Page 1

April 2013


Introducing on the iPad, iPhone and Android-based devices App sponsored by

Having led the way with high-quality digital-only magazines for the global plastics industry, AMI is now also making its titles available free-ofcharge on the iPad, iPhone and a wide range of Android-based smartphones and tablet computers. The dedicated apps for Film and Sheet Extrusion magazine are now ready to download from Apple’s App Store and iTunes or from the Google Play Store. Just search for ‘AMI Plastics’. Current and past copies are available free-of-charge and new issues will be added to the apps as soon as they’re published. If you are using Apple’s latest iOS 5 operating system, then the magazines will appear in your Newsstand and new editions will be added automatically if you sign up for our free subscription. The Film and Sheet Extrusion app is sponsored by Maguire, a market leading supplier of innovative solutions in dosing, gravimetric blending, drying and conveying systems for all types of plastics materials.

ANDROID VERSIONS NOW AVAILABLE CHECK OUT OUR OTHER FREE APPS: AMI has also launched free apps for its three other digital magazines – Compounding World, Pipe and Profile Extrusion and Injection World. Plus there’s an additional AMI Conferences app featuring brochures for our forthcoming events. Simply search for ‘AMI Plastics’ in iTunes, Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store.

contents PAGE 5

05 Industry news Packaging sales flat in Germany; AMI magazine apps pass 20,000 downloads; Italian machine exports up 6%; Release liners recovered in France; PolyOne sells vinyls to Mexichem

11 Barrier relief PAGE 11

Waterproof membranes are most commonly used in applications such as liners for reservoirs, but other end uses are possible. Lou Reade reports

17 Pressing ahead Unless you’re producing at exceptionally high volumes, your thin wall packaging will need to rely on the latest thermoforming techniques. Lou Reade reports


23 Stretching a point Stretch film has found its niche in several areas, from pallet stabilisation to high quality packaging film. Lou Reade reports

31 Making materials more mobile


Investing in the latest materials handling equipment – whether for dosing, drying or conveying – can help boost the efficiency of plastics extrusion

41 Moving materials: trends in polymer distribution AMI has just completed its latest market report on polymer distribution in Europe. The study’s author, Karla Vittova, reveals some of its findings

49 Technology: Materials


50 Technology: Machinery 54 Extruder of the month: Softfilm 56 Dates for your diary

coming next issue ❙ Biaxially oriented films ❙ Printing equipments ❙ Applications in photovoltaicss ❙ Chinaplas preview ➤ Click here to make sure you get your copy

contact us Applied Market Information Ltd AMI House, 45-47 Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3QP, United Kingdom Tel:+44 (0)117 924 9442 Fax:+44 (0)117 989 2128

Head of business publishing: Editor: Senior editor: Designer: Advertisement manager:

Andy Beevers Lou Reade Chris Smith Nicola Crane Claire Bishop

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© Copyright Applied Market Information. No part may be reproduced without the prior written permission of the publisher.



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German packaging sales flat in 2012

FKuR certified by GKV

Sales of plastics packaging

plastics packaging manufac-

energy prices. But, IK mem-

FKuR Kunststoff has been

stalled in Germany last year.

turers saw a decline in the

bers are confident for this year:

certified as one of the first

second half of 2012. Conditions

in the latest quarterly survey,

bioplastic producers,

that the Eurozone financial

were especially tough in the

90% of companies judged the

according to the Code of

crisis and poor domestic

film industry, said IK.

economic situation in Germany

Conduct from German

as good or satisfactory.

plastics converters’

Trade industry body IK said

growth pushed annual sales down by 0.4%, to E13.2bn.

Despite falling demand,

They expect turnover

converters had to contend with

association GKV.

increases in raw material

increases in the first quarter of

tion volumes shrank by 1.8% to

prices – which could only be

2013 to match those in the

agreement through which

4.2m tonnes. IK ascribed this to

passed on to the market after a

final quarter of 2012. They are

member companies ensure

material savings in packaging

delay, if at all – while there was

also more optimistic about

compliance with global


stronger competition from the

raising exports.

requirements for ethical and

rest of Europe and higher


moral behaviour, as well as

At the same tinme, produc-

While the year started well,

The code is a voluntary

well as anti-trust laws, plus

Production of plastic packaging in Germany, 2011/2012 Packaging type

Volume (‘000 tonnes) Change (%)

the promotion of fair, Sales (mE)





Packaging film






Change (%)

sustainable standards with suppliers and customers.


“We see the commitment to the GKV Code of Conduct

Pouches, carrier bags, big bags














Cups, cans














Edmund Dolfen, managing

Barrels, canisters, buckets







director of FKuR.





❙ ❙


13,218 13,161

Source: IK, Destatis

as an important step to reaffirm and spread our corporate philosophy,” said

Rollprint expands cleanroom manufacturing “Our manufacturing

US-based Rollprint Packaging

ene films. It is 1m wide,

Products invested $1.25m in a

enabling output of several

capability has driven demand

capacity, so we are once again making a sizeable investment,”

pouch manufacturing line for

thousand pouches per minute.

for additional production

said Doug Dodrill, vice

demanding applications such

president of technology at

as sterile medical products.


The line, a Ritemed 900

Rollprint’s ISO Class 8,

CHB from Water Line of

6,000 sq ft cleanroom houses

Switzerland, will be installed in

five production lines to make a

the cleanroom of its plant in

variety of sterile medical

Addison, Illinois, this year.

pouch structures, including

The machine can run at 100

traditional and barrier header

cycles per minute and handle

bags, chevron, vented,

up to five webs at the same

three-side weld seals and

time, including aluminium foil,

corner peels.

medical-grade paper, coated

The new machine should

and uncoated Tyvek, and

boost production by 25%.

polypropylene and polyethyl-


March 2013 | film & sheet EXTRUSION



PP liners recovered in France

AMI magazine apps pass 20,000 downloads

UPM of Finland is to

The iPad/iPhone and Android

which are aimed at the larger

mostly read online using

cooperate with Italy’s

apps for AMI’s four plastics

injection moulding market,

computers, but more and

Aliplast, to recover release

industry magazines have

have been downloaded 7,746

more people are discovering

liners in France.

exceeded 20,000 downloads in

times. Downloads of the apps

the benefits of reading them

Aliplast, which specialises in the collection and

just 15 months. “We have been delighted by

for Pipe and Profile Extrusion

on tablet computers and

and Compounding World

smartphones, especially as

treatment of recovered

the response to the apps,

meanwhile take the current

our apps mean that the

plastic films, will install

which are helping to grow the

total to 20,677.

magazines can still be read

collection bags at users of

international audiences for our

self-adhesive labels (such

four magazines,” said

as drinks bottlers and food

Andy Beevers, head

companies). It collects the

of business

bags regularly and directs

publishing at

them to its sorting centres


near Strasbourg and Lyon.

leading the way

transported for re-use: PP

in the number of

liners, such as UPM’s

downloads, but we are

ProLiner PP30, are re-used

also seeing very strong

as raw material to make

demand in markets such as

wood-plastic composite

China, India, Thailand,

products at UPM’s factory in

Turkey, Mexico and Brazil.”

Bruchsal, Germany. Other

The free apps for Film and Sheet Extrusion, which are sponsored by Maguire, have been downloaded 4,936 times to date. The Injection World apps,

into packaging products by Aliplast Italy. The deal allows Aliplast to expand its recycling

when you’re offline,” said Beevers. The apps provide completely free access to the latest magazines: the Film

“The USA is

The sorted waste is then

wrapping films are recycled

“Our magazines are still

The app for Film & Sheet Extrusion has been downloaded nearly 5,000 times since launching 15 months ago

and Sheet Extrusion app contains the 11 most recent editions, for example. You can find and download the apps by searching for the magazine title or ‘AMI Plastics’ in iTunes, Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

❙ ❙ ❙

services to polypropylene

time, UPM extends the

PolyOne sells vinyls to Mexichem

reach of its RafCycle waste

US-based PolyOne is to sell its

divesting businesses such as

material science formulation

management concept,

vinyl dispersion, blending and

Oxy Vinyls in 2007 and SunBelt

for speciality applications,

which takes process waste

suspension resin assets to

in 2011.

rather than base resin

from the manufacture of

Mexichem for $250m in cash.

(PP) and paper-based release liners. At the same

self-adhesive labelstock

business involved in the direct

production. “Mexichem has substantial

and turns it into wood-

regulatory requirements and

manufacture of base resins,

expertise in base resin

plastic composites, energy

other customary conditions,

we view the sale of our resin

manufacturing,” said Newlin.

or paper.

says PolyOne.

production assets as a natural

“We believe they will be able to

Material is also sourced


The sale is subject to

“As our only remaining

and next step in the evolution

more fully unlock the potential

from UPM’s laminating and

of its Performance Products

of our portfolio,” according to

of our resin production assets.

slitting operations, matrix

and Solutions business,

Stephen Newlin, chairman and

We look forward to working

and start-up waste from

generated revenues of $147m

chief executive officer of

with them in the future as a

label printing and converting.

in 2012. The company has


❙ ❙

moved towards speciality

PolyOne’s resin assets, part

chemicals in recent years –

film & sheet EXTRUSION | March 2013

PolyOne intends to focus on its core competence of


❙ ❙

BOPP FILM 2013 The international conference and exhibition for the bi-oriented polypropylene film industry

Images courtesy of: Brückner Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG



25-27 June 2013 Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore

SPECIAL OFFER: Save US$375 if you register before 15th May 2013 Organised by: Applied Market Information Ltd.

Also sponsored by:

Media supporter:

Becky Merriott – Conference Manager Tel: +44(0)117 924 9442 Fax: +44(0)117 311 1534

Stretching the Limits


Left: Dow’s Andrew Liveris is “selectively pruning assets” Right: Dow produces Paraloid additives at the former Rohm and Haas plant in Lauterbourg, France.

Dow to sell its additives business Dow Chemical announced on 14 March

produces processing aids and impact

that it is planning to divest its Plastics

modifiers under the Paraloid, Surecel

Additives business unit.

and Tyrin brandnames. activities of the Rohm and Haas group,

and says that it is targeting nearly US$1.5

which Dow acquired for more than US$15

billion in proceeds from divestments over

billion in 2009. Dow sold its methyl tin

the next 18 months.

stabilisers and solid lubricants busi-

Dow’s chairman and CEO, Andrew

In 2011, Dow’s Plastics Additives business unit accounted for 4% of the

opportunities to optimise value, selec-

Performance Materials division’s total

tively pruning assets that are no longer a

sales of US$14,647 million, which equates

strategic or financial fit”.

to approximately US$600 million.


Italian exports up 6% Exports of Italian plastics machinery rose by 6% last year, but this was offset by weak domestic demand. Figures from trade industry association Assocomaplast show that machine production was flat in 2012, at €4bn.

ed for €22-26m in value terms. In other sectors, sales of blow age points, but injection moulding Total exports to Europe and to North America grew, while those to Asia and South America declined. Italy’s top five exports markets are

latest member survey showed “a less

Germany, France, the US, China and

pessimistic outlook” regarding the local


Sales of extruders grew by 9 percent-

Moulds and tools have also grown to account for more than a quarter of total

age points in 2012, with the main export

exports, and ended 2012 with a 19

destinations being Germany, Russia,

percentage point rise relative to 2011.

France and China. Each of these account-


Efficiency, Productivity, Flexibility • High uptime, throughput and raw material efficiency • Fast product changes • Easy operation and low maintenance • Reduced manpower and energy consumption • Excellent film quality

machines declined by 20%.

domestic demand dipped from €2.1bn to



moulding machines grew by 18 percent-

While exports increased to €2.6bn,

€1.8bn. However, Assocomaplast says its


nesses to PMC earlier this year.

portfolio and seeking even further

The Plastics Additives business

Hall 5.1, Booth L01

The division includes the additives

pylene Licensing business up for sale,

Liveris said: “We are reviewing our entire

20 - 23 May, Guangzhou

• Increasing environmental care

The company has also put its Polypro-

Chinaplas 2013



Waterproof membranes | process feature

Barrier relief

Geomembranes act as a physical barrier to keep liquids (and sometimes gases) in one place. Typical applications are reservoirs and landfill sites, to prevent water (or contaminants) from leaking away. Given that they are usually large structures, and typically made from commodity plastics, geomembranes are an ideal candidate for using recyclate – if the material’s properties are equivalent to those of virgin

Waterproof membranes are most commonly used in applications such as liners for reservoirs, but other end uses are possible. Lou Reade reports

resin. As well as the all-important mechanical strength, there are other factors to consider, such as the ability to weld films made from recycled PVC. Welding equipment specialist Leister has studied

Leister used hot air and hot wedge welding for the tests, using its Triac AT (for initial testing), Twinny T (for

this, to assess the suitability for making waterproof

hot air welding) and Uniplan Wedge (for hot wedge

membranes from recycled PVC from Solvay.


The material was sourced from the VinyLoop

Overlapping lengthwise welding seams were created during the Twinny T tests, by automatically travelling

contaminants such as copper particles, polyester fibres

with the welding machine over two VinyLoop sheets. A

and polyolefins from waste PVC. The final product, a PVC

combination wedge nozzle was used to evacuate hot air

granule, can be used in applications such as garden

from the joining region, creating a double weld seam

hoses, liners and membranes for tunnels and pools.

with a test channel between them. Three different pressure rollers were used, which differed in their

this case, VinyLoop FP101) was weldable, and whether

surface structure and hardness. The best results were

it could be joined using available welding processes. For

obtained using rollers with medium riffling, but results

this reason, it carried out a number of welding tests on

using a smooth silicone roller were also satisfactory.

the material, to assess general weldability and assess welding parameters and weld seam strength. A 1mm thick film of VinyLoop FP101 was used as a

Hot wedge technology was tested using the Uniplan Wedge. Heated to 420°C, the wedge was moved through the joining seam at 2m/min. Contact heat was used to

test material. The material is used in agricultural

heat the foil sheets at a width of 20 mm. These were

applications and for pond and tunnel liners.

then immediately joined using pressure rollers. The hot

to make pond liners

recycling process, which uses solvents to remove

Leister wanted to know if the recycled material (in

VinyLoop is routinely used



process feature | Waterproof membranes

material for various applications,” said the company.

Water delivery These types of membrane are not just used to prevent water leaking into the soil. Spanish plastics research institute Aimplas, along with five European partners, has developed a flexible plastic container that can be used to transport fresh water by sea. The container, developed under the Refresh project, can be pulled by tugboat to supply drinking water to coastal or island communities that have few water resources. The partners claim it is cheaper and more sustainable than existing systems, such as tankers or desalination plants. The partners estimate that the concept would cost around half that of tanker delivery, for example. During the project’s two-year duration, Aimplas was responsible for selecting the plastic materials used in the bag’s fabrication, as well as performing laboratory tests to verify the properties of the materials and validate the design of the structure. Its five partners were Industrial Textiles Sedó (Spain), D’Appolonia and Ziplast (Italy), Spanopoulos The Refresh

(Greece) and Safibra (Czech Republic).

project has

The partners have now produced a prototype

developed a

container, made from polyester fabric with a PVC


coating, that can hold 200 cubic metres of fresh water.

container that

The container is 20m long and 4m in diameter, and uses

can be used to

an innovative ‘zip’. It was tested on a 16 nautical mile

transport fresh

trip on the Greek island of Crete in November 2012. The

water. It is

cable length of the tugboat was increased gradually

sealed by a

from 30 to 100m. The trip took three hours, at a

special zip

maximum speed of six knots. “The modular design allows capacity to be varied, and maintain the integrity of the rest of the load if one of wedge welding process created visually appealing and

the modules gets damaged,” said project manager

strong welding seams, said Leister.

Vicent Martínez, a researcher in the extrusion depart-

Peeling and tensile tests were carried out to assess weld strength. Test samples were cut from the foil

ment at Aimplas. The container incorporates sensors that allow

sheets transverse to the welding direction, then tested

real-time monitoring of cable tensions, so that the boat

on a tensile testing machine. (However, the long term

can adjust to sailing conditions.

stability of the seal was not tested.) The tensile test on a sample welded using a Twinny T with 20mm wide seam resulted in a tear of the base material – outside the seam, meaning the weld had no

“This can respond to peaks in demand for drinking water experienced in islands or coastal tourist towns in the high season,” he said. The consortium has requested funding for a further

negative impact on tear strength. The peel test was the

project, to be called Refresh XXL, that will develop a

most demanding test for the weld seam: 90 Newtons

container 10 times larger than the current prototype.

had to be applied on a 20mm, 1mm thick sample before the seam failed. Homogeneity of the material – an important

On a far smaller scale, outdoor clothing can be made

characteristic for welding – was also impressive, said

waterproof – and breathable – using thin membranes


made from Arnitel VT from DSM.

“From a welding point of view, VinyLoop is a suitable 12

Out and about

film & sheet EXTRUSION | April 2013

The material – a flexible thermoplastic elastomer

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Compounding World 50 editions (December 2008 to April 2013)

Film and Sheet Extrusion 28 editions (April/May 2009 to March 2013)

Injection World 30 editions (October 2009 to March 2013)

Pipe and Profile Extrusion 26 editions (March/April 2009 to January/February 2013)

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Waterproof membranes | process feature

(TPE) – helps to reduce environmental impact because it contains no perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), unlike materials like PTFE-based membranes. Arnitel VT allows moisture vapour to pass from the inside to the outside of the garment, but the membranes are 100% waterproof, to keep the wearer comfortable and dry. It does not rely on perforations to make it breathable. The waterproof performance of perforated membranes can be compromised when they are washed or come into contact with liquids like alcohols or fuels. Perforations also reduce the strength of the membrane, making it easier to rip. Perforations can get clogged too, causing the membrane to lose its breathability. Because Arnitel VT is not perforated, it acts as a barrier not only to liquids, but also to bacteria and viruses. For this reason, it is used in surgical gowns. Arnitel VT has already been used for many years in membranes for clothing. “Several companies are working with us on the incorporation of Arnitel VT into their products,” said Paul Habets, global segment manager of specialty extrusion at DSM.



Click on the links for more information:

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Thin wall packaging | process feature

Pressing ahead When making thin wall packaging, it’s usually a straight fight between injection moulding and thermoforming, with product volume – and cost, of course – tipping the balance one way or another. While injection moulding can make products with higher quality and accuracy, thermoforming has carved out a low-cost niche for itself – hence the reason that new, more efficient machines are constantly being developed. Kiefel has extended its KMD series of thermoform-

Unless you’re producing at exceptionally high volumes, your thin wall packaging will need to rely on the latest thermoforming techniques. Lou Reade reports

ing machines with the Speedformer KMD 78. It says that The RSX robotic

the new model is particularly cost-efficient, and can be

ite of Irish packaging company Quinn Plastics & Packag-

used to create a wide range of components.

ing – which has added another model to its factory in its

stacker works

quest to become a major player in rigid food packaging.

with a number

The model is equipped with HTS ceramic heaters, for consistent distribution of heat-output, along with proven

Quinn Plastics & Packaging, said: “This additional

both the forming and cutting stations.

machine, which is fully compatible with our existing

Tension bars help to ensure play-free movement of

meat and poultry trays, and build supply to the mush-

cutting. (A newly developed two-stage cutting system

room punnet sector.” introduced a high-speed robotic stacker for its contact-

are placed onto a conveyor belt.

heat, in-mould cut thermoformers. The RSX allows

The KMD 78 is equipped with a touch-screen-operated

greater stacking flexibility and faster cycles for GN’s

Siemens Simotion control system, and can handle a range

3625DX, 3021DX and 4532D thermoformers, said the

of materials, including PS, OPS, EPS, PE, PP and PET. The

company. ties. The rotating head turns products 180 degrees for

to 150 mm and a maximum film width of 810mm.

de-nesting and can stack any configuration. Another important feature is that the x/y axis is

exhibition, manufacturing a fruit tray using clear APET

positioned in the centre of the sheet line – rather than to


the right, as in the previous system – which results in

more robust handling and transfer of parts at high speeds.

Another machine in the range, the KMD 85, is a favour-


The unit provides A/B and A/B/C stacking capabili-

with a negative/positive formed-component height of up The model will be seen at this year’s Chinaplas

including the

Canada’s GN Thermoforming Equipment has

operates from bottom to top, while formed components

unit can handle a maximum form-size of 760 x 540mm,


tooling, will allow us to increase our market share in

the drive components and the precise, repeatable helps to boost accuracy.) An adjustable stacking unit

of GN’s

Jeremy Sampson, sales and marketing director for

toggle drive and motorised upper-yoke adjustment for



process feature | Thin wall packaging

Parts to be packed are positioned on a carrier board on a 4m feeding device and automatically transported to the thermoforming station. After sealing, packs ready for sale are cut by a longitudinal and cross cutter. It has a maximum forming area of 505 x 775mm. Essential features include an integrated longitudinal and cross cutting system with hole punch press. Control units located on longitudinal and cross cutter prevent damage to the knives by automatic machine stop. The longitudinal cutting knives are mounted on a carrier rail and can be set to the required grid dimension outside the machine.

Fast work Fenner Advanced Sealing Technologies (Fast), based in Texas, has developed a new technique to produce thin-walled fluoropolymer containers for components in demanding applications, such as electronics. Current methods are labour intensive. Sheets of Illig will use its

The company’s DX series are servo-driven, and claim

PTFE are compressed, extruded, sintered, skived, then

latest machin-

greater cutting capacity of APET sheet for food packag-

calendared to a thickness of 2-15 mils. Other methods

ery to make

ing applications.

use extrusion to create fluoroplastic sheets and films of


the same thickness. The film is cut to size and compo-

APET trays and

Rolling on

nents are assembled together with it, making a bag

cups at

The RDM-K and RDK series automatic of roll-fed

using laser or heat welding methods.


thermoforming machines from Illig will be seen at this year’s Chinaplas. The current third generation of RDM-K models are

“There is a desire in the medical and semiconductor markets for an economically acceptable, high-purity, collapsible container for packaging valuable materials,”

designed for high-volume cup production in a range of

said the company. “This has inspired research into

shapes and sizes. RDK series machines rely on roll-fed

suitable methods and fluoropolymers to produce these

material to produce bowls, trays and hinged packs,

products using a single, efficient process step.”

such as those used on supermarket display shelves. At the show, an RDM 70K with 680 x 300mm

The technique developed by Fast eliminates a number of assembly steps – such as welding – that are

forming surface will make close to 45,000 APET cups

usually needed to make thin-walled, 3D objects from

per hour using an 18-cavity mould. APET will also be

these types of materials. It is suitable for making

processed by an RDK 80 IC (with a forming surface of

containers for environments between -109°C and

756 x 565mm) to make trays in a 10-cavity mould at 50

+177°C, while exhibiting better mechanical, optical, gas


barrier and chemical resistance properties.

The ‘IC‘ suffix denotes machines featuring Illig’s Intelligent Control concept, which helps the operator

PET for food

make full use of its capabilities.

Phoenix Technologies, which produces recycled PET,

With its current RDM-K machines, Illig has boosted cup-making productivity and quality, while reducing costs. Using servomotors on the machine raises the

pellet. Its LNO w resin claims to have good colour and cost

speed of each function. At the same time, the machines

benefits. It targets both blow moulded and thermofor-

need half the forming air of their predecessors. This

med applications for water, cold-filled beverages, deli

results in a more dynamic forming air build-up.

trays, fruit tubs and similar products.

Illig says that the machines achieve around 30%

Phoenix says it is ideal for packages that are not

higher productivity, while also increasing part quality

subjected to heat (either in filling or during consumer

and reducing energy consumption.

use) or need the rigorous performance of some food ap-

Another Illig range, its SB 74e-4 skin packaging line, is used by DIY supplier Dieda to pack a wide variety of components. 18

has introduced a new food-grade, melt-extruded rPET

film & sheet EXTRUSION | April 2013

plications. It can be used at levels up to 100%, or blended with virgin PET. Also, it is suited to personal care packaging



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Less waste Less energy consumption Less problems in size switching Less inflexibility in fulfilling requirements of both converters and packaging producers









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process feature | Thin wall packaging

The SB 74e-4 skin packaging

tions which can benefit from food-grade rPET attributes, such as high gloss.

line from Illig

The material complies with the Food & Drug

is used to

Administration’s letter of no objection for these

package a

conditions of use: room temperature filled and stored

range of DIY

(no thermal treatment in the container); refrigerated


storage (no thermal treatment in the container); and frozen storage (no thermal treatment in the container). “As you expand your conditions of use, the decontamination process gets more rigorous,” said Lori Carson, director of commercial operations at Phoenix Technologies. “These cold-filled, frozen or ambient-use applications do not involve a thermal process. That means they can use a resin that has been produced under milder processing conditions.” Phoenix says that LNO is 5-8% cheaper than its rPET grades used for containers that are subjected to heat. The new grade is the third in the LNO rPET line. LNO w joins food grade LNO p and LNO c, plus the non-food grade NLP resin. The LNO process relies on Phoenix’s patented ‘small particle size’ technology.

Scratch resistance US-based CMT Materials has developed a plug assist material that can be used to improve the forming of transparent polypropylene (PP). The company has devised a new class of syntactic foam, with a copolymer epoxy base, to minimise scratching and improve clarity. CMT evaluated the performance of copolymer syntactic foams for forming

of scratching. The PTFE-impregnated material

transparent PP, and compared it to engineered solid

produced cups with minimal scratching, just ahead of

polymer and a traditional grade of thermoplastic

those made with plain epoxy copolymer syntactic foam.

syntactic foam.

(These two grades also showed minimum haze and

Syntactic foam is the usual material of choice for plug assists (due mainly to its low heat transfer properties), but its high glass content can cause

maximum clarity.) Peek caused moderate scratching, thermoplastic syntactic foam the most. Plug design also influenced surface appearance,

scratching for PP, especially for deep draw parts such

with a greater degree of taper along the plug length

as drinking cups. Plus assists made from solid

producing cups with the least degree of scratching and

engineered thermoplastics such as Peek or PEI can be

greatest clarity in the scratch area.

substituted, which minimises scratching. CMT says that its material is much cheaper than

Based on the results, syntactic copolymers are an alternative to solid engineered polymers when forming

these solid engineered polymers, and can be easily

transparent PP. For optimum results, said CMT, plugs

machined and polished.

should be polished and the material run at minimum

Plugs were made from Peek, thermoplastic syntactic

sheet temperature.

foam and epoxy copolymer syntactic foam (including one impregnated with PTFE). The material formed was

Click on the links for more information:

a 1.9mm (0.075in) thick clarified homopolymer PP,

❙ ❙ ❙ ❙ ❙ ❙

clarified with a nucleating agent. The part formed was a 140mm tall drinking cup with a rim inner diameter of 85mm and a bottom inner diameter of 58mm. The draw ratio was 3.7. Plug material had a significant effect on the degree 20

film & sheet EXTRUSION | April 2013

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Stretch & shrink film | process feature

Stretch film has found its niche in several areas, from pallet stabilisation to high quality packaging film. Lou Reade reports

Stretching a point The true definition of ‘plastic’ is something that is

new film provided as much protection

The Visique

malleable and deformable – so perhaps stretch film

as the original. Pallets using the new

stretch sleeve

might be considered a fundamental application of

stretch hood film were tested by

polymers. The ability to make a plastic film that can

ESTL of Belgium, and certified as

then be stretched further is one that is finding an

stable according to EN 12195-1. Frank Bruhn, an independent

increasing number of uses. ExxonMobil Chemical has begun using an

based in Denmark, helped ExxonMo-

plant in Belgium, using its own material in

bil optimise the running of the film

the formulation.

in Meerhout.

Meerhout. It is used to secure sacks of resin onto pallets.

bottles and containers

“We put a thinner Vistamaxx

The film, based on Vistamaxx propylenematerial usage by up to 16% at the plant in

to contoured

specialist in stretch hood machinery

improved stretch hood film at its polymer

based elastomer (PBE), has reduced

label fits tightly

PBE-based stretch hood film into the production line. The result was the same high-quality protection and load stability as with the thicker film previously used,” he said “I am convinced that

New formulation Previously, the plant used a stretch

customers will be able to save up to 100 grammes of film per pallet load with this

hood film formulation using Exceed

new stretch hood film.” The new film was

metallocene polyethylene (mPE) resin

produced by Selene, in Italy.

in the outer layers and Nexxstar ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) copolymer resin in the core layer. This 100 micron film provided high holding

“Compared to standard EVA-based films, the addition of Vistamaxx PBE provides good opportunities to downgauge stretch hood films and improve flexibility,” said Marco Rubertà, of

force, load stability, tear and puncture

the technical department and R&D at Selene.

resistance, seal strength and weather protection.

He cited appliances as another growing

ExxonMobil wanted to develop a film that used less material and cut cost, while maintaining stability and

application for stretch hood technology. “We have experienced good results using Vistamaxx

protection. Also, to meet a stretch ratio target of 55% on

PBE-based film formulations because they offer

the pallet, a more flexible film was needed.

flexibility, better ‘snap-back’ and excellent optical

The structure of the new three-layer film comprises 100% Exceed mPE resin in the outer layers and 15%

properties,” he said. The stretch hood film is now commercial at the

Vistamaxx PBE and 85% Nexxstar EVA copolymer resin

plant, and ExxonMobil plans to introduce it to other

in the core.

facilities across the world.

The new film – which was downgauged to 90 microns – was as effective as the original 100 micron film in

Getting thinner

providing load stability. Puncture tests showed that the

Downgauging is an important consideration in pallet



process feature | Stretch & shrink film

Stretch film

compared with a little over 60 pallets using pallet


stretch film. The number of roll changes is also

Sigma Plastics


will increase

Stretch hoods can achieve close to 400 pallets per

capacity with a

roll change, while pallet stretch film requires a roll

cast film line

change every 50 pallets. For a company wrapping 100

from Gloucester

pallets an hour, one roll change every four hours would


be required, rather than one roll change every 50 minutes using pallet stretch film. “For larger companies with outputs above than 100 pallets per hour, the labour cost saving in moving to stretch hoods is significant,” he said. The report, Stretch film, pallet shrink film and stretch hoods market in Europe 2013, is available from AMI.

Cast film capacity US-based stretch film manufacturer Sigma Plastics Group has bought a cast film line from Gloucester Engineering, in order to increase capacity. The line will allow Sigma to produce up to nine rolls of stretch film at a time – with each roll being as much as 20in wide. The new line, scheduled for delivery in June 2013, is a turnkey production cell and includes Extrol control system with Automatic Profile Control software, stabilisation: not only does it cut the cost (and weight) of

Contracool extruders, dies, casting unit, an IR thickness

each individual load, but it can have a huge knock-on

gauge, edge trim station, and winder.

effect for materials use across the industry. “Nearly one-fifth of all polyethylene film produced in Europe is used to stabilise palletised loads,” said John

“We have been working with Sigma Stretch Film

Campin of Applied Market Information (AMI), author of

since 1993, when they were a new player entering the

a recent report into pallet film. “This seems a huge

stretch film market,” said Carl Johnson, president of

amount, but the weight of film used these days shows a

Gloucester Engineering. “We’ve both grown from

massive reduction on the non-film solutions of yester-

humble beginnings: for Sigma, that started with two

year – such as wooden crates, cardboard secured by

garment film lines purchased from us in 1978.”

metal strapping.” The fastest growing film palletisation method is pallet stretch hoods, he says. “Powdery and granular products packed in bags – such as chemicals, fertilisers, soil, compost and peat – are good candidates for the use of stretch hoods,

Sigma produces a variety of extruded PE film and bag products from 38 plants in North America. It uses more than 450 extruders – many of them supplied by Gloucester Engineering. It has annual sales of $2.4 billion. “We are expanding, and the new cast film line is

because the film will continue to retract around the load

required to support our growth,” said Per Nylen,

even if the load contents shift,” he said.

executive vice president at Sigma Stretch Film. “We

White goods, including washing machines, fridges and tumble driers, which used to be wrapped in cardboard with metal or plastic strapping, are now

know it will push as many pounds an hour 20 years from now as it did the day it was commissioned.” At the same time, Softfilm of São Paulo, Brazil has

frequently wrapped in high quality stretch wrap, which

bought a third Davis-Standard line to support its stretch

allows good product display in addition to a high level of

and melt embossed film business. The new line,

protection against the elements.

installed late last year, is designed to produce diaper

But he says that the weight saving potential in

film backsheet and coated nonwovens. It features an

switching to pallet stretch film is not the only factor.

unwind as well as an embossing unit to support

Another criterion is the speed of wrapping. Over 100

production of a softer end product.

pallets per hour is achievable using stretch hoods 24

The two companies have a history of working together.

film & sheet EXTRUSION | April 2013

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Stretch & shrink film | process feature

stretching technology for to make high value-added films. For the production of special films, all production

Tight fit In the world of high gloss packaging, Dow Europe and

steps are tailored and optimised to the needs of the

PetroplastVinora have introduced the Visique stretch

specific process and application to achieve the desired

sleeve label, for highly contoured bottles and containers.

film features. A growing market segment for special film applications is shrink film. Shrink film is mainly used for heat-shrinkable labels used in packaging for beverages,

The companies say that it combines exceptional mechanical and optical properties, to “fit like a second skin and sport a high gloss finish for great shelf appeal�. Trials have demonstrated high processability, which

detergents and other shaped containers. Shrink labels

helps the 5-7 layer films to retain their stiffness while

serve are promotional vehicle for marketing activity for

staying soft and offering a close fit around the contain-

single or multiple pack promotion, or as a visual tamper

ers. The Visique stretch sleeve label uses Elite AT resin

evident protection.

from Dow, which offers processing stability and

Andritz Biax has long experience in this field from a number of projects with leading film producers. Based

consistency. One of its advantages is its high elastic recovery: the

on this expertise, it offers inline concepts (from

film can expand by up to 60% for easier handling, while

extrusion to finished shrink film) for OPS (SBC) and

elastic recovery of around 95% means the film shrinks

OPETG, and offline concepts (starting from unwound

back into the recesses of the container for a tight fit,

cast film) for OPVC, OPETG and OPS. It also offers

normally without sagging. The film is also easy to

multipurpose lines that produce standard BOPET as

process, with no need for a heat tunnel. This cuts

well as shrink films.

manufacturing cost and energy consumption. The film

The company also offers customers the chance to conduct trials on a simultaneous (MESIM) pilot line, in order to develop new film types or test new materials.

offers good holding strength to facilitate wrapping. At the same time, its high mechanical properties make it possible to produce thinner blown films while

PLASTICS PACKAGING PRODUCTION The strategy of the 50 European leaders revealed This invaluable report gives you a market analysis of the fifty leading plastics packaging producers involved in rigid and flexible packaging for the industrial, retail, medical and food industries in Europe.

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Stretch & shrink film | process feature

maintaining toughness and stiffness. The films have


high resistance to impact and tear. The films also boast

Chemical is

high gloss, and low levels of defects.

using its own Vistamaxx

“This helps to answer the call for thinner films that maintain their mechanical properties and optical

material in the

appeal,” said Kurt Brunner, technology leader of

formulation for

sustainable packaging at Dow Europe.

an improved stretch hood

Initially developed for the drinks market, the label can be adapted for other applications, such as personal,

film at a

household and healthcare products.

polymer plant in Belgium

Eclipse Film Technologies, a specialist in machine direction orientation of polymer films, has introduced high-shrink polyolefin label films that claim to offer improved recyclability and yield. The three-layer polyolefin shrink films, which are typically targeted at bottle applications, are made from LLDPE and Topas cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) from Topas Advanced Polymers. They claim lower density than competing film materials such as PETG, PS, and PVC, while having high machine direction shrink of 40-60% at 100°C and 0-2% growth in the cross/

and print registration for a range of shrink labels for

transverse direction at 100°C.

various bottle uses, and are commercially available in

Eclipse takes pre-manufactured film and sheet, and

various gauges up to 63in wide.

performs MDO techniques to provide it with unique properties, it says. It identified Topas COC as a material

Click on the links for more information:

that enhanced shrink and gloss while improving

❙ ❙ ❙ ❙ ❙ ❙ ❙ ❙

sustainability: recyclability is enhanced because the lower density films are easily separated from PET bottles using standard water flotation recycling systems. The films claim a 30-40% yield improvement over competing films, plus high clarity, stiffness and web handling, according to Ryan Breese, the company’s technical director. They also provide good ink adhesion

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Materials handling | machinery feature

Investing in the latest materials handling equipment – whether for dosing, drying or conveying – can help boost the efficiency of plastics extrusion

Making materials more mobile Automating and improving the way in which raw

At the same time, Maguire

materials are brought together for film or sheet

says that its enhanced MGF

extrusion – such as by weighing them accurately, or

gravimetric feeder, for metering

controlling their quality – is crucial if processors are to

colorants and additives into processing machines, is

make efficiency gains.

now far more accurate and has higher throughput.

So, before the extrusion line itself even kicks into

Maguire says that its MGF gravimetric

Test data from Maguire comparing the enhanced

feeder is now

action, it’s vital that materials are delivered into the

MGF unit with “the leading competitive gravimetric

hopper throat as efficiently and accurately as possible.

feeder” indicates that when each was equipped with a

more accurate

Maguire Products has received a US patent for a

half-inch (12.7mm) auger, the Maguire device provided

and has higher throughput

pneumatically powered system that speeds up job or

a wider throughput range: 0.4-120lbs/h (0.2-54kg/h),

colour changes for gravimetric blenders that have

against 1.5-55lbs/h (0.7-25kg/h). Dosing accuracy was

loaders mounted on the hopper lid.

also greater: over 100 dispense cycles of 11g per dose,

The system, called Loader Lift, reduces changeover time by lifting the hopper lid at the touch of a switch, providing easy access to ingredient bins without

the MGF average was 11.1g, against 11.3g for the competing feeder. Maguire achieved the extra performance by replacing

removing the loaders feeding them. The bins are

the continuous-rotation electric motor used for driving

designed to be removable.

the feed auger with a stepper motor that completes

The system is available for an extra $500 on two Maguire blender models – the MicroBlender (up to 100lbs, or 45kg, per hour) and the MicroPlus (up to 350lbs, or 160kg, per hour). Once the system has raised the hopper lid and the loaders on top of it, there is plenty of room for the operator to remove the bins. Two safety features prevent operators from trapping

each rotation in 200 increments and at a maximum speed of 100 rpm. In combination with digital control, the 200-step cycle achieves finer resolution in metering ingredients into the moulding or extrusion process. The high motor speed makes possible to double throughput to 120lb (54 kg) per hour in extrusion. “The finer resolution adds to the greater accuracy of our gravimetric feeder, helping extrusion processors to

operator presses two buttons simultaneously; and a

reduce colour and additive consumption, better control

large rubber flange protruding from the rim of each bin

product quality, and document colour usage,” said Pat

leaves more than enough room for fingers even if the lid

Smith, vice president of marketing and sales. “These

is fully lowered.

improvements come at no added cost to customers.”

their fingers: the lid cannot be lowered unless the



machinery feature | Materials handling

PE packaging

Drying tonight


Maguire has also developed a new vacuum dryer that it

Duo Plastics has invested in gravimetric dosing systems from PlastControl, to

claims is simpler to use and more reliable than previous systems. It added that the VBD vacuum dryer also offers faster drying time and lower energy consumption than desiccant dryers. Using gravity to move material through vertically


arranged stages of the drying process – with the

product quality

discharge of material from one stage to the next

and consistency

controlled by slide-gate valves – eliminates most moving parts. It also does away with sealing gaskets – which can be worn away by resin dust – and with perforated screens, which need cleaning. “The savings in energy and start-up time, in

energy consumption, for single drying bins with

enable the processor to pay back their investment in a

volumes of 3,000-13,000 litres. ETA Plus has already proved itself effective with air

matter of months,” said Smith. The first model, the VBD-1000, has a throughput of

dryers of the Luxor A series. Automatic adjustment of

up to 1,000lbs (455kg) per hour. It is 16ft (4.9m) tall with

air volume to the entry temperature of the relevant

a footprint of only 6.8ft (2.1m) by 3.7ft (1.1m). A series of

material leads to more consistent drying. The only air

smaller models, starting with a throughput of 100lbs

volume produced is that required for the drying process,

(45kg) per hour, will be introduced this year.

says Motan. ETA Plus does not require butterfly valves

Meanwhile, the EnergySmart single stage ES-1

to control air flow.

polymer drying system from US-based Conair is

The system combines the drying function with air

available for throughputs of 182-2273kg/hr (400-

flow control. Process air quantity and the adjustment of

5000lbs/hr) and was developed for processors of PET

the drying temperature are controlled at the same time

and other polymers that require high drying tempera-

as the energy requirement of the material throughput. It

tures. It uses the company’s automatic Drying Monitor

avoids over- or under-drying, and claims a 60%

technology to reduce energy consumption. In Optimizer mode, the TouchView ETA Plus drying

flow regulation has been optimised in order to minimise

comparison with conventional desiccant systems,

dryer control regulates air tempera-

reduction in energy consumption, compared with conventional dryers. Interactive menu navigation is available via a TFT


ture, dew point and air flow. Just enough

touch-screen colour monitor. Users can select all

from Motan-

heat energy is added to the bed of

essential parameters for their chosen material from a

Colortronic is

material in the drying hopper to

pre-loaded database. In-house recipes can be stored in

now available

maintain optimum conditions,

a separate database.

for use with

saving energy and producing

single drying

high-quality finished products more

Dosing down



Motan says that the latest generation of Minicolor V

“It’s like cruise control on a car,”

for volumetric – uses disc dosing technology that is

packaging general manager at

suitable for small and micro quantities of material.

Conair. “Once you’ve established the right conditions, you simply touch the control screen and Optimizer mode takes over.” Motan-Colortronic says

microbatch and masterbatch, or when dealing with micro quantities of additives on a plastics processing system, says Motan. The system can be used in injection moulding and in extrusion, in applications

its ETA Plus drying

where it is imperative that deviations in dosing quanti-

ogy available for use with single drying bins. This control solution for air film & sheet EXTRUSION | April 2013

A distinguishing feature of the new disc dosing unit is its repeatability. This is essential with direct dosing of

that the latest version of technology makes the technol-


dosing and mixing equipment – in which the ‘V’ stands

said Jamie Jamison, global PET/

ties are avoided. The disc dosing technology has been refined by Motan, ensuring a constant repeatability accuracy of up to 1%. To save on space, Minicolor V is mounted

TRENDSETTERS 5 layer polyolefin-dedicated (POD) technology was introduced by Macchi in 2001 to foster film production economies and quality enhancement by expanding the product design option. Today that break-through concept is still well alive. Together with the synergistic developments made possible by the new resins offering unprecedented possibilities of downgauging, output rates and product performances for new business opportunities across the flexible packaging value chain.

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machinery feature | Materials handling

Liquid assets Conair has developed a way to help users of liquid

container is supported on a load cell that constantly

colours and additives to boost the accuracy and

measures loss in weight, as material is pumped to

simplicity of gravimetric (loss-in-weight) metering

the processing machine. Programming is easy: for extrusion, the feeder can run on an open loop or

technology. Its TrueFeed LQ liquid feeder eliminates the need for colour calibration, and adjusts automatically

precisely control the metering rate against extruder screw speed. Once set up, the digital control takes over,

for changes in material and process-

adjusting pump speed to meter the correct amount,

ing conditions.

regardless of changes in production rate, variations

This leads to easier set-up, greater processing up-time and increased productivity.

in viscosity, pump/hose condition or environmental changes. A menu-driven control system includes a

“With improved dosing

real-time memory that stores up to 1500 process

accuracy, users may find that

settings and tracks actual dosed weights, to

they can use less expensive

provide process validation over time. A self-regu-

colour and still get the

lating electronic filter ensures that weight

look they want,” said Alan

information is interpreted correctly, even under

Landers, blender product manager at Conair. The Conair feeders use the same peristaltic pumping technology as conventional volumetric dosers. But the liquid

high-vibration conditions. An optional wheeled trolley base can be added to support the liquid additive canister, weigh scale, pump and TrueFeed control, creating a portable metering system.


between the machine hopper and the feed throat of the

TrueFeed LQ

plastics processing machine, directly on the entry

liquid feeder

flange. Up to two granular additive components can be

‘pre-mixing’, as raw materials dosed directly into the

eliminates the

fed into the free-flowing stream of the main material

extruder. Combining gravimetric dosing with gravimet-

need for colour

synchronously – via a stainless steel cruciform. In the

ric nominal thickness control improves the quality and


downstream processing step, components are blended

consistency of the film and reduces scrap levels – which

automatically and homogeneously.

cuts the amount of virgin material needed, and the

Dosing time is adjusted using

amount of energy used in manufacturing. It also allows

the closed-loop control in Maguire has received a

relation to the screw speed of the extruder.

US patent

we’ve been implementing over the past three years.” Gravimetric dosing virtually eliminates the need for

Duo to change raw material specification quickly. “As a bespoke packaging manufacturer, orders may require different specifica-

for a system

Lean manufacture

tions that require different ratios of raw

that speeds up

Polyethylene packaging

materials. Being able to change the

job or colour

manufacturer Duo Plastics

specification speedily, with a

changes for

UK has invested in new

minimum of waste, is incredibly


gravimetric dosing systems

useful for us.”


from Plast-Control, in order to improve product quality and consistency. “Very few companies in the UK have these machines, which use latest

Mike Calderbank of Plast-Control added: “The system is highly modular and easily expandable, so is a very flexible option if Duo’s needs were to change in the future.”

manufacturing technology,” said David Brimelow, managing director of Duo.

Powder control

“They represent a major step in our

The use of powdered additives and

lean manufacturing programme, which 34

film & sheet EXTRUSION | April 2013

colorants is increasing, as processors


Aroma and Appearance

Perfectly Preserved

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machinery feature | Materials handling

The latest generation of Minicolor V dosing and mixing equipment is suitable for

chase either cost savings (compared to pellets) or improved dispersion. But powders – especially very fine ones – can be difficult to handle. Colortronic has recently developed new vacuum receivers with improved filtration for fine powders. Its AV-5 and AV-10 filters, used in the new receivers and available for existing systems, filter finer powders out of

small quantities

the process air to keep the powder in the system and

of material

keep the processing plant cleaner, according to Keith Larson, vice president of Colortronic North America. Schenck has also begun supplying air filter technology, following its acquisition of Clyde Process Solutions. It recently introduced the MCF filter system, which it says is robust, easy to install, and easy to maintain. Another new product resulting from the acquisition is Schenck’s MoveMaster Vac loading stations and vacuum receivers for gentle vacuum conveying of powders, granulated materials and pellets. Both the loading stations and receivers are modular, so can be set up for a variety of applications. Options include filters for powdered material and automatic filter cleaning. The equipment features quick-connect band clamps, making it easy to clean and

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machinery feature | Materials handling

Schenck’s MoveMaster Vac products ensure gentle vacuum conveying of powders, granulated materials and pellets

maintain, says the company. Moretto has designed its Large Series of high-productivity receivers to convey large quantities of granules, flakes, or regrind. It says that the cyclone effect allows the receiver to be filled without obstruction, and the double eyelid shutter discharge valve and 230mm opening enables the receiver to empty in only 3 seconds. At the same time, it has developed its patented Oktomatik octabin unloaded, which uses an electric lift to tip the octabin with a final inclination of up to 55°. It says that this arrangement helps to overcome a typical industry problem – that of removing all the material from the container. Click on the links for more information:

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European polymer distribution | markets feature

AMI has just completed its latest market report on polymer distribution in Europe. The study’s author, Karla Vittova reveals some of its key findings

Moving materials: trends in polymer distribution Polymer distribution is playing an increasingly strategic role within the polymer industry value chain, providing opportunities for polymer producers to cut costs and improve efficiencies and deliver better service and support to the plastics processor. However, in an industry notorious for its slim margins and in a low growth economy, the successful distributor needs to be rigorous in understanding the cost-to-serve and the value gained from its customers in order to ensure

the distribution industry still has some way to go to

future survival and growth.

recover volumes lost during the 2008-2009 recession,

The new fifth edition of AMI’s Polymer Distribution in

Europe report analyses these changes in detail, examines their impact on polymer producers and distributors, and provides the information required to make strategic decisions in this competitive and fast-changing supply chain. The full 250-page report also includes a spreadsheet with details of the sales volumes of around 250 distribution companies. Over the following four pages, we summarise some of the report’s headline findings. The polymer distribution industry continues to recover from the effects of the financial crisis in 2008, although there was a marked slowdown in the pace of sales growth for 2011 after a strong pick up in 2010. With continued weak economic growth in Europe during 2012, distribution volumes grew at half the rate compared with the previous two years. Furthermore,

with 2011 sales still more than 500,000 tonnes lower than in 2007. The overall growth for polymer demand between 2009-2011 was 2.5% per year and the volumes sold through official distribution channels grew in the same period slightly ahead of this at 2.8%. Polymer distributors account for approximately 11% of polymer consumed in Europe (the data in the report includes PE, PP, PS, ABS/SAN, PA 6 & 66, PBT, PC, PMMA and POM). In value terms, polymer distribution accounted for revenues of over €6 billion, with the largest contributors being PP and PA. Although affected by the financial crisis, distributors have also been able to benefit from the downturn as polymer majors have rationalised their customer base and bottom-sliced smaller/less profitable accounts, driven by a desire to reduce their credit exposure as April 2013 | FILM & SHEET EXTRUSION


markets feature | European polymer distribution

well as cutting sales and marketing costs. The emer-

tries of Western Europe which have relatively little local

gence of new sources of materials outside Europe, for

production and are adjacent to major supply countries.

example from the Middle East and Asia, is also

For example, the Portuguese market is often supplied

presenting an opportunity for distributors, although

from a distributor’s Spanish office, while Ireland is

most of these volumes tend to enter the European market either on a spot or

frequently supplied from the UK, and Switzerland from Germany. Germany and Benelux both have lower

traded basis, or as official volumes for

than average sales via distributors,

the polymer majors.

which reflects the size and strength of

However, fluctuating prices and

the local polymer companies and,

stagnant economic growth are still presenting other challenges to the

probably more importantly, the relative

polymer distribution market. While

size of the local processing industry. The Benelux region in particular is

processors may prefer the reliability,

home to many large-scale processing

guarantee of quality, technical support and personal nature of distribution, when prices go up to the extent that processors are in danger of getting into financial difficulty, they start

companies in pipe, fibre and film, which will typically be direct buyers. Although engineering polymers bring higher margin

looking for alternative, cheaper options through

to distributors due to the technical aspect of the

traders. This is mainly the case for commodities in

processing and services needed, it is commodities

non-technical applications where materials are

which drive the sales volumes, accounting for three-


quarters of sales by distributors. However, engineering

When analysed by country/region, polymer distribu-

plastics will undoubtedly drive the future value of

tion sales are a function of the structure of the local

polymer distribution and will record much stronger

processing industry, plus the structure of local polymer

growth than standard polymers.

production and supply, and historical trading links. For example, polymer distribution networks tend to be

A changing industry structure

more established in Western Europe, compared with

Suppliers looking to optimise their distribution

Central and Eastern Europe where traders are more

networks are more likely to appoint international/

prevalent and where customer loyalty is less strong.

pan-European distributors and reduce the number of

Polymer distributors also tend to account for a

local players per country. Together with consolidation

higher proportion of the market in the smaller coun-

among distribution companies, this will result in a declining number of distribution companies in Europe in the long term. Similarly, distributors are making thorough assessments of their customer base, targeting specific services to their customers’ needs and even terminating cooperation with customers which generate unsatisfactory margins. The effect of ongoing consolidation among the industry plus the increasing importance of pan-European groups has resulted in a relatively high level of concentration in European distribution. This is reflected in the fact that the 10 largest distribution groups account for more than half of all polymer volumes distributed. Major recent M&A highlights include: ● The sale of Ashland’s global distribution business to Nexeo Solutions (April 2011) ● The acquisition of Azelis’s polymer distribution business by Gazechim Plastiques from the 3i private equity group (June 2012) ● Omya’s acquisitions of Spanish distributor Unasa


(2011) and Central European distributor Plastochem with offices in the Czech Republic, Hungary and



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markets feature | European polymer distribution

set out to grow via a buy and build strategy. It concluded


its first acquisition in April 2012, purchasing Atlantic Polymers from Neochimiki. Europe’s leading polymer distributors include A. Schulman, Albis, Biesterfeld, Chemieuro, Febo, Nexeo Solutions, Resinex and Ultrapolymers, although there are a number of other players which have the potential to emerge as new pan-European groups such as KD Feddersen, Ter Hell, Hromatka, Gazechim Plastiques and Omya.

Source: AMI 2012

The changing role of the distributor There are different levels of cooperation existing in the Poland (over 2009-2011) ● The expansion of Spain’s Guzman Group into Italy by

partnership, when a principal and its distributor work

an acquisition of Sabic’s distributor Tecno in summer

very closely together with precisely defined territories


and customers, through to much looser types of

A number of companies have left the distribution

cooperation. These can even involve direct competition

business altogether either due to bankruptcy, divest-

between a distributor and the principal’s own sales-

ment, giving up distribution as a non-core business or

force in the same market.

due to a loss of the only distribution mandate which was


European market today. Ranging from a strategic

The relationship between suppliers and their

not replaced by any other contract. Bankrupt companies

distributors has changed significantly in recent years in

include Dipe (Spain), E&B Polymers (Benelux) and

terms of both the role the distributor plays for the

Kerins & Morrissey (Ireland). In spring 2012, Neochi-

supplier and the nature of the cooperation agreement

miki in Greece divested a number of its subsidiaries,

between them. A distributor increasingly is no longer

namely Atlantic Polymers with offices in Germany and

regarded as just a local merchant which takes care of

Poland and Interallis Chemicals with offices in Roma-

smaller customers that are not important or valuable

nia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia.

enough for the supplier to serve directly. Instead, there

On the other hand, some new offices have been

is a growing trend to develop strategic distribution


established by existing European players. KD Feddersen

networks, a process which has been accelerating in the

have increased

set up new offices in the UK in 2009 and in Austria in

face of slower economic growth as suppliers look to


summer 2012. During 2011, Ultrapolymers established

achieve faster cash generation, lower inventories,

to represent

offices in Poland and the Baltic States, while Plastoplan

shorter supply chains and reduced payment terms.


and Sirmax also opened offices in Poland, and


Gazechim set up in Spain. During 2012, a new Hungar-

no longer a sole determinant of whether it will be


ian office was set up by Central European distributor

served directly or via a distributor. Accelerated by the

from the

Radka and Polymix opened a new office in Belgium.

economic downturn, there has been a trend towards

A new player entered the market in 2009 in the

specialisation, with suppliers focussing on strategic

Middle East and Asia


shape of Allandis. It established an Ireland office and


The size of a customer, although still important, is

core business. Therefore, focusing simply on the

POLYMER SOURCING 2013 New sources, optimising customer relations and maintaining profitability



14-16 May 2013 Imperial Riding School Renaissance Hotel, Vienna, Austria

FINAL REMINDER – BOOK NOW Organised by: Applied Market Information Ltd.

Media supporter:

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markets feature | European polymer distribution

their customer bases to focus on the larger, strategically important customers and passing smaller, financially unsound or non-strategic customers onto distributors. Distribution is going to grow most strongly in value-added and technical applications for polyolefins, plus technical compounds, particularly in injection moulding (automotive, white goods, electrical sectors). The strongest growth will be seen in Poland and other markets of Central and Eastern Europe, where distribution networks are still growing and where there is the opportunity to export to markets further east, such as Russia, Ukraine and other CIS states.

More information For more information about AMI’s report on Polymer Distribution in Europe and to gain access to details on Moving up a

polymer purchasing thresholds is much less relevant in

sales volumes of some 250 distribution companies,

gear: polymer

an assessment of the polymer distribution market. The

please contact Karla Vittova,,

distribution is

factors affecting a principal’s decision whether or not

+44 117 924 9442.

expected to

certain customers will be passed on to a distributor

grow at double

include: their strategic fit with suppliers’ business,

ence will take place on 14-16 May 2013 in Vienna,

the rate of

growth potential, cost to serve (for example, credit and

Austria. This forum is specifically created for compa-


payment history) and where the customer will be better

nies involved at every stage of

demand in the

cared for.

the polymer supply chain. The

next five years

There is also a tendency for distributors to be more

The 9th edition of AMI’s Polymer Sourcing confer-


programme features market

selective about their customers and it is no longer a

analysis presentations from

priority for distributors to serve all customers with

Andrew Reynolds and Karla

equal care. Distributors not only focus on customers in

Vittova of AMI Consulting, plus

high growth segments (for example from the cosmetics,

papers from leading distribu-

medical or technical sectors) but also offer services for

tors, including Biesterfeld,

certain customers and reduce the service where it is not

Distrupol, Febo, Nexeo,

needed or required for others.

Plastribution, Poliversal, Radka and Ter Hell. There

New sources, optim

ising customer


relations and maint

aining profitability



14-16 May

2013 Imperial Riding School Renaissance Hotel, Vienna, Austria Organised by: Applied Market Information Ltd. Media supporte

What will the future bring?

will also be talks from

Despite challenges the industry faces, polymer

polymer producers and

distribution is expected to grow at double the rate of

purchasers, including Styrolution, Ineos and Innovia

polymer demand in the next five years. This will be

Films. For more information visit or

driven by suppliers rationalising their sales teams and

contact Maud Lassara,


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Materials | technology



Acrylic additive leads to lower density PVC sheet

Protecting plasticised PVC

Dow Plastics Additives has

Sanitized is to launch two

introduced Surecel T-60 foam

new antimicrobial additives

cell promoter, an acrylic

designed for to protect plasti-

additive designed to make

cised PVC.

lower density cellular PVC

The products offer a range


of application-specific

The product can be used to

benefits including longer

make free-foam sheet for trim

life-cycles, improved

boards and mill stock for the

weatherability and thermal

building and construction

stability, plus higher resist-


ance to UV and yellowing.

It is designed to offer higher

The first, Sanitized PL

expansion and lower density,

process conditions, including

tions,” said Rob Martin,

12-32, has high water

while maintaining excellent

changes in die gap, pull rates

Americas marketing

resistance and UV stability,

cell structure in thicker foam

and extrusion rates.

manager at Dow Plastics

making it suitable for outdoor


applications such as awnings

PVC applications. The wide processing

“By using Surecel T-60, extruders producing cellular

Cellular PVC is a durable

and tents. The second

window offers customers high

vinyl sheet can benefit from

option for exterior trim,

product, Sanitized PL 12-33,

process flexibility, leading to

combined lower cost foam

combining wood-like

has high thermal stability

less waste. As a result, says

sheet, a wider processing

aesthetics, durability and low

(and can withstand high

Dow, it offers a more manage-

window and excellent expan-


processing temperatures). It

able melt across various

sion for thicker sheet applica-


also retains its transparency. These properties make it ideal for applications like


Cast PA film uses bio-based grades

flooring and furnishings. Flexible PVC products are very sensitive to attacks from

German film producer MF

film are available in 30, 40 and

a reduced moisture transmis-

microbes. When microbes

Folien has introduced a new

50 micron thicknesses.

sion rate compared with

break down plasticisers, PVC

product based on DSM’s

Potential application areas are

polyamide 6 film, and a

products become stiff and

bio-based EcoPaxx polyam-

in flexible food packaging,

comparable oxygen barrier.

brittle, and cracks begin to

ide 410.

building & construction,

When fully wet, the oxygen

form. The new products can

In 2011, MF Folien first

medical, aviation and shipping.

barrier of polyamide 410 is

help to overcome this, by

created samples of 30 micron

EcoPaxx films are strong

even higher, says DSM.

fighting the effects of

cast film from EcoPaxx.

and transparent, with high

Samples of EcoPaxx-based

puncture resistance. They have

Recently, three grades were given the ‘Certified Biobased Product’ label,

mildew, yeasts and algae. Maria Toscan, product

awarded by the US Depart-

manager for polymers at

ment of Agriculture (USDA),

Sanitized, said: “No single

to certify a proven bio-based

substance is perfect for all

content of around 70%.

applications. By combining

The bio-based content of 

bacteria, mould fungi,

benefits and reducing

EcoPaxx stems from one of

limitations, we are able to offer

its building blocks, which is

a clear choice of application-

derived from castor oil.

specific solutions.”


❙ April 2013 | film & sheet EXTRUSION


technology | Machinery


Extrusion coating line boosts flexible packaging production Davis-Standard says that its


Welex dryer-less debut

DSX Flex-pack extrusion

Welex has sold its first

coating line can help ramp up

Converge CTS sheet line – a

flexible packaging production.

dryer-less solution that

The line, which can be

removes the need for

delivered in as little as six

conventional drying and

months, includes: a flexible

recrystallising systems.

packaging unwinder; corona

It will feed an inline PLA/

treaters; an extrusion

PET thermoforming system at

laminator; a gravure primer

“a leading North American

coater dryer; pull roll with

packaging supplier”, said the

nip; and an electrically


heated, air-cooled Davis-

The system includes DS APC

objectives,” said Bob

“Welex built this dryer-less

Standard extruder with

(automatic profile control),

Florence, executive vice

solution using conical twin

advanced feedscrew design.

which continually adjusts the

president of sales and

screw technology,” said Jim

product profile for best

marketing at Davis-Standard.

Nissel, director of sales at the

Lines are available in two

He cited converters

versions: one is a longer line

performance, and a DS5

with the auxiliary unwinder

computer, which allows for

looking to upgrade for higher

superior to parallel twin

placed close to the floor; the

remote access to the line for

throughputs and quality,

screw technology: better

other raises the auxiliary

troubleshooting and updating

multinational suppliers in

feeding characteristics for low

unwinder to a position just

over internet.

search of expansion opportu-

bulk densities, higher

nities and printers who want

pressure and torque capabil-

above the winder, which

“We have included every-

company. “We found it

shortens the line length and

thing our customers will need

to enhance their lamination

ity, the lowest possible melt

the path of the auxiliary web

to achieve their flexible

processes as potential users.

temperature and significant

to the laminator.

packaging manufacturing


energy savings.”


blown film

External gauge control increases output Addex has developed an

size of that needed for a typical

the die) and an 18in (450mm)

enhanced automatic external

air ring. The blower gently

EGC air ring above it. The

gauge control (EGC) system

cools and stabilises the

larger diameter for the upper

for blown film lines.

bubble, before entering the

air ring, which includes the

realm of the upper, dual-lip

gauge controlling features,

The Tandem EGC combines the gauge control efficiency of

automatic gauge control air

allows for the blow-up ratio.

Addex’s EGC air ring with a

ring above it. The more

“The Tandem EGC is

bubble-stabilising lower air

stable bubble allows for

another example of how we

ring, claiming a 15-30%

higher output without

devise unique products to

greater output compared

affecting gauge control.

help processors increase

than the standard system.

The upper EGC air ring

The lower single-lip air

is 2in (50mm) larger than

yield and realise raw material savings,” said Rick

ring sits on the die and

the die: a 16in (400mm)

von Kraus, president of

matches its diameter. It is

die uses a 16in (400mm)


fed by a blower about half the 50

film & sheet EXTRUSION | April 2013

single-lip air ring (located on



1300mm wide Battenfeld coextrusion sheet line; 2 x 90mm single screw extruders. 1300mm x 600mm 3 roll polishing stack+ haul, 2 station winder, 1995

1040mm wide Welex sheet extrusion line: 90mm Welex extruder with gear pump, die head, 1040mm wide Welex 3 roll polishing stack, haul off and winder.

Sheet Equipment

45mm Kuhne single screw extruder model K45E 30D plugged vented. 20-204 rpm. 24kw dc motor.


2400mm Cincinnati Sheet line 1800mm Reifenhauser line 1500mm Bandera 3 roll stack 1350mm Welex/union sheet line. 1300mm Battenfeld sheet line 1040mm Welex Coex sheet line. 1040mm Welex 3 roll stack 1000mm Esde 3 roll Stack 1000mm OMV co ex sheet line

Profile Lines

Tel: +44 (0)1793 827666 Email: Web:

2 Component Maguire model WSB 420 gravimetric weight scale blender. 2 hopper loaders.

1900mm wide Cincinnati/Omam foam PVC sheet line. 1-15mm sheets. Cincinnati 80PL-twin screw extruder. Omam downstream suitable for upto 450kg/hr. 1997

Extruders 45mm Kuhne single screw extruder 50mm Welex single screw coextruder 60mm Betol Dc60. 80mm Cincinnati twin screw extruder. 90mm Egan extruder 30Dv, 150hp 90mm Kaufmann STMP single screw extruder 863mm wide EDI Ultraflex H75 flex lip sheet die. 0-1.9mm die gap. 480V heating 90mm Welex single screw extruder 4.5" (115) Welex single screw extruder




AMI Strategy Seminars These one-day seminars are given by an AMI director and provide invaluable insights into market trends and industry strategies. They are held in small groups and provide ample opportunities for questions and discussions.

14 May 2013: Vienna, Austria 25 June 2013: Singapore 15 October 2013: Cologne, Germany 9 December 2013: Dubai, UAE

Contact: Katy Cheng +44 117 924 9442

This month’s free brochure downloads Simply click on the brochure cover or link to download a PDF of the full publication

Hosokawa Alpine: blown film lines This 28-page brochure gives an introduction to the range of Hosokawa Alpine blown film lines and MDO monoaxial film orientation lines. It covers single-layer and multi-layer systems.

➤ Click here to download

Macchi: barrier film production This brochure from Macchi covers the company’s COEX flex coextrusion systems for the production of five-, seven- and nine-layer barrier films. The modular blown film lines offer high levels of flexibility and efficiency.

➤ Click here to download

Struktol: additives for plastics This brochure from Struktol covers its wide range of additives for thermoplastics, including products for superior viscosity control, improved mixing and filler dispersion, plus reduced friction and plate out.

chill & Seilacher family of companies, with representation in

anization with over a century of specialty chemical expertise,

cessing products under the brand name STRUKTOL® – a name performance. Struktol manufactures chemicals for the plastics

s, silicone emulsions, products used in latex processing, and


itives business is by no means typical or ordinary. Chemistry

gent Additive Solutions, Struktol products are designed to

ustomers. Our technical specialists, R&D chemists and

ovative solutions for the ever-changing polymer industry –

with increased productivity, better quality parts and lower

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Intelligent Additive Solutions for Today’s Thermoplastic Industry

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Colines: stretch film This brochure from Colines promotes the company’s HANDrollEX, HANDrollEX Triple, JUMBOrollEX, HANDrollEX Combi and Unicast systems for producing stretch film for manual, auto and jumbo wrapping applications.

➤ Click here to download

NRD: advanced static control This new eight-page brochure from NRD covers the company’s advanced ionization technologies, including alpha ionizing, corona ionizing, battery operated and passive ionizing static eliminators.

➤ Click here to download

Macro: extrusion systems This 20-page brochure from Macro provides a overview of the company, which manufactures film and sheet extrusion systems plus web handling systems. It also offers process development and optimisation services.

➤ Click here to download

If you would like your brochure to be included on this page, please contact Claire Bishop. Tel: +44 (0)20 8686 8139

Download the programmes for these forthcoming conferences Simply click on the brochure cover or link to download a PDF of the full publication


End of Life Plastics


M A S T E R B AT C H 2




Connecting with downstream customers


3-5 June 2013 Marriott Hotel, Frankfurt, Germany Organised by: Applied Market Information Ltd.

This year’s edition of AMI’s well-established Masterbatch conference will be held in Frankfurt, Germany, on 3-5 June. This brochure has the full programme which includes speakers from Coca-Cola, Danone, Nokia and Johnson & Johnson.

END OF LIFE PLASTICS 2013 International conference and exhibition on commercial markets and options for end of life plastics

4-6 June 2013 Maritim Hotel, Cologne, Germany

* + 19% German VAT

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Multilayer Packaging Films

International business and technology conference for the flexible packaging industry

Fire Retardants in Plastics

Returning to Chicago in June, the Multilayer Packaging Films conference features an impressive line-up of speakers covering the latest industry trends and new developments in materials and processing technology.

June 5-6, 2013 The DoubleTree Chicago Magnificent Mile, Chicago, Illinois, USA Images courtesy of: and Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corporation

FIRE RETARDANTS Template IN PLASTICS 2013 Trends and technical developments in the international flame retardant industry

Images courtesy of: GBH International and ICL-IP

Multilayer Packaging Films 2013

June 13-14, 2013 Grand Hyatt Denver Denver, Colorado, USA

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Thin Wall Packaging USA THIN WALL PACKAGING 2013

Images courtesy of: Danone and Printing Company Verstraete


June 18-19, 2013 The Westin Chicago North Shore, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Sponsored by:

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BOPP FILM 2013 The international conference and exhibition for the bi-oriented polypropylene film industry

platinUM sponsor

AMI’s global conference for the BOPP film industry will be taking place in Singapore this year on 25-27 June. Download the programme which covers the latest market trends, materials developments and processing technologies.

25-27 June 2013 Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore

special offer: Save US$375 if you register before 15th May 2013

SPECIAL OFFER: Save $200 if you register before May 10, 2013 Organized by: Applied Market Information LLC

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The American version of AMI’s Thin Wall Packaging conference returns to Chicago on 18-19 June. This brochure has the full programme which covers the latest developments in thermoformed and injection moulded packaging.

International conference on lightweight plastic tubs, trays, jars, containers and cups for food packaging

Organized by: Applied Market Information LLC

Images courtesy of: Brückner Maschinenbau Gmbh & co. KG

Sponsored by:

AMI is holding its third US conference on Fire Retardants in Plastics in Denver, Colorado, on 13-14 June. The packed programme covers the latest FR technologies as well as addressing environmental issues, legislation and testing standards.

SPECIAL OFFER: Save $200 if you register before May 3, 2013

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Taking place on 4-6 June in Cologne, Germany, this international conference will address the commercial markets and options for end of life plastics. The programme includes experts on legislation, waste management and recycling technologies.

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fax back to +44 (0)117 311 1534

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To see our full line-up of more than 25 plastics industry events over the next 12 months, please visit

extruder of the month

Softfilm Head office: Date founded: President: Ownership: Profile:

São Paulo, Brazil 2009 Alberto Beda Private Softfilm manufactures and markets polyethylene films, supplying markets such as packaging stretch film, as well as sanitary products such as diaper backsheet film. It also produces coated non-woven products.

Product lines:

The company has two main product lines. Its stretch film is made on co-extrusion cast film machines, and incorporates nanomaterials in its formulation. The company says that these films have high elasticity, transparency, gloss and strength – giving high resistance to perforation and breakage. At the same time, its hygienic and disposable films are produced on the latest equipment: every formulation is stored on computer, allowing it to reproduce any grade of film at short notice.

Plant locations:

The group has a manufacturing plant in Barra Funda in São Paulo, where it makes its entire range of products.

Other details:

The company recently invested in its third Davis-Standard line, to support its stretch and melt-embossed film business. This latest line, installed last year, will make diaper film backsheet and coated non-wovens. It features an unwind, as well as an embossing unit to create a softer end product. “As our business develops, we plan to add additional lines. Our diaper and stretch film business are both doing well and we anticipate continued growth,” said Alberto Beda, the company’s president.

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May 2013 Biaxially-oriented film technology Printing equipment Applications in photovoltaics Chinaplas preview

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dates for your diary

Global exhibition guide 2013

7-10 May

PlastPol, Kielce, Poland

14-16 May

Plast-Ex, Toronto, Canada

20-23 May

Chinaplas, Guangzhou, China

20-24 May

Feiplastic, Sao Paolo, Brazil

6-8 June

Plastics Printing Packaging Tanzania

18-19 June

PDM, Telford, UK

18-20 June

Plastec East, Philadelphia, USA

19-22 June

PlastExpo, Casablanca, Morocco

20-23 June

InterPlas Thailand, Bangkok

3-6 September

Applas, Shanghai, China

4-6 September

InterPlas Vietnam, Hanoi

5-7 September

Plasti & Pack, Lahore, Pakistan

10-12 September

Plastec Midwest, Chicago, USA

25-26 September

Mediplas, Birmingham, UK

Plastics Printing Packaging Kenya

K 2013, Düsseldorf, Germany

Plastics & Rubber Indonesia, Jakarta

Plast Eurasia, Istanbul, Turkey

4-6 October

16-23 October

20-23 November

5-8 December

AMI conferences for film & sheet extruders

5-6 June

18-19 June

Thin Wall Packaging USA, Chicago, USA

25-27 June

BOPP Film, Singapore

10-11 September

Multilayer Packaging Films USA, Chicago, USA

Plastics in Photovoltaics, Philadelphia, USA

10-12 September

Polyolefin Additives, Düsseldorf, Germany

16-18 September

Agricultural Film, Madrid, Spain

18-20 November

Multilayer Packaging Films, Vienna, Austria

3-4 December

For information on all these events and other conferences on film, sheet, pipe and packaging applications, see

Stretch & Shrink Film, Philadelphia, USA

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Film & Sheet Extrusion April 2013  

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