A S l A â€™ S L E A D l N G m aga z l ne f o r t h e p las t l c s and r u b b e r l nd u s t r y
In this issue
Volume 28, No 202
publlshed slnce 1985
A S l A’ S L E A D l N G m aga z l ne f o r the plastlcs and rubber lndustry
Features 焦 點 內 容
Publisher Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 Email: email@example.com
14 材料新聞:K2013 綠色科技 16 Front Cover Feature
At the recently concluded K2013 show in Düsseldorf, Germany, ExxonMobil Chemical was running its polymers on leading extrusion machinery, especially to showcase the benefits of using its Exceed and Enable metallocene polyethylene (mPE) resins to produce co-extruded film structures for demanding applications
20 Additives & Masterbatches
With the enhancement of additive technologies, plastics have significantly improved in terms of performance, recyclability and usability
22 Extrusion, Converting, Auxiliary & Recycling Machinery
This post-report on the German K2013 show spotlights an array of innovations in the machinery segment. And though the show may have had a slightly lower visitorship, machinery makers were enthusiastic about the response received
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2 Industry News
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6 Materials News
MCI (P) 029/08/2013 Printer KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd
8 Composites News
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Supplements 副 刊 Despite the light dimming on the iconic US motor city Detroit, the global automotive industry is bracing itself for an optimistic demand ahead Ongoing R&D on latex is expected to make it a more efficient and safer barrier material for gloves PRINT+DIGITAL
A S l A’ S L E A D l N G M A G A Z l N E F O R THE PLASTlCS AND RUBBER lNDUSTRY
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On the Cover ExxonMobil Chemical’s flagship mPE technology enables films to make strides in highly demanding end-use applications
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NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013
M&As and Tie-ups • German speciality chemical company Atlanta is buying the clay additives business of US firm Rockwood for US$635 million. Rockwood is also selling five other non-strategic assets, including its titanium dioxide pigment operations, to Huntsman. • India-based flexible packaging films producer Jindal Poly Films has completed the acquisition of ExxonMobil Global’s BOPP films business for US$235 million. It covers five BOPP production sites in the US and Europe, and also includes a technology centre and sales offices in New York and Luxembourg. • Canadian speciality label and packaging solutions provider CCL Industries is acquiring the assets of Advanced Packaging Films, which operates from Germany, for US$9 million. • Austria-based polyolefins/chemical supplier Borealis has sold its proprietary melamine high pressure process technology and its newly developed super-high pressure process technology to Urea Casale of Switzerland. But Borealis will continue to produce melamine in Austria and Germany.
• US-based Dow Chemical has sold its PP licensing and catalysts business for US$500 million to WR Grace & Co, which makes speciality catalysts and additives. The sale is a part of Dow's plan to sell non-core businesses worth about US$1.5 billion by next year. • Private equity firm Advent International has sold oxo chemical maker Oxea to Oman Oil Company (OOC), an entity owned by the Government of the Sultanate of Oman. Oxea has an output of 1.3 million tonnes and sales of EUR1.5 billion last year. The company was formed by merging two separate business units that Advent acquired in 2007 from Celanese and Degussa (now Evonik). • Scotland-based vacuum-formed components maker Plas-Tech Thermoforming has acquired specialist injection moulder Protomould, based in Kirkcaldy, Fife. The takeover will enable the two companies to combine their tooling services and offer thermoforming and injection moulding expertise. • Surteco SE, a manufacturer of surface materials based on plastics and technical papers for the international construction and furniture industry,
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plans to take over all the shares in the companies of the Süddekor Group. • Rigid packaging maker Silgan Holdings has completed its acquisition of closure maker Portola Packaging for US266 million. • Global specialist for profile tooling Greiner ToolTec is taking over the business of P-Extrusionstechnik. Shareholders, Siegfried and Dieter Politsch, intend to pull out of the profile extrusion industry completely following a transition phase. • Invista, a US-based integrated producer of polymers and fibres, and UK-based industrial biotechnology firm Ingenza are developing new technologies to enable bio-derived processes for the production of industrial chemicals. • Japanese firm Teijin together with South Korean chemical producer SK Chemicals will produce and sell polyphenylene sulphide (PPS) resins and compounds in South Korea. Construction of a 12,000-tonne/year PPS resin plant has started. • Malaysia’s Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGV) expects to become the first company in the
world to pioneer and produce high grade carbon nanotubes and graphene from by-products of crude palm oil and other hydrocarbons. It has tied up with UK-based Cambridge Nanosystems, a spin-off from the University of Cambridge, and may acquire 70% share equity of Cambridge Nanosystems. • Indian businessman Sunil Kumar, who was the former President/ CEO of International Specialty Products (ISP), has teamed up with his daughter Monica Kumar to purchase Nylon Corp. of America (Nycoa). Nycoa, which has sales of about US$40 million a year, is a producer of speciality grades of nylon and compounds. Last year, Kumar bought thermoforming firm Universal Plastics. • Mexican chemicals company Mexichem is building a US$1.5 billion 550,000 tonne/ year-ethylene cracker in Texas, US, in a joint venture with Occidental Chemical It will start up in 2017. • US-based chemicals firm DuPont is planning to spinoff its Performance Chemicals segment, which includes the Titanium Technologies and Chemicals & Fluoroproducts (Teflon) businesses to its shareholders by 2015.
INDUSTRY NEWS • Chevron Phillips Chemicals has sold its PS plant located in Zhangjiagang, China, to Grand Astor. Terms were not disclosed. • Canadian injection moulding machine maker Husky Injection Molding Systems, which is owned by Berkshire Partners and Omers Private Equity, has acquired Switzerland-based medical/ closure mould maker Schöttli Group from investment firm CGS. Husky also bought Austrian closure mould maker KTW Group in 2011. • US-based Ametek, a manufacturer of electronic instruments and electro-
mechanical devices, has acquired Canadian firm Creaform, a developer of portable 3D measurement technologies and 3D engineering services, for US$120 million. • US-based Solvay Specialty Polymers is acquiring a financial interest in Canadian developer of composite materials Aonix Advanced Materials, to accelerate the commercialisation of massproduced, thermoplastic composites (TPCs) made of Solvay’s polymers for enduse markets like mobile electronics, automotive, oil and gas, and sporting goods.
Plant/Office set-ups • US firm Huntsman has opened a US$40 million Asia Pacific Technology Centre (ATC) in Shanghai, China. It includes machine halls, laboratories and offices and can accommodate up to 400 technical experts.
• Germany-based materials company BASF has started up a tailor-made polyamide co-extrusion line for packaging and technical films at its Ludwigshafen site. The line can produce cast and blown films with up to seven layers.
• Inergy Automotive Systems, a subsidiary of French automotive parts supplier Plastic Omnium, has set up a US$110 million plant in the US that will produce 1.5 million plastic fuel tanks a year.
• American speciality chemicals firm Elevance Renewable Sciences is proceeding with the next stage of its US$30 million world-scale biorefinery in the US, to expand production of its Inherent renewable building blocks. Elevance has also started up its first world-scale biorefinery in Asia, a 180,000 tonne joint venture with Wilmar International located in Indonesia.
• US-based producer of PA66, Ascend Performance Materials has started up a 30,000tonne compounding line in Pensacola, Florida. Since 2005, Ascend has more than doubled its resin capacity. • Japanese materials supplier Teijin has set up a subsidiary in Thailand that will produce and sell newly developed meta-aramid fibre starting in July 2015. It will also serve as a sales base for the Teijin’s proprietary Panlite polycarbonate resin.
• Italian rotomoulding machine maker Persico has expanded its operations in China by purchasing the mould making division of Chinese company EPL, which has a facility near Ningbo. Meanwhile, Persico has also set up a subsidiary in the US, by acquiring Detroitbased Autoplas Systems.
• German materials firm BASF has completed the expansion of its antioxidant capacity in Jurong Island in Singapore. • Chevron Phillips Chemical has received approval to execute its US Gulf Coast (USGC) Petrochemicals Project, first announced in March 2011. Included in the project is a 1.5 million-tonne/year ethane cracker and two new PE facilities, each with a capacity of 500,000 tonnes/ year. Start-up will be in 2017. • French chemicals producer Arkema has inaugurated its first R&D Centre located in China, to support customers in Asia. It also has a technical centre in Japan. • US provider of specialised materials PolyOne is setting up a facility in Pune, India, to manufacture solid masterbatch, liquid colourants and additives. It is expected to open in the first quarter of 2014. • Malaysiaheadquartered natural chemicals producer Emery Oleochemicals recently opened a technical centre in Loxstedt, Germany, to serve its green polymer additives business. It is part of a EUR20 million
investment that include facility expansions at Loxstedt to a capacity of 40,000 tonnes/year by the end of this year.
In Italy, Persico has purchased an area of 39,000 sq m near its present facility, to expand its operations.
• Germanyheadquartered Styrolution is to construct a line for alpha methyl styrene acrylonitrile (AMSAN) at its site in Mexico, for its ASA and high-heat Novodur ABS products. It will commence in 2014. Styrolution and Braskem are also exploring a 100,000 tonne joint venture plant to produce ABS and copolymers in Brazil. • Swiss speciality chemicals firm Clariant has opened its new EUR100 million Clariant Innovation Centre (CIC) in Frankfurt, Germany. The 36,000 sq m global hub for R&D houses application and analytical laboratories. • Dow Polyurethanes, a business of Dow Chemical, will add on a 165,000-tonne/ year polyether polyols facility at its site in Map Ta Phut, Thailand. In the US, it will debottleneck its polyol and copolymer capacity at its Texas facility. • Japanese injection moulding machine maker Nissei Plastic Industrial has set up a sales subsidiary for the Indian market. Nissei Plastic India is the tenth overseas sales subsidiary established by the firm.
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013
• US speciality materials company Celanese is expanding its polyacetal (POM) manufacturing footprint with its joint venture Polyplastics in Malaysia, Korea Engineering Plastics (KEP) in South Korea, and Sabic in Saudi Arabia. • US-based speciality chemicals firm Chemtura Corporation has opened a multipurpose facility in China for petroleum additive and urethane products. • German additives maker Baerlocher has set up a laboratory in the US to cater to the market. It has also set up a 35,000-tonne/ year plant for stearic acids in Brazil, while in Turkey it is building a 40,000-tonne/year facility in Akhisar, for both calcium-based and lead stabiliser additive one-packs. The plant will start-up by 2014 • US producer of PA66 Invista Engineering Polymers has added on 22,000tonne capacity at its Chattanooga plant. Last year, it acquired a compounding and recycling manufacturing facility in Born, the Netherlands. • Bond-Laminates, a wholly owned subsidiary of speciality chemicals company Lanxess, is expanding production capacity for its Tepex fibre composite at its Brilon
site, Germany, by around 75% in the period up to summer 2014. A total of 1,300 sq m is being added to the building complex, comprising a new production hall and supplementary storage areas and office space. • Versalis, Eni's chemical subsidiary, and South Korean petrochemicals firm Lotte Chemical, are to set up a joint venture elastomers plant in Yeosu to produce butadiene and ethylene propylenederived products with a total capacity of 200,000 tonnes/year. • Japanese chemicals firm Mitsui Chemicals and Itoh Oil Chemical have entered into a joint venture with India's Jayant Agro-Organics to produce castor oilbased biopolyols in India. Mitsui is also expanding its PP output by 21,000 tonnes in the US and 13,000 tonnes in Mexico to meet the growing demands of the automotive sector. • Canadian composites materials maker Aonix Advanced Materials is establishing a solutions centre and business development headquarters in Taichung, Taiwan, to promote its UltraMaterials thermoplastic composites to electronics and sporting goods processors in Taiwan and in Asia.
European companies facing tough times
he slower economy in Europe has had its effects on some chemical companies. Germanybased Evonik is aiming to reduce its administrative costs by EUR250 million/ year from 2016. The number of executive board members will be reduced from six to four, thereby also completing the firmâ€™s transition to a listed group. The firm is also cutting an unspecified number of jobs. Meanwhile, compatriot Bayer MaterialScience's
BMS will be sold, Dekkers said he sees no pressing need for such a deal. Another firm that has posted a lower profit reach in the third quarter, against the backdrop of weak demand from the automotive/tyre industry, is Lanxess. The Germany-based speciality chemicals firm has started implementing its efficiency improvement programme, comprising cost savings, a global headcount reduction of about 1,000 by
(BMS) margins are under pressure, due to an overcapacity and high energy/ raw material costs, CEO Marijn Dekkers said recently. He said the company is in talks with labour representatives, but did not specify if job cuts were part of the plan, stating only of measures that will be "small adjustmentsâ€? and will take place over the next three to four years. And though analysts have speculated
the end of 2015 and portfolio adjustments. Lanxess expects to generate savings of EUR100 million/year from 2015 onward. It is also exploring strategic options for units that do not belong to its main business, which account for about EUR500 million/ year in sales. These include the PerlonMonofil line, rubber accelerators and antioxidants and nitrile butadiene rubber. The affected sites are in Germany, Belgium, the US, India, France and China.
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GREEN Materials News 6
K2013 green technology The volume and types of thermoplastic materials derived from renewable resources have been growing for several years, thus it is no surprise that sustainable technology was a focus at the recently concluded K2013 plastics show. • American firm Addivant, the former antioxidant and UV stabiliser business of Chemtura, has commercialised its Polybond 6009 and 6029, the company’s first polymer modifiers derived from renewable resources, developed to act as coupling agents or compatibilisers in formulations where high renewable content raw materials are desired. The additives are said to both contain greater than 95% renewable content raw materials and allow for enhanced mechanical and physical properties resulting from the chemical coupling of the polar and non-polar components of the formulation. In addition, these materials can be used as a tie layer in multi-layer extruded applications where a high renewable content is desired. The grades complement a growing portfolio of Addivant additives developed from renewable resources that include Genox phenol-free stabilisers, derived from rapeseed oil, that function as both a primary and secondary antioxidant to offer melt flow and colour protection during polyolefin processing.
• Speciality chemicals firm Perstorp also focused on non-phthalate plasticisers. It introduced Pevalen, developed specifically for sensitive close-to-consumer applications. It is said to display excellent UV stability making it a perfect choice in applications exposed to sunlight. The firm also says it is easier and faster to blend with PVC than most other plasticisers. It adds that Pevalen is based on food-approved raw materials and the process for obtaining food contact approval is underway.
• Another US firm Metabolix, which makes PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate), launched the 16003rp modifier that is designed to offer PVC converters increased recycling rates without compromising toughness or tear resistance. Metabolix currently offers two biobased additives for PVC, including I6003rp and I6001, a biobased polymeric modifier for flexible and semi-rigid PVC, said to allow for toughness, while lowering plasticiser use and migration. The company also highlighted its Mvera B5010 as a new film grade designed for the global compostable bag and film markets. It can be processed on conventional blown film lines and is said to offer excellent melt strength and significant downgauging. It meets international industrial standards for compostability and has been certified by Vincotte to meet the EN13432 standard.
• Belgium-based Solvay Specialty Polymers launched what it says is the industry’s first biobased amorphous PPA (polyphthalamide), based on castor oil supplied by sister company Solvay Novecare, a specialiy supplier of surfactants, polymers, amines, solvents and derivatives. Two grades are offered in the Kalix 3000 series and targeted at consumer electronics. Kalix 3850 and 3950 are said to provide less warp, reduced shrinkage, and low to no flash. This improved processability results in tighter dimensional tolerances and more cost-effective manufacturing. The two compounded grades consist of 16% renewable content according to the ASTM D6866 test method for determining biobased carbon content. Solvay also introduced Kalix 2000 series, a family of bio-sourced PA 6.10. It consists of Kalix 2855 and 2955 compounded grades comprising 27% renewable content according to ASTM D6866. The semi-crystalline polyamide grades are targeted at moulded chassis, housings, and covers. Solvay intends to primarily manufacture at its Changshu, China, facility since Asia is the primary manufacturing centre for smart mobile devices. The firm says it is already developing next-generation biobased products with enhanced flow, better mechanical performance, and higher renewable content for the electronics market.
• German firm Evonik launched the Elatur CH phthalatefree plasticiser, which targets sensitive PVC applications such as articles that come into direct contact with the skin, expanding its range of sustainable plasticisers. Production of the 1,2-cyclohexane dicarboxylic acid diisononyl ester began in June at a new facility in Germany, with a capacity of 40,000 tonnes/year. Evonik’s plasticisers are primarily used in the plastics industry as well as the automotive and construction industry. The firm says it will gradually expand the line in the future, including additional biobased plasticisers as part of the Elatur brand.
• Cellulose acetate supplier Solvay Acetow, a subsidiary of Solvay, made its debut in bioplastics with the launch of Ocalio cellulose acetate bioplastic. It is manufactured using wood pulp obtained from Sustainable Forestry Initiative-certified forests. When used with a bioplasticiser, the bio-based content is 50%, but the company expects to increase this. The Germanybased company says it displays an exceptional balance of properties providing better mechanical and heat resistance, enhanced transparency and outstanding processability. It is targeted at replacing engineering plastics like ABS and PMMA, as well as
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013
Green Materials News PC, in consumer goods applications. The material will be produce at a facility in France and will be available in 2014. • French firm Arkema enhanced its product range with Rilsan T, a PA10.10 targeted at replacing metal and rubber automotive under-the-hood applications. The firm has been bolstering its position with the acquisition of Chinese companies sebacic acid supplier Casda and Hipro Polymers, which also produces castor oil-based PAs. It has also tripled capacity at Hipro polymers. The recent purchase of a stake in Ihsedu Agrochem, a subsidiary of Jayant Agro in India specialising in the production of castor oil, secures its feedstock supply. • UK-based Croda extended its range of 100% biobased Priplast polyester polyol building blocks for PU applications with the introduction of Priplast 3293. It is semi-crystalline and its availability broadens the amorphous Priplast range to meet the requirements for characteristics such as hydrolytic and thermooxidative stability combined with an improved environmental profile. • Germany-based Biotec’s plant-based bioplastics grades are 100% biodegradable. With a biobased carbon share of more than 50% and intended suitable for film applications, the new Bioplast 500 is targeted at biodegradable bags, to meet the challenges of European waste disposal regulations that now require more than 40% biobased contents. Bioplast materials are made from potato starch and other biologically sourced polymers. • Corbion (the new name for CSV) Purac teamed up with a number of industries, including packaging, automotive, home interiors and sporting goods to showcase its applications. The world’s first touch screen computer with a housing made from PLA has been developed by ODM/OEM manufacturer Kuender and Supla (that is starting up a 1,000 tonnepolymerisation plant and has developed optimised PLA compounds for the consumer electronics industry
The world’s first touch screen computer with a housing made from PLA
based on lactides from Corbion Purac). The housings are high gloss white and have an improved impact/heat/ scratch resistance. An interior part, which holds both the print head and cartridge in modern ink jet printers, has been developed by Os-Tech. For the automotive sector, Corbion Purac displayed an air filter box and interior trim parts produced using high heat Plantura PLA compounds, based on its lactides. These materials show improved hydrolysis and thermal resistance up to 140°C with fibre reinforcement. The parts are made by Roechling Automotive.
A high heat resistant and transparent PLA film from Innovia Films
In sporting goods, Synbra and Tecniq have created the world's first surfboard made of biobased foam in a patented process that converts PLA into expanded rigid foam. This expanded PLA foam has properties similar to Expanded PS foam and can be used for foam packaging and insulation panels. A high heat resistant, transparent and full stereocomplex PLA (sc–PLA) film has been developed together with Innovia Films, a global manufacturer of Biofilms. Early product development has shown that these films exhibit considerably less shrinkage at high temperatures compared to existing PLA films and offer properties much closer to oil-based PET. A classic chair design, with a modern and sustainable twist has been developed together with Weder, Zwartz and the Export Office, with PLAnatural fibre laminated panelling. Children's toys have also been created using PLA parts: a windmill propeller and housing for a toddler's learning console, boasting excellent A chair featuring surface finish, good impact resistance PLA-natural fibre and high colourability. laminated panelling NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013
Automotive suppliers move ahead with new technologies Electrified cars play an important role in Swedish Volvo Car Group’s future product portfolio and in its ongoing efforts to develop advanced technical solutions for the cars of tomorrow, it has innovated a composites structure for lighter energy storage. Meanwhile, ZF Friedrichshafen is accelerating fibre composites technology for the automotive sector and has installed new machinery at its technical centre.
olvo Car Group has developed a revolutionary concept for lightweight structural energy storage components that could improve the energy usage of future electrified vehicles. The material, consisting of carbon fibres, nano structured batteries and super capacitors, offers lighter energy s t o r a g e t h a t r e q u i r e s l e s s s p a c e i n t h e c a r, c o s t effective structure options and is eco-friendly.
A close up of the finished boot lid with carbon fibre material and super capacitors
The project, funded as part of a European Union research project, included Imperial College London as the academic lead partner along with eight other major participants. Amongst the partners were Swedish firms Swerea Sicomp, ETC Battery and FuelCells and Chalmers (Swedish Hybrid Centre). Other partners included Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung undprüfung from Germany; Inasco from Greece; UK-based Cytec Industries and Nanocyl from Belgium. Volvo was the only car manufacturer in the project. The project team identified a feasible solution to the heavy weight, large size and high costs associated with the batteries seen in hybrids and electric cars today, whilst maintaining the efficient capacity of power and performance. The research project took place over 3.5 years and is now realised in the form of car panels within a Volvo S80 experimental car.
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013
The breakthrough The answer was found in the combination of carbon fibres and a polymer resin, creating a very advanced nanomaterial, and structural super capacitors. The reinforced carbon fibres sandwich the new battery and are moulded and formed to fit around the car’s frame, such as the door panels, the boot lid and wheel bowl, substantially saving on space. The carbon fibre laminate is first layered, shaped and then cured in an oven to set and harden. The super capacitors are integrated within the component skin. This material can then be used around the vehicle, replacing existing components, to store and charge energy. The material is recharged and energised by the use of brake energy regeneration in the car or by plugging into a mains electrical grid. It then transfers the energy to the electric motor, which is discharged as it is used around the car. The breakthrough showed that this material not only charges and stores faster than conventional batteries can, but that it is also strong and pliant. The results so far To d a y , V o l v o h a s e v a l u a t e d t h e t e c h n o l o g y by creating two components for testing and development. These are a boot lid and a plenum cover, tested within the Volvo S80. The boot lid is a functioning electrically powered storage component and has the potential to replace t h e s t a n d a r d b a t t e r i e s s e e n i n t o d a y ’s c a r s . I t i s lighter than a standard boot lid, saving on both volume and weight. The new plenum demonstrates that it can also replace both the rally bar, a strong structural piece that stabilises the car in the front, and the start-stop battery. This saves more than 50% in weight and is powerful enough to supply energy to the car’s 12 Volt system It is believed that the complete substitution o f a n e l e c t r i c c a r ’s e x i s t i n g c o m p o n e n t s w i t h t h e new material could cut the overall weight by more than 15%. This is not only cost effective but would also have improvements to the impact on the environment.
Composites News ZF Friedrichshafen installs RTM system Automotive supplier ZF Friedrichshafen has chosen to equip its new development centre with technology from Dieffenbacher and KraussMaffei. The application will feature light and high-strength structural components made from composite materials with a duroplastic or thermoplastic matrix. ZF is accelerating lightweight construction with fibre composite materials. The new technology centre at the Schweinfurt site is equipped with mechanical engineering technology and offers the potential to drive forward development projects and produce complex, prototype-ready parts in low quantities, as well as conduct basic research. A c c o r d i n g t o t h e c o m p a n y, i t h a s a t t a i n e d significant knowledge and experience of lightweight construction over recent years, including technologies for processing fibre composite materials. The focus here is on wheel carriers and transverse leaf springs in car chassis, and on fourpoint links in trucks. Its aim is to achieve a weight saving of between 15% and 50% for the specified components. As a general contractor, Dieffenbacher supplied t h e t o t a l p l a n t t o Z F. T h e k e y c o m p o n e n t i s t h e Dieffenbacher 1,000-tonne press from the DCL series. This height-optimised and energy efficient upstroke press is designed for batch production of vehicle components made from long and continuous fibre-reinforced plastics. The installation provides optimal conditions for implementing pressing methods such as HP-RTM, S M C , L F T- D a n d o r g a n i c s h e e t m e t a l f o r m i n g , a s the integrated operating modes are also tailored to these methods.
The integration of control technology in the KraussMaffei metering system produces optimum fibre impregnation, especially when processing fast-reacting resin systems.
Dieffenbacher has supplied its RTM technology to ZF
Preforms made from fabric carbon fibres are inserted into the press using the Dieffenbacher g r i p p e r t e c h n o l o g y. T h e s a m e p r o c e s s i s u s e d t o place "organic sheet" materials into a Dieffenbacher infrared oven for rapid and homogeneous heating. The opening of the development centre and the transfer of the plant, which is ready for use, is the basis for implementing structural lightweight components that are ready for production.
新聞 業 界
Front Cover Feature
Growth of synergistic technology combinations At the recently concluded K2013 show in Düsseldorf, Germany, global chemicals firm ExxonMobil Chemical was running its polymers on leading extrusion machinery, especially to showcase the benefits of using its Exceed and Enable metallocene polyethylene (mPE) resins to produce co-extruded film structures for demanding applications.
he synergy of combining ExxonMobil Chemical’s polyolefin film formulations and the latest in machine technology was witnessed at the following extrusion machinery maker booths:• Windmöller & Hölscher KG Maschinenfabrik (W&H) – displayed the new blown film line Varex II running a five-layer, 40-micron collation shrink film based on Exceed and Enable mPE resins. • Cloeren Inc. and W&H – displayed two NanoLayer cast stretch films: a 33-layer, 12 micron super power machine film for automatic wrapping and a 33-layer, 8 micron high tenacity film. Both use Exceed and Enable mPE resins and Vistamaxx (propylene-based elastomer) PBE. • Hosokawa Alpine Aktiengesellschaft – showcased a fivelayer hygiene compression packaging film made with Exceed and Enable mPE resins. • Guangdong Jinming Machinery Co. Ltd. – displayed a fivelayer collation shrink multipack display film using Exceed and Enable mPE resins. • Torninova Corporation – showcased a three-layer, 12-micron cast stretch handwrap film using Exceed and Enable mPE resins as well as Vistamaxx PBE. • Sun Centre Machinery Co. Ltd. – displayed a three-layer lamination film using Exceed and Enable mPE resins. • Lung Meng Machinery Co. Ltd. – showcased a three-layer collation shrink film using Exceed and Enable mPE resins. "Our collaboration with leading machine manufacturers is a unique opportunity to demonstrate our added-value polymer technology, combined with strong application development and the optimisation of processing conditions," says John Verity, Vice-President, ExxonMobil Chemical Polyolefins.
W&H's Varex II blown film line was running a five-layer collation shrink film
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013
Next generation cast stretch films A highlight at the show was W&H and US-based Cloeren Incorporated’s collaboration with ExxonMobil on the latest cast stretch film technology. The companies have developed and produced cast stretch films using NanoLayer technology, which is able to deliver up to 33 layers and a thickness down to 8 microns. Conventional cast stretch films typically have five or seven layers. While ExxonMobil provided its Exceed and Enable mPE resins and Vistamaxx PBE, Cloeren delivered its exclusive feedblock and die technology and W&H provided the cast stretch machine.
Front Cover Feature
Cloeren’s NanoLayer feedblock and Epoch die (photo courtesy of Cloeren)
“This is the next generation of cast stretch films,” says Peter Cloeren, President/CEO, Cloeren. “Four customers in Europe have recently ordered new nanotechnology cast stretch equipment that will double their individual installed capacity.” One of the applications for NanoLayer cast stretch films is securing heavy load pallets. The films can deliver high wrapping speeds and excellent load retention, which can lead to more reliable shipping without load damage for products such as bottled water, soft drinks and other beverages. Step-in solution for five-layer technology Sometimes a new technology can tie-in nicely together in a collaborative effort, if two companies have the experience of working closely together. While both Chinese extrusion machinery maker Guangdong Jinming Machinery and ExxonMobil have worked together for 13 years, the machine and resin technology has evolved over the years, and thus the new application on display. Jinming collaborated on a machine run with ExxonMobil, which is purported to lower costs and provide savings on materials. The company says it is probably the first OEM in Asia Pacific to offer this step-in solution for five-layer technology. “The synergistic relationship is a combination of the latest machine technology with the resin technology to enable source reductions for customers,” said Larry Gros, ExxonMobil’s Global Polyolefin Products Technology Manager. Jinming’s blown film machine was running a five-layer polyolefins structure for collation shrink multipack display film with ExxonMobil’s Exceed and Enable mPE resins. The shrink multipack display film included Enable mPE resin-based subskin sandwich layers and Exceed mPE resin-based outer layers. The Enable mPE in the core allows for high density, improved shrinkage and strength as well as downgauging, thus leading to more sustainable flexible film solutions. “The formulation on display
is also designed for excellent optical properties and print surface for retail marketing as well as excellent sealing with easy cut-ability, making the films well suited for multi-pack bundling applications that require good optical properties,” said Gros. Nevertheless, the two companies are targeting other applications and Gros said that Jinming’s line is able to cater to more combinations and resins. “The five-layer technology can also be applied for the production of heavy-duty sacks and other structures can be developed for agriculture film and stretch film.” Downgauging of 20% is possible when producing heavy duty sacks, said the ExxonMobil executive. He also said that the five-layer shown at the fair had been optimised for Jinming’s machine and that “it has been running very well.” Larry Gros, ExxonMobil Chemical’s Polyolefin Products Technology Manager, with Ma Zhenxin, President of Jinming
Meanwhile, Ma Zhenxin, President of Jinming welcomed the opportunity to work with ExxonMobil. “It is a nice opportunity and we look forward to future co-operation.” Ma also said that with the advancement of new technology, application areas are expanding. “One main goal of this collaboration is to better serve our customers,” he added, explaining that both parties will conduct joint trainings for customers on the use of the new resin/machine technology. Gros also echoed that ExxonMobil had installed a three-layer blown film line from Jinming at its Shanghai Technology Centre, to allow Asian customers to conduct trials on the materials. “It allows us to demonstrate and show to our existing customers the advantages the line can bring.” The 35-micron collation shrink film is well suited for printed and displayed multipack bundling applications such as bottles and beverages, canned goods, hand soaps, detergents and health & beauty aids. Benefits of the five-layer technology The combination of machine technology with the resins offers benefits for converters, brand owners and retailers. Compared to conventional NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013
Front Cover Feature three-layer PE films, converters can benefit from higher productivity and greater flexibility to produce a broader range of film solutions from a single line. Brand owners can benefit from a source reduction in packaging materials and more productive operations with significantly more packaging impressions delivered per roll of film. Retailers can experience improved consumer attention to more appealing, high clarity packaging. The five-layer line is not totally new in the industry since barrier resins have been used before. But now five-layer dies for dedicated polyolefin blown films are being optimised for dedicated polyolefin film structures. The concept was first introduced at K2010. Today, this technology has advanced considerably as several customers are currently finalising formulations for commercial applications. “Designing exclusive film formulations tailored to the latest in machinery technology is like having computer software updated to take advantage of the latest computer hardware,” said Dirk Van der Sanden, Global Processing and Converting Advisor, polyolefins technology, ExxonMobil. “The performance opportunities for five-layer films are huge.” He adds that the wide ranging capabilities of five-layer films using Exceed and Enable mPE resins and Vistamaxx PBE open new market opportunities, providing greater potential for a faster return on investment. Five-layer film formulations can deliver a balance of excellent optical and performance properties that is very difficult to achieve with conventional three-layer technology, explains Van der Sanden. “The additional two layers in the film structure allow the optical and performance properties to be tailored to meet the needs of a broad range of applications. To achieve similar flexibility with three-layer technology would possibly require two lines that could be more expensive to buy and to operate.” A five-layer structure allows specific functionalities, such as sealability or optics, in each of the discrete layers. It also allows more control over the thickness of the layers to meet the needs of the application. For example, higher output can be achieved by using layers of high melt strength materials. While Gros agrees that the five-layer technology costs more due to two more extruders (compared to running a three-layer structure), he also says that the pay-off comes in using less resins with a payback in less than a year (for the incremental costs of a five-layer line versus a three-layer line). Adding to this Jinming’s Ma says that the industry trend is to upgrade from a three-layer to a five-layer line and customers were keen on reducing costs when presented with the lower use of materials.
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Ma also said that the firm had sold a number of five-layer lines based on the resin technology, after its showing at Chinaplas in Guangzhou this year. “Europe is leading in the upgrading of technology while customers in Asia are only just starting.” But Ma believes that it won’t be long before Asian counterparts see the benefits of a five-layer line and start upgrading too.
Jinming’s latest line is a step-in solution for five-layer technology
Meanwhile, Hosokawa Alpine says that its test centre in Augsburg, Germany, comprehensively tested the film structure developed in conjunction with ExxonMobil. The tests demonstrated that thinner hygiene compression packaging films are possible without compromising critical end-use performance properties. According to Dr. Holger Niemeier, Operations Director, Film Extrusion Division, Hosokawa Alpine, “The potential is there for very high throughput rates, energy savings and the opportunity to produce packaging film that does more from less resin.” Jinming’s Ma also rounds-up the benefits of the five-layer technology, “With this win/win situation, ExxonMobil wins, Jinming wins and the customer wins too!” Three-layer structures expand opportunities Even with the growing applications of five-layer polyolefins technology, three-layer structures are still a boon for reducing the usage of raw materials, especially for cast stretch films. For instance, at K2013, Italian extrusion machine maker Torninova demonstrated how a combination of advanced film formulation and its extrusion technology can deliver a three-layer, 12-micron cast stretch handwrap film with a higher holding force, lower neck-in and more uniform stretching, which can allow: • easier and safer wrapping • less operator fatigue • downgauging opportunities or reduced grams/ pallet • improved pallet stability
Front Cover Feature Five-layer polyolefin structure for collation shrink multipack display film with Exceed and Enable mPE resins on Jinming’s line Typical five-layer film structure resins
Torninova says the cast stretch handwrap film produced has a higher holding force, lower neck-in and more uniform stretching
The Compact Stretch 1,000 three-layer cast stretch machine, with three extruders is designed for in-line production of hand, machine and jumbo roll formats due to its all-in-one winder model Quickgold-3S. This technology allows high production flexibility with changes from a 9-12 micron film to a 17-23 micron film in a reportedly very short time without interruption. Scrap rates can also be low. “With producers of stretch films facing increasing costs of raw materials, labour and energy, profitable production may only be attainable with a system that allows elevated and continuous production, 24 hours a day,” said Riccardo Marsili, Chief Technical Support Officer, Torninova. Another demonstration by Chinese machine maker Lung Meng Machinery for collation shrink film allows for flexibility, since the three-layer co-extrusion line can be configured to meet customers’ needs, with a film width of up to 1,750 mm and an extrusion output of 450 kg/hour. Richard Chen, General Manager of Lung Meng says that the tough collation shrink packaging film can provide opportunities for downgauging, as well as offer high transparency for outstanding aesthetics. Meanwhile, compatriot Sun Centre Machinery demonstrated a three-layer blown lamination film with a maximum width of 1,650 mm and a extrusion output of 400 kg/hour. “The combination of ExxonMobil’s mPE resins and Sun Centre’s machinery technology delivers clear, tough lamination packaging films,” said Amy Zhao, Assistant to the General Manager. In addition, she said it offers outstanding sealing performance and high, consistent tear strength, thereby allowing for downgauging opportunities.
A. Exceed mPE 2018KB ExxonMobil HDPE HTA 108
B. Enable mPE 27-03HH
C. ExxonMobil LDPE 165BW1 ExxonMobil HDPE HTA108 B. Enable mPE 27-03HH
A. Exceed mPE 2018KB ExxonMobil HDPE HTA108
Thickness: 35 µm Layer Distribution: 1/2/4/2/1 Typical Applications: For printed and displayed retail multi-pack bundling applications: · Bottles and beverages · Canned goods · Hand soaps, detergents and health & beauty aids Collation shrink film for carbonated beverage bottles using Exceed and Enable mPE resins produced on the W&H line Typical five-layer film structure resins A Exceed mPE 2018KB ExxonMobil LDPE 151HR
B. Enable mPE 35-05HH
C. Exceed mPE 2018KB ExxonMobil LDPE 165BW1 ExxonMobil HDPE HTA108
15% 45% 40%
B. Enable mPE 35-05HH
A. Exceed mPE 2018KB ExxonMobil LDPE 151HR
Thickness: 40 µm Layer distribution: 10/17.5/45/17.5/
Typical applications: · High-clarity collation shrink film for high- impact retail display
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Additives and Masterbatches
An era of better plastics The US-based Society of Plastics Industries (SPI) recently decried several myths about plastics and says that additives and masterbatches have significantly changed how plastics perform and are utilised. In no time, with this technology, the world will perceive plastics differently and the materials will be an environment foe no more, says Angelica Buan.
PI’s stand on plastics is also shared by several organisations, including the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA). It says that the millions of reusable bags imported from China are not recyclable and that paper bags do not guarantee degradability in landfills, with the former generating 80% less waste than paper bags. Additives, thus, ensure that these plastic products mimic properties of metals or even glass and wood, and are compostable, recyclable and able to be repurposed.
Oxo additives come under fire Oxo-biodegradable plastics are currently being promoted by several manufacturers. However, recently, the Belgium-based EU-level trade association EuPC sought a Europewide ban on oxo-fragmentable plastics following the results of several independent tests and the effect on the quality of recycling. It said that a separate collection of degradable plastics must be necessitated to ensure “resource efficiency” in Europe’s recycling streams. EuPC commented that oxo-fragmentable plastics have no positive environmental impact on the existing waste streams in Europe. However, the call has been met with opposition by associations such as the Londonheadquartered Oxo-biodegradable Plastic Association (OPA) and the US-based Oxo Alliance, both of whom were critical of EuPC’s claims. Also championing oxo additives is UK-based supplier of oxo-biodegradable masterbatches Symphony Environmental Technologies that promoted its d2p anti-fungal technology at the recent K show. The silver-based technology can be added to most polymers to inhibit the growth of fungi, mould, algae and bacteria. It also “helps prevent staining, discolouration and odour development.” It is awaiting food contact approval. Another offering is the d2t tag and trace technology for anti-counterfeiting applications. It is marked with a unique code that carries information such as the manufacturing date, plant location and authorised country of sale and can be applied using inks, dyes, paints or an extrusion process. In the same vein, US-based Plastics Color Corp (PCC) also introduced the Mi Batch anti-counterfeiting tag that has a chemical/spectral signature, which becomes part of the material. Handheld or inline detection equipment can be used to read the embedded tag to verify the authenticity of the polymer, product or component. It is ideal for high-risk markets such as electronics, medical, aviation and automotive, says PCC. Charting the growth of masterbatches and plasticisers Meanwhile, masterbatches are widely used in the packaging and automotive sectors, according to the Global Industry Analysts’ (GIA) latest report. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.9% through 2018. The increasing production of plastic products and components and fast pace of industrialisation are shoring up the market, which GIA estimates will reach US$10.5 billion by 2018. Current innovations include masterbatches for anti-shrinkage, anti-fogging, antimicrobial, odour management and for biopolymer and biodegradable resins as well as flame retardants for PP pipes and PC sheets. Europe remains the largest market, despite its lukewarm economic climate. Growth in Asia is driven by the demand for advanced raw materials that offer aesthetic appeal and functional performance. In India, TechSci Research reports that masterbatches volume sales are expected to grow at 23% CAGR through 2018. Its market is driven by the growth in end user industries as well as the increasing penetration of plastic products in the market. In light of the strengthened regulations of the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India, towards solid plastic wastes, the development of bio-additives ensures continued growth for the market. Plasticisers, which are appraised to reach a global market value of more than US$19.5 billion in 2020, will also find growth in Asia Pacific and Europe.
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Additives and Masterbatches Research firm Ceresana says that demand for phthalate-free plasticisers is on the rise. About 87% of the global plasticisers consumption in 2012 was in plastic products, the majority being films and cables. Demand for plasticisers tapered off for production of rubber products, paints, varnishes and adhesives, cites the study. Contributing to the growth are the phthalate-free and biobased varieties, driven by surmounting health concerns as well as prohibition on the use of DEHP. The latter accounted for about 60% use in the Asia Pacific market. Plants-based lubricants US-headquartered chemicals producer PMC Biogenix has launched a vegetable-based ethylene bis stearamide (EBS) lubricant for compounding and extrusion markets. Kemamide W-40 Veg is a synthetic wax used as a process lubricant for PVC and styrenics; mould-release agent for phenolics and as an anti-block agent for polyolefins. PMC says that EBS’s most important application is as an internal and external lubricant in the processing of thermoplastic resins. Enhanced food packaging The UK government recently introduced new packaging recycling targets through to 2017, requiring recycling to double over the next five years. To meet these challenges, UK-based rigid packaging maker RPC Group has been working with AkzoNobel on the use of 25% post consumer recycled (PCR) material in its Dulux PP paint containers and is looking at using recycled PP (rPP) for use in food packaging. RPC is also honing in on the use of clear PP for its thermoformed, blow moulded and thin walled injection moulded food-related applications, since it not only achieves high clarity packaging but sustainability targets. Milliken's Millad The appealing aesthetics are achieved clarifier is used in through the addition of Milliken’s Millad clear PP for various NX 8000 clarifying agent, which also RPC packaging allows for the processing of PP at lower temperatures, while PP’s low density creates lightweight products with a low carbon footprint. Furthermore, RPC says clear PP ensures good impact protection and barrier protection, helping extend the shelf-life of products. At the K show, Munich-based chemical firm Wacker showed off its Genioplast Pellet P silicone additive for the compounding of thermoplastics, for use in food contact applications, such as kitchen appliances and food packaging. It facilitates the manufacture and processing of compounds Wacker says its silicone additive allows for immaculate and ensures smooth, easyto-clean surfaces, without surfaces despite constant wear and tear downgrading the tensile
strength, hardness or dimensional stability under heat. Printing and welding of the compound is also allowed. Acting in synergy with flame retardant fillers, Genioplast’s non-cross-linked ultra-high-molecular linear polymer ingredient, and carrier material pyrogenic silica, makes it compatible with all thermoplastics. Colour systems Colour and additive masterbatch supplier Americhem introduced its mBrace softening additive recently. It is said to be a first-of-its-kind softening technology that can be combined with colour and other additives to provide a costeffective, multi-attribute masterbatch. The US company sees this technology as specifically viable for the nonwovens sector. Speciality chemicals company Clariant’s innovation focus at the K included its new HiFormer integrated system for liquid masterbatches. The Swiss firm says with brand owners becoming more interested in liquid masterbatches, it expects higher growth rates of more than double that of solid masterbatches. The system brings advantages for the packaging and consumer goods segments as it allows wider use of liquid colour and additive concentrates. Services provided by HiFormer will include product development, colour matching and on-site implementation. Meanwhile, Clariant has created a product range of Low Halogen Controlled (LHC) colourants to support efforts to reduce the halogen content of, for example, E&E devices, consumer goods, and toys. The 13 organic pigments and two polymer soluble dyes allow customers to comply with IEC 61249-2-21 guidelines and are targeted as replacements to lead chromate pigments. Under REACH regulations, in the EU from May 2015, the use of lead chromate pigments will no longer be permitted for sale without approval by the authorities. In other news, Huntsman Pigments says tests it has undertaken for its latest Altiris titanium dioxide pigment indicate that the pigment can enhance the performance of PE greenhouse film to provide improved growing conditions. Since greenhouses need a careful balance of light, heat and humidity for strong plant growth, visible light from the sun must enter the structure to promote photosynthesis and UV light needs to be transmitted through the PE film so that bees can see flowers for pollination. Greenhouses also need moderate infrared transmission to keep plants warm. A 50 micron PE greenhouse film containing 1% loading of Altiris is now being tested in field conditions near Istanbul in Turkey and test results indicate that the PE film reflects infrared energy. Huntsman says its Altiris The resulting reduced interior temperature helps pigment is able to improve growth of plants in greenhouses keep relative humidity levels high to prevent plants from losing moisture. Altiris has been specially engineered by crystal size modification of rutile titanium dioxide to give high infrared reflectance; it is then coated with dense silica to make it “super” durable. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013
Extrusion, Converting, Auxiliary and Recycling Machinery
No holds barred on technology The K2013 show, held from 16-23 October in Düsseldorf, Germany, may have had slightly lower visitors but machinery makers were enthusiastic about the response to the latest technology on display.
Extrusion/Converting • India-based converting machinery maker Lohia Corp showed off a new logo having changed its name from Lohia Starlinger, as a consequence of Austria based Starlinger having divested its shareholding in the company. Its product line-up included a new modified extrusion coating machine for coating of flat/ tubular fabric with PP/LDPE, with a working width of 1,600 mm and speed up to 150 m/minute. This machine is supported by the circular looms for weaving tubular or flat fabric from PP/HDPE tapes and a conversion machine for bags, with an output of up to 45 bags/minute. Another highlight is the Autoroto tape winder, for winding flat/fibrillated tapes of different widths with speeds of up to 600 m/minute. It has been upgraded to enable automatic transfer of tapes from a full package to an empty tube. Having already delivered 15,000 of these winders, the firm is now working on a new generation winder, featuring more “smarter” electronics. The firm said it received over 350 active enquiries from prospects from almost 75 countries. • Indian extrusion machinery maker Rajoo Engineers claimed it was the only company running a nylon barrier resin line at the show, producing around 3 tonnes/day “with a consistent output every day of the show”. The firm said it was an opportune time to showcase the technology since the Indian line offers a competitive price vis-à-vis the “high prices of European machines, coupled with the Rajoo says it had 30% more visitors to its booth over the previous show appreciation of the Euro with respect to domestic currencies.” At the K2010, the Rajkot-based firm tied up with German blown film machine maker Hosokawa Alpine to market hybrid lines. This collaboration has paid off with the machine displayed sold to Nylopack of South Africa. Rajoo also entered into a collaboration with Germanybased Maschinenbau Heilsbronn to provide spare parts and services for Rajoo machines bought in Europe. Meanwhile, Rajoo said it had an increase in visitors by over 30%, compared to the previous show.
The new Arctis air ring on W&H's Varex II
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• At an in-house expo it had at its Lengerich facility, German extrusion machine maker Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H) showcased the Aquarex blown film line with water quench cooling, Filmex cast film line with the new Filmatic PS stretch winders and it also had on display at the show the Optimex three-layer blown film line, but the highlight was surely the five-layer blown film line Varex II. Using the proven Varex technology as a foundation, it has improved upon the concept to feature a new die and air ring and modularity. It can be tailored to a user's specific requirements and also allows for retrofitting with optional modules to accommodate future requirements. All the components are also integrated in a central control system for ease of operation and monitoring from an ergonomically designed and intuitive operating unit. Highlights include the Maxicone P die specially optimised for polyolefins, flow-optimised barrier
Extrusion, Converting, Auxiliary and Recycling Machinery screws, patented melt distribution system, Optifil P gauge profile control system, new bubble collapsing unit in the film haul-off, new Filmatic S II winder and the new Arctis air ring, which is an upgrade of the Opticool air ring presented in 2009. The Varex II is available with working widths of up to 3,600 mm and for up to 11-layer films. It is designed for outputs up to 1,500 kg/hour. Extruder sizes include 50, 60, 70, 90, 105, 120 and 135.30 D. Die diameters range from 120900 mm. At the K, it was shown running a five-layer, 2,200 mm, 40-micron collation shrink film based on ExxonMobil Chemical’s Exceed and Enable mPE resins. • Germany-based Hosokawa Alpine showed a five-layer blown film line with its patented 400 mm-diameter X die head for 11-layer films and a special triple lip high output V-ring. The firm says the die head is capable of a high level of versatility and competitive advantage, with the highest savings realised by replacing laminated structures with co-extruded structures, adding At Hosokawa Alpine's booth, the that there are a wide film was oriented inline using an range of applications Alpine MDO 20/11 for 11-layer films in the food packaging segment. Capable of an output of up to 1,000 kg/hour, the line was running a different structure each day of the show. The extruders were equipped with Smartboxes and driven by water-cooled asynchronous servo motors. The line is controlled via ExVis 2.0 with a One-Touch system. Other novelties were the space saving Double Winder ATW and patented TRIO (trim reduction and orientation) machine direction orientation (MDO) system. • At an open house, Austrian firm Battenfeld-Cincinnati showed an extrusion line for producing PP sheet with thicknesses ranging from 200-2,500 microns that was equipped with a high-speed BC-75-40 DV T4 extruder and the new Multi-Touch roll stack. Since the market launch ten years ago, the firm says it has already installed more than 170 high-speed extruders worldwide, with the compact 75 mm-machines able to reach outputs of up to 1,500 kg/hour for PP and up to 2,000 kg/hour for PS. A highlight was the Multi-Touch roll stack incorporated in the line, which operates with only two large chill rolls instead of the conventional stack of three rolls, but with the addition of five post-cooling rolls. This allows for even cooling and calibration of the sheet on both sides.
BattenfeldCincinnati showed pipe and film extrusion lines at its open house
• Though German firm Reifenhäuser’s booth only had four virtual models on display, reserving the eight actual lines for an open house in its Troisdorf facility, it waxed lyrical about its Evolution extruder line that features an Energizer screw “to avoid useless energy input, reduce energy consumption and lower melt temperature by as much as 20°C without compromising melt quality or output.” Also debuting was the Mirex MT polishing-stack with a patented control mechanism for thermoforming sheet; Evolution Ultra Flat for flattening of blown film and Evolution Ultra Cool cooling ring. • For the first time, Germany-based Brückner Group’s subsidiaries, including Brückner Maschinenbau, Brückner Servtec, Kiefel Technologies and PackSys Global, exhibited on a joint booth at the show. It also said the number of visitors “exceeded all expectations." Recent investments include the expansion of the Kiefel technology centre, production locations for PackSys Global and a new R&D centre for Brückner Maschinenbau, which offers a wide range of test facilities for components. Meanwhile, PackSys acquired Swiss company MADAG Printing Systems, a supplier of hotstamping machines, early this year, allowing for synergies in technology and customer potential. • Manufacturer of corrugated pipe extrusion lines Unicor presented the UC 330 Corrugator with its newly developed air cooling system. It will be used primarily in the American drainage pipe market. During pipe production, the moulds can be kept at a constant temperature between 20°C and 80°C in a continuous cooling process. Outputs of up to 1,100 kg/hour (PP/PE) or 1,300 kg/hour (PVC) can be achieved and the maximum production speed is about 40 m/minute. Another new product, the SWESY 700 die head complements the "Disc Die Heads” already available from Unicor. It allows for wall thickness distribution in the diameter range from 95 mm id up to 700 mm od and also provides higher productivity, with quick changes between sizes. Meanwhile, since 2013, Canadian downstream equipment company Adescor has been a part of Unicor. It also presented its product portfolio at the K. Unicor has also been a part of the GAW Group of Graz, Austria, since 2012. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013
Extrusion, Converting, Auxiliary and Recycling Machinery • German firms Leistritz Extrusionstechnik and materials handling firm AZO tied up to build an extrusion plant for the production of highly filled compounds with up to 85% calcium carbonate. Since the Leistritz ZSE MAXX extruders have a specific volume/torque ratio, this plant is able to realise maximum outputs and an energy efficient production. Leistritz and AZO were supported by GALA, Maag Pump Systems, Reverte Mineralprodukte, Ultrapolymers and BYK-Chemie. With slight adjustments, it can run various applications with, for example, talcum, titanium dioxide or barium sulphate. In the field of flame retardants, materials such as aluminium hydroxide or magnesium hydroxide can be processed. Due to the cost-efficient nature of the compounds, they have experienced a real boom lately, especially in the automotive and packaging industries or for white goods. The firms agree that production is very challenging for compounders, with the transport of the material from the big bag stations/silos to the extruder playing a crucial role. “This has to be done with minimum dust granting enough settling time and minimum air content, in the material.” Thus, Leistritz choose to work with AZO in the field of material handling. A particular focus in this process was the stable feeding of the dosing units, which is done by means of pneumatic suction conveyors. The collective feeding system is designed in an energy efficient way and thus, works with optimum conveying speed. If necessary, the polymer can be combined from various feeding points. Each component is sucked in according to its formula, accurately weighed and homogenously mixed by the AZO Mixomat. Colours and additives are also fed into the process directly above the extruder. Since the dosing unit is pivotable, material can be fed into the extruder from two positions. The firm also says that optimum distribution of the material streams is vital as well as material moisture that can complicate the process. Therefore, the processing unit and the screw geometry have to be designed according to the task. Thus, Leistritz used a ZSE 75 MAXX twin-screw extruder with a processing length of 48 L/D. Polymer, additives and calcium carbonate (provided by Ultrapolymers, Reverte and BYK) are fed into the process via the main feed opening and two side feeders. Leistritz implemented the downstream equipment with Maag (gear pump screen changer) and GALA (underwater pelletiser). Finally, the pellets are gently conveyed to the filling station by means of a suction conveyor. Recycling Equipment • Austrian recycling machinery supplier Erema Engineering Recycling has launched the Intarema, which features the Counter Current feed technology allowing for a higher flow of material in a shorter time and because of its tangential configuration the process is said to be virtually pressure-free with preheated material. The flexibility extends to the system being able to process a range of difficult materials including
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Erema's Intarema is able to process a range of difficult materials
those with high levels of moisture and contaminants, such as washed agricultural films, washed post consumer film flakes (PE-LD, PE-LLD, PE-HD), films with solid content such as paper, wood or metals and also thick-walled regrind materials from waste automotive and electronic goods, PS cups and PE lids. The system is paired with the "Smart Start" concept, allowing many central process steps to run automatically. Another innovation is the ecoSAVE technology (equipped as standard) that enables users to benefit from 10% less energy consumption. The firm says that including the direct drive of the extruder screw, up to 3% higher efficiency is possible. The system is available for capacities ranging from 50 to 3,000 kg/hour. It is offered in three series, with the T series featuring a short single-screw extruder without degassing for materials like non-printed edge trim, cutting waste, rolls and loose leftover film and regrind materials. The TE series features double degassing for the processing of slightly printed production or industrial waste plus fibres and technical plastics. The TVEplus, meanwhile, is designed for the recycling of heavily printed films or very moist materials. This is made possible through ultrafine filtration, thorough melt homogenisation and degassing in a single step.
• Austrian recycling systems provider Next Generation Recyclingmaschinen (NGR) and Leistritz Extrusionstechnik are partnering to market new recycling compounding technology. The new lines, known as A:COMP, S:COMP, X:COMP and F:COMP, will expand NGR’s product portfolio for post-industrial and post-consumer markets and will enable its customers to process virtually any form of plastic waste, such as films, fibres and thick-walled components, using NGR’s filtration technology. The melt will then be refined using twin-screw extruders from Leistritz. Additives, fillers and reinforcing materials are added to shape the property profile of the material. The results are custom-tailored materials for virtually any requested application area. The lines can also produce cost-optimised pellets. Rounding up is a user-friendly central control system that makes it easy to change equipment parameters, and a recipe management system that improves traceability. NGR's global sales network in the US, Malaysia and Taiwan will manage the marketing activities for the new lines. Meanwhile, NGR will also set up a Chinese customer centre beginning of 2014.The new facility in Taicang, Shanghai, will include two NGR systems for customer trialling. With a 25% share of the world's recycled plastics, the Chinese market is termed as an
Extrusion, Converting, Auxiliary and Recycling Machinery ideal location for further expansion, the company says. It also opened a US customer care centre in 2010.
designed by Moretto
â€˘ Due to global interest and after a period of testing, NGR says it will be using liquid state polycondensation (LSP) as a new process for PET recycling, to improve and control the properties of rPET. The process uses a higher rate of reaction in the melt phase to save energy and time. And while current methods of PET processing involve either slightly lowering the intrinsic viscosity (iV) values or using solid state condensation (SSP method) to increase the iV, LSP enables a short-term increase of iV values and thus leads to a higher decontamination performance. The firm has already started a pilot plant with capacity of up to 400 kg/hour of PET fibres and PET bottle flakes. It expects field testing to begin next year, with commercialisation in 2015. LSP supports the processing of PET from industrial waste, including fibres, bottles, preforms and films, as well as washed PET postconsumers flakes. NGR also expects
it to be used for food grade applications once it has completed the regulatory approvals.
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Extrusion, Converting, Auxiliary and Recycling Machinery • Austrian firm Starlinger, which says it concluded sales worth EUR30 million during the exhibition, was promoting the new recoSTAR universal C-VAC recycling line, suitable for materials that tend to create gases in the recycling process such as postconsumer household waste and agricultural film or highly printed film. The module was sold on-site to a Portuguese plastics recycling company. In addition to the sale of the exhibited deCON decontamination dryer for rPET material, Starlinger Viscotec also won an order for the new viscoSHEET PET sheet line that produces sheet out of up to 100% rPET with what it says are guaranteed iV levels. Starlinger said it had encouraging response to its systems
The C-VAC degassing module is said to enhance process engineering, especially filtration, degassing and compounding. By using two extruders, two degassing ports and additional reverse venting, degassing performance is achieved. Due to the two separate extruder drives, the extruder speeds can be adjusted independently from each other according to material requirements, resulting in lower shear and consequently better degassing efficiency. Meanwhile, recycling and compounding (eg., glass fibre) is possible in one step as the compounding takes place during the recycling process after the melt filter. An advantage for glass fibre compounding is by using single screw extrusion, the breaking of the glass fibre is reduced to a minimum during the compounding process, which helps to increase the strength of the parts produced.
• Sweden-based Rapid Granulator showcased its new Raptor Series, which complements its existing GranuMATIC series. With its parent company IPEG’s recent acquisition of shredder manufacturer Republic Machine, the series incorporates Republic's PowerWedge rotor. It is said to be particularly suitable for the shredding of films, monofilaments and airbag materials. The equipment also features an "open hearted design", which allows the whole shredder to be opened up in what the firm says is less than 70 seconds using an integrated hydraulic system, allowing direct access to the core components for simpler maintenance. The firm will initially offer five modular models early next year. • Pallmann introduced the HydroFiner for separating adhesive labels from large amounts of post-consumer laminated plastic packaging by using the hydromechanical action. In developing countries, the labels
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013
Pallmann's HydroFiner is able to separate labels from laminated plastics and paper packaging on a large scale
are often removed by vigorously brushing them off manually. Pallmann has taken this approach and improved it with its HydroFiner, where the waste is intensively rubbed between two surfaces, together with a small amount of water. “The material rubs mostly against itself, rather than the metal surfaces of the machine, the labels and the glue are separated and removed, and the packaging is reduced to flakes,” it says. The process, for which Pallmann has applied for a patent, is based on two discs, a rotor and a stator, with material being fed to the centre via an augur, and then moving to the outside through pairs of intermeshing teeth. The HydroFiner is capable of outputs of up to 1,800 kg/hour of packaging waste. The German firm says it sold two machines at the K. Auxiliary Equipment • Italian auxiliary equipment maker Moretto presented what it says is the biggest standard gravimetric dosing unit in the world, specially developed for rPET bottle flakes dosing with output of up to 5,500 kg. The patented DGM Gravix gravimetric dosing series ensures precision, even in the presence of high vibrations, says the firm. An innovative feature is the weighing algorithm with the Vibration Immunity System (VIS). The reaction time is also said to be ten times faster than common dosing units in the market today. The double effect mixer ensures a homogeneous mixture and the digital technology allows for precision and speed in the weighing cycle. Double eyelid, free weighing hopper and Rotopulse with digital technology round up the Gravix. The Super Easy Touch View is a coloured interface with easy to use programming and intuitive for the machine and the process management. It caters to outputs from
Moretto’s DGM Gravix is installed with a vibrationfree feature
Extrusion, Converting, Auxiliary and Recycling Machinery 30-12,000 kg/hour with dosages up to 12 materials and allows more than a 1,000 hopper combinations. This large hopper capability makes the Gravix versatile and available for different capabilities such as medical, powder, flakes, high temperatures, anti-wear and antistatic. The hoppers can be removed with no tools, allowing for easy inspection. The system software is based on the Linux platform. • Emphasising that quality control for nonwovens and films has become crucial, ISRA Vision debuted a plug & inspect surface inspection solution, which it says simplifies integration with production lines by allowing customers to handle installation on their own and to start up the system quickly. The system uses a high speed camera and switchable LED lighting that allow detection and identification of defects from different views and angles within a single camera bank. The LED illumination has been patented by the German firm. It is operational on any PC or laptop, allowing for system integration on almost any machine, web run, and system. Due to its compact construction, it can also be used in existing environments where space is limited. With this system, ISRA says manufacturers of nonwovens and film have easy access to 100% surface inspection. • With the feature of web-enabled controls, US firm Conair has made it possible for remote control of its auxiliary equipment from literally anywhere. This means wherever someone can access the internet, whether it is via a computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone, they can now connect remotely with the webenabled controls available on Conair’s dryers, blenders and material handling systems and monitor conditions, change settings, respond to alarms, troubleshoot or download process data. In fact, Conair says that interfacing with the controls is as if “you were standing in front of the equipment on the shop floor.” Another advantage of the Internet-based system is that Conair can have access to processors’ auxiliary equipment without having to access the corporate network. The web-connectivity features are standard on Carousel Plus dryers, DM3 drying monitor, TrueBlend gravimetric blenders, TrueWeigh gravimetric extrusion controls and gravimetric blenders and FLX and ELS central vacuum conveying systems. • Swiss gear pump maker Maag Pump Systems unveiled its sixth generation gear pump boasting up to 50% higher performance. It has redesigned the gears, shafts, bearings and seals, to allow an improved volumetric efficiency. This makes it possible to operate at reduced rpm, shear rates and temperatures, reducing energy consumption by up to 10%. The advantage of the enhanced pump geometry will be welcomed by manufacturers of easily degradable products, in particular during degassing stages where minimum fill levels translate into reduced residence time. Processors will, thus, be able to minimise the levels of volatiles in
their products. Furthermore, product quality is improved and due to the enhanced pressure capabilities, finer filter meshes can now be used further down the line. Maag also offers alternative housing designs for its polymer extraction pumps, with matching interfaces to older pump generations. The portfolio comprises multiple sizes with output of up to 100 tonnes/hour. Sizes 250 and above were launched at the K, while others will be introduced next year. • US pelletiser maker Reduction Engineering Scheer is increasing its presence in Asia by having doubled the size of its Chinese facility in Shanghai and setting up a sales and service centre in Taiwan to support customers in Southeast Asia. In Taiwan, the 600 sq m facility will focus on re-sharpening of rotor knives using CNC grinding machines. Meanwhile, Scheer China doubled its production space in July to 1,000 sq m in response to strong growth. The facility has three CNC machines for re-sharpening of rotor knives. In Europe, the firm has expanded its manufacturing footprint by approximately 30%, relocating from its former operation in Stuttgart, Germany, to a new facility in Korntal. “The expansion was prompted by strong growth for pelletising systems throughout the world, particularly in Asia,” said the firm. The new facility houses a large-capacity laboratory that includes demonstration machines to run full production trials for customers. • US testing equipment firm Instron has introduced the manual wedge grips that meet the stringent alignment requirements of NADCAP AC7122-1 (for non-metal materials) and AC7101 (for metals), commonly used in the aerospace industry. Whilst the 2716-028 wedge grips are designed for a nominal force of 100 kN, the 2716030 wedge grips can take maximum loads of 250 kN. This makes them an ideal choice for demanding tensile tests with a large variety of materials such as metals, high strength fibre reinforced polymers and other rigid materials. Their enclosed design resists dirt and debris. Symmetric closing of the grips is achieved via an easyto-use ratchet handle, whilst as the test proceeds, the wedge action allows the gripping force to increase in proportion to the applied load. Pull rods allow the grips to be used inside a compatible temperature chamber, providing a wide temperature range from –80°C to 250°C without changing parts or lubricants. Accessories include “piggy back” adaptors and fixtures for different test types that can be attached with the grips left on the system. Instron’s newly developed manual wedge grips provide repeatable alignment of metal or composite specimens NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013
Injection Moulding Asia Machinery News
Giving a boost to productivity With the K2013 being the largest plastics show in
produced do not require any finishing work. Furthermore, the nozzle remains stationary, while the component carrier moves along three or five axes. An advantage of this is that undercuts can be produced without the need for support structures, thus allowing a new freedom in geometry and less material wastage. The plug-and-play concept machine operates without dust or emissions, is compact, and can be used in an office, design department, or on the plant floor. The firm has filed 20 patents and says all R&D was undertaken in-house at its facility. The first Freeformer won’t be available until next year and there is no price tag yet on the machine. Arburg also had 11 other exhibits on its own exhibition stand and 11 additional machines on partner stands. Amongst the highlights was a fully automatic production cell using a one-piece-flow process for the moulding and inline printing of “intelligent” name plates. It demonstrated how increasing requirements in terms of documentation, individualisation and flexibility could be linked with the Industry 4.0 Future Project. Machines and products were networked and the production data linked directly to the moulded part by means of an individual QR code. This enabled each name plate to be uniquely identified and tracked online. The Arburg host computer system (ALS) was of central importance here, recording all the necessary parameters and transmitting them to a web server. This meant that the production parameters and use of the part could be called up at all times.
the world, machine makers are pushed to introduce ground-breaking innovations. Highlighted are novelties and technologies that were introduced at the show with some boasting faster cycle times and higher productivity. Injection moulding machinery • German injection moulding machine maker Arburg introduced the Freeformer, which is an additive manufacturing machine for 3D printing that allows for small batch production using standard resins, without a mould or prototyping. It produces parts layer by layer directly from 3D CAD files using drops of liquid resins. Also, unlike the usual 3D printer that uses filaments, resins in the Freeformer are first melted with a screw, similar to conventional injection moulding, and then broken down into tiny droplets in a piezoelectric system, at 100 droplets/second. With a droplet size of 0.3 mm, the entire process will take an hour to complete, Arburg officials noted. A main benefit is that it uses standard plastics, which the firm says is “something quite new, with the price difference in a factor of a 100.” Components produced are said to boast a strength of approximately 70-80% of conventionally produced injection moulded parts. It can also be configured in either a single or two-component machine, allowing for interesting opportunities ie. hard/ soft material combinations. Arburg says it has run trials with ABS, PC and elastomers with success. One limitation would be the small material dispensing nozzles that are not able to handle glass fibres or highly filled materials. But a plus point above this is that the machine could be used to produce complex parts that cannot be injection moulded or materials with a high temperature range or it could be used for faster innovations in hardware development, and the surfaces of parts
• Meanwhile, Austrian machine maker Engel premiered its v-duo 700 vertical machine, launched last year, that was shown producing latch covers for the KTM X-Bow sports car. It is one of the biggest vertical machines Engel has displayed at a trade fair. Carbon/glass fibres were impregnated with a new “snap-cure” PU thermoset resin from BASF Polyurethanes in a liquid reactive moulding process. Other partners included Wethje of Germany, the producer of the components and preforms, while the mould was contributed by Langer of Germany. Hennecke provided the RTM system, while Austrian firm KTM
Unlike conventional additive manufacturing, Arburg’s Freeformer uses standard plastics that are melted similar to the injection moulding process. It produces the component without support structures, layer by layer from minuscule droplets
Engel showed the production of a lightweight part for the KTM X Bow car
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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery News Technologies designed the component, including the simulation of the manufacturing process (RTM filling simulation). Engel also showcased a new control solution (CC300) that looked familiar at first glance but had been updated to feature a customer-focused interface layout with a multi-function e-move key (one-touch operation).
possible due to the low melt viscosity that has enabled a thinwall part to be moulded while the high-gloss surface has been obtained through use of dynamic rapid heating and cooling in the mould. CellForm also allows the use of a machine with a lower clamping force, while the fast cycle time of 37 seconds reduces production costs.
• Another firm showing a sports car component produced using a RTM process was German firm KraussMaffei. It premiered its production cell producing a carbon fibrereinforced (CFRP) roof shell (0.6 sq m) with a PU matrix for the Roding Roadster R1. A highlight is that the parts, which contain 50% carbon fibre volume, come out of the mould with a paintable surface. The centrepiece of the machine is a new RTM mould carrier with a compact design and a clamping force of 381 tonnes. A feature of the process is injection of the PU with vacuum assistance while the mould is slightly open.
Netstal’s new Elion series
KraussMaffei premiered a production cell for the roof shell of the Roadster sports car
• KraussMaffei’s Swiss subsidiary Netstal-Maschinen launched the new all-electric Elion 2200 and an Evos 4500 machine with an integrated Eco Powerunit drive. A new Elion 4200 hybrid-drive machine, which made its debut in September, was moulding HDPE beverage closures in a 96-cavity mould from Schöttli Mould Technology, in a cycle time of 2 seconds, which the firm says “cannot be matched by all-electric machines with the high output faster than compression moulding.” The fast cycle time is achieved with the machine’s injection unit, with Netstal claiming that energy consumption is 50% lower than conventional hydraulic toggle machines.
Partners included Henkel for the PU system, Rühl Puromer for the aliphatic UV-resistant PU coating material, French reinforcement textile producer Chomarat Textile Industries and composites materials supplier Mühlmeier. Others were compression press producer Dieffenbacher and composites production equipment producer Alpex Technologies. Though the RTM process was able to produce eight finished roof parts/hour, it is not quite enough for mass production.
• With its theme of “Think Green, Act Blue”, Japanese/ German machine maker Sumitomo Demag showed technology aimed at energy savings. It has also set a target of reducing energy use by 30% by 2016. A highlight was the fully automated IML/IMD production cell using a 200-tonne Systec to produce a 5 in. multi-touch display in one step. It featured the shear-free SL (Spiral Logic) plastification system, which has been sold in Japan for several years and operates without the traditional compression zone. The resin is melted by barrel heaters, preventing overheating by shearing, resin stagnation and thermal degradation. Combined with a switchcontrolled non-return valve, the technology is ideal for the production of technical precision and optical parts. SL is currently only available as an option for the all-electric SE-EV series machines. Besides PolyIC (functional film) and Leonhard Kurz Stiftung (IMD decoration film and IMD film handling), other partners were mould maker HBW-Gubesch Kunststoff-Engineering, automation supplier SAR Electronic, cleanroom specialist Max Petek and Kist Maschinenbau that supplied modules for the UV film hardening and cleaning of finished parts. The IML/IMD
• Another world innovation from KraussMaffei is the CellForm process that was used to make a washing machine cover 35% lighter. A fully electric AX 130750 machine, equipped with Trexel’s MuCell foaming system, was processing the ASA/ PC copolymer cover. The weight savings are achieved due to the foam core, which still produces a high-gloss surface without any streaking. This is Lightweight washing machine cover produced in a CellForm process
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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery News cell is currently operating at automotive firm VW’s main plant in Germany.
to demonstrations at past shows. At the booth for Wave machines, there was a next generation StackTeck mould running an 1881 CSD tamper-evident beverage cap in a 2.8 second-cycle time. This faster mould design demonstrated a productivity increase of 30%. The firm says there was strong interest regarding displays of thinwall co-injection barrier designs. A two-cavity co-injection cup mould was shown as a static display, compliments of Mold-Masters. In a separate display, several thinwall co-injection samples were shown, compliments of Kortec. The continuous trend towards higher productivity systems is “clearly alive and well”, says the company.
• Another machine maker Boy also showcased a novel plasticising system. With the combination of the servomotor pump drive, the Procan ALPHA 2 control, the two-platen clamping unit and the EconPlast plasticising unit, the German firm says that energy savings of 50% are possible when processing thermoplastics. The patent pending EconPlast works on the principle of electric resistance heating, allowing for heating up to 400°C, with shorter start and heating times, and does not require insulating sleeves. It also allows for improved control of the feeding zone cooling and improvement of the material melting with optimised homogeneity. It is optionally available for all Boy’s machines from a screw diameter of 24-48 mm.
• Swiss mould maker Georg Kaufmann, together with partners, has developed the LIPA (Lightweight Integrated Process Application) technology for the mass production of lightweight composite parts. Cut-to-size blanks of Tepex organic sheet (fabric-reinforced thermoplastic) are first pre-heated and then placed in the mould, where they are thermoformed and at the same time provided with moulded-on ribs, bearing eyes and other working parts with the aid of the long-fibre direct injection moulding process developed by Arburg. The result is a lightweight part with high strength and stiffness. Project partners included Bond Laminates (Tepex sheet), FPT Robotik (automation), Kistler Instrument (mould sensor technology), HRS (hot runner system) and SKZ-KFE (process monitoring and quality control).
• Austria-based Wittmann Group’s machine subsidiary Wittmann Battenfeld showcased a four-cavity IML production cell, based on the TM Xpress 210 moulding machine, with an inspection module. It had a 4.5-second cycle time and 0.7 seconds for the robot’s operation time. This short operation time for inserting the labels plus parts removal has been accomplished by using the “allwheel” drive concept, where both cog belt wheels of the horizontal axis are synchronised and driven by dynamic drive systems. Furthermore, Wittmann says its 3D visual inspection boasts “a best possible rate of nearly 100%”. Four high-resolution cameras are installed around the conveyor belt, which take pictures of every single product transported on the belt.
• Hot runner technology provider Mold-Masters, which was acquired by Milacron this year and also celebrated its 50th year in business, showcased the newest addition to the Master-Series family of nozzles, the Accu-Valve MX, that offers gate sizes down to 1 mm for tight pitch applications. It has been tested on PC, ABS, and PP. It also displayed the Melt-CUBE, which allows for higher pitch density and easy tip replacement in the machine; IRIS co-injection technology and the E-Drive electric valve gating system for multi-cavity, precision moulding in cleanroom environments.
Wittmann’s camera checking station with four cameras allows for a 3D inspection
Other highlights were the e-hybrid MacroPower, producing a 14 l bucket, while an EcoPower demonstrated the Airmould gas injection technology to produce a long glass fibre PP hockey stick. It showcased dimensional stability over the length of the part and good surface finish due to the gas injection process.
• US firm DME introduced a new line of pre-machined high-temperature insulator sheets, for standard mould bases, to help mould makers reduce their labour costs. Pre-machined features include locating ring clearance hole, assembly screw clearance holes, and mounting holes, thus saving time and machine wear. The sheets are made of high-compression-strength, asbestos-free material, making them ideal for high-temperature applications. The thermal insulating properties of the glass-reinforced polymer composite material inhibit heat transfer from the mould to the platen, or from the platen to the mould. The insulator sheets are used on moulds and dies between the top clamping plate and the stationary platen and between the bottom of the ejector housing and the movable platen.
Moulds/Tooling • Canadian firm StackTeck Systems showcased on Engel’s e-speed 650T machine a 2x8 dairy thinwall, 16 oz, container mould in a cycle time of 3.3 seconds. It claims this was the best cycle time for the veteran mould, which ran 17.8% higher productivity compared 3 November / December 2013
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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Industry
Downward trend or on the way up? The less-than favourable state of the global automotive
The US industry also contrasts with Europe and Japan, which are struggling with too much capacity, rising labour costs and shrinking domestic demands. Though passenger car sales in the European Union (EU) increased 5.4% year-on-year in September to 1.2 million units, over the first nine months of the year, however, the market has declined 3.9%. Generally, the outlook for much of the EU remains poor but with several of the larger Western European markets having posted strong improvements in sales in recent months, due to pent-up demand, this has driven the regional resurgence, says business analyst Business Monitor International (BMI). It expects many of these markets to bottom out in 2013, before posting modest sales increases in 2014.
industry has been making the headlines lately. Not that the world is aiming for a car-less/vehicle-less society. It is just that the European economic crisis, slow recovery of the US economy and less bullish sectors in China and India are limiting the growth. But is it all doom and gloom, or will there be a resurgence, asks Angelica Buan.
Mixed bag in Western markets hen Detroit, the US and the world’s iconic Motor City, declared bankruptcy this year, it hit the sector hard, driving home the effect of decades of globalisation. The city lost its lustre due to its failure to compete with production sites in Japan, Asia, Russia and South America, with its decline adjudged as a capitalistic misstep. While Detroit is still synonymous with automotive manufacturing in the US, with the top three US manufacturers (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) headquartered there, the fact is that globally the industry has changed and evolved.
Southeast Asia’s Detroit flounders eanwhile, in Thailand, known as Southeast Asia’s Detroit, the sector is also treading a rough path. The industry, which accounts for 12% of the country’s GDP, was down 10% year-on-year, according to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI). Domestic demand was supposed to have driven it up, but an incentive programme introduced last year for first-time car buyers has backfired. Research from IHS Global Automotive shows around 10% of the 1.2 million Thais who signed on to the scheme have either changed their minds or couldn’ t pay the monthly installments. As a result, Japanese automotive makers, who control 80% of the local market, reported a 30% drop in sales in the second quarter of 2013. Car production in the country surged 70% in 2012 making up for the loss from the previous year’ s flood-constrained output, according to the Paris-based International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. This year, it is expected to exceed 2.5 million vehicles, but with domestic demand falling, automotive makers will need to export to markets in Europe, Japan and other parts of Asia. Undaunted by the failure of the tax scheme, the Thai government is pressing ahead with Phase 2 of a green car programme that offers tax breaks to manufacturers of environmentally-friendly and compact vehicles. Thailand’ s Board of Investment, a government agency that promotes local and foreign investment, estimates that the country will produce 700,000 eco-cars by 2015. A majority are
Detroit once reigned as the automotive hub of the world
Detroit has, meanwhile, lost out on the revival of the automotive sector in the country, expected to hit a high in 2014 with new car sales to total 16.4 million, up from an estimated 15.5 million in 2013, according to research firm Edmunds.com. Both Chrysler and GM reported higher sales of 15-22% in the third quarter, mainly supported by local buyers who are replacing ageing vehicles. This has helped offset weak European demand and a sharp slide from previously fast-growing emerging markets. But the 2014 sales picture isn’ t entirely rosy for the industry. Even if new car sales grow at the 6% projected by Edmunds.com, it will be the slowest year-on-year growth since automotive sales bottomed out in 2009. 4 November / December 2013
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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Industry expected to find their way to neighbouring country Indonesia, which has a larger population but a smaller automotive production base.
affordability for new cars, says BMI. Neighbouring country Vietnam’s automotive industry foresees its losses with the imminent tax cut on imported vehicles, under the ASEAN Boost from Asian countries Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) in 2018. Currently, ndonesia is a wild card, with more investment completely built units are levied 60% import flowing into its automotive sector than tax, but by 2018, the local industry will have to Thailand’ s. The investment is expected to continue butt heads with imported vehicles that can come in the short term as Indonesia has a faster growing into the market on lower tariffs, while imported domestic market (car ownership stands at about components will be subject to a 20% levy. Since 45 per 1,000 people), but Thailand will still remain Vietnam only produces 6 to 25% of these parts a regional export powerhouse for Japanese car locally, it relies on imported components. As a makers due to its competitive base structure, says a measure to help the sector, the government plans report by PwC Thailand. to cross off import tax on overseas produced Vehicle sales in Malaysia, which has its own parts by 2015. Vietnam imported over 17,100 cars vehicle production sector, grew 4% for the first worth US$314 million in the first half of the year, six months of 2013, to 313,418 units, says BMI. according to customs data. But it adds that vehicle sales have slowed down In the Philippines, the government is aiming considerably in the past few months, against tighter to finalise a road map for the automotive lending by financial institutions. Meanwhile, industry, with the introduction of a new form according to analysts, European and Chinese of fiscal incentives for automotive firms with OEMs are considering assembly operations in setting up assembly and the country. Generally, “Indonesia is a wild card, manufacturing plants in the Philippines has Malaysia. This may further lagged behind its peers in with more investment boost exports and take the Southeast Asia in terms pressure off the domestic flowing into its automotive of both vehicle sales and sales. production given the sector than Thailand’s” Meanwhile, South small market as well as Korea’s automotive sector, the attractive incentives which has been hit by strikes at the country’ s top being offered by other countries in the region. two car makers, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, is expected to bounce back. India and China on a joyride he Society of Indian Automobile In Myanmar, decades of isolation and crippling Manufacturers (SIAM) says that the Indian sanctions automotive industry suffered a drawback in have resulted the April-September period, compared to the in its vehicle same period in 2012. The weak rupee, higher fleet being inflation and less-available financing have taken one of the toll on the industry. While sales of commercial/ oldest in passenger vehicles, trucks and buses dropped, the world. the two-wheeler segment posted a small growth But GDP and this conflicting scenario explains why India’s per capita overall domestic sales during April-September incomes 2013 has grown marginally by 1.18%. (slightly On the surface, it does seem as though the under industry is finally getting some respite from US$1,000) depressed domestic demand with total vehicle are still exports (includes two and three-wheeler exports) considerably in August rising to an all-time high 288,866 units, lower than a gain of 24.9% year-on-year. other regional Car makers believe in the long term potential country India has to offer, especially as an export hub for peers and small cars. US car maker Ford recently forecast this will be a that by 2020, demand for small vehicles will hindrance to It is now up to emerging countries like Vietnam to pull the sector up account for more than 60% of global automotive mass market
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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Industry sales and half of the volume will be in Asia hybrid vehicles, from 332 units in 2010 to 8,334 Pacific and Africa. By 2018, Ford India will be units in 2011, and increasing by 84% to 15,355 able to export half the vehicles it makes in India, units in 2012, according to Frost & Sullivan. according to Dave Schoch, President of Ford Asia Road to recovery through emerging markets Pacific utomotive makers are pinning their hopes Meanwhile, China has emerged as the world’s to rising demand in developing countries, number one automotive market and will continue according to KPMG’s 2013 Global Automotive to ride the tide, says consultant PwC, adding that Executive Survey. sales will nearly double by 2019, beefed up by Consultancy group, PwC Thailand, domestic demand. expects global light vehicle production From January-August 2013, car sales growth to rise 2.3% to 81 million units this year slowed down in China, compared to the previous and to exceed 101 million units by 2017, year, but overall still maintained double-digit buoyed by growth in growth, says the China Association for Automobile “….Philippines has lagged d e v e l o p i n g m a r k e t s and despite global Manufacturers (CAAM). behind its peers in terms economic volatility. And even against the slower The developing Asia growth, domestic demand of both vehicle sales and Pacific region will has upped, with vehicle sales account for 62% of growing 11% in August, production..” assembly growth from compared to last year, while 2012 to 2017, driven by China, India and passenger car production jumped 13% to ASEAN. 1.39 million. The ASEAN automotive market is set to grow at a CAGR of 5.8% (2012-2019) to 4.71 million Future trends in the driving seat eanwhile, KPMG says future trend will units in 2019, mainly driven by rapid market be hybrids and internal combustion expansions in Indonesia and Thailand, according improvement. “E-mobility will continue to gain to market researcher Frost & Sullivan. traction as a means to curb greenhouse gas The low level of motorisation in t h e ASEAN emissions,” it says, adding, “Pure battery-driven offers strong growth potential for the automotive cars could see the fall out against new propulsion market, while the heavily-motorised regions of technology, resulting in ebbing consumer Western Europe and North America represent a demand through 2018.” saturated “replacement” market. But Frost & Sullivan, in its 2013 Strategic Indonesia is expected to emerge as the largest Outlook of the Global Electric Vehicle Market automotive market in in the ASEAN region by report, counters this and says that this year, 2019, accounting for 2.3 million vehicles, driven electric vehicles will see an increase of 50% in by sustained economic growth in the country, sales due to lower ownership cost. “By 2018, growing middle classes with larger disposable sales of electric vehicles will reach 2.7 million incomes, increased investments in automotive units as manufacturers start tapping private sector and introduction of automotive consumers and expand their market reach.” regulations supporting market growth, says The report says that prices of some electric Frost & Sullivan. vehicles dropped by as much as 18% from their Thus, with market demands expected to surge 2012 price, as a means for manufacturers to in China and other developing Asian countries, remain competitive. Also, the 20-40% cheaper worldwide production of vehicles is set to expand cost of lithium-ion batteries from 25.5 million to 104.7 has enabled electric vehicle million in 2019, with “…Car makers believe in additional production makers to lower their unit prices. capacity to be built up in the long term potential The Malaysian government the fast-growing markets has been promoting the said PwC. India has to offer…” country as a regional hub for Hence, it may be the hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles, and may Asian and emerging countries’ potential as well have to continue to give full exemption of import as untapped markets to lead the way forward duty and excise duty, which expires in December and provide a boost for growth of the automotive 2013. The exemptions have helped boost sales of market.
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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute are jointly working with Continental in a pilot facility in Munster (Germany) to extract dandelion rubber for tyre production. • French tyre maker Michelin is partnering with a subsidiary of Jakartabased PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical to build a US$435 million synthetic rubber plant. The 100,000 tonne/year-plant for butadiene is expected to start up in 2017. • Yokohama Rubber is building a 3 billion yen plant for manufacturing pneumatic marine fenders and marine hoses in Batam Island, Indonesia. It will start up in 2015. • Dow Elastomers, a business unit of Dow Chemical, is to break ground on its planned world-scale Nordel EPDM facility in Louisiana, US. It will utilise the firm’s newest proprietary catalyst technology to enable products with high Mooney viscosity. • India-based Phillips Carbon Black (PCB), a part of the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, and Belgium-headquartered Azelis Coatings have formed a partnership to distribute carbon black. With a total capacity of 500,000 tonnes, PCB is the world’s sixth largest producer. Both Azelis and PCB have agreed on a phasing in Western Europe for the transfer of activity to Azelis. • Portage Precision Polymers (PPP), a US custom rubber and silicone mixing firm, has opened a silicone compound facility in Ohio.
• Japan-headquartered Tokai Rubber Industries has started up its second automotive antivibration rubber factory in India. • Scotland-headquartered Weir Group is investing RM354 million to set up a facility in Malaysia. It covers a foundry to produce high-quality castings; machine shop and rubber processing plant, for Weir’s growing UK valve facility. In 2010, Weir bought Malaysia-based manufacturer Linatex, which produces a 95% natural rubber product used in the mining industry. • AirBoss of America Corporation has entered into an agreement to acquire all the shares of Flexible Products, a privately-owned US company that supplies anti-vibration solutions to the North American automotive market. • Carlisle Companies is selling its Transportation Products (CTP) to American Industrial Partners of New York for US$375 million. CTP manufactures and distributes bias-ply and radial tyres, stamped and roll-formed steel wheels and tyre and wheel assemblies to non-automotive customers. • Finland-based Metso has completed the divestment of certain parts of its industrial rubber conveyor belt manufacturing operations, which comprise 27 locations with around 330 employees, previously belonging to the firm’s Mining and Construction segment. • Australia-headquartered glove maker Ansell is acquiring South Korean industrial gloves company Midas. It has a plant in Vietnam and has been a
supplier to Ansell for eight years. • Chinese producer of equipment for the rubber and tyre industry, Mesnac is planning to open a technical centre in Akron, Ohio, by 2016. • Bridgestone is reorganising its PU operations in China. It will shut down its Shenzhen plant and move production to Kaiping, Guangdong Province. In Italy, it is converting its passenger car tyre plant in Bari to focus on tyres for general use, thereby shelving the closure of the plant announced earlier. • India’s top tyre maker MRF is investing Rs 1,000 crore to double its capacity at a facility located in Andhra Pradesh. • Continental Tire Americas’s plant on a 23-acre site in Sumter will start production by the beginning of next year. It will produce 4.5 million tyres/year, thereafter increasing the capacity to 8 million by 2021. • Toyo Tire & Rubber has opened its new tyre factory in Malaysia. It is expected to produce 2.5 million tyres/year and to double it by 2015. • Continental is allocating EUR40 million for expansion plans at its Korbach tyre site in Germany by 2018. Besides the Automated Indoor Braking Analyser (AIBA), the world’s first fully automated indoor tyre testing facility in Hanover, and the ongoing ContiLifeCycle plant project for truck tyre retreading and rubber recycling, the investment in Korbach part of the company’s strategic planning of technological innovation.
1 November / December 2013
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Rubber Journal Asia Machinery News
Technology for rubber The recently concluded K2013 show not
equipped with a servo-electric drive and tempering device. Additional drive aggregates and software package provide an optimal overall system. The firm also premiered its new C6000 web controller, equipped with a 21” full HD panel with multi-touch. It offers the ability of utilising different cross-platform terminals for visualisation and relies on the latest Intel processor technology. Other characteristics of the hardware are fast industrial memory technology based on semiconductors, Powerlink system bus for connection of control components and the use of RFID technology for different tasks.
only had the latest plastics technology but also for the rubber sector. Highlighted here is some of the latest technology that machine makers introduced, from injection moulding machines and liquid silicone processing to recycling. • Specialist rubber machine maker Maplan highlighted the MTF750/160 editionS with Cure² process optimisation, in a collaboration with PETA Mould Construction from Germany for the fully automated production of Frisbee discs or membranes. The mould possesses two cavities of different sizes. Direct injection into the cavities is performed through a dual nozzle cold runner using hydraulically actuated shutoff nozzles. In order to achieve an optimal degree of filling, the shut-off nozzles on the machine’s control system are adjusted separately. The demoulding employs a middle plate sliding system used in conjunction with a push-out device. The 160-tonne machine has a standard energy-saving, servo-electric CoolDrive II drive concept, allowing for 50% energy savings. The Cure² process optimisation system monitors all relevant production parameters in real time and calculates the optimal heating time for the moulded parts using current data, allowing for a 40% increase of productivity, says the Austrian firm.
• Size reduction equipment supplier Pallmann launched a new grinding system for vulcanised rubber waste to be turned into fine powder for direct reuse in rubber processing. A key feature of Karakal is its ability to devulcanise technical parts and retreadedtyre waste as well as 4 mm-sized material, fed continuously by a series of screws positioned along the gap between the rollers. The Pallmann presented the Karakal for recycling firm says that rubber waste back into fine powders though a large amount of rubber waste from old tyres is already re-used, mostly as low-grade filler in building and construction, some is also pyrolysed into carbon black, oils, fuel gas, and other residues. In the past, cryogenics have been used for producing powder from rubber waste, but this creates particles with cubic geometries. More recently, conventional roller mills have been used, but these create particles of around 800-1,000 microns, which is too big for reprocessing operations, and the process is also energy-intensive. Karakal relies on friction and has two main rollers with a diameter of 400 mm and a length of 1,000 mm, each covered with micro-serrations. Roller speed and direction of rotation are controlled via variablefrequency drives. The distance between the rollers can be adjusted to an accuracy of 0.1 mm. The rollers are pre-tensioned by an assembly of springs and a hydraulic cylinder. Pallmann has applied for several patents on technology incorporated in the equipment.
• Meanwhile, Maplan’s MTF3500/580 machine is the result of a cooperation based on a year-long partnership with Vorwerk Autotec. It combines different sliding systems that can also handle heavy tools of several thousand kilogrammes. For quicker feeding of inlay parts, it can be coupled with a Liftmaster. Consequently, a semi-automated production process for the manufacturing of metal-composite parts in the automotive industry is realised. The “ergonomic” clamping unit, with low operating height provides optimal conditions. The Maplan introduced the C6000 machine controller exhibit shown was also 3 November / December 2013
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Rubber Journal Asia Machinery News
• Germany-based KraussMaffei Berstorff introduced the EcoLine for the production of rubber profiles. According to the company, the microwave channel of the new EcoLine reduces energy costs and environmental impact. The firm says, “Three essential OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) targets o f maximum machine availability, high output rates and unparallelled final product quality have played a vital role in the development of the new system.” Each of the three microwave channel modules is equipped with a generator designed to supply 6 kW power. A circulator integrated into the energy supply transfers the energy not absorbed to the connected water load, thus improving the magnetron service life. The microwave generators are arranged above and below the conveyor belt, allowing for a homogeneous field distribution. Both the microwave power and the conveyor belt speed can be continuously adjusted. The microwave channel has an effective cross-section of 130 mm width and 60 mm height.
Elmet’s new production concept for UV-curing LSR supports
The pneumatic doors in KraussMaffei Berstorff’s EcoLine reduce the start-up and cleaning times of the microwave channel
KraussMaffei Berstorff claims to be the only manufacturer worldwide that has managed to reduce the opening and closing times of microwave and hot air treatment channel doors to a few seconds. Where frequent material changes are necessary, the pneumatic doors reduce set-up and cleaning times substantially, says the firm. When the treatment channel is opened, the hot internal panel of the doors automatically moves downward towards the frame, giving operators easy access to the profiles and enhancing operator safety. The energy savings achieved with the EcoLine system are the result of reduced waste gas loss and the use of energyoptimised switched-mode power supplies in the microwave channel. Closed circulation of the process air provides maximum cost savings because the air is heated centrally and 90% of the energy-intensive hot air remains in the system. Another new feature is the improved thermal insulation of the process chambers.
• Austria-based Elmet debuted its new production approach for the processing of liquid silicone rubber (LSR), which cures under UV-light from a LED source. According to Elmet, this method eliminates the high curing temperatures required for
conventional heat-curing LSR grades. Thermoplastics with a low melting points, including PP, PE or PMMA, are suitable for two-component injection moulding with LSR as the soft component, otherwise materials providing higher temperature resistance that are more costly are required, such as PA or PBT. Thus, a broad diversity of new applications is opened up in the production of hard/soft composites using LSR as the soft component. An application example is a soap dish made of translucent PP that has a directly moulded-on silicone support base. For making this item, Elmet had developed a complete turnkey production system in cooperation with Austrian machine manufacturer Engel and raw materials supplier Momentive Performance Materials. One key element of the system is the mould operating in a standard injection moulding machine, such as Engel’s e-mac 170/50. In this mould, which has steel sealing surfaces on both mould halves, the moulding is initially produced from UV-transparent PP. After demoulding and relocating this PP part to a higher mould region, the LSR base is then moulded onto it. Afterwards, the silicone component is exposed to UV light through the PP article for curing. The light sources used in this application are rugged LED lamps, which are noted for their long service life. Moreover, the activation point and duration of these LEDs can be accurately matched to the curing reaction so as to minimise energy input and cycle time. The system is equipped with the new air-powered injection unit for the LSR component. Integrated into the machine control system, it provides a repeatable injection pressure and velocity for process stability. The space-saving TOP 1000 Mini metering system is another novelty; it reportedly delivers an accurately metered amount of LSR into the injection unit. The cross-linking agent and dye are introduced using a standard additives line.
4 November / December 2013
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Rubber Journal Asia Gloves Industry
Latex that befits the gloves sector The healthcare and food industries, which
rubber gloves, around 63% of the wo r l d ’ s s u p p l y to 180 countries, and the industry is e x p e c t e d t o are amongst the top recession-proof hit US$3 trillion by 2015. But things a r e n o t a l l that rosy according to market analys t s . industries, have rubbed on their luck to the Malaysian research house RHB Research is giving gloves sector. While the Eurozone crisis Malaysia’s glove sector an optimistic review, citing weighs down on revenues for many industry that the market conditions are favourable. It says that Hartalega’s next generation integrated glove segments, demand for rubber gloves has complex (NGC) will commence in August 2014, with remained stable throughout the global an expected increase in total capacity to 43 billion pieces/year by 2020. Meanwhile, Supermax has also economic ordeal. Nonetheless, the gloves posted a healthy second quarter financial result and sector is also undergoing its own “paradigm has two new plants that will be fully commissioned by 2014 to further boost its sales. shift”, in terms of materials used and the Nonetheless, there are major bottlenecks the level of safety and efficiency, says Angelica manufacturers have to deal with, including labour shortage, fluctuating rubber prices and the imposition Buan in this report. of minimum wage levels in the country. Meanwhile, Thailand and Indonesia, which are two top rubber producers, are also catching up in the manufacture of rubber gloves. Recently, the Public Health Minister of Thailand, Pradit Sintawanarong, ccording to the latest report from Indian was quoted as having said that gloves exports will market research firm Konsept Analytics (KA), ramp up from 20 billion baht to 50 billion baht the rubber gloves sector remained unperturbed over the next five years, making the country a close in 2012, despite the Eurozone crisis. There were contender to Malaysia. some regions that were previously reported to have Since more than 12 billion gloves o f c a p a c i t y low penetration for gloves but with health and has been added in the last 10 months i n A s i a safety regulations being imposed on the healthcare (with several new projects currently a r e u n d e r and food industries, use of gloves has become way and expect ed t o come online soon ) , t h e imperative. sect or will experience an overcapacit y si t ua t i on . The research firm says that other key factors This is furt her affirmed b y t he lar gest that generated demand for gloves were increasing maker of gloves in the world, Top G l o v e , t h a t healthcare reforms that are adopting more stringent said recent ly it is consolidat ing it s o pera t i on s regulations in the light of emerging diseases like in China where it has two vinyl fact o r i e s . the H1N1 as well as decreasing material costs. With According t o C h a i rma n natural rubber having posted Tan Sri Lim W e e C h a i , significant price increases “…key factors that t he firm will be more over the last two years, generated demand for caut ious ab ou t expa n d i n g manufacturers have turned to it s b usiness a n d w o ul d the use of nitrile rubber, says gloves were increasing inst ead focus on KA. improving th e q u a l i t y The report cites Malaysia healthcare reforms…” of its product s a n d m i x as still dominating the global rat her t han ramping up product ion c a pa c i t y i n glove market, with the presence of the four top t he 2014 financial y ear. The compan y’ s c urren t rubber gloves manufacturers globally namely Top utilisation rates are 90% for nitrile g l o v e s , 8 0 % Glove, Supermax, Kossan and Hartalega. for latex gloves and 50% for vinyl gl o v e s . I t w i l l The report says that the country, being one of the also readjust it s hig h surg ical g love pro d uc t i o n largest producers of natural rubber, affords these volume as it has fulfilled a supply c o n t r a c t t o manufacturers an advantage in terms of raw material Africa. Nit rile g loves cont inue t o b e t h e grow t h availability as well as access to R&D capabilities as driver, t houg h t he firm had a 40% gro w t h part of the support given by the government. volume this year, slower than last y e a r ’ s 6 5 % Me a n w h i l e ac c ord in g to A mRes earc h , in growth. 2 0 1 2 , Ma l a y si a ex p orted 100 billion p iec es of
5 November / December 2013
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Rubber Journal Asia Gloves Industry L a t e x i m pr o v e m en ts offer op p ortu n ities hough natural rubber latex (NRL) has long been used to manufacture rubber gloves, the risks for allergy in gloves have become more of a concern now. David Hill of UK-based international latex consultancy David Hill & Associates, who is an experienced latex scientist and technical manager with over 26 years of work experience in companies within the latex segment, says the greatest concern in the glove market would be major health scares on rubber accelerators or latex proteins. He was speaking during the recent Latex and Synthetic Polymer Dispersions conference held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He says the industry has evolved from the development of powder-free surgical gloves and the availability of de-proteinised NRL to the development of soft nitrile latex exam gloves and the development of synthetic polyisoprene latex as a viable glove material. But yet, NRL is still a growing material in glove production, he says. Another speaker at the conference Hardi Tamm, Founder/CEO of Korymbos in Estonia pointed out that the changes in allergy risks are in line with the development of rubber gloves. Highlighting that the role of gloves is to protect, he says that allergy risks need to be eradicated. He explained in his presentation that the allergenic factor of rubber gloves is rooted in the protein content of raw latex, adding that in a small portion (1%) of raw latex, proteins are responsible for allergic reactions. “The rubber tree uses proteins to protect itself against bacteria and fungi, as well as to heal the wounds caused by tapping,” he explained, countering that majority of these proteins are, however, “harmless to us”.
There are two important thresholds (NRL allergens, Type I sensitivity), according to Tamm. “When the sum of four allergens is below 0.15 microgram/g, the latex product is more likely to be safe. Products with allergen content higher than 1.15 microgram/g have a high allergy potential.”
“…the shift to synthetic rubber has increased risks for Type IV allergy…” He also mentions that the shift to synthetic rubber has increased risks for Type IV allergy. While there are currently testing methods for allergenicity of NRL and synthetic rubber gloves as well as regulations and standardisations in place (such as the ASTM, CEN, ISO), few safety thresholds have been established, says Tamm. He also says that there is no definitive method of finding out what material is used or how much NRL is contained in the glove being used. Other options for glove makers amm also says that studies relating to allergies in NRL-based products indicate that it is imperative to use safer materials, adding that ongoing developments in using guayule (a potential commercial source of high quality yet hypoallergenic latex), Russian dandelion and other natural sources of rubber are indicative that the shift to new materials is slowly taking place. One such alternative comes from Vystar Corporation, the exclusive creator of the multipatented Vytex Natural Rubber Latex (NRL). Vytex NRL is said to result in a more translucent and cleaner latex following the removal of proteins and non-rubbers. For manufacturers, Vytex NRL cuts production costs due to less chemicals and water used and processing involved in removing proteins, says the firm that only this year received a patent from the European Union.
The allergenic factor of rubber gloves is rooted in the protein content of raw latex
Latest developments add value to gloves eanwhile, Australian glove maker Ansell says it is committed to reducing glove allergenicity at every stage of the manufacturing process by refining the use of chemical accelerators, like Diphenylguanidine (DPG), reducing residual protein levels throughout the production process and on-going investment in R&D. Ansell says it has developed a DPG-free polyisoprene formulation that provides relief for healthcare workers suffering from latex allergies and Type IV allergies caused by DPG.
M He affirmed, “Raw latex contains about 200 different proteins, 50 to 60 of which have been named as potentially allergenic. The WHO/IUIS Allergen Nomenclature Sub-Committee currently (2013) lists only 14 natural rubber latex (NRL) proteins as allergens (that are characterised at the molecular level). Only four of them are clinically relevant (major allergens).” 6 November / December 2013
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Rubber Journal Asia Gloves Industry Zeon’s Nipol ME Series gloves do not contain the proteins found in NRL
Meanwhile, Ho describes the prerequisites for coalescing of the latex particles and film formation. “There is a minimum film forming temperature (corresponding to Tg) and also above 0°C to be observed and applied. Sufficient adhesion between adjacent latex particles for inter-particles fusion to occur and film to develop mechanical and barrier properties is needed. The rate of coalescence of latex particles depends on rate of inter-diffusion of polymer molecules across interface (molecular size, chemical) nature of the polymer and thermal energy of the ambient and the process drying rate.” Latex dipping, while it is a rather sophisticated method that requires “lots of engineering innovation for sophisticated high-speed dipping machine”, is likewise presented as a measure to improve a glove’s efficiency as a barrier device. Ho adds that the latex’s surface treatment by coating polymeric lubricating layer could improve lubricity for donning. The coating should not delaminate from surface upon stretching and usage, he stresses.
Compatriot Zeon Corporation has also started marketing its new polyisoprene rubber, which is incorporated with polyisoprene emulsion using the company’s proprietary emulsion production technology. The Nipol ME Series is suitable for highly pliant, tight-fitting products that require tensile strength and tear strength equivalent to natural rubber, says the Japanese firm. It adds that the Nipol ME Series does not contain the proteins found in NRL, making it a suitable material for surgical gloves.
Effective barriers against pathogens rom minimising risks to causing allergies, the latex in gloves has to be an effective barrier device. This was emphasised by Professor Ho Chee Cheong, an adjunct professor at the University Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia, in his presentation at the latex conference. He says that the latex material has to form a The latex material has to form a continuous film to be an effective continuous film for protection against pathogens barrier device, according to Prof Ho Chee Cheong of UTAR, Malaysia (barrier property); be mechanically strong and Meanwhile, Aik Hwee Eng, from Ansell elastic; hydrophilic (compatible with damp skin); Malaysia said that the firm has innovated its first and should be soft and conform to the contour of antibacterial infection the hand. He added that protection medical glove. when the latex glove is worn, “….the allergenic factor of He said that medical gloves it has to exhibit low surface with an anti-bacterial friction against skin, with rubber gloves is rooted in coating on the outside minimal surface contact with the protein content of raw surface will be playing a the skin. big role in the healthcare “The Initial contact latex….” setting. between latex particles “ This proprietary achieved by gelation anti-bacterial coating is fast-acting, capable of (chemical means) is followed by inter-particle reducing the bacterial load when in contact with diffusion of rubber molecules. Cross-linking contaminated surface such as a dirty hand during of rubber molecules – network formation and dispensing or any surface during use. The relevance mechanical strength development is enabled. A of this glove in the healthcare setting is vital in complete fusion/coalescence of latex particles gives reducing the transmission of pathogens by gloved a continuous, coherent film without any residual hands that could cause the healthcare-associated structures,” he says in his presentation at the infections,” he explained. conference.
7 November / December 2013
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