, biocompatibility of polymers is fundamental. A recent innovation on biocompatible polymers will be utilised to render efficiency in medical sensors. Dr Gang Cheng, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Akron, has embarked on developing a polymer coating for medical sensors implanted in the body. The research has reportedly attracted a five-year grant amounting to US$499,995 from the National Science Foundation in the US. Cheng is studying the structure and function of water-soluble polymers that are safe to be put in the body and that also conduct electricity. The research involves polymer-coated sensors to monitor biomarkers, such as blood sugar, around the clock. The sensor, paired with a drug-delivery system, could trigger doses of medication when needed. The polymer also could be used on pacemakers and other more sophisticated implanted devices that must communicate with the body. The ongoing research is initially focused on constructing polymer-coated sensors to test in the laboratory. Other applications for biocompatible conducting polymers could include biofuel cells, which turn the sugars in the body into energy, and may be viable to replace batteries to power implanted medical devices. MAY 2015
Medical Industry In a related development, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart, Germany, have developed a cell-free substrate made of advanced fibres consisting of synthetic and biodegradable polymers such as polylactide (PLA).
Fraunhofer developed a cellfree substrate made of polymer fibres
Regenerative medicine uses cells harvested from the patient's own body to heal damaged tissue. The cell-free substrate contains proteins to which, autologous cells bind and grow only after implantation. This development is an important milestone in regenerative medicine. Usually, the only treatment option for patients who have damaged internal organs or body tissue is either rely on donor organs or synthetic implants. However, the body is likely to reject this transplant, while implants based on autologous cells are more likely to be accepted. The Fraunhofer researchers are working on a project to develop suitable substrates – known as scaffolds – in collaboration with the university hospital in Tübingen and the University of California (UCLA), in Los Angeles. Their solution is based on electrospinning, a process in which synthetic and biodegradable polymers such as PLAs are spun into fibres using an electrical charge to create a three-dimensional nonwoven fabric. Proteins are added to the polymeric material during the electrospinning process. The material serves as a substrate to which the patient's own cells will bind after it has been implanted. The polymeric fibres during this process will gradually degrade in the human organism over a period of approximately 48 months. The hybrid materials composed of polymeric and protein fibres can be produced and stored in large quantities. The IGB team is working to bring the novel substrate to market as a rapidly implementable alternative to conventional heart valve replacements. Efficient drug delivery systems Optimising efficacy of medications starts with getting the drugs to their targets in a controlled manner. Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, a manufacturer of precision seals and bearings, introduced its engineered innovations to address what it observes as today’s demand for smaller and more discreet devices. Showcasing its range of
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions offers solutions to enhance drug delivery for patients
products at the recent International Pharmaceutical Expo held in New York, Trelleborg zeroed in on drug delivery, such as insulin inhalers, prefilled syringes, infusion pumps, intrauterine devices, single-use bio process bags and other drug-device combination products. The firm said that drug delivery devices complement the influx of new drugs being granted patents and new pharmaceutical companies entering the market. Accuracy of drug delivery and user experience are top considerations of pharmaceutical companies for these devices, it said. Lowfriction material combinations play an important role in addressing this requirement. Trelleborg says that it can help customers reduce overall component size and weight of their drug delivery systems and leverage efficient disposable devices. With thinner sections and fewer components, mechanical demands on individual components have heightened, resulting in greater use of high-performance engineered polymers. Life-saving injectables Researchers at the University of Washington have developed an engineered hemostatic polymer (PolySTAT) that circulates innocuously in the blood, identifies sites of vascular injury, and promotes clot formation to stop bleeding. PolySTAT is an injectable engineered polymer that helps promote blood clotting during injuries
Promoting blood clotting often involves the use of human platelets. This option is expensive, not to mention that the platelets have a short shelf life and may not be readily available in some cases. PolySTAT is administered via a simple injection and is being eyed for its potential to treat injured soldiers on the battlefield. After successful clinic trials on small animals have been carried out, the injection could be ready for clinical trials on humans in five years, according to the researchers. Why PolySTAT is suited for treating combat casualties is because most patients die from uncontrolled bleeding. A natural protein found in the body called Factor XIII, responsible for binding fibrin strands together, helps strengthen blood clots. PolySTAT works in the same way but additionally safeguards degradation of blood clots, since the natural enzymes that cut fibrin and dissolves blood clots do not target the PolySTAT bonds. The study further showed that he polymer strengthened the clots even when the levels of fibrin were critically low. Moreover, PolySTAT does not form clots in the body that can result in a stroke or embolism as it only binds to fibrin at the site of a wound.
Injection Moulding Asia 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing
Sector races ahead In the market for over 25 years, 3D printing/
Materials growth The growth of the sector has seen a number of materials suppliers cashing in with material offerings ranging from expensive proprietary liquid resins and standard and colour formulations to fibre-reinforced ABS, PPS, PC, PLA and nylon. Following this trend, US compounder Teknor Apex has introduced new compounds in its Terraloy PLA range of products.
additive manufacturing is more than just a fad for hobbyists for making knickknacks or prototypes. The sector is set to take the industry by storm, with new technologies abounding.
D/additive manufacturing is used for developing tooling. This technology allows the user to go from concept design to prototype/ production part in a fraction of the time it would take to develop conventional tooling. Wohlers Associates, a consulting firm and authority on additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing worldwide, says the market for AM, consisting of all AM products and services worldwide, grew at a CAGR of 35.2% to US$4.1 billion in 2014. It outlines this in its latest publication, Wohlers Report 2015, an annual publication that has been published for over 20 years. The industry expanded by more than US$1 billion in 2014, with 49 manufacturers producing and selling industrial-grade AM machines. The CAGR over the past three years (2012–2014) was 33.8%, says the report. Wohlers Associates reports that growth occurred in all segments of the diverse industry, including the low-cost “desktop” 3D printer segment. The use of industrial metal AM systems for demanding production applications in the aerospace and medical markets also grew strongly. “The first Wohlers Report was published in April 1996,” said Terry Wohlers, Principal Consultant/ President of Wohlers Associates. “It was 40 pages in length and represented the first-ever published analysis of the industry worldwide. The AM industry represented a mere US$295 million in 1995.” According to Wohlers, two companies stand out in terms of providing 3D printing services. These are: Stratasys and 3D Systems, with a market share of 18.3% and 15.9% respectively, in 2014.
3D printer with filament spool used by Teknor Apex
The 3D-40040 compounds in the bioplastic series are formulated for extrusion into filament for use in 3D printers. Features include improved heat deflection temperature and impact strength compared with standard PLA, allowing for tighter tolerance control after annealing. Because of its heat resistance, filaments made from the compounds can be easily dried in an oven before processing, an important advantage because of the hygroscopic nature of the standard PLA polymer. The PLA compounds are based on innovations by Teknor Apex that has overcome an inverse 1
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Injection Moulding Asia 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing relationship in standard PLA between heat distortion temperature (HDT) and Izod impact strength, with up to two times the HDT and more than four times the impact strength of standard PLA resins. Previous work to enhance PLA performance beyond standard levels had generated resins with either higher HDT or greater impact strength, but not both in the same grade. Another materials company that says it is expanding its application development focus in AM technology is Sabic Innovative Plastics. It says its investment in several industrial and desktop printers, including the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) printer used to print the world’s first 3D-printed car, will help to facilitate process improvements in FDM and other extrusionbased printing processes. In a recent project, Sabic says it used predictive engineering and 3D printing technology to create an integrated thermoplastic LED luminaire, highlighting the opportunity to reduce the number of parts by 84%, the total weight by 24% and assembly time by 65%, compared to a conventional metal luminaire. At the NPE show in the US, Sabic also displayed at its booth the prototype of a 3D printed economy class aircraft seat, which it said was made with fewer than 15 components under license from Studio Gavari of Brunico, Italy, using the Ultem 9085 resin.
The much hyped 3D-printed car that is made from Sabic’s ABS carbon fibre-reinforced resin by Local Motors, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Cincinnati Incorporated
Applications increasing aking launch vehicles for NASA, the Air Force and commercial satellites, US-based United Launch Alliance (ULA) knows a thing or two about critical applications. On the lower-end, its rockets cost US$165 million. And they must propel into space billion-dollar satellites weighing more than 28 tonnes.
ULA selected Ultem 9085 for its ability to withstand a wide range of extreme temperatures Sabic is leasing the aircraft seat design from Studio Gavari to show at exhibitions for a year
Like other leading edge manufacturers using 3D printing, ULA progressed from prototyping to tooling and then to flight hardware production. After acquiring two Fortus 900mc 3D Production Systems from Stratasys, ULA began the process of updating the Environmental Control System (ECS) duct on the Atlas V, which will launch with the new 3D component in 2016. The ECS duct is critical to the countdown sequence of a launch, delivering nitrogen to sensitive electronic components within the rocket booster. The previous design for the ECS duct assembly contained 140 parts, but by modifying the design using FDM 3D printing, ULA consolidated the number of parts to only 16. This significantly reduces installation time and results in a 57% part-cost reduction.
Another US firm APS Elastomers offers Zythane thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) specifically suited for 3D printers. The pellets can be placed directly into the printer; replacing costlier filament spools. The TPUs boast durability, toughness, chemical resistance, flexibility and processing ease. Yet, another resin, LNP Thermocomp compound, a carbon fibre-reinforced material, was used to print the much-talked about Local Motors’s Strati vehicle. Sabic also offers the Cycolac MG94 resin – an ABS material used by the maker community for fused filament fabrication (FFF) printing. 2 M AY 2 0 1 5
Injection Moulding Asia 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing ULA selected Stratasysâ€™s Ultem 9085 FDM (fused deposition modelling) thermoplastic material to produce the parts. The company says it has done testing to show that it is capable of withstanding temperatures from cryogenic to extreme heat, and is tough enough to handle the vibration and stress of lift off and flight. ULA has ambitious plans to increase the quantity of 3D printed parts to over 100 on the next generation rocket. Stratasys markets the patented FDM, PolyJet, and WDM 3D printing technologies that produce prototypes and manufacture goods directly from 3D CAD files or other 3D content. Stratasys subsidiaries include MakerBot and Solidscape, and the company operates the digital parts manufacturing service, Stratasys Direct Manufacturing.
Conair 100 mobil drying and conveying system, a Conair GRH-1.0 extrusion die for filament/ rod production and a Conair HTMP series multipass cooling and sizing tank. It achieved output rates of 122 to 183 m/minute, which is three or four times greater than the typical production rate in the industry, say the companies. 3D metal printing s an early adopter of 3D metal printing, US-based Linear Mold & Engineering has developed a niche of building conformal cooling lines to complement its mould manufacturing business. Linear says it has developed an expertise in the design and build of tooling inserts with conformal cooling channels, to meet demand from OEMs and Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers for reduced cycle times and better quality while controlling costs. Conformal water lines address the limitations of traditional machining. This technology excels in cases in which part designs have varying wall thicknesses, tight dimensional tolerances and challenging mould geometry. This permits even cooling and prevents warp, sinks and other quality problems. Benefits of 3D metal printing and conformal cooling include greater flexibility in creating water lines, better access to hard-to-reach areas and significant cycletime reductions. By getting water into tight spots, Linear says it is able to drastically improve part quality. Straight water lines are required when using conventional methods; consequently, the intersection of two straight-drilled water lines creates a low-turbulence area where sediment may build up. In this way, it can design complex water lines that eliminate these areas.
For extruding filament rods t the NPE show in the US, extrusion machinery maker Davis-Standard was running a profile line to process ABS 3D printer rod, to demonstrate 3D parts production. The demonstration placed emphasis on the advantages of 3D printing as a quick and inexpensive way to make prototypes out of plastic versus steel and other more expensive materials.
Future ahead esign revolutions are also occurring in the electrical hardware, chemical industry and advanced materials based on AM technology. Advances in multi-material printing will require designers to think more effectively about the implementation of radical innovations/ideas using manufacturing techniques available in the AM industry. The wearables segment is an area which is quickly growing, and will benefit from accelerated product development and from functional end use parts via the utilisation of AM technology. It will enable the development of customisable devices, innovative geometries and the rapid realisation of cost effective products.
D ULA will 3D print flight-ready components
Davis-Standard teamed up with auxiliary equipment maker Conairâ€™s extrusion development and testing laboratory that assembled the demonstration line. Highlights of the line included a 50 mm DavisStandard Super Blue extruder, DS-eTPC touchscreen HMI controller for coordinated line drive control, 3 M AY 2 0 1 5
Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Industry
ASEAN’s automotive industry gathers steam The automotive industry is every emerging
Currently encountering lapses, Thailand, the largest automotive manufacturer in Southeast Asia also known as the Detroit of Asia, is favoured by manufacturers for its long established supply chain, and an export base for key top automobile makers. But it reported double-digit drop in sales and production in 2014, amidst political and economic dubiety. Early this year, it was reported to have posted an 11% year-to-year drop in domestic car sales from February – its 21st consecutive-month slump.
economy’s shaft of opportunity and route for expansions. A key economic driver, the dynamics of the industry, in terms of supply and demand, are constantly shifting. Major automotive players and OEMs outside of the ASEAN have expanded into the region to benefit from its increasing significance, as both a market and a production
Light Vehicle Forecasts in the ASEAN region
hub, and thus diffusing the polarity within the
Source: LMC Automotive
industry when competing manufacturers become
trade or project partners.
s a market, the ASEAN, with member states comprised of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, is home to 633 million people (according to 2015 data from the UN Population Division). The seventh largest region in the world and third largest economy in Asia still has comparatively low vehicle penetration. Nevertheless, countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam offer the suitability as production hubs and as potential growth areas. On the other hand, countries like Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar are emerging as areas for growth and development. Thailand experiences challenges owever, the situation in the ASEAN is not one smooth ride. According to automotive industry market intelligence firm LMC Automotive’s Director, Asia-Pacific, May Arthapan, “The weaknesses in the markets in Thailand and Indonesia have and will continue to put the pressure on the regional industry in ASEAN, which is expected to expand 4% in 2015 compared to an 8% CAGR between 2006 and 2014. However, growth is expected May Arthapan, Director, Asia-Pacific, LMC to rebound to 7-8% in the Automotive 2016-2017 time frame.”
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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Industry Indonesia offers huge potential ot on the heels of Thailand is Indonesia, which posted a production increase of 7% in 2014 to 1.3 million vehicles. But all is not rosy. Says Arthapan, “The Indonesian market has been hit by rising fuel prices as the government stepped up the reduction of the decadesold fuel subsidies. High interest rates and weakened rupiah have also led to higher vehicle prices. However, the market had slowed down even before the fuel subsidies cuts partly due to the end of the commodity super cycle, and capital outflows triggered by the US Federal Reserve’s intention to lower taper quantitative easing.”
Arthapan went on to say that while light vehicle sales in Thailand have suffered from large declines since H2 2013, after the end of the first-car buyer rebates in December 2012 which pulled sales forward resulting in a sharp increase in volumes by 80% in 2012, the market is not as weak as the YoY changes suggest. She adds, “2012 and 2013 were anomalies and should be seen in this light. If we discount the anomalous period of 2012 and 2013, it would show that the market has expanded by 12% in 2014 compared to 2011.” Against the urged increase in government spending, Thailand is expected to make a rebound.
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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Industry Nevertheless, the projected car ownership growth to 51% by 2020 is hoped will boost the industry further. Arthapan says that the Indonesian market has vast potential over the long term given its large population. “However, manufacturing is facing more challenges with the country struggling to achieve large-scale vehicle exports that are mainly limited by weak supplier industry, quality issues, low labour productivity and the lack of port infrastructure,” she adds.
and production of fuel efficient vehicles by offering lower taxes for them; under the Eco-Car programmes in Thailand and Low Cost Green Car programme in Indonesia.” Thailand’s Eco-Car programme, which was launched in 2007, recorded a 27% penetration in the market in 2014. Indonesia’s programme, meanwhile, has been Pete Kelly, Managing Director, reportedly averaging LMC Automotive sales ranging from 10,000-15,000/month since its first launch in 2013. Meanwhile, Malaysia, which has a high penetration rate of vehicle ownership per person at 1:12, is seeing demand for Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEVs). Other ASEAN countries are also treading closely with initiatives to produce hybrid vehicles, such as the e-Jeepney in the Philippines. Kelly says that both consumer preferences and government policies are moving towards more fuelefficient vehicles, and also vehicles with lower emissions in the case of countries like Thailand that will implement a change of the excise taxes, which are now levied based on engine size to carbon dioxide come 2016.
Other ASEAN markets stay optimistic n the other hand, the situation over in the Philippines and Vietnam are optimistic. Vietnam’s automotive industry, which targets to produce some 220,000 units/year by 2020 to 1.5 million units by 2035, according to Vichai Jirathiyut, President of the Thailand Automotive Institute, will be benefitting from government support to buoy it up for the next two decades. Being a high growth market, with a population of 90 million, Vietnam extends opportunities to the likes of Thailand, and is seeking to augment its sales by increasing exports, as well as increase its distribution network and forays into local manufacturing. Meanwhile, the Philippines, although still lagging behind the outputs of Thailand and Indonesia, inched up with 13,480 motor vehicles assembled in the January to February period this year. This is a slight increase from the 13,357 units output in the same period a year ago, according to data from the ASEAN Automotive Federation. When LMC’s Arthapan is asked if there are any other countries emerging in terms of vehicle production and sales growth, she replied, “Not really, at least not in the foreseeable future. While vehicle affordability will continue to increase in ASEAN, the pace will not be extraordinarily fast as we expect disposable income will gradually rise but there will be no significant reduction in vehicle prices.” As for free trade agreements (FTAs) that are expected to benefit the automotive industry in the ASEAN, Arthapan says. “While Vietnam’s provision on import tariffs will be scrapped come 2018, it would be no surprise if non-tariff barriers will remain significant, and be enforced, to protect the local manufacturing industry, in a similar approach to policy used in Malaysia.”
Ready to take on China? t is evident that the ASEAN is a lucrative investment destination, yet it is still in the periphery, if compared to India and China, especially the latter, which has made itself into a moat for opportunities for automotive players. When asked if the ASEAN is capable of taking on or outdoing China’s production, Kelly says, “It will be hard to imagine ASEAN countries to be able to outdistance China’s manufacturing success, particularly its scale. Even in terms of the pace of future growth, it is not an easy benchmark to hit. None of the ASEAN countries can match the level of control the Chinese government has over its economy and industries and thus its ability to control expansion at a very rapid and sustained pace.” Kelly says that while India comes near China in terms of the size of population, and Indonesia also has potential from its large population, bureaucracies make doing business more difficult in these countries and productivity is lower, both of which have resulted in progress being made at a slower pace compared to that in China. “China is the exception, of course, and perhaps it is not reasonable to compare other developing industries to that.” Yet, because the dynamics of the industry is always in motion, as mentioned earlier, the region may be poised for a lot more challenges as well as gains in the coming term.
Fuel efficient cars uel efficient or “green” cars have also changed the landscape of the ASEAN automotive industry, with sales fuelled by tax incentives for consumers. Said LMC’s Managing Director Pete Kelly, “The impact has been more on segment shifts from larger, less fuelefficient vehicles to smaller, more efficient segments, and less so on expanding the market overall. This trend is more prominent in Thailand and Indonesia, in particular where the governments have been promoting the sales
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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • Semperform, a part of Vienna-based Semperit Holding’s industrial sector, is acquiring Leeser GmbH & Co. The deal is expected to be finalised by the second quarter of 2015. Financial details were not disclosed. Leeser operates two manufacturing plants in Dusseldorf, Germany, where it produces high quality rubber seals for Western Europe companies, and with sales focusing on Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Meanwhile, Semperit will continue to produce Leeser rubber products used for industrial applications. • Royal Holdings, a portfolio company of New Yorkheadquartered equity firm Arsenal Capital Partners, acquired the stock of UK-based Chemical Innovations Limited (CIL) from Vita Group, Australia’s largest independent retailer of mobile communications. CIL is a manufacturer of high performance rubber to metal, rubber to plastic, rubber to fabric and rubber to glass bonding adhesives for high performance automotive and industrial applications, including antivibration, hoses and belting and friction products. The company sells to over 50 countries through a network of over 40 distributors.
• Italy-headquartered global supplier of offroad tyres and wheels, Trelleborg Wheel Systems, a division of Sweden-based Trelleborg, is acquiring Armstrong Tyres, an Australian service and distribution company of agricultural tyres. The acquisition aims to increase Trelleborg’s presence in the Australian market and strengthen the base for the sale of tyres to the aftermarket. The transaction is expected to be finalised in the second quarter of 2015.
Horst Zimmermann, and Equitrust Beteiligungen each hold 5% stakes. Wegu specialises in rubber and plastics processing for vibration control and acoustics for the automotive industry, and serves global brands such as BMW, Daimler, Audi and Land Rover. The company operates production facilities in Germany, Canada and Slovakia.
• Grafoid Inc, a complete solutions graphene company based in Ontario, Canada, is acquiring New Jerseybased Ames Rubber Corporation, a maker of speciality elastomeric materials and products used in defence, automotive, aerospace, personal protection, copiers and printers, and a broad range of industrial applications. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of the year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
• Germanyheadquartered chemical products manufacturer Henkel is taking over Novamelt, a privately-owned German company that offers a wide range of hotmelt pressure sensitive adhesives based on thermoplastic rubber under the brand name Novamelt PS. Novamelt, which generated sales of around EUR50 million in fiscal 2014, has an additional site in the US. According to Henkel, the acquisition will complement its existing pressure sensitive adhesives business.
• China’s Anhui Zhongding Sealing Parts, a manufacturer of rubber sealing parts and automobile spare parts, is buying 100% of the shares in German injection moulder Wegu Holding for U$107.4 million in cash, paid to DMB 1 Invest, which owns 90% of Wegu’s public-listed shares. Meanwhile, Wegu Managing Director,
• US-based fabricator of industrial rubber products Lewis-Goetz has acquired Action Industrial Group, a South Carolinabased fabricator and distributor specialising in fasteners, gaskets, hose products and industrial construction tools and supplies. With the acquisition, seven more locations will be added to Lewis-Goetz, a
business of Dutch industrial distributor Eriks Group, as well as considerable gasket fabrication technologies. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. • Mahindra & Mahindra, an Indian multinational automobile manufacturing company headquartered in Mumbai, has launched its US$25 million facility for small commercial vehicles at Medak District of Telangana State, South India. It will start producing by September. The new addition brings up capacity to 92,000 vehicles/year. • Italy-based Magneti Marelli, a Fiat subsidiary, and which makes shock absorbers and headlights for Fiat Chrysler and Mercedes Benz is gearing up for an approximately 7,432 sq m expansion of its Automotive Lighting Division in Pulaski, Tennessee. This is to allow for headlight production for General Motors, Volkswagen and Honda vehicles. The expansion is scheduled to be completed later this year. • US-based tyre producer, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has established its first development centre in its tyre manufacturing facility in Pulandian, China. The new centre
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Rubber Journal Asia expands Goodyear’s capabilities in the Asia Pacific region and will enable it to increase the speed and efficiency of tyre development, especially for Chinese firms. Moreover, it will also allow the company to enter new original equipment platforms in China, including new energy vehicles. Meanwhile, Goodyear is also constructing a US$500 milliontyre plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, expected to start operations in 2017. The 6 million tyres/ year-capacity factory will serve the Latin and North American markets. • DRT, a supplier of rosin and turpentinebased products to the rubber industry, has commissioned a biomass co-generation power plant at its site in France. The plant is operated by Biomass Energy Solutions, a venture of DRT, Germanyheadquartered energy supplier Cofely (GDF Suez Group), and French investment group Caisse des Dépôts. It is designed to use 150 kilotonnes/ year of biomass: generating 97 GWh of power, 214 GWh of steam and saving 20 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide. • German speciality chemicals firm Lanxess has merged the former RheinChemie and functional business units and
the previous rubber chemicals specialities business units as RheinChemie additives business unit. The new unit will enable Lanxess to offer a broader range of additives and applications. Meanwhile, Lanxess has also started its new EPDM plant located at the Changzhou Yangtze Riverside Industrial Park in Jiangsu Province, China. The plant has a nameplate capacity of 160,000 tonnes/year.
from having a rubber plant and a steel & aluminium foundry. The new facility houses the lokring division (for refrigerators), a machine shop for machining couplings and castings; a rubber vulcanisation unit that can process 30 tonnes/ month; as well as the company’s corporate office. • German speciality chemicals manufacturer Evonik is investing triple-digit million-Euro amount for its expansion plans in both Germany and China. It is also gradually increasing the production volume of its speciality silicones. Currently on stream are the newly expanded speciality silicones plant in Essen, which is also expected to undergo future expansions; and the Shanghai site, which has a new production complex.
• Indian tyre maker Apollo Tyres recently broke ground on its US$615 million tyre plant in Gyongyoshalasz, near Budapest, which is its second manufacturing unit in Europe. The Hungarian plant, which is expected to start production of Apollo and Vredestein-branded tyres in early 2017, has a full production capacity of 5.5 million passenger and light truck and 675,000 heavy commercial vehicle tyres.
• Japanese synthetic rubbers producer Zeon is increasing its Singapore capacity for solution-polymerised styrene-butadiene rubber (S-SBR) used for fuel-efficient tyres. Investing an estimated US$7.8 million, the firm is building a second factory in Singapore. Targeted to come on stream in 2016, the new plant is expected to produce 70,000 tonnes/year of S-SBR, exceeding the 55,000tonne output of its Tokuyama plant in Japan.
• Vulkan Technologies, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Germany-based Hackforth Holding, has invested in a US$7 million plant in Pirangut, near Pune, in India. The company makes couplings required in various industrial applications, apart
Industry News • Russia’s Rosneft, Italian tyre maker Pirelli and Synthos will perform a feasibility study in the areas of R&D, production and supply of synthetic rubber in Nakhodka, Russia, within the framework of the FEPCO (Far East Petrochemical Company) petrochemical cluster. The feasibility study will include plant engineering designs and operational requirements, market studies, capital investments and operating costs estimates. Pirelli is also looking at supplying synthetic rubber for its tyre facilities in Asia Pacific. Synthos is one of the largest manufacturers of chemical raw materials in Europe with facilities in Czech Republic and Poland. It is also the first European manufacturer of emulsion rubbers. • Idex Corportion is acquiring Italy’s Novotema, which manufactures speciality sealing solutions for use in the building products, gas control, transportation, industrial and water markets, for EUR57 million. Novotema is owned by private equity firm Ardian and has revenues of approximately EUR30 million. It will operate within the Idex Sealing Solutions group. This is the third acquisition for Idex that is expanding its sealing solutions.
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Rubber Journal Asia Materials News
Scratching the surface of the allergy stigma of latex Natural rubber latex is known to trigger allergic
concentrations, according to NIOSH, total protein serves as a useful indicator of the exposure. reactions in certain individuals. Given this, According to the American Latex Allergy recent studies and innovations are coming up Association (ALAA), concern for allergy to NR latex proteins, while heightened by the late 1980s, has seen with allergy-free alternatives, says Angelica new cases of latex allergy decreasing. Nonetheless our Buan in this article. exposure to latex-containing products does not abate the risk to developing allergies at any time. Latex-free labelling initially ushered the solution to determining which products could trigger allergies. Later on, it was found to provide inaccurate ot an itch? Chances are you must be sensitive to information. products that may contain allergenic substances, For this reason, the US-based Food and Drug including latex. Administration (FDA) cautioned against mislabelling Natural rubber (NR) latex allergies can range from products as “latex-free”. The advisory called, “Don’t be mild symptoms such as hives to life-threatening, such Misled by Latex Free Claims” supplements a guidance as anaphylactic shock. Although rubber gloves have document it issued in December 2014 in the Federal earned the brunt of causing allergies to wearers, NR Register, recommending manufacturers of gloves, latex is used in more common products – from rubber condoms, catheters and other medical devices to refrain bands and balloons to mattresses and sexual wellness from using labels with “latex-free” or “does not contain products. latex” claims. Latex products are made from a milky fluid It said in its recent advisory that since there are no obtained from existing tests yet the rubber tree, that can prove a “…It estimates that 8-12% of health Hevea brasiliensis. product has no care workers are latex-sensitive, while NR latex proteins According to The National Institute (that can cause workers in factories that produce NR for Occupational allergic reactions), Safety and Health latex or products with NR latex might thus, such a claim (NIOSH), some is “scientifically also be at risk...” chemicals are also inaccurate and added to the sap misleading”. during the processing and manufacture of commercial Moreover, the latex-free labels on products such as PVC latex. Certain proteins in latex trigger the allergic and nitrile gloves, which contain synthetic latex and do reactions in individuals sensitive to this. not trigger latex allergy, can be “confusing”, it added. The prevalence of Type 1 allergies or those caused Meanwhile, manufacturers and suppliers of latex by latex is relatively small by global estimates, products expressed mixed reactions over this directive. representing 1-6% of the overall population. While others are agreeable to the recommendation, Health care workers and frequent users of latex others are still reviewing the advisory to be able to gloves are at highest risk of developing allergies, make necessary adjustments. according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It estimates that 8-12% of Latex-free innovations health care workers are latex-sensitive, while workers o date, the development of products that are NR in factories that produce NR latex or products with NR latex-free are already underway, while several are latex might also be at risk. either already in the market or awaiting commercial The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology production. and Allergy suggests the use of non-powdered latex For instance, scientists at the College of Food, gloves, particularly in health care settings. Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) of the Ohio State University have developed a latex film Differentiating the triggering products made from guayule, a desert shrub native to South West hile there is currently no available standard US & Mexico that is known to be an alternative source testing to provide consistent identification for rubber and is safe for NR latex-sensitive individuals. of allergy-causing proteins (antigens) and their Guayule latex is naturally Type I-hypoallergenic.
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Rubber Journal Asia Materials News Led by university scholar, Katrina Cornish, the research team has made guayule and Hevea gloves Type IV-hypoallergenic, by using new accelerators, chemicals added to expedite the curing reactions and production of latex products and that don’t leave allergy-causing residues in the finished product. US-headquartered start-up company EnergyEne Inc has been established to lead the development and commercialisation of products from the patentpending latex thin films, said to possess mechanical properties suitable for surgical gloves, catheters and condoms. Meanwhile, a new latex-replacement substance called hydrogel is being utilised by Australian scientists to develop condoms. Unlike latex, the hydrogel enables the condom material to feel like skin. Hydrogels are already being widely used in prosthetics, having properties close to tissue. According to the researchers from the University of Wollongong (UOW), among the unique advantages of hydrogels are that it can be engineered to perform all kinds of different functionalities, such as self-lubrication, topical drug delivery, biodegradability and even electric conductivity. The team received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which called for the development of next generation condoms. The study will also conduct a biometric testing to determine response as to whether the hydrogel-based condom is better than the latex one.
have recently identified the protein in the Russian dandelion, the so-called rubber transferase activator that plays a key role in forming the rubber producing complex in the flower. A second study identified a further important protein, which is vital in the formation of the long polyisoprene chains. These polymers give the rubber its elasticity and resilience. Their recent findings on the dandelions have brought closer the possibility of finally manufacturing natural rubber biotechnologically. The German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU), and the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, supported the research.
“…By 2020, more than 27 million kg of natural rubber could be produced from dandelions...” In view of this development, a report on the natural rubber producing plants published in 2013 in the African Journal of Biotechnology indicated the potential of the dandelion rubber in a host of applications, primarily in tyres. It projected that the industry will see its first dandelion rubber facility within the decade. By 2020, more than 27 million kg of natural rubber could be produced from dandelions. Meanwhile, guayule has already outpaced the other alternative rubber sources in terms of R&D on its potential for commercial-scale production, being endowed with latex that has similar properties to that of the natural rubber. Mostly venturing on developing guayule are tyre makers. Bridgestone Americas has built a 4-ha Biorubber Research Centre in Arizona, and started production of guayule rubber in 2014, expecting to produce fully sustainable and renewable raw materials from guayule by 2050. Cooper Tire & Rubber has also dug into developing the shrub’s potentials, with a US$6.9 million grant from the US Department of Energy supporting its research. It is conducting ongoing tests on the guayule tyre build it completed last year. On the other hand, Arizona-based bio-agriculture firm PanAridus, which partnered with Cooper in 2013 for the guayule biorubber consortium, has shipped its first bale of tyre-grade guayule rubber after it obtained a patent last year. Other identified natural rubber alternative sources being eyed for further study are the sunflower, which incidentally is a distant relative of guayule; and the Gutta Percha – trees found in East Asia, mostly of the Palaquium genus, that has potential to produce rigid latex.
Harvesting non-allergenic sources he increasing incidences of allergic reactions to proteins in NR latex spurred the need to develop alternative rubber sources. While over 2,000 different plant species are known to produce rubber, only a few of the plant species are capable of producing large amounts of high quality rubber, according to the University of Nevada in the US. At least four plant sources are currently in the headlines and being eyed for high quality rubber, without the risk of causing allergic responses. One of these is the prickly lettuce, identified by scientists at the Washington State University. The team identified regions in the genetic code of this common plant that is tied to rubber production. Although needing further study, the scientists claim that the prickly lettuce could be cultivated for latex production. The multiple stems of the plant will also allow for maximum rubber yield. It can also be grown with minimal rainfall and as cash crop in rotation with other crops. Researchers at the German Münster University, a branch of the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME, the Technische Universität München (TUM) and TRM in York, UK,
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Rubber Journal Asia Rubber Report
Rubber boom â€“ an environmental misstep The rate of consumption is an economic
Planting rubber at the expense of wildlife ur basic and created needs continuously increase to include a plethora of products that use up natural resources. Cars, for example, have become a necessity, especially since urbanisation and the emergence of megacities are encouraging mobility. Globally, automotive makers are expanding and increasing production of vehicles to meet the rising demand. More than 120 million vehicles are forecast to be rolled out by 2016, according to a finding by IHS Automotive. Akin to car production is the fate of the tyre sector, which depends heavily on natural rubber as a key component for tyres. The tyre industry uses up 70% of natural rubber, hence, with the burgeoning global demand for tyres forecast to rise to 4.3% annually through 2017 alone, will also trigger expansion of rubber plantations. Consequently, this results in the loss of tropical diversity, according to a new study from the UK-based University of East Anglia (UEA). According to the findings of the research team, led by Eleanor Warren-Thomas from the School of Environmental Sciences at the UEA, about 4.3 to 8.5 ha of additional rubber plantations are required to meet the
benchmark, and the higher the consumption for a commodity; the better it is for the economy. Yet, with the apparent obsessive focus on consumerism, we tend to lose sight of the downsides, particularly how it impacts the environment. In this report, Angelica Buan takes a look at the environmental burden the rubber sector places on deforestation, based on research provided by the University of East Anglia, UK.
The extent of rubber plantations in rubber producing countries
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Rubber Journal Asia Rubber Report demand by 2024, and thus threaten significant areas of the Asian forest, including many protected areas. The research was done together with Paul M. Dolman of UEA, and David P. Edwards of Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield. The report says that mainland Southeast Asia and southwest China represent the epicentre of rapid rubber expansion. Rubber was first planted in staterun plantations in Malaysia, Indonesia, and southern areas of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, and later on adopted into smallholder agroforestry systems. “Increasing demand for natural rubber necessitates a robust sustainability initiative to mitigate impacts on tropical biodiversity,” says the report. This has been published in the journal Conservation Letters that says with the tropical forests being cleared for rubber plantations, endangered birds, primates, mammals and other wildlife animals are losing their habitats.
“This is why we wrote the paper – to stimulate interest and concern about this issue, within the industry and from the public, in the hope of reducing future impacts on highly threatened and globally irreplaceable biodiversity,” Thomas told RJA. Authenticating eco-friendliness he lack of certification for eco-friendliness of natural rubber material perpetuates the not-so-eco-friendly practice of sourcing rubber. Thomas explains that with the current scenario, the market has no way of distinguishing the rubber cultivated on deforested land from the ones grown in a more sustainable way. For this reason, a sustainability certification (for natural rubber) or other similar initiatives are being sought to integrate biodiversity into rubber plantation practices. “There may be ways to integrate biodiversity into rubber plantation landscapes that should be researched and put into practice, and at the very least, companies that convert legally protected forests and protected species habitats to rubber should face restrictions to market access through a sustainability certification,” Thomas said. A working action plan that has been started in 2014 by Singapore-based International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), the Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative (SNR-i), is being developed as a voluntary and collaborative rubber industry value chain activity. Among the key objectives of the SNR-I is to support “forest sustainability through the protection/ conservation of protected areas.” According to Thomas, “The pilot launch of the SNR-I in January this year needs support from large tyre manufacturers, and attention from sustainability researchers to ensure it gains traction.” However, the certification system is yet to undergo its baptism of fire, as similar systems such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification developed in 2004 is claimed to have made little impact to avert deforestation and greenhouse gas. On the other hand, the report suggests that while major tyre producers such as Bridgestone (Japan), Michelin (France), Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (US), and Continental AG (Germany) are based in economies with a stronger interest in sustainable sourcing, they supply tyres to the Chinese market. Hence, with the absence of such a standard, there is little hope for change. China is the top rubber buyer in the world, accounting for over 30% of the total global consumption; and more than 70% of China’s rubber consumption is used for tyres. Further on the research findings, converting lands to rubber plantations denotes serious consideration on sustainability. “We make a series of recommendations to
Bane to biodiversity lantations for rubber, a most rapidly expanding crop in mainland Southeast Asia, encroach in many protected areas in the region, the study finds. The numbers of bird, bat and beetle species have decreased by 75%, and thus, scores of them are at risk of extinction as protected areas are converted to rubber plantations. The extent of clearing is wide and rapid. For example, more than 70% of the 75,000 ha Snoul Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia has been cleared for rubber between 2009 and 2013, according to the report. Four biodiversity areas where rubber plantations are expanding have been highlighted in the report as Sundaland (Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Bali), Indo-Burma (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, most of Myanmar and Thailand), and parts of Southwest China, (including Xishuangbanna and Hainan Island), Wallacea (Indonesian islands east of Bali and Borneo but west of New Guinea, plus Timor Leste), and the Philippines. Rubber can thrive across a wide range of climate and soil conditions in Southeast Asia, and could replace a whole range of forest types containing large numbers of globally threatened and unique species, according to Thomas. The study also suggests that the situation can worsen, if it is not immediately addressed. “Our research suggests that rubber plantations are unlikely to contract anytime soon. Indeed a large part of our paper is dedicated to careful estimates of future expansion from a 2010 baseline, which suggests demand could drive expansion of new plantations until 2024,” said Thomas. She adds that there is currently very little awareness about the effects of rubber plantation expansion on biodiversity, much less than for other plantation crops.
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Rubber Journal Asia Rubber Report improve the sustainability of natural rubber production, including prevention of forest/high conservation value areas being converted to rubber, research to support improving rubber plantations for biodiversity, research into the best approaches for meeting rubber demand whilst minimising environmental damage, and free, prior and informed consent of people whose land may be converted to rubber,” said Thomas. How about increasing the use of synthetic rubber as a mitigating solution? Thomas says that, while the statistics used in the research are specifically for natural rubber, not for synthetic rubber, the latter has not fully replaced natural rubber in specific applications. “Vehicle and aeroplane tyres require large amounts of natural rubber, which drives much of current demand. Demand for natural rubber appears to be robust, and despite synthetic alternatives apparently being used in many products, predictions suggest it has not been replaced.”
and develop a market for sustainably sourced rubber, could all help where government action may fall short,” explains Thomas. The role of tyre manufacturers is of dire importance in supporting initiatives that promote environmental safety net, according to the UK researchers. It is deemed as a more doable, immediate solution than reforestation. This is the case of Xishuangbanna, China, for example, where most of its original cultural and biological diversity have been lost to monoculture rubber and banana. Unproductive rubber areas are planned to be reverted back to natural forest. “Restoring fully functioning forest ecosystems is a huge task requiring a great deal of input, knowledge and funding. A much better solution would be to undertake careful land use planning before forests are cleared, to ensure that areas of high conservation value are not converted in the first place and also that they are appropriate locations in which to grow rubber in terms of yields, and environmental impacts.” Moreover, since demand for natural rubber is increasing, it is anticipated that new rubber plantations will be opened to meet the rising requirements. Thomas commented: “Reforestation and restoration programmes are great if plantations are no longer in use, but we see that demand is rising, and that new plantations are being established in Southeast Asia. Tyre manufacturers could put pressure on their producers in Asia, to ensure that impacts on biodiversity there are minimised.” The study cited that natural habitat conversion to rubber is set to continue, and regional scale simulations for MMSEA (Mainland Montane Southeast Asia) projected conversion of 4.25 million ha to rubber and other wood trees plantations by 2050. Hence, the study suggests that the large suppliers in the tyre market should make a concerted effort to maintain sustainability in rubber plantations.
Shared responsibility n the national level, though there are solutions being tapped to ensure the environment is safeguarded during economic activities, yet these are still inadequate to protect biodiversity. “In some cases, government capacity is not sufficient to enforce laws that are already in place to protect people and the environment. In such cases, putting the onus on business to behave responsibly, undertake best practices in terms of environmental impact assessments,
Data for species richness of mature monoculture rubber plantations as a percentage of that found in natural forests
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