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

非紡織布工業:

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柔軟觸感的衛生用品

11 s e -B xh oo i th bi N0 tin 6 g

業界新聞


c o ntent s 目 錄

Volume 26, No 184

publlshed slnce 1985

R E G U L A R S 概要

4 Industry News 8 Materials News 12 業 界 新 聞

22 Piovan’s Paolo Maguolo seen here at Chinaplas

F E A T U R E S 焦點內容

16 非柔 紡軟 織觸 布感 工的 業衛 :生 用 品 Pipe Industry – plastic pipes are 18 gaining a strong foothold in the global market and countries in Asia are leading the demand

Machinery & Technology 22 –Italian the Italian plastics machinery industry

30 TPEs are going into footwear

has rebounded with record export figures, with sales also coming from the Asian market, which is benefiting from the new technology

Industry – with their 28 Non-woven higher disposable incomes, the Chinese are seeking out quality hygiene products that impart a softer feel, especially in diapers

Thermoplastic Elastomers – 30 green issues are driving the TPE market,

IMA 5 PDMEX was held recently for the Philippines moulding sector

says Roger Young in this edited version of a presentation he delivered at the 5th International Conference on TPEs, organised jointly by PRA and Chatsworth Associates. The seminar was held alongside the Tiprex exhibition in Thailand

Supplements in this issue ….. Philippines is a country in limbo, in terms of its moulding sector ……. China will be a growth vehicle for the global silicones market

Cover photo:

The family-owned companies of the Kreyenborg Group have been providing innovative and reliable components and machinery for extrusion and polymerisation for more than 50 years. Kreyenborg says with customers worldwide having confidence in its systems and lines, it has become a global partner for the plastics industry. The company offers screen changers, gear pumps, pelletising systems and bulk material handling components as well as automation technology. Thus, problems at the interfaces are eliminated completely



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SEPTEMBER 2011

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

Publisher Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 e-mail: arthur@kenter.nl Executive Editor Tej Fernandez Tel: +60 3 4260 4575 e-mail: tej@plasticsandrubberasia.com Chinese Editor Koh Bee Ling Editorial/Production Coordinator Angelica Buan e-mail: pramalaysia@gmail.com Circulation Dona Margaret e-mail: pramalaysia@gmail.com Singapore Office Contact: Anthony Chan Tel: +65 63457368 e-mail: acesap@gmail.com

Permits ISSN 1360-1245

MICA (P) 134/08/2011 KDN PPS 1700/12/2011 (028142) Printer KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd

PRA is published 8 times a year in Mandarin and English by Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this publication is correct, the publisher makes no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the nature or accuracy of such material to the extent permitted by applicable law. © 2011 Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or used in any form, or by any means, without specific prior permission from the publisher. PRA is circulated free to trade readers in the plastics and rubber industry. Airmail subscriptions are available at US$160 within Asia and US$250 to all other countries outside Asia.

PRA is a member of ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation)


News INDUSTRY

High-tech plastics growth a boon for suppliers

I

n line with an expected growth of 7%, until 2020, of the high-tech plastics market, German chemicals firm Lanxess has allocated a EUR90 million investment in the expansion of its global production network for the materials. It is investing EUR15 million in its glass fibre plant in Antwerp, Netherlands, to expand the capacity of 60,000 tonnes/year by 10%. The products are a key intermediate for the production of its hightech plastics. Besides this, it will invest EUR35 million into its Antwerp caprolactam facility, increasing its 200,000-tonne/year capacity by 10%. More than half of the caprolactam and glass fibres produced are used internally. Meanwhile, to cater to the growth from the automotive market, Lanxess is investing EUR10 million each to set up new compounding plants in North Carolina, US, and Gujarat, India. Each plant will have 20,000 tonnes/year compounding capacity of polyamide (PA) when it comes on stream

in 2012. In terms of its existing plants, Lanxess is investing EUR10 million each in its plants in HammUentrop, Germany, and Wuxi, China, to increase capacity. In Wuxi, Lanxess has added a third line to increase compounding capacity to 60,000 tonnes/year, up from 20,000 tonnes/year in 2005. Another company that has its eye on the growing engineering plastics market is Japanese producer Polyplastics, with expansions of supply planned in Malaysia, China and Taiwan. It will add on 90,000 tonne/year-capacity for its Duracon polyoxymethylene (POM) resin at its Malaysian plant, to start up by 2014. Polyplastics has four production bases for POM in Japan (Fuji), Taiwan (Kaohsiung), China (Nantong) and Malaysia (Kuantan). With the additional Malaysian capacity, the group will be able to produce 290,000 tonnes/year, accounting for about a third of the world’s total demand for POM, says Polyplastics.

Lanxess produces Kallo glass fibres at its Antwerp site

The firm also says the world’s demand for POM is about 900,000 tonnes/year and more than 50% of that is consumed in Asia, with an expected growth of 4-8% a year. Furthermore, it says that the Indian market will grow in the near future and is forecasting a larger POM market share in Asia. POM boasts mechanical/ sliding properties and mouldability and is used in the automotive and home appliances sectors and in commodities like fasteners and buckles. The company also plans to increase

its compounding capacity, with the aim of strengthening its position in Taiwan and China. It will increase its PBT compounding capacity in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, from 14,000 to 35,000 tonnes/year by early next year. Plus, it will set up a new compounding company at the Chinese PTM Engineering Plastics plant in Nantong, Jiangsu province. The plant will compound POM, PBT, polyphenylene sulphide and liquid crystal polymers. With a capacity of 9,000 tonnes/year, it will start up in 2013.

Chinese PVC films taxed by Indian government

I

ndia’s Finance Ministry has placed a definitive anti-dumping duty of US$0.034 cents/kg on PVC films produced and exported by Heytex Technical Textiles. It



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SEPTEMBER 2011

also placed a duty of US$0.441 cents/kg on film products made by Zhejiang Yuli Plastic. The levy will be valid for five years. The ministry says that Indian

manufacturers had suffered a material injury on account of dumping of the products by the Chinese suppliers. The PVC film sheet is used in advertising signage,

billboards and tarpaulins. Rigid PVC film that makes cotton/canvas tarpaulins, self-adhesive vinyl and mesh banner/ fabric is exempted from the duty.


INDUSTRY NEWS

News In Brief

Technical centre for composites Global producer of glass fibre reinforcements for composite systems Owens Corning will open its China Composites Centre in Shanghai, China, in early 2012. This comes on the heels of a new composites plant in Hangzhou it opened recently, its fourth in the country. The technical centre will focus on composite prototyping, materials testing/designing, technical support and developing new solutions, particularly in applications for renewable energy, residential and commercial buildings and vehicle components. Boosting film supply in Taiwan To support the Asian growth in mobile electronics and smart windows, Solutia has added on extra capacity for its hightech conductive film manufacturing operation, with a US$3.4 million acquisition from glass and film manufacturer Aimcore Technology in Hsinchu, Taiwan. The US company had earlier said that it had entered into an agreement to buy selected assets of Aimcore for about US$7 million. To come on line later this year, the extra capacity will expand the production of Solutia’s Flexvue film components to cater to customers in the Asian region. The films are used in touchscreens,

solar applications, smart windows and e-readers. Solutia also bought a Singapore-based window film marketing and distribution firm in 2010. Chinese PP plant using UK technology Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Yanan Energy and Chemical is licensing UK Ineos Group’s Innovene process technologies to make homopolymer, random copolymer and impact copolymer PP. The 300,000-tonne/year plant will produce a wide range of PP products to serve the growing demand in China. Shaanxi Yanchang also used Innovene PP and S technologies when it expanded its facility in Yulin, Shaanxi province, in 2009. Plasticiser expansion for Eastman US firm Eastman Chemical has acquired Brazilian plasticiser maker Scandiflex do Brasil SA Industrias Quimicas. São Paulobased Scandiflex has annual sales of US$54 million. Eastman also plans to expand its own capacity for Benzoflex and Admex non-phthalate plasticisers at its US and Estonian plants respectively. Benzoflex is used in coatings, adhesives and vinyl floorings while uses for Admex include flexible PVC compounds that compete with rubber and thermoplastic elastomers in conveyor belts, gaskets and hoses.


News INDUSTRY

Chemical companies face a new dilemma P

rogress and development usually come with an expensive price tag, that of their toll on the environment. As Asian countries become developed, they get entangled in environmental issues, especially when industrial areas encroach into residential zones. Recently, China’s Fujia Petrochemical facility was told to shut its paraxylene plant down amid fears of a toxic spill. A storm damaged a dyke protecting the plant and though the dyke had been repaired, residents protested over a possible chemical leak. (Flashback to radiation leaks from Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, crippled after an earthquake-triggered tsunami in March this year.) Fujia is China’s first privately owned petrochemical company. It is located in Dalian and started up in June 2009, producing 700,000 tonnes/year of paraxylene, 350,000 tonnes/year of benzene and 100,000 tonnes/ year of orthoxylene (since the massive protest by residents, there has been a complete news black-out on the plant’s shut down). Protesters also demanded the plant be relocated. This will not be an easy task, given that the liveable parts of the country are heavily populated and if the Fujia plant is moved, because of its proximity to residential areas, then almost all the petrochemical p l a n t s i n C h i n a w i l l h a v e t o b e s h u t or relocated. Moreover, the cost of the relocation will probably take a toll on Fujia’s financials, since the complex was built at a cost of US$1.65 billion. Encroaching into the environs Over in Taiwan, the country put the brakes on its third refinery and petrochemical complex by Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology. An affiliate of Taiwan’s state-run oil refiner CPC Corp, Kuokuang shelved plans to build the complex in the Dacheng Wetlands in Changhua County because protestors said it would harm the local oyster and eel-farming industries. Environmentalists also said the plant would consume huge amounts of water in a dry area, emit more than 7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, pollute the air and harm local residents’ health. The Taiwanese government is now facing growing pressure to allow upstream petrochemical industries to go to mainland China and to alternative destinations in Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia and Indonesia. But China has its own problems and environmental responsiveness is growing in Malaysia.



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SEPTEMBER 2011

Gazetted industrial zones a sure way? Even gazetted industrial zones have their share of problems. In 2009, Thailand’s Map Ta Phut, in Rayong province, a hub for petrochemical companies, had 76 of its projects suspended by the government after environmental disputes. Residents living around Map Ta Phut, which is situated along the eastern seaboard of Thailand, had for years been complaining about the lack of clean water, air pollution and illegal dumping of waste. More recently, at Malaysia’s Gebeng industrial zone in Kuantan, Australian rare earth supplier Lynas’s plans to set up a plant have been put on hold until the company complies with recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Many of the minerals mined by Lynas are used in mobile phones, wind turbines and computer hard discs. Local residents were concerned that the operation could cause lasting environmental damage and result in radiation leaks. They probably had cause for concern as a rare earth plant set up in the 1980s in another township in Malaysia (Bukit Merah, in Taiping), has been linked to at least seven leaukemiarelated deaths. Even though the plant shut down almost two decades ago, it is still undergoing a RM300 million clean-up exercise. (Flashback to USbased Union Carbide’s chemical leak in Bhopal, India, and the radiation leak in Chernobyl, Russia.) Lynas says it picked Gebeng as a location for its facility because it is a fully developed industrial estate and a hub for chemical and petrochemical companies. It has ample power and chemicals supply as well as skilled labour and is close to the port facility. It houses companies like BP Chemicals, Eastman Chemicals and BASF Petronas Chemicals. The latter is a 40:60 joint venture company between the national petroleum firm and German chemicals supplier BASF, which is also producing PBT in Gebeng, in another joint venture with Japanese firm Toray. Are there any solutions? The most obvious solution would be to undertake the appropriate feasibility, environmental and regulatory work prior to setting up a facility. But why build a new plant when there is no need to, ask analysts? Improving the efficiency of existing plants would allow for an increase in production and developing high-valued midstream and downstream products would allow for more value-added products on the market.


INDUSTRY NEWS

Thai corporation SCG Chemicals is investing in environmental management at its facility in Map Ta Phut

Another measure would be to exercise environmental management. For example, Thai corporation SCG Chemicals has earmarked an investment of 2.5 billion baht into environmental management in Map Ta Phut over the next six years and hopes that there will be no more disputes of the kind that prompted the government suspension (it has since been lifted after clarifications on environmental and health impact regulations) in 2009. Of the 76 projects that were affected, 20 belong to SCG and hence its interest in ensuring its meets its sustainability objectives. There is not one solution to the situations at hand. It takes a concerted effort by governments to implement environmental legislations and companies to abide by these. For instance, residents of Map Ta Phut were the ones that brought the case against the eight Thai state agencies, in relation to the health and environmental effects. The case alleged that these state agencies had issued operating permits illegally to the 76 industrial projects. These permits were alleged to be illegal because they bypassed Section 67 of the 2007 Constitution, which requires the Thai government to hold public hearings and consider environmental and health impact assessments endorsed by the National Environment Board before issuing operating permits, in the case of projects which may have harmful effects on either the environment or the health of the people in the surrounding areas. On their part, corporations need to ensure that environmental responsiveness is part of their agenda, especially in the light of global warming and erratic weather patterns in parts of the world, which is bringing with it problems not envisaged before. â—†


News

GREEN MATERIALS

Keeping to the green agenda In this issue, we explore how proteins from cheese and meat are being turned into bioplastics while interest in bio-BDO continues to grow. Compostable film packaging is also blooming, against the back of pressure from brand owners and retailers while a soy-based replacement is being touted for diapers. Turning cheese and meat proteins into bioplastics Cheese is usually packaged in plastic but now it is being used as a base material for a bioplastic! Made from whey protein, the bioplastic is the result of a three-year WheyLayer project, a European Commission-funded R&D project in Spain’s Catalonia region. According to the Barcelona-based research company IRIS, biodegradable plastic made from cheese by-products could reduce the need for expensive synthetic oxygen-barrier polymers and keep useful materials out of landfills. Whey is the milk protein by-product of cheese production and serves as a good moisture-barrier film. It is also a sustainable by-product. Each year, cheese factories in Europe discard almost 40% of the whey produced, according to IRIS. Currently, subject to patent applications, WheyLayer’s first target application is for cosmetics packaging for creams that need good oxygen barriers with food packaging applications to follow. Now we turn to meat – its not just cheese that is making head turns but also meat waste! Canadian University of Alberta researcher David Bressler (from the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science) is researching the use of throwaway parts of beef carcasses to turn these proteins into safe, sustainable materials. A patent has been filed on the thermal process used to turn protein from bovine by-products into plastics. Using high temperatures, the proteins are broken into small pieces then cross-linked to other protein molecules to create a network that forms a rigid structure. The new plastics from Bressler’s laboratory are currently being tested by The Woodbridge Group, a car parts manufacturer. Current funding is focused on research that further experiments with the product, to see if the plastics can be mixed with renewable fibres such as hemp. If successful, the resulting bio-composite material could be used in high-strength materials, such as building structural supports. The bio-friendly plastics, though still in the development stage, are poised to become an innovative a d d i t i o n t o t h e m a n u f a c t u r i n g i n d u s t r y, B r e s s l e r believes. “The plastic industry is under pressure to increase the renewable content in its products. As a result, this project offers the opportunity to do just that and at the same time help send value back to rural Alberta and the beef sector.” Bressler’s work is supported by the Alberta Prion Research Institute, PrioNet Canada and the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency.



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Bio-BDO makes its rounds A US company that has been making news headlines is Genomatica, which is working to transform waste into chemicals. It has filed for an IPO and also entered into a joint venture with Italian company Novamont. The companies expect to open a European plant in 2012 to make bio-based butanediol (BDO), an intermediate that can be used in polymers like Novamont’s biodegradable plastic Mater-Bi. Another US company, Waste Management, earlier this year, made an investment in Genomatica with a goal of helping the company develop processes to transform materials in the waste stream such as paper, plastics and organics into chemicals. Meanwhile, US-based renewable chemicals company BioAmber will build its biobased succinic acid plant in Sarnia, Canada. The US$80 million Sarnia plant will have an initial capacity of 17,000 tonnes and will be commissioned in 2013. It plans to double capacity in Sarnia by 2014 through the introduction of a next_generation yeast being developed with Cargill. BioAmber currently produces and sells biobased succinic acid at a 3,000-tonne capacity plant in France. Succinic acid can be used to make products such as automotive parts, biodegradable coffee cup lids and disposable cutlery. BioAmber also plans to produce BDO in Sarnia, using technology licensed from DuPont that coverts succinic acid to BDO. The aim for the Sarnia plant is to produce up to 35,000 million tonnes of biobased succinic acid and 23,000 million tonnes of biobased BDO.

BioAmber, which currently produces biobased succinic acid in France, is setting up another plant in Canada


GREEN MATERIALS NEWS

Another US company Amyris has entered into a joint venture with Japanese company Kuraray to develop polymers from Biofene, a renewable hydrocarbon building block made using technology from Amyris. Kuraray will use Biofene to replace petroleumderived feedstock such as butadiene and isoprene in the production of specific polymers. If the process is successful, the companies plan to enter into an exclusive supply agreement. The algae and biochemical sectors are becoming more interwoven as US biochemical firm Glycos Biotechnologies and algae developer Solix BioSystems have yielded postitive results in their early-stage R&D collaboration. Solix’s crude algae oil, obtained from the company’s pilot facility has been found to be non-toxic, easily metabolised and upgraded by GlycosBio’s proprietary biocatalysts. Based on the successful production of ethanol from the oil, additional studies are planned to convert the oil to high-value chemicals such as succinate, propanediol and isoprene. Asian routes to bioplastics J a p a n ’s M i t s u b i s h i C h e m i c a l a n d T h a i l a n d ’s P T T

Public Chemical are investing US$233 million in a joint venture bioplastic production project. The companies have been talking about forming a joint venture to manufacture bio-based polybutylene succinate (PBS) since 2009 and this announcement culminates in the plant. It will be located in Rayong, Thailand, and production is scheduled to start in 2014. The governments of the Netherlands and Malaysia will also work closely to promote a biobased economy. The BE-Basic consortium – coordinated by TU Delft a n d t h e M a l a y s i a n g o v e r n m e n t ’s i n n o v a t i o n u n i t UNIK – have established a consortium in Malaysia, following the Dutch BE-Basic model. This consortium, the Oil Palm Biomass Consortium (OPBC), will focus on the use of palm waste as a raw material for the chemical industry and products like bioplastics. PLAs modified for broader use US-based RTP has commercialised what it says is t h e i n d u s t r y ’s f i r s t l i n e o f g l a s s f i b r e - r e i n f o r c e d PLA compounds with better strength, stiffness and thermal performance. The company says unmodified PLA has lower mechanical and thermal properties and its new line of PLAs can now be considered for much


News GREEN MATERIALS

broader use. Targeting durable and semi-durable applications, the PLAs are the latest extension of RTP’s family of bioplastic compounds that use resins derived from renewable resources. Fully colourable and available globally, the PLA grades have glass fibre loadings from 10%-40%. The 30% loaded grade boasts a tensile strength of 114 MPa, a flexural modulus of 11,239 MPa and heat deflection temperature (HDT) of 160°C at 455 kPa, which is up by 93°C. Besides higher tensile strength than an unmodified PLA, it also has higher flexural modulus and HDT compared to a 30% glass fibrereinforced PP. Comparison of 30% Glass Fibre Reinforced Compounds 30% GF PP

30% GF PLA*

30% GF PBT

Tensile Strength

Unmodified PLA 9,000 psi 62 MPa

11,000 psi 76 MPa

16,500 psi 114 MPa

18,000 psi 124 MPa

Flexural Strength

15,700 psi 108 MPa

16200 psi 112 MPa

21,000 psi 145 MPa

27,500 psi 190 MPa

Flexural Modulus

555,000 psi 3,828 MPa

700,000 psi 4,326 MPa

1,630,000 psi 11,239 MPa

1,200,000 psi 8,274 MPa

Impact Resistance, Izod

0.3 ft-lbs/in 16 J/m

2.0ft-lbs/in 107 J/m

1.0 ft-lbs/in 53 J/m

1.8ft-lbs/in 96 J/m

124°F 51°C

315°F 157°C

320°F 160°C

415°F 213°C

Notched 1/8 in (3.2 mm)

Heat Deflection Temperature @ 66 psi (455 kPa)

RTP says its new PLAs show improved strength and thermal performance compared to other resins

Proprietary nucleation package speed crystallisation that increases temperature performance and allows quicker part ejection, yielding cycle times similar to PP and ABS, says RTP. Another US company Minerals Technologies has launched mineral additives designed for bioplasticbased consumer disposables such as packaging, food and beverage service ware, gift cards, signage, films and bags. Included in the range are EMforce said to improve the impact resistance and ductility of PLA and PHA. It also improves the downgauging capability in thermoforming sheets. UltraTalc 609 and MicroTuff AGD 609 are nucleating agents for semicrystalline biopolymers that increase the modulus or stiffness and melt strength of PLA and PHA. Eco-friendly flexible packaging competes with paper Driven by demand from brand owners and retailers, the compostable film market is growing at rapid rates. Now, US company Telles, a joint venture of Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland, has teamed u p w i t h S w e d i s h f i l m c o n v e r t e r B i l l e r u d Te n o v a Bioplastics to launch a commercial line of biobased film solutions. Tenova will use Telles’s Mirel P5001, a biobased film grade resin, to develop a new line of compostable bags and packaging for Europe. Earlier, US-based film producer Cortec also selected Mirel for its new line of film bags and packaging known as EcoOcean. Through a mutual development and

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While Mirel has been used in a host of injection moulded products, it is now being commercialised for extruding films

commercialisation effort, the two companies have developed proprietary processing and extrusion methods resulting in the first commercially viable finished flexible film products. Telles says its Mirel P5001 is suitable for backyard home compost as well as anaerobic digestion. US company Innovia Films, which manufactures cellulose-based renewable and compostable film

Innovia Films says its NatureFlex can be used in several ways as a barrier solution for dried foods (pouch, bag in box and board lamination)


GREEN MATERIALS NEWS

solutions, is rooting for film products against the use of paper packaging. It says its NatureFlex films have been scientifically tested by the Zurich Food Safety Authority in Switzerland and show that the films provide an effective barrier against mineral oil residues that are found in recycled cardboard packaging. Tr a c e s o f m i n e r a l o i l r e s i d u e s i n f o o d are thought to arise due to their migration from the printing inks present both on the packaging surface and in recycled newspapers, used in the production of cardboard packaging. Even at room temperature these residues can migrate and be deposited on dried foods packaged in the box, such as pasta, rice and breakfast c e r e a l s . To x i c o l o g i s t s h a v e l i n k e d m i n e r a l oils to inflammation of internal organs and e v e n c a n c e r, t h o u g h t h e r e s e a r c h e r s s a y individual meals would contain only a tiny dose of the chemicals. Innovia Films says its NatureFlex can be used in several ways as a barrier solution for dried foods (pouch, bag in box, board lamination) and that it provides barrier against mineral oil residues as well as standard oxygen and moisture barrier properties. Getting to the bottom of diapers US research firm Battelle has developed a soy-based material to make diapers and other absorbent products, with funding provided by the United Soybean Board (USB) and the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC). Diapers and other materials that absorb liquids are effective because of hydrogels, which are known as superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) and are petroleum-based acrylic acid materials that can absorb hundreds of times their weights in liquid. Battelle is working on using soy to replace 33% of the SAPs while keeping the same absorption rate and maintaining a comparable price point. The company says the market for SAPs t o d a y i s a b o u t 1 . 6 m i l l i o n t o n n e s / y e a r, w i t h personal care items making up the vast majority and diapers accounting for 83% of that market. Even a modest penetration of the market could mean a large replacement of oil-based products with sustainable replacements and also help boost the profitability of soy farmers in the country. Battelle has had other recent breakthroughs in soy research, such as flexible foams for bedding and furniture, toner for printers, lubricants, coatings, plasticisers and other products that partially replace petroleum-based components. â—†


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MADE IN GERMANY


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Pipe Industry

Profusion of machinery and materials Plastic pipes stand out for their durability, excellent resistance to corrosion and easy laying properties and it is for these reasons that plastics are making their way into the industry. However, pipe producers are facing pressure to keep their prices down and this is driving the demand for cost-competitive production systems and materials. Growth led by Asia The world market for pipes will grow 5.8% per year, which is equivalent to 31.5 billion m, according to a report by research group Freedonia. With a growth of 6.1%, Asia Pacific will account for the highest demand from 201015. Demand will be led by several major Asian countries, including India, China and Indonesia. Freedonia’s report indicates that China alone accounts for 40% of global plastic pipe demand. It is for this reason that the country’s largest pipe maker, China Liansu Group Holdings, reported a 37% increase in sales in the first half of this year. Based in Guangdong, Liansu has a dominant market share in southern China, which accounted for 69% of its revenue. However, the company says it will work to enhance its sales networks outside this base. Based on the country’s continuing urbanisation and efforts to replace steel pipes with plastic, the company is planning to add on production capacity. It recently opened a factory in Changchun, Jilin province, and plans to set up a new factory in Shaanxi province next year, giving it a total of 14 facilities. Liansu says the urban population is expected to increase from 47.5% in 2010 to 51.5% in 2015 and this will bring along with it higher demands for infrastructure construction, and materials such as plastic pipes. But like all companies in China that are subjected to rising costs, the company also reported that profit for the period increased by 11% only, due to higher R&D and labour costs. It has tripled its R&D budget with a focus on introducing same-floor drainage systems, metal-plastic composite pipes, solar heat collection pipes and irrigation systems. It also plans to introduce new types of home building materials to diversify its product line. Meanwhile, its labour costs increased 40% due to higher salaries. Nonetheless, the company has maintained its staff force at 7,000. India following closely behind The outlook for India’s pipe market is robust, given the government’s development of infrastructure. At the Vinyl India 2011 conference in Mumbai early this year, S Gopal, Managing Director of Chemplast Sanmar, a manufacturer of PVC resins and pipes, said that the government will spend nearly US$100 billion on the infrastructure sector this year.

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Meanwhile, the PVC resins market in the country is also expected to do well since the resin has a dominant share of 86% of the pipes market, followed by PE (12%). Pipes and fittings account for 71% of India’s PVC consumption of 1.87 million tonnes. The Indian pipe market is estimated at 4.7 million tonnes of which plastics account for 1.7 million tonnes with the rest being steel, cement and iron. In line with India’s growing urban infrastructure, foreign machine makers are drawn to the market like Canada-based corrugated pipe machinery maker Corma. It recently supplied two lines to Kolkata-based Alom to produce double wall corrugated HDPE pipes with a diameter of 50-1,500 mm. Corma claims that Alom is the first company in India to offer double wall corrugated HDPE pipes over 1,000 mm. Systems to meet the needs Germany-based KraussMaffei Berstorff says it is meeting the needs of the industry with its patented QuickSwitch calibrating system for inline dimension change. An example is a Belgian customer that has ordered two lines for making pipes ranging from 25-160 mm. The lines include a 36D single-screw extruder, spiral distributor pipe head and QuickSwitch. Another line for making 160-250 mm pipes is being installed by a German pipe maker. This line also features KraussMaffei Berstorff’s Internal Pipe Cooling (IPC) system, which is said to enable higher output without the cost of a longer cooling zone. In Italy, too, it has a customer that will soon be producing 160mm multi-layer PO pipes on a QuickSwitch system. The company points out that labour and material-intensive work processes involved in a conventional pipe dimension change are eliminated, plus the only waste material is a tapering pipe. QuickSwitch can be used for producing 25-250 mm diameter PO pipes and 75-160 mm PVC pipes. A short tapering section of pipe is the only waste produced during a QuickSwitch dimension change, says KraussMaffei Berstorff


Pipe Industry

Meanwhile, Austrian/German High Tech Extrusion, made up of Theysohn, Technoplast, Topf and ExtruderKomponenten Salzgitter, says its new RK Streamliner PVC pipe head allows for a higher melt pressure after the torpedo and therefore a much better welding effect. This means that high melt pressure in the die is no longer necessary for achieving optimum pipe quality. The modular pipe head also has a wider diameter range and a quick mandrel exchange to adjust wall thicknesses of the end product. Consequently, the 35% lower volume of the head reduces resistance time of material, resulting in less stabiliser to be used in the material, s a y s t h e c o m p a n y. The new pipe heads are available for single strand extrusion from 12-400 mm and for double strand extrusion from 12110 mm.

Germany-based pipe manufacturer Bänninger Kunststoff-Produkte says it has been using a new PP-RCT compound from material supplier Borealis since 2005, resulting in material savings of 17%. Thinner walls with the same outer diameter also offer a 17% increase in flow volume together with a reduced sound level, Bänninger further adds. The mechanical strength of PP-R pipes can be further improved by incorporating a glass fibre-reinforced middle layer in multi-layer pipes. Conventional “stabi” composite

Sil no

High Tech’s RK Streamliner pipe head can be used for PVC and C-PVC extrusion

Growth in PP-R pipes Thanks to the high molecular weight, t h e r m a l s t a b i l i t y, sturdiness and resistance to heat, chemicals and pressure, the use of PP-R pipes is growing. Mainly used for transporting hot and cold drinking water and for heating systems as well as in apparatus and plant engineering, in greenhouses and rainwater harvesting, PP-R pipes can be made of a special compound to produce thinner walls than conventional pipes.

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Pipe Industry

pipes can also be replaced by glass fibre reinforced pipes as their longitudinal thermal expansion rates are almost equal. Stabi composite pipes have comparable properties, thanks to their aluminium l a y e r, b u t a r e m o r e difficult to connect, since the outer layer must be peeled off at the joints first in order to do so. Glass fibre-reinforced PP-R By contrast, glass fibrepipes with a layer thickness reinforced PP-R pipes can distribution of 25-50-25 be connected by socket welding following simple, short heating-up. The advantage in laying glass fibre-reinforced PP-R pipes is that these have an extremely low expansion coefficient. Thanks to their high stability, the distance between clamps can be increased, compared to conventional plastic pipes, which saves both fastening clamps and labour.

Bänninger and Battenfeld-Cincinnati are jointly developing a multi-layer PP-R pipe. Bänninger uses Battenfeld-Cincinnati extrusion lines in its facilities in Europe and in the Middle East

Bänninger claims that its real net output ratio is currently about 80%. The company undertakes metalworking on its connection thread fittings and produces the components at its turning facility and the fittings at its in-house injection moulding facility that has 18 machines. For producing pipes from 16-400 mm diameter, the company operates four extrusion lines with capacities ranging from 1,000 to 6,000 tonnes/year. The company says it exports 80% of its pipe output to Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries as well as to Morocco, Tunisia, Argentina and Brazil. To cater to the growing Middle Eastern markets, Bänninger built a plant in Dubai in 2007, which has four extrusion lines. It is now working with its German/Austrian machine supplier, Battenfeld-Cincinnati, to develop a PP-R pipe on a seven-layer pipe extrusion line.

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Replacements to metals UK-based PEEK supplier Victrex Polymer Solutions has launched its VICTREX Pipes product family as a replacement for the corrosion resistant alloys (CRAs) that are used to line metal pipes for extraction and transportation in the oil and gas industries. According to James Simmonite, from the company’s pipes business unit, the pipes and tubing, a culmination of six years of R&D, can also be used in the industrial, aerospace, electrical sheathing and conduit sectors. Made from Victrex’s PEEK polymer, the pipes PEEK are able to withstand material extreme temperatures supplier and corrosive conditions Victrex has introduced and also have a lower its pipes weight, for facilitating family fuel efficiency in the aerospace sector. “Tests have shown that the pipes and tubes display chemical resistance to hydrogen sulphide (H 2 S) at a high temperature of above 140°C. It is also unaffected after 2,000 hours of exposure to steam at 200°C,” notes Simmonite. This, he says, makes them ideal for oil and gas applications, where steel pipes may suffer the corrosive effects of H2S and carbon dioxide gases and where existing thermoplastic solutions are reaching the limit of their thermal endurance. The pipes are currently available from 6-200 mm as straight lengths and in smaller diameter coils of up to 3,000 m. The company says it is also seeing growing interest in its PAEK family of polymer products, with first-half 2011 sales volume up 22%. Meanwhile, speciality chemicals group Evonik has launched a polyphthalamide (PPA) that can be used to substitute brass components in metal pipes to reduce the possibility of contamination of drinking water. Its Vestamid HTplus M1600 is said to have high durability, versatility and ease of processing. The company says its new product series meets the demand for plastics certified for drinking water with high dimensional stability and mechanical properties such as rigidity and strength. In addition to the German Plastic in Drinking Water certification, HTplus has received other national certifications from institutions such as the National Science Foundation and the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme. This makes it suited for applications in which metals have traditionally been used, for example as the base material for water filter housings or as a valve or regulator in sanitary fittings. In addition to corrosion resistance, the material is said to offer advantages such as design freedom and a reduction of the component weight, which in turn reduces component costs by up to 50%. ◆


Italian Machinery & Technology

Feel-good factor for industry Italian machinery trade association Assocomaplast is conveying a feel-good message to the industry, with its latest report indicating higher exports, which will top EUR2 billion by year-end. Meanwhile, machinery makers are not shying away from the Asian markets and have been busy building up their market shares with new technology. Association makes a push (spingere) into Asia Italian exports of plastics and rubber machinery, equipment and moulds posted a 21% increase in the first half of 2011, compared to the same period last year, topping an estimated value of EUR1.1 billion. The association, thus, is forecasting an export turnover of up to EUR2.3 billion by the end of the year and says that the country still holds its second position in the world exports of plastics and rubber machinery (with a share of 11%), after Germany. 2010 2011 ∆% (estimate) 2011/2010

Production

3,600

4,000

+11.1

Exports

2,012

2,300

+14.3

Imports

567

600

+5.9

2,155

2,300

+6.7

Trade balance (surplus) 1,445

1,700

+17.6

Domestic market

Italian plastics and rubber machinery, equipment and moulds industry (million Euro)

China has eased its way up as the second export destination (31% higher) for Italian machines, followed by France, US and Poland, while Germany still ranks first (15% share). According to Assocomaplast’s Chairman, Giorgio Colombo, “The good results come from the strong marketing carried out by the small and medium-sized companies in the main export markets, after the world economic crisis in 2008-2009.” He also gives credit to Assocomaplast for its promotional activities, including the B2B meetings organised in Russia (ninth destination market for Italian exports), Brazil, Mexico, Hungary, Romania and China. It also set up liaison offices in China and Russia last year to provide information and is looking closely at the Indian market, “which has a considerable development potential.” “We have together with the Italian machine tool association, started a platform to support companies that intend to approach the market, to help them overcome difficulties that have so far restrained many Italian SMEs from going to India,” said Colombo.

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Omipa basks in export limelight One company that has experience in the export markets, since it sells more than 95% of its output overseas, is extrusion line maker Omipa. The 45-year old Omipa is steadily present in Asia with its high-quality optical lines for the extrusion of sheet and foil in PMMA, PC, PS and MS in thicknesses from 0.3-10 mm, says its Sales/Technical Support Manager Massimo Maccagnola. “These sheets are not only used for LCD, LED and 3D screens but also for touchscreens and advertising applications,” he emphasises, adding that in China the main markets are LCD and television screens. In sheet production, lines for producing corrugated sheets in PC and PMMA, is where Omipa has its prowess as it can offer a complete range of industrial profiles similar to the ones realised in metal but much lighter, brighter, more versatile and with a wider range of colours, for outdoor and indoor applications, claims Maccagnola. For the automotive, sanitary, food packaging and appliances sectors, Omipa also has machines for the production of co-extruded sheets in PE, PP, ABS and PET, with co-extrusion of up to seven layers. But keen to move forward in a highly versatile market, the company has over the last few years been developing together with its customers, hollow profiles in PC with more innovative architectural geometries. These can be used in public and private buildings, for the realisation of large building spans, such as roofing for Olympic stadiums, stations, shopping malls and greenhouses. “One of the latest developments is in the field of renewable energy, with the application of the photovoltaic cell directly on the hollow sheet, thereby getting a reduction in weight of 30%, a good flexibility and high impact resistance,” reveals Maccagnola. For producing hollow profiles in PP, in thicknesses of 1.8-20 mm, a main feature of Omipa’s line is the high speed. These are used for industrial and agricultural packaging applications (for example fruit boxes, containers, folders) with developments also in heavy-duty packaging, as well as for advertising applications. “Presently, we are building a prototype line for producing low shrinkage EVA film,” adds Maccagnola. Expansions in Asia for Macchi Extrusion machinery maker Macchi has been busy expanding its presence in the Asian region over the past six months. “We now have an office in Singapore to cover the whole of Asia,” the company’s Resident Manager for Asia, Flavio Sesia, told PRA recently. “We also have a new


Italian Machinery & Technology

agent in China, who started a few months ago, and we are already beginning to see good results. We are also now directly marketing our lines in India,” he added. Macchi’s Flavio Sesia is confident that the company can expand its presence in the Asian countries with its barrier film lines

Boasting technology expertise in barrier film lines, Macchi has sold a number of blown film machinery in China, Vietnam, the Philippines, India and Indonesia, said Sesia. It has also been successful in South Korea and Japan, selling lines to parts producers for the optical, electronic, plasma and mobile phone sectors. “Our market share has changed in the past one year, now we have a share of 30% in Asia, which is our second biggest market after Europe,” explained Sesia. He also said that 2011 will be a record year for Macchi, with its order books full. “During the crisis we had a turnover of EUR38 million. But this year, we expect it to go back to pre-crisis levels,” he said, adding that the facility in Varese, Italy, has been expanded by 30% to cater to the testing of lines before shipment. “We can test six lines at the same time and have a total capacity to test ten lines,” he said. In terms of its line components, Macchi has improved cooling with the inclusion of the Triple Lip air ring from German supplier K Design. “With the higher cooling, certain applications, in lamination, shrink and FFS films, can have higher output,” claimed Sesia, adding that the lines also come with the gearless technology. Amut delivers an array of lines to Asia “The Southeast Asian market is growing for us. Recently, we have supplied thermoforming lines to Indonesia, two to Bandung and Surabaya and three to Jakarta,” Amut’s Sales Area Manager Andrea Peretto told PRA. He also said that of the five lines it had supplied to Indonesia, one has an output of 40 million tonnes. “In terms of reference, output and quality, we produce all our lines in house, compared to the competition,” he added. Last year, the extrusion/thermoforming machinery supplier installed the biggest pipe line for producing HDPE pipes (with an output of 1,500 kg/hour for 1,000 mm pipes) in Vietnam. It is being used for building a water distribution system in the Mekong Delta area. In China, Amut is mostly focusing on special applications such as the multi-layer pipe line it has supplied for an automotive application (between the gas tank and injection pump). Development work on this line was undertaken at Amut's facility in Novara, Italy, with fluoroleastomer material supplier Dyneon. The two-year research project focused on nylon small pipes to convey fuels or hydraulic oils in vehicles. “This is especially vital since it is now necessary to introduce multilayer products (up to five layers) with barrier layer in EVOH,

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PBT, fluoropolymers and functional layers such as PA12 conductive,” said Peretto. The above line was supplied to a customer in Hebei province and in India, too, a customer in Pune is keen on a similar application, he revealed. “These solutions allow manufacturers to get performances that could not be achieved by a single-layer pipe such as good flexibility, impact strength and resistance to low temperatures, stress, cracking and abrasion resistance, endurance strength, low water absorption, dimensional strength at the change of the environmental humidity conditions and permeability resistance of hydrocarbons and oils, both hydraulic and lubricating,” he added. In order to obtain the perfect control of the metric weight of the pipe and a constant distribution of the thickness in the different layers, it is necessary to use a single-screw extruder with gravimetric weight control systems. In the case of fluoropolymers, the alloys Amut’s Andrea Peretto says used for the construction of the company has recently the key parts of the extruder installed a multi-layer pipe are important. In particular, line in China that uses in the plasticising unit, to technology it developed last year achieve high resistance to abrasion and corrosion, some alloys with high percentage of nickel are used to manufacture the screws/barrels. The geometries of the grooved feeding bushes (when necessary also cooled by water), which couple to plasticising screws of the new generation, achieve high outputs by keeping the melt qualities unchanged and reducing the energy consumption, according to Amut. Colines extends CPP technology to Asia Extrusion machinery producer Colines sold two 2.8 m-wide Polycast CPP lines two years ago in Vietnam and in India, it installed a 2.7 m-wide, 1,100 kg/hour output Polycast line some four years back, according to Marco Bonetti, Sales Area Manager. In China, it has installed a breathable CPP/ PE line for producing hygiene products and claims to have been the first Western machine supplier to sell a roofing membrane line in the country. At its plant in Novara, it is currently building a compact co-extrusion cast line for producing three-layer CPP film with an output of 450 kg/hour. It can be customised for the production of jumbo rolls of stretch film and with the Handspeedy winder it converts in the Handrollex-Combi line the joint production of CPP/stretch film in jumbo, manual and automatic rolls. “The 1.25 m Easycast line is for an Asian customer producing metallised film for food lamination,” said Bonetti. Meanwhile, interest is growing in its Bubble Guard Board lines, which it has sold five to date over the 2010/11 period. “A few months after commissioning the first line at a Russian facility, the customer has ordered a second 1.64 m line,” said Bonetti. It is used for


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Italian Machinery & Technology

producing in-line alveolar 100% PP sheet, a structure with improved protection, mechanical and optical features. Bonetti says the sheet produced can be used in collapsible and returnable boxes, with a savings of 54% compared to cardboard, wooden and iron boxes. Bausano offers wood composites technology Faced with competition from lower-priced extrusion machinery, Bausano’s approach is to focus on special lines or on technology-intensive applications, says Area Manager Aldo Basile. “Southeast Asia is an interesting market for our Polywood wood composite line. Profile manufacturers are able to use up to 80% wood powder. Profiles are obtained from separated raw materials directly fed to a Bausano multi-vented, 36 LD twin-screw or alternatively by using Polywood granules into single-screw extruders,” explained Basile when met at the recently concluded Tiprex show in Thailand. He said that lines had already been installed in Malaysia, by Advanced Materials Research Centre, an arm of the government-owned technical and quality services agency SIRIM; in Australia, by an unnamed furniture maker, and in Thailand, by the King Mongkut’s University of Technology. Mixer for wood composites well received Bringing new wood composites technology to Asia is mixing equipment supplier Plasmec. At the K show last year, it introduced a complete system for mixing wood fibres with plastics. “When using the mixing and cooling equipment, it is possible to increase the bulk density of the components, extract moisture from the wood fibres and distribute the additives. The system is able to improve the final quality of the resin before it is extruded,” explained Giorgio Zucchi, Area Sales Manager. In fact, Plasmec has recently sold the new system, developed jointly with Austrian extrusion machinery maker BattenfeldCincinnati, to Thailand and Malaysia, according to Zucchi. Giorgio Zucchi, Area Sales Manager of Plasmec, is confident of penetrating the Asian market with the company’s latest wood composite mixing technology

He also feels that the market has been on the upward trend since the end of last year. “Compared to 18 months ago, the market is more positive and customers are investing. We have even received enquiries from countries like Vietnam and Myanmar,” he told PRA recently, adding that the company exports 25% of its output to Asia. Simplas is simply into technology Focusing on special applications is film/flat die producer Simplas that is promoting its dies for battery film and BOPP products at the moment, says Sales Manager Ringoll Carlo. “This type of technology is increasing in the region.” But even with the higher interest in Asia for its technology, it has no plans to set up manufacturing. “We tried ten years

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Ringoll Carlo, Sales Manager of Simplas, seen here with a colleague, Cerutti Francesco, at the Chinaplas exhibition, was promoting the company’s dies at the show

ago but there were no resources or technical assistance available,” said Carlo, adding that the company did set up an office in Nanjing, China, in 2004. Simplas has supplied its dies to extrusion machinery companies like Germany-based Brückner and Italians like Dolci Extrusion, Bielloni and Macchi. Some of its customers include Indian pipe maker Jindal Group and Taiwanese Formosa Plastic Group. Automotive sector target for blow moulder Blow moulding machinery producer ST Soffiaggio Tecnica’s ASPI suction blow moulders are expected to do well in Asia, spokesperson Giovanni Morandi told PRA. This is evidenced by the three lines it has sold to a South Korean company, to its facilities in China and India, for producing filler necks in PA/PA6. Giovanni Morandi of WM Wrapping Machinery says the company has sold 32-cavity thermoforming machinery to a PP cup producer in Taiwan, with another tilting machine for producing cups/yoghurt containers (in PLA, too) also sold in Taiwan. “For producing PP lids, we are replacing the Japanese press machinery since our tooling is cheaper and the machine has a 15-32 cycle,” he told PRA

“It was developed to meet the needs of the automotive industry to produce complex-shaped cooling/heating pipes using materials like TPE and glassfibre-reinforced nylon.” The suction blow moulding technique draws the parison into the mould using vacuum before blowing with compressed air, enabling the production of complex 3D shapes. At the K2010, ST presented an electric version of this series. ST and Switzerland-based thermoforming machinery producer WM Wrapping Machine make up the Meico Group. Process chillers to be produced in Asia Florence-based Frigel Firenze has formed a joint venture with Hong Kong-based Chudleigh-Sutch Technologies and Japanese auxiliary equipment maker Matsui Manufacturing to set up Frigel Asia Pacific. The new company will be based in Thailand and will provide sales, service and manufacturing support. In addition to Frigel’s process water cooling equipment, the company’s portfolio will include Chudleigh-Sutch’s turnkey systems and customised automation handling equipment. Frigel also has a subsidiary


Italian Machinery & Technology

in China, which it set up in 2004. CEO Filippo Dorin said that the company will be “perfectly positioned to offer a more complete turnkey solution for factory expansion needs.” Frigel has also been expanding elsewhere and plans to begin manufacturing in both North and South America, to complement its existing established sales and service channels. It also acquired another Italian company Cosfi, adding on a wider range of products for cooling of special applications. The company supplies its Microgel family of process chillers with Ecodrygel. Both equate to Ecodry, an integrated approach to cooling requirements.

Its Kite/Kite Dex model for extrusion lines is tagged as an all-in-one mono-block solution with several flows and temperatures for the cooling ring (single or double), IBC and gauge control. It provides thermoregulated water between 7-25°C to the extruder, torque motors, drawing device and other utilities. Another model, Raca Plus Energy, comes with two or four compressors and renders cooling power from 70-1,000 kW. Both use the R410a gas. This year, the company’s turnover will be EUR12 million. It exports 70% of its output, with Asia accounting for 15%. “We are still building up our business in Asia. Our priority is to develop relationships with the OEMs,” said Olivi.

Eco-friendly chillers for Asia Industrial chillers supplier Frigo Systems is moving forward in Asia with its water chillers for blown film lines, said to save 35% energy, according to Export Sales Manager Miriam Olivi. “We are working with OEMs in China, Taiwan, Japan and India (like Indian extrusion machinery supplier Rajoo Engineers),” she told PRA. In fact, the company is looking for a partner to produce its chillers in Asia, like what it has done in Brazil, she said. Olivi claims Frigo was the first in the industry to have developed a chiller with the ecofriendly R410a refrigerant gas. “In Europe (where the industry is more eco-conscious), the use of HCFC-22 or R-22 is being phased out while in Asia it is just starting,” she said.

Piovan mooting for higher business in China Auxiliary equipment manufacturer Piovan is still bullish of the Chinese market, said Sales Director Paolo Maguolo at the Chinaplas show in May. “We expect our business to increase 20-30%, compared to last year,” he said, adding that almost 50% of its sales come from the PET preforms market. “We will have to expand our facility, but will remain in Suzhou as it is a strategic position,” he told PRA. It has also increased the range of machinery it produces in China, especially its PET systems. “We now develop more models with outputs of 750 and 900 kg/hour,” Maguolo said. However, the company still imports critical components, like blowers, from Italy, as the “quality is much better than Chinese-made ones.” But Maguolo said local suppliers will have to be sourced for due to the higher cost, as a result of the import duty, and longer lead time. At Chinaplas, it had on display its latest Easy3System control for single and three phase loaders and Lybra gravimetric and volumetric dosers for masterbatch, additives and recycled material, first shown at the K2010. ◆

Miriam Olivi of Frigo Systems says the company is developing further its relationships with OEMs since it is not yet selling its chillers directly to end users

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Non-woven Industry

Giving a soft touch to hygiene products China’s population growth and affluence are especially driving the hygiene absorbent market, particularly diapers. To meet the need for quality products, Chinese diaper producer JOFO has turned to Vistamaxx to introduce the soft-touch feel into its diapers.

T

he non-woven industry in China has experienced significant growth in the last 20 years. Non-woven fabrics are largely used in the hygiene and medical markets in China (43%) and across the globe (56%). With such considerable growth opportunities, manufacturers of non-woven fabrics are now looking for innovative solutions to introduce differentiated products to meet varied market needs. A softer feel, better fit and lower basis weight are the main benefits that consumers are looking for in the hygiene market. Of these benefits, soft-touch feel is becoming increasingly popular as it reflects the level of comfort in a hygiene product that could ultimately influence a buyer’s decision. Giving it the soft touch For many years, manufacturers have been adding slip additives to PP spunbond fabric to improve the softness, but this solution can no longer meet the requirements of consumers today. Carded PP and bi-component (BiCo) fabric are alternate soft non-woven solutions at a much higher cost. As such, customers are eager to find a good but cost-effective soft solution. JOFO (Weifang) Nonwovens Company, one of China’s premier non-woven manufacturers, has introduced an

Diapers produced using SilkSoft non-woven fabric from JOFO

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innovative soft non-woven fabric based on ExxonMobil Chemical’s Vistamaxx propylene-based elastomers. The chemical supplier says that a key to the success of this new soft fabric, which is well-suited for the manufacture of high quality top and back sheets used in diapers and napkins, is the balanced combination of soft touch, drape and mechanical properties that Vistamaxx delivers to polypropylene (PP) non-woven fabrics. “Vistamaxx in non-wovens gives the softness and Julia Luo, Deputy GM of JOFO, elasticity that is says that the company is also much required,” Beth developing soft non-woven Stokes, ExxonMobil solutions for other applications like medical disposable products C h e m i c a l ’s G l o b a l Marketing Manager for PP told PRA during an interview at Chinaplas in April. “Diapers for adult incontinence require elasticity and quietness and this is where Vistamaxx is especially useful.” She went on to say that the amount of Vistamaxx added to the formulation depended on the application. Stokes said that brand owners and customers were quite receptive of the elastomer. “With the Chinese population having more disposable incomes and beginning to place focus on the well-being of their children, the demand for quality products is growing in the country,” she added. Julia Luo, Deputy General Manager of JOFO, echoes this comment. “We are looking at developing soft nonwoven products for higher tier hygiene customers as we believe that the market potential is very promising.” JOFO had initially used a softness additive to modify the PP spunbond fabric. However, this solution delivered a slippery feel instead and did not achieve the desired softness performance, says Luo, adding that it did not meet customer requirements for processability, drape and fit. “Hence, we needed to explore other material solutions.”


Non-woven Industry

A healthy partnership ExxonMobil Chemical first began its collaboration with JOFO in 2001 through the supply of its 3155E3 PP resin, which the US company says provides spinnability and consistent product quality. With JOFO’s search for a soft solution, ExxonMobil Chemical then recommended the use of Vistamaxx. It says the softness of PP spunbond fabric is improved by adding Vistamaxx while tensile strength is maintained. In addition, the company says, the lean blend of Vistamaxx with 3155E3 PP can be used as a drop-in solution in current spun-melt operations with little, if any, additional investment in facilities. This application was developed and tested by ExxonMobil Chemical’s nonwoven polymer experts at its Shanghai Technology Centre, which was set up specifically to meet the needs of the Asia Pacific market, according to Stokes.

“Initially, we put the focus on back sheet and top sheet development to meet hygiene market needs. But we are also in the process of developing soft non-woven solutions for other applications, such as medical disposable products,” says Luo. She adds that the fabric is recyclable, while the production process is simple, consumes less energy and generates less waste, all in favour of the current sustainability issues. ◆

Silk soft fabric After the trial of a formulation comprising Vi s t a m a x x a n d 3 1 5 5 E 3 P P r e s i n w a s successfully completed, JOFO registered the brand name SilkSoft for its new soft non-woven fabric. “Adding Vistamaxx is cost competitive compared to other alternative market solutions based on BiCo or carded PP non-wovens,” says Luo, adding that it has better tensile properties and offers downgauging potential in the diaper top sheet by replacing the widely-used carded PP fabric. Today, JOFO is promoting the SilkSoft non-woven fabric to major brand owners in China and overseas markets. The company says some clients have already chosen to use it for new diaper products, having received positive feedback from consumers.

SilkSoft is the brand name given to the soft non-woven fabric developed by JOFO

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SEPTEMBER 2011

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Thermoplastic Elastomers

Renewable shift to impact future growth of TPEs Countries like the US, Japan and the rest of the world (including Asia) are dominating the demand for thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) globally. Last year, Asia accounted for 34% of the demand. Meanwhile, eco-pressure is driving the use of TPEs, said Roger Young, Vice President Asia of Robert Eller Associates, in his presentation at the 5th International Conference for S & SE Asia on the future developments of TPEs. The seminar was organised jointly by Chatsworth Associates and PRA, in conjunction with the recent Tiprex exhibition in Thailand. Sustainability driving TPE growth Green issues driving the industry include PVC replacement (trace residuals migration and halogenfree/low smoke requirements), sustainability (carbon footprint, lightweighting, bio-renewable and biodegradable TPEs) and end-of-life/recyclability factors. PVC has been incumbent in the medical tubing/ infusion bags, wire/cable and slush moulded automotive skins market due to its competitive price. Roger gave an example of the ban on Bisphenol A (BPA)-polycarbonate baby bottles having taken place in some countries, and questions whether PVC will come under a similar attack, specifically in medical applications. This, he said, should pave the way for more TPE applications in not only the medical sector but also the wire/cable and automotive interior skins sectors.

Roger Young, Vice President Asia of Robert Eller Associates, seen here with Dr Krishna Venkataswamy, Senior Director, Global R&D, GLS Thermoplastic Elastomers, PolyOne Corporation (right). Krishna delivered the key note address titled “Thermoplastic Elastomers – Innovative and Diverse Speciality Engineered Materials”

Substitution in the wire/cable sector The wire/cable sector is a more than 300 kilotonnes/ year PVC market with major substitution that is ongoing globally as a result of European-driven RoHS (Restrictions of Hazardous Substances) and WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) requirements. Meanwhile, major global OEMs have also issued directives to eliminate PVC and halogen-containing products to eliminate the potential risk of any of their electronic products, containing halogen materials, being disposed in landfills in Europe. Targeted applications are household wires/cables, typically less than 200 V, used for household power, electrical/ electronic, computer, media and network applications. Materials for this sector have to meet halogen-free and flame retardancy requirements (UL62 VW-1 and UL94 V-O). New halogen-free technologies like ammonium polyphosphate, melamine polyphosphate, melomine cynaurate and metal phosphinates are replacing older ones such as magnesium hydroxide. Other considerations are the increasing low smoke and combustion toxicity requirements. An early compounder in this sector is Sabic Innovative

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Plastics with its Flexible Noryl, a non-halogenated resin for wire coating and insulation. Other examples are the SEBS resin, which is used to modify/create several compounds including TPE-S, TPU, PPE and COPE. These together with Flexible Noryl (PPE + PE), crosslinked PE, fluoropolymers, PE, PP, POE and TPVs are the preferred wire and cable materials. TPEs into automotives Meanwhile, the increased use of TPEs as wire/cable automotive materials is a result of growing electrification of vehicles, which represents a potentially high growth segment for TPOs and several other types of TPEs, according to Roger. Development work is being undertaken in automotive interiors that also present a major growth opportunity with instrument panels (IPs), door trims, consoles and steering wheels being the targeted applications. The objective for implementing TPEs is to “soften” the haptics of the hard plastic feel and look, provide a point of quality differentiation in the vehicle and aesthetically, the upgraded interiors will impart a less “plastic” feel, said Roger. Lower IPs and door medallions are entry points for two-


Thermoplastic Elastomers

shot moulding (TPE skin/substrate) since this is a two-colour application and the grain is less critical than the upper part. Here, TPVs and SBC-TPEs are competing, since high flowing TPEs are required. It is expected that foaming will accelerate penetration. In the IP skin PVC substitution debate, the focus is on improving recyclability, lowering costs and reducing vehicle weight and VOC/fogging. Performance is also critical, with satisfactory hidden passenger airbag deployment required at -30ºC. Though in Asia, capital investment versus labour costs will be an issue, too, said Roger. Development activity in automotive skins has been undertaken by Inteva, a Tier One manufacturer of automotive interiors, that has a US patent on SEBS slush moulded skin technology. It is working with A. Schulman to produce compounds and has at least one vehicle model in production. It is also seeking licensees for its technology. Meanwhile, SBC resin/compound supplier Kraton Polymers launched Laprene SEBS slush compounds with Italian company SOFTER in 2010. It has been used to produce the IP for the Audi E8. Besides the soft touch feel, benefits over PVC include 30-40% lighter weight, better low temperature performance, better ageing characteristics and lower processing costs. Next substitution market: medical? In the medical devices market, which has a volume potential in excess of 300 kilotonnes/year, it is expected that PVC will gradually be phased out, especially for IV tubes and bags. But competition is expected from transparent PP, which is being used to injection blow mould bottles in bags, since IV tubes take preference to bags (bottles). SBC companies that are prepared to offer compounds for the medical sector include Kraton, GLS Thermoplastic Elastomers (PolyOne), Teknor Apex, Kraiburg and Elastocon, with Topas offering a new COC elastomer. However, Roger questioned if sufficient capacity of resins is available and whether there will be a supply shortage for higher performing/quality materials. He also said that the medical sector still needs a strong driver to achieve critical mass. “The question is when will this substitution take place and if countries like China (Sinopec) will lead in terms of regulating the industry,” he said. Bio-TPES The bio word has also trickled down to TPEs, with a lot of R&D activity, particularly on the matrix side. It is a niche market that is driven by consumeroriented products (both disposable and durable goods) and footwear. But in this argument, petroleum-based oils have better thermal stability and are typically more effective than plant-based oils, said Roger. “Petroleumbased oils are typically less expensive than plant-based oils API has developed a new family of SEBSsuch as epoxidised soy bean oil, based compounds, suited for the production castor oil, sorbitol, glycols and of clogs worn in hospitals by healthcare staff natural oil polyols.” Notwithstanding, Italian TPE compounder API has introduced the first biodegradable Apinat TPE while French company Arkema is working on lactidebased copolymers. Roger also said that bio-TPEs are based on TPU and aliphatic co-polyester and are available in two versions of biodegradability: one from synthetic raw materials and the other from renewable raw materials (polyols derived from mainly corn), with softness grades from 55 Shore A to 78 Shore D. But he says how effective these are and the impact on the recycling stream are issues that need to be worked out. ◆

PRA

SEPTEMBER 2011

31


Automotive Industry

The drive for automotive solutions The highlight in the future will be composites replacing metals; new electric vehicle solutions while automotive makers are expanding to emerging markets.

M

ajor technological challenges exist in order to establish breakthrough solutions enabling significant steps towards energy efficient or eventually zero emission vehicles ideally based on renewable energy resources. Taking this cue, vehicle maker Daimler and materials firm BASF have developed a new concept car called Smart Forvision, under the Smart brand, shown recently at the Motor Show in Frankfurt. Crediting itself as a pioneer of urban mobility, Daimler says it combines a futuristic design with technologies relating to energy efficiency, lightweight design and temperature management. The companies worked on new concepts and materials in the areas of insulation, reflection, lightweight design and energy management. In addition to transparent organic solar cells, transparent and energy-saving lightemitting diodes and infrared-reflective films and coatings, high-performance foams are used for insulation against cold and heat. The Smart is also setting new standards of lightweight design with the use of the first all-plastic wheels.

a collision with a sharp object at 45 miles/hour, keeping the highly sensitive battery intact. Currently, steel components are welded together to make these boxes. The scientists have developed a process chain with cycle times that make the production of high unit counts possible. It is designed so that many steps can run simultaneously. For example, the plastic is heated up parallel to the production step and elements are prepared that ensure load and tensile strength or the attachment to the storage in the rear of the Artega. This includes, for example, directionally oriented fibreglass structures or custom-made metal inserts. All the individual components are then assembled and pressed together in a “one-shot process”. In related news, German firm BASF has established a lightweight composites team to focus on the development of marketable materials and technologies that are suitable for manufacturing fibre-reinforced parts for automotive applications. It intends to develop tailor-made formulations in the areas of epoxy, polyurethane (PU) and polyamide (PA) and will be making a double-digit million euro investment in development in the coming years. The processing technology behind the new materials is Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM), which can be used to produce large and complex composite components in a single press-form operation. This involves placing multilayer fibre structures in a heated mould that is mounted in a press. A liquid resin is then injected into the mould, wetting the fibres completely and then curing in a controlled manner. BASF says its experts are working on the chemical and technical challenges posed by the new matrix solutions for RTM. The automotive components to be produced from these materials in the future will be able to withstand high loads despite their light weight. The good flow characteristics and short curing time of the resin components represent the primary challenges with all three material systems.

The Smart Forvision is painted in pearl white with aluminium flakes in the liquid metal paintwork to create a reflecting surface on the safety cell, changing between light and dark depending on the viewer’s perspective

Composites gaining interest Meanwhile, since everyone is talking about electric drives, researchers at the German Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology have developed a durable, lightweight composite case for lithium-ion batteries that can be mass produced. The case was produced for the Artega GT sports car that was modified with an electric drive. The composite case weighs 35 kg, which is about 25% less than steel alternative. This, the institute says, will allow for a lighter electric vehicle plus allow it to be longer on the road without having to be plugged back into a power outlet. The case can also withstand a crash or even

Fraunhofer has developed a battery housing made of lightweight component materials

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Automotive Industry S t ru c t u r a l c h a s s i s o r b o d y c o m p o n e n t s c a n b e manufactured only from composite materials based on endless carbon or glass fibres, and require fibre contents of about 65 weight per cent. Endless fibres are already in use today in aircraft and wind power applications, in plant construction, in prototype construction and in short-run automotive applications. Carbon fibres impart very high stiffness as a reinforcing material and are thus of special interest. BASF has recently become a member of Carbon Composites e.V. (CCeV), a competence network for carbon fibres and fibre-reinforced composite technology that was established in 2007 and now has more than 120 members. In addition to the performance of a reinforcing material, price and availability are important for rapid introduction of matrix systems to the market since glass fibres show great potential here.

Inpro’s past projects have included developing backmoulded painted film mouldings that match painted steel bodywork for a previous shareholder BASF. In 2008, this technique was used in the black thermoplastic injection moulded roof element, made by Decoma, in the VW Passat car. Indian market booming In India, Peugeot will set up a manufacturing facility in Gujarat, investing some EUR650 million into this project. Peugeot says it will build a cutting edge vehicle facility on the 600-acre site, integrating body paint and assembly operations with an initial capacity of 170,000 vehicles/ year, with options for further expansion. Additionally, an engine and gearbox plant will help constitute it as a fully fledged modern industrial automotive facility. The first locally produced Peugeot car is expected in 2014. Another vehicle maker Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) is planning to further increase annual production capacity to meet the rapid growth of India’s market. The expansion will come with an additional 17.2 billion yen investment with capacity to be expanded to 310,000 units in 2013, up from a previously announced 210,000 units by the first half of 2012. Current capacity is 160,000 units. US-based Ford is also building an integrated manufacturing facility in Sanand, Gujarat, with an investment of US$1 billion. It will be able to initially produce 240,000 vehicles and 270,000 engines/year, with the first products scheduled to come off the line in 2014. The company expects to reach its goal of increasing worldwide sales by nearly 50% by mid-decade to 8 million vehicles/year, with this new facility. The new engine plant represents one of several new investments that Ford has made to support its aggressive expansion plan in India and throughout the globe. Earlier this year, Ford announced an investment of US$72 million by 2012 to expand its already operating powertrain facility in Chennai. The company says its total investment in India to date is around US$2 billion. It is also bringing eight new vehicles to India by mid-decade, the first one being the All-New Fiesta, which was launched in July. Another US company, DuPont, recently opened a technical centre in Pune that will focus on the local automotive sector. One of four new innovation centres for the materials company in Asia, it will focus on automotive topics including lightweighting, improved performance, sustainability, alternative drive, safety and comfort/design. In other news, Austrian injection moulding machine maker Engel Holding is setting up a technical and seminar centre near the Mumbai International Airport, in the Andheri East district. The facility will be used for machine demonstrations, customer trials, pre-production and for running mould trials. It will also include an expanded spare parts warehouse. ◆

According to BASF, the next major advance in lightweight automotive applications will be achieved through the use of fibre-reinforced highperformance composites. Such materials make it possible to develop parts that are very light and strong at the same time and provide an efficient way to combine metal, fibre reinforcement and plastic

The overall system consisting of plastic matrix and fibre reinforcement must be readily adoptable for mass production. Compared to conventional metal components, they will contribute to a weight reduction of about 50%. Established technologies that embed metal inserts or endless fibre-reinforced thermoplastic mats and UD tape (unidirectional fibre reinforcement) in plastic complement the new approach. Technology firm gets another stakeholder Elsewhere, materials supplier Sabic Innovative Plastics has bought a stake in German automotive technology and innovation company Inpro, which also has other shareholders like car makers Daimler and Volkswagen, electrical/ electronics firm Siemens, steel company ThyssenKrupp and the Federal German state of Berlin. Set up in 1983, Inpro focuses on developing new technology for the automotive industry, with its focus being electro-mobility and new automotive drive systems such as batteries and fuel cells. 3

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CountryF ocus

Philippines: in a ready stance for growth Since the 2008 global financial crisis, the plastics industry in Asia has made tremendous leaps forward. Setting the field for more wins, countries like China, India, Thailand and Indonesia are scoring goals in this area. At the same time, Philippines, while keeping a low-profile is also optimistic of scoring high, says Angelica Buan in this report based on the recent Philippine Die & Mould, Machineries and Equipment Exhibition (PDMEX). the expansion of industry sectors and the response has been positive – over the five times that the event has been staged. This is also evidenced by the increase in the turnout of participants as well as visitors. There were about 273 exhibitors this year, compared to 260 in 2009, with 84 being local exhibitors. The rest came from Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Korea, Israel, the US, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Australia and France. The number of visitors in 2009 was pegged at more than 5,000 compared to the higher number of 7,000 this year.

Taking big steps A relatively young industry to start with in the Philippines, machinery and technology for plastics processing, such as injection, extrusion and blow moulding, started to arrive only in the mid-1960s, when these had already been utilised in the US, some as early as the 1950s. And in the 1970s, plastic pipe production began, thus propelling the plastics industry from thereon. With still multi-factorial aspects, such as trade policies and tariffs, local ordinances and inadequate logistics, preventing the industry from making a competitive break into the global market, local and foreign trade exhibitions serve as viable avenues for industry players to interact. The recent Philippine Die & Mould, Machineries and Equipment Exhibition (PDMEX), held 17-20 August in Manila, is a bi-annual machinery and equipment event that pools together different sectorrelevant industries, such as metalworking, rubber, plastics, semi-conductors, engineering and metrology. It is organised by the Philippine Die and Mould Association (PDMA), which is Luis Antonio Fuster, Chairman chaired by Luis Antonio Fuster. of the Philippine Die and According to Fuster, PDMA is Mould Association, says exhibitions like PDMEX is one progressively making efforts to of the ways the association help out its member-companies hopes will improve members’ – by providing cost-effective outlook of the industry activities, from training that is needed to obtain ISO certification to organising exhibitions like the PDMEX. Being a Federation of Asian Die and Mould Associations (FADMA)-affiliated organisation enables it to match local industries with foreign counterparts. “PDMA has been at the forefront of connecting with Asian associations; to involve PDMA members to have relationships with Asian members and organising trade exhibitions to let other countries participate in the Philippines,” said Philip Ang, Auditor of PDMA and also Vice-President of Samsotite Plastics, which is engaged in customised moulding for local companies and third-tier companies that export. Angelica Barrios who heads the events managing group, MAI Events, says that the exhibition aims to help with

Higher tariffs put a damper to business But there is a downside to the Philippines plastics market. For countries like China, which in 2010 topped the global market in its sales of injection moulding machines (RMB20 billion) and South Korea, which in the same year saw its die and mould industry grow at 6.1%, the plastics world is their oyster. The Philippines, while running on-track, is not immune to regional trade policies that affect tariff rates, policies at the national level and energy costs, thus slowing down its pace of growth. Belonging to the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), the Philippines has regulated its tariff rates. Currently, most of the imported raw materials have to be sourced from either non-AFTA member countries that impose relatively higher duties; or from AFTA countries that have higher tariff rates than the Philippines. This sentiment is echoed by Ang, “The tariffs of raw materials are high. And compared to zero duty for finished goods from AFTA countries, it makes it difficult for the Philippines’ moulding sector to compete. It would be cheaper to import finished goods rather than produce them in the country.” Question of readiness but exports an attraction The upside is that the country has become viable for exports – trading countries are beginning to look at establishing markets or for trading and outsourcing partners. LNE Precision Plastic Machinery, a micromould design and fabrication services company established in 2006 by Singapore-based precision-moulding company LNE Holdings, was a first-time exhibitor at the PDMEX. It sought out the opportunity to introduce an Italian machine, BabyPlast, being an exclusive agent for it in Southeast Asia. Lily Lee, Project Development Manager, also said she was able to identify local companies with precision moulding capabilities that were at 5

I n j e c t i o n M o u l d i n g A s ia • S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1


CountryF ocus par with Singapore standards. Lee said the company is looking at supplying a few thousands of its micromoulded parts, for a start. Another company that showed interest in setting up a market base was Krungthai Plaspack (KTP), a 100% Thai-owned company. Also a first-time exhibitor, KTP leveraged on the networking opportunities during the event and it secured three serious enquiries, according to a spokesperson. The company produces customised products for food, healthcare and chemical packaging as well as housewares and bicycle parts, using Japanese injection/blow moulding and thermorforming machines. Meanwhile, the country is still championing the semi-conductor and automotive sectors. In his keynote address, during the opening of PDMEX, Robert Dizon of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said that the electronics sector accounted for about 60% of the country’s exports in January this year. However, these electronic components are not fabricated locally, resulting in higher operation and production costs. But Dizon said that several major producers had started localising their production, “to trim the need to import finished moulds from their parent companies.” Adding to this, Ang relates that the machines used in the country are all imported: “Sad to say, the Philippines does not produce any injection moulding machines.” His company, Samsotite, for one, uses Japanese-made machines. Cost of energy dragging down country Inadequate facilities and the high cost of energy in the country are also hampering growth. Says Ang, “Facilities is what we lack here in the Philippines, especially in the power sector. We are one of the countries in Asia with the most expensive electricity (cost).” According to a study by the International Energy Consultants, the average retail rate of electricity in the Philippines is US$18.1 cents per kw/hour, edging out Japan’s US$17.9 cents per kw/hour. Elsewhere in Asia, with the exception of Singapore and Japan, the average cost per kw/hour is US$0.11 cents. Hence, power costs deny local producers the edge to compete. Ang says, “If the government cannot address the power problems then local producers will have to look for other markets or venture into other businesses that use less electricity.” Still, silver lining is competitive edge Nonetheless, Ang opines that Philippines has an edge over countries like India in terms of infrastructure, especially its roads and water facilities. Likewise, the skills of the local workforce are globally competent, enabling the country to be a viable destination for foreign investors looking at expanding their portfolios and facilities-base. He adds, “Due to the vast number of engineers, big players are keen to expand in the country. Furthermore, our workforce is very easy to train in special skills. And also Filipinos are adept in speaking and writing English.” Undergoing setbacks and overcoming these are normal in the volatile moulding industry. What were said to be unfettered manufacturing hubs like China and India, whose inexpensive labour costs were among their main selling points, are now beset by wage hikes, not to mention higher inflation. Thailand is also addressing a 45% wage increase issue. Needless to say, nothing is permanent. While it is obvious that support from relevant government agencies can have a positive impact on the industry, individual efforts can also make a big difference. Like Samsotite resorting to a simple solution. Ang says, “We are moving to the south side of Manila because most of our clients are there. This will minimise the cost of transportation and travel time and amount to savings because we were previously in the north.” Industry-wise, Dizon offers a solution. “The industry should build up capacity. This can strengthen the industry’s market position,” he suggested at PDMEX. ◆ 6 I n j e c t i o n M o u l d i n g A s ia • S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1


INDUSTRYNEWS Recycling of tyres into oil and gaskets

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S-based plastics recycling company Green EnviroTech Holdings (GETH) will set up two tyre recycling plants in the country using the latest technology from East Asia. The technology, which is currently in operation in nine locations in East Asia, has been evaluated by the company that confirms the viability of the system to convert discarded/used tyres to oil. The company has also entered into an agreement with Ebbros Investment Group that will buy the oil produced. GETH says it did an on-site analysis to assess the quality of the oil produced for use in the US and to also assess the emission levels from the plants with test results confirming that converted oil and emission levels

are well within required levels for the US. Meanwhile, in the deal with Ebbros, the latter will develop the plants, including all the infrastructure, install necessary equipment and lease the same back to GETH. Ebbros will also purchase all the oil produced at the plants, which is estimated to be in the region of 10,700 barrels/month at each site. The agreement further states that the lease-back is to be for a period of ten years or longer with GETH having a buy back clause during this period for the purchase of the physical site and equipment. Ebbros has also indicated its intention to work with GETH on a similar basis for all future tyre to oil recycling plants.

Asia to lead silicones growth

T

he global market for silicones is forecast to reach US$17.2 billion by 2017, driven by booming markets of construction, automotive, healthcare and chemical, says a new report from Global Industry Analysts. Asia, particularly China, has proven to be a major growth vehicle, with installation of new facilities, increasing foreign investments and flourishing end-use industries making it an attractive silicones market. The region is poised to race ahead of others at the overall fastest CAGR of over 5% through to 2017.

In end-use applications, the construction sector rules the market in terms of size and demand and a robust growth rate. Silicone alkyds offer excellent adhesion to wood, steel, bridges, tanks and other architectural constructions. In healthcare, technological innovations, compatibility with longterm implantable devices, resistance to bacteria, biocompatibility and emergence as a drug eluting product will further boost silicone usage. Globally, environmental concerns are increasingly leading to a decline in the

GETH also removes contaminants from recovered plastic recaptured from end of life automotive vehicles shredded for their metal. It processes this recovered plastic to produce compounded plastic resin and light sweet crude oil as end products. Its patented process is said to significantly reduce the amount of shredder residue going to landfills by up to 40% creating considerable cost savings for metal recyclers while also reducing the volume of materials going to the landfill. Meanwhile, US automotive maker Ford and Recycled Polymeric Materials (RPM) have found a way to combine discarded tyres with biorenewable content and make environmentally friendly seals and gaskets

for the company’s vehicles. The gaskets and seals are derived from 25% post-consumer recycled tyres and 17% biorenewable content from soy. In total, more than 1 million kg of rubber from recycled tyres has been made into RPM seals and gaskets and more than 210,000 used tyres have been recycled. Additionally, 68,000 kg of soy has been used to create the materials, Ford says. The seals also offer a weight saving, with more than 1,675 tonnes of weight removed from Ford vehicles on the road. The sustainable gaskets were first introduced to Ford in 2008 and have now expanded to include 11 vehicles, including the 2011 models of the F-150, Escape, Mustang, Focus and Fiesta.

consumption of solventbased products. This has proven to be a boon for the silicones market, where a major trend is the increased adoption of solventless thermal-curing silicones. Europe employs a sizeable 75% share of solventless silicone coatings while countries like Taiwan, Japan and South Korea have also witnessed a definite shift towards this technology. Silicone coatings offer thermal, mechanical and physical gas barrier capabilities and are used in inflatable fabrics for various military, consumer and space applications, including parachutes,

airbags, boat sails, inflatable shelters and rafts. Meanwhile, the liquid silicone rubber (LSR) market is developing, owing to advancements in equipment and materials and a shift in applications of the material. OEMs are finding ways to replace chemical polyisoprene with LSR, particularly in the medical market. Key participants in the silicones market include China National Chemical Corporation, Bluestar Silicones International, Dow Corning, Evonik Industries, Momentive Performance Materials, NuSil Technology, Shin-Etsu Chemical, SiVance and Wacker Chemie.

1 rubber journal ASIA • september 2011


INDUSTRYNEWS Kraton pushes its IR as an alternative to NR for medical products

W

ith allergy reactions to natural rubber (NR) grades for gloves, global producer of styrenic block copolymers or SBCs, Kraton Performance Polymers is pushing its Cariflex isoprene rubber (IR) to the medical industry, especially for surgical gloves. To meet the expected demand, the company has completed a multi-million dollar investment project on its facility in the US. Kraton has converted a plant at its manufacturing site in Belpre for new solid IR capacity. This production capability replaces the capacity from the Pernis, Netherlands, facility that was closed in 2009. Kraton also completed an IR latex expansion at its plant in Brazil, which increased production by 30%. Additionally, the company anticipates a new capacity addition at its Japanese facility in about two years.

In a paper Kraton presented recently at the 13th International Latex Conference in the US, the company says that all of the gloves tested, including synthetic latex alternatives to NR, met the ASTM standard for surgical gloves and offered mechanical protection comparable to NR gloves. Those tested included NR, chloroprene latex (CRL), Ziegler-Natta isoprene rubber latex (ZNIR) and Cariflex IR. Kraton says it evaluated mechanical properties of the gloves in tensile strength, modulus and puncture resistance, and concludes that surgical gloves made with Cariflex offered mechanical protection comparable to NR gloves. It also claims that surgical gloves made with Cariflex proved to be better than other synthetics in terms of comfort, and equal or even superior to NR gloves.

Bridgestone and Michelin in China

J

apanese tyre maker Bridgestone will increase the production capacity at two of its Chinese radial passenger tyre plants in Tianjin and Wuxi to meet the demand for tyres in China, which is expected to grow in the medium to long-term. Under the current schedule, the Tianjin plant will begin production at its increased capacity in July 2012. With an investment of 1,054 million yuan, the plant’s capacity will be boosted by 8,800 tyres/day, enabling it to produce a total of 25,300 tyres/day. The Wuxi plant will begin production at its increased capacity in May 2012. With an investment of 563 million yuan, the plant’s capacity will be boosted by 4,100 tyres/day, enabling it to produce a total of 16,300 tyres/day. In related news, Michelin, Double Coin Holdings and Shanghai Huayi will set up a joint venture in China to produce and market Warrior brand-passenger car and light

truck tyres for the local market. The new company will be owned 40% by Michelin and 60% by its Chinese partners, with Michelin to contribute EUR75 million in investment capital. It will operate a plant in Wuwei, Anhui Province, with an investment of EUR390 million and a capacity of 15 million car and light truck tyres. Present in China since 1988, French tyre maker Michelin currently employs more than 6,000 people in the country and has four industrial sites producing passenger car/truck tyres (three in Shanghai and one in Shenyang). Last year, it launched a US$1,350 million expansion exercise in Shenyang. The new unit will have twice the production capacity and will mainly produce Michelin tyres, with capacity eventually reaching 10 million passenger cars and small truck tyres, 1.8 million truck and bus tyres and 300,000 retreads for trucks and buses.


2011 28 SEPTEMBER-1 OCTOBER Koplas Venue: Kintex, Seoul, South Korea Contact: Korea E&Ex Tel: +822 551-0102 Fax: +822 551-0103 Email: ashley@eandex.co.kr Internet: www.eandex.co.kr 18-20 OCTOBER JEC Composites Asia Venue: Suntec International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Singapore Contact: JEC Tel: +33 0 1 5836 1500 Fax: +33 0 1 5836 1513 Email: exhibitors@jeccomposites.com Internet: www.jeccomposites.com 18-22 OCTOBER Fakuma Venue: Friedrichshafen Exhibition Centre, Friedrichshafen, Germany Contact: PE Schall GmbH & Co Tel: +49 7025 92060 Fax: +49 7025 92060 Email: info@schall-messen.de Internet: www.fakuma-messe.de/en/fakuma

22-24 NOVEMBER RubberTech China Venue: Shanghai New International Expo Centre, Shanghai, China Contact: China United Rubber Corporation Tel: +86 10 58650277 Fax: +86 10 58650288 Email: rubbertech@chrubber.com Internet: www.rubbertech.com.cn/index.asp

2012 19-24 JANUARY IMTEX Forming 2012 Venue: Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) Banaglore, India Tel: +91 - 80 - 6624 6600 Email: imtma@imtma.in Internet: http://www.imtex.in/data/imtex2012.php 1-6 FEBRUARY PlastIndia 2012 Venue: International Plastics Exhibition & Conference New Delhi, India Tel: +91-22-26832911 Fax: 91-22- 26845861 Email: plastindia@vsnl.com Internet: http://www.plastindia.org

25-29 OCTOBER IPF Japan Venue: Makuhari Messe, Tokyo, Japan Contact: International Plastic Fair Association Tel: +81 3 3542 1487 Fax: +81 3 3543 0619 Email: info@jpfjapan.jp Internet: www.ipfjapan.jp

14-16 FEBRUARY Tire Technology Expo 2012 Venue: Cologne, Germany Tel: +44 (0) 1306 743744 Fax: +44 (0) 1306 742525 Email: colinscott@ukintpress.com Internet: http://www.tiretechnology-expo.com/

9-12 NOVEMBER M-PLAS Venue: KLCC Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Contact: Messe Düsseldorf Asia Tel: +65 6332 9620 Fax: +65 6337 4633 Email: mplas@mda.com.sg Internet: www.mplas.com

15-18 FEBRUARY IPF 2012 Venue: BICC-Bangbandhu International Conference Centre Sher-E Bangla, Nagar Dhaka Bangladesh Tel: +886-2-2659-6000 ext: 185 Email: exfdp@chanchao.com.tw Internet: http://www.bangla-expo.com/IPF/factsheet.asp

16-19 NOVEMBER P & R Indonesia Venue: Jakarta International Expo Kemayoran Contact: PT Pamerindo Indonesia Tel: +62 021 316 2001 Fax: +62 021 316 1981 Email: wiwiek@pamerindo.com Internet: www.pamerindo.com

29 FEBRUARY – 2 MARCH Plastics & Rubber Vietnam 2012 (PROPAK) Venue: Saigon Exhibition & Conference Center (SECC), Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tel: +66 02 615 1255 Ext. 114 Fax: +66 02 615 2991-3 Email: punnapa@besallworld.com Internet: http://www.plasticsvietnam.com/plastic_rubber/2012/en/index.asp

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FASCINATING HOW ANCIENT MINERALS CAN ELECTRIFY OUR WORLD.

FUNCTIONAL FILLERS FOR HIGH-VOLTAGE CABLES AND SEALS Neuburg Siliceous Earth is a natural agglomerate of amorphous and cryptocrystalline silicic acid and lamellar kaolinite. Initial thermal treatment followed by surface modification produces the high-quality Aktifit VM. The low dielectric loss and the high and constant electrical resistance when immersed in water are properties which make Aktifit VM ideal for seals and even for high-voltage cables. It also has outstandingly versatile processing advantages. These include low sieve residue, low moisture content and low moisture absorption as well as excellent

HOFFMANN MINERAL GmbH • Tel. +49 (0) 84 31-53-0 www.hoffmann-mineral.com or info@hoffmann-mineral.com

extrusion properties. We have the know-how. Use it.

HM_963_Kabel-Schiff_PRA_engl_210x276_CS5_5 1

We supply material for good ideas

12.08.11 13:21

PRA September 2011  

Plastics and Rubber Asia 2011 September electronic issue

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