PRA 2014 November - December Issue

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

業界新聞 複 合 材 料: 複合材料展翅高飛

In this issue

Volume 29, No 210

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 8 Composites Light weighting characteristics are seeing the increasing use of fibrereinforced composites in the aerospace industry

14 複合材料: 複合材料展翅高飛 17 Corporate Profile Thermoforming machinery maker Geiss says that staying one step ahead is its game-changing strategy

19 Photovoltaic Industry

Publisher Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 Email: Associate Publisher/Editor Tej Fernandez Tel: +60 3 4260 4575 Email: Editorial/Production Coordinator Angelica Buan Email: Chinese Editor Koh Bee Ling

Modern PV technology is enabling cheaper solar energy that is hoped to curb the energy crisis

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21 Blown/Cast Film

Admin & Finance Manager Tean Arul Email:

Featured are five extrusion companies that are currently offering the latest developments in extruder lines

24 Country Focus The Philippines is coping with the waste management issue by reusing and recycling waste plastics

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2 Industry News

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6 Materials News 10 業界新聞

Supplements 副 刊 Featured are round-ups of machinery highlights at the recently concluded Fakuma show in Germany and the IPF show in Japan Safety recalls of vehicles with tyre issues has peaked this year; but this has not circumvented the automotive sector’s growth PRINT+DIGITAL

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On the Cover

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. © 2014 Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or used in any form, or by any means, without specific prior permission from the publisher. PRA is circulated free to trade readers in the plastics and rubber industry. Airmail subscriptions are available at US$160 within Asia and US$250 to all other countries outside Asia.


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Industry News

M&As/Tie-ups • ExxonMobil Chemical Company is divesting its 50% interest in its joint venture with Dow Chemical, Univation Technologies, to Dow. Univation is the licensor of Unipol PE process technology. In other news, in line with its plans to divest US$4.5-US$6 billion of non-strategic businesses and assets by 2015, Dow is carving out its US Gulf Coast chlor-alkali/ chlor-vinyl, global chlorinated organics and epoxy businesses. To date, Dow’s completed divestiture totals US$1.3 billion. • German adhesive, sealants and functional coatings provider Henkel is acquiring US-based Bergquist Company, a supplier of thermalmanagement solutions for electronics applications, which has five production sites in the US and one in China. Last year, Henkel opened the world’s largest adhesives plant in Shanghai, with an investment of EUR50 million. • France-headquartered rapid moulding specialist RocTool has signed a global license agreement with US processor Flextronics. It will include RocTool’s latest injection moulding processes for composites and


innovations for consumer electronics, automotive, wearable applications as well as consumer products. • German packaging maker Klöckner Pentaplast, which was reported to be up for sale by its hedge fund owner SVP Global, has been taken off the market again, according to a Reuters report. This was because SVP received offers well below its asking price of EUR1.5 billion. Potential buyers were buyout group Apollo and US-based speciality chemicals firm PolyOne, which subsequently denied any involvement. Klöckner Pentaplast was bought by SVP from private equity firm Blackstone that in turn had bought the company from Cinven in 2007, backed by EUR1.25 billion of leveraged loans. SVP tried to sell Klöckner Pentaplast last year but failed after potential buyers could not meet the asking price. • After months of speculation on the fate of Bayer MaterialScience, Bayer Group’s plastics subsidiary, the German chemical firm says it intends to float MaterialScience on the stock market as a separate company within the next 12 to 18 months. This will allow MaterialScience


direct access to capital for its future development. Bayer says that it is unable to fund the unit due to the substantial investment needs of its Life Science businesses (HealthCare and CropScience), which will be Bayer’s focus in the future. It is not expected to retrench staff, both globally and in Germany. • Speciality materials company Celanese Corporation has acquired substantially all of the assets of US-based conductive polymers supplier Cool Polymers. Financial details were not disclosed. Cool Polymers's technical capabilities are in the LED (light-emitting diode) market, which will accelerate Celanese’s growth in the conductive polymers market. • US chemicals manufacturer Huntsman Corporation is integrating Italybased Gomet, a speciality components producer for the automotive after care market, into its Polyurethanes division. Gomet is a business division of Rockwood Italia from whom Huntsman purchased a number of chemical businesses. Huntsman operates world-scale MDI facilities in Geismar, US; Rotterdam,

Netherlands; and Shanghai, China. • Thermoforming machine maker Kiefel, a part of the German Brückner Group, has acquired Czech company SWA. Terms were not disclosed. The 20-year old SWA develops tools, machines and systems for the manufacture of vehicle interior, exterior and acoustic insulation parts. With this, Kiefel will add on die cutting and pressing technologies and will also develop competence in press laminating and pressing natural fibres, as well as in the corresponding tool making areas. Kiefel says this is an important step to becoming a complete provider in the automotive interior sector. • Indian extrusion and thermoforming machinery maker Rajoo Engineers has tied up with Meaf Machines of Netherlands, which has been in the business of sheet extrusion equipment and thermoforming machinery since 1947. Rajoo-Meaf thermoforming solutions will include the tiltingmould technology. The typical outputs of thermoforming machines for producing cups range from 7,000 to 70,000 cups/hour.


Capacity Expansions/Plant/Office set-ups • US chemical firm ExxonMobil Chemical recently held a ground breaking ceremony at its Singapore site on the building of the world’s largest hydrogenated hydrocarbon resin production unit, with a capacity of 90,000 tonnes/year. This will make it 40% bigger than the industry’s largest hydrogenated tackifier plants today. The new plant will nearly double the company’s capacity to manufacture

Escorez 5000 resin for hot melt adhesive producers worldwide. • Germany-based chemicals firm Evonik Industries plans to build a new plant for its Rohacell polymethacrylimide (PMI) structural foams in Shanghai. It is scheduled to begin operation in the fourth quarter of 2015. Currently, it has two plants in Darmstadt, Germany, and Alabama, US. Meanwhile, Evonik

has officially opened a new production line to manufacture Aerosil surfacetreated fumed silica at its Rheinfelden, Germany site, boosting its global production capacity by 25%. • BASF India recently inaugurated its large-scale chemical production complex at Dahej in Gujarat, India. With a project cost of EUR150 million, the site represents BASF’s single largest investment

in India, and is part of the chemicals firm’s 2013-2020 investment plans worth more than EUR10 billion in Asia Pacific. It includes an integrated hub for PU manufacturing and production facilities for care chemicals and polymer dispersions. It also houses the first BASF sulfation plant in India, which will cater to the fast-moving consumer goods sector. • Austrian machinery, auxiliary equipment, and robot maker Wittmann is expanding its

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Industry News

production facility in Austria. Following commissioning of the new assembly hall for large machines in April last year, Wittmann Battenfeld in Kottingbrunn, Lower Austria, is now increasing its capacity for the production of large machines by a further hall to house a machining centre for platens. • Hyundai and Shell Base Oil, a joint venture company formed by Shell and Hyundai Oilbank, have inaugurated a new base oil manufacturing plant in Daesan, South Korea, with a capacity to produce 13,000 barrels/day or

650 kilotonnes of API Group II base oils/ year. Demand for base oil is projected to grow significantly, especially in the Asia Pacific region, which by 2020 will represent more than 50% of all demand. Overall finished lubricants demand is also projected to grow by 10% a year in China and other Asian countries. The growth is predominantly in higher quality lubricants requiring Group II and Group III base oils for blending. • US provider of specialised polymer materials PolyOne recently celebrated the official opening

of its new facility in Pune, India. It manufactures speciality solid masterbatch and liquid colour and additive formulations. The facility also includes development laboratories and the sales and customer service centre for the region. • Swiss speciality chemicals supplier Clariant has inaugurated a new extension to its production facility in Roha, southeast of Mumbai, India. The expansion doubles its capacity at the facility for pigments and pigment preparations. This higher output will

Scientex embarks on a major expansion plan


alaysian industrial packaging manufacturer Scientex expects to capture a major share of the consumer packaging market in Asia with its planned capital expenditure of RM300 million over the next three years, to expand its PE and BOPP film production, with lines from Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H) and Japan Steel Works (JSW) respectively. Germany-based W&H will supply its latest nine-layer line Varex II (launched at the K2013), which will be a first for Southeast Asia. The company will also supply the first flexographic


printing press (Miraflex CM 10) to be deployed in Southeast Asia. The public-listed Scientex will also enter the CPP film market, with Germany-based extrusion machinery group Reifenhäuser building two five-layer CPP lines for it. Apart from the machinery, Scientex also recently signed an agreement with Japan's largest BOPP film producer Futamura Chemical to build a BOPP film manufacturing plant in Pulau Indah, Port Klang, at an expected cost of RM170 million. Following Scientex's early year acquisition of Seacera Polyfilms, one


of Malaysia's leading producers of BOPP films, the new plant is expected to expand Scientex's capacity ten-fold from 6,000 tonnes/year to 60,000 tonnes/year. In terms of its PE film production located in Rawang, Scientex

enable the company to increase its market coverage in India and the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. • Germanybased Bayer MaterialScience is planning to increase its production capacity for thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) elastomers in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, India, to meet continued growth in demand. With the addition of a second TPU production line, the capacity of the site will increase to 6,000 tonnes from the current 2,500 tonnes. Installation is scheduled by 2015.

is currently working to double its production output from 24,000 tonnes/ year to 48,000 tonnes/year before the end of the year. It is installing seven lines from W&H: Optimex threelayer and Varex II ninelayer lines. BOPP, PE and CPP films are utilised to produce flexible packaging

Scientex will produce a range of films at its new facilities

INDUSTRY News of various food and beverage products. The protective outer and inner layers of packaging are made of BOPP and PE film, whereas CPP film serves as the sealing layer in laminated flexible packaging. The multi-million dollar expenditure will be embarked on by Scientex's whollyowned subsidiary Scientex Great Wall (SGW). Futamura will be involved in the construction of the new BOPP plant in Port Klang, incorporating the concept of Japanese quality management in order to minimise investment cost and simplify facility management. It says that in this way, SGW will manufacture BOPP films complying with Japanese quality at Southeast Asia’s production cost. With the 18,000-tonne BOPP films imported from

SGW, Futamura would account for more than 35% of Japan’s annual import market of 48,000 tonnes. At the signing ceremony, Lim Peng Jin, Managing Director of Scientex, emphasised the company's commitment to work with ‘global leaders’ in their respective sectors in line with its business growth. "We believe this significant investment in increasing our current consumer packaging capacity and extending our range of films would grant us strategic opportunity to garner a larger slice of the consumer packaging market in the Asia Pacific region," remarked Lim. He also highlighted that Scientex’s main goal is to achieve cost efficient production in a variety of consumer films in order to provide lower prices for its customers in the food and beverage manufacturing sector. “We regard this

investment as not only advantageous to Scientex, but also as an industry game changer that will enable us to fulfil the constantly growing demand for consumer packaging." "Combining our strengths, I strongly believe that Scientex and Futamura can contribute to the development of flexible packaging film industry in Asia including Japan by channelling new energy into the market through realisation of Japanese quality within Southeast Asian costs,” said Yasuo Nagae, President of Futamura. Lim also said that upon completion of the new plant in 2016, Scientex will seek to expand its footprint in Japan and the Southeast Asia region for consumer packaging products, which is estimated to be a US$70 billion a year market.

In its July 2014 financial year end, Scientex's net profit soared 34.6% to RM148.5 million compared to RM110.3 million a year ago. The significant jump in net profit flowed from stronger revenue growth of 29.4% to RM1.6 billion, from RM1.2 billion previously. The commendable financial performance in FY14 was attributable to double-digit revenue growth in both the group’s manufacturing and property development businesses. Scientex is not only involved in industrial packaging but is also the largest stretch film producer in Asia, ranked among the top three global companies with a production capacity of 194,000 tonnes/year. It has manufacturing facilities in Malaysia and Vietnam; as well as sales and marketing arms in Japan and Indonesia. Approximately 75% of its manufacturing products are exported to over 60 countries worldwide.

Materials News

Bioplastics from a salad bowl Left-over food? Fruit scraps? Discarded shells and seeds? Don’t throw them into the compost pit just yet. These food wastes can actually be used to make plastics.


he recycling of food waste and scraps has been limited to organic fertilisers, garden mulch or biogas when they had nowhere to go to but the landfills. In a study commissioned by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), it was cited that about 30%, or 1.3 billion tonnes, of food across all levels of the supply chain worldwide is wasted, amounting to an estimated US$1 trillion. With the current technology advances in creating new materials, fruits, vegetables and other sources like prawn shells have been found to be ideal as organic materials for plastics. Although based from nutritional food sources, the resulting bioplastics are not edible. So the next time a meal is served, think about how food can provide environmentallyfriendly solutions to lessening the use of fuel-based plastics.

• Researchers at the Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland, created a starch-based transparent bioplastic that is biodegradable and possesses high mechanical strength and thermal resistance. The process adopted by the team is different from the usual film processing of starch being treated with heat and water through gelatisation, which makes plastic material degrade faster and become brittle. This has been overcome by using a star-shaped molecule called AEEP (aminoethoxy ethanol substituted phosphazene), the lengths of which act as mobile hydrogen bonding plasticiser molecules while being connected to a central core. It, thus, effectively prevents migration and leeching of the starch molecules from the resulting plastic, said the researchers.

• Switzerland-headquartered Tetra Pak has recently launched the first of its kind carton packaging made of plant-based LDPE films and Forest Stewardship Councilcertified paperboard, as well as biobased HDPE caps, both derived from sugar cane. The Tetra Rex packaging is developed in partnership with Brazilian biopolymers producer Braskem; and will be commercially available in early 2015.

• Scientists from the Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genova, Italy, are proving that parsley is more than just an edible herb. The team sampled parsley as well as other food wastes including rice hulls, cocoa pod and spinach to turn them into plastics using the same process as creating cellophane. According to the IIT scientists, they observed how cellophane is processed, which includes passing cellulose, the matter that makes up plant cell walls, through acid and alkali baths. And when cellulose derived from cotton and hemp is dissolved in trifluoroacetic acid, a common chemical, it can turn into a material that is mouldable into plastic, without doing any additional processing. As an additional benefit, the team said that the resulting bioplastic exhibits the inherent properties of the herbs and vegetables used. In the case of parsley, it is its antioxidant properties.

• Tomatoes are more than just ketchup for Michiganheadquartered car maker Ford Motor and Philadelphiabased food processing company Heinz. Ford’s team at the Plastics Research Division is exploring the potential of transforming Heinz’s tonnes of tomato by-product, called tomato Ford and Heinz are pomace, into teaming up to make reinforced PP tomato-based car parts that is more eco-friendly and lighter compared to a talc-reinforced material. Ford has used soybean oil and wheat straw to produce cushioned parts and plastic frames of cars, and its biobased portfolio also includes parts from hemp cellulose fibre, recycled cotton, coconut, kenaf, tree pulp fibre, and rice hull. • Using a major fatty acid obtained from coconut oil, scientists from the University of the Philippines Natural Science Research Institute (UP-NSRI) and the UP Institute of Chemistry have developed a biodegradable plastic and clay.



• Cashew-derived plastics were developed by Japanheadquartered NEC Corporation in 2010. The biomassbased plastic is produced by bonding non-edible cellulose with oil-like cardanol, extracted from cashew nut shells. The resulting bioplastic, featuring a high plant composition ratio of more than 70%, is durable, heat and water resistant, non-crystalline and can be easily moulded. It is also said to be twice as strong as polylactic acid resin (PLA). This year, NEC developed a new production technology, known as the two-stage heterogeneous synthesis process, that can synthesise the bioplastics, while consuming just one-tenth the energy that was previously required. NEC says that it will be using this technology to start mass production of cellulose-based bioplastics by 2016. It is targeting its material at the electronics sector.

Materials News • For the past two years, researchers at Harvard University's Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have been developing a fully degradable bioplastic known as shrilk, which is a combination of silk protein and a substance called chitosan that is found in crustacean shells and insect parts. The downside is that shrilk is a complex material that needs to be fabricated in specialised environments, and chitosan is not waterproof like petroleum-based plastics, so a coating of beeswax is required to create a water barrier. Also, some modifications will be required to use the current technologies of injection moulding and casting to massmanufacture shrilk-based products. Applications range from toys, mobile phones to packaging and diapers. The upside is that not only is shrilk fully degradable, but it also releases plant nutrients into the soil. It also poses no threat to trees, unlike wood cellulose. • Two fibre-rich fruits have been utilised by a group of researchers from Brazil to create plastics that are ideal for automotive applications. Plastics that are reinforced by fibres, which can come from pineapples and bananas, are believed to be three to four times stronger, 30% lighter, and completely renewable, than conventional plastics. Some of these so-called nano-cellulose fibres are likened in stiffness to DuPont’s proprietary nylon

material, Kevlar, used in armour and bulletproof vests. To prepare the nano-fibres, leaves and stems of pineapples or other plants are put into a device similar to a pressure cooker. After adding in chemicals, the mixture is heated over several cycles until a pulverised material is produced. It takes 0.4 kg of nano-cellulose to make 45 kg of the bioplastic, the scientists explained. The team from Sao Paulo State University said that nanocellulose reinforced plastics also show greater resistance to damage from heat, gasoline, water, and oxygen. In the near future, the plastic may also be used in medical applications, for hip joints and artificial ligaments. • A story that is not new but deserves a mention is US-based Cornell University’s polymer processed from oil from orange peels using a catalyst to speed up the reaction. Limonene is a carbon-based compound produced in more than 300 plant species. In oranges it makes up about 95% of the oil in the peel. It is also responsible for the citrus smell in the oil. The Cornell team used a derivative of this oil called limonene oxide and carbon dioxide as the building blocks for the polymer. A catalyst is also used to allow the limonene oxide to react with the carbon dioxide and formulate the polymer called polylimonene carbonate, which has many characters similar to polystyrene.

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Composites flying high Fibre-reinforced composites will play a major role as one of the key technologies for the 21st century, due to the continuing trend toward energy-saving lightweight construction and the superlative performance that these materials can provide. The aerospace sector is one of the industries enjoying the benefits of composites. Hexcel’s carbon fibre used for A350 Aerospace group Airbus has received Type Certification for the A350 XWB, which means the aircraft is now ready for flight operations during the fourth quarter of 2014. The A350 XWB is the first Airbus aircraft with a structure that is over 50% advanced composite materials, making a huge contribution to the weight-saving, performance, and fuel efficiency of the aircraft. Contributing to the aircraft is composites firm Hexcel that supplied its HexPly M21E/IMA carbon fibre/epoxy prepreg to manufacture all composite primary structures of the aircraft, including the fuselage panels, keel beam, wing and the empennage. The A350 XWB lower wing cover is also the biggest single civil aviation part ever made from carbon fibre, measuring 32 m long. In addition to the primary structures, Hexcel is supplying a number of HexPly prepregs for other structures on the A350 XWB, including the epoxy systems HexPly M21 and HexPly 8552, and the BMI system HexPly M65. The HexPly 8552 woven and UD prepregs, HexPly M65 woven BMI prepreg and HexPly 914/ASC woven prepreg are used in the engines and nacelles along with Hexcel’s engineered core.

The A350 has received Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) leading to its launch end of the year



The belly fairing is made from Hexcel’s HexPly M26T and F593 woven carbon prepregs and HexWeb Engineered Core is also used extensively in several sandwich component packages. Other Hexcel products on the A350 XWB include HexFlow RTM 6 infusion resin and HexForce engineered reinforcements for out of autoclave structures, Redux adhesives and lightning strike protection solutions. Hexcel’s total content on each A350 XWB is US$5 million. Evonik’s foam structure proves to be economical Meanwhile, German chemicals firm Evonik Industries’s Rohacell Hero polymethacrylimide (PMI) foam core material, used in a composite sandwich design, has been found to reduce manufacturing costs by 20% and part weight by 10%, compared to a typical honeycomb design. In the past, there have been limitations in applications where safety is paramount and where parts are exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations and high levels of mechanical stress, such as rudders or landing gear doors. Until now, only honeycomb composites were able to meet these demands. A study was undertaken by Germany-based Composite Technology Centre (CTC), a subsidiary of Airbus, on the nose landing gear doors of a Dornier 728, which were manufactured using Rohacell Hero foam core and the infusion process. The doors, fabricated by German firm Invent, were compared with a part manufactured using honeycomb core material and prepreg. Other benefits in using Rohacell, compared to a honeycomb core, include the closed cell structure of the PMI material, which means it is not necessary to apply either a core filling paste potting material, as there are no open edges to seal, or an adhesive film to bond the core to the skins. This allows for cost savings and reduces the preparation time by four hours, according to CTC. Furthermore, Evonik says its Hero material has an elongation at break that is three times higher (9-10%) than standard materials. As a result, even at temperatures of below minus 55°C, it is still mechanically resilient compared with honeycomb structures. If damage is caused, for example, by foreign objects being hurled up from the runway, sandwich structures made with Hero exhibit visible dents, which remain local and do not spread. Rohacell is already being used in Asia’s aviation industry, including the regional jet ARJ21-700 and also the prototype of China’s first large commercial airliner C919 that is scheduled to enter commercial service in 2018. Following the study and material testing by Airbus for two years, the aerospace group expects the first components made from the material to be produced in series in 2015.

Composites Investments for growing sector In view of the growth, Hexcel will expand its carbon fibre production capacity through the addition of new precursor and carbon fibre lines in Roussillon, France, through a US$250 million investment. In recent years Hexcel has increased its precursor and carbon fibre capacities through targeted expansions at its US facilities and is currently installing its resin mixing and filming technology – first developed in Europe – in the US. The new French plant will occupy a 37-acre site at the Osiris Chemicals Industry Platform in Roussillon, which is close to Hexcel’s weaving and prepreg manufacturing facilities near Lyon. Carbon fibre from the new plant will be supplied to Airbus for the A350 XWB and Safran for the CFM LEAP engine. Construction of the new plant will begin by mid-2015 and will be fully operational in early 2018. Meanwhile, Evonik plans to build a new plant for Rohacell in Shanghai, China, scheduled to begin operation in the fourth quarter of 2015. Currently two plants, in Darmstadt, Germany, and Mobile, Alabama, US, supply customers in Asia. The new facility will be located in Evonik’s Multi-User Site China (MUSC) in Shanghai Chemical Industry Park (SCIP). The foam cores are ideal for the growing advanced composites industry and are enjoying increasing worldwide demand in not only the aviation industry, but also in automotive, electronics, medical technology and sporting goods. Lighter space flight Composites have also conquered the interplanetary space. From the pre-Russian “Sputnik” days of launched research rockets made with Bakelite composite materials, and space vehicles using metal-matrix composites (such as in the 1999 robotic spacecraft, Mars Polar Lander), to advanced composites being used in current space crafts, the aviation industry has gone definitely more lightweight and faster in flight. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been continuously researching and developing composites that will enable lightweight and temperature/zero-pressure-resistant space craft for exploration. Recently, NASA has completed a complex series of tests on one of the largest composite cryogenic fuel tanks ever manufactured. The tank, which measures 18 ft in diameter, was built by the Chicago-headquartered Boeing. NASA and Boeing engineers are at work on the largest composite rocket propellant tanks ever manufactured for testing

For a long time, fuel tanks responsible for launching rockets into space have been made of metal. The technology will provide an option for other industries that may want to replace heavy metal components with lightweight composites. The tests were carried out at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre in Alabama. Engineers added structural loads to the tank to replicate the physical stresses launch vehicles experience during flight. In other tests, the tank successfully maintained fuels at extremely low temperatures and operated at various pressures. Engineers filled the tank with almost 30,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen chilled to -423°F, and repeatedly cycled the pressure between 20 psi to 53 psi – the pressure limit set for the tests. The project is part of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is innovating flying hardware for use in NASA's future missions. The authority says that composite cryogenic tanks promise a 30% weight reduction and a 25% cost savings over the best metal tanks used today. It will also embark on developing nextgeneration technologies including composite systems that will upgrade the capabilities of rockets as well as lower the cost of making them.

Founder and CEO Peter Beck of Rocket Lab has expertise in carbon composite launch vehicles, such as the Electron

Another company, New Zealand-based Rocket Lab, has developed a space vehicle, which will first launch by 2015. Called Electron, it has an all-carbon-composite payload fairing. Weighing less than 30 kg, the payload fairing maximises the payload weight to orbit, while providing the requisite protection for the vehicle during assembly and flight. The 10-tonne rocket, which is also smaller than the average 60-m length rockets, is said to be capable of carrying up to 120-kg weight satellites and sending them into space for less than US$6 million, a fraction of current costs. Equipped with ten Rutherford engines, Electron will also reduce the time it takes to launch a satellite from years to weeks, according to Rocket Lab. It says that once the current functional deployment tests are complete, the fairing will undergo extensive environmental testing and integration with the payload supporting structures. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2014


Rocket Lab 公司的創辦人兼首席執行長彼得貝克在碳纖維複合材料 的運載火箭具備專業知識,例如 Electron

NASA 和 波音公司的 工程師一起 合作,製造有 史以來最大的 複合材料火箭 推進劑貯箱作 為測試



Corporate Profile

A step ahead, a leap for the future To stay ahead in the competitive plastics processing industry, machinery makers need to keep updated with the market requirements. German thermoforming machinery maker Geiss not only does that but is also introducing new technologies to the Asian market, ahead of its competitors.


he European Commission views innovation as a crux for manufacturing in Europe, in the aftermath of the fiscal downturn. Being a “dominant element in international trade, leading the world in areas such as automotive, machinery and agricultural engineering”, the region’s manufacturing sector also leverages on innovation against lower-wage economies and other high-tech rivals. One European company that is staying a step ahead by developing and innovating products and services is thermoforming machinery maker Geiss. “It is a clear game changer,” explained Manfred Geiss, CEO of Geiss, speaking to PRA at the September-held Indoplas show in Indonesia. Headquartered in Sesslach, Germany, Geiss stays true to its company motto, “one step ahead”, a claim that is substantiated by its numerous technological developments and patents. CEO Manfred Geiss says the company is It has more than six looking forward to decades of experience since it entering the Asian was founded in 1948, a period market when new innovations in electronics were just starting to flourish. Manfred’s father, Georg Geiss, who also founded the firm, then foresaw that plastics, a new material at that time, would become an indispensable material for a wide range of applications.

By then, Geiss had started making moulds for vacuum forming and almost a decade later, developed the first vacuum forming machine. Since then Geiss has upped its innovations, pioneering the first bottom heaters; first microprocessor-controlled vacuum forming machine; and the first automatic sheet feeding machine. By 1962, Geiss had expanded its offerings to include thermoforming and CNC trimming machines as well as milling, tool manufacturing and prototyping for vacuum forming. Conquering transportation sectors of emerging markets Founded as privately-owned company, in 2004, Geiss was changed to a shareholder company. To date, it has supplied 3,000 thermoforming and 700 CNC cutting machines worldwide. But it is not content to rest on its laurels just yet, since it is constantly on the look-out for fresh opportunities and growth areas to tap on. Interestingly, Geiss describes the ASEAN and other countries in Asia as “young markets”, even though most of the countries herein are already on their way to being developed or matured. Having sown its innovation seed in the Asian thermoforming sector for two years now, the company is seeing itself take firm roots in the region. Is it veering away from the European market? “The European market is very volatile,” Geiss told PRA when asked how the European market is currently faring. “Markets like transportation, automotive, and building are doing well, while other markets are struggling.” However, at the K2013 show last year, Geiss was reported to have sold 11 machines, generating sales of more than EUR4 million, while most of the potential clients that visited its booth were from the US. Nevertheless, the Asian market is a bounty waiting to be captured but one that needs to be educated first. “Generally, companies from less developed countries hesitate to invest in plant and equipment.” India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion is second to China, which is approaching the 1.4 billion population mark. The populous nature of the countries, besides the fact that the two countries’ have growing economies, enable for robust production and consumption. Thus, it is no surprise that Geiss is targeting China and India, especially focusing on the aerospace and transportation sectors. “The aerospace market is growing mostly in China. Our target market is parts makers for aircraft interiors, such as walls, windows, seats, head lockers, toilets, and others,” Geiss said. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2014


Corporate Profile India’s transport sector, specifically cars, trucks, railway and aerospace, is also growing, he added. “In the ASEAN, our core markets will be centred on transportation and we will concentrate on the bus, truck, airplane, train and tractor parts producers,” he said. Meanwhile, Geiss’s technologies are also finding a niche within India’s buoyant fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) segment, plus as an alternative to the rotomoulding process. “Since our technology is automated, it is a more efficient alternative to rotomoulding, enabling better quality and higher output,” Geiss explained. But he knows that the company has a long process of educating processors to switch over. Maintaining German standards The CEO states that quality and productivity are the company’s competitive edge. “Our machines are 100% made in Germany,” he adds, expounding, “We focus on state-of-theart, not least the high quality of the equipment but also the possibility to retrofit and upgrade the machines.” For instance, at the K2010, Geiss introduced a new platen drive system for high-speed, twinsheet forming of cut sheets less than 1 mm thick. The five-point toggle drive system was claimed to be a first for heavy-gauge machines and boasts the quickest closing speed for cut-sheet machines (approximately 0.7 seconds), processing 60 to 80 tonnes of closing force, higher than typical systems. At the K2013, it upped the ante, showcasing its closed-chamber thermoformer that eliminates the sagging of the sheet during heating. It also develops integrated machine concepts, such as the TT-in-one machine that combines thermoforming and trimming-in-one (TT-in-one).

Geiss says it keeps up-to-date with innovations for its thermoforming machinery

Geiss also takes pride in the company’s workforce, comprising mechanical and electrical engineers, designers, programmers and specialists who are “creative, competent and highly committed to optimising production processes“.



“The clear internal structures as well as the centralised production facility and management allow for a quick and efficient handling of all up-coming jobs. This provides high flexibility and fast response to all demands,” Geiss said. Aside from having representatives in Asia to cover the needs of its customers in the region, the company also has representatives in Europe and in countries like Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and North and South Americas. Looking into the crystal ball At the recent Fakuma show, held in October in Friedrichshafen, Germany, Geiss showcased a thermoformer and CNC machine. “The thermoformer was of a new design and is the first fully servomotor-driven thermoformer. We will eventually replace all pneumatic drives in the near future,” he said. A new Geiss thermoforming machine was presented at the recent Fakuma in Germany

Since it provides twin-sheet thermoforming technology, Geiss projects this as having potential for future growth, which he says bodes well for the company. “Here is a big need and growth, as it is not that prevalent in the market yet.” With new materials now being developed and made available in the market, the company needs to keep up to date with the technology to process the materials. Accordingly, Geiss undertakes trials and tests on these new materials on its machinery. “We test new materials whenever we can get them. Currently, we have been testing PEEK (polyether ether ketone) material, as well as carbon-fibre reinforced material. We then test the materials on our thermoformers, press formers, twin-sheet formers, and even CNC trimmers, as we are the only supplier offering this cutting technology. We also do ultrasound cutting and laser cutting,” he said. Staying committed to being a pioneer in innovation is the company’s key to longevity in the plastics industry, Geiss said. This is reinforced with its mission to be a leader in a competitive industry. Geiss shares the rest of the company’s secrets: “Our lean structure, close contact with the market and excellent internal information systems, ensures we maintain our lead,” he concludes.

Photovoltaics Industry

Energy from the sun The energy crisis is a modern-day phantom that stalks and threatens global economies and industries. The good news is that energy shortages may be controlled. And thanks to modern photovoltaic technology that enables for a widely accessed and, in the long run, cheaper solar energy, says Angelica Buan in this report.


n the face of the surmounting energy crisis, photovoltaics (PVs) technology seems to provide the panacea to energy woes. PVs are solar cells that convert energy from the sun to usable electricity. The current technology utilises a semiconductor to absorb the radiation from the sun and when this happens, the radiation emits electrons, which are harnessed as electricity. Solar energy is a renewable energy of choice because of the persisting problem on climate change plus solar energy is clean energy with an edge over price volatility of fossil fuels. Moreover, it emits no greenhouse gas or other toxic pollutants such as sulphur and nitrogen, and requires slight amount or no water, compared to thermal power plants, which need fresh water for cooling.

New generation of photovoltaic technology harnesses solar energy more efficiently

Expensive price tag an issue But while potential energy from the sun is free, the use of PVs to harness it is expensive and not cost-competitive with readily available utility power, according to the Florida Solar Energy Centre. The agency says that until such time that the cost per peak watt (the amount of electricity produced by a PV cell when bright sunlight is available), is competitively low can the technology be used more widely. In this purview, manufacturing and applications are two key areas of development in PV technology.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), meanwhile, notes that costs are decreasing, forecasting that by 2050 solar energy could be the top source of electricity generating up to 16% of the world's use. US-based financial firm Lazard also echoes the view of decreasing costs saying that costs have dropped by nearly 20% in the past year, and nearly 80% in the last five years. China's entry into the solar panel business has helped push down the costs, says the firm. New York-based Transparency Market Research (TMR), in its PV market report from 2012-2018, says that current technologies still utilise semiconductor materials such as the costly silicon. Yet, innovations are being undertaken to bring down costs as well as improving efficiency, it says. Developments are taking place as pointed out by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the US Department of Energy. It explains that second-generation thin-film solar cells are developed from amorphous silicon or non-silicon materials such as cadmium telluride. Thin film solar cells use layers of semiconductor materials only a few micrometers thick and can double as rooftop shingles and tiles, building facades, or glazing for skylights. There are also third-generation solar cells made from new materials such as solar inks using conventional printing press technologies, solar dyes, and conductive plastics that concentrate sunlight onto a minute piece of high efficiency PV material, albeit at a higher cost. Currently, the US-based University of Cincinnati is working on making less expensive, yet more flexible and efficient, solar-powered panels in lights, calculators and roofs. Researchers are looking at adding nanoflakes of graphene to polymer-blend bulk-heterojunction (BHJ) solar cells as a substitute to silicon solar cells. The graphene increases the plastic solar cells’ efficiency threefold. Yet for now, it is comparatively below the highest efficiency achieved in organic PV devices. Scale of use growing in Asia Energy market analysts observe that solar PV end-market demand is spreading and shifting from Europe towards Asia. TMR reported that the three fastest growing PV markets in 2013 were China, Japan, and Thailand. The market has two leading manufactured solar PV technologies that are implemented in the commercial use: thin-film PV and crystalline silicon PV. The latter currently dominates the market growth with around 80% of the market share. TMR also reports that major countries seen as active in thin-film PV technologies include China (12%), Asia, Europe, Japan, Germany (19%) and South Korea. Meanwhile, IEA assessed that solar PV expansion would be led by China, followed by the US. In India, solar PV is also gaining ground. L&T Construction, the nation’s largest solar EPC company, NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2014


Photovoltaics Industry L&T Construction commissioned the world's largest Solar PV plant of 7.52 MW in Punjab, India

has recently commissioned what it claims as the world's largest solar PV plant of 7.52 MW capacity on a single roof in Amritsar, Punjab. The energy generated from this plant is being fed to the local grid through a power purchase agreement signed with the state distribution company under the New and Renewable Sources of Energy Policy. To optimise efficiency, L&T employed multi-crystalline module technology and central inverters. More than 30,000 panels were erected on the 94,000 sq m roof. Considering that the rooftop modules had to be erected on fragile asbestos roof sheets, L&T designed a system whereby the entire load of the PV modules was transferred to the space frame of the top and middle chords of the roof. Lightweight aluminium structures were used for mounting the modules and the roof is waterproofed to avoid leakages. US chemicals firm DuPont has also come up with PV solutions for India’s Tata Power Solar. DuPont says its Solamet metallisation pastes help increase the conversion efficiency of solar cells, boosting the power output of solar panels. Meanwhile, its ionomer encapsulants surround and protect solar cells and panel circuitry; and its Tedlar PVF film-based backsheets are said to to ensure a 25-year lifetime, even in extreme climates such as in many parts of India. Tata has recently collaborated with Aditya Birla Solar to set up a 20-MW power plant near Jodhpur in Rajasthan, which will deliver solar energy to an estimated 300,000 rural households in India. In Japan, the first PV plant has just been completed. The project is built by the Spanish-Japanese conglomerate Europe Clean Energies (ECE). The Tsukuba district-sited plant, which began construction early this year after ECE acquired a feed-in-tariff of US$0.39 per KW transferred to the regional electrical grid, has a capacity to generate 2 MW of electricity. It uses two ABB 1 MW stations and 7,950 modules of 255 W each from Ontario-based Canadian Solar. ECE will be constructing two other PV power stations in the Ibaraki prefecture. Meanwhile, in Australia, the University of Queensland (UQ) is building a 3.275-MW solar PV research facility at its Gatton campus. The plant will cover 10 ha of the Gatton campus and will produce enough electricity annually to power more than 450 average Australian homes, equivalent to displacing more than 5,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide. PV solar systems provider First Solar will install about 40,000 thin-film PV panels in ground-mounted



arrays. The project is scheduled to be commissioned early next year and will provide 30% of the UQ Gatton campus’ energy. Ripe time for new technologies NanoGram, a Teijin company, has developed what is said to be the world’s first printable electronics material, NanoGram Si paste, for the local back surface field (L-BSF) PV cell, with an insultion or passivation layer. An impuritydiffused layer is attached to the back of the electrode and partially underneath the electrode to diffuse impurities such as boron, phosphorus and aluminium by furnacing or lasering. The paste, which contains approximately 20 nm-diameter silicon nanoparticles, is said to enable the highly efficient collection of solar energy in silicon wafers. A high-performance impurity-diffused layer can be formed when NanoGram Si paste is printed and heated on a silicon wafer. Teijin's NanoGram Si Paste is world's first printable electronics material

Teijin has also developed its own technology for screen printing and lasering process of the paste on a silicon wafer, resulting in a further 0.5% increase in the L-BSF PV cell’s conversion efficiency. This effect has been verified using a 6 in. PV cell developed together with the German Fraunhofer ISE research institute. In Canada, Canadian Solar has developed a new solar PV module, which it expects to launch in 2015. The Diamond module, or the double PV module, utilises heatstrengthened glass instead of the traditional polymer backsheet. It is Potential Induced Degradation (PID)free with anti-PID cells, encapsulated material and no metal module frame. Other benefits include its ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions, including high humidity, temperature and ultraviolet (UV) conditions. Its increased resistance to salt corrosion translates into a robust solution for seaside/waterside PV system installation, says the company. Canadian Solar explained that in the first year, annual power degradation is 2.5% and 0.5% each year onwards. With that, module output at the 25th year is maintained at 85%, versus the current 80%. Meanwhile, France-based Schneider Electric is launching a new PV Skid, an optimised plug-and-play power conversion system designed for North American solar PV power plants. Based on the successful Conext Core XC-NA UL 1741 1000 VDC inverter platform, it is available in configurations from 1 MW to 2 MW AC with several optional features, such as extended temperature range from - 35 to + 55°C, load centre for tracker systems, and a canopy for sun protection.

Blown/Cast Film Extrusion

New developments take centre stage for extrusion machinery Featured are five extrusion machinery companies: Reifenhäuser that has sold lines in Asia; Macro that has introduced an option of a gas foamed layer; DavisStandard with a high output air ring; Rajoo with its new competitively priced three-layer line, and Amut featuring a dimpled sheet line. Reifenhäuser forges ahead in Asia with its lines Asia is an important focus market for Germany-based extrusion machinery maker Reifenhäuser Group. Its subsdiary Reifenhäuser Cast Sheet Coating alone has been able to install more than 15 lines here over the past 18 months. The group-wide annual growth of the market has been in a double-digit percentage range since 2009. Therefore, Reifenhäuser has strengthened its local sales team in recent months, and has expanded the Reifenhäuser China site to optimise customer support by own sales and service staff. Recently the company made two significant announcements. Reifenhäuser Cast Sheet Coating is building two five-layer CPP film lines for the production of lamination film and metallisable film to be supplied to Malaysian processor Scientex Great Wall (SGW).

Elsewhere in India, Varun Beverages of the RJ Group, the biggest franchisee of PepsiCo India, has installed a three-layer Evolution blown film line from Reifenhäuser Kiefel Extrusion at its plant located in Alwar, Rajasthan. The 2.6-m wide line will produce collation shrink film for packaging of Pepsi bottles and water bottles from PET. It is the first blown film line of the company. With this investment, the Indian MNC completes its vertical diversification. Reifenhäuser Kiefel Extrusion has equipped the line with the Evolution Ultra extruders and Ultra Cool technology, which is the current blown film cooling system from the German machinery maker, with an output of up to 700 kg/hour based on Varun’s recipes. The line is also provided with the latest generation Evolution WP winder, allowing for fast conversion of the film thanks to straight-edge winding and multi-up rolls. The Evolution C automation system, developed by Reifenhäuser Kiefel, features an intuitive user interface and 24-in touch screen panel for employees to get familiar with the operation of the line, rapidly and without any problem, says the machinery supplier. The threelayer blown film line that has been installed by Varun Beverages

Reifenhäuser’s five-layer cast sheet line for the production of lamination film and metallisable film

This is a new market for SGW that will use Reifenhäuser’s Midex series, with the Reicofeed 2.1 feedblock, said to improve film qualities and thickness tolerances and the distribution of layer adjustment. Designed for a maximum net film width of 3,250 mm and an output of up to 1,288 kg/hour, each of the lines will produce about 300 m/minute of film.

Varun Beverages, the flagship company of RJ, holds bottling and distribution franchise rights from PepsiCo not only in India but also in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Africa. In India, it manages nine PepsiCo bottling plants in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Goa and Delhi. Gas foaming in barrier films for reduced weight Canadian film and sheet extrusion systems supplier Macro Engineering & Technology has added the option of individual layer gas foaming to its barrier blown film co-extrusion lines. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2014


Blown/Cast Film Extrusion Macro’s blown film co-extrusion systems are used to produce films with up to 11-layers and up to 3-m wide using a variety of materials, including PA, EVOH and PVdC. The films produced are most typically used in food and medical packaging applications. The individual layer foaming option allows processors to create a wider range of products by manipulating different foamed layer combinations within the co-extruded film structures. Similar to foaming in injection moulding, foaming in extrusion can reduce weight, leading to raw material savings and can also create favourable properties in the film, such as improving thermal and sound insulation, and opacity can be obtained without using fillers. Earlier this year, Macro also announced the addition of individual layer foaming technology to its cast barrier film lines along with a seven-layer cast line installation in Europe that produces barrier films with layer foaming in two of the seven layers. Similar to the cast technology, the blown system features individual layer foaming that is achieved with nitrogen gas injection through a proprietary feedblock. The configuration of the line allows it to be operated with or without foam injection, allowing the film producer to easily switch between foamed films and conventional multilayer film production without changing machinery. Macro says the addition of individual layer foaming to its blown film co-extrusion systems broadens the possibilities of end-use applications by producing barrier films that are stiffer and thicker without increasing materials costs. The rigidity of the foamed films makes them suitable for stand up pouches and thermoformed trays. Macro is currently building a nine-layer blown film line with individual layer foam technology that will be delivered to an undisclosed film manufacturer in Europe. The line will produce high barrier films and can foam individual layers or several layers together, depending on the application.

SEM (scanning electron microscopy) image of a co-extruded barrier film with two foamed layers

New air ring for higher outputs US extrusion machinery firm Davis-Standard has introduced the Upjet air ring system for blown film processes, With a stalk configuration, improved IBC and Venturi ring design, the Upjet is said to enhance the cooling efficiency of new blown film lines to increase output while improving thickness tolerance.



With the Upjet air ring system, DavisStandard offers a process analysis to determine potential rate improvement on existing equipment

It is targeted at commodity markets such as stretch film, can liners and industrial films. The firm says it has seen “impressive results” for processing stretch films and can liners for a variety of applications, including technical agri stretch products and general purpose sheeting. It is for use on existing and new lines in a manual or auto-profile mode. When used with Davis-Standard’s WesJet TPC automatic profile control and Centrex or Vertex dies, the firm claims an output increase of up to 40%. Upjet is available in sizes ranging from 180-1,016 mm, in manual or motorised elevation control and passive or automatic thickness profile control configurations. New blown film line is lighter on the pocket Indian extrusion machinery manufacturer Rajoo Engineers has introduced the Multifoil Lite two-extruder, three-layer blown film line, a lower-priced version of its Multifoil line that was showcased at the K2013 show in Germany. According to Rajoo, the new line will provide customers with a cost-competitive option in the highly competitive bag making industry, plagued with increasing costs of raw materials. Likewise, the line will provide other benefits such as minimal downtime, low energy consumption, and flexibility to adapt to varied applications. The development came about as a result of the company’s interactions with retailers and its objective to better understand their needs, particularly in the manufacturing of shopping bags and other applications that make use of films. While it is designed to run with an A-B-A configuration, its special cross head design provides the flexibility to run A-B-B and A-A-B configurations, said to be a first of its kind in the industry. The extruder sizes are 40 mm/50 mm; machine output is 120 kg/hour; an LFW of 400-1,150 mm, with an oscillating haul-off for gauge randomisation. Rajoo says it is also possible to use up to 50% calcium carbonate or recycled material (in the middle layer) with virgin material in the skin layers. The abrasive materials would normally impact machine parts adversely. However, Rajoo says its screw and barrel are especially designed to handle the high filler content. Apart from shopping bags, this machine can also be used to produce films (for milk and water packaging) and lamination grade films (with slip on one side and non-slip on the other).

Blown/Cast Film Extrusion Dimpled sheet line allows for post-consumer flakes Italian extrusion machine maker Amut has recently manufactured and tested a plant for the production of 4-m wide HDPE dimpled sheet for a Russian customer that is one of the biggest producers of materials for the building sector. The sheet is largely used to protect and provide drainage for underground walls and it is the latest solution for the proper protection and ventilation of the waterproofing mantle between cement foundations and the ground, according to Amut. It adds that its versatility makes it essential for the realisation of buildings in areas where water presence is particularly high. The line has a capacity higher than 1,700 kg/hour and it offers the possibility to produce a width of 4,000 mm, or by applying a central cutting to obtain two rolls of 2,000 mm each or even four rolls of 1,000 mm each. The linear kinematic speed is equal to 12.5 m/ minute, while the thickness range varies from 350-1,000 g for every sq m. Based on an EA180 single-screw extruder with L/D 45, which is equipped with a vacuum vent system with closedloop water circuit (for post-consumer material), the line is able to process granules as well as trims/flakes or post-consumer HDPE recyclate. It is composed of a loading system, dosing unit, continuous screen changer, high pressure gear pump and a flat die with melt exit width higher than 4,300 mm, to produce the maximum width even on a low potential thickness of the finished product (< 300 g/sq m). It has a special calendering/forming unit, which when processing the required width and combined with the linear speed, is said to guarantee an accurate realisation of the two main forming rolls (10 m/minute of finished product). Cooling flows are by means of recirculation/thermoregulation pumps. Since the line can process 100% post-consumer material, the vacuum unit had to be designed with condensation/ reduction systems for the pollutants in the melt that can cause problems in the vacuum circuit. Downstream the calendering/ forming unit, an unwinding/lamination station has been installed. It comes complete with a distribution system for hot melt glues used for different material adhesion. The end-of-the-line is composed of an automatic winder complete with a bench for unloading/ stacking the finished rolls.

The plant is also equipped with ancillary equipment, such as bilateral unwinding of the advertising/signalling strap that is directly applied during the forming phase and a grinder for trims, which are conveyed to the loading/ mixing zone. A proprietary software, developed and tuned specifically for this line, controls and checks all parameters, by storing and monitoring the whole production process.

The largest exhibition for plastics and rubber in Europe in 2015, in Milan, in coincidence with EXPO

Organizer: Promaplast srl

Country Focus

Of floods and plastics in the Philippines The Philippines’s waste disposal problem continues to persist, with plastic bags making up a bulk of the rubbish, say environment watchdogs. This is despite the plastic bag ban enforced in the country in 2011. Has the system failed or is it time to switch strategies by raising awareness to reuse and recycle, asks Angelica Buan in this article.

Meanwhile, the National Solid Waste Management Commission and Strategy (NSWMCS) says that in 2010, the Philippines generated 35,000 tonnes of waste, with Metro Manila alone (which accounts for a fourth of the waste output in the country), producing nearly 9,000 tonnes/day of waste. Of the country’s total waste output, 16% was accounted for by plastics, according to the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA). The latter agency, which has initiated a quarterly clean-up drive to de-clog open waterways, said that it collected an estimated 7,190 cu m of waste from 15 waterways, mostly plastics and styrofoam packaging. In the recent months that Metro Manila has been barraged by floods, control remedies, specifically the wide-scale plastic bag ban put in place at the call of environmental groups in 2011, seem to have fallen short of serving their purpose.


Plastic bag ban – boon or bane? “The wide-scale ban and regulations for plastic bags are still on-going,” said Teo Kee Bin, President of the Philippine Plastics Industry Association (PPIA), who spoke to PRA at the recent PrintPackPlas show held 9-11 October at SMX, Pasay City, Philippines. The PPIA has been vocal about its position against the implementation of the plastic bag ban from the start. It had said that plastic bags, per se, are not to be blamed for the flooding but the public’s untoward disposal of garbage such as used plastic bags. “The ban is a popular measure,” said Teo, who is also the General Manager of Manila-headquartered plastics products maker Plastimer, when asked if the ban would be repealed. The amount of used plastic bags that are discarded remains a discussion piece, and for which Teo comments that because plastic bags are cheap to purchase, end users neglect to see the value when discarding them. On the other hand, Teo opines that the industry has also neglected to educate the public on how to reuse plastic bags, at the onset of plastics becoming a staple means of packaging. Nevertheless, while the ban affects sales and manufacturing capacities of local plastic bag makers, it is far from crippling this segment of the industry. ‘There is no better substitute (as yet) for plastic bags,” according to Teo. “Paper bags may not be suitable for certain food items like fruits, for example, and not unless the bag has a handle. Also, paper bags cost more.”

lastics have been portrayed as a Jekyll and Hyde syndrome – being useful but at the same time with potential risks to the environment and human health. In the Philippines, where flooding is becoming a perennial phenomenon, plastic bag wastage is mostly in the limelight when the issue of rubbish that blocks waterways is raised. The magnitude of the waste problem in the country is captured in the “Garbage Book”, published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2004. It said that in Metro Manila, the nation’s capital, about 1,500 tonnes/ day of waste is thrown into dumpsites, creeks and rivers. Compounding the mounting waste disposal was the lack of recycling and waste disposal systems.

Floods in Metro Manila are on the rise due to more waste being dumped into waterways



Country Focus At the height of the bag ban’s momentum in 2012, the association projected the industry’s workforce to downsize by 50%. “As it is, there are no job losses in big retail stores, which are heavily affected by the ban and the regulations. But the producers of plastic bags catering to these stores are affected,” Teo said, explaining further that shopping malls have to strictly adhere to the legislations whereas the smaller stores and retail outlets seem to be more lax in obeying regulations. One positive thing that may have resulted from the ban is that some manufacturers have diversified to the production of paper bags, says Teo. But he adds that since the local paper industry largely imports raw materials from other countries, this diversification is not totally of benefit to the local manufacturing sector. Currently, the association is engaged in recycling activities and advocacies to raise public awareness that plastics are indeed 100% recyclable, with proper waste disposal, segregation and recycling practices. Plastic waste can be recycled and reused, said Teo. For instance, Bontoc, the capital municipality of Mountain Province, a landlocked province in the Cordillera region in northern Philippines, has been able to convert waste plastics and PET water bottles into building materials such as hollow blocks, which are aptly called eco-blocks and eco-bricks. Recycling technologies at hand A mechanical option for repurposing plastics was developed in 2004 by the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI), the R&D centre of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), in cooperation with the Packaging Council of the Philippines. Called Plastic Styro Densifier, the technology is described as the “conversion of post-consumer waste polystyrene or styrofoam packaging materials into rigid functional products.” The portable machine, which works like an oven with temperature and smoke emission control apparatus, melts the shredded/ground plastic waste material in vegetable oil at a controlled temperature. The liquefied material is then poured through a steel spout into moulds to produce rigid functional products such as pots, tables, wall tiles, and many more. The liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)-fired machine has a melting capacity of 60 kg per batch. However, the commercial value of the resulting products may still be inadequate according to the ITDI, in a paper presented during the UNEP-AIST Workshop on Waste Plastics Management in 2011 in Japan. It said that limited product markets may pose uncertain commercialisation sustainability; and that the novelty products are not as competitive as conventional ones. ITDI also said the densifier may have other disadvantages such as possible health risks from gas emissions, and relatively high operating costs. The PPIA adopted an upgraded version of this technology in 2006 for processing PE and PP waste.

It also cooperated with ITDI in its other technology development, such as using plastic bag waste for processing asphalt concrete. Waste plastics – a source of fuel The plastic to fuel (PTF) technology is also an available solution for the country’s waste management predicament. In 2007, inventor Jayme Navarro developed a pyrolysis technology, which was the Philippines’s first PTF innovation, for producing less sulphuric diesel, LPG and gasoline with waste plastics. Navarro, who has now set up Poly-Green Technology and Resources, said that the machine he assembled is capable of processing 5,000 kg of contaminated plastics for 400 l of diesel and gasoline. The modular-concept technology operates from 5 to 20 tonnes/day capacities with a conversion efficiency rate of 75-80% (depending on the quality of the feedstock). The process is undertaken inside a vacuum, which means no chemicals are released into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, another local company is also engaged in making PTF machines. Suki Trading based in LapuLapu City in Cebu province in southern Philippines, manufactures plastic densifiers that are said to be different from the densifier developed by the ITDI, according to proprietor Victoriano Ocon. “Our technology originates from Germany and we are adopting the technology here in the Philippines,” Ocon told PRA in an email interview. The 100% Philippimemade PTF technology, including the parts, is priced from Php1 million to 1.5 million. Ocon, who is an engineer, explained that the plastics have to be shredded first, using a locally-made shredder, and then go through a heating chamber, condenser, catalyst reactor and biofilter, before conversion into fuel. The technology is able to process HDPE and PE bags as well as printed plastics. The end-product Suki Trading’s locally made is used as crude oil and plastic to fuel technology for bunker fuel. A few local government repurposing waste plastic units have already bought units, Ocon said, adding that it is an eco-friendly substitute for incinerators. Yet, procurement of the technology is still low, due to “lack of awareness for recycling, as well as the local executives’ lack of desire to solve the garbage problem,” he opined. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2014


Injection Moulding Asia Machinery

Japanese machine makers pull out all the stops The Japanese International Plastics Fair (IPF) show,

had planned to come to the show in the afternoon could not come. We assume the number was hundreds, maybe more than 1,000 even,” explained the spokesperson. Hence, IPF probably learnt a lesson or two: not to have the show too close to the end of the month or when there is a public holiday looming! But a silver lining on the cloud is that the foreign visitor count was up by 3,631, compared to 2,154 in 2011. The currency devaluation of the yen against the US$ (part of “Abenomics” – the policies effected by Japanese Prime Minister Abe to overcome years of deflation and lacklustre growth) has led to a decline in prices of Japanese machinery (compared to European technology). This, coupled with the fact that the weather was unusually warm and pleasant in Japan for this time of the year, probably attracted more foreigners to visit the show!

held in Tokyo’s Makuhari Messe, from 28th October to 1st November, had 776 exhibitors (470 from Japan and 306 from overseas) exhibiting over a gross space of 54,000 sq m. The visitorship was slightly lower than the 2011 exhibition, but nevertheless Japanese producers had plenty on show. Lower turnout of visitors due to multiple factors he organiser, IPF Association, of the triennially-held show expected a better turnout of visitors this year (with a target of 45,000 visitors), compared to the 2011 show. The lower visitorship in 2011 was attributed to the earthquake in Japan. However, at the end of the five day show this year, the visitor count was 39,376, down by about 5% compared to the 41,591 visitors at the 2011 show. There were no natural calamities in Japan this year (thank God!), so why the lower turnout? According to an IPF official, “The show period was held at the very end of the month. Many companies were busy working out their monthly sales and closing their accounts. This prevented people from coming to the show, not only from the management level but also white and blue-collar workers.” Furthermore, the official explained that the Monday (3rd November) after the show was a national holiday and since Japanese workers are known for their industrious nature, “they would probably have taken the opportunity to use the long weekend to go on a holiday.”


Asian markets a draw factor NCs, robots and injection moulding machine maker Fanuc depends on the Asian market for its sales, with the region taking up almost 60% of its exports, said Hiroyuki Uchida, Senior Executive Vice-President of the Robomachine Business Division. “In fact, the Asian market has been growing since 2000. Sales in Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines, are growing better than China,” he added.


Fanuc showed robot integration in the machine

The Mt. Fuji-headquartered company, which was recently named one of the top 100 innovative companies in the world by Forbes, expects consolidated sales of around 500 billion yen this year. “Sales are up because of the depreciating yen. Yes, it has helped!” said Uchida enthusiastically. He also said that while Fanuc holds the “number one spot in the world” for its robot sales, injection moulding machinery output has also increased to 3,000/year. The company still produces its machinery in Japan, with assembly of some products undertaken at a Chinese plant in Beijing; and robot system integration in Shanghai and the US. “We have around 45 branches worldwide, but none

IPF show this year had a lower visitor turnout

He also said that as the previous record shows, Friday afternoon is the busiest for the show but, unfortunately, a train accident happened on the Friday of the event. Trains from the Tokyo main station to Makuhari Messe stopped running completely for a period of time. “Many people who 1 N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 014

Injection Moulding Asia Machinery undertake any “real” production. This is because of the high cost and the need to ensure quality performance of the machinery produced. It is easier to undertake robotisation than transplanting technology to other countries,” said Uchida, referring to the Mt Fuji facility’s use of robots in the production process. Another company enjoying the spill over from the currency depreciation is Niigata Machine. “We are doing well in the US market. We are selling an average of 28-30 machines/month,” said Denny Yanagibashi, General Manager of the Marketing Department. As for Asia, he said, “Sales are growing in China, India, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam. Malaysia and Indonesia need a further push.” When asked if the company would follow the trend of setting up facilities in growing markets, Yanagibashi said, “We used to have factories in China, India and Thailand but closed them down. At that time we were making hydraulic machines that require a lower input of technology. Now, that 1there is 14:22:55 a trend for all-electric machines, we may PRA-210 x 138–EN.pdf 2014/10/9 consider setting up a facility in China.” Meanwhile, Toshiba Machine started up a facility in Rayong, Thailand, early this year, adding to its other facilities in China and India. “We are making all-electric machines in the 50-350 tonnes range, targeted at the medical

and consumer markets,” said Jun Koike, General Manager of the injection moulding machine division. Currently, it has a staff force of 70 and expects to increase this to 200 over the next two years. In India, in 2012, it bought over Indian firm L&T Plastics Machinery. Toshiba India has a facility in Chennai, where it makes around 600 machines/year. But even with its overseas facilities, Toshiba still exports 80% of the 2,000 machines/year it produces from its home base, especially targeting special machinery for production of light guide panels in China. Another company focused on export markets is Toyo Machinery & Metal. “We export 70% of our output all over the world,” said Tatsunori Morikawa, Manager of the Marketing Team. He also pointed out that the company has a facility in China, in Changshu, where it produces around 20 standard-design machines/month. Plus, it is looking at setting up a facility in India. “It is a huge market with good potential.” Generally, Toyo is seeing a growth of 30% in Asia. “This is because of the Chinese market, and is mainly focused on the smartphone sector. There are a number of Japanese and South Korean transplants in China who request special machinery,” explained Morikawa.

Injection Moulding Asia Machinery Machinery Works press. The sheet is transferred to a mould (Suruga Engineering) where the PA6 material is injected. The direct injection technology, an alternative to heat press and stamp moulding processes, is able to realise long fibre composite moulding and boasts 50% reduction of material costs, especially cutting down use of the expensive CFRP.

Technology updates • Fanuc, which had one of the largest booths at the show, had three main highlights. Having focused on selling its injection moulding machinery to the connector and precision moulding sectors, it has introduced what it says are “cheaper, in between sized models” (130 and 220 tonnes clamping force) targeting automotive parts makers. It already offers 50, 100, 150, 250 and 300 tonne models in the range. A two-component model was demonstrating production of an air conditioning part in ABS and PP. It also displayed a machine for liquid silicone rubber (LSR), its first. Another highlight was robotic system integration, with a robot inserting metal parts in micro connectors, inside the machine.

• Toyo Machinery is also entering the LSR sector (Si-100675D machine) and CFRP hybrid moulding (ET-80HR2 D75 machine). Another new entrant is the SAG + alpha technology shown on the Si-180 model. The “gas suppression system” includes a newly coated screw (SAG) reinforced with a vacuum system (alpha) to curtail the build-up of gases during plasticising. This is especially useful for resins that require pre-drying, like PET for instance.

• JSW displayed two all-electrics for the automotive sector: J450ADS incorporating Trexel’s MuCell foam technology and the J280ADS with the die slide technology. The latter allows hollow parts to be welded in the machine, which means no other ancillary equipment like a welder is required. It is targeted at parts like windshield washer tanks.

• Ube Machinery presented its Cav-Change Innovation, which is a multi-shot technology it first showed at IPF 2011. The updated version of the process was shown in a component featuring a stitch design. The coloured stitch moulding, which is back moulded on a foamed elastomer part and is made of PP, replicates actual stitching. The concept is targeted at automotive interiors.

• A veteran in LSR moulding (of over 30 years), Nissei Plastic Industrial showed its NEX180III-5ELMN model with the newly developed SPPS (spiral plunger system) for small volume, high pressure moulding. It uses an inline screw (first-in, first-out concept) and combines it with a newly designed plunger metering injection unit. The 180tonne machine was moulding a magnifier, processing two types of LSRs with different hardness and a PA66. Another highlight was the NEX110III-12EG electric machine updated with a “gas generation control moulding system” (a trend replicated by other machine makers). Basically, it features a special screw and smart feeder to prevent moulding defects (burns and short shots), arising from gas generated when processing plastics like PC, for instance.

• Sodick premiered its GL (Global Standards) series, demonstrating applications like 3D in-mould appliqué moulding, fine pitch connectors, insert moulding and medical parts. The GL-100 Vent machine features “outgas reduction” made possible with a nitrogen vacuum system. Also on display was a tiebarless 3-tonne all-electric machine (M4-3000) that was moulding a washer part in PA9t material, with a thickness of 0.093 g and weight of 0.057 cc. Though the machine maker has no plans to sell or market the machine, the washer part did make for an interesting display! • In the auxiliary sector, Yushin displayed a new concept cartesian robot designed to handle complex tasks. Two arms are arranged in a V configuration working in tandem, each with a wrist unit boasting three NC servopowered axes. The robots were shown arranging letters on a cube on its six sides, as well as picking up a large ball. Though not due for commercialisation just yet, the concept is close to human dexterity and beyond the capabilities of standard traverse robots.

• Of the five injection moulding machines Toshiba Machine was displaying, a highlight was the 550-tonne LFormer (550-26BP) vertical machine undertaking glass fibre/carbon fibre in-line moulding (Toshiba called it on-line blend). Targeted at the automotive sector, for lightweighting and metal substitution, it was shown moulding a PA6 transmission casing with intermeshing carbon fibre (15%) and glass fibre (15%) reinforcements. Calling it hybrid moulding (a technology also replicated by other machine makers moulding carbon fibre-reinforced plastics or CFRPs at the Automotive show), it utilises Lanxess’s part sample subsdiary Bond Laminates’s produced Tepex sheet material, which is using heated by a Heraeus near infrared Toshiba’s LFFormer heater and then pressed by a Satoh

• Another auxiliary equipment maker Matsui Manufacturing’s booth was one of the largest at the show and it needed the space to present its ten different trouble shooting solutions, in line with its push for the Factor 4 concept in facilities. The displays were in collaboration with partners to eliminate resource wastage, increase added value and productivity. Partners included Husky Injection Molding, Frigel Process Cooling, Tria, Moldex3D, Trexel, Showa Denko and OPM Laboratory. 3

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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery

German-centric show for machine makers The Fakuma show, held in Friedrichshafen, Germany,

expansions in China and Korea,” said CEO Peter Neumann, adding that this year it captured a 12% market share in the region. It has started up its second machine plant in Changzhou, China, under its subsidiary Wintec. With a capacity of 300 machines/year, the facility will produce commodity-type machines. But Germany and Europe are still where Engel’s heart is, accounting for 54% of its turnover, while the US accounted for 25% and Asia, 21%. As for sectors, Neumann said that packaging and medical exhibited global growth, while the lightweight trend is behind the increasing investments in innovation in the automotive sector, with composite fibre engineering to grow strongly. But he added that the biggest challenge in composites is to develop manufacturing processes that allow for low unit costs despite high-volumes. As for German machinery maker KraussMaffei Technologies, it expects good growth in China next year, above that in 2014. Though its sister company Netstal has not done well in the PET and packaging sectors, Hans Ulrich Golz, President of injection moulding machinery at the group, expects further growth in China, especially in the automotive sector. For Wittmann Battenfeld, sales slowed down in Asia the first half of the year but it now sees a pick-up. “We would like more business in Southeast Asia but competitors from Japan are hurting our growth,” said General Manager Michael Wittmann, adding that China still showed potential for growth. However, the local production (the company has a facility in China), has helped. “Though we are only making robots, temperature controllers and dryers now, we will eventually start manufacturing injection moulding machines,” he said, adding that the company is in the process of setting up a facility in Hungary where the allelectric Ecopower machinery will be produced and will focus on adding on this product range in China next. Overall, the company had sales of EUR295 this year, up by 7%, which Michael said was the “strongest” year, adding that Europe accounted for 57% of the sales and Asia, 14%. “Next year, due to new innovations we have launched, we expect higher sales of EUR310 million,” he said, adding that this year 30% of its output was accounted by the Ecopower all-electric series.

from 14-18 October, attracted 45,689 visitors from 117 countries and 1,772 exhibitors from 36 countries. This was the best show, according to spokesperson of Fakuma, Ulrich Eberhardt. While a majority of visitors were from Germany, almost 33% came from abroad, up from 31% in 2012. Meanwhile, machine makers expressed strong interest in the Asian market. Companies seek market expansions in Asia hile almost 30% of its business comes from Germany, injection machine maker Arburg expects to expand its markets in Asia, especially Vietnam and Philippines, said Managing Director of Sales Helmut Heinson. “Our customers are moving there and we need to have sales and service presence, just like Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, where we have added on more presence,” he said, speaking at a press conference. As for its overall sales, having achieved a turnover of EUR470 million last year, it expects to hit EUR500 million this year. “It’s going to be quite a bit above, a figure worth mentioning,” projected Michael Hehl, Managing Partner. When asked to predict sales for 2015, Heinson said, “The US market will remain the same, while sales for Mexico and China will develop positively.”


Technology updates • Arburg has sold 20 pilot units of the 3D/additive manufacturing Freeformer machines it launched with great pomp last year at the K show. The machines have been purchased by customers and not placed for trials or research, stressed company officials. Now, it is ready to receive orders for the machine, with the first batch to be

Arburg presented a wide range of its machinery at its stand

Another company with an optimistic outlook was Austria-headquartered Engel. As the world’s largest injection moulding machine maker, based on its sales, it expects sales to hit EUR1 billion by March 2015, up by 7%. “The increase in sales will come from Asia, especially through our facility 4 N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 014

Injection Moulding Asia Machinery delivered in Germany/Europe next March/April, followed by the US (with its showing at the NPE 2015 in March) and in Asia (after Chinaplas in May). The Freeformer features a discharge unit with a patented nozzle that opens and closes up to 100 times/ second and deposits drops of liquid plastic to build up parts layer by layer using 3D CAD data. The interest for the machine is from customers from the automotive and medical markets, said officials, adding that a product can be realised in several hours using the Freeformer. It is also designed for small batches and is particularly suitable for companies specialising in prototypes, requiring a system as an alternative to injection moulding, which may be too expensive. One of the Freeformers shown was demonstrating mass customisation producing personalised office scissors, in combination with an electric Allrounder 370E. The second Freeformer was showing the latest development of supporting structures that can be removed in a water bath or mechanically, after the sliding lock part is printed. The Lossburg-based machine manufacturer said it was the only exhibitor to present the entire spectrum from additive manufacturing to injection moulding. Thus, a highlight at the booth was the particle-foam composite injection moulding (PCIM) process on a production cell. For the first time, a bead foam moulding system was integrated with an injection moulding machine, using a six-axis robot to transfer foam components to the mould and to demould finished parts. The part produced was a socket consisting of a circular EPP foam part and a solid PP component that was moulded inside the foam. Arburg says it is now possible to achieve a permanent bond between the bead foam and solid PP using the PCIM process.

It also introduced the improved e-flomo water manifold that automatically monitors water pressure and temperature and adjusts water-flow valves to compensate for filter clogging and system pressure variations. Others were a new Duo machine with improved ergonomics; and it has also done a makeover to its Viper robots to better integrate its new CC300 control unit. Another highlight was the new e-pic standardised pick and place robots, for smaller machines and half the energy of linear robots of the same size. In processing, it showed a technology incorporating both its Engel foammelt process (using Trexel’s MuCell foam technology) and its variomelt, variothermal injection moulding, to make a centre console for a car from PC/ABS. The mould was supplied by French mould maker Roctool. To be commercialised next year, the process allows for high gloss surfaces with no weld lines and 7% lower weight of finished parts. It is also targeted at appliances and household products. • With its main focus being on large machines in the past few years, KraussMaffei (KM) choose to showcase small machinery: its improved CX series (35-160 tonnes) with 25% more efficiency and a smaller footprint. It now features optimised hydraulics and is said to run 15% faster, uses 10% less energy, is 30% less noisy and uses 20% less oil. KraussMaffei’s latest CX series features improvements

• Engel was celebrating the 25th anniversary of its tiebarless machines of which it has sold 60,000 units to 10,000 customers. A reason for the “above average” growth of the series is due to the ability to allow bigger moulds on smaller machines. At the show it was flaunting the newest addition, the E-motion 50TL, which like the 30TL introduced at K2013, features a one-piece machine frame that makes it lighter and more compact with comparable all-electric machines, said Engel.

It showed three CX machines at its booth including the compact CX35 with a sprue picker, something it said competitors are not able to do. Another CX80 hybrid model was demonstrating how strip conductors with press and hold functions can be integrated directly into a thermoplastic component. The IMKS procedure is used for a two-component part (integrated plastic-metal injection moulding), in which a first shot of PC was overmoulded with metal. The small metal injection unit on the side of the machine is built by mould partner Krallmann. The German firm has also expanded its AX all-electric series to include larger sizes of 450 and 550 tonnes for the packaging sector. It also has a new SPX10 servo picker, with a rotary axis and telescoping vertical arm, that operates within the machine’s protective enclosure and is designed for low-ceilinged factories.

Engel’s e-pic robot can be integrated in the machine in a spacesaving way, allowing for a compact production cell

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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery Another highlight was the Adaptive Process Control system (APC) function developed and patented by KM. It adjusts the changeover point and the holding pressure profile in each machine cycle to the current melt viscosity and current flow resistance in the mould. This makes it possible to compensate for deviations in the same shot. It also lowers fluctuations and any fluctuations triggered by external factors, such as changing temperatures, climate conditions or batches, can reliably be compensated. Though it comes with a high price tag, KM officials say processors can expect ROI in less than a year • Wittmann Battenfeld launched the servohydraulic SmartPower series, in sizes from 25-120 tonnes, to replace the conventional hydraulic HM series that will be discontinued in 2015. Officials said the series costs about 20% less than all-electrics for equivalent energy consumption. A 120-tonne model was shown producing a PA connecting rod for a compressor, with the latest WS80 servo sprue picker (with a rotary axis and two linear axes) from parent company Wittmann. On the second machine, 120/350, a penholder was produced from LSR in a four-cavity mould supplied by Elasmo Systems, Austria, which allows sprueless parts to be made.

Another technology highlight was shown on an allelectric EcoPower 240/1330 and combined the firm’s Cellmould (structured foam process) and Variomould with the HiP (High Precision Opening) programme to enable the production of automotive interior foam parts. The temperature controller required for the variothermic process is operated directly via the machine’s control system. The application is a further development of the cooperation between German firm Schaumform, which started at the K2013. It also showed auxiliary equipment such as its new ultrasonic flow monitor for Tempro plus D series TCUs that now operates at higher temperatures (160-180°C). Also new is the Flowcon plus water regulator, which controls either temperature or flow rate for each individual water circuit. According to Wittmann, more than half of its mould temperature controllers are now sold with a flow regulation device. Wittmann introduced the Flowcon plus water volume distributor

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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery

Closing the skills gap Germany, Europe’s top manufacturing exporter, that

surely serves the company advancing its competitiveness.”

is known for its engineering prowess, has a model

Uninterested parties espite the availability of training opportunities, the manufacturing sector is seeing fewer apprenticeships as more school leavers choose to enter universities for degrees rather than vocational trainings. According to an analysis by Dr Thorsten Schmidt, Head of the Advisory Board of VDW-Nachwuchsstiftung, an education foundation for the youth, founded by the German Machine Tool Builders Association, technical professions (specifically in the machine tool industry in Germany) remain unpopular amongst school graduates. This consequently stifles supply of qualified labourers for manufacturing companies. The foundation is, thus, seeking to encourage more youths to take up technical trainings, particularly in the machine tools segment. Furthermore, with the persisting shortage of highskilled workers, together with a sizeable number of ageing of workforce, is resulting in talent shortage for global manufacturing companies, according to Deloitte Research’s 2013 Managing the Talent Crisis in Global Manufacturing report. A rising perception that manufacturing careers are laborious and low-paying are discouraging potential workers.


skills training framework that experts say matured and emerging economies ought to follow to close the skills gap, according to Angelica Buan in this report.


he manufacturing sector is the lifeline of the world’s developing and matured economies, while emerging economies in Asia find that well-performing manufacturing sectors are assets. However, these economies are also faced with a skills crisis. Germany, which has an exporting economy, is one of the pillars of the global economy. According to a 2013 paper authored by Bob Hancké and Dr Steve Coulter of the London School of Economics and Political Science on the German manufacturing sector, German manufacturers dominate several high-value segments, including automobile and machinery. The sector, comprising SMEs, has a significant requirement for highly skilled workers who have either gained ample training from working long-term in a company or on apprenticeship trainings. Germany’s dual training system serves the nation’s qualitycompetitive manufacturing structure. The training, which usually lasts three years, is held in the company premises (on-site), and in a training centre. Upon completion of the programme, the trainee gains professional accreditation as a skilled employee, affording him/her the opportunities for advanced training as well as further certifications. “The holistic German approach is already established in the country’s education system for a century now,” said Tobias Bolle, Project Director, Dual Training Department of the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI), in an email interview with PRA. “The dual training combines schooling with on-the-job training. A dual training apprenticeship takes from two to three and a half years, depending on the occupation. All stakeholders involved in the venture (company, school, state) create a public private partnership (PPP), where a lot of benefits are generated,” Bolle stated. Acquiring skills, however, requires investments, which may be costly; and incidences such as firm restructuring or even ensuring the worker’s loyalty are important considerations. Bolle reiterated, “What might seem to be a heavy investment will eventually pay-off in the long term. Nowadays, many companies place dual training or the talent development in general under the rubric Corporate Social Responsibility, which might give a false impression, since this is not only a matter of showing social responsibilities, but

Asian dilemma n Asia, a similar low turnout of apprenticeships are likely to be the case, said Anston Tan, Principal at the German Training Centre for Injection Moulding, which was founded in 1989 and is currently headquartered in Singapore. “While a well-trained workforce is always a plus for foreign investors, the main challenge faced by many companies in the region now is a shortage of trained technicians and difficulties in attracting younger generations.” Meanwhile, an article written by Karina Veal, Senior Social Sector Specialist of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), suggests that Asia, despite it gaining “substantial economic and job growth, and sharp improvements in standards of education”, is still inundated by skills shortages, gaps, and mismatches. GPCCI has spearheaded German-driven educational programmes that will help workers of member-firms in the Philippines to advance their skills through technical and on-site learning. Certification from the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA), a Philippine agency that oversees vocational training in the country, in addition to a German DIHK/IHK certificate, which is internationally recognised, will be awarded upon completion of training. Moreover, trainees could level-up for a “master course” or supervisory training, after their apprenticeship. “These


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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery are all HR development tools and possibilities. The master course could be enabled in Germany,” Bolle said. Commenting on how the initiative came about, he said, “GPCCI, together with other German institutions, embarks on supporting the needs of its member firms in manufacturing, logistics, and electronics.” The project, he said, is backed by the Germanyheadquartered Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) and over 80 chambers of commerce (IHK), also located in Germany.

have learnt to improve cycle time and to produce better quality products, thus minimising the use of the trial and error method,” he added. Tan cited that the course duration at each level is two days, during which, very intensive training is provided, focusing on giving “as many practical tips to the trainees as possible.” Each workshop class has a maximum of 12 participants. The cost for a two-day workshop is about US$900 per trainee. “We work with local government and plastics associations to get grants and subsidies for this training,” he said. Currently, Tan’s group has training locations in different Asian cities: six in China, three in Malaysia, two in Indonesia, and one in Singapore.

Boosting competence he German Training Centre for Injection Moulding provides solutions to close skills gap in the industry. In 2011, it launched the Injection Moulding Driver Licence course in Europe. Since its launch, the centre has issued more than 1,500 certificates in Europe. Tan said that the company’s five-level systematic and comprehensive industry training programme has been offered to Asia this year. “In the region, there are a few efficient moulders whose technical levels are comparable to world-class moulders. Most companies in this region face a shortage of skilled labour, which challenges their ability to automate their production processes,” shared Tan, when asked about the state of the injection moulding process skills in Asia. “Globally, most training programmes focus on material science and the moulding process. We believe a qualified moulder must understand material, mould, machine, peripherals, moulding process and special technologies to be able to effectively operate an injection moulding machine,“ Tan told PRA. “A globally standardised curriculum will help equip Asian moulders with a competent workforce to compete better in the world market. And being standardised, means that the training is for both males and females. With the programme, students are required to perform practical tests using their own machines and moulds. An examination is administered at the end of each course to ensure the trainees understand the learning objectives,” he clarified briefly on how the programme works. The centre encourages companies to invest in training their workers to avoid production errors and waste of resources. Tan pointed out that the “trial and error” approach is a fairly common practice among workers who may be skilled by experience but are clueless about technicalities. “We have many people in Asia that started as operators in plants and got promoted after years of good performance. They have learnt mostly through a master-disciple system; and gained their experiences through various trials and errors.” To mitigate this, corresponding trainings are needed. “We educate our trainees to understand that injection moulding is a science, which they can use to help review or reinforce their current practices. We teach important theory concepts to help enhance their practical experience,” Tan explained. “We create a standard for companies to achieve a stable production between shifts. The trainees can apply what they


End of cheap labour? sia, being a manufacturing hub for many foreign firms, is favoured for having lower labour cost and professionalising the skills level of Asian workers to become at par with German counterparts could follow hikes in the cost of labour. The question is: will that do more harm than good? Tan stressed that a trained employee, while commanding a higher pay, will also be more productive. “The wages in any developing country will always increase over time. The challenge is to ensure that productivity can keep up with the higher wage,” he said. Efficiency in output can also compensate whatever labour cost increases that will ensue. “With qualified technicians, companies can increase moulding output and improve the quality of the moulded parts. A stable process will allow standardised parts to be produced for downstream automated assembly,” Tan said. Bolle of GPCCI suggests that it may be “high time” for low labour costs countries to finally promote technicallycapable manpower. “For countries like the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, trainings translate to having very capable human resources. This, especially since a number of production sites in China and India are now being relocated to ASEAN countries, and with the increasing shift to automated production. Generally, we must not only bet on the low labour cost card, but also work towards a vision to transforming nations like the Philippines into a hub for innovation. While low labour costs attract a lot of companies, we still need highly-skilled workers to provide leeway to innovation, and it can be done through dual training.” Even with the emerging automation in assembly and production, professionally-trained workers are still relevant. Tan adds, “In years to come, there will be more automation used in the industry in Asia as what we are seeing in Europe today.” He says that more labour intensive assembly work will be replaced by automation whenever it justifies the investment. “More trained workers will be required to run the moulding machines to get a stable process to support the downstream automation to work smoothly,” Tan said, further disclosing that his group plans to offer training in automation and 3D printing in the future.


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Injection Moulding Asia Country Focus

Taiwanese face the challenges of producing all-electrics At the recently concluded Taipeiplas show, held from

Though the all-electric series is still in its portfolio, Asian Plastic currently focuses on producing hybrid machines that take up 90% of its output. “We keep improving our technology for hybrids and it is getting better all the time.” Meanwhile, Bush Hsieh of blow moulding machinery maker Chumpower Machinery gave his perspective. “A majority (60%) of our blow moulding machinery is allelectric. We import the drives and motors from Japan and Europe. Our approach is that by installing good drives, we can compete with Japanese machinery. In fact, our margins are better than injection machines.” Hsieh also added that if the components could be sourced locally, it would increase the firm’s competitiveness. Alan Wang, Deputy CEO of Fu Chun Shin (FCS), added, “It is true, we are facing bottlenecks in terms of components. In this transition period, we are developing hybrids, in between hydraulics, and hope to launch allelectrics in the near future.”

26-30 September in Taipei, industry spokespersons gave their views on the all-electric injection moulding machinery sector in Taiwan as well as the tough market conditions, given the strength of Japanese contenders, and the high costs attached to producing the machinery with imported components. Long walk on the electric line aiwan’s plastics machinery sector is at a crossroads: to develop further the all-electric injection moulding machine market or to increase the push for hybrid machines. According to John Hsu, Chairman of the Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry (TAMI), all-electric machinery will become a dominant product in the market. “In years to come, more than 70% of smaller injection moulding machines will be all-electrics.” It is for this reason that Hsu says “all-electrics should continue to be developed.” Hsu pointed out the benefits of all-electrics: no oil pollution, low noise, more precision, faster speed and energy savings. “Therefore, when high-tech industries such as computers, electronics, communication, optics and precision components are going to select injection machines, they will more likely consider using all-electric machines,” he stated. Meanwhile, David Wu, Chairman of the Plastics and Rubber Machinery Committee (TAMI), said all-electric machines were first introduced by Hong Kong-headquartered machine maker Chen Hsong 20 years ago. “However, it had to import the linear guides and servomotors from Japan and Europe so the pricing was not competitive enough,” he said. Today, Wu said that only Chen Hsong (through its Taiwanese subsidiary Asian Plastic Machinery), Victor Taichung and Chuan Li Fa Machinery Works offer allelectric machines in their product lines. “All the other companies stopped manufacturing because of the low margins.” Area Sales Manager of Asian Plastic, Kevin Huang, explained further on the company’s development. “We received a budget of US$1 million from the government in 1994 and were given a deadline of one year to do it. Although we had no experience, we launched the first machine in 1996,” he added. He says the company produced up until the ninth generation of the series, sold models to customers and even hired a R&D consultant to improve it, but yet “could not capture the market because the Japanese still produce the best designs.”


Improving all-electrics to stay in the market eanwhile, Huang of Asian Plastic says when the company did a comparison between hybrids and allelectrics, the latter still came out tops, in terms of energy savings. This, coupled with servomotors, still provides for a better option in the market. Wu, who is also President of machine maker Multiplas Machinery, said that the injection units in the machines produced by his company are operated by servomotors. Harrison Chen of Jon Wai Machinery Works said, “Power consumption savings is the main reason for using servomotors, because the servomotor only requires power when in operation.” He explained, “In a hydraulic machine, power consumption will be 0.65 units/kg for a 3,000 tonne machine; in a hybrid machine, with electrical charging, consumption totals 0.45 units/kg while in an all-electric machine, the power consumed is 0.30 units/kg.” Wang of FCS also shared research done with a Kaoshiung-located institute that proves energy savings of 70% when using servomotors in all-electrics. This is one of the reasons why Taiwanese machine makers are now taking another shot at the all-electric sector. Several exhibitors at the show displayed new and improved models including Victor Taichung that showed all-electrics, alongside in-mould labelling (IML) and two-component machinery. “The all-electrics are second generation models (150 and 200 tonnes in a series that ranges from 50-300 tonnes) and have been upgraded to feature an injection speed of 300-500 mm/second,” said Manager Martin Li.


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Injection Moulding Asia Country Focus He said the first generation model was launched ten years ago. “Though the sales keep fluctuating, all-electrics occupy 10% of our turnover,” said Li, adding that the ball screw and servomotor were sourced from Japan. “This means the machines are more expensive.” Wang of FCS said the firm is looking at adding allelectrics to its range, though it did go down this path in 2005 and abandoned it because of the high costs. “According to market research, the 150-200-tonne range will be most popular but we will also look at doing 300-350 tonnes.” “Furthermore, while most all-electric machine makers use belts and drives, we will use a gearbox for the injection unit. It will be from German company Knodler and will allow for higher precision,” he claimed. “Of course, the price of the all-electric machine will be much higher,” he added. FCS introduced an improved version of the HE hybrid series (launched two years ago) at the show, with Wang pointing out the lower cost, compared to an all-electric. “But next year, we will unveil a new all-electric machine. It will be a new step for FCS,” he added.

Home grown company leads the way owever, homegrown Foxnum Technology, a subsidiary of Taiwanese contract/OEM manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group, may have a solution in hand. Set up in 2007, it manufactures CNC machine tool control systems, servo systems with drives and motors. Also in its product line is what it says is Taiwan’s first all-electric injection moulding machine “with self-developed controller and servo systems, and 350 patents”. Foxnum developed a 100-tonne all-electric machine in 2009, for Foxconn’s internal use. Having added on 50, 130, 200 and 250-tonne models in 2012, it started selling its machines externally.


Foxnum’s all-electric machine that uses in-house developed servomotors and controls

Assistance from the government ith hybrids making a stand at the show will machine makers still pursue the development of all-electrics? Perhaps with the government’s help they will. At a press conference, Wang of FCS said that the industry is working together with the government to develop the capabilities and components for all-electrics, such as the ball screws, linear guides, servomotors and drives. He also said that though there had been a breakthrough in the ball screw, Taiwanese firms still lacked skills for producing servomotors, especially with higher horsepower that is required for large machinery. “There are some Japanese servomotor companies that want to cooperate with the Taiwanese to produce the servomotor in Taiwan.” In a later interview, Wang said that even if the servomotor and ball screw could be produced in Taiwan, it would still not be possible for 100% of the components for an all-electric machine to come from Taiwan. “Taiwan’s Delta Electronics does provide electronics for hydraulic machines that can also be used for all-electrics, but the controls will still have to be imported.”


Foxnum says it developed a dedicated high-powered servodrive and servomotor, specifically for the allelectrics. It uses high torque motors for the injection and high-speed brake motor for the ejection, while for clamping, it uses a high-speed, overloading motor. The servodrives are from 3-55 kw. As for the servomotors, the company says it uses a built-in magnet structure “to allow for strong rigidity and longer life, compared to the surface magnet mounting method used by other suppliers.” It also says it provides three times the loading for the motors and three times higher linear torque for a high powered highspeed machine, thus allowing for 20% more production capacity. With Foxconn’s primary manufacturing being electronic components, which require precision moulding, and if it had to produce its all-electric machinery in-house (through Foxnum) to ensure sufficient supply for its use, this does suggest that there is a market for all-electric machinery production in Taiwan. In the words of Harrison Chen of Jon Wai (that is still developing the technology), the all-electric machine is a “must-have” in any injection machine maker’s portfolio!

Industry officials at the press conference during Taipeiplas

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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • Taiwan tyre maker Federal Corporation has broken ground on a US$300 million car and light truck tyre plant in Taoyuan, its second factory in Taiwan and third, overall. The plant will employ 900 workers making an estimated 6 million tyres/ year at full capacity. Production is expected to start by late 2016. Development of the plant comes in two phases, lasting through 2020. The site is near Taiwan’s Taoyuan Airport, which also is near Federal’s existing Taiwanese factory, which began production in 1960. Federal’s other plant is in Nanchang, China. • Another Taiwan-based tyre manufacturer Maxxis Group will set up its first ever Indian tyre plant near Sanand in Gujarat. The company, which is one of the suppliers to Maruti Suzuki, is looking at acquiring 5 acres of land for the said investment. • US synthetic rubber manufacturer Lion Copolymer Holdings will purchase US chemicals firm Ashland’s elastomers business in Texas. Financial terms were not disclosed. Ashland acquired the elastomers business, which serves the North American replacement tyre market, as part of the International Speciality Products transaction in 2011. • Italian tyre specialist Marangoni Group has acquired Recamax Reifen, a Germany-based earthmover tyre retreading specialist, in a move to strengthen its presence in Germany. Financial terms were not disclosed. Marangoni and Recamax have been business partners for more than 25 years. Recamax, which has been in operation since 1991, is capable of retreading OTR tyres while Marangoni also retreads earthmover tyres at its headquarters plant in Rovereto, where it can handle tyres up to 33-in rim diameter. • US chemical firm ExxonMobil Chemical recently held a ground

breaking ceremony on the building of a new halobutyl rubber production facility on its Jurong Island site in Singapore. The company is a major supplier of halobutyl rubber to the global tyre industry, and this expansion project will add production capacity of 140,000 tonnes/year. Though the automotive industry worldwide has been stagnating, according to ExxonMobil’s energy outlook, the number of cars and light trucks globally is expected to double to 1.7 billion vehicles by 2040, supporting much of the growth expected for halobutyl rubber. • ContiTech’s subsidiary BeneckeKaliko, a supplier of surface materials for automotive interiors based in Germany, is building its second plant in China. The new factory will initially cost EUR40 million for the first phase. Production is scheduled to start in late 2015. Up to 250 employees will manufacture the German firm’s Acella Eco series surface materials on 24,000 sq m of space. The material, which is environmentally compatible, low in emissions and non-allergenic, is destined for the Chinese automotive industry. The company says it has already received the first orders. • China-headquartered rubber and tyre machinery supplier Mesnac and electronics and automation products maker Siemens (China) signed a strategic partnership agreement in Qingdao to explore the field of digital products. Under the agreement, Siemens will support Mesnac in the application of digital manufacture in the tyre industry and provide the latest electrical, automation and digital products. • UK-based firm Dunlop Aircraft Tyres has already picked a site in Mocksville for the company’s first US retreading facility. The operation will be subject to state funding to support the modernisation of a 108,480-sq ft vacant industrial building in Davie County, which is

expected to be open for business in early 2016. The firm is also seeking approval for a US$500,000 grant from the NC Commerce Department’s building reuse programme. • Len Lottridge of Canada, along with several partners, is launching a new heat cure retreading facility for passenger, SUV and LT tyres. According to Lottridge, the US$37 million funding for the new facility, Green Arc Tires Manufacturing, has been secured and a 400,000 sq ft site in Ontario has been chosen. Lottridge and its partners are seeking non-binding expressions of interest from potential customers. Equipment for the facility will come from Italy’s Marangoni, while tyre test equipment will be sourced from Germany. Tread, sidewall and other rubbers will be supplied by AirBoss. • American National Rubber (ANR) has sold its fabrication/converting division to Toronto-based Jacobs & Thompson. Previously in 2008, Delta Partners bought ANR’s closed-cell sponge rubber business, including its 100,000-sq-ft Ceredo (West Virginia) facility. Meanwhile, Jacobs & Thompson signed a multiyear lease for the fabrication facility on the ANR-owned land and has agreed to retain all employees. This is reportedly the first US acquisition for the Canadian firm. • Swiss industrial supplier Datwyler Group is purchasing Keystone Holdings, the parent company of Columbia Engineered Rubber, anengineering, manufacturing, sales and distribution firm for custom rubber components, to reinforce its Sealing Solutions Division’s sales and distribution organisation for the US automotive industry. Columbia Engineered Rubber is said to be a natural extension to the Datwyler Group as it has a long-term relationship with Datwyler Sealing Solutions (Anhui) (formerly Zhongding Sealtech), which Datwyler acquired in China in 2012.

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Rubber Journal Asia Materials News

Guayule rubber in full throttle Finally, the development on the guayule shrub

The process also will create waste-plant material that can be used in particleboard, to burn for electricity or in other potential markets. It also makes a plant resin, said Bridgestone. Since guayule rubber processing is comparatively costly, Bridgestone is continuing to devise ways on how to make it more economical. In a related development, PanAridus, an Arizona-based company that commercialises guayule, recently received its ninth Plant Variety Patent from the USDA, the same time it shipped its first bale of tyre-grade guayule rubber, PanAridus, the chief guayule rubber supplier in the USDA/DOE-funded BRDI programme, said that orders are coming in. The firm joined the consortium in 2013 in the initiative to promote development and analysis of feed stocks, biofuels and bio-based products. It says that it is committed to undertaking continuous agronomic research into guayule, which has come a long way from being discovered two decades ago by a research team from the University of Arizona, as merely a desert shrub, to becoming a key alternative to natural rubber. At the International Tire Exhibition & Conference (ITEC) show held in September in Akron, Michael Fraley, President/CEO of PanAridus said that the task at PanAridus to augment the supply of natural rubber will be realised with the breeding and development of some 300 types of guayule. Guayule can be used for its biomass, energy and resins as much as for its rubber, Farley said. The guayule types that PanAridus has bioengineered mostly have shorter growing period than conventional guayule. The company has filed a patent for direct seeding. Guayule will be cultivated not only in the southwest US and in northern Mexico, where the shrub is indigenous, but also in Europe. The EU-based Production and Exploitation of Alternative Rubber and Latex Sources (EU-PEARLS) Consortium has linked stakeholders in the EU in the development of guayule, as well as the Russian dandelion (TKS), another biorubber source currently at the fore of studies, to establish complete new value creation chains for natural rubber and latex from these plants. As a result of the research, experts say that guayule can now be successfully grown on marginal lands in semi-arid regions of European Mediterranean countries. Under the EU-PEARLS, CIRAD, France’s Agricultural Research for Development; and Wageningen University (UR), a university research centre in the Netherlands, will be able to acquire more knowledge on the genomics and agronomy of guayule, especially on the extraction process of rubber and resins, rubber quantity and quality measurement. The partners were able to produce rubber gloves and tyre prototypes.

as a rubber alternative has come full circle, with tyre giants starting to roll out tyres made from the much-awaited plant rubber, to reduce the dependence on natural rubber from Asian sources.


S-based Cooper Tire has already completed building tyres using guayule rubber and is currently testing the tyres through rigorous wheel, road, and track tests. The firm is working with consortium partners PanAridus, Arizona State University, Cornell University, and the Agricultural Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA-ARS). The partners received a grant of US$6.9 million from Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) in 2012 to conduct research for producing guayule as an alternative for synthetic and natural rubbers used in tyre making. The grant period ends in the second quarter of 2017. Meanwhile, Bridgestone Americas, a subsidiary of the Japan-based Bridgestone, had earlier started operations of its Biorubber Process Research Centre, located in Mesa, Arizona. Officially opened in September this year, the 4-ha research centre will be the base for more than 30 researchers and technicians. It will be supplied with guayule grown on Bridgestone’s 114-ha Agro Operations Research Farm located in a nearby site in Eloy. Guayule, which contains natural rubber under its bark, will be ground and rubber will be extracted using solvents. It will then be formed into 75-lb bales, which will then be sent to Bridgestone’s US technical centre in Akron and its Japanese technical centre in Tokyo. This development is part of the company’s goal of producing tyres with sustainable materials by 2020.

Bridgestone operates its pilot farm for guayule

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Rubber Journal Asia Automotive

A year of safety recalls The automotive industry has been up against

According to NHTSA, recalls are not unusual. It says that since 1966, more than 390 million vehicles, 46 million tyres, 66 million pieces of motor vehicle equipment, and 42 million child safety seats have been recalled by manufacturers. Another country that sets high standards is Australia. It has a safety rating (on a scale of 1-5 stars) programme through its multi-agency supported Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP). Vehicles that demonstrate structural integrity and best safety systems merit high ratings in ANCAP’s crash tests.

challenging episodes in the outgoing year of 2014, and not only with vulnerable sales and production woes. What has tainted its rosy prospects is the number of recalls, which bear unwanted consequences for manufacturers, says Angelica Buan in this report.


ike a phoenix rising from the ashes, the Tyres and parts attribute to recalls automotive sector is on its way to recovery from ehicles are complex structures that are made up the wide-scale financial crisis that razed it nearly to of different parts. Many automotive parts are immobility, as several industry studies predicted. made from natural or synthetic rubber materials, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) says in being non-conductive to heat as well as resistant to its latest report that the sector’s rebound is seen corrosion and most chemicals used in the car, thus benefitting the OEMs and component makers. adding to the safety of cars. However, these polymers Putting a figure to the forecast, another consultant are also prone to wear and tear, especially if exposed Ernst & Young says that global car sales are set to to extreme temperatures, as they are not infallible to increase to 116 million units in 2020 from 81 million defects. in 2012. Rubber tyres, hoses (air and radiator hoses), Amidst the optimism, and ruling out certain gaskets, electrical common variables “….since 1966, more than 390 million wiring covers, such as poor road and shields for infrastructure vehicles, 46 million tyres, 66 million electrical parts and and government regulations that pieces of motor vehicle equipment, and spark plugs are all critical components inhibit the sector’s 42 million child safety seats have been of vehicles, and revenue growth, if damaged or one issue that has recalled by manufacturers..” defective may cause inadvertently burst injurious or fatal road mishaps. the sector’s optimistic bubble is the number of safety In a recent tyre recall in September, NHTSA recalls in the recent years, peaking at record high listed Wild Country Radial XTX Sport tyres made by this year. Cooper Tire and Rubber Company being recalled by Florida-headquartered tyre supplier TBC Corporation Safety on the roads (TBC). The reason for the recall was that the affected lobally, road safety is a major concern, so much tyres could experience cracking or broken ply cords so that 2010-2020 has been declared as the in the lower sidewall on the white sidewall side, Decade of Action for Road Safety. which could lead to a sudden loss of air pressure and The World Health Organisation (WHO) in its increase the risk of tyre failure and a crash. 2013 report covering road safety in 182 countries (or Likewise, in May, losing the spare tyre was the 99% of the world’s population) finds that about 1.24 reason for a recall by Japanese automotive maker million road traffic deaths occur a year. It said that Toyota. The firm, which recalled 450,000 vehicles sold road traffic injuries are the eighth leading cause of in states that use road salt to melt snow and ice, said death globally. that the road salt can corrode the cable which holds Thus, agencies like the National Highway the spare tyre carrier and let the tyre roll off. Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) a known Recently, Swedish car maker Koenigsegg vehicle safety watchdog in the US, ensures that Automotive recalled one unit of its 2013 Agera sold manufacturers adhere to safety issues like recalling in the US, also due to a tyre problem. According to vehicles with safety defects or which fail to meet NHTSA, the car’s tyre pressure monitoring system federal safety standards.



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Rubber Journal Asia Automotive may not illuminate the malfunction indicator light approximately 802,000 vehicles globally had a faulty when the vehicle is restarted, and may not alert the brake system, which could crack and result in leaks driver that there is a problem with the tyre. of the brake fluid. Early this year, South Korea’s Kia Motors recalled Thus, Toyota will replace a rubber seal ring in its 2014 Kia Sportage vehicles over issues on tyres, the brake master cylinder to prevent the brake fluid rims and equipment that likely affected some 11,961 from leaking. If brake fluid has already leaked, units. The vehicles, which were manufactured from the brake booster will be replaced. Another set of September 2013 to January this year, did not conform recalls affecting 759,000 vehicles globally was due to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) to a faulty fuel delivery pipe system, which could 110. The affected vehicles bore certification labels result in a leak and increase the risk of the vehicle with incorrect tyre pressure information printed on catching fire. the labels, listing a specification that is 1 or 2 psi Gasket leak was also the grounds for recalling the below the correct information. Maintaining tyre 2011 Cadillac AWD CTS in June this year, affecting pressure below the recommended specification could 18,279 units. The leak could cause the rear propeller result in premature tyre shaft to separate or wear, increasing the risk “…Although safety is a concern become loose, making of a crash. contact with the vehicle in the region, regulations to In the US, Honda floor above and causing Motor also recalled 9,817 ensure it are still weak and not the rollover sensor to 2014 Honda Civic LX deploy the roof rail air implemented…” cars due to possible tyre bags, according to its damage, which could manufacturer General cause the tyre to lose air, increasing the risk of a Motors (GM). crash. South Korean automotive maker Hyundai also Meanwhile, Toyota recently in October recalled recalled some 419,000 vehicles in August this year 1.75 million cars over faulty brake installations and due to malfunctions of the brakes, electrical and fuel components. The Japanese car maker said that suspension parts.

Rubber Journal Asia Automotive Safety check on Asian cars and dealers within China. Automotive recalls will be ost of the reports of recalls of vehicles are from deemed as a matter of protection of public interest and developed countries and not much has been heard follow stricter penalties. A three-tier system of penalties of in Asia. Nevertheless, findings on Asian road safety could include fines of up to US$1.6 million for a global do not suggest that vehicles in the region are on safe automotive brand. ground. Although safety is a concern in the region, Cost of recalls regulations to ensure it are still weak and not ecalls of vehicles have consequences to implemented. manufacturers, costs being the most obvious. Car Based on the 2013 road safety report by the WHO, makers who pull out units from distributors or recall countries in Southeast Asia are without comprehensive vehicles that have already been sold are burdened with laws in the five key risk factors for road traffic injury the repair, legal, and image costs – the latter having an namely, speeding, drunk-driving, use of head gears, impact on the maker’s brand. seat belts, and child restraints –the latter two issues also GM has been embroiled in a recall fracas: firstly counted among the grounds for recalls, as assessed by with safety issues in its cars, and secondly for delaying NHTSA. the recall of its cars previously reported with defective Globally, WHO said that only 28 countries, ignition switches that was responsible for some 21 representing 449 million people or 7% of the world’s fatality claims. The firm reportedly recalled more than population, have adequate laws that address all these 29.1 million vehicles in August and had US$2.5 billion five risk factors. worth of recall-related However, the New Car repairs in the first half of “…Recalls of vehicles have Assessment Programme the year. for Southeast Asia consequences to manufacturers, Toyota, which also (ASEAN NCAP) has been leads in the volume of costs being the most obvious….” recalls (an estimated established to “ elevate vehicle safety standards, 5.3 million in 2012 and raise consumer awareness and thus encourage a market 2013), paid US$1.2 billion in March this year relating for safer vehicles in the region”. It has provided safety to criminal charges over issues on accelerator pedals nets for consumers of regionally-produced and available and floor mats, which led to sudden acceleration and cars. The programme is able to assess the safety of crashes. The following month, the firm instituted various vehicles, including Malaysia-made Proton and another batch of recalls, affecting 6.36 million vehicles Perodua cars well as Honda, Ford, Tata, and Kia, to globally. name a few. However, motorists will contend that the financial ASEAN NCAP, which is a part of the UK-based losses the automotive makers incur will be negligible initiative, Global NCAP of the UN Road Safety compared to the lives that will be saved, especially Collaboration, will see that cars that are allowed to if recalling faulty vehicles means ensuring road and enter the market are not only roadworthy but also driving safety. crashworthy, or how a car performs in the event of a road crash to protect the occupants. Not a dead end As for crashworthiness, Tata’s Nano car, India’s oncern over compliance to safety regulation has low cost counterpart to Volkswagen’s Beetle that was become a Damocles sword for manufacturers as well launched in 2009, has failed to merit the Global NCAP as consumers. Nonetheless, the number of recalls does not rating for adult protection rating, and reportedly necessarily affect how the automotive sector progresses. fell short of meeting the most basic UN safety Citing latest indicators for growth, IHS Automotive requirements. says in its report that the global automotive market will Along with the Nano, other cars tested for safety by continue to propel; and global annual production will Global NCAP were Suzuki-Maruti Alto 800, Ford Figo, continue to increase by 21 million units by 2021. Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Polo, all of which were For Autofacts, the analyst group of not fitted with airbags. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), it projects a continued Early last year, China, the world’s largest car sales and production growth, despite the increasing market, also implemented a new automotive recall law, incidences of vehicle recalls, which it anticipated to which it approved in late 2012, and that supersedes surpass the 100 million-unit mark by the year end. the Provision on Defective Automotive Products Recall This growth will be driven by the EU and the North Administration of 2004. American markets, along with the ongoing expansion in The law will ensure strict compliance from both Asia, it said, adding that a 2.2 million-unit increase in domestic manufacturers, including joint ventures passenger car production is on cue in Southeast Asia by with foreign car manufacturers, foreign car importers 2020.




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Events 2015

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VAREX II’s modular design provides flexibility for producing blown films from diverse resins. With the new ENERGY MONITORING module, you get real-time data, making it easier than ever to identify potential savings. And that’s just the beginning ...

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