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In this issue

Volume 32, No 232

publlshed slnce 1985

A S l A’ S L E A D l N G m aga z l ne f o r the plastlcs and rubber lndustry

Features 焦 點 內 容

Publisher Arthur Schavemaker Tel: +31 547 275005 Email: arthur@kenter.nl

13 軟包裝-技術創造更好的包裝 16 Front Cover feature – When IKO Polymeric required an innovative solution for energy-efficient production of flexible PVC it uses for manufacturing roofing membranes, the contract was awarded to raw materials handling specialist AZO

Associate Publisher/Editor Tej Fernandez Tel: +60 3 4260 4575 Email: tej@plasticsandrubberasia.com

20 Flexible Packaging – Technologies are enhancing flexible

Senior Editor Angelica Buan Email: gel@plasticsandrubberasia.com

packaging to provide protective functions to counter food safety issues

23 Additives – With flame retardants coming under heat in recent years, stricter regulations and safer alternatives are being churned out to ensure confidence in the sector

26 Thermoforming – The thermoforming sector is being updated with

Writer: Marie Victoria Maniebo Email: marie@taramedia.com.my Chinese Editor Koh Bee Ling

new technologies from machine and packaging suppliers like Amcor, SML, Coveris/Kiefel/Bosch Sprang and ULMA Packaging

Admin & Finance Manager Tean Arul Email: tean@taramedia.com.my

Regulars 概 要

Permits

2 Industry News

MCI (P) 046/08/2017

ISSN 1360-1245 KDN PP 18785/08/2015 (034280) Printer United Mission Press

6 Materials News 10 業界新聞

is published 8 times a year in Mandarin and English by Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV.

Supplements 副 刊 Material technologies, such as cellulose nanofibres, ligninbased resins, composites and heat dissipating polymers, are trending in the automotive sector, with an eye on fuel economy and lightweighting Greener rubber trends are emerging in the tyre sector, with the limelight on guayule, soybean-based rubber, biobasedbutadiene and vegetable waste-based feedstock DIGITAL+PRINT www.plasticsandrubberasia.com

On the Cover Raw materials handling specialist AZO’s systems installations for UK-based IKO Polymeric’s flexible PVC plant in Chesterfield

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Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this publication is correct, the publisher makes no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the nature or accuracy of such material to the extent permitted by applicable law. © 2016 Kenter & Co Publishers’ Representatives BV No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or used in any form, or by any means, without specific prior permission from the publisher. PRA is circulated free to trade readers in the plastics and rubber industry. Airmail subscriptions are available at US$160 within Asia and US$250 to all other countries outside Asia.

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Industry News

M&As/Tie-ups • Japanese chemical maker Nagase has acquired US-based speciality chemicals distributor Fitz Chem Corporation. The latter has revenues of over US$60 million focused on the coatings, adhesives, sealants, and elastomer (CASE) markets, as well as the plastics and personal care markets. • Dow Chemical is to boost its ownership interest in Sadara Chemical Company, a joint venture developed together with Saudi Aramco, to 50%. Upon approval, Dow and Saudi Aramco would each hold a 50% equity stake in Sadara. The potential equity equalisation is to occur following the intended separation of the Materials Science Company, within 18 months after the close of the merger of equals between Dow and DuPont on 31 August and Sadara’s completion of the Creditors’ Reliability Test, which is part of the limited-recourse financing used to fund the Sadara project development. • Mexican industrial group Mexichem has acquired an 80% stake in Netafim, an Israeli private company that is backed by private equity firm Permira Funds and other minority shareholders. Israel’s Kibbutz

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Hatzerim, the founder, will retain the remaining 20% stake of Netafim. The deal is worth US$1.9 billion, with Mexichem acquiring a 61% stake owned by Permira, which bought into Netafim in 2011. Another 6% will come from Kibbutz Magal and 13% from Kibbutz Hatzerim. Netafim is the world’s largest irrigation company with sales of US$855 million in 2016. • Russia’s stateowned Rosneft, oil trader Trafigura and Russian fund UCP have completed the US$12.9 billion purchase (98.26%) of Indian oil firm Essar Oil, giving the companies a foothold in India. The rest of Essar will be held by retail investors. It is Rosneft first foray into Asia's refining sector and the biggest foreign acquisition in India, as well as Russia's largest outbound one. India's oil demand is expected to rise by an average 5.9% through 2020, among the fastest in the world. The purchase includes Essar's oil refinery in Vadinar, Gujarat, which can process 400,000 barrels/ day of crude, as well as a port, power plants and 3,500 fuel stations. • German chemicals firm BASF, which recently set up its BASF 3D Printing Solutions unit for 3D printing, has acquired 100% of Netherlands-

headquartered filament producer Innofil3D. It makes customised filaments (long, thin plastic fibres) that are used in the 3D printing fused filament fabrication process. • Dutch oil and gas company Shell has completed the sale of its 50% share in Sadaf, the petrochemicals joint venture located in Al Jubail, in Saudi Arabia, to its joint venture partner, petrochemicals giant Sabic, for US$820 million. The sale is part of Shell’s broader US$30-billion divestment programme, allowing it to focus on downstream activities and make selective investments to support the growth of its global chemicals business. • Dutch chemicals firm DSM has concluded the acquisition of the outstanding 49% of shares in its DSM-AGI joint venture, thereby gaining sole ownership of the Taiwan-based supplier of UV-curable resins and other speciality chemicals. DSM originally acquired a 51% stake in 2011 to strengthen the UV-curing technology platform for DSM Resins & Functional Materials. • Germany-based turnkey vendor of filling and packaging technology Krones and recycling machinery firm Erema Engineering Recycling from Austria are collaborating in PET

plastic recycling to offer customers an optimal line. The arrangement will also focus on planning entire factories, which Krones is already offering to beverage bottlers and PET recyclers, from the feasibility study stage to the finished factory. • US-based extrusion machinery company Davis-Standard, which is owned by private equity firm ONCAP, has acquired Maillefer International of Vantaa, Finland, and Ecublens, Switzerland. Maillefer specialises in wire, cable, pipe and tube production technologies. It has 240 employees worldwide, manufacturing and service facilities in Finland, Switzerland, China, Russia, India and Egypt. Davis-Standard’s other acquisitions include blown film machine maker Gloucester Engineering in 2015. • Canadian injection moulding machinery maker Husky Injection Molding Systems has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs Group to undertake a sale with a value close to US$4 billion, including debt, according to news reports. Husky is owned by buyout firm Berkshire Partners and the private equity arm of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), both of whom acquired Husky for US$2.1 billion in 2011 from Onex.


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Industry News

Plant Set-ups/Capacity Increases • US compounder Teknor Apex will build a 15,000 sq m facility in Rothenburg, Germany, increasing the manufacturing capacity of custom compounder Plastic-TechnologieService (PTS) and also establish a new European centre for R&D. Teknor Apex acquired PTS last year. Start-up is expected by 2019. The PTS/Teknor Apex production activity now located at nearby Steinsfeld will be relocated as will the sales and marketing operation currently in Tauberzell. • Thailand-based petrochemicals firm PTT Global Chemical Public Company (PTTGC) has finalised its propylene oxide (PO) and polyols/ PU manufacturing plant by having established GC Oxirane for the purpose of operating the project. The PO plant, with nameplate capacity of 200,000 tonnes/ year, will be located in Hemaraj Eastern Industrial Estate, Rayong. Besides this, the company also established GC Polyols for undertaking the polyols and

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PU systems project, which the company has planned to be a joint venture company with Japanese chemical firms Toyota Tsusho Corporation for the development of PO; and Toyota Tsusho Corporation and Sanyo Chemical Industries for the 130,000-tonne/year polyols project. Total investment of both projects is US$887 million. Meanwhile, PTGC’s subsidiary, Solution Creation Company, is entering into a joint venture in Myanmar with TPBI International Company (65%) and Myanmar Star Group (25%) to set up a plastic bag facility.

• US-headquartered chemicals firm Eastman Chemical is planning an expansion of its copolyester site in Kuantan, Malaysia, by 2018, increasing its PETG capacity by 20%. Eastman’s Kuantan site, which was established in 2003, produces several copolyesters, including Spectar and Eastar copolyesters.

• Styrenics maker Ineos Styrolution plans to increase its compounding capacity for engineering plastics by an additional 34,000 tonnes/ year at its Moxi plant in Gujarat, India. Expected for completion in 2019, this expansion will grow Ineos Styrolution’s compounding capacity to 100,000 tonnes/ year at the site and involve a capital expenditure of US$20 million. Additionally, the company has sanctioned a detailed engineering study to evaluate doubling the overall production capacity for ABS in India. • US-based masterbatch supplier Ampacet Corporation has opened a new masterbatch production facility in Dandenong, Victoria, Australia, to manufacture custom colours and additives for the flexible packaging market and others. It also houses a

new laboratory for product development and quality assurance. Processing equipment at the facility includes two twin-screw extruders equipped with the latest control systems and semi-automatic bagging systems, it adds. • Japanese chemicals maker Sumitomo Chemical and its South Korean unit, Dongwoo Fine-Chem, a supplier to the electronics materials sector, will co-invest in a US$150 million electronics materials facility in Changzhou Binjiang Economic Development Zone, China. Once construction is finished and the facility goes into production, the facility, with a registered capital of US$50 million, will provide semiconductor manufacturers across the eastern part of China with premium highpurity reagents. • Japanese firm Asahi Kasei will set up a new plant for the manufacture


INDUSTRY NEWS of compounds (polyamide and functional resin compound products mainly made of PP) in Changshu, Jiangsu, China. The new plant is scheduled for start-up in early 2020, and will have capacity to produce 28,000 tonnes/year. The compounds will have added functionalities with the addition of additives such as glass fibres and flame retardants. • Shandong Shouguang Luqing is building a 350,000-tonne HDPE unit at its petrochemical complex in Bohai Industry Park, Shouguang, Shandong Province, China. It has selected LyondellBasell’s

Hostalen ACP PE process technology, said to offer manufacturers increased flexibility and versatility in the production of multimodal HDPE resins, compared to other HDPE technologies. • US medical devices supplier Tekni-Plex has started production at its US$15 million manufacturing facility in Suzhou, China, to support the growing needs of the Asia-Pacific pharmaceutical and medical device market. The 13,000-sqm facility has already started manufacturing products for TekniPlex’s Natvar,

Colorite and Action Technology business units. It features three Class 100K cleanrooms to accommodate medical-grade tubing and components production plus one Class 10K cleanroom that will produce Natvar’s pharma-grade tubing. Production for microextrusion tubing, which targets a wide variety of demanding neurovascular interventional therapies and surgical applications, is expected to be on-stream early next year. • Having completed the acquisition of one of the world’s largest

aromatics facilities on Jurong Island in Singapore, ExxonMobil Chemical will increase its aromatics production to over 3.5 million tonnes/ year, including 1.8 million tonnes of paraxylene, and add about 65,000 barrels/day of transportation fuels capacity. The facility, previously owned by Jurong Aromatics Corporation, is located near ExxonMobil’s largest integrated refining and petrochemical complex, which has an ethylene production capacity of 1.9 million tonnes/year and crude oil processing capacity of 592,000 barrels/ day.

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Materials News

Standing up to the rigours of time Infrastructure around the world is being given an injection of innovation with fibre-reinforced (FRP) concrete precast panels allowing India to speed up its construction sector; the first modular GFRP bridge in the UK presenting a lightweight alternative and Hobbit-like homes as well as homes made from plastic waste for an eco-friendly living style. India to adopt speed building with prefab panels The precast/prefabricated building and construction market is mostly driven by the upward surge in the demand for new constructions due to rapid urbanisation and industrialisation; and increased investment in infrastructural development in emerging markets. The eco-friendly characteristic of precast/prefabricated construction components and techniques has helped its acceptance and penetration in the global market, with more innovations in designs and technological advancements over the last decade. The global market is projected to reach US$209 billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 6.5% between 2015 and 2020, according to research firm Markets & Markets. Meanwhile, one country in dire need of more housing is India, with current demand at nearly 27 million units, according to the Urban Development and Housing Ministry. While precast technology has long been used in parts of Asia, Middle East and Europe, it is in its infant stage in India. Still very much a brick and mortar industry, India’s building sector is heavily dependent on manual labour and on-site construction, which leads to large amount of material wastage, inefficiency and delays. Now, Chennaibased CSIR-Structural Engineering Research Centre (CSIR-SERC), one of the national laboratories under the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), has developed textile-reinforced concrete (TRC) panels for the construction of structures. While reinforced concrete is one of the most widely used building materials in the construction One of the first uses for CSIR’s panels will be for toilets

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industry globally, a major disadvantage is that its steel reinforcement is prone to corrosion. Using the patented textile-reinforced concrete prototyping technology (TRCPT), an all-in-one precast technology to produce various TRC products, prototype TRC sheets can be produced in various shapes and forms. These can be custom-made by appropriately choosing the cement matrix and textile combinations, allowing for flexibility in applications. TRCPT completely replaces the conventional way of concrete construction that requires moulds and can be used at sites as well as in precast plants. Materials like glass, carbon, aramid, polypropylene, jute and coir can be used as a textile mesh for reinforcement, replacing conventional iron and steel rods. Another significant characteristic of TRC is its enhanced environmental performance, as it requires approximately 60% less concrete than steel-reinforced concrete. An upgraded technology of TRCPT, known as massscale textile-reinforced concrete prototyping (MASSTRCPT), has also been developed at CSIR-SERC for mass scale production of precast TRC products that are ready to use. Using MASS-TRCPT technology, CSIR-SERC has developed precast TRC panels for wall, floor and roofing applications. Eco-friendly Hobbit-like homes A prefabricated modular building system, with fibrereinforced composite (FRC) structures, may be the answer to eco-friendly and energy-efficient homes. US-based Green Magic Homes’s structures are finished off with soil,

Green Magic Homes’s earth-covered homes are made from FRP panels


Materials News creating flexible green-roofed living spaces, akin to author JRR Tolkien’s Hobbit home featured in his fantasy classic works: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The firm also says its components are fast and easy to assemble with each component featuring perforated flaps that screw and seal together. The entire structure is then anchored to the foundation with galvanised steel screws. Components with composite ducts and channels for electrical wiring and water pipes, as well as Conceptos Plásticos recycles plastic waste into Lego-like building blocks for mechanical ventilation ducts, can be added construction of homes to the shell at any point. company, Conceptos Plásticos, plastic and rubber waste is Because of the technology, the designs can be adapted being recycled into Lego-like building blocks to be used as to any type of topography and customised to fit individual construction material. needs. The trick is to achieve adequate ventilation and Already, over the past few years, Conceptos Plásticos waterproofing, which Green Magic Homes says it addresses has moulded 300 tonnes of plastic into building blocks with modular, waterproofed inner shells that structurally for the construction of eco-homes in rural areas and for collaborate with the earth. marginalised communities in Cartagena, La Guajira, Chocó, and San Andrés. Reusing discarded plastics for building homes According to Méndez, a one-family home for four In Bogota, Colombia, which last year enacted a law to people, takes only five days to build. He also says it is 30% regulate the use of single plastic bags, 700 tonnes/day of cheaper than conventional methods in rural areas, with the plastic is discarded, with only 100 tonnes of that recycled. advantage that the homes can be dismantled and moved But now, thanks to architect Oscar Mendez and his

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Materials News

and thermal insulation properties, which ByFusion says makes them ideal for use in road projects or fill-in building frames. The waste plastic does not require sorting or prewashing as the process incorporates a wash cycle (that recycles water) and leverages steam to ensure a clean and sterilised end product. Furthermore, the company says there is no need for any glues or adhesives. The blocks also meet LEED certification standards and boast 95% lower emission footprint than concrete blocks.

Russell Maier, Ecobricks co-founder, is a principal of the GEA. He has overseen the construction of hundreds of ecobrick playgrounds, gardens and buildings

elsewhere. The price of a single-family house starts at US$4,000, with the final cost measured by the kg of plastic processed, rather than the sq m built. Elsewhere, the Ecobrick project that was started up almost 25 years ago has today taken off in a trajectory that has transpired to Ecobricking, a low-tech, social technology, run by Global Ecobrick Alliance (GEA), a collective of individuals from around the world, with extended reach to the far ends of the globe from Nicaragua to South Africa and Indonesia. An Ecobrick is simply a plastic bottle filled with nonbiological waste to create a reusable building block. These bricks are used to make modular furniture, garden spaces and full scale buildings, such as schools and houses. The Ecobrick project also undertook an independent test last year, conducted by Upcycle Santa Fe that was awarded a research grant through the New Mexico Small Business Assistance programme, to ascertain that compressed plastic waste is as safe as common store-bought insulation materials and emits no traceable harmful chemicals. Still along the same vein is US-based smart waste management company ByFusion’s Replast construction blocks. Utilising a 100% modular patented technology, ByFusion produces customisable blocks out of plastic waste. Its RePlast blocks can be made in the same size as standard concrete blocks, though don't have the same weight-bearing capabilities, feature good acoustic

Replast bricks are repurposed from plastic waste

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First plastic modular bridge in UK What is said to be the world’s first modular glass-fibre reinforced plastic (GFRP) bridge has been installed over a railway line in Oxford, UK. The post-tensioned footbridge system, which is 70% lighter than steel, was designed by consultancy firm Arup and bridge specialist Mabey, with the latter becoming the first licensed distribution partner. Part-funded by the UK Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), the modular bridge is expected to be of interest to the rail industry, providing a safer alternative to level crossings. The bridge is also designed to be assembled in hard to reach sites where large cranes or heavy machinery cannot be used. Thus, the bridge modules installed in Oxford were light enough to be transported by an articulated lorry and then assembled on site and lifted from a distance.

First modular plastic bridge installed in the UK

Based on Arup’s concept, Mabey is launching the bridge under the brand name Pedesta. Modular and customisable in its form, material, colour and finish, the Pedesta bridge is made up of 1 m-long modules that are fixed together with bolted shear connectors and then post-tensioned. The system allows spans of up to 30 m so it can adapt to suit any application. The polymer material is also designed to be resistant to fire, graffiti, vandalism, and ultra-violet radiation. Applications include footbridge crossings over roads, rivers and rail, as well as cycleway crossings and architectural walkways. An over-rail version is also available featuring UK rail parapet heights and a geometry to suit standard rail footbridge furniture. Thus, pre-engineered, modular, and fully customisable eco-friendly building materials are becoming a way forward for game-changing development that is set to transform the building and construction industry globally.


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Front Cover Feature

IKO Polymeric: Innovative solution for energy-efficient production of flexible PVC This article by Alois Billigen, Division Manager Marketing/ Documentation of AZO GmbH + Co. KG, is a case study of systems installed by IKO Polymeric for the production of flexible PVC for roofing membranes.

I

KO Group is a global manufacturer of high-grade roofing systems. Its subsidiary, IKO Polymeric, whose headquarters are in Chesterfield, Great Britain, was founded in 2005 in order to promote single-layer ply roofing membranes for flat roofs. Since it was first founded, the division has grown from three employees to 80 and it is now the market leader in Great Britain. Roofing membranes from IKO Polymeric are used in both new buildings and in refurbishments. The company offers an extremely broad variety of products for high-performance flat roofing solutions. Since IKO Polymeric's aim was to manufacture the flexible PVC needed to make the roofing membranes at its own site in Chesterfield, provided it could achieve a high level of energy efficiency, the company had planned to invest in a manufacturing plant for flexible PVC. AZO was charged with developing and producing this plant, after winning over the contract against well-known rival firms.

An overview of the plant installed at IKO

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Front Cover Feature A crucial factor in awarding the contract to AZO was its many years of experience in raw materials handling and its technical expertise. Indeed, AZO notched up points with its custom solutions to satisfy the customer’s specific requirements. For instance, existing peripherals could be made use of and new plants designed exactly, to fit the existing building. The tasks AZO faced AZO faced two major challenges: • adapting and integrating the plant to fit in the existing buildings • directly feeding the compounder/extruder downstream from the heating mixer without a cooling stage, which meant no longer cooling the mixture before the extruder, as is otherwise done when manufacturing flexible PVC. AZO also had to meet the following requirements: • maximum process accuracy • maximum versatility • consistently high product quality • highly accurate weighing • constant batch weights • a high degree of process transparency • reliable documentation • automation of all raw materials handling, for both powdered and liquid raw materials. Dispensing with the cooling stage resulted in particular challenges when feeding materials to the extruder. It was necessary to maintain the mixture at a temperature of approximately 100°C, while simultaneously stabilising or increasing homogeneity of the mixture. After the mixing process, the mixture is moistened, which increases the challenge yet further with regard to homogeneity and consistent temperatures and requires that

the plant engineering firm has in-depth knowledge of process engineering and extensive experience. Reliable solutions for control engineering systems are required here: the buffer bin, which is designed as an insulated mixing vessel, is equipped with a weighing device and a temperature-measuring instrument. The signals it sends are used to regulate filling levels and temperature to ensure maximum consistency in the properties of the end products. Major savings in energy are achieved by dispensing with the processes of cooling the blend in the cooling mixer and of reheating it in the extruder, as these stages use substantial amounts of energy. The height of the building meant it was also possible to dispense with expensive modifications such as extending the roof. Small component weighing station

A further stipulation for materials handling was to integrate a large number of raw materials, both in liquid and in powdered form. The wide variety of formulations meant that the plant had to be very flexible at the same time. The formulations contain large quantities of plasticisers, PVC, chalk and different additives. Tracking and tracing of the entire production process, using barcode scanners at raw materials feeding points, was a further requirement for the new plant. Implementation Commissioning of the plant took place in 2014; and in 2017, the final phase in expansion of the plant involved supplying an additional silo for PVC. SEPTEMBER 2017

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Front Cover Feature Feeding of raw materials and feeding the heating mixer Due to the large number of different materials, feeding of raw materials is broken down into liquid medium components, liquid components and into large, medium and small powdered components. Liquid plasticisers are stored in four tanks and are pumped into gain-in-weight scales via micro filters with pressure monitoring. The micro filters are designed as a bypass solution, so that there are no downtimes caused by the need to carry out cleaning. The raw materials are conveyed completely from the scales into the heating mixer. The liquid medium components are supplied in two scale hoppers, which are connected in parallel. From there, they are then weighed into the heating mixer using the loss-inweight method. Different types of PVC are stored in three silos and are transported via a vacuum conveyor into the vacuum conveying scales situated above the heating mixer. In addition, the PVC can also be transported into the vacuum conveying scales from a big bag discharge station. Five medium components are weighed into Big bag docking and unloading station a scale hopper via sack discharge stations and volumetric dosing units. These five raw materials have minimum ignition energy between 3 and 10 mJ. The medium components are also conveyed in parallel into the same vacuum conveying scales in the PVC line.

The proportion of these components varies, depending on the formulation, up to 5% within the PVC line into the vacuum conveying scales. This leads to a premix of the different raw materials, which are discharged from the scales into the heating mixer. Micro components can be added to the heating mixer using appropriate methods of product feeding. Feeding the extruder with the mixture from the heating mixer A special feature is that there is no cooling stage in the direct feeding of the compounder/extruder after the heating mixer. This results in a huge advantage for the customer in terms of energy efficiency. The demands on control engineering are extremely high for this solution. The heating mixer discharges into a homogeniser hopper via a screw feeder. The screw feeder and hopper are insulated in order to maintain the temperature at approximately 100°C. It is vital to avoid fluctuations in product temperature at this stage in the process. Failure to achieve this will have negative consequences on the subsequent extrusion process and product quality. Homogenisation serves to stabilise or improve the quality of the mix. The hopper is equipped as scales in order to monitor yields and keep check of the product temperature.

AZODOS units dosing into a small component scale

The extruder is fed continuously using differential dosing scales. In addition, two vacuum conveyors and downstream differential dosing scales can be used to feed returning raw materials and various substances for dyeing the PVC.

Sack tipping stations

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Filling of finished goods following the extruder The finished products are discharged from the extruder into a hopper and conveyed from there into a silo for intermediate storage. The silo is fitted with load cells. The flexible PVC is filled into big bags either for interim storage or for selling. There is an option to expand the plant with direct feeding to the next process (calender).


Front Cover Feature

The AZO Group

The AZO Group delivers innovative concepts for automation from a single supplier: plant engineering and construction, process engineering and process IT dovetail seamlessly. AZO provides everything – from the initial concept, from innovative individual components for storage, discharge, screening, conveying, dosing and weighing of raw materials right through to a turnkey solution. AZO is the specialist for automated handling of raw materials and of processes; of large, medium and small components in granular, powder and liquid form. AZO SOLIDS is the expert when it comes to efficient handling of bulk materials. It caters to reliable storage, discharge, screening, conveying, dosing and weighing of raw materials within fully automated processes. From the major ingredient down to micro quantities, from the initial study concerning safety concepts and risk assessments through to the turnkey plant in its entirety, AZO combines what belongs together. Founded in 2008, AZO LIQUIDS provides for mixing, dispersing and homogenising liquid and semi-solid products. Its main target is the development of a new generation of batch and continuous process plants with an innovative homogeniser for fully automatic feeding of raw materials. AZO CONTROLS is the expert for innovative process IT in developing automation solutions in the Outdoor silos production environment. From consulting to implementation, from sensor technology to the commercial production planning level, this is where AZO will provide with reliable, joined-up solutions at each stage. For over 35 years, AZO CONTROLS, as a full-service provider for automation, has delivered innovative solutions in the production Small liquids weighing and pumping environment for the entire value chain. It is backed by well-trained staff from a wide variety of specialist fields, who offer extensive experience, in-depth knowledge of products and process-oriented approaches resulting in the ideal combination of innovation and reliability. AZO CONTROLS acts as a partner for many renowned companies and, in addition to its own developments, it offers solutions that are based on tools that are available commercially. Hence, the AZO Group provides support for successful companies all over the world in implementing innovative projects by using the technologies of the future and through its extensive network of production and sales companies. In this way, AZO is continuously enhancing its products and adapting them to the future requirements of the market and customers’ needs. With sales subsidiaries and service partners the world over, customers are provided with expert advice and service in line with market requirements. The success of AZO is based first and foremost on the quality and reliability of the solutions and the accumulated experience of 65 years in building automatic material handling systems. At the same time, AZO is open to new ideas and is not afraid to translate them into new innovative systems for dispersing, mixing and homogenising of liquid and semi-solid products. AZO measures the quality of its services by considering the customers benefit. The reliability of the AZO system in combination with specifically configured and fine-tuned process control allows the highest possible availability and therefore an excellent efficiency. For further information contact: Alois Billigen, Divisional Manager Marketing/Documentation Tel: +49(0)6291/92-0 Email: azo-solids@azo.com

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Flexible Packaging

Technologies to create better packaging Technology is taking food safety to the next level by enhancing the protective function of flexible packaging, says Angelica Buan in this report.

Food safety – a growing concern in Asia According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 2 million people/ year, mostly children, are stricken with foodborne illnesses. Low and middle-income countries are especially predisposed to foodborne illnesses due to inadequate access to safe water, poor hygiene in food production and storage; and lack in food safety policies, to cite a few reasons. Unfortunately for Southeast Asia and Africa, foodborne diseases are on the rise, according to a 2015 assessment by the WHO, expounding that these regions noted the “highest incidence and highest death rates, including among children under the age of 5 years”. In Southeast Asia, the international specialised agency has worked with the ten-country regional association ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nation), which is home to a 640-million population and represents the world’s third largest market, to strengthen national food safety policies from production to consumption. The two bodies framed ten key strategies to achieve food safety in the region: food control systems; control and prevention of foodborne diseases, including effective surveillance systems; food laws, acts and standards; appropriate food safety policies/plans of action; technical capacity and financial resources; and alignment with international standards and alert systems. Innovative packaging a way out The food industry is relying on innovations in packaging to maintain food safety, while at the same time to obtain the favourable mien of durability, light weight, and cost-savings. Flexible packaging made of materials such as plastic, aluminium and paper fits this mould. On top of this, flexible packaging can meet food safety requirements, thanks to the new technologies, which range across smart packaging to advanced materials that enhance shelf life; as well as ensure integrity of packaging, which is the crux of the issue of product recalls.

The Sealtick TSE 6086b/TSE 6081b leak testing technology can detect if food (and pharmaceutical) packages are correctly sealed

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Checking for leaks to prevent contamination Fresh and processed food and beverage items, which usually have a limited shelf life, are conducive for coddling infectious bacteria. In some cases, packaging alone may not be sufficient to combat contamination. The pathogen known as listeria monocytogenes has made headlines recently with a number of cases of contaminated food products being recalled. One such recall was by US firm Fair Oaks Farms of certain batches of its pork sausage patties. Though fully-cooked and wrapped in plastic sleeve packaging, the produce was found to be contaminated by listeria monocytogenes during a routine test. The recall was announced by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Identifying problems in packaging allows for protection against risk of contamination. Melbourne-headquartered industrial sensors and testing equipment supplier Bestech Australia offers Sealtick TSE 6086b/TSE 6081b leak testing technology to detect if food (and pharmaceutical) packages are correctly sealed. The system uses a vacuum method to measure gas leakage for a wide range of flexible pack types and sizes, it said.


Flexible Packaging “A small, hard-to-detect leakage can lead to a significantly reduced shelf life, and often spoilt product, which could be soggy or mouldy. This could bring a bad name to the brand. Leak testing the product ensures that it is fresh when it reaches the consumer,” said Samson Sim, Bestech’s Marketing Engineer. Testing rate per package takes about 3-15 seconds; and the tool, which has a power input of 115V or 230V AC, can handle package sizes of up to 360 x 300 mm. Advancements in barrier technology for longer shelf-life The convenience food market is shedding its “unhealthy” image with the growing popularity of healthy, fresh food packed in on-the-go, and single-serve containers. Kerri Boyens, Product Manager, New Product Development, Toray Plastics (America) noted that this changing mind-set on packaged convenience food is spurring the need for longer shelf life. The US materials/film maker offers Lumirror MK61HB and PA1HB barrier-coated polyester films as alternatives to foil, PVdC-coated PET and OPP (oriented polypropylene), and AlOx-coated PET.

Toray Plastics's metallised MK61HB and clear-barrier PA1HB film, used for regular stand-up pouches and lidding, offer oxygen and moisture barrier protection

The metallised MK61HB and clear-barrier PA1HB films, which offer oxygen and moisture barrier protection, are designed for use as an outer layer in a two-ply lamination or as the middle layer in a threeply lamination. The adhesion layer is suitable for laminating, adhesive coating, or printing. The films are targeted at regular and stand-up pouches, as well as lidding. Fresher foods with antimicrobial packaging Bacterial contamination and moisture, among other issues, lead to food spoilage. A new packaging film, with its inner surface coated with clay nanotubes loaded with natural essential oil containing the antibacterial carvacrol phenol, has been developed by a team of scientists led by Dr Hayriye Ünal of the Sabanci University in Turkey. The treated film, said the researchers, prevents over-ripening of fruits/produce and inhibits growth of germs that cause food spoilage. Ünal, who presented the study during the American Chemical Society (ACS)’s recent conference in the US, adds that too much ethylene build-up in fruits and vegetables (which naturally release ethylene during ripening and is trapped underneath packaging film), also causes over-ripening or rotting. “Preventing this to happen is a challenge for researchers that are finding ways to develop effective packaging technologies.”


Flexible Packaging Tomatoes wrapped in the clay-nanotube packaging are kept fresher

For this particular study, Ünal's team used a polyethylene (PE) film incorporated with clay nanotubes to block oxygen from penetrating it, while deterring the escape of water vapour and other gases. It also controls the build-up of ethylene by absorbing it. The researchers wrapped tomatoes, bananas and chicken meat in the clay-containing film to test its effectiveness over varying amounts of time; against food wrapped in plain PE. Tests showed that the food wrapped in the new film was better preserved. Despite successful study findings, the technology is still a work in progress, and needs to undergo more testing for safety and toxicity, according to Ünal. New material that doubles as oxygen scavenger Packaged food usually contains preservatives to extend its shelf-life. However, such preservatives may not necessarily be good for the body. Materials such as desiccants and oxygen absorbers are used in oxygen permeating packaged products. By using oxygen absorbers, companies can reduce the amount of preservatives they are using to provide fresh and organic goods to their consumers, according to materials firm Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America (MGCA) that manufactures FDA-approved oxygen absorbers. Ageless Omac Oxygen Absorbing Film is in itself an oxygen absorber, and is suitable for moist products like soups, condiments, fruit preserved in juice, and baked goods

MGCA is stepping up with a new technology that does not require the use of a separate packet of oxygen absorbers. Its Ageless Omac Oxygen Absorbing Film is in itself an oxygen absorber, and is suitable for moist products like soups, condiments, fruit preserved in juice, and baked goods.

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The film is said to prevent discolouration and rancidity, which are adverse effects of oxidation, with MGCA stating that Ageless Omac was originally developed “to help liquid and paste-based foods to remain fresh for extended periods of time after heat treatments such as boiling or retort”. After a number of tests, it was found that the products did not have to be heat treated. In addition, the new film is able to work not only with liquid products, but also products with a water activity as low as 0.5. Enhanced protection for PET bottles and pouches Meanwhile, US-based flexible packaging and machinery supplier Performance Packaging has introduced an oxygen absorbing technology with its Airshield process, which recently received FDA approval for direct food and beverage contact applications and will be commercially launched next year. The Airshield process, which serves as an oxygen scavenger and barrier, chemically fends off oxygen in rigid and flexible packaging containing fitments or solid closures. “It includes a polymer-incorporated, powderbased additive, which removes oxygen trapped during the filling process and then acts as an enhanced-oxygen barrier to keep oxygen out of the container to extend the product’s shelf life,” said Rob Reinders, President of Performance Packaging. An advantage, particularly with blow-moulded PET bottles, according to Reinders, is that Airshield remains dormant until the packaging is filled. Current scavengers in the PET market activate once the bottle is made, limiting the time processors have to fill the bottles. Performance Packaging's Airshield has Furthermore, been used in its SipP spouts and caps the company for pouches says Airshield is a more cost-effective oxygen barrier agent for bottles than EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol) as it is less expensive; and adding it to a pouch cap eliminates the need for a foil liner, saving costs in manufacturing and allowing for consumer convenience. Thus, a clear cut solution to nail down food safety, at a time of expanding globalisation, and climate change, remains at hand with new packaging technologies. It is hoped that the new technologies will become a shared responsibility among the food industry, governments, and consumers, in Asia, too.


Additives

Industry weighs in on issues and risks of using FRs Stricter regulations, safer alternatives, and chemical advancements help keep the market confidence on flame retardants (FRs) high, says Angelica Buan in this article.

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hemical exposure to consumer goods and common household items such as furniture, carpets, shower curtains, electronic devices, and many others has been a subject of a few researches. A number of these points to flame retardants (FRs) as potential health risks for developing cancer, hormone and endocrine disruption, learning disabilities and a host of other debilitating conditions. FRs are the compounds which when added to materials such as plastics products, electrical devices, construction materials or textiles delay the production of flames to prevent the spread of fire. There are various types of FRs such as aluminium trihydrate, antimony oxides, brominated, chlorinated, organophosphorus, and other chemicals. The use of FRs is so copious that exposure to its imputed adverse effect on health has become unavoidable.

Recycled plastics may not always be safe The health danger of FRs is raising concern for recycling plastics that contain FRs, particularly brominated compounds, such as OctaBDE (Octabromodiphenyl ether), PentaBDE (Pentabromodiphenyl ether), and DecaBDE (Decabromodiphenyl ether). In the US, PentaBDE and OctaBDE were officially phased out as early as 2005 as goaded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory action, after chemicals manufacturer Chemtura (formerly Great Lakes Chemical Corporation), which is the sole producer of PentaBDE and OctaBDE in the US, halted its production of the said compounds in 2004. OctaBDE and PentaBDE are used in furniture upholstery, plastics, fabrics, and appliances. In 2006, EPA also issued the Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).The procedure required manufacturers and importers to “notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing the manufacture or import of any one or more of these chemical substances on or after January 1, 2005 for any use.� This procedure was amended in 2012 that indicated stricter evaluation by the EPA. Along a similar trajectory, the Stockholm Convention policy has prohibited recycling of plastics containing the compounds OctaBDE and PentaBDE by 2030. The ultimate objective of the policy is to eliminate these compounds from the waste stream. Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) has already regulated DecaBDE earlier this year under Annex XVII of REACH. Furniture upholstery may contain OctaBDE and PentaBDE, the chemicals that have The piecemeal enforcement of this law been banned since 2005 will be effective by 2 March 2019. By then, the use of DecaBDE as a substance will be outlawed and content of DecaBDE in articles will be limited to 0.1%. SEPTEMBER 2017

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Additives Danger of use in toys Sweden-headquartered non-profit organisation IPEN, together with Czech Republic environmental organisation Arnika, conducted a global study on recycling e-waste plastics that contain FRs. OctaBDE and DecaBDE are widely used in electrical equipment and are primary toxic components of electronic waste (e-waste). Another brominated FR chemical, HBCD (Hexabromocyclododecane) is primarily used in polystyrene building insulation, as well as in electronic equipment. The presence of these compounds in recycled plastics will contaminate new products such as toys and other children’s items.

Some toys made from recycled plastics are found to contain dangerous loads of flame retardants

The study, which was released in April this year, involved survey of products from 26 countries, whereby 90% of the samples was found to contain OctaBDE or DecaBDE; and 43% contained HBCD. According to the authors of the study, these chemicals are “persistent and known to harm the reproductive system and disrupt hormone systems, adversely impacting intelligence, attention, learning and memory”, which they also ascribed to its danger to children who are target users for toys. The study emerged a few days before the Stockholm Convention Conference of the Parties (COP8) was held. IPEN recommended against exceptions with the recycling of materials containing FRs. It cited that allowing the use of these chemicalladen materials will continue to expose industrial workers, make poisonous children’s toys, and contaminate recycling and waste streams. At the COP8, the bottom line decision was the “unprecedented” continued use of these chemicals found in e-wastes and furniture, and even if the decision admitted that FRs had been detected in various articles in use, including plastic toys, IPEN noted, it added that this practice violates the Stockholm Convention.

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As excerpt of the outcome of the COP8, three new chemicals were listed, namely, DecaBDE, short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCP) and HCBD. While an exemption for DecaBDE was made for use in automotive spare parts, it rejected a proposal of granting a polluting recycling exemption for the chemical. However, “loopholes” were noted by IPEN. For example, DecaBDE is allowed in new cars and spare parts until 2036; and in the manufacture of aircraft parts, it will likely continue until 2100. IPEN asserted that this policy not only compromises children’s health but also undermines the credibility of recycling and use of recycled plastics in toys. Safety of FR substitutes a concern When PBDEs were banned, organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs) were offered as a safer alternative. Nonetheless, PFRs were also found to cause hormone disruption in animal studies. Humans are also increasingly exposed to PFRs found in plasticisers for other common applications. There have been findings that these PFRs can migrate out of furniture and other products into dust and air. A latest research is linking exposure from PFRs, in couches, carpet, mats and other fabric products, to lower fertility rates. Researchers at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health at the University of Boston, Massachusetts, associated PFR exposure with reduced likelihood of clinical pregnancy and live birth following IVFs. The study, which was carried out in a fertility clinic, is the first to examine associations between PFRs, which are used in polyurethane foam in many products, including upholstered furniture, baby products, and gym mats, and reproductive outcomes in women. Urinary metabolites of PFRs were detected in more than 80% of participants. They also reported that compared to women with lower concentrations of these metabolites, women with higher concentrations had a 10% reduced probability of successful fertilisation; 31% reduced probability of implantation of the embryo; and a 41% and 38% decrease in clinical pregnancy (fetal heartbeat confirmed by ultrasound) and live birth. “These findings suggest that exposure to PFRs may be one of many risk factors for lower reproductive success," said Courtney Carignan, author and research fellow at Harvard TH Chan School. Co-authors from the Department of Environmental Health, Russ Hauser and Frederick Lee Hisaw suggested that couples going for IVF may improve their success by reducing exposure to environmental chemicals or use FR-free products. Innovative options to halogenated FRs Halogenated FRs include brominated and chlorinated chemicals, to cite a few. As mentioned, brominated FRs are already restricted in Europe, while in the US, some states still continue to use them. Non-halogenated alternatives are breaking into the market, such as the new Nofia halogen-free polyphosphonates from Massachusetts-headquartered


Additives FRX Polymers. The halogen-free polymeric FR specialist offers Nofia as a replacement for antimony (ATO) in brominated FRs in engineering plastics, and as reactive FR additives for thermosetting resins. The company said that Nofia is produced using sustainable green chemistry principles such as a solventfree production process, no waste by-products, and near 100% atom efficiency. It added that Nofia is an improved synergist in brominated FR products, delivering lighter weight and reduced cost. Dr Jan-Pleun Lens, Vice President, Research and Applications, for FRX Polymers, says that the replacement of ATO has been a long-time industry priority due to its high weight per volume (specific gravity) and consequently negative impact on final formulation costs. In addition, ATO is being scrutinised due to toxicity concerns. “With ATO prices now increasing worldwide, replacement of ATO has once again become a high priority for many users,” Lens furthered. FRX Polymers has already validated Nofia FR’s effectiveness as an ATO replacement in glass-filled nylon 66, polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).

FRX Polymers's Nofia halogen-free polyphosphonates can be used for thinwall mouldings, such as PC sheets, that require FR

Compared to ATO, Nofia FRs do not migrate or bleed out of the host plastic over time, having the added advantage of being polymeric, says FRX. Moreover, using Nofia FR eliminates the health and environmental concerns associated with ATO and due to its polymeric nature, Nofia will deliver improved mechanical properties compared to ATO. Its transparency is another key benefit that is being explored in clear unfilled PVC systems. “Nofia FR as an ATO replacement is currently under extensive testing and commercial scale-up at many FRX Polymers customers,” Lens noted. In a related development, Japanese firms Dainichi Giken, a producer of aqueous inorganic polymers, chemical trading company, Daimaru Kogyo and chemicals company Teijin, have jointly developed what they tag as the world’s first aqueous transparent acrylic FR coating.

Dainichi Giken, Daimaru Kogyo, and Teijin jointly developed the world’s first aqueous transparent acrylic FR coating

Known as Landex, it is said to significantly improve the flame retardancy of diverse combustibles, including timbers, papers, fibres, rubbers and plastics, according to Teijin. The transparent coating is applied to the surface to maintain the material’s original texture. The new coating does not change the colour and textures of materials in living spaces, and it also strengthens resistance to weather and mould, Teijin said. Landex uses FCX-210, Teijin’s phosphorus FR made with the company’s proprietary molecular-design technology, which maintains the original properties of base resins using only small amounts. FCX-210, developed mainly to improve the flame retardancy of resins, is used widely in electronics and automobiles parts. It is also suited for applications that demand high flame retardancy, such as in architecture and interior design. Market remains in good shape Despite the bad rap on FR, demand is rising. Based on a report by India-headquartered IndustryARC, the flame retardant chemicals market is anticipated to surge during the forecast period of 2017 to 2022, especially since demand from the transportation and construction sectors is also expanding. The market is bound to reach more than US$10 billion by 2022, according to Allied Market Research’s assessment. The sectors served by FRs are not limited to household and electronics. The automotive industry, as well as other industries that make use of combustible materials, is a heavy user of FRs because these chemicals are indispensable in preventing or controlling spread of fire due to overheating, short-circuiting mechanical and mechanical faults. While the toxicity issues implicating FR may impact its market growth, its role as a fire safety solution firmly secures its spot in the global market. SEPTEMBER 2017

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Thermoforming

Shaping packaging in various formats Strong, versatile packaging serves today’s consumer demand for safe, fresh, and conveniently packed food; while machine makers like SML offer technology for thicker PET sheets and Coveris/Kiefel for recyclable PP cups; and Amcor its latest metalfree coating for keeping coffee fresher.

Consumer demand for vacuum packaging Consumers are more inclined to take up safe and conveniently packaged food. Vacuum thermoformed packaging, highly used for its flexibility and durability, covers the various compact and efficient packaging needs of today’s consumers. This, thus, supports the market growth. With increasing disposable incomes, the Asia Pacific region is forging ahead on vacuum thermoformed packaging, especially the tray types. At the same time, Europe and North America are also expected to witness a steady, however, slower gain, incentivised by retailers offering attractive and, likewise, innovative sale formats to meet the changing consumers’ demands and purchase habits. On the downside, there are a few developments that are restraining growth of the market, such as the rigorous regulatory policies in reference to material used in vacuum thermoforming packaging products; and because it is difficult to attain precise wall thickness symmetrically over the complete product, this affects the quality standards of the product to a large extent. This technical difficulty is pressing manufacturers to look for substitutes to vacuum thermoformed packaging. Vertical form-fill-seal system changes the pace Automated packaging systems can complement manual labour in the processing sector, as well as reduce wastage as seen in a new vertical form fill and seal system (VFFS) introduced by ULMA Packaging for packing fresh herbs and light leaf salads. The system offers time and cost savings for producers, while reducing manual intervention to a minimum during the packing process. The patent-pending VTI640V VFFS solution designed by the Spanish firm uses a device that pulls the product down to the bottom of the bag (with air) at speed before sealing it without damaging the herbs, which can happen if the product is handled roughly or they become blocked in the forming tube of conventional packaging machinery. This equipment is already making an impact in the fresh produce sector in Europe for companies keen to ULMA Packaging's new vertical form fill reduce their reliance on manual labour and re-work and seal system caused by ‘product in seal’. The new design function could also be a cheaper alternative to ultrasonic sealing, as the product sits lower in the bag and away from the seal area on sealing. Only two employees are needed to run the line with higher outputs: one operates and the other loads the machine, thus enabling other staff to be fielded in other tasks. ULMA claims its system has the potential for payback in less than six months. Upgrading properties of thick PET sheets PET, like any other raw materials used for consumers goods, is required to satisfy market preference for more environmentally acceptable raw materials, not only offering a high degree of recyclability (as PET does), but also thicker PET sheets. These are characterised by high transparency and stiffness, and thereby serve the trend towards even larger clear cups and trays for (take-away) food packaging, Austria-based extrusion machine supplier SML says. SML cited that producing thick PET sheet with excellent optical properties is a very demanding process; and requires keen attention to quality of the raw material, drying and melt treatment. Accordingly, the design of the entire line and the selected process parameters can improve the properties of thick PET sheet significantly, says the machine maker.

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Thermoforming

SML's demonstration line for the production of PET sheet in a thickness range of up to 2 mm, installed at its headquarters in Lenzing

SML has recently installed a demonstration line for the production of PET sheet in a thickness range of up to 2 mm at its headquarters in Lenzing. Features are the slanted, up-stack roll stack, two extruders for three-layer A/B/A structures and a maximum output of up to 1,300 kg/hour. Since reductions in packaging material weight represent another market trend, the line is also equipped with a CO2 gas injection system to produce physically foamed PET sheet as an alternative. Furthermore, the line features an IR-lamination system for the production of PET/PE laminates. All in all, process flexibility for different applications is guaranteed and production switches between thick, foamed, or laminated PET/PE sheet can be completed within minimum change-over times, said the company, adding that the line is available for customer trials. Thinwall PP cups as opposed to PS Coffee drinking is not only a millennial fad, it has become symbolic to rapid urbanisation that is leading to rising demand for on-the-go and single-serve packaged food and drinks. Pacing this trend, UK-headquartered Coveris Rigid´s Centre of Development & Innovation, together with thermoforming machinery partners, Germany’s Kiefel and Netherlands-based Bosch-Sprang, have recently developed a new technology for thinwall thermoformed containers. It presents the opportunity to calibrate single-serve barrier PP cups during the thermoforming process and achieves beneficial material distribution, resulting in product performance comparable to existing PS solutions, say the firms. The new technology has been ramped-up on a 91-cavity thermoforming system, with in-mould calibration, with a capacity of 750 million/year single-serve barrier PP cups, which can be customised to different decoration requirements like colouring, embossing, and more. The companies agreed to collaborate during the German trade show last year, K2016, to provide an alternative to single-serve barrier PS cups with a sustainable PP solution for the US market.

To simulate the performance of existing PS cups and to ensure there are no punctures during the brewing process, material distribution of the multi-layer barrier PP cup became a major challenge of the development. It is also touted as a 100% sustainable/recyclable solution with all in-line process waste reverting back to the multi-layer structure. As well, the chosen overall composition allows the cup to be recovered in the post-consumer recycling process. Coveris also offers a barrier PP lid Coveris offers replacement for aluminium a sustainable solution lids. Keeping the aroma of coffee fresh with metal-free coating Still on the subject of coffee and sustainability is a new solution from packaging major Amcor, said to address the key challenge facing coffee brands: to increase sustainability while preserving the sensory experience that’s core to consumer satisfaction. The Australia-headquartered firm says though metallised barriers preserve aroma, their poor sustainability profile is a deterrent to use. Thus, Amcor has designed the AmLite customisable solution for coffee, based on a metal-free coating. It is available in two versions: with a barrier comparable to metallised materials and ethylene-vinyl alcohol (EVOH) laminates; and AmLite Ultra, which uses a special coating for improved aroma protection. The latter is said to match the barrier performance of aluminium and has a lower carbon footprint, producing up to 40% less greenhouse gases during the coating process. Typical packaging formats include soft and vacuum packs, flow packs, pouches, stick packs and, more recently, single-serve capsules liddings. AmLite opens up a range of possibilities when it comes to the look and feel of a pack, with transparent windows and rustic, paper-look effects. It is also compatible with a range of attractive print techniques, like matte, gloss and metallic effects. Amcor says it is not only the first company to produce a metal-free coating, but to convert it into a complete, premium packaging solution. A good example is the use of AmLite in capsule lids for single-serve systems. With a wide range of machines in use, adaptability is essential, and it says it works closely with customers as well as machine suppliers. Amcor's AmLite customisable solution for coffee, based on a metal-free coating

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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive

New material innovations to spur lighter cars Fuel economy is the cornerstone of the current

in automobiles runs at 700,000 tonnes, and this is likely to climb to 900,000 tonnes by 2020, according to IHS Chemical. It also adds that demand for carbon fibre, which is yet to expand adoption in the mainstream automotive industry, is anticipated to reach nearly 10,000 tonnes by 2030. Current lightweight design techniques have parts, like bumpers, seats, dashboards, fuel systems, body panels, electrical components, interiors and others, made of plastics. Polypropylene (PP) accounts for the largest share of the market share. It is followed by polyurethanes (PUs) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), according to research firm Persistence Market Research.

trend for lightweight cars, and emerging material technologies, such as cellulose nanofibres, ligninbased resins, lightweight composites and heat

dissipating polymers, are enabling this trend, says Angelica Buan in this report.

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Light weighting with low-cost composites Meanwhile, high performance composite materials promise improved performance at an even lower weight, as seen in a collaboration between India’s National Institute of Technology-Karnataka (NIT-K) and the US’s New York University that has resulted in the innovation of lightweight composites for automotive parts.

he plexiglas body of Ford’s Pontiac in the 1940s has turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy more than 70 years later. Today, plastics are becoming an integral component of car building and support a global plastics market that will hit the US$54 billion mark by 2022, citing a report by Global Market Insights. Car makers are required to address issues, such as fuel efficiency, as a matter of regulation. At the same time, they have to meet criteria for driving performance and affordability. An important step to achieving fuel economy is to pare down the weight with plastics. For the industry, no reduction is too small. Plastics typically contribute only about 10% reduction to the weight of the vehicle, and this can improve its fuel efficiency by as much as 8%. Hence cars, especially ones fitted with innovative features and systems made partly or entirely of plastics, account for the increasing demand for plastics. Texas-headquartered consultancy IHS Chemical predicts that by 2025, plastic will represent a quarter of an average car. The current rate of utilisation for polymers

The composites studied by NIT-K and NYU researchers use hollow microspheres like fly ash cenospheres and glass microballoons in HDPE

The study, which reveals that plastics potentially reduce weight by as much as 36% but still lend better mechanical properties, involved an industry partner for industrial-scale manufacturing methods for producing composite specimens. The composites studied by this team use hollow microspheres like fly ash cenospheres and glass microballoons in high density polyethylene (HDPE). “Hollow microsphere fillers can reduce the weight of the component, make them cheaper and reduce carbon footprint,” Dr Mrityunjay Doddamani of NIT-K said. Doddamani, who led the research, said that the outcome will also debunk the perception that using composites is expensive. “Our effort has specifically shown that low

The body of Ford’s Pontiac showcased in the 1940s was made of plexiglass

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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive cost composites can be developed by innovative use of materials and processing methods,” he stated. The technology is also expected to benefit India’s small scale industries, which are mostly equipped with basic manufacturing machines for plastic moulding. Doddamani explained that composite materials produced in controlled conditions in the laboratory cannot be replicated in industry conditions. However, with the technique developed, low-cost, light weight composites can be produced easily using standard compression moulding machines. Pending commercialisation, the research team plans to cast prototype components and test them in actual applications. Better than glass: heat-conducting polymers Plastics and heat generally do not mix and, thus, plastics offer limited option in automotive and technology devices. While thermallyconductive plastics are not new, innovations in this category are getting better. A latest breakthrough in heat-conducting plastic has been developed by a team of materials science and mechanical engineer researchers from the University of Michigan. The technique, according to their study titled High Thermal Conductivity in Electrostatically Engineered Amorphous Polymers, can change plastic’s molecular structure to dissipate heat. A new chemical process developed by University of Michigan engineers can change plastic’s molecular structure to dissipate heat by expanding and straightening its molecule chain

The process, which they said is inexpensive and scalable and engineers the structure of the material itself, could be applied to a variety of other plastics. Its preliminary test showed that the process can make the plastic as thermally conductive as glass, and six times better at dissipating heat than the same untreated polymer. The study is bound to improve plastics used in electronics and car parts, which are inherently “poor heat conductors”. It is also expected to facilitate a better approach than adding metallic or ceramic fillers to plastic, which are expensive, can increase the materials weight and can change the properties of plastic in “undesirable ways”. With plastic, heat has to travel along and between its labyrinthine long chains of molecules. The researchers used a chemical process to expand and straighten the molecule chains so that the heat energy is able to travel a more direct route through the material. “Heat energy travels through substances as molecular vibrations. For heat to efficiently move through a material, it needs continuous pathways of strongly bound atoms and molecules. Otherwise, it gets trapped, meaning the substance stays hot,” said the researchers. Too, the process

Ministry of Industry, Republic of Indonesia

Indonesia Woven Polyolefin Manufacturers Association

Indonesian Packaging Federation

The Indonesian Indonesian Packaging Food and Beverages Development Board Association

Asosiasi Industri Plastik Hilir Indonesia

Association of Plastic Converting Industry

INDONESIA

The Soft Drink Industry Association

Indonesia Mould & Dies Industry Association

ASIA/ASEAN

The Indonesian Olefin Aromatic & Plastic Industry Association

Association of Indonesia Bottled Water Company

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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive stiffens the polymer chains and helps them pack together more tightly, making them even more thermally conductive. The processed involved linking polyacrylic acid (PAA) with short strands of polyacryloyl piperidine (PAP). The researchers explained that the new blend relies on hydrogen bonds that are 10 to 100 times stronger than the forces that loosely hold together the long strands in most other plastics. This technique will also be tested on other types of polymers, they said, noting that commercialisation is not yet prospected. In the works is developing composites that combine the new technique with several other heat dissipating strategies to further increase thermal conductivity.

Elsewhere, in the US, a group of researchers from the Washington State University (WSU) are utilising lignin to produce a strong type of carbon fibre. Lignin is a natural polymer found in cell walls of plants and trees to make them rigid. The work, funded by the National Science Foundation Centre for Bioplastics and Biomaterials, Ford and Hyundai Motor, was presented at the 254th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) held in August. Dr Birgitte Ahring, who headed the study, said that leftover lignin from biofineries end up as wastes and with little to no value. “We want to use a low-value product to create a high-value product, which will make biorefineries sustainable,” she said. Carbon fibre with lignin is a more sustainable and cheaper alternative to the current carbon fibres made from non-renewable polyarylonitrile (PAN).

A spin on renewable fibres Cellulose nanofibres have been known to enhance structural properties as well as the function of plastic composites. Researchers at Kyoto University in Japan have developed a wood pulp material that is cellulose nanofibre-based, and which is five times stronger yet five times lighter than steel. Under the team’s Kyoto Process (so called because the study was initiated at the Kyoto University), chemically treated wood fibres are mixed with plastics; the wood pulp fibres are broken down into several hundredths of micronsized pieces to produce cellulose nanofibres. The university, working with Japanese automotive parts suppliers Denso and DaikyoNishikawa, is developing a prototype car using the cellulose nanofibre-based parts, which they expect to complete by 2020.

Carbon fibre, combined with PAN and lignin, is found to be strong enough for application in the automotive sector

Dr Jinxue Jiang, also of the Ahring laboratory at WSU, said that PAN is expensive and contributes to about half of the total cost of making carbon fibre. Whereas, reinforcing biorefinery lignin carbon fibre with PAN may slash the cost. Moreover, he said that the combination of PAN and lignin is found to be strong enough for applications in the automotive industry. For the study, the team combined lignin with PAN in different amounts, from 0 to 50%; and using a process called melt spinning, the polymer blend is made into a single fibre. The resulting carbon fibre contains about 20-30% lignin, and can be used for internal parts, castings and tyre frames of automobiles; and potentially for non-structural parts of aircraft. The new carbon fibre is yet to be tested in real-world automotive settings, the team reported. In the years to come, the industry expects to see more new materials to emerge and gradually take over a significant portion of a car’s design. Making this possible is the increasing investment of industry stakeholders in R&D for stronger and more durable, and cheaper plastics to keep cars light and fuel efficient.

Researchers at the Kyoto University have developed a wood pulp material that is cellulose nanofibre-based, and which is five times stronger yet five times lighter than steel

Professor Hiroyuki Yano, who led the research, said that the cost of manufacturing new materials is relatively high compared to traditional materials like steel. Yet, as far as the automotive and aerospace applications are concerned, cellulose nanofibres are low-cost yet deliver high performance, he said. For example, to produce a kg of cellulose nanofibre it costs around 1,000 yen (or US$9); compared to steel or aluminium, which cost about US$2/kg. The research also aims to bring down the cost of cellulose nanofibre by half to make mass production of the wood pulp economically viable. 3 S E P T E M B E R 2 017

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Injection Moulding Asia Medical Plastics

Frugal innovations on a chip Quality, affordable and universally accessible

Market expands; healthcare spending ramps up The OECD report added that Asian economies spend only 20% of the US$3,510 per person/year health spending in OECD countries. Nonetheless, global health expenditure cited by the World Health Organisation (WHO) was at US$7.8 trillion in 2013, and is expected to more than double to US$18.3 trillion by 2040. The LOC market is expected to more than double to US$8 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 11% from US$4.2 billion in 2016, says research firm Stratistics MRC. It expounded that LOC has a wide range of applications, such as point of care diagnostics, genomic and proteomics research, analytical chemistry, environmental monitoring, and biohazards detection. On the other hand, Coherent Market Insight, in its market outlook for the period from 2017-2025, cited the growth drivers in regions that are pushing the LOC market. North America’s geriatric (over 65) population, which is expected to reach 19 million by 2050, is a factor, followed by Europe, being an early adopter of advanced technologies. Meanwhile, Asia Pacific’s over 4.5 billion population beckons a robust demand for LOC devices, and especially since, the region also contends with inadequate healthcare access. Stratistics MRC stated that China and India are the prime movers in Asia, owing to their ample R&D investments, and support by government funding.

healthcare remains a challenge for low and

middle-income countries. Given that advancement in healthcare technologies promises accuracy and faster diagnostics, the cost dynamics of availing them can also create a huge burden. Thus, low

cost, speed, and accuracy are big features packed in nano-sized lab-on-chip devices, according to Angelica Buan in this article.

Lab-on-chip medical devices The 35-nation OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), in a 2014 report, stated that several countries in the region need to improve access to affordable, quality healthcare. A significant portion of its population, in rural areas and in certain demographic groups, could not obtain medical treatment because of high costs or lack of health workers. What is suggested is the availability of diagnostic devices efficient in early detection of diseases; and technologies that are low cost and feature ease of use and application in broader healthcare settings. Lab-on-chip (LOC) technology has been envisaged to fill this gap in universal healthcare access. A LOC is a device with a size varying from a few mm to a few sq cm. It merges one or several laboratory functions, such as chemical synthesis and analysis, on a single integrated circuit, and on a miniaturised scale, resulting in a portable device that requires less power compared to conventional laboratory devices.

A one-cent device to measure cells “Isolation and characterisation of rare cells and molecules from a heterogeneous population is of critical importance in diagnosis of common lethal diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, and cancer,” according to a team of Stanford University School of Medicine research engineers who developed an LOC platform by integrating microfluidics, electronics, and inkjet printing to build a low-cost and reusable microchip that can diagnose multiple diseases. The FINP platform costs only US$0.01 to make, and takes only 20 minutes to assemble, yet is capable of performing complex, minimally invasive analyses of single cells without specialised equipment, except for an inkjet printer. Hence, skilled personnel and clean-room facilities are no longer required. The two-part LOC system features clear silicone microfluidic chamber for housing cells that sit on top of a reusable electronic strip. A regular inkjet printer can be used to print the electronic strip onto a flexible sheet of polyester using commercially available conductive nanoparticle ink. The tool can handle small-volume samples. The design takes into account the limited funds, modest public health infrastructure, and low power availability in developing and resource-poor countries that can benefit from this LOC platform.

Lab-onchip (LOC) technology, a device with a size varying from a few mm to a few sq cm, merges one or several laboratory functions on a single chip

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Injection Moulding Asia Medical Plastics “The main advantage is cost – these assays are done in laboratories and clinics everywhere,” said researcher, Mehdi Ghodbane. Findings of the study, which was funded by the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research and Corning, was published in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal Lab on a Chip. The platform only requires one-tenth of the chemicals used in a conventional multiplex immunoassay, which can cost as much as US$1,500. It also automates much of the skilled labour involved in performing tests, the researchers said. Professor Martin Yarmush at Rutgers vouched that the technology can enable researchers to perform large-scale controlled studies with comparable accuracy to conventional assays. Additionally, he said that the discovery could also lead to more comprehensive research on autoimmune joint diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, through animal studies. “As with spinal fluid, the amount of joint fluid, or synovial fluid, researchers are able to collect from laboratory animals is minuscule,” he said.

Stanford University engineers developed the FINP platform, which costs only US$0.01 to make, and takes only 20 minutes to assemble

The researchers said that the FINP chip is as efficient as the US$100,000 cytometry technique used to count immune cells. The National Institute of Health-funded study was published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Cheaper laboratory tests for autoimmune diseases Rutgers University engineers have developed a breakthrough device that can significantly reduce the cost of sophisticated laboratory tests for medical disorders and diseases, such as HIV, Lyme disease and syphilis. Called ELISA-on-a-chip, where ELISA stands for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, it is a single device that can analyse 32 samples at once and can measure widely varying concentrations of as many as six proteins in a sample. The LOC device employs microfluidics technology and is capable of performing complex analyses using 90% less sample fluid than needed in conventional tests. According to the researchers, it uses miniaturised channels and valves to replace ‘benchtop assays’, tests that require large samples of blood or other fluids and expensive chemicals that laboratory technicians manually mix in trays of tubes or plastic plates with cup-like depressions.

Diabetes check via mobile device Diabetes, one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide, is characterised by high glucose in the blood. The WHO reported that the number of diabetes-afflicted people crossed to 422 million in 2014 from 108 million in 1980, rising rapidly in middle and low-income countries. Mortality is also scoring millions and WHO projects diabetes to become the seventh leading cause of deaths in 2030. The OECD also reported the high prevalence of diabetes in Asia, accounting for over 60% of the deaths worldwide caused by the disease in 2013. Plus, an estimated 215 million people live with diabetes in the region, with half of them undiagnosed.

Dianax’s POCT device is a portable, cheap and easy to use LOC to measure glycated haemoglobin

Hence, the LOC innovation by Italian medtech diagnostic start-up Dianax and similar breakthroughs can benefit patients who may have limited access to full diagnostic systems.

The Elisa-on-a-chip platform only requires one-tenth of the chemicals used in a conventional multiplex immunoassay, which can cost a hefty US$1,500

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Injection Moulding Asia Medical Plastics Dianax’s point of care testing (POCT) device is portable, inexpensive and easy to use plus it delivers reliable results on the spot and in near-real time, via a smart phone or a handheld reader, the company said. The diagnostic LOC, which can provide immediate and precise on-site measurements of glycated haemoglobin, is designed for the prevention and monitoring of diabetes. The LOC device received an EU grant of EUR2 million in 2016, in aid of its development and moving it up for industrial production phase. The Milanese company says it comprises a silicon-based disposable cartridge, small as a USB key, connected to a hand-held reader, or a smartphone or a tablet to allow results viewing. Through a system of chambers and conduits etched into a silicon wafer, it purifies proteins from a fraction of a drop of body fluid sample. Then, it measures the concentration of the target protein in the sample, by producing an electronic signal through sensors embedded in the chip. It works through a sequence of steps including anticoagulation and dilution of blood, target, and purification and, finally, electrochemical detection allowing specific target quantitation, says the firm.

Penn University scientists’ first placenta-on-a-chip (POAC) that can fully model the transport of nutrients across the placental barrier

births, and doctors typically only keep tabs on women who have other clear risk factors. Mukul Sonker, the lead author of a study published in Electrophoresis, and researchers Adam Woolley, Radim Knob and Vishal Sahore, created the chip and the system. The device is cheap, small and fast: once fully developed, it will help make detecting biomarkers a simple, automated task, Woolley said. In a related development, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have developed the first placenta-on-a-chip (POAC) that can fully model the transport of nutrients across the placental barrier. Small (the size of a flash drive), the clear silicone device has two parallel microfluidic channels separated by a porous membrane. It contains two layers of human cells that mimic the interface between mother and fetus. Microfluidic channels on either side of the layers allow researchers to study how molecules are transported or blocked by the interface. The study showed that the two layers of cells continue to grow and develop while inside the chip, undergoing a process known as “syncytialisation.” The POAC aims to identify causes and prevention of preterm birth. “Prematurely born babies may experience lifelong, debilitating consequences, but the underlying mechanisms of this condition are not well understood due in part to the difficulties of experimenting with intact, living human placentae,” said the research team led by Dan Huh, Professor at University of Pennsylvania, and graduate student Cassidy Blundell. The study was supported by the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centre and the National Institute of Health Director’s New Innovator Award. The innovations mentioned are still a work in progress, according to their developers. Nevertheless, they provide hope for patients in poor resource areas, who require lowcost basic primary care as a first line of defence against further expenditures for hospitalisation, rehabilitation or even mortality. The LOC technology offers the most practical solution – for now.

Prenatal care in the palm of your hand The WHO estimates that 15 million babies/year are born preterm and complications at birth are found to be the leading cause of death among children less than 5 years of age, with a 1 million deaths in 2015. WHO also says 75% of these could be prevented with cost-effective interventions. Utah’s Brigham Young University researchers developed a small chip integrated microfluidic device that is designed to predict, with up to 90% accuracy, a woman’s risk for a future preterm birth. The palm-sized plastic rectangle has a few pinholes in it, allowing it to take a finger-prick’s worth of blood and measuring a panel of nine identified preterm birth biomarkers, which are essentially biological flags that tip off diseases or other conditions, the researchers said. There aren’t any current biomarker-based diagnostics for preterm

Brigham Young University researchers working on the palm-sized plastic LOC they developed to predict risk for a future preterm birth

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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • Japan-based tyre and rubber company Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI) is expanding its global presence with the establishment of a US$39.8 million production facility in central Slovenia that will manufacture rubber parts for medical applications. SRI has been expanding its business since it acquired Swiss pharmaceutical/medical packaging firm Lonstroff (a subsidiary of Lonstroff Holding) in 2015. The Slovenian operations plant to start up in 2019. With the investment, SRI’s production capacity of primary packaging and rubber parts for medical applications will be tripled in Europe. • With the granting of approval from the Tennessee state in the US, Finnish tyre manufacturer Nokian Tyres has been allocated a US$28 million state infrastructure grant in support of the company’s US$360 million planned Dayton tyre factory. Nokian is building its first US tyre plant in Dayton, north of Chattanooga. Scheduled to open in 2020, the 830,000sq ft plant will focus on manufacturing passenger, SUV and light-truck tyres. It represents the largest investment ever by a foreign manufacturer in Rhea County. • Swedish firm Trelleborg will be investing in a sealing solutions production facility in Denmark through its Trelleborg Sealing Solutions business unit.

The company will be relocating its current manufacturing facility to the new one in Denmark, to transform and further expand the current capabilities of the existing facility. Trelleborg is investing SEK120 million during 2017-2020 for capital expenditure. Production will be able to commence in the new facility at the beginning of 2020. • Pyrolyx, Germany-based producer of recovered carbon black (rCB) from tyres, will set up a plant in Indiana, US. It will produce 12,900 tonnes/year of rCB as well as pyrolysis oil and steel. Zeppelin Group has planned and will construct the plant and perform overall project management. The site in Indiana was chosen because of favourable logistics as well as the support of the City of Terre Haute. Following the plant’s completion, Pyrolyx says it will be the first producer of rCB in the world to have two international production sites. It expects to recycle 4 million used tyres/year, adding that the factory will save more than 30,000 tonnes of CO2, compared to traditional carbon black manufacturing. • Germany-based chemicals company Wacker Chemie is expanding its presence in Middle East and Africa (MEA) with the addition of two new laboratories in its Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) technology park. The technical centre in Dubai in the UAE now

includes a dedicated laboratory for polymer dispersions needed as binders for adhesives and carpet applications, as well as an ISOcertified laboratory for developing and testing silicone elastomers for energy and mould making. Wacker’s Dubai technical centre now has five laboratories to support customers in the paints and coatings, construction, energy mould making, carpet and adhesives industries. The focus of the new polymers lab is on providing technical support for formulations with vinyl acetateethylene copolymer (VAE) dispersions to meet the growing local demands of customers in the carpet and adhesives industries. Both new labs are equipped with instrumentation and enable numerous tests with regard to locally available raw materials, climatic and environmental conditions, and regional requirements. The silicones lab has further been certified according to the ISO 17025 standard. Wacker set up its local subsidiary in Dubai in 2000 and the technical centre in 2002. • Malaysian glove manufacturer Hartalega Holdings is investing US$210 million to build three new plants by 2020, to keep up with rising global demand as fast developing economies such as China and India increase the use of rubber gloves in the clinical as well as in the industrial and household segments.

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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News The move is in line with other Malaysian glove makers including Top Glove, the world’s largest natural rubber glove producer, which are ramping up capacity to meet a steadily expanding market. Malaysia, which supplies more than half of the global demand of natural rubber and synthetic gloves, dominates the market. Hartalega’s investment drive is part of its eightyear Next Generation Complex project began in 2013 and is expected to lift its capacity to 42 billion pieces/year. • Dow Chemical will begin construction of a US$100 million Innovation Centre for silicone science at the Dow Corning corporate campus. The new facility will host approximately 200 R&D employees. Dow, which started exploring silicone chemistry nearly 80 years ago upon creating the Dow Corning joint venture, completed the ownership restructuring of Dow Corning in 2016. • Japanese firm Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. will expand the production capacity of its Akron plant in Ohio, which is engaged in the manufacturing and sales of silicones in the US. The amount of this facility investment is 2.4 billion yen, and the expansion work is aimed for completion in the middle of 2019. The plant produces various silicone products such as high consistency silicone rubber, liquid silicone rubber for adhesives and sealing materials,

silicones for cosmetics and heat-dissipating silicones for applications in automobiles and electronics parts. This new investment is for the purpose of expanding its production capacity for these silicone products and additionally to set up a new production facility for silicone emulsions. • Lubrizol Corporation’s LifeSciences business is investing US$10 million for a significant capacity expansion at its silicone contract manufacturing site in Wisconsin, US. This investment strengthens the company’s silicone business by adding 71,000 sq ft of space that complements the existing 126,000 sq ft operation. In 2010, it more than doubled its footprint at this location. The new space will feature product development, cellular manufacturing, and highefficiency production lines, as well as separate Class 7 & 8 clean room space for the production of implants and drugeluting devices. • Accella Polyurethane Systems is expanding its presence in the roofing market and renewing its focus on polyurethane spray foam and roof coating systems with its recent acquisition of the Covestro spray foam assets. The Covestro assets, combined with Accella’s leading BayTec silicone, BayBlock acrylic and BaySeal polyurethane spray foam technologies, position the company with an outstanding array of solutions for low slope

and flat roof commercial coatings for new and restoration construction. The solution options offered allow the user to maximise ROI depending on their specific needs for capital spend and roof longevity. The benefits of this system are easy application on most existing roofing surfaces with high durability, easy maintenance and costeffective approach to extending roof life without replacement. • Thailand’s Indorama Ventures Public Company (IVL) is further strengthening its automotive segment through the acquisition of DuraFiber Technologies México (DFT), a Mexican producer of durable technical textiles for industrial, tyre reinforcement, and speciality applications globally. DFT’s Queretaro plant in Mexico (co-sited with IVL Mexico) has a capacity to produce 37,500 tonnes/year of PET High Modulus Low Shrinkage (PET HMLS), PET Heavy Denier Industrial (PET HDI) and nylon 6 fullyintegrated into tyre cord fabrics and industrial and industrial textiles. Its products are used in a wide range of applications including reinforcement for conveyor belts, hoses, single-ply roofing, tents, automotive airbags, seat belts, safety harnesses and ropes. Concurrently with this planned acquisition in Mexico, IVL is also acquiring DuraFiber Longlaville in France, having a capacity of 35,000 tonnes/year.

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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • Germany-headquartered specialty chemicals group, Evonik has started up a new plant in Shanghai, China, for production of a wide range of organically modified specialty silicones. The products, which are manufactured in batch processes, are used in polyurethane, paints, and coatings applications; and in a variety of industrial applications. Evonik invested a high twodigit million euro sum in the construction of the new production facilities, which took a year to build. Evonik has been operating in China for more than decades. With the takeover of the specialty additives business of Air Products at the beginning of 2017, Evonik has significantly extended its activities in Asia, thus, the new plant will enable it to support its Asian customers • ZC Rubber, the largest tyre manufacturer in mainland China, has built its new branch in Germany, Zhongce Europe GmbH (ZC Europe), which focuses on the expansion of the European market especially on the OE field and improving the market shares by exploring the market with local mentality and by providing more services. It is the fourth branch of ZC Rubber on the global market after Thailand, Brazil and America. ZC Europe will hone its expansion in the local market, likewise

boosting its main tyre brands in Europe, Westlake and Goodride. The company said that it is preparing to launch more new product series in the near future to meet market demands. • Ohio-headquartered Blair Rubber, which specialises in pre-cured products and uncured tank linings from has formed a new business partnership with South Korean corrosion p r o t e c t i o n m a n u f a c t u r e r , Saekaphen Korea Co Limited. The familyowned company operates out of based in Gladbeck, Germany, and has distributors and authorised applicators throughout Asia, Europe, the US and the Middle East. The company approached Blair Rubber for its primary containment rubber linings, which it requires for storing and transporting its many coating products. • German chemical group CHT Group, a leading silicone specialties supplier in Europe, is further expanding its geographic reach in the US market with its acquisition of ICM Silicones Group, a US specialist for high performance silicone emulsions and silicone elastomer applications, headquartered in Cassopolis, Michigan. ICM Silicones Group consists of five separate operating subsidiaries: ICM Products based in Cassopolis; QSi LLC in Richmond, Virginia;

ACC Silicones Ltd in Bridgwater, UK; Treco Srl in Milan, Italy; and ACC Silicones in Tianjin, China. Dr Frank Naumann, CEO of CHT Group said that the acquisition doubles the CHT’s current silicone business. • Air Liquide Engineering & Construction forms a c o o p e r a t i o n d e a l w i t h Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC) to license MCC’s Buteneto-crude-Butadiene technology used in the petrochemical industry. Tokyo-headquartered MCC has developed this state-of-the art oxidative dehydrogenation technology of n-butene to produce crude butadiene and verified the viability in a demonstration plant at MCC in Mizushima. Butadiene, an important industrial chemical is mainly as synthetic rubber for the automotive industry; and used as a raw material for the production of products such as polymers, plastics and paper chemicals. Franceheadquartered Air Liquide said that the deal enables them to offer a unique integrated solution for both, butene dehydrogenation and butadiene extraction; and allowing to extend the production of butadiene from the conventional extraction from a naphtha cracker product to on-purpose production based on a wider range of feedstocks.

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Rubber Journal Asia Green Rubber

New biorubber tyres with a greener footprint R&D efforts and partnerships are keeping pace with the clamour for renewable-

sourced rubber for tyres, says Angelica Buan in this report.

From guayule to soy beans

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ncreasing environmental and energy concerns are prompting tyre makers to partner with materials science experts in discovering the alchemy of biobased rubber alternatives. Perhaps the most prominent and much anticipated green rubber breakthrough is that of the desert shrub guayule rubber. The high-yield renewable feedstock is expected to unchain the industry from the supply and price volatility of Hevea-sourced natural rubbers. The five-year US$6.9 million-Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) grant for guayule rubber research has been completed. The study consortium led by Cooper Tire & Rubber and partners (Clemson University, Cornell University, PanAridus and the Agricultural Research Service - USDA) has announced that the 100% guayule-based concept tyres have “overall performance at least equal to tyres made with Hevea and synthetic rubber.”

Bridgestone and Goodyear worked with the the United Soybean Board to develop soy oil-based tyres

the Missouri-based farmers-producers organisation, the United Soybean Board (USB), the US tyre maker created a tread compound, or formulation, using soybean oil, which is naturally derived, cost-effective, carbon-neutral and renewable. The soybean oil in tyres enables Goodyear to keep the rubber compound pliable in changing temperatures – such as in dry, wet and winter conditions – a key performance achievement in maintaining and enhancing the vehicle’s grip on the road surface. Goodyear’s tests have shown rubber made with soybean oil mixes more easily in the silica-reinforced compounds used in manufacturing certain tyres. This also improves manufacturing efficiency and reduces energy consumption. USB shared in an earlier report that soybean oil in tyres can potentially increase tread life by 10% while reducing the use of petroleum-based oil. Moreover, rubber compounds made with soybean oil blend more easily with the silica used in building tyres, thus helping to improve plant efficiency and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In 2012, Japanese tyre maker Bridgestone also unrolled its Firebrand concept tyre containing 10% or almost 41 l of soybean oil. It explained that one bushel, or an equivalent of 35 kg, of soybeans yields almost 5 l of soy oil. It can be recalled that Goodyear also incorporated other biobased materials into its tyres. In 2015, the Ohiobased company forged a supply agreement with Yihai Food and Oil Industry in China for silica derived from rice husk ash, for use in a consumer tyre it produces and sells in China.

Cooper built more than 450 tyres, replacing various components made with Hevea and synthetic rubber with guayule and testing each for overall performance, to create the industry’s first all-guayule concept tyre. Now, the industry is needed to grow the plants and create largescale manufacturing operations to produce guayule for use in the tyre sector, says the firm

Performance is only half the good news. The guayule rubber tyre is environmentally-friendly too. It has been found to chalk up between 6% to 30% lower emissions in ten different life cycle environmental and energy impact categories, compared with a conventional tyre. For Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, soybeans are magic seeds for its new rubber tyres. With support from

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Rubber Journal Asia Tyre Market Green Rubber Green tyres take a leap forward ack in 2013, guayule was also the centrepiece of a biobased rubber project led by Italy-headquartered Versalis, the chemicals subsidiary of ENI, and US-based Yulex, a company producing agriculture-based biomaterials. Both companies were exploring guayule for consumer, medical and industrial applications, with Versalis constructing an industrial production complex in Southern Europe. Based on the partnership with Yulex, Versalis also went on to sign an agreement with Italian tyre maker Pirelli for a joint research project on the use of guayule in the production of tyres. Another partnership was forged by Versalis two years after with Ecombine Advanced Materials and EVE Rubber Institute, both companies are under Chinese rubber and tyre machinery company Mesnac, to develop a technology for green tyres.

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Versalis has produced bio-based rubber using bio-butadiene from its joint venture with Genomatica

leverages its industrial process engineering and catalysis capabilities, plus expertise in overall polymer production, to purify the 1.3-BDO, dehydrate it and then purify the resulting butadiene. Versalis said it produced several kg of butadiene from 1.3-BDO made in 200 l fermenters at its research centre at Novara and Mantova, and then made bio-polybutadiene, at the Ravenna R&D centre, using both anionic and Ziegler-Natta catalysis. Initial testing of the bio-BDE and bio-BR demonstrates good compatibility with industry standards. Versalis is continuing to test the bio-BDE within its other proprietary rubber and plastics downstream technologies such as SBR (styrene butadiene rubber), SBS (styrene butadiene styrene rubber) and ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene).

Guayule biorubber developed by Yulex and Versalis

The partnership integrates Versalis’s elastomers technologies with EVE’s Advanced Technology for Compound Manufacturing (ATCM) for the production of advanced elastomer compounds that possess enhanced mechanical performances and environment-friendly features.

Plant-based processes for butadiene/feedstock eanwhile, a team of scientists from the Catalysis Centre for Energy Innovation have developed a process to convert plant matter into a chemical used to make rubber as well as plastics. The team, which includes Professors from the University of Delaware, University of Minnesota, and the University of Massachusetts, is able to convert sugars extracted from switch grass, wood chips and other biomass into butadiene. “Butadiene is the chief chemical component in a broad range of materials found throughout society. When this four-carbon molecule undergoes a chemical reaction to form long chains called polymers, SBR is formed, which is used to make abrasive-resistant automobile tyres. When blended to make nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR), it becomes the key component in hoses, seals and the rubber gloves ubiquitous to medical settings,” they explained. The technique was published in the American Chemical Society (ACS) scientific journal Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering. With the process, butadiene may be produced from high yield feedstock with lowcost manufacturing; and could bring particular value to major tyre makers, including Goodyear, Bridgestone and Michelin, the authors said.

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Bio-based butadiene a success eanwhile, Versalis has also achieved a new milestone with US technology firm Genomatica having successfully advanced to pilot-scale production, of bio-butadiene (bio-BDE) from fully renewable feedstock. The project started with the establishment of a technology joint venture between both the firms in 2013. The joint venture – with Versalis having the majority stake – has developed a complete process to make bioBDE and plans to license the resulting technology. Versalis and Genomatica together determined that 1.3-butanediol (1.3-BDO) was the most suitable intermediate to produce bio-BDE. Genomatica applied its ‘whole-process’ systems approach to bioengineering to develop a microorganism that produces 1.3-BDO in a way that enables cost-efficient, scalable fermentation, recovery and subsequent process operations. Versalis

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Rubber Journal Asia Green Rubber Food wastes to green tyres ood wastes like eggshells and tomato peels are being given new lease of life and value. They can replace part of the petroleum-based fillers used in manufacturing tyres, according to researchers at the Ohio State University. In tests, rubber made with the new fillers exceeds industrial standards for performance, which may ultimately open up new applications for rubber. According to lead researcher, Katrina Cornish, the technology has the potential to address three issues, namely, making the manufacture of rubber products more sustainable; minimising dependence on oil, and keeping wastes out of landfills. Cornish’s patent-pending method for turning eggshells and tomato peels into viable, and locally sourced substitute is for petroleum-based filler carbon black. Based on tests the researchers conducted, they found that eggshells have porous microstructures that provide a larger surface area for contact with the rubber, and give rubber-based materials unusual properties.

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Scientists from the University of Delaware, the University of Minnesota and the University of Massachusetts invented a process to make butadiene from renewable sources like trees, grasses and corn

The three-step process developed converts the sugars from woody plants into one compound and then another. The new substance is then mixed with a catalyst called phosphorous all-silica zeolite, also invented by the centre, to create butadiene. Fine-tuning the process is ongoing to make it economically viable for commercial-scale production. Elsewhere, researchers from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) - Animal Sciences of the Ohio State University, led by Dr Thaddeus Ezeji, have developed a process for producing butadiene (2.3-butanediol) from cellulosic materials such as leaves, stems and stalks of plant; sugar, and starch. The invention involves metabolic engineering of a non-pathogenic organism for efficient 2.3-butadiene production and the elimination of interfering exopolysaccharides (EPS) production. According to the researchers, the technology includes low cost media components for the production of 2.3-butanediol as well as compatible technology for its recovery. The new process also reduces feedstock cost by using new, cost effective, renewable substrates and co-substrates such as formate and crude glycerol. “Most 2.3-butadienol producing microorganisms produce EPS, which are associated with two major problems. First, a significant amount of substrates, which should have been used for the synthesis of the butadienol, is used for the production of unwanted EPS; and second, EPS produced during 2.3-butadienol fermentation would make butadienol recovery from the fermentation broth and purification difficult or costly,” said the team. Further experiments are being conducted to galvanise the novel technology.

Food wastes like eggshells and tomato peels can be used to produce an alternative material for petroleum-based filler carbon black in tyres

Tomato peels, on the other hand, are highly stable at high temperatures and can also be used to generate material with good performance. By replacing different portions of carbon black with ground eggshells and tomato peels caused synergistic effect, for instance, enabling strong rubber to retain flexibility, said the researchers. The developed biorubber takes on a reddish brown colour, depending on the amount of eggshell or tomato in it. The university has licensed the patent-pending technology to Cornish’s company, EnergyEne, for further development. The Ohio-headquartered company is also pushing for guayule as a biobased platform to produce natural rubber latex.

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Events 2017

20 - 23 SEPTEMBER T-Plas Venue: BITEC, Bangkok Tel: +65 6332 9644 Email: ailing@mda.com.sg Internet: www.tplas.com 21 - 23 SEPTEMBER Propak Myanmar Venue: MEP, Mindama, Yangon Tel: +95 1512 887 Fax: +95 1513 519 Email: fhawkes@oesallworld.com Internet: www.propakmyanmar.com 24 - 27 SEPTEMBER Iran Plast Venue: Tehran International Permanent Playground Tel: +(98 21) 88620005 Fax: +(98 21) 8805 9835 Email: info@iranplast.ir Internet: www.iranplast.ir 17 - 21 OCTOBER Fakuma Venue: Friedrichshafen, Germany Tel: +49 (0)7261 6890 Fax: +49 (0)7261 689220 Email: info@messe-sinsheim.de Internet: www.fakuma-messe.de 24 - 28 OCTOBER IPF Japan Venue: Makuhari Messe, Tokyo Tel: +886 2 27255200 (Ext 1514) Fax: +886 2 27576018 Internet: www.ipfjapan.jp 1 - 3 NOVEMBER JEC Asia 2017 & ICF Venue: Seoul, South Korea Tel: +33 (1) 58 36 15 00 Email: visitors@jeccomposites.com Internet: www.jeccomposites.com 7 - 10 NOVEMBER Swop 2017 Venue: SNIEC, Shanghai Tel: +86 21 6169 838 Fax: +86 21 6169 8301 Email: swop@mds.cn Internet: www.swop-online.com 7 - 10 NOVEMBER Plastimagen Venue: Centro Citibanamex, Mexico City Tel: +55 1087 1667 Fax: +55 5523 8276 Email: sergiom@ejkrause.com Internet: www.plastimagen.com.mx 15 - 18 NOVEMBER Plasics & Rubber Indonesia Venue: JIEXPO, Indonesia Tel: +62 21 2525 320 Fax: +62 21 2525 032 Email: wiwiek@pamerindo.com Internet: www.plasticsandrubberindonesia.com

INTERNATIONAL OFFICES 6 - 9 DECEMBER Plast Eurasia Istanbul Venue: Tüyap Fair Convention and Congress Center Tel: +90 (0)212 8671100 Fax: +90 (0)212 8869399 Email: arzufirat@tuyap.com.tr Internet: www.plasteurasia.com 11 - 14 DECEMBER Plastivision Arabia Venue: Expo Centre Sharjah, UAE. Tel: +91 22 28271678 Fax: +91 22 28252295 Email: dharamsi@gmail.com Internet: www.plastivision.ae 14 - 16 DECEMBER PPES 2017 Venue: Bangkok, Thailand Tel: +66 2 933 0077 Fax: +66 2 955 9971 Email: expo@technobiz-asia.com Internet: www.plasticsprocessing-expo.com 15 - 18 DECEMBER Plas Print Pack Myammar Venue: Myanmar Event Park (MEP) Tel: +886 2 26596000 Fax: +886 2 26597000 Email: exfdp@chanchao.com.tw Internet: www.myanmar-expo.com/plasprintpack

2018 10 - 12 JANUARY Complast Vietnam Venue: SECC, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tel: +91 97890 95247 Email: plastics@smartexpos.in Internet: www.complastexpo.in 23 - 26 JANUARY Interplastica Venue: Moscow, Russia Tel: +49 211 4560 436 Fax: +49 211 4560 7740 Email: ErbenC@messe-duesseldorf.de Internet: www.interplastica.de 31 JANUARY - 3 FEBRUARY Samuplast Venue: Pordenone, Italy Tel: +39 0434 232209 Email: prosdocimo@fierapordenone.it Internet: www.samuexpo.com 31 - JANUARY - 3 FEBRUARY IPF Bangladesh Venue: BICC, Dhaka Tel: +886 2 26596000 Fax: +886 2 26597000 Email: exfdp@chanchao.com.tw Internet: www.bangla-expo.com/ipf

ADVERTISERS’ ENQUIRIES Check out the Advertisers' page on our website. Information is categorised by the YEAR & DATE of publication for easy reference. For further details, email us at: news@plasticsandrubberasia.com

PRA Digital issue is available ONLINE! www.plasticsandrubberasia.com

Publishing Office/Scandinavia, Benelux & France Postbus 130, 7470 AC Goor, The Netherlands Tel: +31 547 275005 Fax: +31 547 271831 Email: arthur@kenter.nl Contact: Arthur Schavemaker Regional Office SQ9, Block A, Menara Indah, Taman TAR, 68000 Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia Tel: +603 4260 4575 Fax: +603 4260 4576 Email: tej@plasticsandrubberasia.com Contact: Tej Fernandez China & Hong Kong Room 803, No.2, Lane 3518, Road Bao'An, District Jiading, Shanghai Tel: +86 13341690552 Mobile: +86 17751702720 Email: henry.xiao@matchexpo.com Contact: Henry Xiao/Zhu Wei China Room 206, #1, 569 Shilong Rd, Shanghai, China 200237 Tel: +86 21 3368 7053 Mobile: +86 138 1643 7421 Bridge Media 亞橋傳媒 Email: lagopoah.yang@bridgemedia.cn Contact: Lago Poah Yang 楊旋 凱 Southeast Germany, Switzerland & Austria Verlagsbüro G. Fahr e.K Breitenbergstrasse 17 D-87629 Füssen, Germany Tel: +49 8362 5054990 Fax: +49 8362 5054992 Email: info@verlagsbuero-fahr.de Contact: Simon Fahr North-West Germany JRM Medien+Verlag Minkelsches Feld 39 D-46499 Hamminkeln, Germany Tel: +49 2852 94180 Fax: +49 2852 94181 E-mail: info@jwmedien.de Contact: Jürgen Wickenhöfer Malaysia. India, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Korea & Philippines Tara Media & Communications SQ 9, Block A, Menara Indah Jalan 9, Taman TAR, 68000 Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia Tel: +603 4260 4575 Fax: +603 4260 4576 Email: winston@taramedia.com.my Contact: Winston Fernandez Italy, Spain & Portugal MediaPoint & Communications Srl Corte Lambruschini, Corso Buenos Aires, 8, Vo Piano - Interno 9, 16129 Genova, Italy Tel: +39 010 570 4948 Fax: +39 010 553 0088 Email: info@mediapointsrl.it Contact: Fabio Potesta Taiwan 宗久實業有限公司 Worldwide Services 11F-B, No.540 Sec.1, Wen Hsin Rd., Taichung, Taiwan Tel: +886 4 23251784 Fax: +886 4 23252967 Email: global@acw.com.tw Contact: Robert Yu 游宗敏 USA & Canada Plastics Media International P. O. Box 44, Greenlawn, New York 117430, USA Tel/Fax: +1 631 673 0072 Email: charlotte@4m-media.com Contact: Charlotte Alexandra

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PRA magazine September 2017 Digital Edition  
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