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In-mould labelling satisfies the eye of the beholder ›› Eimantas Kiudulas: Klaipeda FEZ is on the European plastics map ›› ‹‹ Made in Space:

introducing ‘in-orbit’ additive manufacturing in space-ready material ‹‹

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CONTENTS Volume 44 • Number 8 • Incorporating European Plastics News and PRW • Price £22

Q&A INTERVIEW 23 Arda Efe In pursuit of growth, Turkey-based Epsan is expanding its operations in Europe. Arda Efe talks about the compounder’s goals and ambitions


Losing the chemistry Industry concerns rise about REACH registrations following Brexit


Lithuania rolls out the welcome mat From tax incentives to multi-functional premises, no effort is spared to attract foreign investment to Klaipeda Free Economic Zone in Lithuania.

12 Fakuma A great show and still going strong after 25 years 16 IML here to stay Robust growth predicted over next 5 years 17 Highlights in IML Developments, awards and innovations 20 Direct container printing eliminates labels Direct digital printing debuts anew


Markets & Business: Klaipeda Free Economic Zone sees huge potential in the plastics industry


Fakuma: A review of the world’s second most important trade show for the plastics industry

22 Decorative and secure: New technology from Morphotonix is ‘uncopiable’ for counterfeiters


23 Bring on the heat Fuelled by trends in the automotive and electronics industries, the market for high-temperature polymers is hot

Plastics Caps & Closures: The caps and closures supply chain gathered in Amsterdam for two days of news and networking

27 Plastics Caps & Closures Successful event demonstrates the importance of a good closure 30 Under Pressure ‘Breaking the disposable bottle paradigm’




Design Landmark Apple Laserwriter

32 Polymer Prices With availability up and demand down, polyolefin prices drop 35 Products and Services 36 Events & Movers



IML is here to stay: In terms of quality, functionality and sustainability, in-mould labelling wins hands down 3



The PDM exhibition and conference is specifically aimed at the design, moulding and recycling aspects of the UK’s plastics sector.




ottish Plast Sc

our past. our present.


oc Ass iation er

and Rubb ics


that time of year


he last issue of the year is one that always gives food for thought. After all, another year has come and gone, and a new one, fresh with opportunity stretches ahead, complete with a new set of challenges and the promise of being able to start again with a clean slate. But first: what a year it has been! It seems but a very short time ago that I wrote my first editorial for Plastics News Europe, introducing myself as the newly minted editor of this publication, and in truth, the seven months that I’ve been with the magazine have flown by. This time last year, the magazine was going through a number of major changes, including the merger with Plastics and Rubber Weekly, aiming to consolidate the magazine’s role as primary source of news and information about the European plastics industry in the UK and on the continent. Today, one year later, it is exciting to see just how much ground we have gained. We are building solid relationships with advertisers and subscribers and working together with the industry to report on developments


EDITORIAL Editor +31 (0)643 004972 Reporter +44 (0)7714 137182 Markets Editor +44 20 8253 9616 Art Director +44 (0)7778 964300

Karen Laird, Editor

across the whole European plastics industry, irrespective of country borders. We have continued on our mission to develop content channels in Europe across print, digital, conference and trade show platforms – a good example was the Plastics Recycling Show that launched this year in Amsterdam with success. The 2018 edition, complete with an awards programme, will be held at the end of April, so designers, brand owners, machinery manufacturers, or anyone else who is involved in any way in plastics recycling should submit their entry now. In short, we are proud of what we have achieved. I would like to offer grateful thanks to everyone who supported Plastics News Europe throughout the past year – in whatever way for their contribution and for helping us grow. I look forward to continuing to work with you all into the future and in years to come. Last but not least: before I close, I’d like to wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy holiday season, however you choose to celebrate – and hopefully, until next year.

Karen Laird Shahrzad Pourriahi David Platt John Woodhatch

ADVERTISING Sales Director +44 (0)7739 302081 Sales Manager +44 (0)1273 251277 Media Services Manager +1 313 446 1665 Marketing Manager +1 313 446 1652 Conference Director +44 7966 881989 Vice President/Group Publisher +1 313 446 6768

Matthew Barber Darren Tindal Miranda Micallef Elizabeth Raetz Donna Bushell Brennan Lafferty

Chairman Vice Chairman President Senior Executive Vice President

Keith E Crain Mary Kay Crain K C Crain Chris Crain

November/december 2017

Benelux, France Arthur Schavemaker Kenter & Co. B.V., Spoorstraat 21, NL-7470 AC Goor, The Netherlands Tel: +31 (0)547-275005 Fax: +31 (0)547-271831 Email: Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Eastern Europe Randolf Krings Emcmedia UG, Kaiser-Friedrich-Ring 46, D-65185, Wiesbaden, Germany Tel: +49 (0)611 5324 416 Mobile: +49 (0)176 384 23044 Fax: +49 (0)611 5324 519 Email: Italy Fabio Potestà Mediapoint & Communications SRL, Corte Lambruschini, Corso Buenos Aires, 8, V piano - interno 7, 16129 Genova - Italy Tel: +39 010 570 49481 Fax: +39 010 553 0088 Email: United States Patrick Cannon Sales Director, Plastics News 1155 Gratiot Avenue, Detroit, Michigan, 48207, USA Tel: +1 313 446 1625 Email:


Plastics News Europe (incorporating European Plastics News) is published by Crain Communications Ltd. Registered Office: 100 New Bridge Street, London EC4V 6JA United Kingdom Registered No. 1576350 England. V.A.T. No. GB 577 6905 84 Printed by Warners Midlands, Bourne, Lincolnshire. ISSN 2058-7902 Advertising terms and conditions are available at © 2017 Crain Communications Ltd. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted without the permission of the publishers. EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS Email to:


Subscriptions, circulation, and credit card payments: Circulation Department, Plastics News Europe, Unit K, Venture House, Bone Lane, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 5SH, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1635 879382 Fax: +44 (0)1635 868594 Email: Europe £220 (per year surface mail) Rest of World £240 (per year airmail) Single copy £22 A member of


Apple LaserWriter A pple has historically been good at getting the credit for inventions borne from Xerox. And so it is with the laser printer. The first laser printer was developed in 1969 by Gary Starkweather at Xerox’s PARC laboratory in Palo Alto, California. And it was actually Hewlett-Packard that brought the first commercial laser printer to market. But Apple

Apple’s LaserWriter of 1985 was credited with starting the DTP revolution

Design Landmark is researched and written by James Snodgrass

tends to get the credit because it hit the market at a revolutionary time. The LaserWriter along with the Macintosh computer, Adobe’s PostScript technology and Aldus’s PageMaker software, is credited with starting the desktop publishing (DTP)

revolution. The Macintosh was an easy-to-use computer that used a mouse to navigate a graphical user interface (another Xerox PARC invention, of course); PostScript was a language for describing the layout of a page, enabling it to be output to a laser printer; PageMaker was a software package for designing leaflets, magazines and newspapers; and LaserWriter was a laser printer with an embedded PostScript engine. Used together, they enabled businesses to create professional-looking documents in house. Suddenly, for around $10,000, businesses could do something that could previously only be achieved on mainframe typesetting systems costing hundreds of thousands. And it is this revolutionary ability, not its aesthetic, that makes the LaserWriter a Design Landmark. In terms of product design the LaserWriter was unremarkable. Like most business machines of that era, it was a beige ABS case enclosing a metal chassis. It looked rather like a scaleddown photocopier. The really intriguing use of plastic occurs in the printing process itself.


(1985) Laser printing works by using a laser to describe the image to be printed on a photoconductive drum. At each point where the laser hits the drum, there is a change in static charge (to approximately -400V) that makes it attractive to toner particles (with a charge of approximately -500V). As the drum passes beneath the toner roller, the toner particles adhere to where the laser has been. When paper is pulled from the paper tray it passes between a transfer roller – giving the paper a positive charge – and the conductive drum. Negatively charged toner from the drum is attracted to the positively charged paper and sticks to it. You would expect the toner to fall off, once the static charge has worn off. But this is where the plastic comes in. Toner is principally made of polyester. At the last stage of the process, the paper is passed through two heated rollers which fuse the polyester (and any pigment such as carbon black) into the fibres of the paper. It’s a real shame that this brilliant and elegant process is hidden from view.


markets & business

Losing the chemistry ECHA has warned that UK plastics chemical firms may suffer because of Brexit. “Fundamental changes are looming”.


he European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has warned of the major impact on British plastics chemical suppliers and their trading partners in Europe, should the UK push ahead with quitting the European Union (EU) as planned, on March 29, 2019. It has released a database seeking to advise chemical producers of how their legal obligations will change. ECHA warns British companies: “If your business is in any way part of a supply chain that links you to businesses located within the 27 EU member states remaining after the UK’s withdrawal, you will face some fundamental changes.” Importantly, UK-based suppliers of any plastics chemicals and additives (monomers are usually registered – not polymers) will have an obligation by May 2018 to register chemicals under EU chemical control system REACH that are made or imported in annual quantities of between one and 100 tonnes. And yet, on March 29, those registrations will become null and void, following a Brexit. As a result, their customers based in the EU (or the European Economic Area – EEA – countries of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), may have to re-register such chemicals themselves, if they want to continue buying them from the British supplier that registered them in the first place.

Options There are two other options, said the ECHA guidance. The British chemical manufacturer will have to relocate to the remaining EU or EEA or appoint what is called an ‘Only Representative’ within the remaining EU/EEA. This is company or person who is authorised to make the relevant filing under REACH and be legally responsible for ensuring a British exporter complies with EU rules. Also, there are significant changes where a UK company was a lead

november/december 2017

registrant for registrations of chemicals involving other companies, including those in the remaining EU. After Brexit, these registrations would also expire, warned ECHA, and companies wanting to ensure their products can be legally sold under REACH would have to appoint a new lead registrant, the British lead registrant would have to move to the remaining EU, or it would become an EU-based ‘Only Representative’. There is also potential serious concern over the use of chemicals that are sufficiently toxic that they require a special REACH authorisation to be used in the EU market. These are held by the companies supplying such chemicals. Where these are British, then after Brexit, said ECHA, “the respective REACH Authorisation will lose its legal effect with the date of the UK withdrawal” and so the EU purchaser will not be able to buy these chemicals from this British supplier. Any buyer of such chemicals in the remaining EU or EEA will have “to assure yourself that you or one of your upstream suppliers based in the EU has obtained a REACH Authorisation for the respective use of the substance, taking the place of your UK-based business partner,” said ECHA. The agency has confirmed to Plastics News Europe that Rolls-


Royce plc has obtained an authorisation to sell plasticiser DEHP (di(2ethylhexyl) phthalate), for example. Another potential risk for UK companies is over biocides. The EU is undertaking a review of all biocidal chemicals used in Europe, to check their safety, under the EU’s biocidal products regulation (BPR). Ultimately, biocidal chemicals sold in the EU need to be formally authorised under the system, with authorisation holders having to be established within the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. So, UK companies with an authorisation to sell biocidal chemicals into these EU and associated companies will have to seek an authorisation to do so from a company based in these export markets.

Labelling There is less concern over the fact that a Brexited Britain would not be covered by the EU’s CLP (classification labelling and packaging) regulation, mainly because it is assumed that this law would end up on the UK Statute Book, via the governments so-called ‘Great Repeal Bill’. Also, the labelling elements of this legislation that are based on the United Nations’ Global Harmonised

➡ Continued on page 8

markets & business

➡ Continued from page 7 System (GHS) will remain obligatory in Britain, as the UK will still implement the GHS. “Thus, for example, the pictograms will be valid within the UK,” said ECHA.

Disruption Without question, these changes will cause disruption for the UK plastics and plastics ingredient industry. Maria Cristina Poggesi, scientific and technical advisor for the Italy Federation of Rubber and Plastics (Federazione Gomma Plastica) said that her company members, being small-and-medium-sized enterprises (with few distributors) will most probably end their trade relations with UK suppliers. “We think it would be very unlikely that they would afford a re-registration, due to economic and organisation efforts,” she told Plastics News Europe. British chemical manufacturers who wanted to try and ameliorate these problems by appointing an ‘Only Representative’ needed to be working hard to collate all previously collected data as this would help a “quick shift to the new EU structure”. Bernhard Reith, purchasing man-

Maria Cristina Poggesi, Federazione Gomma Plastica “Member companies, being smalland-medium-sized enterprises (with few distributors) will most probably end their trade relations with UK suppliers”

ager for international plastics supplier, Austria-based Lenzing Plastics, warned that “it will not be a problem to find a continental Europe replacement” to British suppliers of plastics ingredients. And while “import regulations can be modified on demand within the UK relatively quickly” to ease imports into Britain of plastics and ingredients, for some continent-wide plastics trade issues affecting the UK, “finding a solution with all EU participants on certain topics might be much harder,” he predicted. Such problems could be a real headache for industries such as the auto sector who have multiple plastics components, whose processing might happen in two or three different plants, maybe in different Euro-


pean countries, including the UK. Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the trade association representing more than 700 automotive companies in the UK, said: “Brexit is the greatest challenge of our times”. He noted that an average car is made up of around 30,000 components, “each crossing borders multiple times before the final vehicle is assembled”. As it stands, other EU member states supply 56% of auto industry components used or processed in the UK. How Brexit’s impact on their regulation under REACH and hence on this vital trade remains to be seen. By Keith Nuthall and Diana Yordanova, in Brussels

november/december 2017

markets & business

The largest of the Baltic states, Lithuania is part of the Schengen area and a full-fledged member of the EU and of NATO. The country has the euro as its currency. So why is it that it still tends to be a somewhat unknown entity to many outside of central Europe? Plastics News Europe was invited to visit – and came away impressed.

Lithuania rolls out the welcome mat for industry and manufacturing L ithuania, as it turns out, has quite a lot to offer. During a two-day visit to Klaipeda, which is the northernmost year-round icefree seaport on the Baltic sea, it emerged that in addition to a number of innate advantages, Lithuania has created a raft of interesting opportunities for businesses looking to set up shop there: starting a business in Lithuania is a simple and straightforward process, involving just two procedures, taking 3.5 days and requiring no paid-in minimum capital, if the World Bank’s Doing Business 2016 study is to be believed. The country has put in place facilities ranging from tax incentives and a simplified customs regime to the availability of a complete engineering infrastructure. This includes the ICT infrastructure, which as the country was quick to realise, plays a pivotal role in innovation and, more broadly speaking, in business and investment decisions, as well. “So, now, according to the most recent analyses on 4G coverage around the world, Lithuania ranks first in Europe and third globally for 4G internet coverage”, said Arnoldas Dapkus, investment advisor manufacturing at Invest Lithuania. “Fibre to the premises coverage has reached 95% already.” After gaining independence in 1990, the country also invested strongly in its transportation network – the country has only a small domestic market and, after joining the EU, needed to ensure access to the major European markets. The port of Klaipeda already handles over 40 million tonnes of cargo and is growing strongly. A well-maintained railway system transports this efficiently and quickly from the port to the hinterland, while the road network provides easy connections to the other Baltic states, Russia and Western Europe. Additionally, Klaipeda is only 35 km away from the nearest international airport.

november/december 2017

Klaipeda Free Economic Zone

Free Economic Zone All in all, it is hardly surprising that it was here that the Lithuanian government decided in 1996 to establish one of the in total six free economic zones in the country. Free economic zones (FEZ) are found around the world and are areas in which companies are taxed very lightly – or not at all – to encourage economic activity. The taxation rules are determined by each country. The Klaipeda Free Economic Zone has an area of 412 ha and offers companies ready to build industrial sites with the physical and legal infrastructure and support services they need to get started. To date, 27 companies employing over 2,500 people have signed agreements to operate in Klaipeda FEZ. Two-thirds of the companies are foreign capital companies. Most of the products produced in Klaipeda FEZ are intended for export. The real estate taxes are 0% up to 2045, corporation tax is levied at a rate of 0% the first 6 years and at 7.5


in the subsequent 10 years. There is no tax on dividends. Grants are available for investment in R&D or infrastructure, as are subsidies for employee improvement and training. “Lithuania has a very highly-trained workforce, with a very high percentage of graduates from tertiary education,” Arnoldas Dapkus emphasised. “Especially the Nordic countries know this and take advantage of the quality of our workers.” Moreover, wages in Lithuania are low. “The cost of labour here is four times lower than the EU average,” he said.

Economic motor Klaipeda FEZ is an important motor of the economy of Klaipeda county, accounting for 40% of the foreign direct investment in Klaipeda. In fact, it this year received five awards at the Global Free Zones of the Year 2017 rankings, published annually since 2010 by the Financial Times’ fDi Intelligence service.

➡ Continued on page 10

markets & business

➡ Continued from page 9 “We are most attractive to companies working in the vehicle, plastics, and food industries, and we also see considerable potential for the energy industry,” said Eimantas Kiudulas, CEO of Klaipeda FEZ. Especially plastics: Klaipeda FEZ was the only free economic zone in 2017 to receive the Specialism award in the plastics industry. According to Kiudulas, the current investor portfolio from the plastics industry – which includes leading PET producers OGP, part of Thailand-based Indorama, NEO Group and PET preform producer Retal – has put Klaipeda FEZ on the European plastics map. ‘However, we also see Klaipda in the spotlight of a promising bioplastics industry in the near future together with Klaipeda ‘s municipality,’ said Kiudulas. Investors come to a FEZ, he said, because of tax concessions, but also because of the available infrastructure, experience, and ecosystem created by successfully operating companies.

“This is further strengthened by the institutions of higher education in the Klaipeda region with which strong R&D partnerships exist,” said Kiudulas – a visit to one of which, namely Klaipeda University’s plastics testing lab – was included in the tour that was arranged during the visit to the country.

Innovation These institutions also contribute significantly to the innovation potential of the region. Plastics News Europe was treated to a ride on one of the more visible developments illustrating this potential: the Dancer bus, a new generation lightweight electric city bus. According to project manager Tadas Kubilius, the bus is “the world’s first composite electric bus.” At a mere 6 tonnes, the bus is half of what a normal city bus weighs thanks to the use of glass-fibre composite materials for the body. The forms were made in Sweden. “Our prototype is based on the platform of a stripped down old Škoda TR14 trolleybus, so it is a standard size,” explained Kubillius. “But it’s a total rethink of the concept of the

Interior of the Dancer bus


bus: there are sensors all around – no side-view mirrors are needed – and it is equipped for the Internet of Things. We have also rethought the idea of range. A city bus drives specified routes that are usually not that long. We have therefore opted for batteries with a 50-km range, that can be charged within 6 minutes, rather than trying to go as far as possible on one battery charge.” The bus is a project of UAB “Vejo Projektai”, a Lithuanian and German capital company, developing renewable energy powered electric systems for international markets. While currently still a prototype, it will hopefully be taken into production next year. “We hope to have produced 1000 units by 2025,” said Kubillius.

The plastics perspective Among the companies toured in the Klaipeda FEZ were the two major PET producers with operations in Klaipeda FEZ: Orion Global PET (OGP) and NEO Group, a major PET producer with two production lines and currently accounting for 12% of European PET production. The visit included a tour of Ani Plast, a Russian-owned mid-sized injection moulding operation equipped with modern German-made injection moulding machines, specialised in the production of polypropylene plumbing system. Klaipeda FEZ, said Ani Plast CEO Ruslan Dontov, was chosen as the stepping stone to enter European markets. The company first established a sales office, but, swayed by the convenient location and the various financial incentives, it was decided in 2015 to build production capacity on the site, as well. For PET-producer Indorama, OGP was also the first venture into Europe. The plant started commercial production in 2006 with an annual capacity of 198,000 tonnes and has now debottlenecked to 241,000 tonnes, making it the largest single line plant in Europe with the lowest carbon footprint. It is the largest greenfield investment of Asian capital in Lithuania. At Neo Group, a third production line is under construction that is scheduled to come on stream during the first quarter of 2018. “Our aim is to become the number 2 PET producer in the world,” said Ruslanas Radajevas, production director at Neo Group. “In 2004, we were the biggest greenfield investment made in this zone.” The company has since worked consistently to increase efficiency – in terms of production, cost and energy. “Since 2011, we have produced aromatic polyester polyols from our waste, and we recently doubled that capacity in the second

november/december 2017


quarter of 2017; we also produce green energy from wood and lignin, resulting in very low CO2 emissions, so we also pay attention to sustainability and are involved in the community. We are cost efficient and provide excellent service to our clients,” Radajevas emphasised. “We export 90% of our production, mainly to Europe, with Scandinavia accounting for 27%. The visit to Klaipeda FEZ concluded with a lunch with Viktorija Jureviciute, CEO of Retal Baltic, a member company of the Cyprus-based Retal Group, located in Klaipeda FEZ and a major producer of preforms and HDPE bottle closures.

Port and people Talking to the various companies located in Klaipeda FEZ, it soon became clear that the main reason for settling here was in most cases the same: the location. All the companies visited were full of praise for the proximity to the port, which considerably facilitated import and export logistics, as well as for the people: the high level of training is a major plus, said the NEO Group’s Radajevas. “70% of our workforce, which currently numbers

186, has a university degree,” he said. “And we are going to need another 35 people to run the third production line. Being close to a university offering technical courses, like that of Klaipeda, is vital.” The ease of setting up a business and the infrastructure facilities available were also an often-mentioned advantage – and one Klaipeda is now working to improve on even further. Klaipeda FEZ is currently investing €2.7 2.7 in the construction of a 6,000-sq. m universal prod u c t i o n building for p ro s p e c t i v e investors – the first of its kind in the Baltics and Poland – which will allow newcomers to commence operations in a mere 3 months. Construction is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2018, and negotiations with two potential tenants from Western Europe and Asia are already underway. Launch speed was already a strategic priority, said Klaipeda FEZ’s

Eimantas Kiudulas: “Investors come to a FEZ because of tax concessions, but also because of the available infrastructure, experience, and ecosystem created by successfully operating companies”

general director Kiudulas. “Now we are taking another step forward by investing our own funds in the building that future investors can easily modify for their own production needs and start their production operations in 3 months after signing a contract,” he said. Adding: “As soon as all the premises are rented out, we will start construction of a second building of this type.”







Fakuma 2017 – one for the books When this year’s Fakuma trade show came to an end and the numbers were tallied, it came as no surprise to hear that once again, it had been a rousing success: a total of 48,375 visitors from 128 countries attended the sold-out 25th anniversary edition of the show, in which 1889 exhibitors from 38 countries took part. They came for news, innovations and to network, and were not disappointed. System and standalone solutions in the fields of lightweight design, additive manufacturing and digitalisation, Industry 4.0, new materials, developments in machinery and automation and much more were on display in Friedrichshafen. Here, a brief look at what is necessarily only a tiny selection of the exhibits on show. Injection moulding machine manufacturers once again out in force


At the Wittmann Battenfeld booth, the eye catcher was the new, highspeed, all-electric EcoPower Xpress, targeted specifically at the packaging industry and for thin-walled applications. A 400-tonne press was moulding closures at the booth on a 0996-cavity mould with a cycle time of 2.6 seconds. Shown as a prototype at K2016, the EcoPower Xpress is now available in clamping forces of 400 and 500 tonnes, with injection units in 3 sizes for injection speeds of up to 600 mm/s and injection pressures of up to 2,500 bar. Injection moulding machine builder and systems solution provider Engel also had a new machine on display: the latest addition to the e-mac all-electric series, the e-mac 280. According to Friedrich Mairhofer, Product Manager for electrical machines, “Increasingly larger moulds with more cavities are being used in the teletronics and technical moulding industries in order to increase space productivity and cost efficiency. “With the expansion of the series, we are taking this trend into account,” he explained. All machine movements, including

ejection and clamping, are performed by servo-electric drives for precision and process stability. The machine is equipped with Engel’s CC300 control, which offers the flexibility to easily integrate robots and supports the use of the intelligent assistance systems from Engel’s inject 4.0 programme. Thanks to an optimised toggle-lever geometry, at 6.20 metres, the e-mac 280 is the shortest all-electric injection moulding machine in this clamping force class on the market. Dr. Boy’s newest table top machine, the BOY XXS (63 kN clamping force) was producing tiny game figures made of a foamed PP. The new machine – the baby brother of the XS – features an energy-efficient servo drive and ‘intuitively operable’ Procan ALPHA 4 controller. With its short setup times – an important advantage for small series production and prototype moulding – and optimised clamping plates, the XXS is tailored to the special requirements of micro and sprueless single-cavity injection-moulding. The biggest attractions – literally at the Arburg booth were the two large Allrounder injection moulding machines – the Allrounder 920H and the Allrounder 1120H – with their new design and new Gestica controller. Worldwide sales for the Allround-


er 1120 H with a clamping force of 6500 kN were launched at Fakuma. Sumitomo-Demag showed a selection of the company’s current portfolio of injection moulding machines, with three machines on display at the company’s own booth and three more at the booths of various partner companies. Highlights were the latest generation of the all-electric IntElect series, a highspeed El-Exis SP machine for injection compression moulding of decorated thin-walled packaging lids and a multi-component Systec Multi injection moulding machine with an Industry 4.0 application. KraussMaffei and Netstal announced the introduction of a new leasing scheme that will be piloted in Germany: in collaboration with a leading international leasing company, various standard machines up to 3,000 kN, can be leased under a contract that includes service and insurance as options. At the end of the leasing period, the customer can decide whether to lease a new model, take over the existing one or simply return the machine. “Our customers often receive orders with periods from four to seven years. Those who buy a machine specially for this purpose have to get use out



Wittmann Battenfeld EcoPower Xpress 400/3300 manufacturing HDPE closing caps in a 96-cavity mould supplied by Plastisud

of it afterwards. In our program, the customer can have the flexibility to rent production capacity only for the required period,” explained Nadine Despineux, Vice President Sales at KraussMaffei.

Connectivity One of the main themes among the machinery manufacturers was the ever-expanding possibilities offered by ‘connectivitity’ and Industry 4.0. KraussMaffei launched the newest addition to its Plastics 4.0 suite of products at Fakuma with the introduction of a new manufacturing execution system called MaXecution at Fakuma 2017. The new system is tailored to the requirements of small injection moulding companies, said the company. MaXecution is based on MES Hydra from MPDV Mikrolab GmbH of Mosbach, Germany and is available in three versions, depending on the level of complexity and depth of visibility the customer wants. The system offers a compact solution to help processors achieve a better “capacity utilisation of their machinery pool and increase their overall equipment effectiveness”, said Hans Ulrich Golz, president of KM’s injection moulding machine segment. He added that even with the basic model, users can expect to see a 3-5% increase in efficiency. Netstal launched two innovative products from the Plastics 4.0 family; its e-service and the cloud-based production monitoring platform AnalytiX. Versatile electronic functions providing information and direct communication will further increase production efficiency. Both AnalytiX and the e-service will be available from the second quarter of 2018. Furthermore, Netstal machines can also be linked via standard Euromap interfaces to KraussMaffei’s new MaXecution MES system. And at Engel, Industry 4.0 has, worldwide, been one of the “strongest growth drivers”, according to CEO

Stefan Engleder; plus, it has led to a new type of customer relationship. “More and more, we are accompanying our customers throughout the entire life cycle of injection moulding machines and production cells. Among other things, this involves even more intense consulting in planning production solutions, new possibilities in after-sales service such as predictive maintenance, continuous process optimisation and the flexible adaptation of production solutions to changing tasks. In order to fulfil these requirements to our customers’ complete satisfaction, we will require even more highly qualified and committed employees in future than we do today.” By the end of the financial year in March 2018, he said, Engel expects to employ 6,400 people worldwide. At Wittmann Battenfeld the emphasis was on the integration of injection machines and auxiliaries into a network under “Wittmann 4.0.” For the first time, Wittmann’s Aton wheel-type dryer was shown integrated into the Unilog B8 machine controller, along with previously integrated robots, Tempro TCUs, Gravimax blenders, and Flowcon water-flow controllers. Arburg was demonstrating Industry 4.0 in practice, with the produc-

A Netstal Elion on display on the stand


tion of elastic tension straps in different lengths and colours and with different end pieces from shot-toshot, in accordance with customer requirements. Overmoulded inserts can be produced ‘on demand’ in multiple variants, yet cost-effectively and in high-volumes, said Heinz Gaub, Managing Director Technology & Engineering at Arburg.” In industrial practice, such an application is ideal for cable assembly in the automotive industry, for example,” he explained. The company also presented its remote maintenance tool and the ALS host computer system with two new modules: Energy Visualisation, for order-specific allocation and display of energy data; and Mobile Maintenance, which allows maintenance and servicing via mobile devices.

Robots and auxiliaries get smart, too Robot manufacturers were also emphasising the need for openness and connectivity. Below, a few highlights. “All the talk today is about Industry 4.0 and the factory of the future,” said Jean-Michel Renaudeau, CEO of Sepro Group. “At Sepro, we believe that achieving connectivity between systems is just one part of a much larger challenge. To us, Industry 4.0 demands that people, machines, and companies ‘connect’ in much more significant and powerful ways, ways that allow them all to perform to their highest potential.” The company was showcasing eight of its newest robots for small- to medium-sized injection-moulding machines, including two of three new small 6-axis, articulated-arm “universal” robots developed in partnership with Yaskawa-Motoman. The 6X-140 and 6X170 on display, and a third unit, the 6X-70 demonstrated the ease and intuitiveness of programming and integrating the robots using Sepro’s Visual 3 control system. Two Sepro Stäubli articulated-arm robots – the

➡ Continued on page 14 13



➡ Continued from page 13


6X-90L and 6X-160 – which were developed for technical applications on IMMs from 80-200 and 150-500 tonnes, respectively were also shown. Wemo Automation presented its Wemo Connect system, which, said the company, allows users to easily connect a software module to the robot or moulding machine over an internal WiFi connection or a 3G/4G network for remote monitoring of the current availability status, the number of items produced or interruptions. The system, installed on all the robots on the booth, supports Apple and Android mobile devices. The company was also showcasing the Wemo 3-5 eDesign, a new range of compact linear robots for sprue and part handling, and its new space-saving tandem concept, in which two robots were mounted on the same main Z-axis. At the booth of Star Automation, an integrated TZ-1500HM side-entry robot was shown on a BMB ekW16pi injection moulding machine. According to Star, this integration, complete with a dedicated screen, represents “a new step in the sector, as with such a system it is much simpler for the operator to control both the machines at the same time, above all through an easily displayed and operated interface”. Pride of place at the Piovan booth was its new Easytherm line of temperature controllers featuring a new internal and external layout and redesigned ergonomic control, that “guarantees an intelligent management of consumption”, said the company. It is already set up for use in Industry 4.0 environments with open standards, such as the integrated OPC-UA protocol. The company was also showing its Winenergy system for monitoring and analysing energy consumption. The system, consisting of proprietary software, can be connected to a series of measuring instruments capable of detecting data

The Sumitomo-Demag IntElect control cabinet is integrated in the machine bed, enlarging the space around the machine used for downstream units and improving operator access to the nozzle area and complete clamping unit.

related to different physical quantities, such as power, electricity, thermal energy, temperature. Piovan says that Winenergy can be installed individually or together with Winfactory 4.0 in order to maximise the system control and efficiency.

Compounding matters Kraiburg TPE presented its newly developed TPE compounds – the latest addition to the Thermolast K product group and the result, said the company, of its “advanced development processes” – featuring outstanding adhesion to EPDM, high resistance to UV radiation and weather influences, and good flow properties. Pilot projects include window seals consisting of EPDM profiles with moulded TPE corner joints. At the Akro-Plastic stand, a new product series based on thermoplastic polyesters – PBT, PET and various polyester blends – could be viewed, marketed under the Precite brand. The portfolio is comprised of reinforced compounds with up to 50 % glass fibres. The series includes PBT/ASA and PBT/SAN blends, which have a lower warping behaviour and are therefore suitable for larger components. PBT/ PC and PBT/PET-based compounds are available for applications requiring

Arburg’s Allrounder 920 H


high-quality surface finishes, the company said. It added that polyester compounds are characterised by low moisture absorption, excellent dimensional stability and good mechanical properties, making them ideal for use in the automotive and E&E industry where high levels of precision and tight tolerances are important. For PolyOne, Fakuma 2017 was the first event in Europe where the company exhibited the high temperature thermoplastics compounded by Comptek (Diez, Germany), a company PolyOne acquired in late 2016. The Comptek materials include all those at the peak of the thermoplastics pyramid, with formulations based on PEEK, PSU, pPSU, pEI and other high temperature thermoplastics. The company was also showing a range of applications that customers have developed with its specialty materials. Recently commercialised applications on display included a paint replacement project for a vacuum cleaner part, and a DIY whipped cream maker, moulded from a PolyOne compound, that was on sale earlier this year at a leading global supermarket chain. Visitors to the stand also saw three commercial applications of the company’s Therma-Tech thermally conductive materials. For each of these, PolyOne’s customers approached it about replacing the metal used as a heat sink in lighting. A PolyOne spokesman noted that the company has built a significant body of knowledge around managing heat with thermoplastics, and this experience is proving very attractive to manufacturers of lighting and other applications that require the management of heat. The replacement of metal with engineered polymers, without compromising on positive aspects of metal such as strength and thermal or electrical conductivity, continues to be of great interest to OEMs, moulders and other manufacturers, he added.


24th & 25th April 2018

RAI, Amsterdam







MATTHEW BARBER +44 (0)1622 370570


packaging & decoration

in-Mould Labelling is here to stay When it comes to creating head-turning packaging in the food, personal care and consumer sectors, In-Mould Labelling (IML) triumphs over adhesive printed labels for quality, production costs, sustainability and those all-important emotional brand connections, says packaging expert Kevin Heap.


Kevin Heap

rom a quality perspective, IML leads the way, said Kevin Heap, packaging expert at Sumitomo (SHI) Demag UK. An unlimited range of colours, images and graphic designs can be applied to lids and containers using IML, resulting in photo-like images to create highly decorative and visual shelf displays. Brand owners can opt for matt or gloss finishes. Shaped packaging containers lend themselves well to IML, with food and FMCG poised for massive growth. In the food sector, products with dual compartments, such as yoghurt pots or snack dips, are also more commonplace today. “Sticking printed self-adhesive labels onto these less traditional packaging styles can be challenging,” said Heap. “Because injection moulded labels are applied in the mould, it is much simpler for converters and manufacturers to achieve a consistently high quality finish.” While label application techniques vary, in injection moulding the most common approach is to index pre-cut labels into the mould using a dedicated robotic arm, and immobilise them using vacuum or static electricity. The polymer is then rear-injected into the mould, while heat and pressure are carefully adjusted to deliver the required degree of melt in the film. Most IML processes are automated and longer term this can save a

Ultra-thin packaging market presses ahead with new technique Compression injection moulding is one of the most recent developments in the thin wall packaging sector and is being rapidly adopted by converters using stack moulds for the mass-production of disposable food packaging containers. By applying injection compression techniques, packaging moulders can reduce the wall thickness of containers and lids from 0.45mm to 0.35mm. This saves around 25% in raw polypropylene materials compared to the standard injection moulding process, while maintaining comparable mechanical properties.

business a significant sum on resources. In addition, the decoration aspect of their labelling can now be brought in-house rather than outsourcing, streamlining production and realising further cost savings. Corey Reardon, CEO at market research company AWA Alexander Watson Associates, has said that based on global IML volume, the injection moulding format (IML-IM) currently dominates at 73% in comparison to 26% for IML extrusion blow moulding and a mere 1% for thermoforming. In Europe, however, a much deeper penetration of the technology in Europe is seen: currently 95% is IML-IM compared to the other IML alternatives. Industry commentators predict that injection moulded IML will continue to grow the most rapidly of all primary-packaging label technologies between now and 2024. In part, this can be attributed to more widespread adoption of thin and now, ultra-thin walled packaging.

Decorative functionality Independent packaging expert Neil Farmer is not surprised. “Despite being around for over two decades, IML is certainly gaining more traction,” he observed. “Packaging today has reached a cross roads, where sustainability, innovation and cost efficiencies are all important. Now, more than ever, consumers seek clarity and information such as ingredients and nutritional value, function and safety to be communicated clearly and in a way that is easily understood. It’s all about the 7 second ‘blink of an eye moment’ when purchasing decision is made. By improving the packaging and labelling on products, manufacturers can retain trust and confidence in their brands. IML is one of the techniques to help accomplish this.” Compared to other decorative techniques, IML is also much more flexible. “For instance, you can easily adjust the format of the label to the packaging. It is even feasible to change the artwork during the production


process,” explained Kevin Heap. For markets like confectionery, the adoption of IML is especially beneficial. Eager to eliminate the secondary decoration process, move to lighter weight containers and reduce scrap rates, IML caters for varied tub sizes, seasonal gift packs and anniversary editions, generating full-colour IML graphics easily, to provide strong visual and brand reinforcement with quick processing changeovers. In the personal care market, too, the use of IML technology is rising. Moulded labels are more resilient: the labels don’t peel off and are water resistant. “For items like shampoo bottles, this helps to enhance the consumer experience,” Heap pointed out. While label substrates have become thinner – most filmic IML labels are around 40 microns – they have also advanced from decorating a small portion or strip of a pack to covering the entire container. For fresher foods, such as baked items, this is a big development as labels can incorporate multilayer barriers and even provide full coverage to minimise oxygen penetration into the pack, extending shelf life and reducing product waste. Moreover, because the label is printed directly onto the packaging material, householders can recycle the packaging as a single container, making packaging more environmentally friendly. From a manufacturers’ perspective, printing the text and visuals directly onto packaging also means fewer resources are being used. Previous challenges, such as label distortion on deeper containers – for instance ice cream tubs and yellow fats - have also been solved. It is now possible to apply labels to containers 80mm deep, while staying consistent and true. Smaller production runs are also feasible, with digital technology especially suited to shorter IML runs.

november/december 2017


Highlights in IML innovations In-mould labelling continues to provide stunning decoration on plastic packaging. David Vink reviews developments in IML films, including awards and live IML demonstrations at Fakuma 2017


ioriented polypropylene BOPP film producer Treofan announced in October a new thicker 70µm version of its EUP50 and EUP60 in-mould labelling (IML) films, which feature a matt surface on both sides. The new 70µm thick EUP70 film is said by Treofan to be aimed at meeting performance required with high-speed sheet-fed offset printing, on account of high stiffness, yet low density. As reported in the Plasrics News Europe July/ August issue, Treofan exhibits at Interpack 2017 in April included white thick solid and voided in-mould labelling and transparent “no-label look” IML film. Another BOPP film producer, Innovia Films, has also come up with a “no-label look” solution, first launching its new 58µm RayoForm ICU “crystal clear” IML film, produced in “a unique bubble process”, at Interpack 2017. The company said the new film “exceeds industry standards” in the number of sheets/ hour printed. It added that “balanced mechanical properties” offer potential for “SKU” (stock keeping unit) reduction, since sheets can be

Coveris supplies injection compression moulded (ICM) tubs from serial production to Unilever


sheet-fed in multiple directions, due to high stiffness. Innovia told Plastics News Europe that printers “would otherwise need to stock multiple sheet sizes, thereby increasing their stocks”, meaning here more “SKUs”. The company also claims “maximisation” of moulding performance through faster label handling, enhanced container shape retention and more efficient stacking.

IMDA awards The IMDA in-mould decoration association’s 2017 innovation awards went to 12, mainly packaging, applications and involved IML labels from Rahning in Germany (since March 2017 part of Beucke), Korsini-SAF in Turkey, Verstraete in Belgium and Zomazz in the US. Zomazz was awarded for the best prototype part for its Crystal Coaster, developed using a clear IMD film with Swarovski crystals in different colours, which are visible on the outer side of the film but applied by proprietary crystal placement & adhesion technology on the moulded side of the film. A Matt & UltraGloss label from Verstraete resulted in a best label design silver award for the container produced in the US by Berry Plastics of Evansville, Indiana for Sno-balls To-Go ice cream, the matt part of the label providing natural paper-like appearance and feel, the ultra high gloss part enhancing colours, especially darker ones. Describing the combined IML label, Verstraete says it has created “packaging that jumps off the shelf”, however, in cases where UltraGloss IML labels are used on their own, Verstraete suggests use of a higher static charge for “optimal processing”. The IML labelled PP package re-


Injection compression moulded (ICM) tubs were produced by BMB at Fakuma

IMDA and WorldStar award winner: PolyOak package for Dairymaid Country fresh ice cream

placed the paperboard container and lid used at the 2011 product launch. Orkla Food’s Pauluns & Lovemade Oxo baby food and soup containers won a best product family award for high barrier properties achieved by combining a Superlok container from RPC Besancon and a Korsini-SAF 120° C, 80 minutes autoclave-resistant oxygen barrier label. The pack withstands post-filling sterilisation and can have partially undecorated spaces, exposing the container for some transparency and creating a visual impression of a glass container.

➡ Continued on page 18

packaging & decoration

➡ Continued from page 17 Having previously earned an AfriStar 2016 award, followed by a WordStar packaging award at Interpack 2017, the Dairypack Tubs division of Polyoak Packaging also picked up an IMDA 2017 award with Verstraete in the best thinwall category for new 1.5 and 1.8 litre Dairymaid Country fresh ice cream packaging. It is the first such packaging in South Africa to use an IML label covering the entire tub and lid, including the top of the lid’s rim. Aside from efficient stacking, the packaging with its orange-peel surfaced “mouth-watering IML labelling” was said to have been produced with “advanced injection moulding technology” that cut weight by 10% over conventionally moulded packaging through lower wall thickness. Polyoak had earlier reduced weight the same way on the

Star Automation produced square IML labelled tubs on its Fakuma stand

Butro Clover tub, a WordStar 2014 award winner that is labelled 360 degrees around and designed with “no straight lines” in order to attract attention on store shelves.

IMDA award winner: Orkla Food’s Pauluns & Lovemade Oxo baby food and soup container

for online tracking. The melt flow index (MFI) 70 high impact strength PP material used was the PPC12642 grade from Total. Plastisud separately gave prominence to the process on its stand as having been patented by the company. This is for “a combination of injection compression moulding with stack moulds, guaranteeing two perfectly balanced parting lines with a very low dispersion rate”. Plastisud said the process, as shown by BMB, has the same cycle time as standard injection, but enables 20% weight saving through improved ability to reduce wall thickness, while 40% lower clamping force enables use of a smaller injection moulding machine. Plastics News Europe has seen Plastisud and Machine Pagès previously partnering with Netstal with a similar IML tub, having starting work on it in 2013 and moulding it at Fakuma 2015 on an Elion hybrid drive machine, also with 5 seconds cycle time. Plastics News Europe also identified

rigid packaging producer Coveris at Interpack 2017 as having meanwhile applied the Plastisud stack mould system injection compression moulding (ICM) system in 2015 for serial tub production for Unilever. A eKW 16Pi/700 all-electric drive BMB machine featured in an IML demonstration on the Star Automation stand, involving a TZ-1500HM II side-entry robot removing moulded tubs and stacking them vertically in groups on the conveyor belt, ready for palletising. The square, one-litre 0.38mm thick tubs, in a Borealis grade of PP, bore a Verstraete orange-peel effect surface wrap around IML label and were produced in a Hofstetter mould. Robot and moulding machine controls were displayed on a single control panel screen, easing the production cell operator’s tasks, as well as forming the basis for remote production monitoring according to Industry 4.0 principles. Dutch injection moulding machine producer Stork moulded 220ml

Live at Fakuma Most, but not all IML demonstrations at Fakuma 2017 involved hybrid drive injection moulding machines. Italian injection machine producer BMB ran an eKW 35PI/2200 hybrid drive machine, producing IML-labelled 450ml rectangular tubs with 5 seconds cycle time. It involved “advanced moulding technology” by use of injection-compression moulding with a Plastisud 4+4-cavity stack mould with two parting lines. A Machines Pagès handling system applied the Verstraete 5-sided metallic effect IML labels and removed finished tubs from the mould. Camera inspection and production fault rate analysis was available also

New Rayoform ICU film for higher productivity with offset-printed IML labels


november/december 2017


round tubs in the FPC 100 grade of PP from Sabic with 2.7 seconds cycle time in an 8-cavity mould and side-entry take-out robot from Brink on a Stork Food-Line 3300-1450 hybrid drive machine. The Verstraete Mat & UltraGloss IML labels applied to the 0.35mm thick tubs included a QR dot matrix code, used for correct label application and position monitoring in a 2-camera inspection system. Stork revealed that it sold the Fakuma production line to IPL Plastics in the US, whose name was included on the IML labels applied to the tubs. Brink was also involved in a demonstration on the Arburg stand, using a Verstraete IML label printed

IML tubs moulded by Stork at Fakuma for its US customer IPL Plastics

One-litre tub moulded with IML label and handle by Roboplas on an Arburg hybrid machine at Fakuma

with invisible ink to check label alignment in a vision inspection system. The 125ml tub was 0.32mm thick and was moulded with two seconds cycle time in a 4-cavity mould on an Arburg hybrid drive A570 with cycle time below 1.9 seconds. An Arburg A630 2300 HiDrive hybrid drive machine also moulded a PS from Ineos into a one-litre tub on the stand of automation specialist Roboplas in a 2-cavity mould from Erkoc Kalip, Turkey with 4.5 seconds cycle time, applying an orange-peel wrap-around label from Verstraete.

SHI Sumitomo Demag used a mould from French mouldmaker Rouxel to mould thin-wall IML packaging lids in a PP material from Borealis and with Verstraete IML labels by injection compression moulding on an El-Exis SP 200-920 hybrid machine. Machines Pagès robots handled part removal from the mould and downstream operations. Demag stressed similar mechanical properties yet 25% lower material consumption compared with standard injection moulding, along with low lid warping, all due to using injection compression rather than standard injection moulding.





packaging & decoration

direct container printing eliminates labels Direct digital printing has potential to substitute conventional labelling. David Vink reviews design freedom, cost efficiency and production flexibility benefits of the new Krones DecoType Select machine shown at Drinktec 2017


ince 2013, bottle stretch blow moulding and filling machinery & systems producer Krones has been working on its “DecoType” direct digital printing technology that literally and in reality adds an additional dimension to bottle decoration. It presented its first prototype DecoType system at Drinktec 2013 beverage industry fair. And at Drinktec 2017 in September, Krones announced that DecoType has meanwhile reached product maturity, its commercial feasibility now justifying full market introduction. The highly versatile DecoType Select direct digital drop-on-demand (DOD) inkjet printing machinery shown at Drinktec 2017 operates with a 2,400 mm diameter carousel as its core element, protected by a collision-monitoring system. Unlike conventional labelling, with associated inconvenience of label purchase and storage, DecoType printing can be applied to innovative new bottle designs with complex shapes and surfaces with high embossed relief structures up to 205mm height, or debossed ones, creating “amazing optical and touch effects”. This applies irrespective of whether bottles are made of HDPE, PET or PP, and also to areas that simply cannot be labelled. Krones said it only requires pressing a button to choose individual artwork for the decoration, then to immediately print the 360 dots-per-inch (DPI) resolution decoration just-in-time for the required “wow effect”, which “melts” optical appearance and touch into a

Florian Lauterbach, Krones: “We can really save money in running operation compared with conventional silkscreen printed selfadhesive labels”

The new Krones DecoType Select digital printing machine

“multiple sensing experience”. Low-migration UV-curing inks can be centrally fed to up to 14 integrated but exchangeable printing module units and 5-litre bag-in-box RFID-identifiable ink containers can be filled during running production, a full ink load sufficing for an 8-hour printing shift. Equipped with a Konica Minolta print head, DecoType Select can print up to seven inks on the front side, up to five on the rear side, at speeds of up to 24,000 rectangular and 10,000 cylindrical containers/hour. The DecoType Performance machine for cylindrical PET containers with a Xaar print head runs even faster: 36,000 bottles/hour, but is limited to a maximum 190mm relief height. “Compact” and “Lab” versions with Xaar heads print PET bottles at up to respectively 5,000 and 120 bottles/hour. Using DecoType technology, bottle makers can produce extremely small lots economically, benefiting from a short time-to-market, as well as the ability to rapidly adjust to changing market requirements. Exploitation of social media, augmented reality and prize competitions is facilitated through printing of e.g. QR dot matrix codes along with the decoration. Printed images are based on a white ink base for opacity, brilliance and adhesion, then combined with application of CYMK (cyan, yellow, magenta, key = black) colour tones. There are also options of special colours and extension into hexachrome effect colours. As simple as the process sounds, Krones says objects to be printed need to be subjected on all sides to unspecified pre-treatment. And there is an intermediate drying stage after front side printing, prior to 180-degree rotation for rear-side printing, followed by decoration ink cure in a UV-tunnel. But system flexibility remains high through


automatic print head cleaning. Krones say early adopters of DecoType printing need not fear the new technology, as the company can provide suitable container designs, advise on material choice and get the system up and running within customers’ industrial workflow. At Drinktec 2017, Florian Lauterbach, digital printing technology development manager at Krones since 2014, said the new Decotype Select line has been enhanced since the first model shown at Drinktec 2013, as it

Digitally printed bottles in the Krones Decotype Select machine at Drinktec 2017

can now accommodate up to 14 printing units, compared with six, and runs twice as fast than the earlier version’s 12,000 bottles/hour limit. Lauterbach added “We can really save money in running operation compared with conventional silkscreen printed self-adhesive labels, as DecoType is much less expensive in ink costs and has the great advantage of high flexibility. This is the USP, as not only can we digitally print, we can also decorate differently sized and shaped containers, from personal care to beverage applications.”

november/december 2017

machined. melted. extruded. welded. compounded. blow molded. injection molded. We’ve got it covered. casted. fabricated. foamed. thermoformed. rotation molded. vacuum formed. cooled. heated. sealed. Innovation. Technology. Sustainability. From equipment and trends to the people advancing thermoset. plastics manufacturing, NPE2018: The Plastics Show has it covered. Be there to discover new ways to packaged. maximize efficiency, advance your operations and achieve success. transported. consumed. REGISTER TODAY AT NPE.ORG recycled. MAY 7–11, 2018 | ORL ANDO, FL , USA

packaging & decoration

Demand for caps and closures is forecast to soar over the coming years, creating ever more potential for counterfeiters to strike. A Swiss start-up company has the solution.

decorative and secure C

ounterfeiting is a global phenomenon that has assumed gigantic proportions over the past years. One favourite tactic is to refill bottles with fake contents, although some counterfeiters go so far as to produce completely fake packaging, or even new bottles. Copying trusted brands, these fake products not only threaten brand integrity, they can also contain ingredients that are inferior or downright harmful to consumers’ health. While various solutions have been developed, most involve more complex designs and added features such as RFID labels, safety shrinkwraps or covert-ink technology. Now, a young Swiss company called Morphotonix ( has introduced a new approach that is claimed to offer “zero implementation cost per unit and instant consumer authentication”. Based on its patented technology platform, says the company, the process is seamlessly integrated in standard production and requires no consumables or additives.

Nano-engraving Morphotonix has developed a technology to integrate diffractive designs and nano-security codes directly into plastic products and packaging caps, bottles, toys, pharma, personal care, automotive, and much more. The company designs and nano-engraves custom features with a resolution of 130,000dpi directly in the steel surface of the mould cavities used to produce moulded plastic products and packaging. The customers’ moulds are sent to Morphotonix, where they are nano-engraved with custom security features and designs and subsequently returned to the customer, ready for production. The designs are “replicated into the plastic”, thus embedding security features directly in the products, which preserves the material purity during standard production processes, while yielding uncopiable visual effects and covert security. No printing, labelling or post-processing is necessary, according to the company. “When used on caps and closures with tamper-evident features, it authenticates the originality of the product inside: it becomes a solution against illegal re-fill, easier to implement and more secure and sustainable than tamper-evident

Kisico’s anticounterfeiting HologramCap

shrink-sleeves and labels”. The technology can currently be applied to injection moulded products, with a focus on moulded caps and closures, and blow-moulded bottles. The products secured with it range from vitamins and agro-chemicals, to lubricants for automotive. The plastic packaging has a ‘brilliant’ design that is impossible to replicate from the moment it is manufactured, with no additional steps or change in production. Using their proprietary technology, the lifetime of the nano-engraving in the mould can achieve the same lifetime as the mould.

Hologram cap One early adopter of the technology is Kisico GmbH, a German producer of caps and closures, who in March last year launched the first commercial product using Morphotonix’ technology. Called the HologramCap, the design features a hologram that is fully integrated in the production process of the cap, as the extremely fine diffractive elements are nano-patterned directly on the steel mould. No modification of the pro-


cessing equipment or process is required – the caps can simply be moulded in the usual way. The style of the hologram can be individualised according to customer needs. The technology can be applied to any existing cap, and can therefore also be used to differentiate between products, highlighting their individual qualities. According to Kisico, the solution is especially interesting for the pharmaceutical industry and brand owners who package high-priced products. When combined with a tamper-evident ring, the HologramCap “offers the most advanced protection for consumer and brand owner on the market,” the company stated.

Who is Morphotonix? Morphotonix was founded in 2014 in Switzerland as a high-tech start-up from EPFL (the Swiss Federal Technical Institute of Lausanne), by Veronica Savu (CEO) and Vaida Auzelyte (CTO). The company’s proprietary platform is based on over 40 years of expertise in nanotechnology and the first products secured by it were introduced on the market in 2016.

november/december 2017


Bring on the heat High-temperature plastics are currently some of the hottest materials around. And it is not just the automotive industry that is driving their growth.

: Photo d Ma






A SpaceX Dragon is seen berthed to the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station. Inset: PEI/PC object 3D-printed in space ce

or and exterior components in the automotive and aerospace industries. Moreover, these plastics are also increasingly finding their way into under the hood applications in the automotive industry. Using plastics instead of metal saves weight, helping to increase fuel economy and decrease emissions. At the same time car engines are becoming ever smaller and more compact, precisely for those same reasons. However, they are often subsequently boosted with a turbocharger or similar device, leading to higher temperatures, increased pressures and the use of more aggressive coolants, which places heavy demands on the plastics used.

Top of the pyramid High-temperature plastics are the plastics nestling at the top of the plastics pyramid: the fluoropolymers, polyketones, polyphenylene sulfides, polysulfones, high performance polyamides and the polyimides. Fluoropolymers, discovered back in 1938, have long been valued for their low coefficient of friction and resistance to water, chemicals and heat. Earlier this year, researchers at IBM’s Almaden laboratories in San Jose, California, developed a new class of polymers distantly related to fluoropolymers, polyethers and polysulfides, called fluorinated poly arylthioethers, which contain a sulfur compound not present in conven-


tional fluoropolymers. The commercial potential of the new materials remains to be explored. Among the fastest growing types of high-temperature polymers, according to a recent report from technology research and advisory company Technavio, are the aromatic ketone polymers, with growth projected at a CAGR of nearly 10% over the period 2017-2021. Known as AKPs for short, they are a group of aromatic polymers that have ketonic carbonyl groups as the major linkage in the polymer chain. Commercialised in the 1980s, these polymers, the best known of which are PEEK, PEKK and PEK – offer outstanding thermal stability, mechanical properties, and chemical resistance, and are suitable for use in particularly demanding applications. Of these, PEEK – polyether ether ketones – occupied a dominant 82% of the global AKP market in 2016, and their share is expected to increase over the forecast period. “The exceptional melt processability of these products is driving the dominance of the market segment,” said Ajay Adikari, a lead analyst at Technavio for plastics, polymers, and elastomers research. According to the Technavio report, demand for polyetherketone ketones (PEKK) is being driven by their enhanced structural performance that enables their processing at temperatures in the range of 121˚C – 204˚C

➡ Continued on page 24

Photo: Nasa


n recent months, a handful of reports have appeared, all forecasting robust growth for the high-temperature engineering plastics market. One report, with the somewhat unwieldy title: “High Temperature Thermoplastics Market by End-use Industry (Transportation, Electrical & Electronics, Industrial, Medical), Resin Type (High Temperature FPs, HPPA, PPS, SP, LCP, AKP, PI), Temperature Range, and Region – Global Forecast to 2022” estimates that this market, worth some $14.38 bn in 2017, will reach $21.70 bn by 2022, demonstrating a 5-year CAGR of 8.57%. Market research consultancy Stratistics MRC looked in its report at the period 2015-2017, and arrived at a CAGR of 8.2%. In short, this is a market where robust growth is an ongoing trend, despite the fact that these are materials that generally come with a hefty price tag. So, what exactly are high-temperature plastics? Plastics able to withstand temperatures – retaining their physical properties and thermal stability – of 150˚C and above are classified as high-temperature plastics. High-temperature plastics have a high level of toughness, strength, stiffness, and resistance to fatigue, wear and UV. They also exhibit high resistance to fire, chemicals and solvents. Their exceptional properties make high-temperature plastics suitable for use in industries where extreme conditions are known to occur. They are often found in applications such as electrical devices, medical devices, automotive, aerospace, telecommunications, and environmental monitoring to name but a few. The main driver for market growth is, however, increasing investments in new manufacturing plants for automotive and aerospace development. This growth stems from the increasing use of plastics due to their superior mechanical properties, chemical resistance, and high heat stability, for interi-


for low load applications, owing to the semi-crystalline nature of the material. PEKK is used in press moulding of prepregs, injection moulding, sheet, film, and fabric composites. Also, polyetherketone ketone is the most sought after material in the printed plastics segment. “Polyetherketones – PEK – exhibit mechanical and physical material stability at elevated temperatures, exceptional chemical resistance, and can withstand deformation at higher loads. These properties make it suitable to be used in aircraft structure, space components, and structural engineering components,” said Adikari. PEK is also used in applications such as flexible printed circuit board (PCBs) and products for aerospace and radiation environments owing to its flame retarding property. PEK is available as prepreg, film, sheets, and rods, and can be used in non-autoclave processes for its various applications. Evonik, Solvay, and Victrex are important producers of these materials. Other high-temperature achievers include polyphenylene sulphide (PPS), an organic polymer that is inherently flame-resistant and can be moulded, extruded or machined to high tolerances with a maximum service temperature of 218°C; and the polyimides, both of which have been around longer then the AKPs. PSS has not been found to dissolve in any solvent at temperatures below about 200˚C; polyimides are among the most fire and heat-resistant polymers known. A PPS such as Solvay’s Ryton, for example, offers long-term resistance to temperatures up to 200˚C and shortterm resistance to temperatures up to 260˚C. It maintains dimensional stability even at elevated temperatures

Photo: Made in Space

➡ Continued from page 23

Made In Space’s additive manufacturing facility aboard the International Space Station

and in harsh chemical environments. Polyimide is held to possess a greater resistance to heat than any other unfilled organic material. DuPont’s Vespel polyimide, for example, can withstand repeated heating up to 300˚C without altering its thermal or mechanical properties, making it a popular choice for jet engines, industrial machinery, cars, trucks, and other vehicles. Kapton polyimide film, developed in the late 1960s also by Dupont, remains stable across a wide range of temperatures, from −269˚C to +400˚C. Torlon, a polyamide-imide made by Drake Plastics offers nylon 6/6’s room temperature properties at 204˚C, with exceptional long-term strength and stiffness up to a continuous 260˚C. It is typically used in mechanical and structural components, transmission and powertrain components, as well as in coatings, composites, and additives. Another material that falls into the category of an ‘imide’ plastic is polyetherimide, commonly known as PEI. First introduced in 1982 by General Electric under the trade name Ultem,

today it is produced by Sabic, among others. This material offers high tensile strength without the use of reinforcement, flame resistance, very low smoke emission, and excellent hydrolytic stability. Because of its extreme high heat resistance, Ultem/PEI film has entered the 3D printing world as a high-performance material for 3D printing beds. In addition, California-based Made In Space, Inc. (MIS) has begun using PEI/PC (polyetherimide/polycarbonate), for 3D printing in its additive manufacturing facility aboard the International Space Station. PEI/PC is an aerospace-grade polymer that produces stronger, more heat-resistant materials. Having nearly triple the tensile strength of ABS, a high strength-to-weight ratio and low off gassing properties, PEI/PC has been used in space on external hardware and satellites. On earth, blends of PEI/PC, such as ULTEM 9085 and ULTEM 1010, are also used in additive manufacturing in the commercial aerospace industry, as well as finding application in aircraft cabins and in the medical industry.


n August of this year, researchers from Virginia Tech (USA), announced they had discovered how to 3D print Kapton, a polymeric material that could find heavy use in space because of its thermal properties. Previously, the polyimide could be made only in sheets. Kapton is an aromatic polymer composed of carbons and hydrogens inside benzene rings, which provides exceptional thermal and chemical stability. This molecular structure makes it difficult to produce the material in any format other than thin sheets. It took the team of researchers from the College of Engineering and College of Science around a year to develop a method to synthesise the macromolecules, allowing them to remain stable and maintain their thermal

properties for processing in 3-D printing. The success of the project means that a theoretically limitless variety of shaped parts and components can now be made from Kapton. “Conventional processing routes have limited engineers to make only thin films from these materials,” said Christopher Williams, an associate professor with the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering and leader of the Design, Research, and Education for Additive Manufacturing Systems (DREAMS) Laboratory. “Now that we can 3D print these materials, we can start designing and printing them into much more complex 3D shapes, which allows us to take advantage of their excellent properties over a much


Researchers 3-D printed Kapton into this lattice structure and chess piece. Previously, this material could only be produced in sheets

Photo: Virginia Tech

Kapton breakthrough

broader range of applications.” Possible future uses are not limited to the aerospace industry. The same material can be found in scores of electronic devices, including mobile phones and televisions.




Engineering excellence

Over the past few years, Turkish compounder EPSAN has been steadily expanding its European footprint. It’s a strategy, says Arda Efe, business development manager at EPSAN, that is now paying off. Epsan was founded in 1976 – by whom? What was the main activity of the company at that time? We are actually a family-owned business. The family behind the company is Efe. The company started up in 1976, as a plastics trading company. It wasn’t until twenty-two years later, in 1998, that the first manufacturing plant was established, after the company had moved into recycling, in 1996. Even today, recycling still accounts for about 10% of sales. Then, in 2002, we bought the first Coperion extruders, and the compounding activities grew more and more important. We launched our three brands of nylon and polybutylene terephthalate compound – Eplamid, Eplon and Epimix – in 2003. For many years, Epsan’s focus was mainly on the domestic market, but over the past five years Epsan, as a brand, has become much more visible in the market. Why the change of strategy? It’s something which has been going on for a long time. We first worked to establish partnerships, entering into relationships with distributors and putting a network in place. We are a company with a lot of expertise and a lot of experience that we built up over the years in our local market, Turkey. Then, when we decided to take that expertise abroad, we did so via a local partner – and we have different distributors for the different countries. We prefer to work with family companies, like ourselves, and many of the relationships we have with our distributors go back ten years.

Epsan’s compounding facilities in Turkey

You exhibited this year at Fakuma 2017. Do you find that acceptance of the brand is growing? I’d say, yes, absolutely. People sat up and took notice when we established our sales office in Germany. And then we did it again, in Spain. And in Italy. The more we undertake activities of this kind, the more acknowledgment we get. Customers like to speak their own language, and the sales offices, which are staffed with local people, enable us to have better contact with these customers. At the same time, they made it possible for us to target small and medium sized enterprises – SMEs – as well. We stock our products in warehouses, to ensure that we can meet our delivery times. However, production still takes place entirely in Turkey. In fact, we built a second factory there in 2015. But this is also something that will likely change in the future. We’re growing very fast and we can install more lines in Turkey or we could move to Europe – acquire a compounder in Europe. Which, still remains to be seen. More concrete plans will be announced at the end of the first quarter of 2018. What has also helped the acceptance of our brand: as an independent compounder, we have the freedom to use material from different producers. In this era of force majeure, this is something we can take advantage of, and our customers see this. We serve our customers in hard times, as well. Coming back to Fakuma this year was a very good decision. These days, people know us, and recognise who we

Epsan has been especially active in expanding its presence in the European market. Why the focus on Europe? Well, we do have distribution centres in Northern Africa, North America and Southeast Asia. But for us it made sense to turn our attention to Europe, because we wanted contact with OEMs, in order to become preferred suppliers. Also, there are not a lot of precision moulders in Turkey. And, the majority of OEMs make decision in Europe. So we are working to place ourselves as a European company – in the medium term, at least. In the longer term, we will also be looking at the rest of the world. Arda Efe has worked at Epsan since 2004. He started out in purchasing, then moved on to the sales and marketing team. He has held the position of business development manager since 2014.


➡ Continued on page 26 25


➡ Continued from page 25 are. We had good meetings, many potentials. But it will take a long time before we will see anything come out of it. One of your main markets is the automotive industry. Can you talk about the trends you see there? Around 60% of our business is automotive, and yes, there are definitely a number of current trends. One is the increasing demand for high-heat resistant PPA grades. Conditions under the hood are getting hotter. What we see is that the easier metal replacement steps have all been done – these components have all already been replaced by plastic parts. Now, it’s time for the more difficult metal parts to be replaced, which is where we come in. We can provide the specially formulated polymers needed for these highly technical applications. And this is an area that will continue to grow, as the percentage of plastics used in cars continues to rise.

Epsan headquarters

What are the other important markets you are targeting? Next to the automotive industry, the electrical & electronics market is one we are increasingly getting into. Plastics used in E&E applications are required to be certified, and this is something we are working on. We are also looking at grades that are certified for food contact, and water. Another project that in the final stages of testing is a new coffee capsule, made from PBT. The material exhibits excellent processability, and a superior oxygen barrier, that lets through 20% less oxygen compared to traditional solutions.

Looking ahead, what are the company’s goals for the future? In the short term, not much will change. Our aim is to first grow stronger in the regional markets. This will entail, among other things, recruiting more staff in order to strengthen capacity at the sales offices in Germany, Spain and Italy. In the medium term, we are looking at acquiring one of the independent compounders in Europe, in the countries in which we already have a sales office. And in the long term: you can expect to see us opening sales offices in other regions, as well.



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If the cap fits Technology and sustainability came together at the recent Plastics Caps & Closures conference in Amsterdam, where a wide range of topics was addressed, from beach litter to torque moments. Karen Laird reports.


t a well-attended Plastics Caps and Closures conference, held this year on 7-8 November at Novotel, Amsterdam, an impressive line-up of speakers highlighted the various aspects – innovations, technologies and issues – relating to that most mundane, but essential packaging element: the closure.

Megatrends Kaushik Mitra, polyolefins direct at IHS Markit, a leading research and analysis firm, discussed a number of megatrends currently driving the plastics caps and closures market. He pointed to the effects of changing demographics – more people living in cities, more elderly people who are living longer, and the growing populations of the developing and emerging economies, resulting in more consumers – and the rise of the middle class as a result of the expanding economies, all of which, he said, will

have a huge impact on consumer patterns. Sustainability is another mega trend, relating to aspects such as the resource crunch and climate change, as well as the circular economy. “The circular economy is no longer just buzz,” he noted. “It is now a market, and part of the business process.” Mitra also assessed the so-called

november/december 2017

Conference chairman Michael Nieuwesteeg opened the Plastics Caps and Closures Conference, which took place this year in Amsterdam

paradigm shift: in the ‘ambience of technology’ and in knowledge capital, leading to a more ‘knowledge-based society’, and, for example, gender equality. “Another part of this is that consumers are becoming more proactive, and want more say in how to conduct business,” he said. These are a few of the main trends that are defining future challenges and opportunities for society as a whole – including the caps and closures market and it is clear that, at the same time, they offer big opportunities for innovation. “Consumer needs relating to these trends – functionality, customisation, lightweighting, efficiency, concern for safety, onthe-go-lifestyle, to name but a few – are strongly driving innovation in this area,” he said. This also emerged very clearly from many of the other presentations delivered at the conference, starting with that of Michael Nieuwesteeg, the conference chairman.

Design that works Michael Nieuwesteeg, who in daily life is the managing director of NVC Netherlands Packaging Centre, talked about the need for what he called ‘accessible design’ – defined as: ‘The process in general of creating products that are useable by people with the


widest possible range of abilities, operating within the widest possible range of situations. This is about making things accessible to all people, whether or not they have a disability’. Packaging, he said, makes products accessible to the user. Which, in an ideal world is the case, although, as Sam Waller, of the Inclusive Design Team and the University of Cambridge, pointed out in his presentation: “There’s a lot of diversity out there. It’s normal to be different.” Aging and capability variation mean that design should not only be accessible, but also inclusive and therefore useable by as many people as reasonably possible, without the need for special adaptation. For the record: in many cases, it is not. “Design can often be a lot better,” he said, showing a number of examples where successful inclusive solutions had been developed, as well as tools that can be used to achieve inclusive design. Safety was the theme addressed by Stephen Wilkens, CEO of the Child Safe Packaging Group, who talked, among other things, about the pitfalls to avoid when designing child-resistant closures so as not to confuse older people. The pharmaceutical industry has “picked this issue up and

➡ Continued on page 28


➡ Continued from page 27 run with it”, but: “It’s a different story for the non-medicines,” he said. “There’s still a long way to go.”

The sustainability aspect One topic that was focussed on this year by various presenters was that of the environment. Flip Vangeel, a senior scientist at Proctor & Gamble, emphasised his company’s commitment to packaging sustainability, pointing to the increasing use of post-consumer recyclate as one of the ways P&G is approaching the issue. “We are partnering with key players, to establish a sustainable source of recycled products,” he said. “Our 2020 goals include zero waste to landfill.” The company is also looking for technologies to substitute petroleum-derived raw materials by renewables. “But we can’t do it alone. Partnerships with industry leaders are key.” For the circular economy to work, according to Vangeel, “we need to rethink and redesign packaging for recycling. There are still a lot of issues to work through, also with new materials.” At Interseroh/ALBA, however, they have the solution to that, said Manika Ulcnik-Krump, head of R&D BU recycled resource. The company has developed innovative upcycling technology to produce what she called a “miracle

material”. She explained the trademarked process, termed recycled-resource, through which a material is recycled in such a way that it maintains or accrues value over time. “We go from mixed waste to tailor-made material,” she declared. “We are gentle with the material. Well-established chemical help can solve problems with regranulation under well-defined processing conditions.” The company’s procyclen material is suitable for the production of closures. No discussion on plastic and the environment would be complete without addressing the problem of marine litter. In her presentation, Marijke Boonstra, Clean Seas project leader at the North Sea Foundation, described the hands-on approach

Manika Ulcnik-Krump, Interseroh/ALBA: “We go from mixed waste to tailor-made material”

taken by her team to analyse the impact of bottle cap pollution on the coastal environment in the Netherlands. “They are among the top three of plastic items we find,” she said. In that context, Mark Smith, technical director at Universal Closures, talked about his company’s development of hinge-moulded closure technology, as an alternative to screw-ons. “Not only does a flip-cap offer weight advantages – the thread can be eliminated – but it is a way to mitigate the risk of the cap ending up in the marine environment,” he explained. Flip-tops also offer the convenience of single-handed operation, he said. “It’s disruptive hinge technology that we want to get into the market.”

Technology and innovation Other technology developments presented included StackTeck’s servo drives for high cavitation unscrewing cap moulds in clean room applications, e.g. pharmaceuticals. This technology enables a more effective arrangement of mould drive shafts, belts and pulleys while incorporating a sealed drive system that is contained. “The system is suitable for all screw caps,” said Philippe Mafille, of StackTeck. “The advantages are no hydraulics, cycle time reduction – the screw rotation speed is increased by 200% compared to a conventional hydraulic cylinder, and so the time required for core rotation is reduced by two thirds – and precise ejection.”


Iacopo Bianconcini, from Sacmi, highlighted the newest continuous compression moulding technology developed by that company: a machine that can manufacture two different caps with different designs – a cap for water and one for carbonated soft drinks – from the same die. This is achieved by varying the thickness of the top wall. “This can be set directly via the operator interface and can be a handy feature, for example if a thicker top panel is needed to enhance the oxygen barrier of the cap,” he explained. The importance of tooling optimisation and the extent to which this can affect part quality is often underestimated, said Thomas Lanher, from Husky Injection Molding Systems. He discussed the various tooling focus points – from hotrunners to integrated mould cooling, that, as he put it, “gets rid of the spaghetti of hoses” at the machine. ‘Airless packaging’ was the focus of division business development manager at RPC Bramlage Division, Derek Hindle’s presentation, which included a look at the company’s award-winning Slidissime jar – the first jar that allows product to be dispensed without contamination from the user’s fingers. Walter Apodaca, founder and CEO of Gizmo Beverages, introduced a revolutionary, patented, pressurised closure and delivery device called Vessl that provides instant



mixing of two ingredients immediately prior to use, eliminating the need to transport heavy liquids. “The active ingredients are inside the device, in a nitrogen pressure system, so shelf life is extended without any need of preservatives.” A new line of colour masterbatch has been developed by Clariant for use in the production of caps and closures used on bottled water packaging. Although processors have always utilised safe, food-grade pigments to colour caps and closures, there is the potential that pigments in them could contain trace elements that, even in minute quantities, could impart a detectable taste or odor to bottled water or beverages, explained Alessandro Dulli, global head of packaging for Clariant. The new Senseaction line is available in a wide range of colors, and has been especially formulated, processed, tested, and certified to be free of detectable

negative organoleptic effects. Manufacturing takes place exclusively using dedicated processes and special equipment at a dedicated masterbatch site, and each lot of Senseaction masterbatch undergoes an exposure in water, which then is tested according to DIN 10995 at an inde-

Walter Apodaca of Gizmo Beverages introduced Vessl, a pressurised closure and delivery device

pendent external laboratory. A panel of professional testers, specially selected for their acute sense of taste and smell, evaluate the samples for adverse organoleptic effects. And there was also news on the materials side: LyondellBasell officially announced the introduction of Hostalen 5231H, specifically for caps and closures, offering enhanced stress-cracking resistance. Hostalen is a trademark owned and/or used by the LyondellBasell family of companies. According to Michail Kalloudis, head of polymer science at Impact Solution, “25% of all plastic failures are related to environmental stress crack resistance”, which he described as “a physical phenomenon, namely the premature cracking of the polymer as a result of the combined action of stress and its contact environment, i.e. liquid. The main problem,

he added, is a fundamental lack of understanding of the interaction between polymers, describing how something as simple as a lubricant in the mould can lead to failure. He talked about the testing, research and development solutions designed to overcome this issue. “A plastic product needs to sustain integrity and properties over its entire design life,” he said. A statement, which would seem to especially hold true for caps and closures, products where plastic failure can lead to leakages and damaged goods, economic loss and reputation damage. As David Rose, director of Rose packaging Solutions, pointed out: “When you get it right, sales can take off. But these days, get it wrong – spectacular fail.” Adding: “Think about it: it only has to work once, but it has to work every time.”

new material announced from LyondellBasell A fter close to two years of development, LyondellBasell officially announced the introduction of the latest addition to its Hostalen family of HDPE products – Hostalen 5231H, a new grade specifically targeted at caps and closures – at the Plastics Caps and Closures conference in Amsterdam. “The new material pushes the boundaries of environmental stress-cracking resistance (ESCR) – extending the impact profile without jeopardising stiffness and fluidity,” said Mathieu Lecomte, marketing manager PE Healthcare & Closures. Hostalen 5231H offers a combination of

november/december 2017

optimised density and stiffness, with very smooth processability, allowing for downgauging and offering outstanding competitive advantages while preventing crack formation. As Hans-Jürgen Bach, ADTS Specialist Healthcare & Closures, explained: “ESCR is an important parameter that helps to determine how the grade will cope with a high level of carbonation and longer shelf life, as well as more demanding conditions, such as higher temperature environments.” So how was this achieved? Bach: “We developed advanced catalyst technology, using a hybrid catalyst, with two compo-


nents in a single reactor. It enabled us to tune the polymer structure and to achieve excellent homogeneity on a molecular level. This intensive mix made it possible to move to a new level in product properties.” The new product features excellent organoleptic properties and the uniform low shrinkage provides good dimensional stability in highspeed filling applications, he added. The new material is available in two versions: Hostalen 5231H addresses mineral waters and Hostalen 5231H UV contain slip agent for convenient opening and re-opening, targeting soft drinks and other drinks containing sugar.


Under pressure Intrigued by his presentation, Plastics News Europe caught up with Walter Apodaca at the Plastics Caps and Closures conference to find out more about Vessl and how it works. You said you wanted to ‘break the disposable bottle paradigm’: how exactly? Are the bottles on the closure not disposable? Does the bottle not come with the closure? That is a great question. Vessl™ is the technology that drastically reduces the reliance on disposable plastic bottles, and can be used on non-disposable bottles as well. Vessl in its most basic element is a BPA-free, pressurised storage, or closure. Vessl contains a miniature pressure chamber designed to hold a precise volume of concentrate or active ingredient that is released automatically when the closure is opened. The chamber propels a stream of active ingredients into the base secondary container (bottle). The stream instantly mixes the active ingredient from the Vessl with the base liquid without the need to shake or stir or further agitate. Vessl can be utilised with a wide variety of gas, liquid, powdered or syrup ingredients. The technology is effective with still or carbonated base. Vessl provides precise dosing and preservation of ingredients without chemical preservatives. Many consumer products that are packaged in bottles have water as their primary ingredients. By storing concentrated active ingredients in the Vessl closure and delivery device as we do in our brand Ready-to-Drink brand Tea of a Kind, the all-natural flavours, real brewed tea, and powerful antioxidants, are tucked safely away in the nitrogen-pressurised and oxygen depleted Vessl (bottle cap). This protects the freshly brewed tea against the damaging impact of UV light, oxidation and other conditions that degrade flavour, colour, aroma and antioxidants in other bottled, ready-to-drink teas. ‘Tea of a Kind’ also is sold in environmentally and ecommerce friendly 4-Packs consisting of one bottle of ready-to-drink tea and three Vessl closures. Once the initial bottle has been consumed, the consumer will simply refill it with water and reuse the bottle by twisting on a tea-filled Vessl refill, transforming the water into another bottle of ‘Tea of a Kind’. This format eliminates three bottles

per purchase from the waste stream on that one purchase alone. More directly to your question, as you can see, not all of the packaging options for Vessl come with a closure on the bottle. In fact, as we expand use of the system we hope to leverage it on household, industrial and garden chemicals. These applications typically use larger, heavier and even more difficult to handle bottles than the beverage industry does. Many of the companies we are in discussion with for the use of Vessl see it as an opportunity to reduce processing costs and capital for “clean label” products. We can transport roughly 700,000 Vessl closures on a 40-foot container, as compared with only 50,000 half litre bottles on the same container. Because of this environmentally friendly huge savings in cost and resources, Vessl can play an integral role in disrupting the disposable bottle paradigm, enhancing supply chain efficiencies, and enabling ecommerce for heavy liquids, all of which protects the environment. Do the closures fit on all bottles? The functionality of Vessl is independent of the bottle or container and can therefore be used without a bottle or adapted to fit many other neck diameters and thread configurations – nearly any standard or bespoke neck finish for glass, aluminium, plastic and other materials. How does the closure stay under pressure until use? The nitrogen is held in a tank member that can be made of a variety of polymers with varying degrees of barrier properties. How has the response been from the market? The response has been great. With very little marketing spent on our debut brand Tea of a Kind, we are already a top performing market-share brand in the territories where we are sold. Most importantly, we have learned that the “wow” factor associated with opening a Vessl closure provides sustainable consumer excitement and drives repeat purchase at a premium price.


Bottle with Vessl closure containing concentrated active ingredients

Will you be selling closures only or actual products? We sell both. Depending on the format, Vessl is sold on the bottle, in a multipack option with refills, or in a closure-only format. We also are actively supplying Vessl to other global CPG companies for use in either format. Aside from Tea of a Kind, in 2016 we entered into a supply agreement to provide a new version of Vessl for use with one of the world’s largest prestige skin care lines. The topical skin treatment product is scheduled for global launch in early 2018. Due to confidentiality agreements, we are unable to share further details at this time. We also entered into a supply agreement for the use of the Vessl on a cannabis drink called Kalvara to be sold in states in the US where cannabis has been legalised. Vessl solves the



most important problems with products containing THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, because it allows precise dosing and preserves efficacy without needing refrigeration of the beverage or the use of preservatives. We have a state of the art manufacturing and supply-chain infrastructure to support rapid growth with the full capability to manufacture, fill, gas, and package Vessl applications as full turn-key solutions for third parties. We also can apply our technology and adapt to aid customers in developing their own infrastructure to do so. Where did the idea come from? A Scottish inventor named Bernard Frutin invented the Vessl technology. Gizmo Beverages, Inc., licensed the worldwide exclusive rights to exploit the technology in all applications. Gizmo Beverages, Inc. originally was founded in July of 2011 to license and commercialise the Vessl technology in the beverage industry, and has since moved to commercialize additional applications. Who is Walter Apodaca? He is the founder and CEO of Gizmo Beverages, Inc, which holds the worldwide exclusive rights to the globally patented Vessl. A 25-year beverages industry vet-

Vessl ensures preserved efficacy and precise dosing of active ingredient

eran, he recognised the enormous potential for the technology, but believed that Vessl needed to demonstrate commercial success before anyone would consider an investment in the company or pay for use of the technology. After securing the global rights to the technology for beverage use, Apodaca recruited fellow beverage pro Daniel Montoya to launch a ready-to-drink line of iced teas as proof of concept. The line was even-

tually called “Tea of a Kind”. Other applications include: Phyto2GO from Amway/Nutrilite, a reusable bottle solution sold in 30 countries worldwide; a customizable skin-care package set for global launch in early 2018; Kalvara – a cannabis beverage to be sold in states and countries where cannabis has been legalised; and an Eco-4pk of ‘Tea of a Kind’ employing a reusable bottle and Vessl refills.

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polymer prices

part from a temporary lull in November, petrochemical feedstock costs were on an upward trajectory during the final quarter of the year spurred by rising crude oil and naphtha costs. In October, polymer producers targeted prices increases above the rise in raw material costs to improve their margins. However, a combination of better material availability and lackluster demand restrained price hikes in most cases to the feedstock cost rise. Polystyrene, on the other hand, saw sharp price rebates after styrene monomer (SM) costs plummeted €110/tonne. PET prices fell as a result of lower sales and higher imports. For November, polyolefin prices surprisingly turned downward despite a rollover for the ethylene and propylene contract prices. Polyolefin producers offloaded surplus stock that had built up over recent months at bargain prices as the end of year approached. Polystyrene prices again fell sharply after another sizeable reduction in SM costs. PET prices were also down again on low seasonal demand.

Supply lengthens Material availability improved during the final quarter of the

Freight traffic on the Rhine Valley Railway resumed after closure had led to bottlenecks

year across all product sectors. There were high runs at cracker plants and de-stocking by producers as the year draws to a close. Several plants returned to operation following force majeure; including Borealis’ PE and PP assets in Schwechat, Austria, which added to supply. A growing supply of competitively-priced imported material also added to the downward price pressure during November.

prices monitor November 2016–November 2017 Source: Plastics News Europe


PS (general purpose) PP (homo injection) LDPE (film grade) HDPE (injection moulding) LLDPE (film grade) PVC (high quality) PET (bottle grade)













2016 Nov Dec 2017 Jan Feb


The latest supply-related issues are summarised below; • On 28 September 2017, Versalis declared force majeure for all “Clearflex” and “Flexirene” LLDPE products from Dunkirk, France due to an unforeseen electrical motor failure. • On 29 September 2017, a ruptured disc reacted to excess pressure in Ineos’ LDPE plant in Cologne-Worringen, Germany and the line went into emergency shutdown, putting the plant out of operation for an indefinite period. • Freight traffic on the Rhine Valley Railway resumed on 2 October 2017, after seven weeks of closure. The closure had led to bottlenecks, not only for rail customers, but also for road transport, as many companies shifted from rail to road. • On 13 October 2017, BASF detected a “technical defect” in its plant that produces “ecoflex” and “ecovio” bioplastics at its site in Ludwigshafen and BASF declared force majeure for its biodegradable and compostable polymers. Production resumed during November. • Indebted Indian polyester and packaging group JBF Industries has restarted production at its European PET plant in Geel, Belgium with financial help from Swiss distributor MB


Photo: Wikipedia Commons

surplus supply scuppers planned polyolefin hikes A

Barter & Trading SA. • On 25 October 2017, Borealis declared force majeure on several types of PE and PP produced at its site in Schwechat, Austria, then subsequently lifted the FM mid-November. • Indorama Ventures has decided to permanently close its PET plant in Workington, UK, which has been mothballed since 2013.

Demand solid Demand remained solid, particularly through November as converters took advantage of the lower prices on offer to supplement their stocks. At the same time though, they had to keep an eye on seasonal inventory management. The usual downturn in demand for Christmas and New Year is likely to be no different this year, especially given the higher than usual demand during November.

December outlook In December, feedstock costs turned upward again as a result of rising crude oil and naphtha costs. Ethylene and propylene contract prices increased €32/ tonne with the SM reference price up €95/tonne. With supply remaining long and demand subdued, polymer producers may struggle to pass through the higher costs to buyers.

november/december 2017

polymer prices

plastics price report June 2017–December 2017 (€/tonne) oct ’17

Market Price nov ’17

1355-1395 1390-1430 1300-1340 *1340-1380 1370-1410 1400-1440

1420-1460 1370-1410 1430-1470

1385-1425 1330-1370 1395-1435

▼ ▼ ▼

LinEAr Low dEnSity PoLyEtHyLEnE (LLdPE) Film grade (butene-based) 1335-1355 1295-1315





Low dEnSity PoLyEtHyLEnE (LdPE) Film grade 1400-1440






PoLyProPyLEnE (PP) Raffia film Homo injection Copolymer injection

1360-1400 1300-1340 1385-1425

1310-1350 1250-1290 1345-1385

1315-1355 1260-1300 1350-1390

1355-1395 1300-1340 1410-1450

1385-1425 1330-1370 1410-1450

1370-1410 1310-1350 1380-1420

▼ ▼ ▼

PoLyStyrEnE (PS) General purpose High impact injection

1770-1810 1870-1910

1800-1840 1900-1940

1785-1825 1880-1920

1975-2015 2070-2110

1860-1900 1960-2000

1775-1815 1875-1915

▼ ▼

PoLyvinyL cHLoridE (Pvc) Pipe grade 1410-1450 High quality grade 1500-1540

1400-1440 1510-1550

1395-1435 1500-1540

1415-1455 1520-1560

1445-1485 1525-1565

1445-1485 1525-1565

● ●

PoLyEtHyLEnE tErEPHtHALAtE (PEt) Bottle grade 1045-1085


1110-1150 **1155-1195




Jun ’17

HigH dEnSity PoLyEtHyLEnE (HdPE) Injection moulding 1410-1450 Film (extrusion) grade 1340-1380 Blow moulding 1410-1450

JuL ’17 1350-1390 1300-1340 1360-1400

Aug ’17

SEP ’17

Commodity resin pricing data based on average net prices for standard grades delivered in western Europe to large consumers in 20-25 tonne lots.

*revised since last edition

Source: Plastics News Europe







May 29-31, 2018


BOOK YOUR STAND NOW! Stand Sales and Sponsorship Packages: Contact Ed Rich, UTECH Sales Director I +1 (330) 869-0375 PARTNERS

WWW.UTECHEUROPE.EU november/december 2017



polymer prices

petrochemical feedstock contract prices January 2017–December 2017 (€/tonne) Jan


























change Dec sep/DecE
























































Source: Plastics News Europe

l/ l D p e

L/LDPE producers targeted price hikes well above the €30/ tonne rise in the ethylene contract price in October, but better availability undermined their plans. Polymer supply improved again after the end of the cracker maintenance turnarounds. Consequently, LDPE prices increased in line with ethylene, while LLDPE, where supply is tighter, saw a price increase of around €50/tonne. Lower imports and the outage of the Versalis’ facility in Dunkirk, France restricted material availability.

In addition, the high prices put a damper on buying activity. Following a rollover in the November ethylene contract price, some producers had been hoping to push through small price increases. However, things turned out rather differently. Material flooded onto the market as producers de-stocked and significant volumes of imported material arrived into Western Europe, LDPE prices were down €30/tonne with LLDPE falling €55/tonne.

H D p e

In October, HDPE producers had to settle for price increases in line with the €30/tonne increase in the ethylene contract price as supply lengthened and demand was at normal levels. The situation surprisingly changed in November with prices falling despite a rollover for the ethylene contract price. As the end of year approached suppliers started to offload surplus stock onto the market which put downward pressure on prices. Furthermore, there was an inflow of material from

Central and Eastern Europe at very competitive prices. Stock levels at most converters were on the high side but some buyers opted to top up inventories at the favourable price levels on offer. For December, HDPE prices are not expected to move much. The ethylene contract price increased €32/tonne but material availability remains high and demand is likely to soften.

p p

In October, PP producers failed to achieve margin gains as a result of improved availability and weaker demand. Homopolymers increased in line with the €30/tonne rise in the propylene contract price, but for copolymers the rate of price increase was slightly lower. With supply improving, buyers called for smaller price increases for copolymer grades, which have recently posted above-average increases. PP producers started to offload surplus stocks during early No-

vember which had a dampening effect on prices. Homopolymer film and injection moulding prices fell €15/tonne and €20/tonne, respectively, while copolymer grades fell €30/tonne. Demand was better than expected thanks to the favourable prices on offer. For December, producers will no doubt attempt to pass on the €32/tonne increase in the propylene contract price. However, demand is likely to subside following the pre-buying activity in November.

p s

In October, the styrene monomer (SM) reference price made a sharp downward correction as the margin to the cost base (ethylene and benzene) was considered too high and feedstock availability improved. General-purpose PS prices just about matched the €110/tonne reduction in the SM reference price with high-impact grades maintaining a €100/tonne price differential. PS prices declined further in November following a €90/

tonne reduction in the SM reference price. Demand was quite lively in anticipation of price increases in December. Indeed, after two months of declining prices, the SM reference price increased by €95/tonne in December. Buyers of polystyrene raised concerns about material availability and pricing amid tight fundamentals and a bullish price outlook for the first quarter of 2018. There are minor production issues in Europe, as well as a lack of competitive import offers.

p V c

In October, PVC producers were forced to retreat from their ambitious plans to raise prices by a higher value than was justified from the upward cost pressure due to lower demand. In the end, base PVC prices matched the €15/tonne pro-rata cost rise for ethylene. For unplasticised PVC compounds, prices increased by around €30/tonne as a result of a further rise in the cost of titanium dioxide and other additives. Plasticised PVC compounds were up by just €5/tonne

as plasticised production and prices continued their return to normal levels. In November, PVC base and compound prices stabilised following a rollover for the ethylene contract price. Neither was there any further upward pressure from plastic additives. At the onset of the third quarter, seasonal demand for PVC pipes and cables slowed but profile demand was more robust.

p e T

Following a steady upturn during the third quarter, PET prices surprisingly turned sharply downward at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The key paraxylene feedstock registered small cost increases in both October and November, but plentiful supply and weaker demand sent PET prices tumbling. At the end of October, bottle-grade PET notations had fallen on average around €20/tonne compared with the previous month. For November, PET prices fell a further €55/tonne despite paraxylene

costs firming slightly. PET demand slowed markedly in October, which is normal for the end of the bottle-making season. There was also a significant increase in imports of competitively-priced material from the Far East, which was attracted by high European prices. PET prices are expected to remain under pressure during December with demand low and a plentiful supply of imported material available.


november/december 2017




All wound up Brabender has developed a winding system for round rods and flexible tubes which can be used to complete an extrusion process at laboratory scale. The winder features an oscillating unit; the extrudate can be wound homogenously. The tensile force between take-off and the oscillation unit can be adjusted, ensuring an optimum result of the winding process. Afterwards, the bobbin with the extrudate can be taken off and further processed or stored. The device can be included as downstream equipment in every type of extrusion process and supports the production of round rods or flexible tubes from different kinds of elastomers, thermoplastics and thermoplastic elastomers. It is highly suitable for use in product development, production or production simulation, as well as in quality control and has particularly been proven in the production

Elongational rheometer

Leistritz introduces new rheometer for extruders New winding system for round rods and flexible tubes of filaments for 3D printing. The Brabender Winder comes with a modular and compact design with an adjustable belt or drum pull off and storage space for different types of bobbins.


Ettlinger presents the ERF 350 The ERF family of melt filters, manufactured by Germany-based Ettlinger, now has four members: the ERF 500, which is capable of throughputs up to a maximum of 6 tonnes per hour, the ERF 250, with a maximum throughput of 3 t/h, the ERF 200, which can process up to 1 t/h, and now, the ERF 350 – the newest addition to the filter family, introduced at the Fakuma this year. All are based on continuous melt filtration technology. The ERF systems are self-cleaning, consisting of a rotating, perforated drum, through which there is a continuous flow of melt from the outside to the inside. A scraper continuously removes the contaminants that are held back on the surface and feeds them to an exit screw or discharge shaft. The advantages of this design are the constant melt pressure at the filter outlet leading to more reliable pro-


German producer of extrusion systems, screws and barrels Leistritz Extrusiontechnik has developed a new elongational rheometer. The rheometer can be used for all plastics and viscosities, from highly viscous pipe compounds to low viscous products for fibre and injection moulding. It also indicates the melt flow index. Moreover, it can be mechanically integrated into any given extrusion process, and used with any desired brand without having to undergo major retrofits. The rheometer allows shear viscosity shear rates in the

range of 10 to 10,000 s-1 and the elongational viscosity with elongation rates in the range of 5 to 75 s-1 to be measured. The measuring process occurs continuously; unlike current online devices on the market, the die generates a constant elongational flow, both online and offline. Intelligent automation in the online rheometer’s control unit allows the customer to obtain viscosity curves of the material being currently processed within a very short time, through targeted variation of the shear and elongational rates.


Fast and precise Engel Austria’s new “speed” version of the top-entry viper 20 linear robot is said to be 30% faster than the standard viper 20. The new viper, which made its debut at Fakuma 2017, has a removal time of well under 1 sec, the company claims and was developed for ap-

ERF 350 melt filter cessing, ultra-low melt losses, and good mixing and homogenising of the melts. The new filter is more powerful but at the same time very compact and energy efficient. Depending on the type and level of contamination in the melt to be cleaned and the selected screen size, the ERF 350 can achieve a maximum throughput of 3,8 t/h.

New high-speed Viper


plications with total cycle times of around 4 seconds. Mainly used in the medical and packaging sectors, areas in which top-entry robots tend to offer very high flexibility. It is fully integrated into a CC300 control unit, so it can be set up and monitored via the press display.

diary dates people

CoNFereNCes & eVeNts

CoNstaNtia Flexibles Constantia Flexibles International has appointed Thomas Eck as senior vice president operations, effective 1 Jan 2018. In his new role, Eck will develop Constantia Flexibles’ manufacturing and technology strategy and imple-

January 17-18 Future of Polyolefins 2018 – Conference Location: Dusseldorf, Germany Organiser: ACI Tel: +44 20 3141 0614 Web:

January 24-25 Advanced Automotive Plastics Forum Location: Berlin, Germany Tel: +420 270 005476

Organiser: Business Intelligence Services Web:

February 14-15 The European Biopolymer Summit 2018 Location: Dusseldorf, Germany Organiser: ACI Tel: +44 20 3141 0614 Web:

March 14-15 Plastics Regulations – Conference Location: Cologne, Germany Organiser: AMI Tel: +44 (0) 117 314 8111 Web:

Feb 7-12 PlastIndia 2018 – Trade Fair Location: Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India Organiser: PlastIndia Foundation Tel: +91-22-26832911-14 Web:

April 10-11 International Silicone Conference Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio Organiser: Crain Communications Tel :+1 330-865-6119 Web:

April 24-25 Plastics Recycling Show Europe (PRSE) – Conference & Exhibition Location: RAI Amsterdam, The Netherlands Organiser: Crain Communications Tel: + 44 7813 947161 Web:

April 24-27 Chinaplas 2018 – Exhibition Location: Shanghai, China Organiser: Adsale Exhibition Services Tel: + 852 2516 3311 Web:

May 7-11 NPE – Exhibition Location: Orlando, Florida Email:

Organiser: Plastics Industry Association Web:

May 29-June 1 2018 Plast 2018 – Exhibition Location: Milan, Italy Tel: +39 02 8228371

Organiser: A PIU s.r.l Web:

June 11-13 Materials Science and Engineering – Conference Location: Barcelona, Spain Tel: 0 800 014 8923

Organisers: Materials Conferences Web:

June 19-20 Plastics Meetings Location: Lyon, France Tel: +33 1 41 86 49 40

Organiser: Advanced Business Events Web:

June 27-28 Compounding World Expo 2018 Location: Essen, Germany Tel: +44 (0)117 924 9442

Organiser: AMI Web:

June 27-28 Plastics Recycling World Exhibition 2018 Location: Essen, Germany Tel: +44 (0)117 924 9442

Organiser: AMI Web:

October 16-20 Fakuma – Exhibition Location: Friedrichshafen, Germany Organiser: P. E. Schall Tel: +49 7025 9206 0 Web:

ment a strong operational performance culture. He will also be responsible for sustainability, health & safety, quality, technology and research & development. Eck, joined Constantia Flexibles as SVP operations food Europe (COO) in 2013.

borealis aG Austrian polyolefin manufacturer Borealis AG has appointed Philippe Roodhooft, chief operations officer of Borouge ADP in the UAE, as executive VP for Middle East & growth projects. The appointment came into effect 1 Nov, and will see Roodhooft dedicated to Borealis’

growth projects in the Middle East and globally. Roodhooft joined Neste Chemicals/Borealis in 1990 as a project engineer and became plant manager of PP3 in Kallo in 1998. Most recently, he served as the COO of Borouge ADP in the UAE, a position he took over in 2013.

Catalyst Karen Carter, chief inclusion officer at DowDuPont Inc.'s Dow Chemical unit, has been named to the advisory board of Catalyst, a nonprofit group promoting inclusion of women in the workplace. In her role with Catalyst, Carter "will work across industries to assess and advance best

practices for the advancement of female talent from premier employers across multiple sectors," a 5 Oct news release said. As a member of the board of advisers, Carter will help further Catalyst's mission of offering businesses strategic advice and counsel on topics related to the advancement of women.

silVerGate plastiCs A new operating structure at UK colour masterbatch producer Silvergate Plastics saw finance and central services director, Sandy Bergeson, being promoted to the role of managing director. Having played an in-

tegral role in the advancement and rapid growth of Silvergate Plastics for over eight years, Sandy will now oversee all aspects of the company, including its global sales teams and manufacturing facilities.

batteNFeld-CiNCiNNati Battenfeld-Cincinnati Austria has appointed Johannes Schwarz as its new managing director, effective as of 1 Oct. The company announced 3 Oct that a new chief technology officer (CTO), André Wieczorek, had also taken over since 1 Sept. The Vienna location is the

Battenfeld-Cincinnati competence centre for PVC processing, which has as main focus pipe, profile and board extrusion lines as well as WPC/NFC processing equipment. Schwarz holds an MBA and an electrical engineering degree from TU Vienna.

CoVestro German speciality chemicals supplier Covestro AG has named Thomas Toepfer as the company’s new chief financial officer (CFO). Toepfer will take over the position on 1 April 2018 from outgo-


ing CEO Patrick Thomas, who is also serving as the interim CFO. Toepfer, 45, has served as the CFO and labour director at German materials handling Kion Group AG since 2012.

november/december 2017


A night of great celebration

2 Plastics Industry Awards

This year’s Plastics Industry Awards once again acknowledged the superheroes of the sector’s innovation, collaborative efforts and excellent service during the past 12 months at a glittering masquerade dinner at London’s Hilton on Park Lane, hosted by TV presenter Nick Knowles.

Plastics Industry Awards 3

Presented by

Consumer Product 7 Design of the Year Winner 2017

Omlet – Eglu Cube

To produce this innovative chicken coop, various options were weighed. Injection moulding tooling costs were too high; rotational moulding was ruled out due to the difficulty of producing mouldings of sufficient dimensional accuracy from multiple tools. Blow moulding offered both highly accurate mouldings – there were 10 separate parts – and vastly improved speed of production compared to rotational moulding from a single set of tools. Over 20 prototypes were produced. It took just 8 months to get from project start to first off tools, delivering on the company’s requirement to have the new model in time for the new chicken season. The product launched in the US, Europe and Australia all on the same day, and sales have broken all records.

Chairman of the Board of BIDA, Steve May Russell (holding the Award), on stage with the team from Omlet.On the far right, presenter of the evening Nick Knowles.

The judges praised the practical, contemporary design of the coop, which is easy to clean, lightweight, strong and well-insulated. As a complete rethink of the traditional wooden chicken coop, the Eglu perfectly answers the needs of modern-day poultry keepers while creating a secure, predator-proof and comfortable place for the chickens to roost.

Finalists 2017 RPC Promens Industrial UK – AdBlue®

Tetrosyl commissioned production of a 3.5 litre size AdBlue dispensing pack, incorporating a long, flexible spout into the design for simple dispensing. This was achieved by coiling the tube, which can be screwed onto the neck of the bottle, into a recess at the back of the bottle. The tube was blow-moulded by RPC Promens Industrial Plenmeller.

RPC Promens Consumer – Funkin’ Cocktail Shaker

RPC Design was responsible for the technical design of the Funkin’ Cocktail Shaker range. The bottle is extrusion blow moulded in multilayer PP/EVOH/PP; the lid and over-cap are injection moulded in polypropylene. After hot filling and nitrogen flushing, an induction heat seal is applied. Ribs and hoops in the design enable the pack to withstand the pressures.

4 Plastics Industry Awards

Sponsored by

Industrial Product 7 Design of the Year Winner 2017

Gripple – UniGrip

From leading manufacturer of wire rope suspension systems for building services in the construction industry Gripple comes the UniGrip, a product designed for suspending mechanical and electrical services and a direct replacement for two existing Gripple products – Trapeze and Trapeze Plus. The UniGrip offers improved load ratings, easier release, improved locking function and is suitable for a broader range of applications. The design reduces the number of components to simplify manufacturing and remove cost; and has allowed new patented technology to be gained.

An elated Gripple team collects the trophy that was presented by Jane Cook, customer service manager at Distrupol (back row). At the left is presenter of the evening Nick Knowles.

The judges were particularly impressed by the degree of part consolidation achieved with the new product, which has resulted in a clean and efficient design and superior performance.

Finalists 2017 Faulkner Moulds – NRV

Faulkner Moulds designed the universal fit water and rodent Non-Return Valve with clear emphasis on Design for Manufacture throughout. Rubber fins keep the injection-mioulded NRV firmly in place and watertight, yet allow it to be pulled out when required. The cost-effective design meets all British standards on leakage, chemical resistance and more.

WaveGrip – WaveGrip Multi-Packing System

WaveGrip is a rim-applied carrier system in which stable, non-stretch PE film is simply ‘rolled over’ the top of the cans, unlike traditional systems using complex stretch film that is stretched over the can tops. WaveGrip is some 10% lighter than alternative systems while providing a stronger, unobtrusive carrier that is easy to apply.

6 Plastics Industry Awards

Design, Develop & Deliver Award Winning Solutions from Distrupol

Our highly experienced sales and technical team will support you with mould design, polymer selection, testing, process optimisation and project development. We cover a large range of industries from Medical and Automotive to Extrusion and Energy & Electrical. Distrupol, your polymer solutions partner, wishing you a successful and enjoyable night.

Sponsored by

Best Recycled Plastic 7 Product of the Year Winner 2017

Recycling Technologies – Plaxx

Plaxx is the first hydrocarbon feedstock derived from residual waste plastic via a continuous process that can be based at a waste operators site. Chemical recycling through thermal cracking provides a means to achieve full decontamination, and therefore unrestricted re-use. The output distillation can be tailored to meet local needs (Naphtha, Oils, Base oil, Waxes). Closing the circle, Plaxx also allows conversion back to plastic. The judges called it an innovative development that offers a real opportunity for boosting recycling rates, as well as giving momentum to the Circular Economy. Plaxx truly closes the loop.

Plaxx CEO Adrian Griffiths (third from right) and team collect the award from Jim Armstrong of Recoup (middle). Presenter Nick Knowles is on the far right.

Finalists 2017 Ian Falconer – Fishy Filaments

A nylon filament with outstanding sustainability credentials for use in low cost, fused filament 3D printers, Fishy Filaments are made from end-of-life fishing nets.

HAHN Plastics - hanit® Ultra Ecocrib Wall Plastic Profiles

Ecocrib retaining walls made from ‘hanit’ UK manufactured recycled plastic profiles are durable, anti-rot and moisture-resistant alternatives to traditional timber crib walls.

Marmax Recycled Products - Junior Recycled Plastic Buddy Bench

The curved, brightly-coloured, anti-splinter Buddy Bench made from recycled PET bottles facilitates eye contact and improves social contact between children in school settings.

Axion Polymers & 1env Solutions – Rotech® Bullet Bait Box

The Rotech Bullet bait box, made from 100% Axpoly PP 51 material recycled from automotive waste, offers the dimensional accuracy demanded by the internal design.

8 Plastics Industry Awards

Leading the continued development of sustainable plastics recycling

RECycling Of Used Plastics Limited (RECOUP) is a registered charity and not-for-profit member based organisation. RECOUP works in collaboration with all stakeholders to promote, develop, stimulate and increase the levels of plastics recycling within the UK. Contact us today about membership on: 01733 390021

Registered Charity Number: 1072029

Sponsored by

Young Designer 7 of the Year Winner 2017

Luca Frondella Motus Personal Air Cooler

Luca Frondella recently graduated from Coventry University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities. As his final major project, he designed the Motus Personal Air Cooler. The Motus is a domestic personal air cooler that is more effective at cooling than traditional fans. Aiming to bridge the gap between expensive and power consuming air conditioners and conventional fans, Motus also addresses many usability issues highlighted in existing products such as weight distribution and stability.

Karl Miller, managing director of Motan Colortronic (left) presents Luca Frondella with his trophy and the £1,000 prize donated by Motan Colortronic. On the right: presenter of the evening, Nick Knowles.

Luca Fondella’s submission was described as a product that fills a need, and a successful mix of contemporary sleekness and technology combined with functionality and ease of use. A project that has been well thought out and executed with attention to detail and style.

Finalists 2017 Dominic Tindale – Skin Watch

The Skin Watch was developed as a reminder to people to protect their skin against the effects of UV exposure. When the central white colour of the wristband matches the surrounding orange colour, it is time to reapply sun cream. The Skin Watch is reset by rotating the inner cylinder of the wristband.

Ellen Britton – Peek Interactive Sunshade

The sunshade features a thermochromic surface on which the child can doodle or scribble while travelling. The image gradually darkens and disappears, encouraging the child to continue the activity. This innovative interaction is facilitated by the diverse world of plastics, incorporating layers of different materials, each for their own unique properties.

10 Plastics Industry Awards

Ideal for production cells


Probably the most efficient small dryer on the market. It was developed especially for production cells and drying small material throug throughputs of plastic granulate and regrind – the LUXOR EM A. It is equipped with everything that characterises excellent drying: from the fully integrated colour touch panel control to ETA plusŽ technology and an integrated cyclone dust filter. Conveying is also integrated. Those who do not require this can find the ideal alternative in the LUXOR E A. Both ranges are available in three sizes with drying bins of 60, 100 and 150 litres motan-colortronic Ltd. - Matilda House, Carrwood Road - S41 9QB Chesterfield - Tel: +44 (0) 1246 260222 Fax: +44 (0) 1246 455420 - E-Mail: - Internet:

Presented by

Supplier Partnership – 7 Materials Winner 2017

Matrix Plastics – Biocote

BioCote eliminates microbes that contaminate surfaces by interfering with microbial DNA and causing protein oxidative and cell membrane damage. BioCote and Matrix Plastics first collaborated on the development of an antimicrobial masterbatch for food, pharmaceutical and hospital environments. They have since partnered on formulations to control the spread of pathogenic bacteria, including Campylobacter, which often contaminates chicken transportation crates. BioCote has worked closely with Matrix Plastics to reduce contamination risks at processing facilities, especially when infected poultry comes into contact with plastic surfaces or handling systems. The result: highly specialised masterbatch products which are now widely used in the global plastics industry to reduce surface-to-surface contamination rates.

Garish Patel, technical manager at Matrix Plastics (middle) receives the award from President of the British Plastics Federation, Bruce Margetts (right). Nick Knowles, the presenter of the evening, is on the far left.

The judges said: “An excellent entry which demonstrates a really good partnership between Matrix and Biocote. They have gone the extra mile to achieve a good end result in both service and production of an antimicrobial masterbatch which will assist the economy in the long term. Total customer commitment!”

Finalists 2017 Distrupol – Doddl

During its development, the Doddl children’s cutlery line ran up against a host of issues relating to material selection and design. Distrupol provided support and advised on challenges that ranged from moulding thick wall sections to ensuring compliance with food contact regulations with an FDA and EU 10/2011 compliant ABS grade and safe pigments.

PLASgran – Straight

Recycling company PLASgran Ltd and Straight Ltd collaborated on the development of a colourable recycled material for Straight’s kerbside containers: PLASgran developed a compounded product meeting the functional requirements in all of the required colours, made from 95% kerbside collected materials.

12 Plastics Industry Awards

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Sponsored by

Supplier Partnership – 7 Prime Machinery Winner 2017

Engel UK – CCP Gransden

Recognising opportunities for high volume composite components for lightweighting purposes, CCP Gransden Advanced Composites sought to develop processes for overmoulding composites such as PEEK, PPs and PEI that, in terms of heat resistance and flame retardancy, would open up a whole new range of markets in the automotive and aerospace industry. In close cooperation with Engel, the company put together a manufacturing cell comprising a vertical largescale Engel v-duo machine able to achieve the extremely precise results necessary for a manufacturing cell of this nature. Its space saving design fits easily into CCP Gransden’s existing manufacturing plant; its versatile clamping unit allows maximum accessibility and operational safety. All the previous issues connected with overmoulding such high temperature materials were resolved.

And the winner is… Engel UK. Sponsor Maguire, in the person of Frank Kavanagh, vice president, sales & marketing (second left) presented the trophy to the winners. Nick Knowles, presenter of the evening is on the far left.

The PIA judges described the entry as: “A terrific and demanding project ...cutting edge technology. A very good project and collaboration with plenty of innovation.”

Finalists 2017 BMB Plastics Machinery – PFF Packaging

When PFF Packaging started its injection moulding business, injection moulding was a new technology for PFF. Italian manufacturer of injection moulding machines BMB proved a source of invaluable support and advice. PFF purchased two 500 tonne eKW hybrid machines and plans to invest in further capacity as this side of the business develops.

UK Extrusion – TDX Thermodynamix Thermoforming Specialist Services

TDX decided in 2016 to purchase a new PET rigid film extrusion line and turned to UK Extrusion Ltd, who worked with extrusion equipment manufacturer Bandera. Working to a tight deadline Bandera and UK Extrusion successfully reduced the installation and start up period from 6 to 4 weeks, thus enabling TDX to meet contracted commitments for supply.

14 Plastics Industry Awards



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Presented by

Supplier Partnership – 7 Ancillary Machinery Winner 2017

Summit Systems - Polymer Training & Innovation Centre

With the support of Summit Systems, Polymer Training & Innovation Centre installed a modern fully centralised loading and drying station consisting of 6 material bins and a 6x4 manifold table produced by Summit Systems’ fabrications department. Summit Systems also installed a range of VISMEC equipment, including a pump filter, two dryers, a control server and a state of the art supervisory system. Precise planning and collaboration between Summit and Polymer Training allowed the installation to be planned around student training schedules.

Mike Jordan, managing director and Steve Tranter, technical sales engineer, of Summit Systems collect the award from Julia Moore, CEO of the GTMA. On the left: Nick Knowles.

“The partnership with PITC has provided benefits to both businesses. Summit have demonstrated their support to PITC by their long-term commitment to supply equipment on loan and free of charge,” commented the judges. “This project has taken the relationship to a new level…..This show piece installation is a credit to Summit in supporting the industry training needs. Terrific project ...of great value to PTIC and the industry in general.”

Finalists 2017 ICS Cool Energy - International Automotive Components

ICS Cool Energy installed a free cooler at International Automotive Components, reducing energy consumption and running costs, and providing a higher coefficient of performance.

Piovan UK – Polymermedics

Polymermedics successfully dealt with various performance issues by installing a complete system from Piovan, re-engineered to meet Polymermedics’ exact requirements.

TH Plastics – IAC Elmdon

TH Plastics upgraded IAC Elmdon’s mould cooling system. This has led to a 70% reduction in energy usage, equating to over £80,000, in addition to yielding savings on water usage.

ICS Cool Energy – LINPAC Packaging

ICS Cool Energy has worked with LINPAC Packaging for 20 years, minimising downtime with planned preventative maintenance, and hire solutions in place for contingency planning.

16 Plastics Industry Awards

Industry sectors Automotive | Aerospace | rail | Medical | energy | renewable Pharmaceutical | oil & Gas | Packaging | Marine Plus other sectors


GTMA Reshoring the UK Supply Chain

A unique collaboration of leading industrial associations

Building a connected to the engineering supply chain Federation GTMA | BMTA | PMMDA | Castnetwork Metals Federation | British Abrasives CBM Confederation of British Metalforming | Innovate UK | GAMBICA M e t a l f o r m i n g M a c h i n e rManufacturing y a n d M aResource n u f a c tCentre urers Assocation (MMMA) Springfield Park UK | Made in the Midlands Engineering Industries Association | Business Composites Adams British Coatings Federation | Way BFPA and more to come ‌ Alcester Warwickshire B49 6PU

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Supplier Partnership – 7 Toolmaker Winner 2017

Adreco Plastics – Mologic

Mologic, a producer of diagnostic kits for home use, decided in 2016, to outsource work to a single third party, preferably local; a party who could develop and manufacture the required tooling, mould and assemble the plastic kits. Mologic chose Adreco, with whom they had previously also worked. The two companies have now signed a long-term partnership agreement, and have even agreed to jointly fund the building of a bespoke clean assembly room at Adreco’s facility. This will allow Mologic’s test kits to be assembled in an appropriate environment as soon as the plastic mouldings are manufactured. It will also free up Mologic’s cleanroom to manufacture a wider diversity of test strip components for incorporation into the devices.

Together with his team managing director, Sam Hill of Adreco Plastics collects the award from managing director Neil Moseley of Hasco, the sponsor of this category. Presenter of the evening, Nick Knowles, is on the far right.

The PIA judges said that this winning entry stood out for its level of commitment to the customer, and that this depth of partnership was “extremely impressive”.

Finalists 2017 Faulkner Moulds - Harold Fisher (Plastics)

Working with Fisher Plastics, Faulkner Moulds designed the Universal Fit Water/Rodent Non-Return Valve, solving the problem of fitting NRVs into curved sewage manifolds. Faulkner Moulds created the tooling, helping to achieve the new, stringent British Standard.

Ryetools – Robinson Plastic Packaging

Robinson awarded Ryetools a project involving the design, manufacture and validation of three injection mould tools for a dispensing pack. The project was a success; the two companies are looking forward to further business in the future for other dispensing packs.

Sprint Tool and Die – Medicare Colgate

Sprint Tool and Die built an 8- impression tool for TPE baby feeding teats. As TPE flashes through the smallest of gaps, Sprint designed a system of interchangeable pin holders that allowed the gasses out, but left a zero gap to avoid any flash. Cycle time was also reduced.

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Apprentice or Trainee 7 of the Year

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Winner 2017

Shannon Martin Rosti Automotive Larkhall

20-year old Shannon Martin is currently completing an HNC in Mechanical Engineering (4th year) at Langside College Glasgow. After leaving school, Shannon joined the company in 2014 as a polymer process technician. She is on course to complete a Scottish Modern Apprenticeship Programme. Her objective is to complete the full apprenticeship, and to take on a full-time role within the Rosti organisation. Shannon is described as a “very talented and highly motivated individual” and a “model employee”. She impressed the judges by demonstrating a level of motivation and discipline mature far beyond her years by taking responsibility for an extremely business critical project in her first year, stepping in for a technician.

Nick Knowles (left) stands alongside managing director Nigel Flowers of category sponsor Sumitomo Demag; Shannon Martin holding the winner’s cheque for £1,000 presented by deputy chairman of the PMMDA, Richard Hird (right).

Finalists 2017 Nathan Kimberlin – Faulkner Moulds

Conscientious and a real pleasure to work with, Nathan is eager to learn and is fully applying himself to gaining skills and developing his expertise in the different aspects of toolmaking.

Luke Peters – Plastek UK

Luke has a NVQ level 4 in mechanical engineering technical services is now working through an accelerated training programme to build on his existing academic qualifications.

Dominic Turner – Advanced Plastics

Dominic is specialising in electrical engineering, but has the potential to ultimately grow into a wider engineering or project based position. He is truly an asset to the business.

Jordan Wilkes – UPC Zeller

Currently employed as a toolroom apprentice, Jordan is completing a Btec level 3 in manufacturing engineering. In the toolroom, Jordan truly delivers when it matters.

Adam Wolfe – Bespak

Adam has completed level 2, level 3 and NVQ qualifications and is currently completing a HNC in mechanical engineering. He is dedicated, hardworking and solution-oriented.

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Best Technology 7 Application of the Year Winner 2017

CCP Gransden

CCP Gransden has developed a one-stage composite overmoulding technology, which allows thermoplastics such as nylons, PEI, PPS and PEEK to be directly injection moulded onto the surface of an advanced thermoplastic carbon fibre composite laminate. The laminate is heated in an infrared oven, then transferred to the press tool using a high speed 6 axis robot. When the press closes, the injection moulding unit injects the thermoplastic. The technology eliminates the need for fasteners, thus saving weight, leading to gains in fuel efficiency, lower CO2 emissions, fewer parts and hence less assembly time, and lower labour costs.

Scott King, strategic partnership manager (holding the trophy) and Robert McConnell, director CCP Gransden collect the award from Neville Dudley (far left) of the Polymer Training and Innovation Centre. On the right: Nick Knowles, presenter of the evening.

According to the PIA judges: “The submission outlines a known technique for over-moulding or back-moulding a thermoplastic composite with a thermoplastic resin. The innovative contribution is the ability to process the integration of the composite in the one mould ensuring the integration of the polymer interfaces. The result is a cost effective light weight structural alternative to metal and with added functionality (fixings).”

Finalists 2017 Aquapak Polymers

Aquapak Polymers developed a 100% recyclable, 100% biodegradable PVOH with the same functionality, performance and end-of-life options as conventional polymers. It can be processed into a single layer film that is twice as strong as high-density PE.

Axion Polymers

Axion Polymers has developed a complete ‘grave-to-cradle’ materials recycling process. The continuous mechanical recycling process – taking in full size motor cars at one end and delivering high quality plastic materials at the other – has been operative since Q1 2016.

Polymer Compounders

In collaboration with a local Tier 1, an innovative PC/ABS formulation was developed for an automotive instrument panel material able to pass automotive crash impact specifications, and that was easily processable, cost effective, paintable, recyclable and globally available.

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PTIC – Polymer Training & Innovation Centre

Based in Telford, Shropshire, PTIC is the UK’s largest provider of technical training, education and innovation expertise in the Polymer industry. Our extensive programme of short courses covers a wide range of technologies and occupational levels; many of which can be delivered in-company or customised to suit your specific company requirements. To support this, our newly-upgraded technical facility also offers a comprehensive package of Business Improvement, Engineering and Health & Safety - related programmes. Visit our website or call us on 01952 610101 for more details.

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Best Energy or Environmental 7 Programme of the Year Winner 2017

Rosti Automotive Larkhall

Rosti Automotive Larkhall has implemented environmental and energy efficiency programmes based on its corporate and social responsibility programme. The benefits are ultimately geared towards minimising waste generated by its processes. The company is committed to reducing its carbon footprint by decreasing its gas and electricity consumption through the implementation of more energy efficient heating and cooling systems, and LED lighting. The company also undertook to replace all existing machines or new machines with energy efficient drive technology. The result includes a reduction of the long term operating costs; reduced exposure to legislative costs associated with current and future carbon and energy legislation; reduced risk of increasing energy prices and future energy market volatility; and better environmental credentials.

Managing director Kenny McIntosh and Chris Clark (centre) were presented with the award by Tom Bouchier, managing director Fanuc (left), sponsor of this category and host Nick Knowles.

The judges commended the systematic approach adopted by the company over a number of years that has yielded “excellent energy savings” in several areas. The benefits are ultimately geared towards minimising waste generated by the company’s processes.

Finalists 2017 ICS Cool Energy

Over the past 18 months, ICS Cool Energy has supported LINPAC Packaging across four projects to create annual energy savings of £42,000. All new equipment is backed-up by a planned preventative maintenance programme, minimising production downtime.

Matrix Plastics

Matrix has set up a programme to study the problem of plastic ‘nurdles’. It engages in research and identification of nurdles found on beaches and awareness is being raised to take correct preventative measures to avoid a spillage in the manufacturing workplace.

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Best Business 7 Initiative of the Year Winner 2017

Trend Technologies Mullingar

In its 2020 Vision, Trend Technologies defined 3 pillars for success, i.e., developing showcase facilities, innovative technologies and developing critical competences. To that end, in 2016/2017 the company invested €3m to upgrade its facilities and equipment and investments were also made in technology upgrades. The Plastic Industry Expertise Development Programme was established to develop and grow skills, expertise and growth, including the ‘future plastics leaders initiative’ and initiatives to partner with industry bodies and education stakeholders to develop a pipeline of future employees. These efforts are paying off: employment has increased 15%, and sales are forecast to grow 22% in 2017.

Managing director, Dónal Lawlor and team collect the award from Simon Köb (left), area sales manager at sponsor company Meusburger. Far right: presenter of the evening Nick Knowles.

According to the PIA judges, this “worthy winner’s impressive journey makes them a model for other companies to emulate”.

Finalists 2017 Coral Products (Mouldings)

Needing new business, CD and DVD producer Coral Products first diversified into blow moulding, then moved into manufacturing plastic car parts for BMW, Jaguar Landrover and others. Unflagging efforts and dedication have now turned the company back into success.

Plastix A/S

Plastix produces OceanIX HDPE, made from discarded fishing nets and trawls; thus offering a solution to a major waste stream problem, contributing to a more circular blue and green economy, reducing marine pollution, CO2 emissions and loss of valuable resources.

RJG Technologies

RJG is an international leader providing training, consultancy, and technological know-how for those using plastics in their manufacturing process. New products in 2017/18: the Hub, CoPilot and new courses designed to meet the current and future needs of the industry.

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With a warehouse of more than 18,000 m² of storage area, Meusburger currently maintains the industry‘s largest stock of products for making dies, moulds, jigs and fixtures. All our catalogue items are available from stock and can be picked and dispatched to customers all over the world in a number of hours.


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Best Training and Development 7 Programme of the Year Winner 2017

Advanced Plastics

In 2013, Advanced Plastics decided all staff should receive an average of four hours training per month. It then established a structured technical apprenticeship scheme, in which apprentices gain basic engineering skills from an accredited training provider, before undergoing training onsite on a 3-month rotation basis in six core disciplines. The remainder of the four-year apprenticeship is spent on specialisation, followed by a transition year before undertaking a skilled role. The apprentices also attend technical college to gain a formal engineering qualification.

Richard Brown, managing director of sponsor RJG Technologies UK (fifth from left) presented the award to the Advanced Plastics team. Holding the trophy: Joint managing director, Rob Andersen.

The PIA judges said: “Manufacturing today faces a severe shortage of skilled staff. Recognising this, the winner has invested heavily in upgrading the workforce, developing a culture of continuous improvement.”

Finalists 2017 Distrupol

Distrupol developed a 12-month course covering injection moulding process optimisation, with every month, a different material from the Distrupol portfolio being trialled.

Polymer Compounders

Polymer Compounders designed and implemented a company-wide training programme, designed to provide skills and to instil a sense of value and ownership in the workplace.

Sumitomo (SHI) Demag

SDUK launched a modular training programme, from basic tool setting to advanced process engineering, to promote skills and address workforce retention and labour shortages.

Trend Technologies

Trend Technologies’ expertise development programme is focused on the technical skills required to meet existing customer demands and the emerging needs of the industry.

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Unsung Hero Winner 2017

Erwin Miller – Motan Colortronic

Born in November 1944 in Lodz in Poland to a German family, Erwin moved to the UK in 1956 at the age of 12. In 1974, operating from home, he founded Colortronic UK Ltd. He grew the company, adding new products over the years, and pioneering the overseas training of people at the suppliers’ plants to provide the best possible support for the products in the market. Honest and hardworking, Erwin Miller’s contribution to the UK plastics industry has been invaluable, for which he truly deserves wider recognition. The PIA judges said Erwin Miller stood out because of his remarkable contribution to the development of the technical expertise available in the UK in the area of machinery and ancillary equipment for the plastics industry. They wrote: “His impact has been felt first within his own company, but has extended far beyond there. He can look back on having contributed to making the UK plastics industry the strongly performing highly technological success it has become. A thoroughly deserved recognition for this achievement.”

Erwin Miller is presented with the Unsung Hero award by Society of Plastics Engineers Section Councillor, Maryann Wilcox.

Finalists 2017 Derek Bennett – Plastek UK

Derek, responsible for the daily maintenance of the facility’s plant, equipment and production machinery, is considered the ‘go to’ man for any maintenance tasks. Knowledgeable and approachable, he is a mentor for all new and inexperienced engineers.

Stuart Bogg – Rockson LubriTek

Working over 20 years in oil management, Stuart has filled virtually every OEM’s machines and carried out on-going oil management services at hundreds of companies. Customers know and trust him to give 100% dedicated service levels and to always go that extra mile.

Dave Middleton – TH Plastics

Dave, senior technical manager at TH Plastics, has built a reputation for being a troubleshooter and enjoys new challenges and a varied diary. He leads by example and would not ask any member of the team to do anything he was not prepared to do.

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Ambassador of the 7 Plastics Industry Awarded to

Nigel Baker Nigel Baker, the recipient of the 2017 Ambassador of the Plastics Industry Award, cut his teeth in the service department of an injection moulding company in the early nineteen-eighties. He later moved to Switzerland for training, as well as spending spent a good deal of time in the Far East. Nigel’s passion for the industry and his understanding of customer needs is exceptional. Colleagues describe him as a tireless and diligent worker for whom customers always come first. In his role as managing director of Netstal UK, he navigated the business through some challenging and changing times, where the business in the UK was eventually merged with Krauss Maffei UK in 2013.

Nigel Baker, managing director BMB Plastics Machinery, collects his award from Plastics News Europe editor, Karen Laird. On the right, the presenter of the evening, Nick Knowles.

His tenacity and drive continued as he embraced new opportunities at BMB, significantly increasing both their presence and share of the UK market with his unique set of skills and determination.

Nigel Baker – Curriculum Vitae Career:

2015 - present; Plastech Solutio Joint owner.

ns Limited,

2013 - present; BMB Plastics Machinery Limited, Managing Director. 2009 - Present; PMMDA Directo r / Committee member. 1988 - 2013; Netstal Service engineer, Sales Manager, Operations Manager, Managing Director 1987 - 1988; Moulded Plastics , Plant engineer 1980 - 1987; Peerless Plastics , Apprentice electrical & electronics enginee r Interests: Running, Cycling, Skii ng.

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Alongside his role at BMB machinery he is a director of Plastech Solutions, representing well-known suppliers to the industry. Nigel’s commitment to the industry over nearly forty years has been significant. He has supported many plastics industry organisations, events, suppliers, manufacturers and individuals. He has attended every Plastics Awards event since inception. He is, say the people around him, a family man, but, at the same time, has grown to become one of the most recognised names and faces in the industry thanks to a well-nigh boundless enthusiasm and dedication to his customers and his products. Plastics News Europe is proud to recognise his contribution to the plastics industry with the presentation of this award.





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Processor 7 of the Year Winner 2017

Plastek UK

For plastic packaging specialist Plastek Group, exceeding customers’ expectations is built on the belief that the benefits of high quality managed processes deliver consistent outstanding performance. State of the art facilities offer precision manufacturing round the clock. Continued investment in plant and equipment, implementation of lean manufacturing principles to minimise unplanned or excessive downtime, ensuring consistent high quality and efficient production processes plus investments in energy efficiency and machine and process performance make Plastek an organisation with both the expertise and capacity to deliver creative solutions every time.

General manager Mick Shaw and the Plastek team collect the award from Graeme Herlihy, managing director of the Engel Moulders’ Group, sponsor of this award category

“Overall the company performed impressively,” wrote the PIA judges. “They truly are state-of-the-art in the packaging and personal care sector. Congratulations to Mick Shaw and his Plastek UK team, and to Joseph Prischak, the legendary patriarch of this family-owned custom moulder.”

Finalists 2017 Advanced Plastics

Certified to ISO14001 and TS16949, Advanced Plastics produces technical moulded products for diverse clients, with over 95% of revenue generated from longstanding UK customers.

Rosti Automotive Larkhall

Rosti is a supplier of precision injection and value added services to the automotive, packaging, consumer and professional appliances, business machines and medical sectors.

RPC Group

RPC sees innovation and the ability to deliver added-value to customers as fundamental for future growth. A priority is a proactive strategy to attract young people into the industry.

Trend Technologies Mullingar

Trend has demonstrated excellence in many areas of the organisation, including growth, technical innovation, people development, efficiency, and customer relations.

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