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亚洲塑料橡胶杂志 上传于 2018-04-11 12:35:52

《亚洲塑料橡胶杂志》2018年2月版

描述:2018年2月版

关键字: 亚洲橡胶杂志,PRA

DIGITAL+PRINT

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

In this issue Volume 33, No 235 publlshed slnce 1985

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

Features 焦 點 內 容 Publisher
Arthur Schavemaker
13 材料: 生物塑料可否解決世界的垃圾問題? Tel: +31 547 275005
Email: arthur@kenter.nl
16 Front Cover Feature – LANXESS’s “Quality Works” dictum
explains why customers can rely on its high performance products from Associate Publisher/Editor
start to finish Tej Fernandez
Tel: +60 3 4260 4575
20 Country Focus – India leads South Asia in forming a trade bloc to Email: tej@plasticsandrubberasia.com
achieving greater economic ascendancy
Senior Editor
24 Composites – Lightweight, yet, durable composites are scoring Angelica Buan
major success in the billion-dollar sports industry Email: gel@plasticsandrubberasia.com

Regulars 概 要 Writer
Mohani Niza
2 Industry News Email: mohani@taramedia.com.my
6 Materials News
10 業界新聞 Chinese Editor
Koh Bee Ling
Supplements 副 刊
Circulation
With a broadening range of applications, 3D printing is Stephanie Yuen
taking shape in the advanced manufacturing segment Email: stephanie@taramedia.com.my

Advancements in synthetic rubbers are contributing to tyres’ Permits
potential to enhancing fuel economy of vehicles ISSN 1360-1245
MCI (P) 046/08/2017
On the Cover KDN PP 18785/08/2015 (034280)

DIGITAL+PRINT LANXESS quality marks the difference – especially in Printer
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THE PLASTlCS AND RUBBER lNDUSTRY LANXESS says it lives quality. It is the core of everything 43300 Selangor, Malaysia.
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JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 1

Industry News M&As catalysts and a manufacturer by Swiss private
components of consumer food equity firm Capvis
• Belgian speciality business, except and beverage Equity Partners.
polymers for organometallics packaging, has
supplier Ravago’s and curatives, to sold the Asian • German speciality
American unit has WR Grace & Co for packaging chemicals company
bought Polymer US$416 million. It operations of Evonik is to acquire
Technology & includes operations Closure Systems 3M’s additive
Services (PTS). It in the US and International compounding
will become part South Korea. (CSI Asia) and business.
of Ravago's Amco Graham Packaging
Polymers' business, • China National Guangzhou to • Japan’s Mitsui
a North American Chemical Australia’s Pact Chemicals is to
distributor of Corporation Group Holdings for acquire Asahi Kasei
commodity, (ChemChina) is US$99 million. Corp.’s Sunvieo
engineering, and seeking to list thermoplastic
speciality polymers. its machinery • US aerospace styrene elastomer
subsidiary composites (TPS) business
• Lotte Advanced KraussMaffei in company Hexcel based in Japan and
Materials Co., China. KraussMaffei Corporation is to China.
the chemical unit will become buy the Aerospace
of South Korean a subsidiary & Defense (A&D) • German chemicals
conglomerate of Qingdao business of Oxford company Lanxess
Lotte Group, Tianhua Institute Performance is to acquire
has acquired of Chemistry Materials (OPM) Belgian chemical
two acrylonitrile Engineering Co, that produces company Solvay’s
butadiene styrene which is listed on carbon fibre- phosphorus
(ABS) producers the Shanghai stock reinforced 3D chemicals business,
in Indonesia. exchange and is printed parts. including a US
The companies a subsidiary of production site.
in question, PT ChemChina. • US-based private
Arbe Styrindo and equity company • Thai chemical firm
PT ABS Industri • US-headquartered Platinum Equity Indorama Ventures
Indonesia, which Celanese is to acquire for will purchase the
are the only Corporation is to US$3.85 billion 700,000-tonne/
producers of ABS acquire custom Ontario-based year PTA assets
in the country, compounder Husky IMS of Artlant PTA in
had been facing Omni Plastics and International from Portugal, as well as
financial difficulties. its subsidiaries, Omers Private the utility assets of
including Equity, the private Artelia Ambiente
• US-based polymers distributor Resinal equity arm of Portugal, which
company PolyOne de Mexico. Omers benefit has a capacity of 40
Corporation has pension plan for MW of electricity.
acquired IQAP • South Korean Ontario’s municipal
Masterbatch chemical firm SK employees, and • Germany’s
Group, a privately Global Chemical, Berkshire Partners, SGL Carbon is
owned provider a unit of SK a Boston-based purchasing BMW
of speciality Innovation, has investment firm. Group's 49% equity
colourants and purchased Dow investment in the
additives based in Chemical’s Saran • German PU joint ventures
Spain. polyvinylidene machinery maker SGL Automotive
chloride (PVDC) Hennecke has Carbon Fibers and
• US-based speciality packaging product acquired OMS SGL Automotive
chemicals supplier business. Group. Hennecke Carbon Fibers LLC
Albemarle is fully owned by (US) – together
Corporation will • US-based Reynolds Capvis Equity IV, referred to as SGL
sell its polyolefin Group Holdings, a fund advised ACF.

2 JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

Capacity Expansions/Plant Openings INDUSTRY NEWS

• Speciality chemicals to chemicals (COTC) polymer (SAP) by Polyalphaolefin
company Clariant and complex in Saudi 180,000 tonnes/year (PAO) unit in Texas.
Tiangang Auxiliary Arabia. It is expected and 100,000 tonnes/ It will have a capacity
Co, a privately owned to process 400,000 year, respectively, in of 120,000 tonnes/
producer of light barrels/day of crude South Korea, by 2019. year and become
stabilisers in China, oil, which will produce It expects its annual the world’s largest
have kicked-off their 9 million tonnes/year sales to grow by single PAO train. It is
new production joint of chemicals and base US$280 million. scheduled to start-up
venture with the pur- oils and is expected in 3Q 2019.
chase of a site in the to start operations • Dutch company Teijin
Cangzhou National in 2025. It will be the Aramid will increase • South Korean
Coastal-Port Economy largest COTC facility in production capacity petrochemicals
and Technology the world and the first for its Twaron super company Hanwha
Development Zone, in Saudi Arabia. fibre by more than Total, a 50-a50 joint
Hebei province. 25% at its plant in the venture between
• Chemicals firm LG Netherlands by 2022. Hanwha Group and
• State oil giant Chem will invest Total SA, will invest
Saudi Aramco and US$279 million to • UK-headquartered US$300 million to
petrochemicals firm expand production chemicals company build a new PE
Sabic are to develop capacities of crude Ineos Oligomers will facility in Daesan,
a US$20 billion fully acrylic acid (CAA) build a new world- increasing the site’s
integrated crude oil and super absorbent scale, low viscosity PE capacity by more
than 50% to 1.1
million tonnes/year

Industry News by the end of 2019. It polyamides (PAs) to significantly • Switzerland’s Maag,
will use the Advanced and thermoplastic increase the capacity a manufacturer
Double Loop (ADL) copolyesters (TPCs). of its three PP plants of gear pumps,
technology licensed in Belgium. Final pelletising systems,
by Total and Chevron • UK-based materials investment decisions filtration systems
Phillips Chemical maker Victrex has are expected in and pulverisers, has
Company. launched a £10 Q4 of 2018, with opened two new
million facility to capacity increases Chinese facilities
• Taiwan’s Formosa focus on R&D of PEEK coming on stream in Shanghai and
Plastics will expand polymer and other from 2020-2022. Guangzhou. In
its PVC production differentiated grades Shanghai, the
at its Baton Rouge, within the PAEK family • Solvay has facility will cater
Louisiana, facility by of high-performance opened its Solef to production for
136,000 tonnes/year thermoplastics. polyvinylidene Maag’s pumps
by 2020. fluoride (PVDF) and pelletisers
• US-headquartered plant in Changshu, as well as sales,
• Russian petro- Trinseo has started- China. It is used service and after
chemicals firm up its Magnum ABS for applications sales support. The
Sibur is upgrading production line in such as lithium-ion second facility is a
its terephthalic acid Zhangjiagang, China. batteries (li-ion) in brand-new rotor-
production in Polief hybrid and electric regrinding centre.
Blagoveshchensk to • Brazil’s Braskem vehicles (xEV), for
expand capacity and Danish chemical offshore oil and gas • Speciality materials
to 350,000 tonnes/ company Haldor pipes and liners and company Celanese
year by 2019. Topsoe are to partner in membranes for Corporation’s Ibn
the development of water purification. Sina joint venture
• US-headquartered the MOSAIK sugar-to- with Riyadh-
Ascend biochemicals solution • German blow headquartered Sabic
Performance for production of moulding machinery and its construction
Materials, the MEG (monoethylene maker Kautex of a 50,000-tonne
world’s largest glycol) in Denmark, Maschinenbau has polyacetal (POM)
fully integrated with operation slated completed its new manufacturing facility
producer of PA6 to begin in 2019 5,000 sq m assembly in Jubail Industrial
resin, is increasing and start-up of a hall at its Bonn. The City, Saudi Arabia,
production capacity commercial plant in plant will mainly has started
across its intermediate 2023. be used for the up. The facility
chemicals and assembly of KBB- has completed
polymers portfolio by • Germany’s Covestro series all-electric performance runs
10-15%. has started up a new packaging machines for all POM grades
production facility for as well as KSB and achieved full
• US supplier aqueous polyurethane machines. production rates,
of phosphite dispersions (PUDs) therefore, the
antioxidants, in Germany and • Austrian recycling/ facility has been
Addivant, has expanded production woven bag officially declared
expanded production in Spain. It is also machinery company commercially
capacity by over 40% building a new facility Starlinger & Co operational.
at its Morgantown in China, as well as has opened a As previously
plant. planning to resume new building for announced, upon
production in the US its recycling unit. successful start-
• Dutch chemicals firm and at the same time Previously, the up of the POM
DSM is expanding modernising and division was facility, Celanese’s
capacity of its expanding facilities operating from economic interest
speciality polymers there. the head office in Ibn Sina will
plants in Emmen in Vienna as increase from 25%
and Geleen, the • Austria’s Borealis well as from the to a total of 32.5%,
Netherlands, for will undertake a Starlinger factory in providing further
high temperature debottlenecking study Weissenbach. financial benefits for

4 JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

Celanese. Ibn Sina for thermoforming, Business Line for the INDUSTRY NEWS
is a joint venture sales and customer speciality moulding
between Sabic and service personnel, and compounds Thermoplastic
CTE, a company cut-to-size services produced at the Elastomers, which
jointly owned by in Shenzhen, China. site. Completion has its main
subsidiaries of The new facility will and start-up of the operation in China,
Celanese and Duke provide same-day new compounding plans to increase
Energy, which shipping to China, line is scheduled for the size of its
entered into the Ibn Taiwan, and several the first quarter of production operation
Sina joint venture in Southeast Asian 2019. The company in the US, adding
1981. Construction countries including says it is the only about 3,600 tonne/
of the POM facility is Indonesia, Malaysia PMMA manufacturer year-capacity. The
part of an extension and Thailand, in the world that company has added
of the Ibn Sina joint reducing lead times has fully integrated a new compounding
venture. Subsidiaries and shipping costs. MMA/PMMA line to expand
of Celanese and The full range of production networks manufacturing of its
Duke Energy each Hytac syntactic foam with downstream line of TPEs including
currently hold a 25% products is available compounding SEBS, SBS, TPO,
ownership interest in all sizes of rods and in the Americas, and alloy products.
in the joint venture, sheets. Europe, and Asia. The expansion is
with the remaining The moulding underway and will
50% held by Sabic. • German chemicals compounds are be fully operational
The facility will firm Evonik will used in applications by the first quarter
utilise methanol as begin construction for requirements of of 2018. Polymax
feedstock, which is of an additional line weather resistance, TPE is a sister
produced internally for compounding its colourfastness, company of Nantong
at Ibn Sina. Acrylite PMMA at high brilliance and Polymax Elastomer
its site in Osceola, transparency as well Technology Co.,
• US firm CMT Arkansas, US. The as hardness and based in Nantong,
Materials has expansion will abrasion resistance. China, both of which
opened a new nearly double the were co-founded
facility for its Hytac production capacity • Custom compounder by Dr Martin Lu.
plug assist materials of the Methacrylates of TPEs, Polymax Nantong Polymax has
about 13,600 tonnes/
year of TPE capacity.

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Materials News Can bioplastics fix the world’s
waste mess?

The environmental impact of non-degradable plastic waste has made the world rethink of how we
use and produce environmentally-friendly plastics, says Angelica Buan in this report.

China to stop taking plastic waste from developed billion in 2017, growing at a CAGR of 20%. The same growth
countries trajectory of 20%, driven by demand for biopolymers such
The making of an environmental disaster is on the cards as polylactic acid (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA),
now that China has decided to stop the import of some 24 was also cited in the European Bioplastics’ annual market
types of waste materials including plastics. With the ban data update recently.
coming in effect in March, more than 6 billion tonnes of The Asian region is also flexing its capabilities on
global plastic waste will not be recycled in China. producing bioplastics with LuxResearch’s 2016 report
China, which has topped the rank of global plastic pointing at Southeast Asia as a biochemical hub, given its
polluters, can hardly be blamed. It said it has to fix its own local access to sustainable raw materials.
environmental issues. Thailand has sufficient supply of sugarcane and,
So what will happen since Europe and the US are two according to the 2017 data of USDA Gain, has produced
major exporters of waste to China? 11.2 million tonnes of sugar to more than meet the
In a bid to nearly halve Europe’s plastic consumption country’s consumption and cater to exports.
by end of 2019 and by a further 80% by end 2025, It is not surprising that large-scale bioplastics factories
European Union has stepped up its plastic bag taxation are coming up in the country. Total Corbion, a joint
drive. The US, on the other hand, which ships nearly 1.5 venture between Dutch PLA producer Corbion and French
million tonnes of plastic waste to China to be recycled, oil and gas company Total, is completing construction
will have to rely on its capabilities to manage its waste of a 75 kilotonne/year-PLA plant in Rayong, with start-up
and recycling. scheduled this year.
As well, what seems to be hoped for is that the rest
of Asia will open its doors to recycling opportunities. Corbion’s site in Rayong uses Bonsucro-certified sugar
This is ironic because the region is also contending with
plastic waste troubles in its own backyard, with the top 20 The second half of the year will also see the company’s
polluting rivers found to be mostly in Asia, according to expansion of its existing lactide plant, also in Rayong,
Dutch Foundation Ocean Cleanup. by 25 kilotonnes/year. The PLA polymerisation plant will
be producing Corbion’s Luminy portfolio of PLA resins.
Asia as a bioplastics hub Total Corbion says it uses Bonsucro-certified cane sugar
Against this backdrop, the push to use bioplastics is (a global non-profit network that sets standards to ensure
growing with research house Knowledge Sourcing sustainability) as a feedstock that is converted to lactic acid
through fermentation, which in turn is used as a base for
Intelligence PLA bioplastics. The company sources its raw materials
forecasting from Bangkok-headquartered Mitr Phol, Thailand's biggest
the global sugar and bio-energy producer, which has two Bonsucro-
bioplastics certified mills.
market with
a value of
US$43.8
billion in 2022,
against US$17

Increasing
use of
degradable
materials
may fend
off recycling
woes

6 JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

Materials News

PTT Chemical and Cargill’s joint venture NatureWorks SIRIM’s
Asia Pacific is also expanding its footprint in Thailand with bioreactor
a planned US$143 million bioplastic plant. technology
Over in Indonesia, reportedly the world’s second at the
biggest plastic waste contributor, bioplastic alternatives, pilot PHA
such as seaweed farming, are being pursued. Seaweed plant has
is not only sustainable but found to produce durable yet integrated
degradable materials. A local company, Evoware, is tapping production
on Indonesia’s abundant seaweed supply by using it for processes
its patented seaweed-based packaging and also uplifting and
living standards of seaweed farmers, many of whom are bioreactor
from the poorest provinces in the country. facilities
producing
Evoware utilises Indonesia’s abundant seaweed supply by different PHA
using it as bioplastic feedstock materials
The seaweed packaging is 100% biodegradable,
dissolves in warm water and has a shelf-life of up to two started in 2011, was built through a partnership between
years. It is printable and heat-sealable and, while application SIRIM, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Universiti Putra
potential is broad, it is suitable for small-format food Malaysia (UPM), and the Massachusetts Institute of
sachets and wraps, as well as for non-food based items. Technology (MIT). It is located in Shah Alam, Selangor.
Malaysia’s palm oil, meanwhile, is being harnessed to According to SIRIM, the plant employs a process that
produce PHA bioplastics. A 2,000 l-capacity plant, which makes good use of the by-products of the palm oil industry,
such as crude palm kernel oil (CPKO), palm oil mill effluent
(POME), as well as solid biomass comprising empty fruit
bunches (EFBs), mesocarp fibres (MFs), palm kernel shell
(PKS), fronds and trunks. SIRIM says that the mills produce
about 60 million tonnes of POME and 80 million dry tonnes
of solid biomass, and these volumes could reach 70-110
million tonnes and 100 million dry tonnes, respectively, by
2020. In particular, POME, a waste liquid that has 100 times
the oxygen-depleting potential of domestic sewage, is a
major concern for the industry because of the environmental
effects it has on soil and water when disposed, said SIRIM.
With the bioreactor and synthesising technologies now
on hand, POME as well as CPKO can now be viable sources
of PHA-based bioplastics.

Materials News Another Asian country, Vietnam, with a per capita Elsewhere, Brazilian petrochemicals company Braskem
plastic output of 41 kg/year in 2016, according to the and Danish firm Haldor Topsoe, specialising in catalysts
Vietnam Plastics Association, expects that by 2020 plastic and surface science, are to develop a pioneering route to
producers are likely to require about 5 million tonnes producing monoethylene glycol (MEG) from sugar. MEG
of materials for manufacturing, to satiate the growing is a key component of PET resin. The deal also covers
consumption. Over that period, plastic waste will also construction of a demonstration plant in Denmark that will
grow exponentially. A project has been hatched so that start up in 2019.
by 2020, the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags, the The project is based on a two-step process developed
biggest environmental polluter, will be reduced by more at Topsoe's laboratories along with its own catalysts, and
than half. focuses on the conversion of sugar into MEG at a single
Thus, Vietnam is building its first eco-plastic plant industrial unit, which will reduce initial investment in the
in an industrial zone in Long An province. The US$10 production and boost the competitiveness of the process.
million-plant, a joint venture project between Vietnam The demonstration plant will conduct tests to validate
Plastic House and a Guangzhou-based biodegradable the technology and confirm its technical and economic
plastics firm, will have a capacity of 3,000 tonnes/year of feasibility, as well as validate the technology in different
bioplastic bags. raw materials, such as sucrose, dextrose and second-
Reportedly, four more biodegradable plastic bag generation sugars.
plants will be built in Vietnam and three similar plants in
Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Deriving bioplastics from organisms
The HCM City Plastic Association, which is involved in Thinking out of the box, Arizona State University (ASU)
the project, explained that the eco-plastic resin is made has undertaken a study on producing fully biodegradable
from cellulose, tapioca and additives, which enable the plastics using cyanobacteria (also called blue-green algae)
plastic bag to disintegrate after two years. that thrive in soil and water and can manufacture their own
food.
Sweet success for sugarcane-based bottle and MEG Lead researcher, Taylor Weiss, explained that for the
France was the first country to completely wean itself off study a symbiotic partnership between two bacteria was
the use of plastic plates and cutlery. Innovations to counter created, each specialising a specific task. “The cyanobacteria
the proliferation of oil-based plastics include a recent use photosynthesis to create sugar and are engineered to
biobased bottle design by French firm Lyspackaging. The constantly excrete that sugar. A second bacteria, called
sugarcane-based Vegan Bottle is 100% biodegradable, Halomonas boliviensis, consumes the sugar to alternately
and has improved mechanical and barrier properties, grow and produce bioplastics in cycles. Additionally, the
according to Lyspackaging. cyanobacteria are captured in hydrogel beads made from
The eco-bottle can help reduce the number of oil- seaweed extract that are submerged in saltwater filled with
based bottles being used and discarded. Lyspackaging the bioplastic-producing bacteria.”
says 45% or 200,000 tonnes/year of plastic bottles are not
recycled in France.

The sugarcane-based VeganBottle is 100% biodegradable Researchers at the Centre for Biological Research used
predatory bacterium in its process to extract polymer from
8 JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 bacteria

There are challenges, such as using as little of the
hydrogel as possible and for as long as possible to also help
keep costs down, but Weiss says this bacteria-bioplastic
process is industrially viable, with the two bacteria and the
hydrogel already having been industrialised.

Materials News

Lowering costs, especially if targeted for industrial FCB's PHA bioplastic is derived from organic and cellulosic
scale, was also a concern of a research carried out waste as the feedstock
by a team of scientists from the Centre for Biological
Research (CIB-CSIC) in Madrid to produce PHA the feedstock is perfectly adjusted, it is dosed in an
bioplastics. Surmounting the challenge of extracting environmentally conditioned tank of naturally occurring
polymer from bacteria, lead researcher Virginia bacteria, where it is consumed and converted into PHA,
Martínez said an innovative extraction method had then dried and processed into a finished resin product,
been developed. “What we did was to use the predatory ready for compounding.
bacterium B. bacteriovorus as a lytic agent to kill other FCB emphasised that its process significantly
bacteria, specifically the natural PHA producer, P. putida lowers production costs and eliminates the need for
KT2440, and recover the intracellular bioproduct. We expensive laboratory-grade sterility or containment.
also engineered the predator so that it doesn’t degrade Moreover, FCB said that licensing the technology can
the bioplastic accumulated by the prey.” enable companies with large waste streams to produce
With this novel system, bioplastic is thus recovered PHA “to generate revenue and at the same time, curb
in a single step without requirement for complex disposal costs by creating the highest and best value
equipment or toxic compounds. The findings of the from waste”.
study were published in Scientific Reports. Thus, the looming issue on waste plastics has
the upside of encouraging further development of
PHA bioplastic from non-GMO feedstock bioplastics as an attainable and sustainable solution to
Meanwhile, a company specialising in converting controlling waste plastics.
organic waste into bioplastics, Canada-headquartered
Full Cycle Bioplastics (FCB), is manufacturing PHA
bioplastic using a non-Genetically Modified Organism
(GMO)-based process. It utilises organic and cellulosic
waste as the feedstock, a novel option to commercially
available PHA that is currently made from crop-based
feedstock, such as food-grade sugar or seed oil. The
FCB process uses food waste, agricultural by-products,
cardboard and waste paper as raw materials. Even end-
of-life PHA products can be utilised as feedstock for the
production of virgin PHA.
FCB’s process involves organic waste being
broken down and becoming feedstock for PHA. Once

10 JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 11

新聞




12 JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 13

材料

以甘蔗为基础
的 Vegan Bottle
是 100%可
生物降解

14 JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

生物研究中心的 材料
研究人员在研究
过程中使用捕食性 FCB 的 PHA
细菌,从细菌中 生物塑料
提取聚合物 是以有机和
纤维素废料
作为原料

Front Cover Feature

LANXESS imbues quality in its
business

Global speciality chemicals Unmasking the “new” LANXESS
company LANXESS has Categorically, quality refers to a number of things, including but
focused on its new “Quality not limited to colour, shape, make, longevity, and other product
Works” vision and identity characteristics.
since 2017. With this, the LANXESS offers a broader signification of the word.
Germany-headquartered firm is Claus Zemke, LANXESS’s Head of Corporate Communications,
tapping on its quality expertise explains that quality is instrumental in shaping the products and
throughout its products services of the company. Quality is what the company delivers to
and solutions as well as its customers with its high performance polymer solutions; and which
dealings with customers, the create value and at the same time protect the environment.
environment and society as
a whole. More than just a Through
catch phrase, Quality Works Quality-
will complement LANXESS’s focused R&D,
original “Energizing LANXESS has
Chemistry” tenet. Meanwhile, formulated its
harnessing the Quality Works Tepex dynalite
platform, the company has materials;
turned its business around and through
to drum up exemplary sales; its HiAnt it
and is on the road to a better provides Honda
future ahead. and parts
suppliers with
16 JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 property testing
services

“Quality is at the very heart of our work. We want our customers
to be able to rely on us fully in all matters and at every stage of
cooperation: from the first conversation to the perfect implementation.
Fast, simple and efficient – fully in line with our motto.”
Referring to the campaign, which was launched the year before last,
Zemke says, “Quality is what we aim for, and it is also a promise to our
customers, employees, stockholders and partners. Our new campaign
makes this clear.”
He further explains, “Quality can be tailored to fit all products and
business units at LANXESS, such as ‘Quality lightens’ for lightweight
plastics, ‘Quality colours’ for colour pigments, or ‘Quality protects’ for
material protection products.”

Recap of the previous year; manoeuvring strategies and mergers
The years of unstable petrochemical prices, reduced global
consumption of speciality chemicals, particularly from 2015-2016,
amid the economic slowdown in China and other factors, have been
succeeded by improved market conditions for the industry.
The global speciality chemicals market is on a path of trajectory
growth, estimated to reach more than US$575 billion by 2023, citing a
forecast from US-based Crystal Market Research.
LANXESS, which in 2016 posted sales of EUR7.7 billion, is pushing
against industry headwinds by spawning strategies to increase sales in
the coming years.

Front Cover Feature

CEO Matthias Zachert by nearly 30% to EUR2.5 billion in Q2; and up by 25% to
EUR2.4 billion in Q3. Overall, net income improved by
explains, “LANXESS is 47% to EUR78 million.
As well, its main segments namely Advanced
pursuing even greater Intermediates, Performance Chemicals and High
Performance Materials have demonstrated strong
regional and industry- performance over the reported periods.
More and above, the integration of Chemtura’s
based balancing to further additives business has contributed significantly.
“Chemtura businesses are already making a significant
reduce the effects of market earnings contribution, and the other areas of our
speciality chemicals portfolio are also developing
volatilities. This includes positively,” said Zachert.

an increased share of sales LANXESS forecast an uptrend and registered positive sales
across all segments in 2017
in growth markets such as
Plus, the Synthetic Rubber business, Arlanxeo, has
Asia and North America raked in a robust performance each quarter. Sales in Q1
rose by 48% to EUR948 million from EUR640 million a
and an expanded presence year earlier. In Q2, sales were at EUR835 million, up by
24.6% from the previous year’s EUR670 million; while
in attractive customer in Q3, sales rose by 6% or EUR42 million to EUR717
million, against EUR675 million from a year ago.
industries, such as electrical/ Zachert summed up the company’s performance,
“In the coming years, we intend to reach our full
electronic or energy, LANXESS CEO Matthias potential and transform LANXESS into an even stronger
company with a highly balanced and stable platform,
with innovative product Zachert says the firm is increased profitability and, last but not least, a company
team-culture based on dedication and motivation.”
applications.” looking at increasing its
Transforming with digitalisation
The company has share of sales in growth Smart manufacturing and digitalisation may be taking
consolidated its business markets such as Asia and over conventional manufacturing ecosystems in
portfolio, especially in high North America the near term. Global management consulting firm
McKinsey & Co, in a 2015 report, placed the potential
value-added speciality chemicals, with the acquisition value that can be churned out from digitalised factory
of US chemical firm Chemours’s Clean & Disinfect settings at US$3.7 trillion by 2025.
These disruptive approaches are predicted to be
business in 2016. among important game changers this year for a number
of vital industries, including chemicals.
In the same year, too, LANXESS joined forces with Taking this cue, LANXESS has adopted an initiative
Saudi Aramco to form Arlanxeo, a synthetic rubber towards group-wide digitalisation, setting up a
department with 30 experts, for a start, in this area.
company that is headquartered in the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, the EUR2.4 billion merger with
US-based additives supplier Chemtura in 2017, said to

be the largest acquisition in LANXESS’s history, has

set off the latter to becoming one of the world’s leading

additives supplier. The company expects an estimated

EUR25 million cost savings for 2017; and EUR100

million in annual cost savings by 2020.

The acquisition is expected to add on to LANXESS’s

additives footprint in the North American region where

it has 24 production sites. The region also accounts for

21% of the company’s global sales, up from 17%.

Chemtura’s flame retardant and lubricant additives

portfolio has been integrated with LANXESS's Rhein

Chemie Additives business unit to form a new segment

called “Specialty Additives”. As well, its urethanes and

organometallics businesses will also be integrated with

LANXESS’s Advanced Industrial Intermediates and

Engineering Materials business units, respectively.

LANXESS is also set to acquire Belgian chemical
company Solvay's US-sited phosphorus additives

business to broaden its clout in the North American

and Asian additives markets. The deal is expected to be

completed in the first half of 2018.

The above acquisitions are what Zachert refers to

as a “more balanced portfolio” for LANXESS, thus

making the Cologne-based company “more stable and

profitable”. He also regards the acquisitions and other

strategic moves as a basis to further enhancing the

company’s operational strength.

Right positioning, stronger sales

LANXESS had forecast an uptrend and registered
positive sales across all segments in 2017. The
company posted positive earnings during the first three
quarters, with sales up by 25% to EUR2.4 billion in Q1;

JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 17

Front Cover Feature South Korea’s Hyundai-Kia Motors utilises Durethan for the
front-end module of more than half of its models, including
Zachert pointed out the key areas of the its top-tier sedan brand, Genesis, since the material is lighter
initiative, which will include “the digitalisation of than metal by as much as 50%
the value chain, the use of big data, development of
digital business models and embedding of digital Commercial applications of LANXESS’s resins
expertise among employees”. in hybrid and electric vehicles include components
He comments that digitalisation will bring for charging systems, carriers and cell holders for
sustainable change to processes and business battery systems; sensors and housing parts for
models in the chemical industry, including the electric motors.
company’s customer industries.
“This offers us a multitude of opportunities, Aligning quality with environmental sustainability
and requires a profound transformation within With the negativity surrounding the chemical
the company. We want to actively drive the digital industry and as a result of increased awareness for
transformation at LANXESS and capitalise on the environmental safety across the chemicals supply
potential of digitalisation at the right time,” he chain, stricter environment regulations are being
furthered. enforced to ensure that sustainability is inducted in
this segment’s manufacturing ethos.
Expansions: growing share in the China market Tying in environment sustainability with its
Capping 2017 with yet another expansion and, Quality Works campaign, LANXESS heeds the call
thus, securing leverage in China’s automotive with high quality standards for products, processes
and relevant growth markets, was the new EUR20 and technologies to protect the climate and the
million plant for high-performance plastics in environment and to improve people’s quality of life.
Changzhou. From the second quarter of 2019, the Applying sustainability in its technologies,
compounding plant is expected to produce up LANXESS, together with project partner Hehlen-
to 25,000 tonnes of Durethan and Pocan-brand based tannery Heller-Leder GmbH, developed a
resins for the automotive sector and the electric/ tanning process that recycles leftover leather.
electronics industry. The EUR5 million project, funded by the German
Federal Ministry of Education and Research, as
In 2017, LANXESS announced another expansion at its part of its “r+Impuls – Innovative Technologien
compounding plant in Changzhou, China, securing leverage in für Ressourceneffizienz – Impulse für industrielle
China’s automotive and relevant growth markets Ressourceneffizienz, was launched in 2016.
For the study titled Resource-efficient
LANXESS also operates a plant for its high- Manufacturing of Leather Chemicals (ReeL), the
performance Durethan and Pocan plastics in Wuxi. company’s leather business unit also partnered
The automotive industry is pivotal for the with Leverkusen-based research institute INVITE
company’s high-performance plastics. Durethan PA to develop a modular pilot plant that can use
and Pocan PBT allow the moulding of components to either waste leather shavings or organic biomass
replace metal parts in vehicles, thereby contributing to produce X-Biomer retanning agents for
to the reduction of fuel consumption and emissions, manufacturing leather.
as well as staving off weight of vehicles by as much Luis López-Remón, Head of the Leather business
50%. unit, explained that the equipment is designed for
China’s foray into electromobility provides use directly on-site at tanneries. With this technology,
the groundwork for LANXESS’s expansion in the
performance plastic segment and for the latter to
achieve its annual estimated growth target of 9% till
2021 in China.

18 JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

Front Cover Feature

Summing up quality works
All of the above resonate with LANXESS’s current
upward trajectory and with what Zachert had forecast
in 2017 as the company’s profitable growth path – a
demonstration that ‘Quality Works’.

LANXESS is developing a completely new type of technology LANXESS is guided by the ISO9001 and ISO14001
international standards for quality and environmental
for tanneries making it possible to completely recycle management and ISO50001 for energy management, covering
48 companies with 80 sites in 23 countries
residues from leather manufacturing to produce X-Biomer
To better communicate
retanning agents its commitment to
quality, the company
as much as 2 tonnes/day of shavings from a medium- has launched a digital
sized tannery can be recycled into a comparable platform (https://
volume of liquid X-Biomer directly on site. The process quality.lanxess.
will not leave any residue and does not generate any com/) which collates
emissions. stories demonstrating
LANXESS is working on adapting and optimising how LANXESS
procedures in its Leverkusen laboratory to perfect has contributed
the chemical recycling process. A pilot plant was set to improving
up last year to test the production concept under real people’s lives
conditions; while feasibility tests took place at the through innovative
Heller-Leder tannery in mid-2017. chemistry. The stories
Furthermore, LANXESS is making environment showcase a wide
sustainability an integral part of its corporate range of applications
responsibility. It says it has cut 13 million tonnes of gas for products and
emissions over the last decade, which is equivalent to solutions, from wheels
the level of CO² emitted by 600,000 cars registered in for inline skates to
Cologne and Bonn over the same period. wastewater recycling.
Meanwhile, complying with the national reduction “Quality also
requirement set by the German Federal Government for means assuming
2030, LANXESS has set long term targets and by 2025, responsibility for
its target is to reduce specific CO² and VOC emissions the environment
by 25%, from 2015 levels, and reduce specific energy and society, as well
consumption by 25%, by installing innovative facilities as creating value
and technologies. together,” summed up
These are being employed not only in Germany but LANXESS.
also at it other sites in China, the US and Brazil.
Moreover, between 2007 and 2016, the chemicals To better communicate
company saw an overall reduction of 53% in specific its commitment to
climate gas emissions (CO²e).
As expected, the firm’s commitment to quality, LANXESS has
sustainability has been recognised. In October last launched a digital
year, LANXESS was cited among the top Climate A platform
List companies rated by the non-profit global climate
protection initiative CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure
Project) for environment-safety and low-emissions
economy initiatives; and in support with the United
Nations’ sustainable development goals. LANXESS was
also included for the seventh consecutive time in the
Dow Jones Sustainability Index World the year before.

JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 19

Country Focus

India leads an empowered
South Asia

India is spearheading South Asia’s goal to economic growh

the South Asian region’s Having been overshadowed by the growths of China and the ASEAN
previously, South Asia, which comprises India, Bangladesh, Bhutan,

metamorphosis into a Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar, is now a power bloc with the
formation of the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC).
robust economy, says
Home to 1.8 billion people, South Asia had its taste of the Asian crisis

Angelica Buan in this pains in 2008-2009, and the SASEC, which had brought it gains in the pre-
crisis years, helped in sustaining the sub-region through recovery.

report. Since the inception of the SASEC in 2001, already 46 regional projects
worth over US$9 billion in the energy, economic corridor development,

transport, trade facilitation, and information and communications

technology sectors have been implemented, according to Manila-Based
Asian Development Bank (ADB),

which serves as the SASEC’s

secretariat.

The seven-country South

Asian bloc has laid out a roadmap

for cross-border connectivity to

facilitate and enhance intraregional

and trade with other sub-regions;

as well as create synergies hinged

on the member-countries’ natural

assets. The roadmap, the SASEC

Operational Plan, which spans

from 2016 (the year the plan was

approved) to 2025, frames the

direction the group is moving

towards.

Particularly, the Economic

Corridor Development is

underscored in the plan to promote

synergies and linkages between

economic corridors across the

SASEC countries to help optimise

development gains in the sub-

region, including industrial growth

The SASEC aims to fortify the key sectors of energy, economic and competitiveness, the creation

corridor development, transport, trade facilitation, and information of high-quality jobs, increased

and communications technology of the seven country members led productivity, and strengthening

by India existing value chains.

In other words, the successful implementation of the roadmap could

make South Asia an economic force to reckon with.

India’s attraction a push for infrastructure development

A founding member of the SASEC, India has always been considered an
attractive investment destination. In 2015, Ernest & Young’s attractiveness
survey resulted in India being voted by 32% of respondents from global
corporations as a top investment destination in the world, outpacing
China, Southeast Asia and Brazil.

20 JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

Country Focus 0RGXODU GRXEOH EHOW SUHVV

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Modular system ensures
Development (UNCTAD) 2017 World Investment SURGXFWLRQ ÀH[LELOLW\
Report cited India as a “favourite FDI (foreign direct Customer and product
investment) destination”, after the US and China, VSHFL¿F SUHVV FRQ¿JXUDWLRQ
based on responses of polled global multinational Proof of concept at
enterprises (MNEs). It was also ranked sixth “most R&D Center in Berndorf
promising home economies for 2017–2019” by
investment promotion agencies (IPAs).
Nevertheless, the country’s infrastructure pales in
comparison with other developing Asian economies;
and this has impacted the movement of goods and
raw materials, communication, as well as trade and
manufacturing costs, to cite a few inconveniences.
Citing a 2013 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC)
report, The Opportunities and Challenge of
India’s Infrastructure, the country was noted to
have underinvested in infrastructure over the
previous decades, resulting in “deficits in critical
areas such as railways, roads, ports, airports,
telecommunication and electricity generation”.
The pressure to improve the country’s
infrastructure surmounts as population increases,
urbanisation expands, and now with the SASEC in
place, trade boom is inevitable.
The SASEC has paved the way for India’s
US$25 million road project involving the
widening of a 65-km road between Manipur’s
capital city, Imphal, and Moreh, a town situated
on the India-Myanmar border.
The road project is a key component in a greater
regional infrastructure scheme, known as the
2002 initiated Asian Highway network. A regional
transport cooperation, it aims to up efficiency and
development of road infrastructure in Asia, to
support the development of Euro-Asia transport
linkages and enable connectivity for landlocked
countries.
Backed by the United Nations Economic
and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
(UNESCAP), the Asian Highway network comprises

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Steel Belts | Belt Systems | Worldwide Service

The Asian Highway network comprises over 141,000 km of
roads traversing 32 member countries

Country Focus Myanmar's roads can serve as links between South Asia and
Southeast Asia
over 141,000 km of roads traversing 32 member
countries; and extends from Tokyo, Japan, to The rest of the sub-region is imbued with
Kapikule, Turkey; and from Torpynovka, Russia, to industry assets, as well as policy changeovers vital
Denpasar, Indonesia. for growth. Bangladesh, leveraging the strength of
Meanwhile, India, in a bid to enhance regional and its garments industry, is likely to witness growth
global competitiveness, has proposed a US$1 billion at 6.9% this year, according to ADB’s 2017 Asian
line of credit for ASEAN projects focusing on sea, Development Outlook. Bhutan’s clean energy assets
air, and road, and digital connectivity. will back the forecast growth of 9.9% growth in
According to Nitin Gadkari, Chief of the Ministry the year, as the country builds hydropower plants
of Road Transport and Highways, projects between and sells the power it generates to India and other
India and the ASEAN are underway, including neighbouring countries in the region.
a construction of a 120-km Kalewa-Yargyi road This year, too, Nepal, which is recovering its
segment along the India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) earthquake-ravaged economy, is forecast to post
Trilateral Highway. An extension of the IMT Trilateral 5.4% growth, backed by reconstruction spending and
Highway towards Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam has a revitalised agriculture sector.
also been proposed. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s major economic reforms,
Meanwhile, there are talks on the ASEAN-India according to the ADB report, are expected to improve
Maritime Transport Cooperation Agreement between the security situation, which consequentially will
India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam lead to a projected growth of 5.5%. Sri Lanka is
to explore the feasibility of shipping networks. The also poised for a 5% growth this year, based on its
ASEAN-India Civil Aviation Task Force has also been growing tourism industry.
established to optimise air connectivity, according to Myanmar, which became a full member of the
Gadkari. SASEC only in February last year, is expected to
India also developed some infrastructure and as boost the connectivity goals of the SASEC. According
covered in the SASEC’s billion-dollar infrastructure to ADB, road corridors in Myanmar provide the key
projects financed from loans and grants from 2001- links between South Asia and Southeast Asia, while
2017. To cite a few of the more recent projects, are ports in the country can provide alternate routes and
the US$715 million 13-km Bihar New Ganga Bridge gateways to the landlocked north eastern region of
Project started in 2016 and the US$425 multi-tranche India.
Road Connectivity Investment Programme started in Moreover, personal, commercial as well as cargo
2014, which involved upgrading of 300 km of road vehicles may likely be allowed to cross international
sub-projects, and approximately 130 km of state borders with “less formalities”. For India, the
roads extending the connection with Myanmar. integration of Myanmar into the SASEC will boost its
exports further. India is Myanmar's 5th largest import
Bihar New Ganga Bridge Project will improve transport source worldwide, with imports totalling nearly
connectivity between north and south Bihar, India US$518 million, according to the ADB.

Pooling of strengths Windfall for the rubber industry
The ADB projects South Asia’s economy to grow to The SASEC leverages the natural resources of its
7.2% this year on course of the SASEC. The shifting member-countries, such as rubber, minerals, oil and
government policies, which are more encouraging gas, enabling the sub-region’s industrial potentials.
now for consumer spending and private investments Among the industries that are expected to gain from
than in previous decades, are favourable for the the SASEC, is rubber, which is fitting since India
countries here. The policies are also expected to alone, the world’s sixth largest rubber producer,
hoist the GDP growth of India, the sub-region’s already accounts for 5% of the total global output.
largest economy, by 7.6% this year.

22 JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

Tyres are a top market segment, accounting for Country Focus
70% consumption of India’s natural rubber (NR).
More so, the branding, Indian Natural Rubber, is Shot in the arm for manufacturing
creating broader opportunities for India and opening India’s manufacturing sector is an economic pillar
up new markets demanding quality rubber. of the country. It has grown by more than 7% a year
Nevertheless, local production of NR has over the last three decades while accounting for
not compensated the brisk demand from tyre between 16%-20% of India’s GDP, according to the
makers. According to the Rubber Board, India’s NR World Economic Forum (WEF) latest Readiness for
production has fallen short of its 800,000-tonne the Future of Production Report.
target for the year, or up 16% from the previous The 2018 report also ranked India in the 30th
year’s 690,000-tonne output. In this regard, slot in the global manufacturing index, and 45th in
the industry assured tyre makers and non-tyre economic complexity. Both results imply that there
consumers of a production resurgence in the coming is still room for improvement across the drivers of
years. production for India.
This is not a far-fetched projection because while Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector can also
India, which has been edged out by Vietnam and gain from the SASEC’s connectivity targets; as well,
China in NR production, the country still remains a the programme will also push the country’s Make
top exporter of rubber. Last year, it shipped 20,030 in India initiatives. The latter aims to transform
tonnes of NR, a whooping increase from 865 tonnes India into a “global design and manufacturing
exports a year ago. hub”, and aside from implementation of relevant
SASEC programmes, will be made easier with the
recent government’s move of easing policies on
foreign ownership in crucial sectors.
The development of economic corridors is an
enabling step to push the Make in India initiative.
The SASEC, likewise, covers the development of
economic corridors, such as the US$358 million
Visakhapatnam–Chennai Industrial Corridor,
which involves widening and upgrading a 29.6
km road section in Samarlakota–Rajanagaram;
and upgrading of seven power substations. The
programme cited that implementation of this
industrial corridor will help boost the Indian
manufacturing sector’s contribution to the state
level GDP, trade, and employment.
The SASEC is obviously South Asia’s secret
sauce in positioning itself amongst economic
giants. Its scope and objectives are extensive,
yet the sub-region is determined to participate
as an equal player in a highly competitive global
economic field. Banking on their assets, and
mending their deficiencies, South Asia is on track
to becoming a self-made model economy.

Sri Lanka’s rubber industry is expected to benefit from the The US$358 millionVisakhapatnam–Chennai Industrial Corridor
SASEC involves widening and upgrading a 29.6 km road section in
Samarlakota–Rajanagaram
On the side lines, agriculture-driven economies
in South Asia are bound to benefit from the SASEC
synergistic strategy. For example, Sri Lanka, the
world’s eighth largest NR producing country has
seen a decline in rubber production in the past years.
While it has its own rubber industry master plan in
place, a leg-up from the SASEC can help to improve
productivity of NR plantations, and additionally,
enable it to export rubber products, inter-regionally.
At the same time, Sri Lanka can provide value for
other SASEC members. For example, Bangladesh
may also benefit from Sri Lanka’s cost advantage to
supplying vulcanised rubber; and may realise cost
savings by buying triple super phosphate fertiliser
and rubber products from Sri Lanka.

JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 23

Composites

Composites at play in sports

Better performing Sports events worldwide share common scenes: crowd-packed bleachers, chants
composites, with wafting the air, and frenzy cloaking the stadiums. Sporting events never fail to
lightweight features, lure crowds because of their camaraderie effect, amidst their competitive nature.
are gaining traction The billion-dollar sports industry remains a lucrative arena. In the US alone,
in sporting goods, the sports market is expected to inch close to US$74 billion by 2019. Major events
says Angelica Buan like the Olympics and Paralympics have generated an estimated US$25 billion for
in this report. the UK economy, a recent report from the Sheffield Hallam University claims.
The right sports equipment is a prized investment. Composite materials that
are lightweight yet durable and design-flexible are becoming top choice for
sports goods manufacturers.
The growth of the sports industry boosts the global market for composites in
sports equipment. Technavio, in its report covering 2017-2021, projects a CAGR of
almost 7% for composites in sports goods manufacturing, with carbon/glass fibre
composites taking the lion’s share.
By 2024, analyst Global Market Insights projects market growth of carbon
fibre composites to reach more than US$31 billion, with much of this growth
driven by the sports & leisure segment, along with other highly sought after end-
use industries.

Right shoes matter

The right kind of footwear is crucial for athletes in many competitive sports.
American sports shoe maker Nike, in its Breaking2 sub two-hour marathon event

held in 2017, demonstrated how a well-designed pair of shoes crafted with the

right materials is able to covet the win.

The company customised its Nike Zoom

Vaporfly Elite shoes, featuring its “4%” system,

and for the Breaking2, the shoes were worn

by medalled runners Lelisa Desisa, Zersenay

Tadese, and Eliud Kipchoge, who were picked

for the challenge. The system used features

ultra-lightweight and soft Nike ZoomX

foam that is capable of providing up to

85% energy return; and an embedded

full-length curved carbon fibre plate that

increases stiffness to provide a sensation

of propulsion, according to Nike.

During the development of the

prototype shoes, a study was carried
out by researchers at the University of
Nike's Zoom VaporFly features ultra-lightweight Nike ZoomX foam Colorado to gauge how Nike’s shoes fare
and full-length curved carbon fibre plate against other brands in terms of running

economy. It was found that the Zoom Vaporfly lowered the energetic cost of

running by 4% on average, owing to the combination of the lightweight foam and

the stiff carbon fibre plate.

In another development, breakthrough graphene-enhanced running and
fitness shoes are being launched this year. British sportswear brand inov-8
has teamed up with the University of Manchester and its graphene experts to

pioneer in developing a sport shoe model that incorporates graphene, an atom-

thick material that is 200 times stronger than steel. The material is also flexible,

meaning, it can be bent, twisted, folded and stretched without incurring any

damage. According to the University, laboratory tests showed the graphene

rubber outsoles of these shoes to be “stronger, more stretchable and more

resistant to wear”.

24 JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

Composites

Hans deBot, President/Founder of deBotech,
explained that the 15-year technology partnership it
has with Solvay and USA Bobsled and Skeleton is
hinged on its expertise in carbon fibre composite
properties. The long-time tie-up is lauded by Richard
Laubenstein, Crew Chief at USA Bobsled and Skeleton,
who commented that the custom designed high-quality
carbon fibre composite equipment will, “in addition to
our incredible athletes, put us in contention for medals
in 2018”.

inov-8 partnered with the University of Manchester to pioneer Solvay and deBotech are providing custom-designed carbon-
in developing a sport shoe model that incorporates graphene fibre composite equipment to USA Bobsled and Skeleton
Meanwhile, students at the Institute for Advanced
Michael Price, inov-8 Product and Marketing Director, Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) and
said that utilising the groundbreaking properties of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) have
graphene for the lightweight G-Series shoes can benefit developed and tested composite snow sled prototypes,
off-road runners and fitness athletes who require a sticky each made of carbon fibre, basalt, or glass fibre
outsole grip, either on wet trails or in sweaty gyms, to composites. IACMI members, who include Mafic,
optimise their performance. “For too long, they have had Ashland Performance Materials, Huntsman, Polynt,
to compromise this need for grip with the knowledge Chomarat, Magnum Venus Products (MVP), and the
that such rubber wears down quickly. The new rubber we UTK offered the material and equipment for students to
have developed allows us to smash the limits of grip,” conduct the research project.
Price said.
Graphene is produced from graphite, which was first IACMI developed and tested composite snow sled prototypes,
mined in the Lake District of Northern England over 450 each made of carbon fibre, basalt, or glass fibre composites
years ago. In 2003, inov-8 also forged in the same area.
The brand now trades in 68 countries worldwide.
Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, from University of
Manchester, said that when the graphene is added
to the rubber in inov-8’s G-Series shoes it imparts
all its properties, including its strength. “Our unique
formulation makes these outsoles 50% stronger, 50%
more stretchy and 50% more resistant to wear than
the corresponding industry standard rubber without
graphene,” he said, adding that it is a revolutionary
consumer product that will have a huge impact on the
sports footwear market.

Carbon fibre glides in winter sports
Belgium-headquartered Solvay and US-based deBotech
tied up to provide custom-designed carbon-fibre
composite equipment to USA Bobsled and Skeleton, a
national federation for bobsled and skeleton in the US.
Solvay says its prepregs are developed to offer
maximum strength while remaining lightweight, and offer
the ability to create distinctive complex shapes, giving
performance equipment high aerodynamic efficiency.
Carmelo Lo Faro, President of Solvay’s Composite
Materials Global Business Unit, stressed how the
company has always supported sports and athletes
aiming to break records and leverage the strengths of
its composite materials technology to their advantage,
whether it is on water, in the air, in the velodrome, on the
track or on snow.

JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 25

Composites According to its makers, the superbike, which is
completely handmade, features an innovative electronic
A vacuum assisted resin transfer moulding (VARTM) fuel injected two-stroke engine and double wishbone
process was employed in creating the composites sled. A suspension, as well as a carbon fibre monocoque chassis
combination lay-up is used to reinforce a variety of fibres with its hollow cross section and the inside, shaped as an
such as carbon fibre, basalt fibre and glass fibre with air duct; and the front linkage assembly.
resins such as vinyl ester or epoxy. The fibre reinforced Carbon fibre is also fielded in the bike’s single front
sleds are found to have higher mechanical performance and rear forks, as the rims to guarantee the best
and durability than conventional plastic sleds. Moreover, lightness solution.The lightweight feature of the
the composites reduce the weight of the sled, hence bicycle warrants its performance, according to Vins,
improving its aerodynamic performance. which also assures that the company employed the
Meanwhile Hexcel, a US composites technology “Made-in-Italy” know-how in bringing to life this ultra-
company, offers its HexPly M78.1 fast-curing prepreg; lightweight bike concept.
HiMax engineered multiaxial reinforcements, and
Polyspeed pultruded components for skis, snowboards Sustainable composites at race
and other high-performance sports equipment. Undertaking closed loop recycling within the marine
industry, UK-headquartered ELG Carbon Fibre is
A key supplier to the winter sports market for more than collaborating with British commercial sporting team
40 years, Hexcel’s latest addition to its HexPly prepreg Land Rover BAR (Ben Ainslie Racing) on carbon fibre
range has been utilised by ski manufacturers to reduce recycling. ELG will become a technical supplier to the
production cycle times team and will process all carbon fibre manufacturing
waste and end-of-use parts to recover the carbon fibre,
According to the manufacturer, the HexPly M78.1 which will be converted at ELG’s mill, the West Midlands-
cures in just 7 minutes at 120°C, yet has a two-week based firm said.The fibres are used to make thermoset
storage out life at room temperature, which means and thermoplastic compounds and non-woven mats.
significant energy and time savings.The HiMax
multiaxial fabrics offer significant weight advantages for Land Rover BAR will
manufacturers of skis and other sporting equipment. use a recycled carbon
One of Hexcel's recent projects involved making a
bespoke range of carbon triaxial reinforcements for a fibre yacht for the
custom free-ride ski brand.The material contributed to America's Cup 2021
the product’s lightweight, soft flex and reactive ride while
retaining strength and durability. In preparation for the 36th America’s Cup in 2021,
Hexcel’s Polyspeed pultruded profiles are used in Land Rover BAR engineers will be working with ELG's
several sports and marine applications including walking Carbiso range to develop applications for the recycled
and ski poles, sail battens, stiffeners for skiffs and racing carbon fibre for UK’s entry in the race.
boats, kites, arrows, and stabilising and extension devices As explained, the Carbiso products will be made
for bows and crossbows. entirely from reprocessed Land Rover BAR carbon
components such as hull moulds and hulls and foils
Ultra-light superbike to hit the tracks from boats used in past race campaigns. Land Rover
Italian Vins Motors unrolled its ultra-lightweight BAR is likely to increase the application of recycled
composite materials during its next campaign.
carbon fibre monocoque motorcycle recently. The demand for composites in sports matches
Weighing barely 90 kg, the two-stroke Vins athletes’ need for lightweight equipment that will
Duecinquanta, and soon the 86 kg endure high impact activities.The stakes are high, thus,
Duecinquanta Competizione, sporting goods manufacturers ensure these needs will
can skid the road or be met. In no time, composites will become a staple
tracks at 150 mph. material in manufacturing sports goods as the demand
inflates even further.

Vins's ultraweight
superbike features
carbon fibre
monocoque chassis

26 JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

ADVERTORIAL

CHINAPLAS 2018 to launch Young Tech Hall

In line with unprecedented rapid development and film technology. Exhibitors that have reserved their
of technology, CHINAPLAS, after 31 editions of space include Beijing Yingzhourunzhang Technology
advancement, is evolving, in response to the Co. Ltd., Hunan Chinasun Pharmaceutical Machinery
needs of the industries, from a business platform for Co. Ltd., Hubei Efeng Mould Co.Ltd., Kaustik China Co.
materials and equipment purchasing to an international Ltd. and more.
showcase of high technologies. 3D printing empowers high-end applications
Booth space is still overbooked though CHINAPLAS On top of the Young Tech Hall, the mega show has
will move to a larger show venue - National Exhibition been divided into 18 different theme zones to facilitate
and Convention Centre (NECC), in Hongqiao, successful sourcing of buyers. “3D Technology Zone”
Shanghai. Applications from over 4,500 companies, of and “Thermoplastic Elastomers & Rubber Zone” are
which more than 1,000 are new to CHINAPLAS, were two new theme zones to be debut at CHINAPLAS 2018.
received before the application deadline in November.
Despite the organiser’s efforts to maximise space,
total area applied exceeds 40% of the hall space. It is
expected that exhibition area will reach 340,000 sq m,
an expansion of 100,000 sq m compared to the last
edition held in Shanghai two years ago.

To facilitate visitors’ need of sourcing new Customisation and small-batch production
CHINAPLAS suppliers, a “Young Tech Hall” will are gaining momentum nowadays. High-end
be newly introduced at CHINAPLAS 2018. This is a manufacturing, like aerospace, automotive, medical
comprehensive exhibition hall, which will gather and consumer products, is in urgent need for 3D
together new exhibitors from diverse fields. printing (additive manufacturing) solutions to expedite
As the Asia’s no. 1 and world’s no. 2 plastics and development cycle and reduce R&D costs. CHINAPLAS
rubber trade fair, CHINAPLAS is not only renowned for will set up a “3D Technology Zone” to group together
promoting cutting-edge technologies, but also famous the vendors and providers of 3D printing (additive
for achieving a massive show scale. The massive show manufacturing) technologies. Exhibitors that have
scale, 340,000 sq m of exhibition area, is a double- reserved their space include Autodesk, Ureal, Cang
edged sword. It takes longer time for visitors to search Ming, dMac, ZWSOFT, Hanbang3D and more.
for specific types of products in mind, especially from Supernova Thermoplastic Elastomers to debut in new
new exhibitors. theme zone
The solution – a Young Tech Hall. “Young Tech Hall is With the advent of a low-carbon economy, light,
introduced to help visitors locate exhibitors and products energy-saving thermoplastic elastomers with a wide
by further segmentation,” explained Ada Leung, General range of applications have a promising prospect.
Manager of Adsale Exhibition Services Ltd. “It’s a win- Thermoplastic Elastomers & Rubber Zone, a new
win solution. New CHINAPLAS exhibitors can seize the theme zone to the Chemicals & Raw Materials Zone,
opportunity to strategically market their brands and will gather 70 suppliers to demonstrate their latest
new products to Shanghai, while CHINAPLAS itself can products and solutions. Exhibitors that have reserved
draw in new blood, fresh energy, and more advanced their space include Huntsman, Momentive, SIBUR, Top
technologies,” Leung further added. Polymer, Dawn, Huafon, Baoding Bangtai, Shin-Etsu,
The Young Tech Hall, to house over 350 new Coating P. Materials, Chinasound, and others.
exhibitors in 10,000 sq m, is a comprehensive exhibition CHINAPLAS 2018 will be held at NECC in Hongqiao,
hall, will be presenting additive, colour pigments and Shanghai, China, from April 24-27, 2018. For walk-in
masterbatch, testing equipment, die and moulds, visitors, RMB50 and RMB80 will be charged for a one-
extrusion machinery, injection moulding machinery, day pass and a four-day pass respectively. Visitors who
smart manufacturing technology, plastic packaging pre-registered before February 11, 2018, can enjoy
admission discount at RMB50 for a four-day pass, as
well as receive a visitor badge in advance to enjoy
express entry on-site.
To pre-register, please visit www.ChinaplasOnline.
com/prereg. For more information about CHINAPLAS
2018, please visit www.ChinaplasOnline.com.

JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 27

3D Printing Injection Moulding Asia

No more a niche technology

3D printing or additive manufacturing (AM) is unit. This, it says, will help customers find exactly
considered a transformative technology and part the right materials and production systems for their
of the new world of advanced manufacturing. applications.
Based on an entirely new approach to industrial Plus, beyond SLA and DLP, DSM says it will offer
design, it can help businesses by improving their a growing portfolio of materials for Fused Filament
products, manufacturing operations and opening Fabrication (FFF), including Novamid polyamide and
up entirely new business models. Arnitel thermoplastic elastomer. It is also looking at
developing new solutions for SLS, Multi Jet Fusion,
According to the 2017 Wohlers report, 3D printing Ink Jet and Binder Jet processes. DSM says it will
is growing at a rapid pace globally, with over 28% initially focus on four market segments: healthcare,
average annual growth for each of the last seven years, transportation, apparel, tooling and electronics.
and generating a total of US$6 billion sales last year. Meanwhile, speciality chemicals firm Clariant
The sector has moved from a niche technology to has set up a dedicated 3D printing business,
an industry where unique products can be produced. leveraging what it says are years of experience
For example, today over 90% of the plastic shells for in tailoring polymers for a broad range of end
in-the-ear hearing aids are manufactured using 3D market applications with pigments, additives and
printing (Wohlers Report 2017). masterbatches, to provide 3D printer filaments and
3D-printed products are often complex end-use specially made solutions.
parts such as air ducts, drones, lights, and parts for
manufacturing equipment. These products can be
enhanced with tailored high quality and ready-to-print
materials that also withstand the wear and tear of
prolonged usage.

Materials companies expand into 3D market Clariant has set up a new business to focus on customised 3D printer
After two decades of establishing its Somos resins for filaments
stereolithography (SLA) and Digital Light Processing
(DLP), Dutch materials firm DSM is now forming an The Swiss firm says it will work closely with
integrated business, DSM Additive Manufacturing, customers on polymer, additive and colourant
and aligning all its related activities within the new selections to address typical end-use conditions such as
weathering (sunlight, UV exposure), flame retardancy
DSM has and electrical properties. The 3D printing materials are
supplied manufactured by Clariant and are available in flexible
its Somos lot sizes.
material for
TMG’s GT86 More offerings from materials makers
consumer To cater to large format additive manufacturing,
racing series materials company Sabic has introduced eight
car that new Thermocomp compounds, based on four of its
has end-use amorphous resins, for use in large-format pellet-fed
printed parts extruders. Based on ABS, PPE, PC and PEI resins, the
made of compounds are also reinforced with carbon or glass
Somos, which fibres for added strength and for applications in the
includes a tooling, aerospace, automotive and defence industries.
water reservoir
and brake
cooling inlet

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Injection Moulding Asia

3D Printing

Two materials from Sabic’s new Thermocomp AM applications. The filament features toughness, as well
portfolio were selected for a yacht hull from as improved ductility at room temperature and at
temperatures down to -30°C; and a heat deflection
Livrea Yachts – a carbon fibre-reinforced PPE temperature of 140°C, which is higher than that of
compound for the hull’s outer layer, and general-purpose ABS filaments. This makes it an
carbon fibre-reinforced PEI for the inner alternative candidate for use in applications that
lattice support structure operate at elevated temperatures.
This year, the company says it plans to launch
Sabic says it is also evaluating new large format several more differentiated products, including
processes and compounds containing semi-crystalline filaments based on Ultem polyetherimide (PEI) and
resins such as PBT, PA, PPS and PEEK. Extem thermoplastic polyimide (TPI) resins. The new
At the Formnext show in Frankfurt, Germany, filaments are designed for applications that require
last year, Sabic showcased a section of a yacht hull higher temperature performance.
from Livrea Yacht that was printed on the company’s Elsewhere, Swedish firm Perstorp and
BAAM machine in its Additive Manufacturing centre 3D4Makers have developed a new generation 3D
in Pittsfield, US. The hull is a result of a collaborative filament with improved strength, throughput, and
design effort between Sabic, Livrea Yacht and 3D mechanical qualities for a wide range of medical and
design and engineering software provider Autodesk. manufacturing products. As the world’s first fifth-
Sabic applies the latter’s Fusion 360 design software generation 3D filament, Facilan enables applications
on the BAAM equipment. previously unobtainable with other 3D printing
The 3D printed hull is said to be lighter and materials, according to Perstorp.
stronger, and can be manufactured at a fraction of
the cost and in half the time, giving Livrea Yacht a Perstorp and 3D4makers have partnered to launch Facilan next-
competitive breakthrough that would not be possible generation 3D printing filament, with the first soft touch grade
with traditional fabrication.
Meanwhile, Sabic also launched a new Lexan
EXL AMHI240F filament based on its PC copolymer
technology. The company says it is designed for use
on Stratasys’s Fortus Classic industrial printers, for
aerospace, consumer electronics and automotive

Sabic’s new The companies say the new Facilan is to fill the
Lexan EXL gap of existing filaments that are not suitable for
AMHI240F manufacturing, with users having reported many
filament issues with the printability and mechanical qualities
is initially of printed parts. Problems include layer adhesion,
offered warping, surface quality and misprints.
in black, Facilan is also said to be the world’s first soft
with plans touch 3D printing material, exhibiting better layer
to launch adhesion and boasting the “best” surface quality
additional in 3D printing materials. The portfolio consists of
colours, Facilan C8, Facilan HT and Facilan Ortho.
including Stronger than ABS yet easier to process than
white, in the PLA, Facilan C8’s surface quality and low warping
near future give it the “best look and feel of any 3D printing
material”, claim the companies.

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Injection Moulding Asia

3D Printing

Machine makers improve process Based on the CAD data of the plastic part, the print
German machinery maker Arburg, which was data of the mould inserts can be processed accordingly
one of the first to launch a machine for additive and 3D-printers create the mould. Depending on the
manufacturing/3D printing, had its Freeformer size of the components, this can be done within minutes,
on display at the Formnext trade fair last year in while longer processing times are required for larger
Frankfurt. designs. Nevertheless, these mould inserts are designed
A new feature at the stand was the additive much faster and more cost-effectively than their “steel
processing of standard PP from Brazilian materials competitors”.
supplier Braskem’s CP 393 grade and the specially Low mould costs, thanks to 3D-printed mould inserts
developed support material Armat 12 to produce as well as the fast implementation of modifications, are
functional cable clips. The delicate yet durable decisive advantages for users.
structures featured the click effect typical of injection However, Dr Boy says high temperatures of the
moulded parts, says Arburg. materials and large injection pressures can affect the
mould inserts more significantly, especially in the case
At the Formnext show last year, visitors to the Arburg stand were able of small batches and average quantities. A solution is
to try out different functional components for themselves, including offered in the form of 3D-printed metal mould inserts.
parts made from standard PP, for the first time, at four interactive Higher stability and the possibility of a partly required
stations mould temperature control/cooling are provided with
these metal mould inserts and thus they represent the
The Lossburg-headquartered injection moulding next upgrade level of the additive production.
machine company says it has thus expanded its As well, the layer-by-layer printing of the plastic
material range for industrial additive manufacturing or metal-mould inserts is clearly different in terms of
with a semi-crystalline material. The range also preparation and planning.
includes amorphous standard granulates such as In the case of the metal mould inserts, a large
ABS, PA and PC, as well as elastic TPE, the high- number of additional elements have to be taken into
temperature plastic PEI, medical grade PLA and PC consideration in advance. For complex and highly
approved for the aviation industry. 3D-dimensional parts, temperature control channels and
Arburg adds that its Freeformer and Arburg Plastic their connections must be provided during the planning
Freeforming appealed to many new customers and stage of the mould inserts.
interested parties visiting the show. In the case of the metal-printed moulds, the parting
German machinery maker Dr. Boy GmbH says that line has to be processed, since the structure of the surface
over the past two years, 3D-printed plastic mould of the moulding part comes from the printing process.
inserts have revolutionised mould manufacturing in For the achievement of a defined and desired surface,
the industry. These more flexible and cost-efficient this additional processing step is necessary, adds Dr Boy.
solutions accord an alternative to complex construction Dr Boy also says that during the design phase of
of expensive steel moulds, especially for prototyping the moulds or of the metal mould inserts, a decision
and individualising of components. should be made as to whether a metal mould insert or
Since the physical properties of a component differ a conventional aluminium or steel mould be used. “The
significantly if produced on a 3D-printer and injection engineer should be familiar with the capabilities of
moulding, a solution is 3D-printed mould inserts 3D-technology to find a good and affordable mould in
where the plastic parts can be manufactured cost- light of the additional possibilities,” it adds.
effectively in a cassette mould. The company is confident that the use of 3D-printed
mould inserts will grow in the future, due to the lower
cost, compared to conventional steel moulds.

Dr Boy vouches for the growth of 3D-printed metal mould inserts

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Injection Moulding Asia

Japanese Machinery & Technology

Japanese machinery makers introduce improvements

Last year’s IPF Japan show saw a marginal Meanwhile, to cater
increase in visitors of 43,600 compared to the growth of insert
to 42,900 from 2014, due to the country’s moulding, Nissei was
improved economy. It would have seen higher promoting its vertical
visitor numbers over the weekend, if not for tiebarless TNX100RIII8V,
the impending approach of a typhoon, said which was displayed with
an official from the organiser IPF Japan a six-axis, multi-jointed
Association. Major Japanese machinery makers Kawasaki robot, 3D imaging
had new cells/machinery targeted at automotive and flexible insert system,
parts manufacture from carbon fibre-reinforced without a transfer device.
plastics (CFRPs). Another smaller vertical
machine, with a clamping
force of 19 tonnes, affords
space saving features.

CFRP cell manufacturing
JSW was showcasing a
process to produce rigid Nissei was showcasing an
parts for the automotive insert moulding exhibit

sector by incorporating continuous unidirectional
tape made of carbon fibre, supplied by Toray
Industries, on a standard machine model.

The number of visitors to IPF increased, over the 2014 show On its 100-tonne machine, JSW exhibited a newly designed blending
system and screw/barrel for optimised processing of CFRP
Catering to large moulds on small machines
Celebrating its 70th anniversary last year, Nissei The part was moulded on a J280ADS-
Plastic Industrial displayed six machines. Its 220- 890HCFRTP/UD-tape injection moulding cell in a
tonne NEX220IV all-electric machine, now available in single-cavity mould with a cycle time of 48 seconds.
the market, is a newcomer, designed to accommodate JSW claims that the carbon fibre tape, which is
larger, more complex moulds, and a faster cycle time of added to the mould prior to moulding, can increase
4.5 seconds. the rigidity of a part ten-fold.
Another machine, also with the capability to The tape, with a thickness of 0.5 mm, comprises
accommodate larger moulds, is the prototype up to 60% carbon fibre, with the remaining 40%
FNX220IV-50A, a 220-tonne hybrid machine able to made up of the same resin used for the part. Toray
cater to moulds that would normally be mounted on says this patented tape impregnation process, allows
a 350-tonne machine. It was also displayed with the for a permanent bond in the part. Toray and JSW
company’s N-SAPLI low pressure moulding system, also jointly designed a new tape reel machine for
which optimises the clamping force, boasting longer unwinding the tape, which is incorporated with
tool life and lower peak pressure, said Nissei. the manufacturing operation, but is controlled
independently.
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 Another Japanese machine maker Toyo
Machinery was also demonstrating the production of
a CFRP part on its latest all-electric, vertical rotary
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www.injectionmouldingasia.com

Injection Moulding Asia

Japanese Machinery & Technology

ET-80II machine in a process it termed as “sheet insert Toshiba Machine
moulding”. Features were: the cutting of the carbon introduced its latest
fibre sheet is integrated into the moulding machine; generation all-electric
foam moulding is undertaken with gas fed at the EC-SXII machine, to
nozzle to allow for a lightweight part (5.4 g) of PP, in replace its current
a cycle time of 30 seconds. series, and displayed
five models that
Toyo demonstrated the demonstrated a
production of a CFRP part on range of capabilities
its latest all-electric, vertical from smart factory
rotary applications, two-
material moulding and
Utilising feed/auxiliary equipment for improvements gas injection moulding.
Meanwhile, on the J100ADS-180U electric machine, The machines also
JSW exhibited the moulding of a part from a 30% feature the new
carbon fibre-PA6 material. Here, blending and feeding Injectvisor V70 control.
equipment is used to add the reinforcements at the Boasting increased
feed throat. JSW designed the electric-weight blending memory, updated Toshiba introduced the improved
system, as well as a new screw/barrel for optimised graphics and enhanced Injectvisor V70 controller
processing of the material. An advantage of this method
is that the material can be mixed and injected in small customisable settings
lots for several types of products for the automotive and configurable machine sequences, it replaces the
sector, said JSW. V50 control.
Japanese/German machine maker Sumitomo Demag To showcase lightweight moulding for the
displayed its SL plastification system, which it launched automotive sector, Toshiba displayed an EC180SXII
at the K2013 show and which works without the usual model moulding a 330-g carbon fibre-reinforced
compression zone and therefore, offers advantages in PA66 component in a cycle time of 60 seconds, as
comparison with conventional plastification systems. opposed to a 660-g part made from aluminium. The
The controlled operation results in the production of a company said that it is co-developing the process
homogeneous melt without variations in viscosity. As with customers.
a result, process variations and thus variations in the On another model, EC650SXII-26BP, it
product quality are reduced. It is currently available demonstrated gas injection moulding. The two-
in serial production as an option for the fully-electric stage machine features a continuous extruder and a
machines of the series SE-EV. plunger-type injection unit, with a special nitrogen-
It exhibited the system on an SE50EV model, which gas moulding device designed by Toshiba. A special
also had a camera from Japan-based CAM to monitor the software programme, also new from Toshiba,
colour changing process and detect rejects. According to allows for synchronised nitrogen introduction and
Sumitomo Demag, colour changeovers are possible in 8 physical foaming of the part with the toggle clamp
minutes. movement. The machine/technology is currently
New all-electrics launched under development and the company exhibited
As a pioneer in the two-colour/material machine area, the production of an automotive inner panel at the
Nissei displayed the DCE140111-9E 140-tonne all-electric show. Meanwhile, a 100 tonne-model was moulding
machine, shown moulding an automotive component two materials (PC/ABS) on a standard machine,
prism in PMMA that was overmoulded with ABS with a rotary table and secondary unit.
resin. Nissei says that its machines are targeted at the Sumitomo Demag also introduced a high-speed
automotive market for the production of headlamps and all-electric injection moulding machine for thinwall
instrument panels. packaging, caps/closure moulding. The 350-tonne
SE350HSZ-Pack was shown moulding 26 g-PP cups
in an eight-cavity mould and 4.5 second-cycle time,
0.4 seconds faster than before. Raising the bar for
machine control, the SE-HSZ Pack series is equipped
with Sumitomo’s Z Control, an easy-to-use PC-based
control that is said to boast higher level of precision
with low-pressure filling and reduced clamp force.
The Z control features the patent pending Flow
Front Control (FFC) system that optimises the flow
front allowing control of internal pressure inside
the cavity; Minimum Clamping Moulding (MCM)

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JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 www.injectionmouldingasia.com

Injection Moulding Asia Machinery

system, which helps avoid flash, burn spots and short shots and
Simple Process Setting (SPS) system, for easier set up and operations.
Meanwhile, tooling/EDM and machinery specialist Sodick, which
has hybrid machines in its stable, debuted its first toggle-clamp all-
electric MS series, available in 50, 100 and 200-tonne models. On
show was the MS200 machine, moulding PP cups in a conformal-
cooled mould in a 4-second cycle time.
Allaying high costs with tie-up
While the Japanese machine makers are at the top of the industry
with all-electric machinery technology, high production costs are
beginning to influence the pricing and sales. Thus, Niigata Machine
has formed a 50:50 joint venture with Haitian International
Holdings, China’s largest manufacturer of injection moulding
machinery. The joint venture will be based in Japan, in line with
Niigata’s history of making all its electric machines in Japan.
To showcase an example of how the joint venture will have its
merits, at IPF, Niigata exhibited the new, lower priced CNS all-
electric machine series, built using components, such as the clamp
and frame, supplied by Haitian.
“Haitian has knowledge of mass production and has access to
cheaper supplies of components,” said Chris Unseth, Regional Sales
Manager, adding that the CNS series will not be targeted at the
Japanese market but Asian and US markets.
“We are a conservative company but we have to keep up with the
changing times and competitive market,” said Unseth, adding that
the CNS series will cost 20% lower than Niigata’s MD series.
But the new machine series will still be built at Niigata’s facility
in Japan to ensure quality is maintained. It comprises six models with
clamping forces ranging from 50-220 tonnes.
In return for access to cheaper materials, Unseth said that Niigata
will provide Haitian technology insights on know-how and quality
control for Haitian’s all-electric machines. The two companies will
have their own separate brands.
At IPF, two models were on display: CNS50 shown moulding a
25-mm optical lens from a 7.8-g shot of PMMA in a 60-second cycle;
and a 110-tonne model moulding a complex part for a printer from
ABS in a two-cavity mould. The hollow part was produced using gas
injection.

Niigata’s latest CNS series, made in a joint venture with Haitian, is lower priced
than its MD series

Automotive Injection Moulding Asia

A “cleaner” drive with plastics

Innovative plastics are being developed for the Adapting to these rules, the automotive industry
automotive sector, in pursuit of fuel economy continues to seek ways to comply with fuel economy
cars, details Angelica Buan in this report. targets; and producing lightweight vehicles and
components is one of those ways.
Vehicle sales up; keeping carbon emissions in check It is estimated that every 10% reduction in the
There is quite no stopping the rise in vehicle sales. weight of a vehicle results in as much as 7% fuel
This year, IHS Markit forecasts that global sales savings. For this reason, use of plastics to replace
of light vehicles could be worth US$96 million, metals and other heavier materials is the direction
coaxed by the growing urbanisation and incremental the industry is taking.
disposable income, and lamentably, increasing build- An IHS Chemical report estimates that plastics
up of carbon emission in the environment. A 2015 will represent 25% of the average car by 2025.
IEA (International Energy Agency) report cited that Apart from light weight advantage, plastics
road vehicles contributed the most to the 25% global also provide the extra edge of design flexibility,
transportation accountability to combustion emissions. functionality, and lower cost of manufacturing, to
cite a few benefits.
The automotive industry continues to seek ways to comply with fuel Comfort takes the front seat
economy targets by producing lightweight vehicles and components Light weighting provides leeway to car makers
to enhance functionalities of vehicles produced.
Keeping carbon emissions in check is a serious It also helps them meet the emerging demand for
global undertaking. Since the 1990s, the European comfort and luxury, which according to a report by
Union (EU) has enforced its emissions standards in P&S Market Research are driving the growth of the
phases, with reduction targets. By 2021, EU cars and global automotive seat market.
vans are prohibited to go beyond the 95 g/km of CO² Adient, an Ireland-based automotive seating
emission cap (or 40% from 2007 average of 158.7 g/ specialist, says, over the past few years, it has
km); and in the years thereafter to 2030, are expected reduced the weight of its vehicle seats by 20-30%. It
to cut their carbon emissions by 30%. The EU standards is working on reducing the seat structures by almost
have become the tailpipe benchmark for many 10 kg by 2020, with the use of glass or carbon fibre-
countries including those in Asia. reinforced plastics, magnesium, high-strength steel
The US, where carbon emissions from vehicles have or aluminium in the seat.
been found to overtake the amounts generated by “Car seats will increasingly become multi-
power plants, mills and refineries; has targeted a limit function supports with a wide range of electronic
of 163 g/mile of CO² by 2025. adjustments and technical equipment,” said Dr
China, which is the world’s largest vehicle market, Detlef Juerss, Vice-President Engineering and CTO
is also trimming its vehicle emissions. It’s China VI at Adient.
emissions standards, which are based on the US and
EU tailpipe regulations, require light vehicles to Adient’s Recaro Automotive Seating has unveiled a lighter seat for the
comply by 2020. Sportster GT luxury automobile

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Injection Moulding Asia

Automotive

This multi-material approach is the supply of energy; it will generate beneficial
featured in its Recaro Automotive economic ripple effects by creating new demand
Seating for motorsports, which and new jobs; and, it can help in coping with
it says is slim, “reduced to natural disasters.
the max” version in a Fuel cell cars generate electricity to power their
lightweight design. A motors using hydrogen from their tanks, and when
second design features disasters cause power outages, these vehicles can
a carbon fibre-braided serve as large-scale movable generators.
backrest structure, aimed at For the meantime, the high cost of required
the top luxury segment. initial investment is a road block the bureau
Adient added that the is tackling, with TMG working on setting up
ultra-slim design of a US$348 million fund for hydrogen refuelling
Recaro yields more stations and other infrastructure.
space for vehicle
interiors, provided A hydrogen fuelling station already built in Tokyo’s Shiba Park. The
by the body- metropolitan government plans to have 35 such stations in operation by
shaped 2020 and by 2025 it aims to have 80 hydrogen stations in operation and
composite 100,000 fuel cell cars on the roads
seat structure
and thin To set up a standard hydrogen fuelling station,
IntelliTech it will cost an estimated US$4.3 million, which
foam, which is five times the cost of an ordinary gas station,
is a light, rigid TMG said. Currently there are eight hydrogen
and flexible foam fuelling stations already installed; with more
that integrates Adient’s limited-edition SL shell seat, the coming up by 2020 to total to 35; and by 2025,
attachments for lightest at 7 kg is targeted at future OEM with 80 hydrogen stations expected to cater to
the complete programmes 100,000 fuel cell cars on the roads. About 6,000
fuel cell cars and more than 100 fuel cell buses
seat application including spacers, optional are expected to operate ahead of the Olympics.
ventilation, and others. It, thus, reduces weight Chiming in the clean energy goal, Japanese
up to 40% and is 50% thinner at 8 mm, compared materials maker Toyoda Gosei has developed
to standard polyurethane foam. large plastic roof panels that will be used on a
Meanwhile, the new limited-edition fuel cell bus to be launched by Toyota Motor
aftermarket shell seat Recaro Pole Position Corporation this year. More than 100 buses will
SL (street-legal) is a slim, one-piece shell seat be fielded in time for the Olympics season in
made of glass fibre-reinforced plastic (GRP) that Tokyo.
provides lateral and shoulder support at comfort Toyoda Gosei says its plastic materials can be
levels. Its 7 kg weight makes it the world’s made thinner while also improving impact and
lightest street legal shell seat. heat resistance, making them suitable for use
on vehicle exteriors yet with reduced weight.
Complementing renewable energy solutions with 8
fuel cell cars
Japan lives up to its name as a technological www.injectionmouldingasia.com
pioneer as it moves towards its “Hydrogen
Society” target by 2020. The preparation is in sync
with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics,
where novel technologies hinged on a cleaner,
renewable energy mix are also expected to be
showcased.
Shifting to hydrogen as a major source of
power is meant to achieve four major objectives,
according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government
(TMG). Hydrogen use may ease the environment
of carbon emissions. Considered a clean energy,
hydrogen emits only water when burned; there is
going to be diversification of energy sources as
hydrogen can be produced with renewable energy
sources, and its use will also promote stability in

JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

Injection Moulding Asia

Automotive

energy to propel the vehicle. The system discharges
nothing other than water and heat.
The French firm has recently acquired Fribourg-
based Swiss Hydrogen, which specialised in
the design and production of solutions for the
management and control of energy in fuel cell
systems dedicated to mobility; and Optimum CPV,
a Belgian company based in Zonhoven, which
specialises in the design and production of tanks in
filament composite for the storage of pressurised
hydrogen.

Toyoda Gosei has developed a large Double-edged boon with bioplastics
plastic roof panel for a fuel cell bus Plastic is no doubt a harbinger for fuel economy; and
the use of biobased plastics double the benefits.
In addition to the new material, the company Japanese car maker Mazda is harnessing these
also relied on its technology for high precision twin advantages in utilising the biobased engineering
moulding that gives a consistent thickness to large plastic Durabio, it developed with Mitsubishi
parts. These roof panels will be installed above the Chemical, in the front grill of the Mazda CX-5.
fuel cell stacks and high pressure hydrogen tanks,
with a structure that allows them to be opened and In collaboration with Mazda, Mitsubishi Chemical has developed a new
closed for inspections and other purposes. grade of Durabio biobased engineering plastic that is now being used for
The world’s quest for clean energy may soon the front grill of the Mazda CX-5
catch up with Japan’s hydrogen initiative.
France-based emission fuel and exhaust Durabio is a polycarbonate resin derived mainly
treatment systems specialist Plastic Omnium has from plant-based isosorbide, which in turn is
its latest PHEV and hydrogen solutions; including a derived from sorbitol, a widely available natural
high-pressure hydrogen storage system. feedstock. Previously, French automotive maker
The hydrogen is stored in tanks, made of Renault adopted Durabio in the outer mask of the
composite materials and plastics. Featuring a speedometer-tachometer combo used by the new
thermoplastic sealing liner of around 5-mm and a generation Clio, launched last year.
thick carbon fibre layer, it takes up the mechanical Durabio’s properties are engineering-like, with its
stresses created by internal pressure in the tank. transparent nature allowing it to be highly colourable,
Plastic Omnium also offers a fuel cell system with pigment dispersion in coloured compounds of
to power electric vehicle motors. The cell converts a level that obviates the need for painting. Further,
oxygen and tank-stored hydrogen into electrical impact strength and weatherability are said to be
superior compared with 100% petroleum-derived
Plastic Omnium is working on alternative energy solutions such engineering plastics, while high surface hardness
as hydrogen storage, fuel cells and supercapacitors imparts good scratch resistance.
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 The new grade will also be used for future models
from Mazda; while Mitsubishi Chemical says it
intends to direct further development efforts at
application of Durabio in large automotive parts.
Thus, higher fuel economy and emissions
standards will drive forward the automotive market
in the future.
9

www.injectionmouldingasia.com

Rubber Journal Asia

Industry News

• Chinese tyre company Shandong • Orion Engineered Carbons has production capacity for vinyl
Linglong Tire is to set up and started up a new carbon black acetate-ethylene (VAE) copolymer
invest US$450 million into production line at its plant in dispersions at its plant in
Linglong Dandelion Science Yeosu, South Korea. Nanjing.
and Technology Development • Weihai, a China-based maker of
to research and produce • PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical tyres, is to build a US$580 million
dandelion rubber. and French tyre maker Michelin’s plant in North Carolina, US, to
US$570 million joint venture in produce 6 million tyres/year.
• Malaysian company Top Glove Indonesia, with a capacity of • Quang Tri Rubber Company
Corp is to acquire the surgical 120,000 tonnes/year of SSBR, is under the Vietnam Rubber
glove producing company expected to operate in the first Group (VRG) has inked a
Aspion Sdn Bhd, a unit of quarter of this year. land leasing contract with
Adventa Capital, for US$345 the Laos government for a
million. • Semperit Group invested EUR20 rubber plantation and a rubber
million in the expansion of its processing plant in the southern
• Goodyear Tire & Rubber facility in Czech Republic for province of Salavan. The project
Company has completed the hydraulic hose production. is expected to help develop
acquisition of automated tyre the economy in Salavan and
inspection technology firm • Continental has broken ground generate jobs for local people
Ventech Systems to support its on its new greenfield tyre plant and eliminate poverty.
fleet services in Europe. in Rayong, Thailand, with an • AkzoNobel’s speciality chemicals
investment of EUR250 million for business is investing EUR4
• French tyre maker Michelin the production of 4 million/year million to increase production
will sell 40% of its shares in the passenger and light truck tyres capacity in Sweden for its Levasil
Chinese joint venture Double by 2022. In Germany, Continental CC surface-modified colloidal
Coin (Anhui) Warrior Tire Co: is also setting up a distribution silica.
30% to Shanghai Huayi Group centre near to the Hanover- • Swedish firm Nynas has launched
Corp. and 10% to Double Coin Langenhagen airport at the end an in-house rubber compounding
Tire Group Co. of 2018, with an investment of and testing laboratory to gain
EUR10 million in equipment additional hands-on application
• Halcyon Agri Corporation is and machinery. Continental has and formulation knowledge to
to acquire the Singapore- also broken ground on a EUR35 better evaluate the performance
based Polymer Division of million R&D Taraxagum Lab in of oils in rubber.
commodities trader RCMA Anklam, Germany, to research • Henniges Automotive, a global
Group for US$34 million, natural rubber from dandelion supplier of highly engineered
to create one of the world’s roots. The Ministry of Economic sealing and anti-vibration
largest distribution hubs for will provide a state subsidy of systems for the automotive
latex and speciality tyre rubber. EUR11 million. market, has opened a 7,391 sq
Halycon is also buying four m facility in Suzhou, China, in
Indonesian crumb rubber • Guizhou Tyre Co will invest the Taicang Port Economic and
factories in West Kalimantan US$400 million to build a factory Technological Development Zone.
for US$105 million. The in Longjiang Industrial Park in • Chinese tyre company
factories produce numerous Qianjiang, Vietnam. The first Doublestar has broken ground
grades of Standard Indonesian phase to start up by 2019 will on a waste rubber “Industry 4.0″
Rubber, with an export produce 1.2 million all-steel recycling smart facility in Henan
capacity of 132,000 tonnes. radial trucks, with an annual Province. The project costs 600
sales income of US$116 million. million yuan, covers 300 acres
• Lotte Versalis Elastomers, a In the second and third phases, of land, and will have a capacity
50:50 joint venture between engineering car tyres, heavy truck for 200,000 tonnes/year of waste
Italy’s Versalis (Eni) and tyres, large agricultural tyres and rubber. The first phase will start
South Korean petrochemical truck tyres will be produced. up end 2018.
firm Lotte Chemical have
opened a facility in Yeosu, • In China, Munich-based chemical www.rubberjournalasia.com
South Korea, with a nameplate company Wacker Chemie is
capacity of 200 kilotonne/year expanding its solid silicone
of elastomers (EPDM, SSBR rubber manufacturing facility
and BR). in Zhangjiagang, as well as its
1
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

Rubber Journal Asia

Synthetic Rubber

Rubbers go the extra mile for green tyres

Advancements in synthetic rubbers contribute building and construction and automotive, to name
a few, the tyre sector is the largest end-user segment
to the tyres’ potential to enhance fuel of the synthetic rubber market.

economy of vehicles, says Angelica Buan. Lower rolling resistance, less carbon footprint
The tyre industry is rebutting rising energy costs,
T yre sales continue to multiply year after year rigorous government regulations, especially in
alongside robust vehicles sales. A report from Europe where tyre labelling has already been
Expert Market Research predicted that the global enforced; and growing environmental awareness
tyre market is set to cross a volume of nearly 4 among consumers with fuel efficient tyres. Of
billion units by 2022. The numbers favour synthetic particular interest in this segment are the green
rubber, which makes up 60% of a modern tyre. tyres.
Hence, over that period, the synthetic market rubber Green tyres feature lower rolling resistance,
will be worth more than US$37 billion growing or the energy spent by a tyre per unit of distance
at a CAGR of 5.5% from 2017-2022, referencing to covered, and thus are more fuel efficient. Low
a Markets and Markets report. Add on another rolling resistant-tyres play a vital role in promoting
year and the global synthetic rubber market would fuel economy of vehicles. A 10% reduction in
have achieved close to US$36 billion, Transparency tyre rolling resistance will translate to 1-2%
Market Research highlighted in its 2015-2023 improvement in vehicle fuel economy.
report. German speciality chemicals company Lanxess’s
Synthetic rubber gives passenger car and subsidiary Arlanxeo, a producer of synthetic
motorcycle tyres good grip performance; makes rubbers for green tyres, claims in an 18 month-test
tyres last longer; and provides rolling resistance. it conducted in 2015 with German energy provider,
For the latter, the lower rolling resistance, the better Rhein Energy, that low rolling resistant-green tyres
the fuel economy of the vehicle. enable fuel savings of up to 7% in urban traffic.
The synthetic rubber producer also attributed
the growing demand for this segment to the
megatrend mobility. The company is a key supplier
of Nd-PBR (neodymium polybutadiene) and SSBR
(solution styrene-butadiene rubber) to global tyre
manufacturers serving countries and regions where
vehicle demand is high. Both products are essential
to the production of green tyres that are more fuel
efficient, safer and durable, than standard tyres,
according to Lanxess, which also owns the world’s
largest plant for Nd-PBR sited in Singapore.

More vehicle acquisitions mean larger consumption for synthetic rubber, Megatrend mobility
which makes up 60% of a modern tyre spurs demand for
fuel efficient tyres,
Synthetic rubber may have been, to say the according to Lanxess
least, a saving grace for many rubber-dependent
industries, especially during the time of fluctuating www.rubberjournalasia.com
natural rubber (NR) prices. Factors that affect price
volatility of NR range from inconsistent supply of
raw material or supply glut to high demand. On the
other hand, synthetic rubber’s supply is more stable
and thus enables cost benefit and increased profit
margins for industrial consumers of rubber.
Of the industries consuming synthetic rubber,
including footwear, sports and leisure goods,

2

JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

Rubber Journal Asia

Synthetic Rubber

Development strides for SBR In 2013, it can be recalled that Versalis formed
partnership with tyre maker Pirelli in developing
SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber), formed by a 1:3 guayule rubber, and can be considered to be among the
ratio copolymerisation of styrene and butadiene, pioneers that took keen interest in biobased rubbers.
respectively, offers the value-added features of Versalis also formed a partnership with US-based
reduced rolling resistance and better grip, thus, it biotechnology company Genomatica to develop the
has a wide following among tyre manufacturers sugar-derived bio-butadiene (bio-BDE) technology and
seeking to produce tyres that has lower carbon for which they had been recognised last year with an
footprint and increased fuel efficiency. Environmental Achievement of the Year award at the
SBR is one of oldest synthetic rubbers, developed European Tire Technology International Awards for
in the 1930s; and it has evolved since then using Excellence and Innovation.
advanced processes.
Today, SBR is the largest product segment of the Growing market for biobased EPDM
synthetic rubber market, accounting for more than The EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer)
30% share in 2014. market has huge demand from the automotive
SBR, which delivers better processability, heat industry, accounting for a larger share of its market.
ageing, and abrasion resistance, is primarily used EPDM offers high heat resistance, weather resistance,
in the manufacture of car tyres. Other applications and vibration absorption, making it suitable
of SBR include conveyor belts, gaskets, hoses, floor for different applications. These include hoses,
tiles, footwear, and adhesives. mechanical goods for under-the-hood applications,
The emulsion-SBR and solution-SBR formulations body sealing, weather-stripping, belts, engine mounts,
are widely used for green tyres; and to meet the tyre brake parts, windshield wipers, and more, according
labelling standards. to Markets and Markets in its report covering the
The global SBR market is expected to grow at a US$7.2 billion EPDM market to 2020.
CAGR of 7.36% from 2014-2019, according to Sandler
Research in its report on the global SBR market.
Meanwhile butadiene rubbers, synthetic and
biobased, are predicted to top US$24 billion by 2024,
owing to the expanding tyre industry size, according
to Global Market Insights. Biobased butadiene is
likely to reach a 13% CAGR from 2017-2024.
Versalis (Eni), an Italy-based company, has a
technology for green tyres that it had developed with
Ecombine and EVE Rubber Institute, and is based
on proprietary SSBR and Nd-HCBR technologies. The
technology platform enables the development of new
materials with enhanced mechanical performances
and environment-friendly features, according to
Versalis.

Versalis, together with Ecombine and Eve Rubber Institute created an Biobased EPDM as alternative to fossil fuel-based synthetic rubber
innovative technology for high performance green tyres
For green tyres, biobased EPDM is opted amid the
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 pressure on the industry to manufacture more vehicle
tyres made from renewable raw materials.
Arlanxeo also helps boost green tyre manufacturing
with its range of Keltan EPDM products such as Keltan
Eco EPDM rubber derived from biobased ethylene,
supplied by Brazil’s Braskem. It was introduced as an
alternative to conventional synthetic rubber from fossil
raw materials. Accordingly, Arlanxeo has examined
the combination of plasticiser oils and fillers for this
bio-based rubber, to reduce the carbon footprint of the
resulting compounds still further.

3

www.rubberjournalasia.com

Rubber Journal Asia

Synthetic Rubber

Arlanxeo’s recent offering is a semi-crystalline and flavours. Isoprene, along with other unsaturated
EPDM grade with a very high Mooney viscosity for compounds, is used to manufacture polymeric
demanding rubber applications, particularly in the materials, Transparency Market Research stated in its
automotive industry. The first Keltan grade with isoprene market report.
five digits, Keltan 13561C DE, has a high product It added that there is rising interest in the
viscosity of 130 Mooney Unit (MU) – higher than any production of GMO isoprene. Tyres are the major
other current Keltan EPDM grade, Arlanxeo said. application for bio-based isoprene. Moreover, it is
The new EPDM grade delivers improved mixing also suited for other applications such as in footwear,
and fast extrusion behaviour with high elasticity medical appliances, mechanical instruments and
and collapse resistance in high filled compounds, sporting goods. Surgical gloves such as nitrile, vinyl
supporting the reduction of overall compound and latex gloves are also manufactured using bio-
volume costs. based isoprene. As well, transportation jets and jet
When replacing existing EPDM polymers, Keltan fuels also make use of bio-based isoprene for its
13561C DE can significantly improve the mechanical production.
properties in EPDM compounds with the same Meanwhile, in a recent development on isoprene,
compound loading. The new Keltan grade has been a team of researchers, led by the University of
launched in China and South America. Minnesota, has invented a new technology to produce
tyres from trees and grasses. The researchers claimed
Sustainable tyres with isoprene that the tyre from the biomass produced as a result
The growing rubber industry and demand for rubber of their study would be identical to existing car tyres
products is the major driving factor of global bio- with the same chemical make-up, colour, shape, and
based isoprene market. Isoprene is a key molecule performance. The new study is published by the
in car tyres and can be obtained from plants, trees, American Chemical Society’s ACS Catalysis journal.
grasses, or corn. The new three-step chemical process is a
The rising awareness for environmental friendly patent-pending technology that is viable for
products is also expected to boost demand for bio- commercialisation. “This research could have a
based isoprene for a host of applications. major impact on the multi-billion dollar automobile
Reducing the rolling resistance of tyres helps in tyres industry,” said Paul Dauenhauer, a University
reducing the energy expended by the vehicle while of Minnesota Associate Professor of chemical
moving forward. engineering and materials science and Lead
Isoprene, a colourless volatile liquid produced Researcher of the study.
by various plants such as oaks, legumes, eucalyptus The researchers explained that currently isoprene
mint, poplars and others, is gaining traction as a is produced by thermally breaking apart molecules
bio-based synthetic rubber. Isoprene is also known in petroleum that are similar to gasoline in a process
as 2-methyl-1, 3-butadiene is used as a chemical raw called “cracking.” The isoprene is then separated
material; it is also used as a starting material for from hundreds of products and purified. In the final
synthetic rubbers. step, the isoprene reacts with itself into long chains to
A very small proportion of bio-based isoprene is make a solid polymer that is the major component in
used in the production of fragrance intermediates car tyres.
They said that biomass-derived isoprene has been a
Researchers developed a technology to produce bio-sourced isoprene major initiative of tyre companies for the past decade,
with most of the effort focused on fermentation
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 technology (similar to ethanol production). However,
renewable isoprene has proven a difficult molecule to
generate from microbes, and efforts to make it by an
entirely biological process have not been successful.
“Economically bio-sourced isoprene has the
potential to expand domestic production of car tyres
by using renewable, readily available resources
instead of fossil fuels,” said Frank Bates, Professor of
Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, of the
University of Minnesota Regents.
Existing and upcoming technology breakthroughs
for bio-based synthetic rubbers are expected to make
significant impact to the tyre and other rubber-
dependent industries to deliver their environmental-
friendly commitment to consumers.

4

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