PRA Special Yearender

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: : The Innovations Report : : 2019 Yearender Issue

Featuring innovations in the Automotive, Packaging, Medical, Machine Tooling, Pipes, Recycling, Chemicals sectors and more

The Innovations Report :: 2019 Plastics and Rubber Asia (PRA) Special Yearender Issue


Automotive: Manufacturing fuel tanks in an optimal way (JAN|FEB)


Producing quality medical parts in short lead time (MAR|APR)


Two new CFRP technologies for the automotive industry (MAR|APR)


Machine tooling to decline; motors/drives on the uptrend (MAR|APR)


Davis-Standard: Encompassing market leadership (MAY)


Arburg’s focus on the circular economy (JUN|JUL)


Pipes Industry: Pipes made to last (AUG)


Recycling:Mechanical engineering can make a huge contribution (SEP)


Plastics recycling – an emerging market with potential (OCT)


Plastics producers in danger of becoming household names for all the wrong reasons (NOV|DEC)

EDITORIAL Publisher Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 Email: Associate Publisher/Editor Tej Fernandez Tel: +60 3 4260 4575 Email: Senior Editor Angelica Buan Email: Chinese Editor Koh Bee Ling Circulation Stephanie Yuen Email: Regional Office SQ9, Block A, Menara Indah, Taman TAR, 68000 Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia Tel: +603 4260 4575 Fax: +603 4260 4576

About Plastics and Rubber Asia (PRA) PRA print magazine is published eight (8) times a year in print and digital formats. PRA has a yearly print circulation of 110,000 copies plus bonus distribution in key international industry events. It is supplemented by the news platforms, Rubber Journal Asia ( and Injection Moulding Asia (


Automotive: Manufacturing fuel tanks in an optimal way

W In the manufacturing of fuel tanks, an optimal combination of two devices, Mould Area Protection (MAP) and Internal Air Cooling System (IACS), ensures faster hardening of the moulded plastic component and shortens cooling time by 60%, says manufacturer of peripheral devices FarragTech in this report.

hen manufacturing fuel tanks for the automotive industry, the multi-layer or coextrusion process is mostly used. A tubular preform made of molten polymers –virgin HDPE, HDPE regranulate, an internal and external bonding layer, EVOH and again virgin HDPE – is transferred into a blow mould and adjusted to mould contours due to interior pressure. In order to cure the tank, it has so far been cooled only by means of cold water in the cavity of the tool mould. However, the process step has been very costintensive and time-consuming, because low cold water temperature led to formation of condensation on the mould surface, which in turn results in unsteady product quality and increased scrap.

Moreover, due to the continuing heat exposure, the EVOH-layer in the tank is damaged and thus the functional capability is limited. This is where the Mould Area Protection (MAP) system of FarragTech GmbH comes in. Due to the supply of dry air, the mould is prevented from sweating. For further increase of output, the Internal Air Cooling System (IACS) from FarragTech is also suitable. During the process, in addition to conventional cooling, the tank is internally flushed with -35°C cold air, whereby heat in the plastic is simultaneously taken away inside and outside, with material stress being prevented. Thus during production, time and money can be effectively saved. “Cooling of the plastic product represents both one of the most critical and most lengthy subprocesses in the extrusion blow moulding process,” explains Aaron Farrag, Deputy CEO of FarragTech. “Especially during production of multi-layer products such as modern fuel tanks, a lot of time can be saved and the EVOH layer protected against damages due to heat exposure.” During the process, difficulties can occur due to the temperature drop between the exterior cooled by means of cold water and the still warm interior of the product. These temperature differences so far often led to significant material stress - above all, because the large-scale tanks are complexly shaped, showing so different wall thicknesses in the range of 1.35 mm and 3.80 mm. Until recently, this was counteracted by means of interval

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blowing. But this process was less effective. As a rule, the results were unsteady product quality as well as failure to pass the subsequently carried out tightness tests, load tests as well as drop tests. By reason of the relatively high scrap rate, the costs of production increased. “In order to avoid that our customers moved on to reducing the temperature of cold water once more. However, apart from reduced product quality, this also resulted in an increase in energy costs,” Farrag further explained. “Instead, we recommended to carry out cooling of the interior by means of compressed air in addition to heat reduction with 6°C cold water when manufacturing petrol tanks consisting of several layers of plastic.” In order to achieve this, we selected the socalled Internal Air Cooling System (IACS) with integrated Blow Air Chiller (BAC). Modularly designable blow mandrels as well as suitable blow valve blocks were supplied. For blowing applications, the BAC provides air temperatures of up to -35°C. Significant increase of productivity due to cooling from the inside and outside he BAC is available in a total of five different construction sizes, with the design always being linked to the air throughput for the specific application. In direct comparison to cooling by means of ram air, an increase of productivity from 25 to 200% can be achieved by using the BAC. For this purpose, the compressed air is brought to a dew point of < -40°C and then cooled in the integrated heat exchanger. In order to ensure that the device operates practically maintenance-free, a previously defined, good compressed air quality with a pressure dew point of 5°C at 7 bar as well as a residual


profit was significantly reduced due to the increased operating costs. An alternative to keep the mould surface free from condensation water was the usage of dehumidification systems which ensure that dry air can be produced by means of adsorption dryers. By means of this, a very low dew point is achieved. However, this is connected with a high maintenance and energy requirement, because Aaron Farrag, Deputy CEO the molecular sieve must be of FarragTech Gmbh regularly exchanged. In case of a defect, however, the complicated oil content of max. 0.01 mg/m³ is structure of the system causes absolutely necessary. In many blow significantly higher costs. For the factories, this is currently a standard regeneration of the molecular sieve, already. an additional energy requirement Foam-insulated cold is necessary, which is why this air pipes ensure that the air did not come into question, too. temperature on the way from the What provided a relief here is the BAC device to the blow tools can MAP system: “Both with blow be kept low and does not freeze or moulding and injection moulding the condensation water does not processes with cold forming, drop into the production hall. it ensures optimal protection Control of the BAC devices takes against condensate formation on place via the specially developed the mould surface and this way Farrag Intelligent Terminal (FIT). contributes to a consistently good In this way by means of the IACS product quality,” explains Farrag. system, material stress could be Simple (ambient) air dryers efficiently prevented and a higher are employed for the use of MAP quality of the produced plastic parts systems. The system functions in could be achieved in total. that the mould area of the machine is separated from the ambient air Combination with condensation and supplied directly by the MAP water protection for optimal with filtered, dry air. In this way, results a continuous use of cold water up n unwanted side effect of the to a temperature of 6°C is made mould cooling using water, possible without condensation on the temperature of which is below the mould surface forming. the dew point on the ambient air, Ambient air is sucked was the formation of condensation via a filter and cooled in two water on the mould, which steps: first via a water-cooled negatively influences both the heat exchanger, then in the heat product and the mould. exchanger of the integrated Moreover, the crystallisation refrigeration circuit. In this, the rate in the moulded plastic air is cooled to approximately 3 increases in many cases so that the °C. For pre-cooling of the sucked product quality significantly suffers. ambient air during the process, In order to avoid that, it was tried cold water is used which also serves to air-condition the production to cool the moulds. The humidity, halls accordingly - but this did not which is eliminated as a result of represent a sufficient solution for condensation, gathers in a trough this problem, the more so as the and is conveyed out of the device


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using a pump. Thanks to the isolated machine environment, a trouble-free daily work routine is now possible also in the summer with a higher air humidity: often the cold water had to be heated again in order to ensure troublefree production. As a result, the production process took more time. “For this type of plastics processing, as well as for further blow-moulded products, a combination of IACS and MAP system works well, because with optimal coordination of the two mechanisms, the cooling time can be shortened by up to 60%,” says Farrag. “Especially with thickwalled moulds, a production increase of up to 200% can be achieved.” About the company arragTech was originally founded in 1991 as FASTI by Rainer Farrag, the inventor of the first compressed air dryer, and by Bernhard Stipsits. After both Managing Directors decided to go their separate ways in 2002, Rainer Farrag founded FarragTech GmbH in 2005. The company specialises in peripheral devices for further processing of plastic resin, increasing the quality of products as well as the productivity of the processing machines. The portfolio of the manufacturer includes resin dryers which are a further development of the compressed air dryer invented by Rainer Farrag, as well as systems for internal mould cooling, various loader and atmospheric air drying devices for mould area protection, of which were also developed by FarragTech. The company currently employs eight staff in its Wolfurt headquarters in Austria. Production takes place in Slovenia, with marketing carried out worldwide.



Medical Industry: Producing quality medical parts in short lead time


n a project that had a short time frame and a tight budget, Polyfluor Plastics appointed Flexan, a US contract manufacturer, to produce high precision silicone components for in-vitro fertilisation at its facility in China. For a medical device for in-vitro fertilisation, a European OEM required a special injection moulding component made of silicone, which alongside high quality should also have very precise dimensions, and special surface characteristics. As the component also had to be manufactured within a short timeframe and on a low budget, with a volume of 400,000 units, polymer supplier Polyfluor Plastics decided to appoint the Chinese branch of US contract

manufacturer Flexan. The Suzhou-based branch, closely affiliated with the Chicago head office and managed according to the strictest Western quality standards, was able to rely on the parent company’s more than 70 years of expertise, says Flexan. However, at the same time, it offers clients the cost advantages of the Chinese site. In addition, Polyfluor says it was able to drastically reduce the time to market with this decision. While there are frequently

Western production sites are currently so stretched, that there are long waiting times for tools and products, not so in China Plastics and Rubber Asia 2019 Yearender Edition | 5

Flexan for production in Suzhou offered the best conditions, for example in terms of tool costs and delivery time,” continues Wetzels. Production in China he advantage of the Chinese branch with regards to time to market can be attributed to an industry-wide development. Western production sites are currently so stretched, that there are long waiting times for tools and products. “With other manufacturers, it would have taken 4-6 months until the injection moulding tool had been built,” confirms Wetzels. In contrast, he says Flexan was able to agree a time of two months. “In Europe and the US, for example in our factory in Chicago, express tool manufacture is of course still possible – but with additional costs,” explains Werner Karau, European Commercial Leader at Flexan, who is responsible for the project with Polyfluor. “Here, the client has to think carefully, particularly if the same quality can be provided in China.”

T Eric Wetzels, Managing Director of Polyfluor waiting times of up to six months at American and European production sites industry wide, the project with Flexan Suzhou progressed significantly faster: the plant produced the injection moulding tools within five weeks and provided the first samples just five days later. “We were appointed by an OEM, to manufacture components for a product for in-vitro fertilisation,” explained Eric Wetzels, Managing Director of Polyfluor Plastics. This also included a special silicone injection moulded part, which is not very complex in itself, but the manufacture in a clean room according to the strict specifications of the customer posed a challenge. “On the one hand, there were very small tolerances for the dimensions, but on the other hand it is required that its surface feels pleasant and smooth. This requires extensive knowledge, as for example the original material must be injected into the tools and cooled correctly.” Polyfluor’s customer initially needed this component in a volume of 400,000 units, but subsequently an increase to up to 3 million would be possible. “We asked several manufacturers: with the requirements for the components and the specified time and cost restraints. The quote from

Injection moulds finished after five weeks owever, the particularly short delivery time in Suzhou can also be attributed to the fact that the factory has many different injection moulding tools, and therefore has fixed capacity commitments with a large number of qualified tool manufacturers. “These reserves generally allow us quick tool manufacture,” says Karau. At the same time, the Chinese branch can also rely on the knowledge of high precision medical silicone components, which has been accumulated since 1946. Due to these various factors, the injection moulding tools were able to be completed


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within five weeks, and the first samples were sent to Polyfluor around five days later. “The component for Polyfluor will be manufactured by us in a hybrid LSR process,” explains Karau. The liquid silicone rubber, which is used as the raw material, is a two-component paste mixture, with short curing times, which is good for use in the temperature range of -55 to +210°C. The two components are poured directly from the original containers into the injection moulding machine. After curing, the moulded parts are removed from the cores, a defined random sample is sent for inspection in the measurement laboratory, and after preparation of the tools, they will be refilled.

Wetner Karau, European Commercial Leader at Flexan

If the random samples of the measurement inspection are fine, the production quantity is checked in the visual inspection. All inspections will be documented, and if everything corresponds to the specifications, the parts are packaged in the clean room and stored. The challenge with the silicone components for Polyfluor was that on the one hand there were strict tolerances in the dimensions, and on the other hand, the achievement of certain haptic and visual characteristics had to be considered. “Even if all the dimensions are within the tolerance

limits, a part may feel different to what the customer wishes. This can be determined after the first prototypes,” says Karau. “If the moulded part feels too firm, we can change the tool; for example, by getting closer to the lower tolerance limit, to have less material in the affected places.”

Ultimately, the surface is influenced by the tool, but also by temperatures, cooling and other parameters. A slightly finer surface was required with initial sampling, to achieve this haptic, the process parameters were adjusted, and the tool was fine polished. Adherence to Western quality standards Due to our collaboration with Flexan Suzhou, we received our components very quickly, in the correct quality, in a high volume and at a competitive price,” says Wetzels. “As a wholly owned subsidiary of Flexan, the plant combines the cost and capacity advantages of the Chinese site with US-American company standards. Western structures prevail in the management, all procedures are identical throughout the whole group, as far as possible,” confirms Karau. Production and development management and quality management, for example,

are internationally integrated. As with all other Flexan factories, Suzhou also adheres to the quality standards in accordance with ISO9001/13485 and undergoes the audits that inspect this conformity. “The only difference between the American sites and China is that Suzhou is more set up to manufacture many different tools and parts in high quantities, while the US factories specialise in the manufacture of even more complex parts, and services for the end product such as assembly and secondary operations,” adds Karau. Polyfluor says the project with Flexan Suzhou is another positive experience with the production of medical components in China. However, Wetzels knows from experience, that with manufacturers in the country who are not foreign-owned and/or subject to strict Western standards, you have to tread more carefully. “We had a case where a Chinese partner assured us of a certain procedure. It was carried out that way a few times, but by the third or fourth delivery, the processes had been changed in secret, and produced cheaper, to their own advantage. That would not have happened with a German supplier for example.” Wetzels doesn’t want to generalise, as even in the West you can never completely rule out black sheep, but he admits: “We check Chinese suppliers slightly differently to Western ones. Before sending each delivery, they are checked by an auditor, even more closely than is usual for the sector anyway.” After the successful manufacture of the silicon components, Polyfluor is planning another collaboration with Flexan and the factory in China.

About the companies etherlands-headquartered Polyfluor Plastics bv has been a supplier of products made of quality technical plastics, and solutions for the manufacturing industry for 35 years. The focus of the company activity is fluoroplastics such as PTFE, FEP, PFA, PEEK, PVDF, PCTFE and ECTFE. (Fluoro) plastic, high pressure, shrink and clean room hoses and PTFE fibreglass tapes are available from Polyfluor from stock. The company provides semifinished products, customer-specific processed parts or a coating for a special customer product.



ounded in 1946, Flexan LLC is a global manufacturer of high-precision elastomer parts for a wide range of industry applications. It operates out of four manufacturing facilities with about 800 employees. Its Flexan unit focuses as on custom moulding while its FMI business delivers clean room manufactured silicone rubber components for use in Class II disposable and Class III implantable medical devices. High volume custom moulded elastomer and also cleanroom silicone rubber is offered from the FlexanSuzhou factory. Flexan’s MEDRON division serves a wide range of outsourcing capabilities, including high volume manufacturing, customer private label capability, design engineering, product development, and prototyping. MEDRON’s expertise comprises a wide range of materials, including medical grade urethanes and engineering thermoplastics. Flexan group is owned by Linden Capital Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm focused exclusively on leveraged buyouts in the health care and life sciences industries.

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Two new CFRP technologies for the automotive industry

high cost, or where the vehicle manufacturer subsidises it as part of its learning process. Now, Williams has developed 223 and Racetrak technologies that offer comparable performance to existing composites solutions, but with a range of benefits, and at a cost that brings them within reach of mainstream applications. 223: for 3D composite structures from 2D he 223 process was conceived as a cost-effective means of creating 3D composite structures from a 2D form. It is ideal for box-like geometries, such as battery containers for electric vehicles, or potentially even complete vehicle monocoques. The name is derived from one of the process’s defining features: while composite components generally have to be laid up in their final geometry, 223 allows the part to be created initially as a 2D component before being folded into a 3D structure. Thus, it lends itself to a wide array of applications. In particular, 223 suits structures that are currently assembled from many separate components, and where access for fitting-out adds time and cost. For example, an automotive body-in-white, which typically consists of around 300 metal pressings, made with some 600 different tools; a vehicle bonnet may require four different press operations. Using 223, the number of pressings could be reduced to around 50, all created on a single machine with a significant reduction in the capital expenditure for tooling. An estimated weight saving of 25-30% could also be achieved on a car’s body-in-white, compared


The technology division of Williams Formula 1 team, UK-based Williams Advanced Engineering, has published a white paper to showcase its proprietary, patent-pending innovations in carbon composites and the benefits they offer to the automotive industry. PRA takes a look at the groundbreaking technologies: 223 and Racetrak.


he automotive industry, where lightweighting is key to meeting increasingly stringent fuel economy and emissions targets, as well as support the range required from electric vehicles, has leveraged the advantages of carbon fibre-reinforced polymers (CFRPs). Nonetheless, several factors, including cost, are impeding mass adoption of CFRPs. Traditional composite production methods involve expensive materials and lengthy process times; and they also incur a relatively high scrap rate of around 30%, compounded by the challenges of recovering the carbon from pre-impregnated off-cuts, and of finding value from the material at the end of the product life. These challenges have confined CRFP to niche applications, for instance, a body-in-white structure produced with traditional composite techniques that is 60% lighter than a steel one, yet is around 20 times the cost. This has limited its application to vehicles that are low volume/ 8| Plastics and Rubber Asia 2019 Yearender Edition

to an equivalent aluminium alloy structure. With 223, this could be delivered in higher volumes and at a lower cost than a traditional composite solution. Where less strength is required, further cost savings could be made by specifying lower cost materials, for example glass fibres, while alternative resins can be specified to increase toughness and heat resistance. According to Williams, the 223 is a radically different (and therefore confidential) process for the integration of woven, dry fibre reinforcement sheet with a separately-prepared resin matrix. The technique provides freedom to optimise both elements to the specific requirements of a design across the component. For example, a design may employ high-strength carbon fibres as the reinforcement in structurally critical areas, while low cost glass fibres could be used in others. Costly materials are used only where their benefit is required, and local strength can be provided without the cost of additional reinforcing components. The process enables the full benefits of the anisotropy of the material to be exploited, as opposed to a ‘black metal’ approach. The process begins with an automated cutter trimming the flat sheet of woven fibre into nearnet shape. The excess material from this process is dry, untreated fibre, which is substantially easier and more cost effective to recycle than traditional pre-impregnated materials. At this stage, other components can be easily embedded, such as printed. Next, the matrix is applied using an automated process that allows the composition of the resin to be specified locally across the part, allowing properties such as toughness and thermal conductivity

to be varied across the component. At this stage, the preform is still a flat, 2D sheet, like a cardboard box that has yet to be folded. Williams estimates fibre deposition rates of up to 500 kg/ hour. Overall, 223 is up to around 50 times faster than traditional aerospace-grade methods, which lay down material at roughly 10 to 20 kg/hour. The preform is then fed into an industrial press, where a carefully-controlled force and temperature is applied. This cures the sections that are destined to form the faces of the box, while leaving the hinge areas between them flexible. Thanks to snap curing resins, the pressing process can be accomplished in around 3 minutes and with a high degree of automation. Energy, cost and time savings are also evident from the ability to maintain the press at a constant temperature, where otherwise the autoclave or press would traditionally go through a temperature cycle, adversely affecting the operational efficiency. This is a further benefit of the process. Once removed from the press, the cured areas have sufficient structural strength for additional manufacturing steps to be performed. 223 has been designed to allow transportation of the product to an external facility in this intermediate ‘flat pack’ form, reducing the cost of logistics. In a defence vehicle application, for example, vehicle bodies could be kept flat in storage, with the correct body for the requirement selected and dispatched quickly and efficiently for assembly in the field. Components can be held in this intermediate ‘flat pack’ form for relatively extended periods (up to 12 months) – currently

The new approaches tackle the manufacture, application and recovery of carbon composite days, with extended times in development – allowing complex tasks to be performed before the final curing stage is carried out. For instance, on an automotive body-in-white, it could potentially provide scope to fit trim, run electrical/electronic harnesses and install heating ventilation and cooling (HVAC) components with easier, faster access and fewer additional tools. Finally, the part is placed in a jig, where it is folded into its finished 3D form. It then undergoes a final curing stage, which solidifies the hinges and seamlessly joins the edges of the adjacent panels to create a perfect 3D shape. Racetrak: high stress composites made affordable acetrak is a novel process for creating very high strength structural members that link two or more points, such as automotive wishbones or the link arms of aircraft landing gear. It takes its name from the continuous loop of unidirectional material — in this case carbon fibre — that provides extremely high hoop strength. This localisation of very high embedded strength allows substantial cost reduction which, when combined with high levels of automation, allows an affordable component that is dramatically


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lighter than traditional alternatives. In the case of a wishbone for an automotive application, the finished part could be around 40% lighter than the equivalent forged aluminium item and up to 60% lighter than steel, making it costcompetitive with a premium aluminium forging; and thus aligning with the automotive industry’s target for weight saving technologies, estimated at EUR57/kg. Furthermore, up to 80% of the material can be drawn from recycled sources, helping to solve the growing challenge presented by end-of-life carbon composite components. Racetrak parts consist of three main components: a core of low cost, non-woven bulk material, a loop of unidirectional carbon fibre and on both sides of this, a protective shell made from die-cut woven fibre sheet. Manufacturing is fully automated, with the unidirectional loop robotically wound to create precise, repeatable tailored fibre placement. This reinforced material preform is then placed dry into a tool, which applies a light shaping pressure to create a removable cartridge. This placed into an industrial press, where a vacuum is applied, and the resin is injected into the heated mould. Under these conditions, the resin takes approximately 90 seconds to cure. It is then ejected from the machine and a fresh cartridge loaded. With a cycle time currently at just 120 seconds, a single press using this process can produce more than 500,000 units/year. The composition of the system also contributes to an attractive price/ performance ratio as the costliest materials – notably the unidirectional carbon fibre — are used only where their unique

Racetrak has been used in Williams’s new lightweight electric vehicle platform concept known as the FW-EVX

mechanical properties are required to deliver high local strength, for example to link anchorage points. The woven shell increases load distribution across the component and enhances both sheer strength and damage tolerance. As with the new 223 process, automation ensures repeatability, removes the need for skilled labour, reduces cycle times and minimises the quantity of premium material that is required for unidirectional lay-up. Each tool costs around one tenth the cost of a steel tool, making smaller production runs more affordable. The same tool can also make similar shaped components of different specifications, simply by changing the composition of the cartridge. Choice of resins makes a difference he Racetrak system allows a choice of resins, for example polyurethane (PU) instead of the more conventional epoxy resin, increasing the toughness of the system as well as reducing the cost, with the option to further increase energy absorption by adding ductile materials such as ground end-oflife CFRP. PU resin is also an effective adhesive, allowing inmould integration of fixings and other components. For increased


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resistance to high temperatures, a phenolic resin could be specified. With savings in process time, skilled labour, materials and capital investment, Racetrak will allow high strength, light weight composite components to be used in applications where CFRP was previously too costly. Like 223, Racetrak also brings additional benefits, such as ability to embed components such as thin film sensors (which can be just 6 microns thick) and bearings, effectively removing another step from the current production process; and being environmentally attractive because it requires very little energy, and because the bulk material used in the core can be created from the multidirectional carbon created from the 223 and Racetrak manufacturing scrap. It can also use a high proportion of ground material created from end-of-life recyclate, helping to solve the current challenge of how to recover and re-use carbon components from end-of-life vehicles as required by legislation, such as the European End-of-Life Directive. Uptake in emerging automotive trends acetrak and 223 are both application-agnostic, but particularly bring benefits to three sectors, namely:


• Automotive, including commercial & off-highway vehicles, where weight reduction is a major benefit when using 223 process in the vehicle’s body-inwhite. Williams estimates that a vehicle monocoque produced in carbon composite using the 223 process could be 25% lighter than an aluminium structure. The company has already employed this process in the production of the battery case for its FW-EVX Electric Vehicle Platform concept. • Racetrak was also used in FW-EVX to manufacture the suspension wishbones with a weight saving of approximately 40% compared with aluminium and 60% compared with steel. Williams has designed and manufactured composite wishbones for its Formula 1 cars for more than 25 years, giving it considerable experience in this application. • Automated driving: turning wishbones and other CFRP components into calibrated load cells that could transfer road load data back to the vehicle via wireless electronics. This would not only allow a vehicle manufacturer to capture anonymised usage data, it will also have practical applications at a vehicle level, measuring realtime loads applied to a component. An example is a wishbone providing data that can be used to infer lateral grip, for use by the stability control input. • Increasing efficiency of heavy-duty and off-highway vehicles translates into revenue from additional payload, and savings from improved fuel economy. Engineers can save weight where it will make the biggest difference in efficiency; for example in reciprocating components like stacker forks, or where it compromises stability such as high on crane masts.

Machine tooling to decline; motors/drives on the uptrend

The global machinery production revenue will reach US$1.6 trillion in 2022, coming mainly from machine tools, but growth will decline this year due to weaker global trends, with China and Germany on the downtrend, according to IHS Markit’s Machinery Production Market Tracker. Meanwhile, the global market for integrated motors and machine-mounted drives is expected to reach US$1.4 billion by 2022, according to a report titled Integrated Motors & Machine-Mounted Drives 2018 by IHS Markit.

2019: tough market for machine builders his year will be a tough year for machine builders, with overall global machine production revenue growing at a CAGR of 2.1% from 2017 and reaching US$1.6 trillion in 2022, says IHS Markit. Year-over-year eurozone machine production revenues are expected to contract slightly by 0.4% in 2019. The Asia-Pacific region will grow by low single digits, as growth in China – the largest contributor in the machine tools market –is expected to remain in the single digits, at least until 2020. The machine tools category will comprise 5.7% of all global


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machinery production revenue in 2019. After the global economic downturn in 2015, a short 5.5% year-over-year growth spurt in 2017 helped revenues climb to their highest level. However, the year-over-year growth rate fell to 3.4% in 2018. It is expected to decline by 0.4% in 2019. The largest downstream industries in the machine tool sector are automotive, with 25% of revenues, and consumer electronics, with 16%. Machine tooling, driven by market economics he market performance of the machine tool sector is highly dependent on commodity prices, macroeconomic conditions and sector performance (e.g., automotive, construction, aerospace, and ship building). According to IHS Markit Economy and Country Risk (ECR) information, a global recession is highly unlikely to occur in 2019. However, due to weaker global trade, political uncertainties, and other headwinds, global machine tools production revenue will only begin to improve late in 2020 or early in 2021.


Automotive and consumer electronics lead the market he poor sales of automobiles in late 2018, and the downwardtrending market for smartphones and PCs, is reflected in the latest sales and production revenue estimates from IHS Markit. Other broad, underlying factors for the downturn include a weaker global trade environment, increased geopolitical tensions, lower investor confidence and declining global vehicle sales. Furthermore, the top producing and consuming countries for this type of machinery


The material-handling equipment and packaging sectors were the fastest growing sectors that are predicted to grow at a CAGR of 8.8% and 8.9%, respectively, from 2017 to 2022. – namely, Germany and China – have been hit especially hard by the industry downturn. Bleak near-term signs for machine tools production in Germany and China n the fourth quarter of 2018, Germany’s manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) slipped to a 31-month low. The country’s total machinery production revenue is forecast to contract by 0.3% in 2019, with machine tools revenue growing at just 0.7%, year over year. Germany’s poor performance was caused by the global decline in automotive manufacturing. While it is difficult to isolate the main reason for the declining growth in this industry, changes in the way new vehicles are regulated is an obvious candidate. The tedious and long approval time for regulatory compliance has proven costly to automakers. Especially in Europe, consumers are also more conscious about making new vehicle


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purchases, in the face of these everchanging regulations. Although the automobile manufacturing industry has made strides in implementing new technologies, market conditions will continue to push near-term machinery investment rate to an all-time low. Machinery production in China is also facing tremendous downward pressure, due to slowing investment, sluggish growth in downstream industries and the Sino-US trade war. China is also dealing with many of the same problems Germany is facing, including contracting automotive sales and weaker global trade. Although national stimulus policies have been enacted, and industrial upgrades have been implemented gradually, they have not done enough to offset the economic headwinds in China. In fact, IHS Markit forecasts that China’s machinery production revenue will grow only 1.4% in 2019, the lowest rate since 2015. Machine tools production

revenue will also suffer, contracting by 3.7% in 2019. Integrated motors/machinemounted drives market ith the global market for integrated motors and machinemounted drives projected to reach US$1.4 billion by 2022, the growth will come from machinery production and additional market revenues from AC brushless servo and AC induction motors and drives. Total market revenue is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.8% through 2022. Integrated motors comprised 65.6% of the market revenue in 2017, and 75.3% of all unit shipments. Machine-mounted drives made up 34.4% of revenue and 24.7% of unit shipments. The material-handling equipment and packaging sectors were the fastest growing sectors in the machine-mounted drive market in 2017, with an estimated value of US$57.5 million and US$45.1 million, respectively, in 2017. These two sectors are predicted to grow at a CAGR of 8.8% and 8.9%, respectively, from 2017 to 2022.


Integrated motors vs machinemounted drives he highest revenues and total unit shipments in the global integrated-motor market came from materials handling equipment and packaging machinery industries, comprising 16.6% of the market in 2017. This was due to the increased demand in conveying applications tied to postal sorting, baggage handling and other consumer sectors. Meanwhile, packaging continues to lead all machinery sectors. It has the highest adoption rate for integrated motors, due to the prevalence of high axes


machines requiring only low to moderately powered motors. High axes machines are common, because packaging machines often perform multiple tasks and require the flexibility to adapt to new package shapes and materials. The need for flexibility also contributes to the trend towards modular machine building in this sector, which benefits the integrated-motor market. Furthermore, the packaging machinery sector relies on the performance of the food, beverage and tobacco market, which is largest market for packaging machinery. IHS Markit forecasts the food, beverage and tobacco sector will grow at a CAGR of 7.7%, from 2017 through 2022. This growth is caused by increasing integrated motor requirements in the packaged food sector, as processed food consumption is associated with urbanization and higher income levels. AC-brushless-servo and AC-induction are the most common integrated-motor types used in the food, beverage and tobacco industry. Machines for these industries have many of the same attributes that make packaging machines well suited for integrated motors. However, the adoption rate has been hindered by the need for the machinery to withstand washdown conditions. For the materials handling sector, integrated motors are commonly used in conveying applications, where the machines are comparatively long and benefit from cable reductions that can be achieved by daisy-chaining integrated motors. Conveying applications typically require speed control, rather than position control, and materials handling is the largest industry sector for the

AC-induction and DC-brushless product types. Meanwhile, the demand for high efficiency, along with the need to reduce energy consumption in these markets, will attract investments in drive solutions. Manufacturers tend to prefer machine-mounted drives over stand-alone drives over the long-term, depending on the anticipated functional technological advancements and the availability of affordable technology. The ideal compatibility of the variable frequency drive with the motor in an integrated motor and drive ensures efficient performance, with efficiency levels exceeding 90%. This compatibility also makes drive units easier to deploy than procuring the motor and the drive as two separate components, and then combining them to achieve the desired performance, which consequently helps to reduce lag time and increase productivity. The market will continue to benefit from product replacement, as motor suppliers continue to expand their machine-mounted drive product offerings. Challenges in the near future hile the growth numbers are positive signs for the industry, the immediate challenge for machine-mounted drive manufacturers will be to scale down high initial costs and communicate product benefits more clearly to end-users. Another issue has been the technical inability to develop machine-mounted drives for higher power ratings. Customers expect perfect solutions, in terms of technology: they need the product type most suited to their applications, and they want the exact features and performance required for each application.


Plastics and Rubber Asia 2019 Yearender Edition | 13

MAY issue

Davis-Standard: Encompassing market leadership Headquartered in Pawcatuck, Conn., Davis-Standard is a global leader in the design, development and distribution of extrusion and converting technology. Davis-Standard promoted the company’s equipment innovation and regional growth at the Chinaplas 2019 in Guangzhou, held 21-24 May, alongside its subsidiaries Maillefer and Brampton Engineering.

The dsX flex-pack™ 300S is a single station extrusion and laminating line is designed specifically for the Asian flexible packaging market Asia, still a hive of activity for manufacturing he Asian region, led by economies successfully transitioning from middle income to advance-economy standing, continues to propel the global economy as it represents more than 60% of world growth, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) assessment. Despite the pervading tensed global financial and geopolitical conditions, the region wins over the obstacles of downside risks by tapping on its ample domestic markets, and reforming policies to further strengthen industries as well as the industrial capital. The region is likewise on


par with more mature economies in the west through increasing use of digitalisation and assimilating smart manufacturing into operations. Even though IMF forecasts growth for Asia to fall slightly from 5.6% in 2018 to 5.4% in 2019, key industries, including the automotive, building and construction, electrical & electronics, medical devices, packaging and food and beverage, are sustaining the growth of the region. The automotive industry is one such major industry that continues to shore up the region’s manufacturing industry. Demand for commercial vehicles continues to surge. Likewise, growth in construction activities in major markets is

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driving the demand for heavy trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles. Likewise, the medical devices market is also flexing its might, poised to register a CAGR growth of 6.5%to US$167.2 billion from 2017-2026, according to Inkwood Research, while the Asian flexible packaging market is poised to reach a CAGR of 5.7% to US$6.7 billion from 2016-2024, according to a Transparency Market Research sector forecast, driven by growth and increasing disposable incomes. The slowdown of China’s economy, and the challenges its manufacturing industry now faces against rising global protectionism, has diverted production to other manufacturing capable countries in

the region. Nonetheless, China remains a market ally for the region. The East Asian factory powerhouse continues to upscale

and upgrades to high-tech manufacturing with the integration of industrial robotics and AI. Davis-Standard to highlight a bevy of products howcased at Chinaplas 2019, the US-headquartered DavisStandard’s systems encompass over ten product lines to support manufacturing applications and customers within every major industry. This includes the agriculture, automotive, construction, healthcare, energy, electronics, food and beverage packaging, and retail industries, among others. With more than 1,350 employees worldwide and a network of independent sales agents and suppliers in nearly every country, Davis-Standard is committed to engineering systems. The company has manufacturing and technical facilities in the US, Canada, China, Germany, Finland, Switzerland and the UK. PRA interviewed Sekaran Murugaiah, Vice-President Business Development Asia Pacific to find out more about the company and its participation in the last Chinaplas event. Below is the transcript of the said interview:


its technological standards amid ever tightening competition in the global market. With its Made in China 2025 industry blueprint in place, the country drills on catching up with global peers in manufacturing technologies in the fields of automotive, aerospace, electronics, robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and more. Furthermore, China is among the global forerunners in machinery exports, as well as the world’s largest producer, consumer, and importer of machine tools. According to data from the China Machinery Industry Federation, the country’s machinery exports grew 8.4% to US$406 billion in 2017, and continues to grow to current periods, due to structural reforms that have been effected, marked by tax incentives,

PRA: What technology/services will Davis-Standard be displaying at Chinaplas 2019? Murugaiah: We will promote our DS Activ-Check system for continuous extruder monitoring, dsX flex-pack technology and stretch film capabilities, and exhibit a HPE100 extruder. The DS Activ-Check addresses demand for “smart” technology. Using DS Activ-Check, processors can take advantage of real-time preventative maintenance

Sekaran Murugaiah, Vice-President Business Development, Asia by providing early notifications of potential extruder failures. Machine operators are alerted to issues before they happen, preventing unnecessary downtime while also collecting valuable data. Key parameters monitored include extruder reducer, lubrication system, motor characteristics, the drive power unit, barrel heating and cooling. The latest dsX flexpack model being promoted is the 300S. This single station extrusion and laminating line is designed specifically for the Asian flexible packaging market. It is a collaboration among DavisStandard’s teams in the US, Germany and China, addressing the pricing, machine footprint, speeds and output, and shorter runs demanded by converters. Davis-Standard is also engineering a tandem configuration of this machine called the dsX flex-pack 300T. The dsX flexpack™ 300S will be available for demonstration in Suzhou later this year. For stretch film applications, Davis-Standard offers a stretch film line equipped with a DS S3 winder. The line offers a compact machine arrangement, ease of servicing, excellent profile control, consistent roll quality and

Plastics and Rubber Asia 2019 Yearender Edition | 15

sq-m facility near the existing shop in Suzhou will house control panel assembly and provide much-needed warehousing. The addition reflects DavisStandard’s strong extrusion coating business and long-term strategy in the region. Suzhou is also home to an R&D laboratory that supports Asia’s medical market. This capability has been an asset to customers, and an excellent tool for supporting development of new resins and biodegradable products.

For stretch film applications, Davis-Standard offers a stretch film line equipped with a DS S3 winder an intuitive control package. It is engineered for producing thin films from 7.8 to 13 microns at high speeds. The side-by-side DS S3 overlapping winder is essential to this capability, enabling maximum slit widths for hand-wrap, machinewrap and jumbo rolls. This winder also makes it possible for converters to support multiple market segments on one winder. The model HPE 100 extruder being shown is an example of Davis-Standard’s performance engineering for versatility, longterm market value and an attractive return on investment. This extruder is designed for co-extrusion and multi-layer applications, and is available with a variety of DSB® feedscrew designs depending on applications. Advantages include a small footprint, high-torque capacity to handle a variety of resins

and a direct coupled motor. Models are available in 20-45 mm with L/D’s in 24:1 or 30:1. For added support, the extruder comes with a three-year warranty. PRA: Are there new capabilities to be offered by Davis-Standard in Asia/ China? Murugaiah: In addition to what is mentioned above, Davis-Standard recently acquired Thermoforming Systems, LLC (TSL), of Union Gap, Washington. With this addition, we are now able to offer in-line thermoforming technology for sheet and high-volume packaging applications. PRA: Is Davis-Standard planning to expand its Suzhou facility with new capabilities? Murugaiah: Yes, Davis-Standard’s Suzhou location is expanding this year. The additional 3,251

Davis-Standard offers the Vector air rings on its extrusion lines

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Davis-Standard expects to offer control panel assembly at its facility in Suzhou later this year PRA: How have the Chinese/Asian markets fared for Davis-Standard? Murugaiah: There have been challenges with economic and trade uncertainties in China. However, we remain optimistic about the Chinese market and our business prospects there. Meanwhile, plastic demand has continued in Asia, albeit at a slower rate. This has primarily been driven by global economic uncertainties, the slowdown in major economies like China, and uncertainties in the financial markets. However, there are continuous and exciting growth prospects in the food packaging

segment for sustainable solutions, innovative products and functionalities. There will be challenges for single-use plastics in many countries, and the industry will need to effectively respond to this demand. PRA: What aspects of Industry 4.0, offered by Davis-Standard, benefit businesses in China/Asia? Murugaiah: Industry 4.0 initiatives benefit everyone. Davis-Standard already offers excellent connectivity

via our DS-eVUE and EPIC III® control systems. Connectivity is essential to making Industry 4.0 and the “smart factory” work. These controls are also compatible with our new DS Activ-Check system (mentioned above), which applies predictive maintenance analytics. We place additional sensors on extruder components such as the gearbox and motor to monitor factors such as temperature, pressure and vibration. With Industry 4.0, we will be able to offer a complete solution that further digitises data collection and gives customers greater insight into improving and controlling processes. It is all about the ability to collect data that will help reduce waste, increase uptime and improve productivity.

PRA: Last year, Davis-Standard unveiled its new branding. Please provide a brief description of this new approach. Murugaiah: Our goal is to be the market leader in providing solutions that help customers better compete in today’s marketplace. We now have a brand that better speaks to that leadership. Our new tag line – Where Your Ideas Take Shape – reflects this. We have been on an upward trajectory on a global scale, and now is the time for our brand to embody what we have become; and still intend to become. Our aim is to work with customers in partnership to help them achieve a unique competitive advantage. We believe this can be achieved with technology that is tailored to customer needs as well as better ideas and holistic solutions. Our support services are central to this offering and our people are our most valuable asset. They are the heartbeat of the company; central to our approach and success. PRA: After Davis-Standard added on Gloucester Engineering and Maillefer to its portfolio, last year it added on TSL and Brampton Engineering. What new opportunities do these new acquisitions provide Davis-Standard? Murugaiah: Each acquisition has been instrumental in being able to offer customers the best machinery in the industry. The acquisition of Brampton in 2018 augmented our multilayer film processing and winding technology for blown film applications. TSL (Thermoforming Systems LLC), also added in 2018, is the market leader in thermoforming equipment for high-volume packaging applications. TSL fits nicely with Davis-Standard’s

TSL offers thermoforming equipment for high volume output continued growth in the packaging sector. Maillefer, acquired in 2017, expanded the company’s wire and cable, pipe and tube equipment offering, and added facilities in Finland and Switzerland to better serve customers, including those in China. The addition of Gloucester Engineering expanded our blown film capabilities and gave us one of the largest installed bases of equipment in the world. These brands have made us stronger in terms of both equipment capabilities and aftermarket services. PRA: Are there any updates or developments in downstream equipment? Murugaiah: We have ongoing efforts to further improve our winder and web handling system production and energy efficiencies. PRA: Are there any upcoming plans for 2019 onward in terms of expansions, new technologies and facilities, R&D? Murugaiah: The dsX flexpack™ 300S will be available for demonstration in Suzhou later this year. We also continue with investments in R&D for extrusion and screw technology to support the development of new resins and biodegradable products, as well as energy efficiencies and reliability

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Arburg’s focus on the circular economy

In the run-up to the world’s largest plastics show, K2019 held from 16-23 October, German plastics and rubber machinery association VDMA is running a series of interviews with its members on the circular economy VDMA says it will “shine the spotlight” on circular economy at the K2019 on how closed loops can work effectively. Featured here is an interview with Dr. Christoph Schumacher, Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications, of injection moulding machine company Arburg GmbH & Co. KG.

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lastic as a reusable material is still the material of the 21st century, according to Dr. Christoph Schumacher, Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications of injection moulding machine company Arburg. But he adds that there are various external framework parameters with a major problem being that plastics are waste products. “Plastics materials do not belong in the oceans or the ditches but in a recycling chain, “ Schumacher told PRA in this interview. “Machine engineering is an enabler, it enables recycling of plastics. You can argue over the need of packaging a cucumber. But you cannot argue about the necessity of plastics in medical technology and in everything affecting people. In this application everyone demands the highest quality product, for instance, when it comes to infusions or stents,” he adds .

PRA: Arburg as a machine manufacturer supports circular economy. Why? Schumacher: We have recognised this serious and possibly most important problem of our industry and our society in the next decades, we have understood its dimension and want to contribute to solving it. We firmly believe that that this challenge cannot be faced by individual members of the valueadded chain alone. PRA: What can you at Arburg do for the cycle? Schumacher: We as machine manufacturers can help develop new processing techniques and procedures. A classical historic issue is multi-component processing. It shows how new challenges create new techniques, and sometimes new techniques trigger the development of new products. In my view, Arburg is deeply involved in Design for Recycling. We firmly believe that in the next 20 to 30 years the production of plastics will also be oriented towards aspects of recycling, and this is where machine manufacturers are an important factor. We must ensure the production of these parts. And all the time we must bear in mind the common goal of production efficiency for our customers, i.e. to manufacture resource-efficient products with as little material and as little energy as possible.

are an industry. We actually see a business opportunity in circular economy. We could sell the valueadded cycle all over the world. There are still so many regions where circular economy does not play any role at all, in many Asian countries, for example, but also in parts of the US. If we could export the European or the German standard to all these markets, we would have an incredible amount of work from this field alone in the next decades. Arburg has customers who already make money as part of circular economies in countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Brazil and also in the US. They collect PET bottles, process them into PET flakes to manufacture PET bottles again. PRA: Whose task will it be to export entire value-added chains to the world? Schumacher: That’s difficult. Circular economy only works if everyone is involved in the valueadded chain. But at present, there are no such consortiums to serve as export model. As a rule, such an idea can be successful only if you approach it systematically. All those involved must be convinced, there must be market incentives and legal regulation to define the framework.

PRA: Is the circular economy a business opportunity?

PRA: What if the EU introduces circular economy and products become more expensive, but competitors from overseas offer them cheaper because they can produce more economically with virgin material?

Schumacher: The whole issue must make sense from an economic point of view. The public would refuse to believe us if we pretended to have missionary aspirations. We

Schumacher: That would be inadmissible distortion of competition. If the EU stipulated certain practices by law that other manufacturers in the global

Dr Christoph Schumacher Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications at Arburg market did not adopt, and if as a consequence our markets were not regulated correspondingly, legislators would have to ensure that other competitors operate under the same conditions in these markets. Of course, this would aggravate market chances for European products in countries that do not have the same environmental standards if consumer behaviour does not change in those countries. PRA: What role does the consumer play? Schumacher: Consumers are an essential lever, but I feel, that they cannot really understand the issue at present. This is reflected in the discussion on biodegradable products, for example. They also see pictures of whales with plastic bags in their stomachs or sea turtles in fishing nets. That’s why in a discussion you don’t stand a chance with communicative methods. What I hope for is that the plastics sector, from material manufacturing to the consumers, finds a common definition. That we recognise circular economy as a common goal and that we then position ourselves correspondingly.

Plastics and Rubber Asia 2019 Yearender Edition | 19

AUGUST issue


Pipes made to last Underground pipe systems for water and natural gas have been given an expected life span of 100 years - European trade associations for plastic pipes.


nderground pipe systems have been made to last. And this has been confirmed by a joint study undertaken by Brussels-based PVC4Pipes and the European Plastic Pipes and Fittings Association (TEPPFA), which is part of the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers (ECVM). The associations say that unplasticised Polyvinyl chloride (PVCU), high impact polyvinyl chloride (PVC-Hi) and polyethylene (PE) buried pipes have an expected service lifetime of over 100 years, comfortably exceeding the predicted design point of the common extrapolation method for plastic pipes (ISO9080). Due to the high installation cost and replacement of pipes underground, durability is a key feature. Research, extrapolation studies and examination of dug-up pipes in service for decades have shown no significant degradation of the material, according to TEPPFA. Further analyses on these test samples confirm an expected service life of more than 100 years, according to the paper. The study says the 50-year design basis and minimum service life for a PVC pressure water or gas pipe systems is secured through the established standards ISO9080 and ISO12162. The first largescale installation of PVC-U pipes took place in 1936 in Germany, for drinking water distribution and gravity drainage systems in various residential areas, including the Berlin Olympic Village. Most of those pipes are still in service use today – representing 83 years of consistent performance. PVC-Hi has been the preferred material 20 | Plastics and Rubber Asia 2019 Yearender Edition

for low pressure gas distribution systems in some European countries for more than 60 years, the study highlights. Meanwhile, the paper highlights how the 50-year design basis cannot be confused with the actual lifespan of a plastic pipe system, stating that the service life is expected to be more than 100 years due to a number of reasons. It says these are due to the lower real pressure levels experienced by the pipe over its lifetime; the lower real temperatures in the ground; consistent zero-to-plus range erances for wall thicknesses; and the safety factors applied at the design stages. TEPPFA says that the above is also true in studies from Japan, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa and South America for PE80 and PE100 buried pressure pipes. The study also adds that being highly durable and able to be recycled multiple times, without losing their long-term mechanical performances, PVC pipes “are a cost-efficient, safe and sustainable choice for transporting drinking water and natural gas through the whole life-cycle of the distribution networks”. CEN publishes first standard for PVC-O pipes eanwhile in other news, after a four-year development, the European Committee for standardisation (CEN) has published the first European Standard for PVC-O pipes and fittings: EN 17176 “Plastics piping systems for water supply and for buried and above ground drainage, sewerage and irrigation under pressure - Oriented unplasticised poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC-O)”. TEPPFA initiated the process and has participated in the development of the standard, certifying and guaranteeing that this type of conduits are of high quality for obtaining such standard.


CEN has published the first EN standard for PVC-O pressure pipes he EN17176 PVC-O piping systems for water supply and for buried and above-ground drainage, sewerage and irrigation under pressure, adopted in the 28 EU member states and other six member countries, creates a new Europe-wide voluntary standard for those manufacturing PVC-O pipes, where previously there had been a variety of nonaligned national standards. ` This new standard allows specification for PVC-O piping systems intended for water supply use, pressurised (up to 25 bar) drainage, sewerage, treated waste water and irrigation systems, either underground or above-ground where protected from


direct sunlight. It applies to drinking water piping systems under pressure, up to and including 45°C, as well as to pressurised waste water and irrigation. PVC-O is a strong material developed by molecularly orienting the pipe during the production process. This makes it much stronger – yet lighter – than standard PVC-U, and the molecular orientation also endows it with better impact resistance and increased tensile strength. It is also a 100% recyclable material and one of the most complete solutions for the development of pressurised water networks. Originally developed in the 1970s, molecularly oriented PVC pipes have been used for some time. However, they were difficult to produce in sufficiently high volumes. A PVC-U preform is extruded with a reduced diameter and with a larger thickness followed by an expansion process under controlled conditions. This technique increases its diameter and re-orientates the molecules to become biaxially oriented PVC-O. Recent process innovations have rendered PVC-O pipes available up to DN1200mm, as this new standard recognises for the first time. This opens new markets for PVC-O products and enlarges the range of products in the industry. The low material consumption and reduced energy consumption contributes to the sustainability and recyclability credentials of PVC-O. Molecor focuses on clear, oriented PVC pipes lear PVC-O (CPVC-O) pipes suitable for the transport of fluids at high temperatures and in hot environments were featured by Spanish pipe maker Molecor at the K2019. For the development of CPVC-O, the M-ORP-1640 model was adapted to work on a higher range of temperatures than the usual. The resulting tests carried out showed better mechanical properties than those specified in the relevant standard, said Molecor. Molecor says is expertise spans over more than ten years of experience and a collaboration with resin supplier Lubrizol and its TemRite 88703 material. Molecor’s PVC-O pipe technology are developed using Molecor’s technology that provides the highest molecular orientation. “The manufacturing process is continuous and completely automatic, which ensures the maximum product reliability and a quality control tube to tube for the 100% of the production,” says Molecor. CPVC-O becomes one more option for canalisation applications and could become widely used in civil engineering projects involving hightemperature environments, said Molecor.



RECYCLING: Mechanical engineering can make a huge contribution

In line with the K2019 ’s focus on the Circular Economy, German plastics machinery association VDMA, Peter Steinbeck, CSO of Windmöller & Hölscher, shared his views on the matter


ith plastics having been publicly discredited, machine manufacturers, as part of the valueadded chain, are also concerned by the bad image. Peter Steinbeck of the German Extrusion Machinery company W&H says, “As machine manufacturers, we are also shocked when we see pictures of oceans littered with plastics, and naturally we are in favour of environmental protection.” Despite the challenges, the “great” benefits of plastics, in particular those of flexible packaging, are not too be ignored. “Our industry is jointly required to further develop plastics in its various fields of application, to face the challenges and to enhance the strengths,” he adds. Plastics and Rubber Asia 2019 Yearender Edition | 21

In this interview, Steinbeck says brand owners can accelerate the process towards circular economy, with new solutions for more easily recyclable products. PRA: How should the waste problem be tackled? Steinbeck: We see this as a twopart task. On the one hand, we must try to distinctly increase the recycling shares in developed markets. Political regulation above all within the EU is definitely useful because it provides a secure framework. In terms of technology, efficiency, functionality and recyclability must be compatible. On the other hand, those countries must be supported that do not have functional waste managements and are therefore responsible for the pollution of oceans. We must help them introduce collection systems and also recognise plastics as recyclable material that can be used repeatedly. PRA: What possibilities does a German machine manufacturer have to influence those countries that have no collection systems at all? Steinbeck: I think that the German and European mechanical engineering sector is very well positioned and that we can present solutions that not only enable resource-friendly manufacture of plastics but also recycling. Moreover, we already have solutions for comprehensive waste management. And we can show that all this is already working well here in Germany and in Northern Europe. These solutions can be perfectly transferred to other countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam or the Philippines, which are still behind in this respect.

PRA: Circular economy is a topic that is by all means present outside Europe, for example in China. At this year’s Chinaplas, there was a conference on the topic of circular economy. What was your impression? Steinbeck: I have the impression that the topic circular economy is already taking root in the minds of Chinese people. This was clearly noticeable at the conference. Brand owners make a large contribution by prescribing recycling shares or by demanding recyclability of packaging from suppliers. This will speed up the process. If there are regulations for recycling, there must be markets and infrastructures for recycled materials – also in the food sector. This is certainly a great challenge, but here the German mechanical engineering industry as a technology leader can already make its contribution. What is important is this: Plastics have value even beyond the useful life of their first application. PRA: Apart from circular economy, the issue is currently also about reducing the consumption of plastics, for example for packaging. Will you as a manufacturer of machines for flexible packaging lose business? Steinbeck: This is a concern we do not have. Our customers and we ourselves have been aiming at using as little material as possible for years, using film as thin as possible and wrapping solutions for flexible packaging which is as resourcefriendly as possible. We also think that not everything must be wrapped. But the problem in the food sector is that around one-third of all food produced worldwide deteriorates because of bad packaging. You have to decide on a case-by-case basis what is best, throughout the whole

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process at that. If a cucumber picked by the local farmer goes to the market and is bought by the customer on the same day, everything is fine. In that case we would be the last ones to say the cucumber should be wrapped. But if you buy vegetables from Spain and a large part of it goes bad before consumption, rejecting plastic packaging will not be a good solution. PRA: Packaging film can be furnished with many properties, for example it provides a barrier for protecting food and making it last longer. But those multi-layer films are more difficult to recycle because they consist of different types of plastics. How can you solve this paradox? Steinbeck: You have to ask yourself has technology reached the end of its development and has everything been invented that can be invented in this field? That is certainly not the case. There are already now compositions of mono-material that are better recyclable and that have the same barrier function that multi-layer films have. At K2019, these and other solutions will be introduced. Apart from mono-materials there will be materials allowing better dissolution of compound structures. We also have the possibility today to re-use compound structures at least for certain end products. And there is chemical recycling whereby practically all plastic waste is boiled up into a kind of primordial soup to be restructured into new plastics chains. This development is still in its infancy. We are convinced that strict regulations for recycling of plastics products would give the current innovation boost a concentrated direction, so that further solutions could be found.


Plastics recycling – an emerging market with potential


Know-how from AZO – individual solutions he task facing AZO in recycling processes of this kind is generally the planning and design of the layout for a fully automatic feeding system for an extruder and the implementation and installation of the plant. The plant concept not only needs to be cost-effective but also compact, without losing flexibility.


AZO Mixomat, conveying, weighing and mixing in a single system The first stage involves testing the feedstock, for example shredded film, flakes, granulate, shedding, dust etc., for their product properties in AZO’s own in-house laboratory and test centre. The results provide detailed information that allow us to deduce characteristics such as bulk density, particle shape and size, moisture or flow properties. The findings can then be used in planning the plant and layout. Post-consumer raw materials, such as crushed packaging film from confectionery, crisps etc., at times demonstrate very low bulk density of less than


urrently, everyone is talking about plastics: On the one hand, it is an extremely versatile material for very diverse applications and a component in countless products in everyday use. On the other hand, it is an increasingly problematic material from the aspect of plastic waste. The reason for this is doubtlessly the rise in production and use, in particular in the packaging industry, but also inappropriate collection and recycling of waste in certain countries. So the issue of recycling is only going to gain in importance in time to come. New statutory regulations lay down the initial framework to encourage materials recovery and thus increase the recycling rates for plastic. The future will see a sustainable circular economy, in which plastics will have to be regarded as recyclable materials and not as waste. The life cycle for PET bottles can be taken as a model here. Today, they have already reached a recycling rate of over 90%. There are opportunities arising in this field for companies to expand into new areas and to invest in recycling technology. This is where materials handling equipment supplier AZO GmbH + Co. KG can provide tailored solutions in the field of materials handling.

A summary of different types of recycling ne of the greatest challenges faced in recycling plastics is the wide variety of different types. Segregating plastics is complicated but absolutely essential, as the quality of the end product is impaired as soon as different plastics are processed together. This is why the sorting process is of prime importance when recycling plastics. We distinguish between two sorts of waste: on the one hand, that occurring in industry, and on the other hand, waste produced by private or business consumers. The latter are responsible for 85% of all plastic wastes in Germany; in contrast, industry is responsible for just 15%. Post-consumer recycling is principally concerned with polyolefinbased packaging, whereas industrial waste can be very varied: PVCbased plastic windows or car battery housing is only two of these. Waste from industrial recycling frequently contains the aforementioned undesired impurities, e.g., remains of glass or metal, which can cause wear and tear to plant machinery. What is more, it may still contain harmful substances that need to be removed and disposed of. In post-consumer recycling, it is primarily the different forms of feedstock and the diverse flow properties that pose a challenge. The demands in industrial recycling are principally the same as in postconsumer recycling; there are also certain differences however.

This article by Alexander Ullrich of Marketing at AZO GmbH + Co. KG was first published in German on “Verfahrenstechnik”

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0.1 kg/l. This is why AZO relies on a purpose developed receiver with a large-diameter outlet and valve technology with no obstructive contours in the product flow at the outlet. If necessary, further agitator technology and discharge aids can be used. The feedstock is first discharged from the containers and fed into the production line. Flexible pneumatic conveying systems charge the production line and ensure that raw materials are available for production, even when the properties of the raw materials change. In order to satisfy even the most stringent of customer quality standards, AZO has developed more advanced solutions: >A loss-in-weight feeder ensures the highest degree of accuracy in dosing. >Receivers, which have been purpose-designed for recycling processes, guarantee discharge behaviour even for extremely lightweight ground film. >Protection of plant components against wear and use of special pump technology for handling abrasive materials >Magnets and metal separators remove any last traces of metallic contaminants, thus improving product quality and protecting the technical plant from damage. >Low-impact vacuum conveying systems for the finished product help to prevent generation of dust or angel hair. >Efficient degasification via extruders or downstream thermal drier remove gaseous contaminants and unpleasant odours from the end product.

If a number of other admixtures need to be used, it is advisable to integrate the AZO Mixomat into the plant. The different components are sucked in here in accordance with the formulation, then weighed precisely and blended into a homogeneous mixture. This means many raw materials can be conveyed to a single gravimetric dosing unit and then into the extruder, thus saving costs. Only then is homogeneous blending guaranteed in the extrusion process and thus provides the basis for end products with consistent and high quality, ensuring stable running of processes. It is therefore essential, throughout the planning process, to be able to respond flexibly to individual customer requirements and take into account findings about the properties of the raw materials. Exacting standards are also set for high plant availability and AZO has developed and established appropriate technologies to satisfy them. Only a design that makes cleaning easy and carefully considered planning allow fast changeovers of products and shorter downtimes, which help considerably in driving down production costs. The competitiveness of the end products is increased significantly as a result. Reliable planning thanks to preengineering – made possible by AZO e&s or the last 70 years at AZO, customisation has been one of the top priorities when it comes to project implementation. AZO can provide tailored preengineering for individual and complex projects in advance of project planning. As a result of the


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growing complexity of projects, AZO provides, especially in the pre-planning phase, the necessary support in obtaining required information and drawing up key documents (as proof of concept). AZO has set up AZO e&s (Engineering & Services), an inhouse service division, in order to be able to address this complexity at this stage. Specific tasks are worked on as part of the preengineering process, AZO Mixomat – conveying, weighing and mixing in a single system tailored to the customer’s existing (brownfield) or new (greenfield) plant engineering. The design process is carried out, in conjunction with the customer, giving special consideration to current technologies and information about the raw materials in question and the process parameters. Any resulting or required process equipment is organised and planned with potential subcontractors. In the general planning phase, issues such as logistics, media supply and staff rooms, in addition to systems and process engineering, increasingly play an important part, when it comes to overall planning of the plant and calculating overall requirements. This separate planning service combines plant know-how with process-oriented layout design, thus ensuring a comprehensive engineering phase, which serves as the ideal basis for further actions (architecture, budget projection). Planning is carried out entirely in-house, simplifying communication and organisation. AZO also has various tools available for planning and digitisation, which, on the one hand, support specific planning processes such as pre-engineering and, on the other hand, can be offered as an individual service.



Plastics producers in danger of becoming household names for all the wrong reasons By John Richardson, Senior Consultant Asia, ICIS


he plastics or polymers industry was for many years a hidden industry. For most of its history, nobody has known much about the plastics business because it is sandwiched between oil and gas and a huge variety of finished goods. The meat cannot be seen because of the high visibility of the bread around the sandwich. But now, for all the wrong reasons, companies which produce the polymers that go into everything from plastic bottles and films to Tupperware containers, disposable coffee cups and plastic bags are being recognised by the legislators and the general public. This is the result of the huge pushback against the scourge of plastic rubbish in our rivers and oceans. For the longest time, from the birth of the modern plastics industry in the 1950s, nobody has given much thought to the environmental impact of what the polymer companies do. Just to explain what is meant by polymer producers it is the companies, such as ExxonMobil, Chevron Phillips Chemicals, LyondellBasell Industries and Dow Chemical, which make a wide array of different types of polymer pellets from raw materials derived from oil and gas. Plastics and Rubber Asia 2019 Yearender Edition | 25

John Richardson, Senior Consultant at ICIS, ascertains why plastics producers are in danger of becoming household names for all the wrong reasons of the equation comes under the picture. Through global initiatives such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the brand owners – i.e. the sellers of bottles of shampoo and detergents and a wide range of other consumer disposables, such as Procter and Gamble and Unilever – have made commitments to switch to recycled plastics and to reduce their plastic consumption. The retailers, including the major supermarkets, are even introducing bans on plastic packaging all together, replacing it with more recyclable packaging made from paper and aluminium. There have been numerous government initiatives, across both the developed and developing world, to ban certain applications of plastics entirely – such as the ubiquitous and much maligned supermarket shopping bag, which is made from PE. This is forcing the polymer producers to look much more downstream for their economic success instead of mainly upstream. They will need to work with the brand owners and the retailers to redesign plastic packaging to make it more recyclable and reduce its plastic content in the first place.

material for producing polymers such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). There is a lot of scepticism within the industry about the economic and technical viability of chemicals recycling. The problem is achieving the levels of purity necessary to produce naphtha of the right quality to replace naphtha made from an oil refinery.

Their job traditionally more or less ended once they had shipped polymer pellets to the plastic converters or fabricators. These are the group of companies that melt the polymer pellets down in order to reform them into plastic pipes, bottles, films and bags etc. – the very heart of our modern way of life. “You do what has to be done to make money and the way to make money as a polymers company was to look upstream, towards your cost of oil and gas raw materials,” said a strategic planner with a major oil, gas and polymers company. “All that mattered was how cheap you could get your raw materials from as nobody questioned how polymers were made from a sustainability perspective. Demand also wasn’t the problem as plastics found their way into more and more aspects of our modern-day lives. Consumption growth was tremendous.”

Spotlight on chemical recycling ome industry players are predicting major breakthroughs in chemicals recycling over the next five years that radically change Types of recycling the polymers business. Instead of olymer producers are now building new, multi-billion dollar under tremendous public conventional polymer production and legislative pressure to find complexes – and there has been technically and economically more a huge wave of construction of efficient ways of recycling plastics these complexes over the last five – in other words, making their years, especially in the US – the products not from oil and gas but production model could shift to from used plastics. one of numerous small chemicals Recycling falls into two recycling plants. categories – mechanical and The plants would take chemical. Mechanical involves waste plastic from landfill sites collecting and sorting waste plastic, at a negative raw material cost. an expensive and logistically The operators of the landfill sites challenging task, and melting it would be happy to pay polymer down to turn it back into finished companies to take plastic rubbish plastic products. off their hands in order to save on Chemical recycling involves fees for landfilling. breaking down plastics back into Would all of these hundreds their chemicals components. What of small chemicals recycling plants, you are left with are transportation however, collectively make enough fuels and something called naphtha. naphtha raw materials to make the Naphtha is traditionally made plastics to meet global demand? from oil refineries and is a raw This is where the demand side



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Less is more Less is more” has become the new Zeitgeist amongst the Millennials, according to research by the brand owners, replacing the “more and more” thinking of their

parents. Social media is placing greater value over experiences rather than things and has raised environmental consciousness. This is pushing the Millennials to consume less modern-stay stuff, including goods wrapped in singleuse plastics. It is single-use plastics which are the main cause of the global plastics rubbish crisis. This is not just a richworld phenomenon. The ability to connect globally via smartphones has led to the same mind set amongst Millennials in Indonesia as in the West, according to research by one major brand owner. In 2013, just 58 million of the population of Indonesia – 24% – owned smartphones. But this year, ownership is forecast to rise to 180 million – 67%. Three scenarios for PE Polymer companies recognise that their future success won’t just depend on working with the brand owners and retailers on redesigning packaging, which will require them to invest in new technical/ commercial teams. They will also have to take responsibility of the final disposal of plastic products. Some companies believe that legislators will introduce plastics taxes, or even a plastics credit trading system similar to the carbon credits system in the EU, which penalises or benefits companies, depending on the extent to which they sustainably dispose of plastic rubbish. The core of the disposal problem centres on ten rivers in the developing world, eight in Asia and two in Africa. A 2018 study by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research estimates that 90% of the plastic rubbish in the world’s oceans comes from these ten rivers. One polymer company leading the way is the Vienna-

headquartered Borealis. It is partnering with the Norwegian government and other companies in establishing a plastic rubbish collection and recycling scheme in the city of Muncar in East, Java, Indonesia. The aim is to prevent 10,000 tonnes of plastic rubbish from leaking into the ocean over the next five years. “I think it’s only a question of time before we see some sort of global legislation aimed at plastic rubbish. As legislation develops this could change the terms under which we operate,” added the strategic planner with the oil, gas and polymers company. PE is the polymer or plastic most exposed to the plastic rubbish crisis as more than half of its enduse applications are single use. It is heavily used it to make plastic films, food containers and bottles. The growth of PE demand since its invention in the 1930s, when it was first used to insulate radar cables, has been quite staggering. The ICIS Supply & Demand data on PE goes back as far as 1978. In that year, global consumption was just 11 million tonnes, but by 2018 it had reached 102 million tonnes. Annual average percentage demand growth was at 5.7%. The ICIS base case forecast is that from 2019 until 2030 global demand will jump further from 107 million tonnes to 156 million tonnes at an annual average growth rate of 3.6%. This “business usual” base case assumes major effect from the public and political backlash against plastic rubbish. The two other ICIS scenarios present very different outcomes for PE demand and thus the financial fortunes of the polymer producers. Scenario 2 assumes moderately lower growth of 3% a year as the industry successfully works with brand

owners and retailers to redesign packaging, invests substantially in mechanical and chemicals recycling and in reducing river and ocean pollution. Instead of being focused mainly on getting hold of cheap oil and gas raw materials to make more and more PE, the focus of the producers switches to being service or solution providers for the plastic rubbish problem. These new services help replace the revenue lost by 2019-2030 cumulative demand growth being 60 million tonnes less than in our base. But, if the polymer industry were to largely ignore the problem then PE would be increasingly replaced by other more recyclable packaging materials such as aluminium and paper. Brand owners and retailers would stop using PE entirely wherever possible, in favour of other materials. Here we see PE demand growth falling to just 2% a year. The effect on the polymer industry would be quite devastating under this third scenario. In each of the years between 2019 and 2030, on a cumulative basis again, demand would be 181 million tonnes less than our base case. In the great scheme of things, Scenario 3 might appear to have few consequences beyond the effect on the companies themselves. But many of the major polymer producers are also oil and gas producers and some of the household names that are important for stock markets and pension funds. This worst case outcome would therefore have broad implications. The good news is that ICIS sees this third scenario as highly unlikely as the polymer companies are showing every indication of taking the plastic rubbish problem very, very seriously.

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The Innovations Report :: 2019 Plastics and Rubber Asia (PRA) Special Yearender Issue Š2019-2020

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