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
业 界新闻 材料: 生物降解塑料: 一个成功的解决 方案或已注定的败局?
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Volume 33, No 242
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Features 焦 點 內 容 13 材料: 生物降解塑料：一個成功的解決方案或已註定的敗局？ 16 Medical Industry – The increasing demand for medical devices, due to emerging new diseases, rising geriatric populations and prevalence of debilitating lifestyle diseases, has witnessed the growth of biocompatible materials in the sector
22 Auxiliary Equipment – German firm Sikora identifies the meaning
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M&As/Investments • Private equity firm Arsenal Capital Partners has acquired liquid mould rubbers and casting plastics firm Polytek Development Corp. from Morgenthaler Private Equity. Polytek is a manufacturer of speciality polymers including polyurethane elastomers and casting resins, silicones, epoxies, and latex. • Advent International has bought over Manjushree Technopack, India’s largest PET bottle maker, from current owner private equity investor Kedaara Capital and a portion of the Kedia family’s stake. • Private equity firm Sun European Partners, an affiliate of US-based Sun Capital Partners, has sold Elix Polymers, a manufacturer of ABS resins and derivatives in Europe, to Beijingbased chemical giant Sinochem International for EUR195 million. Sinochem, one of China's four big state oil companies, will set
up a special vehicle in Spain to complete the takeover from Sun’s affiliate Global Arlington. • US-headquartered Nordson Corporation has acquired Clada Medical Devices, an Ireland-based operation primarily focused on balloons and balloon catheters. Clada will become part of the Nordson Medical product line within Nordson’s Advanced Technology Systems segment, thus growing Nordson’s precision applications within the minimally invasive medical device market. • Speciality materials company Celanese Corporation is to acquire India-based Next Polymers, one of the country’s largest domestic engineering thermoplastics (ETP) compounders that has a 20-kilotonne/year facility in Silvassa. Next is a part of engineering polymers distributor JP Polymers, which already distributes Celanese products in India.
• Saudi International Petrochemical Co. (Sipchem) and Sahara Petrochemical Co. have entered into a MOU to undertake a merger. The companies had been in discussions in 2014 but abandoned the merger then. Now, the firms have reached a preliminary agreement on the valuation, pending further due diligence and signing the final deal, including reaching an agreement on several related commercial issues. • Private equity firm Triton is to acquire a majority stake in Norres Group, Germanybased plastic industrial hoses maker. It also has production sites in China and the US. • German chemical company BASF’s deal to acquire Brusselsbased Solvay’s polyamide (PA) business for EUR1.6 billion, has come under the scrutiny of the EU Commission that cited concerns that the takeover could reduce competition in the nylon production
Plant openings/Plant Expansions • Osaka-headquartered Nippon Shokubai’s subsidiary in Europe has opened new plants for superabsorbent polymers (SAP) and acrylic acid (AA) in Antwerp, Belgium, with an investment of EUR350 million. 2
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AA is a major raw material for SAP. By the end of 2018, it will have increased its capacity for AA to 880,000 tonnes/ year; while for SAP its capacity is upped to 710,000 tonnes/year.
• Mitsui Chemicals has added on 15,000tonne/year capacity for high-performance nonwovens at its Nagoya Works site and 6,000 tonnes/ year at wholly owned subsidiary Sunrex Industry Co in Yokkaichi, in response
chain. To meet these concerns, BASF has offered to refrain from acquiring certain parts of Solvay’s European PA business including innovation capabilities and manufacturing assets of Solvay’s intermediate and engineering plastics business. The EU Commission is examining this offer and is expected to make a decision in early 2019. • The former AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals has been relaunched as Nouryon, following the recent acquisition of the business by The Carlyle Group. • US-based biotechnology company Genomatica has issued US$90 million in its latest equity offering. Participants include new lead investor Casdin Capital, returning investor Viking Global Investors, which continues as Genomatica’s largest shareholder, and organism engineering partner Ginkgo Bioworks. to increasing demand from the disposable diaper market. Its global production capacity now stands at 103,000 tonnes/year. • US compounder PolyOne has opened a new TPE production line at its Pune facility in India. In addition, the company opened
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a new Technology Centre that will house an advanced laboratory for new and existing R&D activities. • The world’s first commercial plant based on the patented PLAneo polylactide (PLA) technology has started up in Changchun, China. It is operated by Jilin COFCO Biomaterial Corporation, a subsidiary of COFCO, China’s largest food and beverage group. • Sweden’s Perstorp will double the production capacity of its nonphthalate polyester plasticiser Pevalen to 50,000 tonnes/year from 2019 onwards. To accomplish this Perstorp has entered into a long-term production agreement with Italian company Alcoplast Srl. • Italy’s Versalis, Eni’s chemical company, has identified ABS as one of the key products in its styrenic business and will increase the capacity by 30 kiltotonnes/year at its Mantua plant. It is being planned to go onstream in 2020. • Rigid/flexible packaging maker Klöckner Pentaplast’s Pharma & Medical Device Division will add to its global production capacity in North America. It is investing US$25 million over the next few years in
technology and processes. • Polyolefins provider Borealis will set up a new, worldscale propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant, after successfully concluding the FEED study in June 2018. It will be located at the existing Borealis site in Kallo (Antwerp), Belgium, and will start up in 2022, with a production capacity of 750,000 tonnes/year, making it one of the largest in the world. • Chemical firm Ineos is also constructing a world-scale PDH unit, together with the first gas cracker to be built in Europe for more than 20 years. The company has selected US engineering firm McDermott’s Lummus Catofin technology for its planned PDH unit, with catalysts from Swiss materials firm Clariant. • Zhejiang Petroleum & Chemical Co (ZPCC) is building five new plants at its petrochemical complex in Zhoushan City, China. The complex will include two 450,000 tonnes/ year PP plants that will utilise LyondellBasell’s Spherizone PP process technology and two LDPE plants of 300,000 and 400,000tonne/year capacity respectively, which will utilise Lupotech T process technology.
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The complex will also include a 350,000tonne/year HDPE plant, which will utilise Hostalen ACP process technology. • Leverkusen-based Covestro is investing US$12 million to expand MDI capacity at its Shanghai plant by 100,000 tonnes/year, to total 600,000 tonnes/year. Its monomer MDI capacity will go up by 50,000 tonnes to 200,000 tonnes/year, while its polymeric MDI capacity will increase by 50,000 tonnes, to 400,000 tonnes/year. It is also investing EUR1.5 billion to build a new worldscale MDI plant in Baytown, US, with a capacity of 500,000 tonnes/year and start up in 2024. At the same time an older, the less efficient MDI unit of 90,000 tonnes production capacity will be closed. Thus, total MDI capacities of Covestro in the NAFTA region will reach around 740,000 tonnes/year, with future capacities in EMEA (820,000 tonnes/ year by 2022) and APAC (670,000 tonnes/ year by 2021), making Covestro the industry capacity leader in the region by 2024. Covestro is already doubling its MDI production capacity in Brunsbuettel (Germany) to 400,000 tonnes/year in 2019, part of the already
announced investment increase of up to EUR1.2 billion per year for the next three years. • Carbon fibre maker Hexcel has opened its EUR200 million carbon fibre plant at the Les Roches-Roussillon Chemicals Industry Platform in Isère, France. • Luxembourgheadquartered caps/ closures maker United Caps will build a new plant in Normandy, France, adding on to its eight existing plants in Europe and the two future extensions in Malaysia and in the UK. It will be set up in the Valframbert Business Park of Alençon, with an investment of EUR12 million. The company has a R&D facility in Messia, France, and this year expanded further the capabilities of the facility. • Celanese is to undertake a debottlenecking project of its polyoxymethylene (POM) unit at the Industriepark Höchst (IPH) facility in Germany, by 20 kilotonnes, making this the world’s largest POM plant. It will be undertaken in the next 18-24 months. • Saudi Aramco and Total have signed a joint development agreement for the
INDUSTRY NEWS FEED of a giant petrochemical complex in Jubail, on Saudi Arabia’s eastern coast. It will be located next to the Satorp refinery, operated by Saudi Aramco (62.5%) and Total (37.5%), in order to fully exploit operational synergies. It will comprise a mixed-feed cracker (50% ethane and refinery off-gases) – the first in the Gulf region to be integrated with a refinery – with a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes/year of ethylene and related high-added-value petrochemical units. The project represents an investment of around US$5 billion and is scheduled to start-up in 2024.
• As it celebrates 20 years of manufacturing in Thailand, US firm Nordson Corporation’s Xaloy screws and barrels facility in Chonburi has expanded its production capacity and now also supports Nordson’s BKG brand with technical service and a new pelletising lab line. • Italy’s bioplastics maker Novamont Group has opened its revamped MaterBiopolymer site for the production of Origo-Bi, a family of biodegradable polyesters with an increasing content of renewable raw materials. The plant was formerly owned
Machinery News • Austrian automation specialist Keba has opened a subsidiary in Pune, close to Mumbai in India. Keba has had a presence in India with its control solutions for machinery since 2010, and it has also been increasingly active in the area of robotics since 2015. • US-headquartered extrusion machinery firm Davis-Standard is installing its fourth CNC machining centre at its facility in Pawcatuck, Connecticut. The
US$2 million investment will further boost production by over 25% to augment existing capabilities. It currently manufactures 1,000 feedscrews/year. It will also support feedscrew cycle time reduction, enabling the company to improve delivery times and maintain a steady stock of feedscrews in various sizes and finishes. • Bulk materials handling solutions provider Schenck
by Mossi & Ghisolfi that produced PET. • Sustainable technology company Anellotech has begun planning for scale-up design and engineering of a commercial plant for Bio-TCat with its process development and design partner IFPEN and commercialisation, engineering, and licensing partner Axens. Its patented Bio-TCat thermalcatalytic technology produces a mixture of benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX) that can be used to make polymers such as polyester, PET, PC, and nylon, or high-octane gasoline blendstock. Process Group has acquired Process Components Ltd (PCL) and its subsidiaries, including Kemutec Group, Kek-Gardner, Mucon, Kemutec and PPS Air Classifier Mills, from EPIC Private Equity. PCL is a UK-based manufacturer of powder processing and handling equipment, components and spare parts, serving the food, pharmaceutical, chemical and environmental industries. • Austrian recycling/ woven equipment supplier Starlinger
• Chemical firm Solvay will increase specific fluoroelastomer (FKM) peroxide curable and bisphenolic terpolymer grades at its sites in Changshu, China, and Spinetta Marengo, Italy. The combined production capacity will be expanded by 30% by Q4 2019. • South Korea’s Kumho P&B Chemicals, based in Yeosu, will build a new facility for bisphenol-A (BPA), to expand its BPA production capacity from 450,000 tonnes to 650,000 tonnes/ year. It also said i will invest around US$176 million in the new facility, which is scheduled for completion by 2021. Group has completed the acquisition of the Chemnitz-based business unit Barmag Spinnzwirn from Oerlikon. Barmag is now an independent company STC Spinnzwirn (Starlinger Textile Machinery Chemnitz). • Switzerlandheadquartered blow moulding machinery supplier Sidel Group has acquired PET Engineering. Founded in 1999 and based in San Vendemiano, Italy, PET Engineering has 40 employees. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018
Biodegradable plastics: a winning solution or lost cause? In a bid to halt the onslaught of plastic wastes, biodegradable plastics are deemed as viable and cost-effective solutions. Market growth is being driven by consumer awareness of climate change and marine litter and regulations on the use of conventional plastics, but yet there are detractors that do not favour the eco-friendly alternatives, says Angelica Buan in this report.
he growing global plastics sustainability movement is one of the biggest potential disruptors for the plastics industry and is putting future plastics resin demand and billions of dollars of industry investments at risk, according to IHS Markit, pertaining to its latest report, Plastics Sustainability - A Sea Change: Plastics Pathway to Sustainability.
Global plastics usage and waste generation 2018 IHS data
The world generates more waste than it can recycle and reuse. Thus, biodegradable plastics are being pushed as viable options, and are gaining traction. A new Half-Cooked Research report prefigured the global biodegradable plastic market size to reach almost US$17 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 8.4% from 2016. Over the years, different types of biodegradable plastics have been obtained and created from biomass – from food wastes, plants and crops to sea animals and sea weeds, which are cheap, easily available, and renewable. Currently, the cost of producing biodegradable plastics is higher compared to producing conventional plastics, thus limiting its market growth. However, in the long run, as demand for renewably-sourced biodegradable plastics increases, the cost is expected to reduce. Food scraps and plants as feedstock for PHA The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that 1.3 billion tonnes/year of food produced for human consumption worldwide is lost or
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wasted. This waste can be used as feedstock for highvalue biodegradable polymers. Canadian start-up Genecis is one such company that has seen the potential. The company, which was formed by graduates from the University of Toronto Scarborough, led by Luna Yu, has converted organic waste into polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) plastics to make fully biodegradable flexible packaging, toys, food ware, and medical applications, including surgical staples, sutures and stents, to cite a few possible applications. When combined with polylactic acid (PLA), it can be used to produce 3D printing filaments. Yu explained that the new technology Genecis has developed enables it to produce PHAs from a cocktail of food wastes – cheaper than the current method of producing PHAs from sugars obtained from food crops such as corn, sugar cane and canola. Genecis’s three-step process to make PHA involves breaking down food waste, aided by a bacteria culture, into volatile fatty acids. The fatty acids are added to another bacteria culture specially selected to produce PHAs in their cells. Finally, an extraction process breaks open the cells, then collects and purifies the plastic. The entire process, which employs bioreactors, takes seven days. PHA P H A i s 1 0 0 % plastic compostable, degrading tube within a year in the environment, and less than ten years in water, the company said. At the time of press, the company has processed 1,080 kg of food wastes and produced 5,586 plastic spoons using the PHA from the waste.
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Marine-biodegradable plastic with PBAT Plastics that biodegrade in marine environments offer a solution to marine litter. US bioplastic resin manufacturer BioLogiQ has developed a marine biodegradable plastic c o m p o u n d , N u P l a s t i Q M B B i o P o l y m e r, p r o d u c e d by blending NuPlastiQ GP (general purpose) with polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT). A test performed by Eden Research Laboratory showed 97% biodegradation of a GP/PBAT film in ocean water within a one-year period, according to ASTM-D6691 standards for marine biodegradability. BioLogiQ has developed a marine biodegradable plastic compound, produced by blending NuPlastiQ GP with PBAT
BioLogiQ's NuPlastiQ GP is a 100% natural, renewably-resourced, plant-based resin that has been certified by TUV Austria to marine biodegrade in 28 days. When PBAT, which is commonly sourced from fossil fuel, is mixed with NuPlastiQ GP, it will also biodegrade in marine environments. This breakthrough can provide a solution to reduce marine debris, according to Biologiq President/Founder, Brad LaPray. The Idaho Falls-headquartered company is working on NuPlastiQ MB (marine biodegradable) formulations of NuPlastiQ GP with PE and PP for applications such as drink cups, straws, lids, and grocery sacks. Plant-based thermoplastics Japan-headquartered Green Science Alliance Co, a group company of Fuji Pigment, has also developed various types of biodegradable nanocellulose composites derived from natural biomass resources such as trees, plants and waste wood. This composite, when mixed with plastic can make it biodegradable to some extent, enhance its mechanical strength, and help in weight reduction, given that it weighs approximately one-fifth that of steel, but is more than five times stronger. Its low thermal expansion co-efficient suppresses deformation at plastic moulding process. These qualities make nanocellulose composites suitable for automotive, aeronautic, architectural, and other applications, while having a positive environmental impact. Surmounting the challenge surrounding nanocellulose, which is hydrophilic, and plastics, which are mostly hydrophobic, Green Science Alliance has established a manufacturing process for mixing nanocellulose with various thermoplastic plastics, including PE, PP, PVC, PS, ABS and PC.
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The nanocellulose plastics can also be combined with various types of biodegradable plastics, including PLA, PBAT, PHA, polybutylene succinate (PBS), polycaprolactone, and starch-based plastic. Meanwhile, the company is undertaking Green Science's further testing of the nanocellulose and starchbiodegradability of based biodegradable plastic the material under composite material composting, in home, water and marine environment conditions. PHA resins to develop eco-friendly straws Beverage straws are one of the most common singleused plastics that studies have established are polluting the oceans. In the US alone, an estimated 500 million straws are used per day, and this quantity adds up to the waste generated in the environment and along the coastlines. Moves to ban drinking straws, as well as discarded stirrers and cotton buds are spreading across Europe, North America, and even some countries in Asia. Nonetheless, a more direct solution is being offered to produce biodegradable versions of the non-degradable PS drinking straws. Danimer Scientific, a US manufacturer of biodegradable plastic products, has created a fully biodegradable resin Nodax PHA, which it says can effectively biodegrade in landfills, waste treatment facilities and oceans. S c o t t Tu t e n , C h i e f Marketing Officer at Danimer Scientific Danimer Scientific, has created the first fully biodegradable acknowledges the plastic straw using its challenge posed by Nodax PHA material limited options for ecofriendly yet durable alternatives to plastic straws and other singleuse plastics. Danimer Scientific shared that a recent study undertaken by the University of Georgia compared the biodegradation of Nodax PHA to cellulose powder, food waste, plastic pellets and other materials in aerobic and anaerobic conditions. It was found that in a proper waste
Materials News management setting, Nodax PHA biodegrades at a rate similar to cellulose powder or wood pulp. Additionally, researchers determined that Nodax PHA will begin to biodegrade over the course of six months in ocean water, while traditional plastics remain intact and unchanged in the same environment. Danimer Scientific says its 100% bio-based PHA possesses seven TUV Austria certifications and statements of industrial and home compostability, plus is FDA approved for food contact. A similar undertaking has been started by Singaporebased biodegradable plastics manufacturer RWDC Industries. Using the prize amount of S$719,000 in July from Singapore's Temasek Foundation Ecosperity, RWDC partnered with the University of Georgia’s New Materials Institute researchers to develop a commercially viable straw based on PHA. The partners are developing drinking straw prototypes, which they expect to produce on a commercial scale by mid-2019. RWDC said that use of PHA is not limited to making straws; it can also be used for other plastic applications. According to UGA Professor/Director of Technology Development, Branson Ritchie, the PHA-straw must meet certain criteria to be a viable product in the marketplace. It will have to perform as well as the plastic straws currently in use, be cost-effective over its entire life cycle, including disposal. Most importantly, the partners see this development as a solution to replacing petroleum-based straws. PHA is the basis of the RWDC Industries and UGA collaboration in developing a commercially viable straw
Sceptics not sold on biodegradable materials With all of the above solutions, are biodegradable materials able to scale down plastic pollution? Some experts are sceptical. The European Parliament, during a vote it cast in September to strengthen the European Commission’s plans to curb plastic pollution, as underscored in the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, opined that incessant consumption of single-use plastics, whether they are biodegradable or not, is at the crux of the mounting plastic pollution.
Some experts say that biodegradable plastics conjure a notion that when they are released into the environment, they will completely degrade and disappear
In other words, biodegradables do not offer real solutions. “What can be done is to urgently implement policies that will dramatically cut (our) plastic footprint,” said ECOS Programme Manager Ioana Popescu, speaking for Rethink Plastics, an alliance of European NGOs. Meanwhile, the European Parliament, emphasised what it deems to be more substantial steps to solve plastic pollution, including “phasing out microplastics in cosmetics, personal care products, detergents and cleaning products by 2020, and concrete measures to tackle other sources of microplastics; a complete ban on oxo-degradable plastics by 2020; reduction of hazardous substances in plastics, to ensure that what is recycled is free from dangerous chemicals; prevent generation of plastic waste, followed by reuse and recycling, with landfill or incineration of plastic waste as a last resort”. On another platform, researchers from the Norwegian national research institute Ostfoldforskning have also expressed doubt that biodegradable plastics can help in staving off pollution, but can even encourage consumers to generate more plastic wastes. The institute opines that biodegradable plastics conjure a notion that when they are released into the environment, they will completely degrade and disappear. “Even the so-called bioplastics may contain a significant amount of fossil plastic,” they said. There is a discrepancy in test conditions and the actual biodegradation in nature, the former are more favourable, while the latter will be significantly longer, said the Norwegian scientists, explaining that “a large part of the biodegradable plastic that originates in nature will initially pollute nature as plastic waste, and then disintegrate into micro-plastic with the potential to create further environmental problems". Nonetheless, the researchers advised for more research, particularly in the area of bioplastics, on top of implementing adherence to proper waste management programmes. Even though the development of biodegradable plastics has yet to achieve perfection, it is evidence of the industry’s efforts to help abate plastic pollution at source. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018
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Biocompatible materials in medical technology In the field of medicine, a rule of thumb when prescribing medical treatment is that the benefits must outweigh risks. However, when it comes to using medical devices, there are no taking chances. Throughout the continued advancements in medical technology, patient safety comes first, says Angelica Buan in this report.
Covestroâ€™s Makrolon PC is used in the production of the insulindelivery interface and for moulding ampoules for QSâ€™s needle-free injection
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Biocompatible materials growth The increasing demand for medical devices is a result of emerging new diseases, rising geriatric populations, prevalence of debilitating lifestyle diseases, and changing modes of healthcare delivery. Biocompatibility is at the core of medical devices development to prevent toxic reactions in patients, reducing the risk of immunological response, as well as establishing the absence of carcinogenicity, toxicity, teratogenicity and immunogenicity, and high corrosion resistance of these devices. As average life expectancy is rising, the healthcare industry is looking for new types of biomaterials that are compatible with the human biological system when used in different medical applications in the long run. Biocompatible materials, such as medical-grade plastics evaluated based on ISO10993, are used for various applications such as orthopaedic implants, wound healing dressings, and different medical devices including pacemakers, blood tubes, and artificial hearts. While the global market for medical devices is prefigured to reach US$532 billion by 2024, according to a market outlook by Goldstein Research, the global market for biocompatible materials is forecast in the Global Industry Analysts (GIA) report to fetch a value of nearly US$176 billion by 2024. Home healthcare drug delivery systems based on PCs Meanwhile, the global home healthcare market, predicted to grow at a CAGR of 7.8% through 2025 is seeing new innovations. With sterilisation of medical devices, an important practice to prevent the spread of infections, PC can be sterilised using a variety of methods, ranging from ethylene oxide (EtO), irradiation, and steam autoclaving to common clinical disinfectants. Its properties such as clarity, high strength and impact and heat resistance as well as low water absorption have led to its use in a wide range of critical medical devices. Thus, Beijing-based medical equipment manufacturer QS Medical Technology Co (QS) teamed up with German polymer materials manufacturer Covestro to design a new needle-free injection technology for patients with diabetes. QS says it selected Covestroâ€™s medical-grade Makrolon Rx1805 PC for the medicine ampoules, thereby giving access to treatment for diabetes without needles, especially for the more than 114 million Chinese patients affected by diabetes. The material boasts durability, processability and design flexibility, and is also resistant to cracking against lipids and to radiation sterilisation. Besides being impact resistance, the ISO10993-certified material allows for accuracy in moulding size; and is able to maintain stability under different application environments, said the companies. QS adds that it aims to integrate injection drugs with the needle-free technology in the coming years, and launch more convenient pre-loaded, needle-free administration systems onto the market. Materials company Sabic utilising its PC material worked together with US firm eNeura Inc in developing a clinically proven, non-drug option for the prevention and treatment of migraine headaches. The sTMS mini by eNeura
Medical Industry Designed for use at home, at work or while traveling, eNeura’s migraine device aligns with the steady expansion of the home healthcare market
is a physicianprescribed, portable delivery system for single-pulse, transcranial magnetic stimulation. Working with moulder PTA Plastics, eNeura selected Sabic’s Lexan PC copolymer for the housing of the device. This healthcare-grade material met the company’s stringent requirements for biocompatibility, resistance to impact and household chemicals, light weight for easy handling, and the ability to be colour matched. The sTMS mini was cleared by the FDA for migraine prevention in 2017, following previous agency clearance in 2014 for acute treatment. The eNeura team says the material surpassed other candidates such as standard PC, which lacked good chemical resistance; ABS, which failed the drop test; and PVT, which had flowability issues. Its light weight, compared to metal and other traditional housing materials, makes the device easy to lift into the pulse delivery position behind the patient’s head. To provide a water-tight seal, the Sabic material was overmoulded with a TPE. Sterilisable acrylic-based single-use devices Widely used plastics such as PVC and PE have been used in medical plastics, however, there are safety concerns in using them due to the potentially toxic additives that they contain and this has given rise to using acrylic as an alternative. Given acrylic’s resistance to impact and high temperatures, it is suitable for use in a wide variety of applications; and like PCs, acrylics are also sterilisable. Thus, German speciality chemicals company Evonik Industries’s Cyrolite acrylic-based polymers are targeted at
medical and diagnostic applications, since the material is resistant to alcohol and lipids and the plasticisers found in PVC tubing. The multi-polymer compounds are claimed as the most highly developed (PMMA) acrylic-based polymers for medical devices. They can be sterilised with gamma rays, e-beam, and EtO gas and can be processed by all conventional thermoplastic processing methods. All Cyrolite grades meet the requirements of USP classes 6 and 26, and are free from Bisphenol A (BPA), Bisphenol S (BPS) and Di-(2ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), which is present in PVC.
Evonik is promoting its Cyrolite acrylic for medical applications with humour like this baby in a hospital scene that gives the thumbs up
Typical applications include disposable medical items, such as IV and catheter accessories, blood/plasma separators, chest drainage sets, and medical filter and device housings. Evonik has also developed customised variants of Cyrolite polymers for special applications in diagnostics. Addressing the tooling for drip chamber components Elsewhere, German global styrenics supplier Ineos Styrolution and Swiss manufacturer of injection moulds Schöttli (a Husky company) have jointly developed specialised material and tailored tooling solutions to deliver an optimised manufacturing solution for the production of drip chamber components.
each detail matters for unrivalled performance Only a company who has a constant focus on the productivity of its customers thinks ahead and creates extrusion solutions that leave the rest standing. SML specialises in the development of extrusion lines for film, sheet, coating and lamination as well as multifilament spinning lines.
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Medical Industry Ineos and Schöttli are offering healthcare OEMs optimised solutions for drip chamber development
Drip chambers are very demanding for the materials used, and for the tools deployed to manufacture them. For example, the material is expected to provide good transparency, softness and bonding properties. Demands for the tooling and hot runner system include equal filling of the parts to achieve the required wall thickness, high performance demoulding capabilities, high transparency of the moulded parts combined with reliability and performance for high cavity tools to allow for growth and to address manufacturers of multiple sizes. Traditional materials for drip chamber production that include PVC, PP and various compounds, all squared with the challenge that some of the required product properties seem to contradict each other and optimising one property may have a negative impact on another one. Ineos Styrolution and Schöttli say they have addressed this challenge. While good bonding properties, for example, make the parts stick to tools, typically leading to impacts on the geometry, Schöttli’s tools minimise the effect with respective demoulding capabilities and ensure the required reliability of a stable wall thickness. Also, the good flowability of Ineos Styrolution’s Styrolux 4G 60, which features softness, elasticity and transparency, combined with the Schöttli’s single and dual side gating contributed to successfully building tools for reliable manufacturing of the drip chambers, say the partners. TPEs suitable for surgical tool, fluid pump Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) offer versatility, heat stability, wear and scratch-resistance; smoothness, and other properties that also make them materials of choice for surgical instruments, electrocautery cutters and other medical devices that require a non-slip grip and soft-touch feel texture. Italian medical electronic equipment producer LED SpA picked Germany-headquartered Kraiburg TPE’s Thermolast M for its Surgeon Pencil S, an innovative hand-piece for use in high-frequency surgery. LED says the Thermolast M compound makes this device lightweight, adds on ergonomics and allows for reuse. Other benefits are the medical conformity, design freedom and aesthetics.
LED’s hand-piece for use in highfrequency surgery utilised Kraiburg’s TPE
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Unipolar electrode hand-pieces are important instrumentals in state-of-the-art high-frequency electrosurgery, according to LED. Together with different active electrodes, they are used for sensitive cutting and coagulating procedures that require a firm and comfortable grip. The novel Surgeon Pencil S meets these requirements with several parts moulded in different grades of Thermolast M. The 30 g-grey pencil comprises a central hand-piece with a screw-on electrode holder, two different-coloured (yellow/blue) CUT/COAG button rings and a cable end. The body parts of the tool are two-component mouldings with a solid PP core and a Thermolast M soft-touch skin. Apart from long-term, direct adhesion from this combination, the TPE overmoulding ensures the secure non-slip grip of the tapered instrument for fatigue-free surgery and comfort even in wet conditions. The convex shape of the button rings forms a supporting area for the surgeon’s fingers, and the buttons provide reassuring tactile feedback when engaged or disengaged. In contrast to common single-use electrode handpieces, however, the Pencil S can be autoclaved up to 100 times at 134°C owing to the sterilisability of Thermolast M, which means it can be sterilised using common EtO, superheated steam, as well as beta or gamma irradiation. By the same token, US thermoplastics solutions specialist Teknor Apex has introduced new medicalgrade TPEs for peristaltic pump tubing. The Medalist TPEs provide elasticity over a broad temperature range, withstand stresses of pump action over time, and, unlike silicone, are weldable and heat-sealable. Teknor Apex’s new medical grade TPE provides elasticity for tubing in a wide range of peristaltic pump applications
The new series includes clear, translucent, and opaque grades for the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, medical infusion systems, and dialysis machines. In comparison with other TPEs, Teknor Apex says Medalist exhibits lower levels of spallation, which is the shedding of particles from the inner surface of the tubing caused by repeated compression and release during pump operation. The elasticity of these compounds allows tubing to keep pace with rapid pump action, and their durability enables it to retains its shape and remain intact over time. Other benefits are a low level of extractables and sterilisation by e-beam, gamma, and EtO. Speciality grades are available for biopharmaceutical applications with extreme low-temperature requirements. Teknor Apex produces Medalist compounds in ISO13485 facilities in the US and Singapore.
Medical Industry Securing source of PP and PE Advancement in the field of medical technology is a continuing process, adapting to growing demand for improved yet cost-effective treatment outcomes and healthcare delivery to meet the requirement for patient safety. Medicalgrade materials must comply fully with the stringent standards for safety, biocompatibility, toxicity, and other such criteria. This is the ultimate challenge for the healthcare industry. For Austrian polymer maker Borealis and its joint venture company Borouge, it is an opportunity. The companiesâ€™ expansion of the Bormed portfolio of PE and PP products, including Borealis and Borouge have Bormed PL8830-PH, introduced Bormed PL8830secures the supply of an PH, said to be the first important medical-grade controlled plastomers solution material in the global for the healthcare industry market. Borealis, which currently has one of the largest product offerings for the global healthcare market, claims to be the only raw material supplier to be able to offer a material that can bridge the gap between thermoplastics and elastomers. A first-ever controlled plastomers solution, Bormed PL8830-PH is an ethylene-based, octene-1 plastomer. Because it is a reactor polymer, it boasts consistent quality and exhibits purity and cleanliness. It offers enhanced compatibility with PP, easy processing, clarity, and flexibility on an elastomers level. The material has also been specifically developed to be used as a versatile blend partner along with other PE in film, extrusion, and moulding applications. Benefits for users and manufacturers include high pack integrity, simplified processes, enhanced sustainability and potential cost savings. The latter is achieved because it allows for the significant reduction in the number of non-polyolefin impact modifiers used to achieve performance properties like impact strength, the partners furthered. The principle application of Bormed PL8830-PH is as a modifier in pharmaceutical film, for example for medical fluid bags, the companies said. It is especially suited for use in pouch systems, pharmaceutical primary packaging such as IV bags, continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD), and active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) bags; film for medical device packaging; and bioreactors. As it can be seen companies are developing collaborative partnerships to push the boundaries in technology innovations for the medical/healthcare sectors. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018
In sync with the times: CHINAPLAS to highlight Circular Economy
echnological innovation, on one hand, favours the acceleration of modern development as well as changes in various markets, while on the other, is driven by the latter two. CHINAPLAS, being a prominent platform for innovative technology and communication, is highly responsive to the needs and the trends, and always brings in new elements, perpetually providing energy to the plastics and rubber industries. “Circular Economy” as a megatrend – after “Industry 4.0” To foster circular economy is a global consensus and is a major Chinese economic and social development strategy to achieve sustainable development. As such, great potential and bounteous market opportunities arise with it. Ada Leung, General Manager of Adsale Exhibition Services Ltd, organiser of CHINAPLAS, said, “It’s going to be the 33rd edition of CHINAPLAS in 2019. Every time, it responds to the market demand and introduces new moves accordingly. In the past three editions of show, we have boosted the significance of Industry 4.0. After that, circular economy will be the next big trend.” “We’ve been aware of circular economy for some time. As early as 2011, we launched the 'Bioplastics Zone', introducing biodegradable plastics and bio-
based plastics. We have also set up a 'Recycling Technology Zone' since 2016 in Shanghai. The show line-up continues to grow. In the upcoming CHINAPLAS, circular economy will be promoted to a prime position, leading exhibitors and visitors to explore the enormous potential.” She further added, “We have just participated in the 28th Asia Plastics Forum & 17th Term AFPI Conference (2016 – 2018) held in Bangkok, Thailand this September. Under the theme 'Creating Sustainable Value through Circular Economy', local government, industry associations, raw material suppliers and brand owners shared their ways to treat waste plastics and protect the environment. It demonstrates that circular economy is a big topic among the plastics industry globally.” “In addition to circular economy, we are also paying attention to new market trends and demands, such as the new business opportunities that the ‘Belt and Road Initiative' has spawned in the plastics and rubber industries, as well as changes in the world economic situation, opportunities and challenges for plastics innovations resulting from Sino-US trade debate, etc. Therefore, this year, we are striving to expand overseas markets, and have launched publicity in ASEAN countries and key countries along the 'Belt and Road Initiative', sending staff there to invite local associations and enterprises to visit CHINAPLAS. The aim is to help exhibitors explore new business opportunities so as to increase return on their investment.” Big names adopt Recycled Plastics for appealing benefits The modelling of big brands has massive influence on the implementation of circular economy, and more and more big names have announced their environmental protection policies of recycling. In 2017, Adidas sold 1 million pairs of running shoes made of ocean plastic waste. It plans to stop using new plastics by 2024 when only recycled plastics will be used as raw materials.
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Advertorial Kraft Heinz announced that by 2025, 100% of their packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable. Leading companies such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, Volvo, IKEA, Nike, and H&M have also announced plans to use recycled plastics. Meanwhile, Gree Electric Appliances, a home appliance giant, has also invested heavily in setting up a renewable resource company to engage in the recycling and dismantling of used electrical and electronic products, so that raw materials can be recycled, thereby realizing an ecological cycle of the home appliance industry chain. The core of circular economy is the efficient use and recycling of resources, and plastic waste recycling is an indispensable part. It is predicted that by 2025, China, one of the world's largest waste plastics recycling countries, will produce urban solid waste amounting to nearly a quarter of the world's total. And we know that by improving the recycling rate of waste plastics, the development of a circular economy can be greatly promoted. Renewable resource recovery system reforms in light of raw materials shortage The market is huge, but raw materials are scarce, for first, the â€œImplementation Plan on Advancing Reform of the Administration System on Import of Solid Wastes through Prohibiting Import of Foreign Rubbishâ€? was launched in 2017. Then, after the ban on the import of household waste plastics at the end of 2017, industrial source waste plastics will also be completely banned by the end of 2018. According to statistics, waste plastics imported into China amounted to 7.3 million tonnes in 2016. Being worth US$3.7 billion, it accounted for 56% of the world's total imports of waste plastics. In the past, the waste processing and recycling industry relied heavily on imports, lacking a complete recycling chain, while recycling rate and proportion of largescale recycling are both low. With the implementation of the ban, it is bound to intensify the shortage of raw materials, and the recycling system of renewable resources is in urgent need of change. The entire chain of garbage classification, waste collection and treatment, recycling and reuse has yet to be fully established. Supported by the government's policy, as well as "Internet of Things & smart recycling", technologies are being disseminated quickly. Among intelligent waste separation and recycling enterprises, Xiaohuanggou Environmental Protection Technology Co., Ltd is a rising star, realising the model of classified recycling of domestic garbage at the front-end, unified transportation in the middle, and centralised treatment at the back-end. In addition, a group of outstanding enterprises in the recycling industry, such as Huge Recycle, Lumao, iXiandou, Qianniao, Zhangyuhuishou, etc., are also working into the front and back ends in recycling to improve efficiency through the Internet.
Plastics Recycling, Recovery & Sustainability Conference In the limelight at this time when the handling of waste plastics is transforming and adjusting rapidly are ways to integrate the recycle environmental protection industry chain, to build and perfect China's renewable resource recycling system, and develop new types of renewable waste plastics, upgrade technology and equipment for the highefficiency sorting, granulation, waste plastic pyrolysis. The recycling of POM, PTFE, nylon (-6, -66), PVB, in addition to the traditional types of waste plastics such as PET, PC, PS, PP, PE, PVC, ABS, etc., is gradually favoured by enterprises. In addition to upgrading the Recycling Technology Zone, a Plastics Recycling, Recovery & Sustainability Conference will also be organised at CHINAPLAS 2019, in order to facilitate mastery of advanced technology, promote technological innovation, and help the industry seize new opportunities. The entire industry chain, from policies and regulations, through recycling technologies to back-end innovative applications, will be analysed and explained in depth and thoroughly by experts in the industry. Industrial trends, opportunities, challenges, and solutions will also be discussed. More details will be announced on a later date. CHINAPLAS 2019 will be returned to China Import and Export Complex, Pazhou, Guangzhou and run from May 21-24, 2019. An estimated total of more than 3,400 industrial leaders from around the world will be showcasing their products and solutions in an over 250,000 sq m of exhibition space to at least 180,000 professional visitors from 150 countries and regions. This will be a not-to-be-missed extravaganza! Visitors can enjoy admission discount through online pre-registration from now till May 13, 2019, at an early-bird rate of US$7.5 for a four-day pass. Visitors will receive a visitor badge in advance to enjoy express counter for fast entry if they pre-register on or before February 28, 2019. To pre-register, please visit www.chinaplasonline.com/ CPS19/preregistrationlanding/eng/visitor_pre-registration For more information about CHINAPLAS 2019, please visit www.ChinaplasOnline.com NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018
Investing in a measuring device This article by Dr. Hilmar Bolte, R&D/ Head of Analysis at German firm Sikora takes a look at the meaning of “measuring rate”, “averaging” and “accuracy” when investing in a measuring device. Founded in 1973, Sikora is a global manufacturer and supplier of measuring and control technology for the wire and cable, hose and tube, sheet and metals as well as optical fibre and plastics industry.
Figure 1: Absolute accuracy and repeatability based on the example of a shooter
Choosing the optimal measuring device for an extrusion line When deciding about investing in a measuring device, one of the main factors – besides the costs – usually is which device is the “best”. Characteristics where “more” or “less” is considered as “better” are seemingly easy to compare. This simplification, however, bears risks. In digital photography, for instance, the size of the sensors and, thus, of the individual pixel in general, is more important than the total number of pixels. The pixel count however is commonly the relevant sales argument. For that reason, it makes sense to question the characteristics of a measuring device, as well as their definition and interaction. Often further information about the conditions under which these characteristics are valid such as temperature, position dependency etc, are missing. Specifications usually contain the following characteristics: “measuring range”, “absolute accuracy” (also “correctness”), “repeatability” (also “precision”) and “measuring rate”. “Measuring range” indicates minimum/maximum object sizes that are measurable. Sometimes, the visual range is specified instead, this means: the overall range in which the objects to be measured are allowed to move. Occasionally, information about the minimum and/or maximum measurable size is missing, too. The colloquial meaning of “accuracy” is the total of all measuring errors. However, for the evaluation of a measuring device, it has to be differentiated: “absolute accuracy” means the comparison of a mean measuring value with a certified standard value. “Repeatability” is defined as the scattering of the measuring values under the same conditions and, therefore, a characteristic of the measuring value noise of the device itself. The sole specification of only a numerical value for “repeatability” is not sufficient. It might be that one supplier indicates the standard deviation of single values, whereas another calculates those based on a sequence of averaged values. A common visualisation of the definitions “absolute accuracy” (also called “correctness”) and “repeatability” (also called “precision”) is shown in Figure 1. The “measurement rate” of a measuring device is the number of measurement values generated per second. This is a further important comparison criterion where “more” is seen as “better”. For an objective comparison, however, the knowledge of the interdependence between measurement rate and absolute a) Not repeatable, b) Repeatable, absolute inaccurate absolute accurate accuracy and repeatability of a single measurement is crucial. It may be the case that a measuring device with a higher measurement rate, but lower single value precision is less suitable for controlling or characterisation of a process than a device with a lower measuring rate but higher single value precision. For example, this is the case when a long averaging time is necessary c) Repeatable, d) Not repeatable, absolute inaccurate (on average) absolute accurate due to a lower single value precision.
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Auxiliary Equipment Then, there is a risk that actual product variations, which occur within this averaging time, are levelled out while really present. In the worst case, the specifications might even be violated without being signaled by the measuring device. The following example of a temperature profile taken over a week in September 2000 shows to which extent averaging of a measuring value can influence the perception (Figure 2). 30
Figure 3: Line sensor technology for diffraction analysis in a Sikora diameter gauge head
In contrast to this, for other measuring techniques such as the diffraction method ( Blohm, Sikora, & Beining, 2005;  Blohm & Sikora, 2017), line scan cameras are used (figures 3 and 4).
Actual value 1 h averaging Daily average
Date in the year 2000
Figure 2: Temperature profile as example
The displayed “real value” results from single measurements taken in 10-minute intervals. Averaging over a period of one hour only smoothens the extreme values. When averaging the varying temperature for more than 12 hours, the changes in temperature are displayed lower than they actually are. Furthermore, if the mean value is generated over an entire day, the information about the daily temperature variations will be completely lost. A device that needs the latter averaging depth will not be suitable for a process where an alarm has to be raised or an adjustment has to be made depending on the temperature range. A practical example taken from the hose and tube production process is the diameter measurement based on the shadow projection method with rotating mirrors. Often high measuring rates are indicated, which result from the rotation rate multiplied by the number of mirrors’ facets ( Zanoni, 1973;  Vossberg, 1981). The specification of accuracy, however, is usually based on mean values of up to one second due to a relatively poor single value precision. This has various reasons. Each single measurement is done with a different mirror facet. Product movements during measurement increase or decrease the product diameter – depending on the direction of movement – as the measurement of both product edges is not done simultaneously but sequentially. Lastly, the diameter information is only derived from the very transition from dark to light and light to dark. The rest of the time, the information content of the measurement signal is zero.
Figure 4: Diffraction signal on a CCD line sensor
On the one hand, product edges are recorded simultaneously – so product movement is not an issue. On the other hand, each single pixel in the diffraction seam outside the product shadow can be directly linked to the product edges. This leads to a much higher single value precision and consequently, the measuring value has to be averaged nowhere near as long to be used for controlling or characterisation of a production process. Conclusion A mere comparison of measuring rates without considering these circumstances is obviously not sufficient. Hence, for an objective comparison of two measuring devices, at first, it is important to clearly define the requirements of the process. Also, the catalogue details given by the manufacturer should be taken into question and brought to a comparable basis using the information needed, so that the investment in a new measuring device leads to an increase in quality, process optimisation as well as cost savings. References:  Zanoni, C. (1973). Patentnr. US3856412A. USA.  Vossberg, C. A. (1981). Patentnr. US4269514A. USA.  Blohm, W., Sikora, H., & Beining, A. (2005). Patentnr. US6922254B2. USA.  Blohm, W., & Sikora, H. (2017). Patentnr. US9797712B2. USA. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018
Making better film rolls, one wind at a time! In this article by Duane Smith, Process Manager – Web Handling & Specialty Winding, of Davis-Standard, he addresses several items that impact the quality of film. This is an extract of Duane’s technical paper: “Challenges in Winding Flexible Packaging Films”.
here is no way to get around it. Every flexible film producer is faced with the challenge of producing quality film rolls with imperfect films. When considering the natural variation in resins, non-uniformities of the film formation processes, coatings and printed surfaces, it is easy to see why there is no such thing as a perfect film. These slight imperfections are integral to the nature of film itself. So what do we do? We must turn to winding as a means to ensure imperfections do not stand out in appearance and are not amplified during Duane Smith, Process Manager – Handling & the process. It is also important to take an Specialty Winding, of end-product approach; ensuring films can Davis-Standard successfully support high-quality results for the customer. There are several items that impact the quality of film. Following are a few examples: Roll Hardness – Roll density, or in-wound tension, is the most important factor in determining the difference between good quality and poor quality rolls of film products. Rolls that are wound too soft will go ‘outof-round’ while winding or while being handled or stored. Rolls that are wound too tightly can cause blocking defect problems where the sheet layers fuse or adhere together, and can exaggerate web defects. Randomisation of Cross Machine Variations – Some flexible packaging films, either by their extrusion formation process or by their coating and laminating process, have cross machine variations of thickness too severe to be wound without exaggerating these defects. To randomise cross machine variations either the web or the slitters and winder are moved back and forth relative to the web as they are being slit and wound; this is called oscillation. The rule of thumb for the maximum oscillation speeds is 25 mm/ minute per 150 m/minute of winding speed. There are several factors that must be considered to consistently wind good rolls
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Extrusion Profiling Roll Hardness – As a roll of flexible packaging film material winds, in-wound tension or residual stresses builds inside the roll. If this stress becomes greater during winding, the inner wraps towards the core will be put under high compressive loads. This is what causes a defect known as ‘buckling’ of the webs in localised areas in the roll. When winding non-elastic and high slip films, the inner layers will loosen; which can cause the roll to dish while winding or telescope when unwinding. To prevent this, the rolls want to be wound tight at the core and then wound with less tightness as the roll builds in diameter. The secret to the roll hardness structure is to start with a good solid foundation and then wind with progressively less in-wound tension. Achieving Roll Hardness – The winding tools to develop roll hardness are web tension, nip pressure from a pressure or lay-on roll or winding drum and winding torque from a centre drive. When winding elastic films, web tension is the dominant principle used to control roll hardness. When winding inelastic films, nip is the dominant principle. Torque winding is the force induced through the centre of the winding roll, which is transmitted through the web layers and tightens the inner wraps of film.
Measuring Roll Hardness – Film winding is often considered an art because the setting and programming of the tension, nip and torque (TNT) varies depending on the winder, type of material, roll width and winding speed. To ensure the wound rolls are produced with consistent hardness, hardness measuring devices must be used. This enables the operator to check hardness and made adjustments to keep hardness within the acceptable range for that product. Summary As it can be seen, there are several factors that must be considered to consistently wind good rolls. The winder operator’s job is not to camouflage poor quality flexible packaging products into shippable rolls. His or her responsibility is to handle films with slight imperfections to produce trouble-free, quality rolls for the downstream customer. By learning more about the process and taking the right steps, it can be done! To learn more about Davis-Standard’s products and services relating to winding and unwinding, please visit: https://davis-standard.com/converting_system/windingunwinding/ We also invite you to explore the D-S Connect Blog at: https://davisstandard.com/custom_blog/making-betterfilm-rolls-one-wind-at-a-time / to learn more, and to request the full technical paper, “Challenges in Winding Flexible Packaging Films”.
Injection Moulding Asia Fakuma 2018
Machinery and technology novelties The German show held in October, saw 1,900
exhibitors showcasing the latest technologies. The next show will be held in Friedrichshafen from 13-17 October 2020.
Material launches Spanish firm Elix Polymers launched the Chemical Compliance (CC) ABS products for applications like toys, cosmetic containers, and food-contact products. The CC line comes with a package of extended services for product verification and stewardship processes, with Elix to also conduct product quality and safety tests based on requirements. Single-dose coffee makers are an example of the type of application that Elix is aiming at with the new injection moulding grades ABS P2H-CC and ABS P3H-CC. This is especially since launching a new machine onto the market requires a number of tests to be carried out on component materials to guarantee compliance with laws on the safety of their use in contact with food.
Covestro produces CO2-based polyols for flexible PU foams in Germany and is now looking at expanding it to rigid PU foams
Kraiburg TPE introduced new TPE hybrids (TEH) featuring an application-specific combination and a modifiability said to be superior to classic thermoplastic vulcanisates. Materials made by mixing thermoplastics and crosslinked elastomers are mainly known as EPDM/ PP blends. Although they combine the properties of elastomers with thermoplastic processability, performance is limited when contact with other media at high temperatures is required. The German company says the new TPEs are an alternative to common crosslinked rubber solutions that are processable like thermoplastics, but also offer appealing options for multi-component applications when bonded with technical plastics such as polyamides and thermoplastic polyesters. TEH can be processed with common injection presses and extruder lines, do not require any finishing and are recyclable. Black and natural are the standard colours. With hardness from 55 to 80 Shore A, permanent operating temperatures of up to 150Â°C and chemical stability against materials such as oils, lubricants, fuels and coolants, the hybrids are targeted at combustion engines, in heat management of drives and batteries for electric vehicles, as well as in lubrication and cooling systems of machines, process technology and buildings. Direct applications include seals and gaskets, plugs and connectors, lids and covers. With requirements for fatigue strength for underthe-hood parts on the rise, specialty chemicals company Lanxess has introduced Durethan Performance PA6 product range, said to be more resistant to fatigue under pulsating loads than standard products with similar glass fibre content. Three new thermally stabilised grades have been launched: Durethan BKV30PH2.0, BKV35PH2.0, and BKV40PH2.0 with glass fibre contents of 30, 35, and 40%, as well as impact-resistant modified 30% glass fibrecontent Durethan BKV130P.
Elix has launched an ABS line for consumer sectors with special requirements on safety of use
German materials firm Covestro has new polyether carbonate polyols that are produced with the aid of carbon dioxide (CO2). Using this technology, it has introduced Desmopan 37385A, a new series of thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs). The TPU has a hardness of 85 Shore A, a tensile strength of 36 megapascals and elongation at break reaches 660% (DIN 53504). Both extrusion and injection moulding grades are available for soles and upper shoe components, handles and knobs as well as packaging for sensitive electronics. Plans are afoot to expand the series with a hardness of 95 Shore A, with rapidly curing melt. 1 NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018
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Injection Moulding Asia Fakuma 2018 The German firm is targeting applications such as air-intake systems and oil-filter modules or parking brakes as well as housing and structural components of power tools, such as drilling or grinding machines. The materials offer more tensile strength at higher temperatures and are an alternative to the more expensive PA66 compounds. Lanxess plans to further expand the product family, with 50 and 60% glass fibrereinforcements, for electrical/electronic modules in vehicles. Belgian firm Solvay showcased three new grades of Ryton PPS that are aimed at extrusion applications for the automotive market, for coolant lines, brackets and connectors, as an alternative to PA11, PA12 and metal. Solvay also said its Technyl 4earth recycled PA6.6 material is being used by cleaning technology manufacturer Kärcher for moulding spray lances in its high-pressure cleaners. Kärcher has selected a 30% glass-filled grade and is one of the first major international OEMs to embrace the “green” material.
Kärcher is using Solvay’s Technyl 4earth PA6.6 material in its line of highpressure cleaners
After the market launch of Ultramid Advanced N, German materials maker BASF has introduced another polyphthalamide (PPA): Ultramid Advanced T1000, based on PA6T/6I. It is said to boast the highest strength and stiffness and with stable mechanical properties at temperatures of up to 120°C. Due to its partially aromatic chemical structure, it offers resistance to humidity and to aggressive media – outperforming conventional PAs and many other PPA materials on the market. The new PPA is targeted at applications in the automotive industry, as a replacement to metals, as well as for technical parts with a challenging requirement profile: in thermostat housings and water pumps, fuel circuits and selective catalytic reduction systems, for
Injection Moulding Asia Fakuma 2018 New machinery technologies Germany’s Dr Boy introduced a new machine: Boy 125E, which caters to a larger clamping unit to allow for complex automation equipment. The company says that even with a 470 mm distance of tie bars and a maximum platens distance of 825 mm, it was possible to design a “very robust and yet compact machine with a footprint of just 5.2 sq m”, in keeping with its traditional small machine range. Another new development is the in-house manufactured handling system Boy LR 5 for removal of parts.
BASF has expanded its PPA portfolio
actuators and clutch parts. Other applications are: coffee machines, furniture fittings, water distributors, heating systems and pumps. Machinery companies report higher sales Despite the economic uncertainties globally, German machine maker Arburg expects to increase its sales for 2018. The company’s sales for 2017 were EUR698 million and it expects to exceed this, given the encouraging results for the first half of 2018, and end of the third quarter, as well as 10% more orders for machines and peripherals, compared to last year. Meanwhile, for Austrian machine maker Engel Holding while Europe still represents the lion’s share of its earnings (53%), revenue growth in Asia was “by far the biggest”. Asia has a share of 22% and America, 24%. China leads in the sales area, with Engel having upped the capacity for its Changzhou-based Wintec subsidiary, which was started up four years ago to produce standardised injection machinery. Engel also expects to close the 2018/2019 fiscal year with a group turnover of EUR1.6 billion, a 6% increase over the previous year. Global sales for the 2017/18 fiscal year were EUR1.51 billion, up 11% from the previous year. Another machine maker, Germany’s KraussMaffei Group is repositioning itself, with a two-pillar strategy for a period of five years until 2023. As part of the strategy, it launched the Digital Service Solutions business unit in July. KraussMaffei also pointed to a positive development for the current financial year. In the first three quarters, incoming orders amounted to EUR1.05 billion, an increase of 2.5% compared with the same period in the previous year, while sales amounted to EUR973 million, an increase of 1.6%. Meanwhile, the planned listing on the Shanghai Stock Exchange is due to be approved this year. The Chinese authorities are currently reviewing the application from KraussMaffei’s parent company China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina), it said, adding that it was expecting the green light soon. Elsewhere, French robot maker Sepro Group expects its revenues to grow by 4% to EUR13 million, double its sales of five years ago, this year. The company also announced a new management board to support its growth as well as the completion of an expansion plan of EUR11 million to double its facilities in France and the US, which was made known last year.
Boy introduced its new larger machine
As the biggest exhibitor, German machine maker Arburg presented the “Road to Digitalisation” concept. At various stations, visitors could obtain detailed information on digital assistance systems and services from Arburg experts. An insight into the future was offered by the Gestica control system featuring filling simulation, augmented reality (AR) for “smart” service, as well as new cloud-based services. Furthermore, Arburg premiered a packaging version of the hybrid Allrounder 820H in the clamp design and with the Gestica control system. In a cycle time of 3.8 seconds, it produced four thin-wall IML containers. Also shown on an electric Allrounder 470A was a new Arburg Turnkey Control Module (ATCM) SCADA system for turnkey systems that visualises the complete process. The ATCM captured information from the injection moulding process and camera inspection via OPC-UA and allocated it to the
Arburg showed the hybrid Allrounder 820H featuring the Gestica control system in the clamp design and in the new “Packaging” version
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Injection Moulding Asia Fakuma 2018 Tooling/hot runner/auxiliary updates Machine/tooling maker Husky Injection Molding showcased its Ultra Helix valve gates, with over 4,000 nozzles installed. The Canadian firm also demonstrated several new products, including its Altanium Valve Gate Sequencer, an easy-to-use single unit that combines temperature and valve gate control, ideal for filling large, multi-gated parts. As well, it displayed the new Altanium Matrix5, Altanium Delta5 and Altanium Neo5 mould controllers. The new Ultra SideGate Inline provides 18 mm gate spacing for small parts and is ideal for compact moulds, says the firm.
relevant part via the QR code. Visitors were able to scan this code with their smartphones and view the corresponding process data on a part-specific website. To showcase a LSR exhibit, a 350-kN electric Allrounder 270A was equipped with a new LSR cylinder module to produce four 0.038-g dosing valves in a cycle time of around 20 seconds, while the practical Industry 4.0 was shown on a vertical Allrounder 375V machine with a six-axis robot. It was compactly positioned within the installation space and produced elastic tension straps “on demand”. The potential of the Freeformers and Arburg Plastic Freeforming (APF) was also demonstrated based on functional medical technology parts made from US TPE supplier Teknor Apex’s Medalist grade. Also at the show, US machine maker Milacron Holdings Corp. signed a distribution agreement with software and engineering company iMFLUX (a wholly owned subsidiary of consumer products giant Procter & Gamble) to integrate its patented technology into its controls. M-Powered is Milacron’s Industry 4.0 technology and it will offer machines with an M-Powered iMFLUX retrofit upgrade.
Husky showcased a variety of new tooling, including the Ultra Helix valve gates
Milacron’s Mold-Masters subsidiary launched its ThinPAK hot runner series, for thin wall packaging products and for applications up to 2,800 bar (40% higher than its standard manifold designs). The nozzles feature a robust gate seal and cutout to withstand the high pressures as well as balanced thermal profiles for process control while the gate seals are serviceable from the parting line. Meanwhile, HRSflow showcased a new family mould for a one-shot production of three high-quality visible parts for a door module for car interiors. The use of the FLEXflow technology ensures flawless, finely grained surfaces without pressure lines or flow marks even though these parts differ considerably from one another in terms of their dimensions and volumes. It manages the individual control of the servo-electric drives for all the eight hot runner valve gate systems used in this application. This means the position and speed of each individual valve pin can be finely regulated to optimise the appropriate pressures, flow rates and volumes of the melt in all three cavities. Austrian systems supplier for two-component LSRs, Elmet, says it is the first producer in this segment to offer the option to connect its multi-component dosing system TOP 5000 P to an injection press using an OPC-UA protocol. This “open platform communication” enables communication and automated information exchange from machine to machine (M2M) in real time. Consequently, Elmet says it has made it possible for its customers – without the need for a license – to integrate the dosing system into the production control system. The technology is currently fully operational with Engel machines, whilst others are at the preparation stage.
Milacron displayed iMFLUX’s real-time adaptive process controls on an all-electric machine
iMFLUX has developed a process that uses constant, low pressure to slowly fill a mould, while simultaneously packing the melt and cooling the mould as opposed to a traditional process that uses high pressure and high temperatures, and then goes to the pack-and-hold phase. At Fakuma, it was shown on an all-electric Elektron EVO155 machine running a four-cavity iMFLUX mould. Benefits include reduced cycle time, 50% lower moulding pressure, less moulded-in stress and a wider processing window. Milacron says the process is ideal for most applications, but especially advantageous for recycled materials, and can help a biomaterials/bio-resins work for many more applications. 4 NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018
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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive
Electric vehicles in full throttle Technology advancements and carbon-neutral
car industry after Germany, planning to end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, as part of an ambitious plan to meet its targets under the Paris climate accord. It is no surprise that electric car sales around the world rose by 54% in 2017, according to the International Environmental Agency (IEA). China is the world’s biggest market for EVs, with sales growing about 50% but with a small market share at 2.2%. Elsewhere in Norway, EVs have by far the world’s highest market share, but even there it is still only 6.4%, according to the IEA. Nonetheless, the Parisbased agency is optimistic about the future, adding that supportive policies and cost reductions will likely to lead to significant growth in the outlook period to 2030, when it says is expected to triple to 125 million EVs.
strategies are driving the adoption of electric
vehicles (EVs), with the market to grow at a CAGR of 22% from 2018-2025 with a value of US$567 billion, according to Allied Market Research,
especially in China, the US and Nordic countries.
Thus, the long term prospects for EVs are expected to bode well for the automotive industry, says Angelica Buan in this report.
Cutting down on carbon emissions Transportation is implicated to be the largest contributor to the carbon dioxide (CO2) build-up. In 2016, in the US, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) detailed that transport accounts for 28% of total global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of which, CO2 is one of the primary gases. Road vehicles, which account for two-thirds of the GHG emissions contributed by transport, are reported to grow twice as fast as overall CO2 emissions and by 2050, transport emissions would be between 30% to 50% of the total global emissions.
In 2016, transportation accounted for 28% of total GHG emissions in the US
Nissan’s commissioned study shows a growing trend for EVs in Asia, with the right policies and incentives
Meanwhile, a study by car maker Nissan and Frost & Sullivan provided an interesting insight on how Southeast Asian consumers are starting to be receptive to buying EVs. According to the report, Future of Electric Vehicles in Southeast Asia, covering Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, 37% of prospective buyers are open to owning an EV.
Growing preference to switch to EVs The global drive to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution, as well as a shift to renewable energies, is increasing the take-up of electric vehicles (EVs). With the need to reduce CO2 emissions, EVs are favourable since they use batteries instead of petrol or diesel, with countries like France, home to Europe’s second-biggest 5 NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018
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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Customers in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia are most keen about electric cars, if government incentives such as taxes are waived, the research showed. Other incentives that would motivate customers include more charging infrastructure in buildings, priority lanes for EVs and free parking. As well, policies geared towards the adoption and manufacture of EVs play a key role in reducing the purchase cost of the vehicle and the cost of batteries, as well as improving road performance. Companies take a shot at EVs, ramp up investments in Asia Meanwhile, Nissan is taking a leap into the EV market in China. It recently launched its Sylphy & Sylphy Zero Emission in Hainan, the first Chinese province committed to having only new EVs on its roads by 2030. The Japanese firm says the new car is the result of more than 70 years of EV R&D, and more than 25 years of battery R&D, as well as its sale of 320,000 Leaf mass-produced EVs worldwide. The firm launched its second generation Leaf in Australia, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand this year. In China, Nissan’s partner, Dongfeng Motor Company Ltd, plans to introduce 20 electrified vehicles, including EV and e-POWER, across its four brands: Nissan, Infiniti, Venucia and Dongfeng in China. Also in China, SAIC Volkswagen is building its first factory in Shanghai, equipped with over 1,400 Industry 4.0-standard robots, as well as a range of technologies including AI, AR and VR, delivering an intelligent and digitalised production plant.
Volkswagen is building the first factory specifically designed for electric vehicles in China
Together with the newly opened FAW-Volkswagen factory in Foshan, SAIC Volkswagen’s plant will produce e-cars using the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), a platform designed for mass production of electric drives, directly after the first worldwide MEB production starts in Zwickau, Germany. With a planned capacity of 300,000 vehicles/year, it will produce various new EVs, including medium and large-sized electric SUVs, as well as battery systems. The first model that will be produced in 2020 will be a Volkswagen SUV. So lucrative is the EV market that British appliance manufacturer Dyson is developing its own electric car and has selected Singapore as its manufacturing site. The plant is scheduled to be completed in 2020, with its first EV to be launched in 2021.
Dyson is building an EV facility in Singapore
Dyson plans to invest US$3.6 billion, with half of this going into battery technology and the rest into the development and construction of the vehicle. The vacuum cleaner maker first set up in Singapore 11 years ago with a small engineering team and now has 1,100 employees. It noted that the availability of engineering talent, regional supply chains and proximity to some key target markets was a consideration for setting up the EV facility in Singapore, which is one of the world’s most expensive places to do business.
Nissan recently introduced its Sylphy Zero Emission vehicle, its first EV made in China for Chinese consumers
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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Dyson has also invested ÂŁ200 million in new buildings and testing facilities for EVs at its campus at Hullavington Airfield, UK, and reiterated that the decision to locate production in Asia, rather than the UK, had nothing to do with Brexit. In terms of EV infrastructure, Singapore made moves as early as 2010 when it partnered with Germanyâ€™s Bosch to build charging stations. Then, this year, energy utilities provider SP Group said it would build 500 charging points by 2020.
Earlier this year, Solvay introduced its Technyl PAs to meet major challenges and disruptive trends such as connectivity and autonomy as hybrids, all-electric (xEV) and autonomous vehicles share a common and growing need for improved electrical and electronic components performance
Materials as enablers of EV technology Material innovation is a salient factor in the development of EVs. On the other hand, EVs are disrupting how materials are utilised to enable light weighting, connectivity, and improved functionality and performance. DowDuPont Specialty Products, a division of US-based chemicals company DowDuPont, has introduced an initiative known as the Accelerating Hybrid-Electric Autonomous Driving (AHEAD) to provide solutions for light weighting; battery pack components and assembly; thermal management/ safety; electric motors; powertrain/chassis; electrical/ electronic applications for improved automation including driver assists and self-driving capabilities; and support infrastructure (eg., plug-in and induction charging stations, etc). It will undertake this initiative utilising its products.
Belgium chemical firm Solvay Performance Polyamides has introduced a new advanced Technyl family of electro-friendly low-corroding materials, developed to meet the needs of car manufacturers. The range comprises six Technyl and Technyl Star grades offering reliable purity based on dedicated formulation and clean compounding. Two of these grades use bio-based, eco-friendly Technyl eXten technology for applications needing high temperature combined with glycol resistance. The range will be commercially available early 2019. Automotive applications requiring these solutions include electrified cooling systems, sensors and connectors, as well as high-power EV chargers. For fuel cell stack components, Technyl One has emerged as a preferred material choice, offering more value to customers when compared to polyphtalamide (PPA) compounds in terms of both in-use performance and processability, says Solvay. This material combines a near-zero ion migration potential with heat resistance, dimensional stability against hydrogen leakage, electrical insulation, high surface aspect and weldability. According to Solvay, this is the first and unique PA66based offer on the market specifically designed for fuel cell technology, for critical safety applications such as hydrogen manifolds, heater plates, humidifiers and water traps. Laser welding materials Laser transmission welding is an important joining technology in the manufacture of EV batteries. Thus, German specialty chemicals company Lanxess has expanded its range of laser-transparent PA6, PA66 as well as PBT compounds for laser transmission welding, to meet the growing demand for housings for sensors, needed for electrification of vehicle drives and for applications in driver assistance systems through to autonomous driving. Lanxess says the new compounds are characterised by a high degree of transparency for the light from the near infrared range that is commonly used in laser transmission welding. Among these new compounds is the halogen-free flameretardant Durethan AKV30FN04LT, boasting a high light transmission for laser welding at wall thicknesses of up to 1.5 mm. Three other new PAs have also been optimised for a low tendency to electro-corrosion, namely glassreinforced Durethan AKV25H3.0LT, which is suitable for components with high short-term thermal loads. Durethan
Korea Electric Terminal (KET) selected a grade from DuPont, Crastin HR HFS for its 20A 3P and 200A 2P high voltage shield connectors (HVSC), used to connect power to automotive compressors and electronic control units as well as automotive battery packs and inverters
In a related development, DuPont Transportation & Advanced Polymers (T&AP), a newly formed business segment within DowDuPontâ€™s Specialty Products Division, has introduced new PBT resins for high-voltage EV/hybrid EV connectors. Two grades are offered: a 25% glass-reinforced Crastin FR684NH1 OR162 and 30% glass-reinforced high-flow Crastin HR5330HFS OR516, which are hydrolysis-resistant, flame-retardant, nonhalogenated, and can be coloured orange for use in highvoltage connectors. 7 NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018
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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive packaging components, those that do not require external agents are less complex and more cost-efficient. Of these techniques, manufacturers often turn to laser welding as it allows for larger parts, does not require a pre-treatment and offers high-precision, repeatability and control. Traditionally, laser welding is only used with translucent or optically clear plastics. However, Covestro and Leister have extended use of this joining technique to include opaque flame-retardant Bayblend PC+ABS blend from Covestro, while achieving the same level of weld strength. Flame-retardant plastics are preferred and often required for battery enclosures as they can help prevent or delay the spread of fires, they said. Covestro says its Bayblend FR3010 PC+ABS material offers the advantages of high-impact strength, chemical and hydrolysis resistance, thermal stability, and a good balance of high-heat distortion and physical performance.
The cover of the tailgate handle system with integrated rear view camera is made from Lanxess’s non-reinforced PBT Pocan
B31SKH3.0LT, an unreinforced PA6, is predestined for components with high toughness requirements while Durethan BG30XH3.0LT is ideal for components that need to be particularly low in distortion and shrinkage – such as filigree electronics housings or connector strips. Meanwhile, polyester innovations include Pocan C1202LT and C3230LT, PBT/PC blends that feature ideal proportions of amorphous PC for laser transparency, even with thicker walls. Pocan C1202LT is already being used in the production of a tailgate handle system with waterproof sealed electronics; while a 30% glass-reinforced Pocan C3230LT is designed for as electronic housings. Despite the glass fibre reinforcement, it has low distortion and produces good surface qualities, says Lanxess. Moreover, new laser-transparent PBT grades with good hydrolysis stabilisation are well advanced in development. According to Lanxess, these materials are a challenge because additives for hydrolysis stabilisation usually reduce laser light transparency. Potential applications for the new products are geometrically complex housings of sensors and control units in the engine compartment that are exposed to moist heat. German materials maker Covestro and Leister Technologies, a specialist in plastic welding equipment, have partnered up to offer solutions for EV battery enclosures used in EVs such as new passenger vehicles, electric buses, trucks and other utility vehicles. The partners explained that batteries used in EVs must be actively cooled to function properly and retain their life span. Thus, the fluid cooling process requires airtight seals to keep fluids contained and avoid spills. While several joining methods can be used to weld plastic battery
Success of market pinned on support For electric cars to be successful, Nissan has reiterated the need for collaboration among automotive makers, governments, and other stakeholders as key to accelerating electrification in Asia. According to the Head of Nissan’s electric vehicle business unit Nicholas Thomas, creating the right environment to enable customers to switch to EVs is of importance. “What we are going to see is a crossover – a point very soon where battery electric vehicles are going to cross over with internal combustion engine vehicles, and battery electric vehicles are going to become cheaper,” Thomas was quoted as having said recently. Thus, it can be seen that the market is on a growth trajectory. Even so, commercial vehicles will continue to run on diesel for the foreseeable future, according to new research from business information provider IHS Markit. It says that 60% of new medium and heavy commercial vehicles sold in the US will be fueled by diesel (diesel and diesel hybrid) in 2040, compared to nearly 80% today. It expects that increases in fuel economy will play a major role in keeping diesel competitive versus alternative powertrains. However, the report on trucks indicates a 15% CAGR for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the US, as adoption rates increase in medium-duty trucks, driven by advancements in battery technology allowing for more mainstream adoption. The study also says regulations banning diesel use inside of city centres will allow for more rapid adoption of BEV, hybrid and fuel cell trucks, with European markets to experience faster adoption. Overall sales of medium and heavy-duty trucks in China will begin to taper to 2040 as the industry becomes more organised and mature. Adoption rates of alternative powertrains will start a bit slower than in Japan, US, and the EU, but will grow quickly as the technology is proven, says IHS.
Leister Technologies’s laser welding process can be used to join and seal fluid-cooled batteries made of Covestro’s Bayblend material
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Injection Moulding Asia Packaging
Impact of the caffeine fix on the environment Against the back of the growth of the coffee culture
and shelf impact dictating high-barrier specifications for capsules. Compatibles that were formerly of mono-layer PP and PBT capsules are now being re-specified with high-barrier technologies including co-extrusion, thermoforming, co-injection, barrier IML, barrier coatings, and barrier compression moulding.
and convenience of capsules, comes the pressure on brand owners to introduce more sustainable, easyto-recycle, biodegradable and compostable coffee capsules.
Pressure for compostable/degradable capsules AMI says that with an increasing number of capsules lying in landfills, brand owners are reviewing materials used to find more environmentally sustainable and cost-effective alternatives, as well as to explore end-of-life solutions. Recently, the European Parliament revealed a sweeping ban on single-use plastic items such as disposable plastic plates, plastic straws and cotton swabs by 2021. In Canada, which is a great coffee-drinking nation, legislation was introduced this year requiring all single-use capsules sold in British Columbia to be compostable. Another state, Ontario, is looking at enforcing similar laws. Thus, sustainable coffee capsules are rapidly growing, especially since the comfort and convenience of capsules is imminent as it caters to the coffee cravings of millennials. Nespresso says that since 1991, when it created its capsule recycling programme in Switzerland, it has collaborated with global partners to find solutions. It claims that it is able to retrieve 80% of all its capsules sold, which are made of aluminium and thus are recyclable. As part of its 2020 commitment, it is also starting to convert end-of-life capsules into new capsule material. While the inventor of Keurig’s K-Cups has been quoted as having said that he regrets his creation because of the waste it generates, Keurig, which commands the largest share of the US market (29%), says it is working on making all its capsules recyclable by 2020, having changed the plastic it uses from PE to the more recyclable PP.
Single-serve coffee capsules on growth path Single-serve capsules have a complex value chain in the market; this is because there are several coffee brewing systems like Nespresso and Keurig Green Mountain with proprietary capsule designs and the highest machine installed rates globally. However, the expiry of their design patents in 2012 brought about disruptive changes in the supply chain. While these changes created new opportunities for both-end users and converters to tap into this growing market segment, the supply chain of capsules is rapidly losing its oligopolistic nature and the former dominance of major suppliers is challenged as the market expands. A more fragmented supply chain affects the overall profit pool and the way consumers make their choices. This is according to research firm AMI Consulting that has collaborated with Plastic Technologies Inc to publish a report on the single-serve beverage industry. AMI estimates the volume of all compatible plastic and aluminium capsules in 2018 as equivalent to 23% of the singleserve capsules market worldwide, which is driven by Nespresso, K-Cup, and Nestlé’s Nescafé Dolce Gusto machines in households. AMI estimates the volume of all There are around 200 compatible plastic and aluminium Nespresso-compatible capsules in 2018 as equivalent to 23% of the single-serve capsules market plastic capsule designs, worldwide but only 10% are of quality, says AMI. Nespresso has changed its design elements cyclically, and compatibles suppliers are forced to catch up. Meanwhile, anti-trust laws require Nestlé to make its design adjustments publicly available, with a lead time of six months to allow for fair competition. Thus, compatible single-serve capsules have become popular among consumers and are often accepted as good alternatives. With the popularisation of mainstream brands, there is a need to differentiate and add value, with quality
Composting as opposed to recycling Nevertheless, recycling of coffee capsules is a hassle as it involves removing individual components like the aluminium foil top, plastic films, coffee grounds (which make a great compost material for gardens, etc), plastic capsule shell, paper filter, etc. The above is a reason that compostable barrier capsule solutions were introduced in 2012, with materials suppliers like Germany-based BASF having turned around BASF’s Ecovio was first commercialised their products for for use in coffee capsules by Swiss Coffee coffee capsules. 9
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Injection Moulding Asia Packaging In 2013, BASF teamed up with Swiss Coffee Company to launch the Beanarella capsule range using BASF’s certified and fully compostable Ecovio material to form the capsules. Ecovio had been on the market for a few years before that and was mainly used for mulch agriculture films and plastic bags. Thus, BASF had to overcome a few key challenges, to convert the material for use in coffee capsules. Another packaging player RPC Bebo has also used Ecovio to develop its coffee capsule. RPC says that “within 12 weeks of industrial composting only a minor amount of capsule material is left thanks to the decomposition, which is assisted by the coffee itself.” More recently, Italian food packaging firm Flo introduced Gea, an industrially compostable coffee capsule created in partnership with US material supplier NatureWorks’s Ingeo PLA. The companies claim it is the first capsule in the world that combines compostability, oxygen barrier and an improved taste and aroma. Flo also says that compared to competitors currently on the market, Gea addresses market requests for material ageing stability Flo says its in an industrially industrially compostable compostable coffee format. “Being able to count on capsule was created in partnership with NatureWorks a capsule that does not show signs of ageing in a few months, and is the result of a two-year joint development process but is shelf stable for years, is a huge value for coffee roasters,” explained Flo’s Marketing Director Erika Simonazzi. Ingeo is a renewably sourced polymer that is certified for industrial composting systems, according to global standards such as EN-13432 (EU) and ASTM D6400-04 (US). Flo adds that its new capsule technology platform is fully approved for food contact and is now in final testing by TÜV Austria and the Italian Composting and Biogas Association (CIC) for compostability certification. Previously, Flo had also been making capsules of singlelayer PP and PP/EVOH/ PP with an oxygen barrier layer. Since Australia is big on the coffee culture, a lot of new technology is arising from the country. Mad Coffee Capsules claims its 100% Mad Coffee has developed a next compostable capsule generation IML barrier capsule, is the first on the which it says has an extended shelf market to be awarded life of 18 months
the certifications “OK Compost” and “OK Biobased”, confirming the compostability, not only of the material, but of all the components of the finished product (capsule + coffee + lids + adhesive). The market has also been encouraged with improvements to components of capsules like the nitrogenflushed packaging sleeve to keep the coffee fresh, which is also compostable now. This is what Australian company Capsule Pack offers in its BioCap capsules, which it says “are made from a patented sugarcane-based composite”. Queensland-based Capsule Pack, which was established in 2013 as a contract packer to service Australia’s need for locally packed coffee capsules, says even if the used BioCaps are thrown in regular waste, where they may end up on a landfill, recycling unit, or incinerator, “they will have less impact on the environment than plastic capsules”.
Capsule Pack says the capsules degrade after ten weeks of composting in an industrial compost
To compost or not to compost Meanwhile, the idea of composting capsules may not be favourable for everyone, especially when companies indicate it should only be done in industrial composting facilities. Early this year, a resident in the US, in Kansas City, sued Cameron’s Coffee and Kauai Coffee on the grounds that they had made “false, deceptive and misleading” claims that they are selling “100% compostable pods.” The suit went on to say that the pods are “only compostable in commercial composting facilities” and that this was not available in the city. Thus, when coffee capsules are not certified for composting in one’s backyard and there are no industrial facilities in the vicinity, these capsules end up on landfills. There is a growing concern that environmentally friendly materials are outpacing the processing capabilities of most landfills. For example, California, in the US, has enforced laws to regulate the labelling of degradable plastic products sold in the state, including those claimed to be “compostable” or “biodegradable,” since all of these end up on landfills. Hence, more developments are required for capsules not to end up as an eyesore on landfills. Or, perhaps, it may drive consumers to resort to drip coffee/paper filters or simply go back to the old-fashioned way of boiling a kettle to make a coffee to cut down on the waste generated! 10
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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • Paris-based private equity firm Jolt Capital has pumped in EUR15 million into Germanybased 4JET GmbH, joining shareholders e-Capital, a Münster-based alternative investment fund manager, and CEO/Founder Jörg Jetter to further scale up the company. 4JET develops process technology and integrated production systems for laser-based surface processing with a focus on technical glass, automotive components and tyres. • Speciality chemicals company Cabot has acquired NSCC Carbon (Jiangsu) from Nippon Steel Carbon, a subsidiary of Nippon Steel Chemical & Material and the carbon black manufacturing facility in Pizhou, Jiangsu Province, China, with a capacity of 50,000 tonnes/ year, which was originally commissioned in 2015. Terms were not disclosed but the purchase price, which is payable upon satisfaction of certain conditions, and the equipment and technology upgrades to the plant are expected to result in spending of US$50 million over the next two years. • Minnesota Rubber and Plastics (MRP), is to be acquired by KKR, a global investment firm, from Norwest Equity Partners (NEP), a Minneapolisbased middle-market equity investment firm. This transaction marks KKR’s second acquisition of a middle-market business in the industrial sector and is being funded through KKR’s Americas
XII Fund. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. MRP offers elastomer and thermoplastic solutions for medical, water, industrial and other end markets globally. • Swedish polymers firm Hexpol has acquired 80% equity in Mesgo Group from the existing main owner Francesco Caldara and co-owners for EUR168 million. Mesgo supplies fluorocarbons and silicones and also specialises in conventional rubber compounds and thermoplastics. Mesgo’s facilities are in Carobbio and Gorlago in Italy and in Poland and Turkey, where it has a production capacity of 12,000 tonnes/year for silicone rubber. Organic rubber compounds are produced in the Carobbio plant, which has a production capacity of 15,000 tonnes/ year, and two production lines for black and coloured compounds. FKM compounds are produced in Gorlago with a production capacity of 3,000 tonnes/year. • US tyre company Cooper Tire & Rubber Company’s partner in the Chinabased Qingdao Ge Rui Da Rubber Co. (GRT) truck and bus radial (TBR) tyre production joint venture will change its name to Sailun Jinyu Group Co. The latter firm has signed a share transfer agreement with Qingdao Yiyuan Investment Co. (QYI) to acquire QYI’s 35% interest in GRT, subject to government approval. Cooper owns 65% of GRT
and has been a partner in the joint venture since 2016. • From 2019, Safic-Alcan, a French independent distributor of speciality chemicals, will extend its exclusive agreement with rubber maker Arlanxeo for existing Keltan distribution in France. Arlanxeo has a partnership with SaficAlcan for Italy, Benelux, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Czech Republic. • South Korea’s second largest tyre maker Kumho Tire Co has signed a tenyear technology transfer agreement with Pakistan’s Century Engineering, which is essentially involved in producing car batteries. In the deal that will run through September 2028, Kumho Tire will transfer technology required to manufacture 28 different types of tyres for passenger and commercial vehicles to Century. Kumho Tire will initially receive US$5 million from Century for transferring its basic tyre manufacturing technology and 2.5% of the Pakistani firm’s annual sales over a period of ten years. Century, which has been looking at diversifying its product range, says the tyre plant will have a capacity of 5 million units. • Chinese tyre maker Jiangsu General Science Technology Co. is setting up its planned US$300 million tyre plant in Thailand instead of Cambodia. The reason the firm said was that it would be able to tap on cheaper
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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News raw material costs in Thailand since the country is the world’s largest rubber producer. The plant will have a capacity of 1 million truck and bus tyres/year and 6 million passenger car tyres/year. When in full capacity, the facility will contribute US$320 million in revenue. It also said it is investing US$80 million to set up a Thai subsidiary in line with its set up of its first facility abroad. • Japanese firm Yokohama Tire Corp. (YTC) has opened a new tyre R&D facility in Cornelius, North Carolina, US. The 25,000-sq-ft building in Mecklenburg County, replaces the temporary R&D office Yokohama had utilised in Concord, North Carolina, since 2016. The US facility is Yokohama’s largest overseas R&D centre in terms of its function and number of employees. • Camso, a US manufacturer and distributor of off-road tyres, wheels, rubber tracks and undercarriage systems to serve the material handling, construction, agricultural and powersports industries, has inaugurated its new manufacturing facility in Peosta, Iowa. The new assembly facility has been in operation since October 2017. • German specialty chemicals Evonik Industries has started up a precipitated silica plant for the tyre industry in South Carolina, US. It has invested an estimated US$120 million in this world-
scale production plant. The automotive sector needs highly dispersible precipitated silica for production of tyres with improved rolling resistance and better wet grip. • Russian Mining Chemical Company has started the production of high active magnesium oxide at the recently opened third processing plant in Vyazma (Smolensk region, Russia). MagPro is manufactured on a new calcination line that was constructed in Germany. Micronised grades of magnesium oxide are most widely used in the production of halogencontaining synthetic rubbers. • Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe, a subsidiary of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is entering a consultation period to explore ceasing light vehicle tyre production at its Melksham site in Wiltshire, UK, over a period of ten months. Subject to consultation, light vehicle tyres currently produced in Melksham may be obtained by Cooper Tire Europe from other sites within Cooper’s global manufacturing footprint to meet customer needs. • Germany’s Continental has shifted its hose plant in Qingdao, China, to the Qingdao Sino-German Ecopark in Shangdong province. With a total investment of EUR30 million and an area of approximately 84,000 sq m, the plant produces hoses and mobile fluid system solutions for passenger cars and commercial vehicles.
• Tyre maker Bridgestone’s Canadian subsidiary is constructing an automated warehouse at its Canadian passenger and light truck tyre manufacturing facility in Joliette, Québec. The investment, estimated at US$45 million, will further enhance the plant with a maximum storage capacity of 500,000 tyres and fully automated technology to store the tyres manufactured at the Joliette plant. The new facility is expected to open in early 2020. This investment builds upon the expansion and modernisation of the Joliette plant announced in 2016. This five-year, US$250 million project is progressing as the factory gradually increases its daily production, targeting 20,000 tyres/day by 2020. • French tyre maker Michelin’s Canadian subsidiary has two new projects at its Michelin Pictou County site. Production will soon begin on a new winter tyre line along with the North American launch of an innovative process for semi-finished materials. These projects, valued at US$9 million and US$12 million respectively, will add 150 new positions at the site, and will make permanent 200 temporary positions that were slated previously to end in 2020. The new tyre line — its brand name has not yet been announced — will begin production in the fall of 2019 and will be available for consumers in 2020.
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Rubber Journal Asia Latex
Sustainable rubber against commodity-driven deforestation As the global natural rubber market hits
Growth comes at expense of biodiversity There is, however, a lacklustre side to the all-time growth trajectory of the rubber market as it has been found to contribute to the degradation of forests and wildlife, the extent of which had not been visualised clearly until the 2015 study undertaken by the UK-based research institution University of East Anglia (UAE). It summed up how the tyre industryâ€™s demand for NR is jeopardising protected areas in Southeast Asia. The study covered four biodiversity hotspots in which rubber plantations are expanding, including the Sundaland (Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Bali), Indo-Burma (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, most of Myanmar and Thailand, and parts of Southwest China, including Xishuangbanna and Hainan Island), Wallacea (Indonesian islands east of Bali and Borneo but west of New Guinea, including Timor Leste), and the Philippines. It was estimated that by 2024, up to 8.5 million ha of additional rubber plantations will be required to meet demand for NR. Southeast Asia, which accounts for over 91% of global rubber production, is at the epicentre of expanding rubber plantations. The region is not the worldâ€™s largest rubber coffer for nothing: its climate and soil conditions are conducive to cultivating rubber. Serving the burgeoning global tyre industry, some of its tracts of lands, even those within the protected zones, have been converted to rubber plantations. Protected areas have already been lost to rubber plantations, according to the report, citing Snoul Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia as proof, where 70% of its 75,000 ha breadth was cleared for rubber between 2009-2013. Conversions of the forest areas into rubber plantations have endangered animals including primates and carnivores, as well as contributing to the decimation of small insects like beetles, bats and birds in the wild.
record growth, how does this relate to the
environment? Experts and tyre companies weigh in on the environmental impact of
rubber demand to work on solutions, says Angelica Buan in this article.
Tyres driving the growth of NR More tyres means more demand for natural rubber (NR), and this demand-supply dynamics is related to expanding rubber plantations particularly across major rubber producer countries. There is no doubt that tyres are large consumers of NR. A typical car tyre contains approximately 1.35 kg to 19% of NR; while heavy trucks can contain as much as 23 kg to 40% of NR. Thus, about 70% of the total global NR output goes into producing tyres. By 2026, the global tyre market is expected to cross US$190 billion, growing at a CAGR of over 3% from 2018, Transparency Market Research notes in its report.
The growth of the tyre industry, a large consumer of natural rubber, has been linked to the degradation of forests and wildlife
The Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC), in its Natural Rubber Trends & Statistics report in September 2018, reported an increased 6.6% to 10.7 million tonnes year-over-year global consumption of NR from January-September this year. During the same period, the world production recorded 9.8 million tonnes. In an earlier report published in May, ANRPC forecasts global production to cross 14.2 million tonnes, while global consumption is poised to reach to 14.3 million tonnes during 2018.
Protected areas such as the Snoul Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia, have already been lost to rubber plantations, a report said
3 NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018
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Rubber Journal Asia Latex Taking advocacy to a global level The role of industry players, to commit to sustainable sourcing of rubber, has never been more relevant. The latest bi-annually published report from the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), Living Planet Report 2018, showed a 60% decline in the size of populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians between 1970-2014 or in just over 40 years due to human activities, including “habitat loss and degradation and the excessive use of wildlife such as overfishing and overhunting”. Having said this, WWF underscored that rubber production can actually contribute to increasing “biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation” when done “responsibly”, meaning, no clearing of natural forests. The industry players across the value chain, including automotive makers, fleet operators, airlines, tyre suppliers, processors, and others, must also adopt sustainably and ethically produced rubber policies, amid the absence of industry-wide standards or a third-party certification system for latex from rubber trees.
Two global initiatives have been launched to advance sustainability throughout the tyre industry - the IRSG’s SNR-i launched in 2015; and the GPSNR, launched in October this year
The development of GPSNR was started in November 2017 by the CEOs from 11 company-members of Tire Industry Project (TIP). The CEO-led TIP operates under the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and is designed to advance sustainability throughout the tyre industry. Stakeholders including tyre manufacturers, other rubber users, suppliers and processors, vehicle makers and NGOs, contributed to the development of the GPSNR. The GPSNR will work to harmonise standards to improve respect for human rights, prevent landgrabbing and deforestation, protect biodiversity and water resources, improve yields, and increase supply chain transparency and traceability. To be headquartered in Singapore, a dedicated GPSNR secretariat will start operations in March 2019 with an inaugural GPSNR General Assembly. Meanwhile, the IRSG-initiated SNR-i has been developed under the framework of the Singaporeheadquartered inter-governmental organisation comprising rubber producing and consuming stakeholders, as a voluntary and collaborative industry project to ensure that the rubber industry can build on its best practices plus demonstrate and communicate throughout the N R value chain. The working group members comprise government representatives from Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, India and Sri Lanka; intergovernmental organisations including the ANRPC and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); rubber industry associations, downstream industry, producers, and traders. The members developed an Action Plan to explain the factors driving this initiative and brought forward proposals for its design and implementation. The Action Plan defined a set of five value chain criteria for a voluntary verification system targeted on wide stakeholder participation. From these criteria, indicators have been developed for implementation of SNR-i that may allow organisations to participate in this voluntary initiative on a self-certification basis. As of 2017, SNR-i has signed-up 43 self-declared organisations.
The latter was also suggested by the UAE researchers based from their report findings. Sustainability certification that can distinguish rubbers sourced from deforested lands – which are observed to be misleadingly marketed as eco-friendly alternatives to oil-based materials, and those that are ethically sourced. Two known global initiatives have been launched – the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG)’s Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative (SNR-i) launched in 2015; and the more recent Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR), launched in October this year.
Tyre makers moving towards sustainable procurement French tyre maker Michelin was the first to commit to responsible rubber sourcing; announcing its new sourcing policy for NR as early as 2016, as it formed an alliance with the WWF. The policy, pledged to the SNR-i initiative, highlights deforestation and human and labour rights, supply chain transparency, community farm development, and tyre efficiency. Michelin says that the NR it uses comes exclusively from plantations that fully comply with the “zero deforestation” principles. As well, it ensures that its operations related to NR cultivation, harvesting and processing do not have any adverse effect on surface
4 NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018
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Rubber Journal Asia Latex such as sharing the know-how accumulated through its “Forever Forest Project” to support compliance throughout the supply chain. The said project involving manufacturing-related branches in Japan and overseas has targeted the planting of around 500,000 young seedlings by 2017, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the company. Yokohama is the seventh major global tyre maker to announce publicly a sustainable NR sourcing policy. Germany-headquartered technology firm Continental also recently bared its sustainable NR policy, which points out six areas for development, namely engaging with suppliers and farmers; stakeholder engagement; increasing traceability; saving resources; recycling; and identification of alternative N R supply sources. The above indicates Continental’s monumental role in research projects on Taraxagum rubber derived from Russian dandelion plants, which can also be grown in temperate regions using existing agricultural land and thereby helping to substantially reduce the distances raw material has to travel to some of its major production sites. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s version of its NR procurement policy, which was announced in April this year, has a similar train of commitment to responsible sourcing, to address deforestation, land grabbing, and human rights in the areas of the world where NR is produced. Goodyear, one of the world’s largest tyre companies, with 48 manufacturing facilities in 22 countries worldwide, is also a member of the TIP. South Korean tyre maker Hankook’s sustainable NR policy aims to demand for compliance with laws and regulations, and code of ethics among members of the NR value chain of the country in where it operates its businesses. Along the same token, the company declared that it will demand for protecting the environment and minimising the environmental impact of its business by avoiding use of HCV areas, the HCS areas, and peatlands for t h e cultivating NR. Additionally, Hankook stressed against deforestation and land grabbing “for biodiversity, and minimise impacts on local communities, as well as conservation of natural resources to maintain sustainability.” As well, Hankook plans to help improve the overall quality of life of the NR growers, generally smallholders, and to upgrade productivity and quality of NR. The company was listed in Dow Jones Sustainability Indices World (DJSI World), the world’s foremost sustainability and investment assessment index, for three consecutive years from 2016-2018, proving its status as a representative company of sustainability management.
Michelin ensures that the natural rubber it uses comes exclusively from plantations that fully comply with its “zero deforestation” guideline
water or groundwater resources. A key point is its compliance to standards and regulations in the use of chemical products, as well as ensuring the conservative use of chemical inputs. Ohio-headquartered Cooper Tire, a member of the TIP, is also a founding member of GPSNR. “Cooper believes that a coordinated, universal and standard industry approach is the right way to drive toward solutions in establishing and promoting sustainable natural rubber practices,” said Chuck Yurkovich, Senior Vice President, Cooper Tire Global R&D. Japan-headquartered Yokohama Rubber Co Ltd (YRC), a signatory in SNR-i and a part of the TIP, has waxed a procurement policy to ensure NR sustainability within its supply chain. The policy also includes initiatives specific to the Japanese group,
Yokohama’s Forever Forest project targeted to plant around 500,000 young seedlings by 2017. Shown is the tree planting activity in Otsuchicho in 2012 under this programme
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