Odisha unveils new industrial policy-To focus on chemicals and petrochemicals

Excerpt: AS part of its plan to diversify focus from metal and mining, the Odisha government has offered incentives to attract investment in 20 fast-emerging sectors

Odisha unveils new industrial policy-To focus on chemicals and petrochemicals

AS part of its plan to diversify focus from metal and mining, the Odisha government has offered incentives to attract investment in 20 fast-emerging sectors.

Speaking at the Investment Policy Resolution 2015, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said this is the first time the State is launching the investment policy along with operational guidelines and assurance to provide time-bound clearances.

Infra development

“We are targeting the policy to generate an investment of Rs. 1.73 lakh crore by 2019 and employment for three lakh people in new economy sectors such as auto components, ancillary and downstream industries, besides chemicals and petrochemicals,” he said. To start with, Patnaik said the government has set aside Rs.100 crore to develop infrastructure at the prospective investment locations.

Land bank

The State has created a land bank of 10,000 acres and will expand the pool by next year. A dedicated website and mobile app was also launched to synchronise State and Union government approvals, provide details on government land bank and investment opportunities in Odisha. It has also created a dedicated investment facilitation centre with officers deputed from all key departments.

Single-window clearance

Assuring foreign investors of ease of doing business, Debi Prasad Mishra, Industries Minister, said the State has ensured that the new single-window clearance policy does not lead to a bigger door of any government department. NEWS ROUND-UP

The deemed approval kicks in if any department fails to approve a project within the specified limit and the respective officer is pulled up if he fails to provide the reason for the delay, he said.

BPCL set to start work on Kochi Petrochemicals complex

BHARAT Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) is all set to start work on the petrochemicals complex in Kochi with all green clearances in place and securing a Rs. 4,000-crore loan commitment from State Bank of India.

“We have all the permissions in place from the Union environmental ministry and other regulatory authorities for the Rs. 5,000-crore petrochemicals complex in Kochi. We hope to resume work and complete it as per schedule in 2018,” BPCL chairman and managing director S Varadarajan has said.

The chairman also said the Kochi petchem project is part of the Rs. 1 lakh crore planned capex for the next five years, out of which Rs. 40,000 crore will be spent on refining capacity addition alone.

Finance Director P Balasubramanian said that the company has secured a Rs. 4,000-crore loan commitment from State Bank of India for the project. “We will draw the money as when we begin the work,” he said, adding though the loan is not strictly tied to this project alone.

The Rs. 5,000-crore Kochi petrochemicals project, announced in December 2011 as part of a Rs. 20,000- crore expansion of the Kochi Refinery, will help the country end its dependence on imports of speciality propylene derivatives-based products such as acrylic acids and acrylates used in plastics, paints, coatings, adhesives, inks and textiles, the company claimed.

The third largest oil marketer and refiner has said they are still in talks with all the players and hope to complete a JV agreement at the earliest, adding a delay on this front will not affect the overall work on the project. The upcoming petchem facility, adjacent to its Kochi refinery, once completed will produce 250 million tonne speciality propylene derivative products, which are fully imported now. NEWS ROUND-UP

The petchem project is part of the over Rs. 20,000-crore expansion BPCL is undertaking to upgrade and increase its refining capacity from 9.5 million tonne to 15.5 million tonne. The expansion alone will cost Rs. 16,500 crore and is expected to be completed by December 2015.

The Kochi refinery currently produces petrochemical feed stocks such as benzene, toluene and propylene. Post-expansion and technology upgrade, it will be able to process Euro V petrol and diesel.

Revised policy for petro investment regions to ease land requirement norm

THE revised policy for Petroleum, Chemicals & Petrochemicals Investment Regions (PCPIRs), which is likely to be ready by the end of 2015-16, would reduce the land requirement by a fifth and can allow multiple anchor tenant investors.

Avinash Joshi, Principal Secretary, Petrochemicals Division, Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, said that, “Land requirement for a PCPIR could be pared down to 50 square kilometres from 250 kilometres prescribed in the original policy of 2007”. Joshi was present to attend an event organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce.

He also said that the revised policy was likely to be ready in the next six months. The Ministry is also inclined to accept the concept of multiple investors or tenant at the seaport based PCPIR.

“The broad contour of the revisions would involve relaxation of land requirement, provisions regarding downstream units and anchor tenant (refiner/cracker project investor), incentives, direct support in preparatory stage including reading of a master plan and single window at the Ministry level,” he said.

Plastindia Foundation : New team takesover of the Foundation

PLASTINDIA foundation elected its new Managing Committee for the term 2015-18 on 22 September 2015.

Mr K K Seksaria has been elected the new president of PLASTINDIA Foundation

A Chartered Accountant by Qualification, he has over 33 years of experience in Plastics & Engineering Industry. He is the Managing Director of Uma Plastics Ltd., apart from being director in various Companies. He is the past President of Indian Plastics Federation, Kolkata and has served as Hon. Treasurer for Plastindia Foundation for the term 2009-12. He is associated with various other Federations & NGO's

Mr Rajiv Raval is the new Vice President

An Executive Director of Vishakha Irrigation Pvt Ltd, he is the second generation entrepreneur, engaged in drip irrigation activities, committed to Go Green,Live Green. He is the past President of Gujarat State Plastics Manufacturers Association and has served as Hon. Treasurer for Plastindia Foundation for the term 2012-15.

Mr Raju Desai is the new Treasurer of PLASTINDIA

Mr. Raju Desai, is the Senior Executive Director – Marketing and HR at Jyoti Group a leading Plastics Design and Processing firm in India since 1959, Director of Intercontinental Polymer Pvt. Ltd. an Indo American joint venture focusing on plastics compounding and distribution

Mr. Raju Desai had been The All India Plastics Manufacturers Association (AIPMA) nominee in the Managing Committee of Plastindia Foundation and also nominated to Plastindia International University (PIU) Committee. He is the past Chairman of Plastivision 2013 and past President of The All India Plastics Manufacturers Association (AIPMA). The quality and ability to relate to people has fetched him immense popularity in the professional and social circle.

The other members of the Plastindia Foundation are: Imm. Past President : Mr Subhash Kadakia, Managing Director, Kadakia Plastics & Chemicals Pvt. Ltd.
Mr. Pradip Nayyar, Kumar Engineering Works
Mr. Nitin Shah, Parth Packaging
Mr. Jayesh K. Rambhia, Premsons Plastics Pvt. Ltd.
Mr. Atul H. Kanuga, Sudip Industries
Dr. E. Sundaresan, Reliance Industries Limited
Mr. Thakkar, Mechemco Industries
Mr. Rajeev Chitalia, Electrofocus Electricals Pvt. Ltd.
Mr. Paresh V. Parekh, National Plastic Industries Ltd.
Mr. Gautam H. Gandhi, Jolly Containers
Prof. (Dr.) S. K. Nayak, Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET)
Mr. M. K. Mandal, Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET)

In view of functional requirements that arose during the development of PCPIRs in Gujarat and Paradeep, it was felt that more than one investor was needed to do justice to such gigantic projects. He indicated that the revised policy would permit plastic parks outside a PCPIR (for small downstream units) at a nearby area.

New applicants

Joshi said Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra have applied for one PCPIR each in their State. “They would have to undertake feasibility studies for their proposed PCPIRs,” he said. The revised policy may help West Bengal to make a fresh proposal as the land requirement is likely to be substantially reduced, he felt.

The PCPIR policy was framed by the Centre to promote investments in the petrochemicals sector and create port based hubs for both domestic and international markets. External infrastructure linkages to the PCPIRs including rail, roads, ports, airport and telecom are enabled by the policy. It also made provision for the Centre to provide the necessary viability gap funding. However, during implementation several issues cropped up delaying implementation of the projects. Joshi said the revised policy would address all these issues.

IOC plans Rs. 1.75 lakh cr expansion

OIL major Indian Oil Corporation is planning to invest about Rs. 1.75 lakh crore by 2022 for expanding its various businesses. The investments will help to expand capacity from 65 million tonnes to 100 million tonnes.

B Ashok, Chairman, said that out of the total investment of Rs. 1.75 lakh crore, the brownfield expansions would be about Rs. 50,000 crore and it will be primarily carried out at all the company's refineries.

“We will continue to keep investing for the future and going by the Government of India's emphasis on manufacturing activity there is going to be a higher emphasis on energy. Our industry requires that the company creates capacity ahead of the demand. Our studies show that we need to invest more for capacity creation,” Ashok said.

Delineating the expansion programme, the Chairman said that along with the refinery expansions, the company would be investing Rs.15,000 crore in pipeline projects, for product marketing Rs. 35,000 crore would be required, the petrochemical and oil exploration business will require another Rs. 65,000 crore, while the gas business will require an infusion of Rs. 7,000 crore. He said that along with refinery expansions the quality of fuel would also be upgraded, and by 2022, the company wants to produce fuels, which are compliant with BS-6 norms.

Director of Refineries, Sanjiv Singh said that the Paradip refinery would be operational by November 1 and it would run at 60 per cent of its capacity in the first year of operation. In the second year, the refining capacity would be ramped up 90 per cent and gradually increased to 100 per cent of the capacity.

“Given the complexities of the refinery all the units would not be fully operational simultaneously, it will take some time to stabilise the operations. The refinery has the capability to process very heavy crude oils. The approved project cost is Rs. 34,500 crore and about Rs. 30,000 crore has already been spent on the project, he said.

Japanese firm Zeon Corp to begin Indian operation in October

ZEON Corporation, one of the leading chemical manufacturers in Japan, has established Indian unit with the launch of Zeon India Private Limited in Gurgaon, Haryana. While the company will initially focus on specialty rubber products business, primarily catering the auto component industry, it will eventually bring in products from its other business verticals - such as chemicals and specialty plastics. The new company will commence operations on October 1, 2015.

“Zeon India Private Limited was established in view of the importance of constructing and implementing a business strategy that is closely aligned with the needs of our customers in the expanding Indian market. It is intended to provide an impetus for further business development by setting up a company for handling the entire range of the Zeon Group's businesses in India. We plan to begin by targeting the rubber business for automotive applications and then expand the scope of the company's business to other Zeon products, such as chemicals and specialty plastics,” said Zeon Corp in a press release.

Zeon Corporation is a chemicals manufacturer that produces materials for daily life such as synthetic rubbers, specialty resins and electronic components. Using unique technologies the company has improved its integrated production system and is considered to be the world's leading player in synthetic special rubber manufacturing.

German investor Paragon Partners buys Balda AG for Euro 62.9 mn

PARAGON Partners, a private investment company, has acquired Balda AG - a provider of high-end plastics solutions for sophisticated applications in the healthcare, lifestyle, automotive and consumer electronics industries – for Euro 62.9 million. The sale comprises all operational units of the Balda Group, ie Balda Medical GmbH & Co KG, Bad Oeynhausen, Balda C Brewer Inc and Balda Precision Inc (both in California, USA) as well as Balda Medical Systems SRL, Romania and further assets.

"Within the scope of our dialogue with investors and possible cooperation partners, we have noticed increasing interest in our operational units. This resulted in specific negotiations, which, ultimately culminated in the agreement. The purchase offer by Paragon Partners did not only exceed the fair value calculated by external experts but will also give Balda the opportunity to continue to develop as an individual company,” said Oliver Oechsle, sole Management Board member of Balda AG.

Paragon Partners is aiming to sustainably improve the strategic and operating business of its shareholdings. Paragon’s founding partner Krischan von Moeller added, “Under the successful management team, the Balda Group will continue as an operational unit in accordance with today's strategic orientation. We will support Balda to actively make use of growth opportunities in the areas of medical technology as well as pharmaceutical and, if needed, may provide further equity for organic and external growth."

Oliver Oechsle said, "By selling the operating business of the Balda Group, we are creating a significant increase in value for the shareholders. Paragon Partners has confirmed that it will maintain the current strategic orientation and organisational structure and that it will retain all employees of Balda AG as well as the management. This means stability and continuity. Balda pursues the goal of continuing to further develop over the next few years - both organically and strategically so as to achieve an order of magnitude that will offer us completely new courses of action."

Linc Pen & Plastics plans to set up new manufacturing facility

KOLKATA-based Linc Pen & Plastics Ltd, one of India's leading manufacturers of ball pens, gel pens and other stationery products, is contemplating to set up a new facility for expanding its manufacturing capacity to meet the growing demand for its products.

Currently, Linc Pen is facing constraints with respect to the production infrastructure. There is an urgent requirement to increase capacity to improve upon delivery lead time and also to be equipped and geared-up for the strong growth expectation from certain markets.

“Since further scaling-up is not feasible at its existing two manufacturing units - located in Serakole (West Bengal) and Falta (West Bengal), the company is contemplating a unit at a new location,” said Deepak Jalan, managing director, Linc Pen & Plastics Ltd, while addressing the shareholders during the annual general meeting on September 3, 2015.

The cumulative production capacity of Linc Pen stands at 2 million pieces per day (including outsourcing) and the company aims to increase the capacity by about 25 percent. “We are also planning capacity addition from 2 million units per day to 2.5 million units per day by the end of Q3 of FY16,” added Jalan.

Linc Pen is also planning to undertake an equipment overhaul at the Serakole plant, replacing few legacy machines with state-of-the-art alternatives, thereby improving the operational efficiency of the plant.

Meanwhile, Linc Pen registered revenues of Rs 79.19 crores in Q1 of FY16, up 8.5 percent compared to same period last year, and PAT of Rs 3.74 crores a growth of 13.6 percent. "We hope to build up on this trend in remaining 3 quarters of current year and should be able to achieve a minimum revenue of Rs 350 crores for FY16," said Deepak Jalan.

Titanium dioxide industry unlikely to recover until 2017-- Moody Investor Services

THE titanium dioxide industry will continue to weaken in the near term amid price pressures from increased supply and sluggish demand growth, according to a report by Moody's Investors Service.

“Operating rates in the titanium dioxide industry have been low, leading to price declines in the first and second quarter,” said Mr. Joseph Princiotta, Moody's Vice President – Senior Analyst. “Prices will likely fall further as the industry enters the seasonally weak second half, and as new capacity in China and Mexico comes online.” The report, “Chemicals industry – Global: Titanium dioxide cycle yet to hit bottom, recovery possible by 2017,” noted that demand has fallen as customers have found ways to reformulate, use less, and substitute chloride titanium dioxide with a lower- cost sulphate titanium dioxide. All major rated producers – Chemours, Huntsman, Kronos Worldwide and Tronox – saw significant declines in EBITDA year over year. Prices dropped 11%-20% for these producers compared with the prior-year quarter, Moody's said.

“Operating rates are now around 80%, but rates closer to 90% are necessary to give producers the ability to raise prices. Without meaningful capacity rationalisation, we expect that the industry will not recover until 2017,” remarked Mr. Princiotta.

Chemours to reduce titanium dioxide production; shut US facility

CHEMOURS Company, the performance-chemicals company spun off from DuPont in July, has announced plans to close its titanium dioxide (TiO2 ) plant in Delaware as it struggles with weak titanium dioxide pricing.

The company will close its Edge Moor manufacturing site located outside Wilmington, Delaware, which makes TiO2 for the paper industry.

The use of TiO2 in the paper industry has declined steadily for years, with an accompanying slowdown in demand that has resulted in underused capacity at Edge Moor, the company said. Chemours said it would redeploy employees where possible.

Chemours said it would also shut down a TiO2 line at its plant in New Johnsonville, Tennessee. Together, the moves will cut its titanium dioxide capacity by 150,000-tonnes while refocusing TiO2 production at four manufacturing sites.

The company said the two decisions were elements of the company's five- point transformation plan. “The decisions we are announcing today are connected directly to our five-point transformation plan, which sets out a clear, achievable path to our becoming a higher value chemistry company,” said Mr. Mark Vergnano, President and CEO of Chemours. The Chemours five- point transformation plan is focused on five strategic elements: reducing structural costs, growing market positions, refocusing investments, optimising the portfolio, and enhancing the organisation.

Chemours expects the closures to reduce annual costs by $45-mn. The announcement comes weeks after Chemours announced plans to cut $350- mn in costs by 2017 and review options for its chemical solutions business.

New expo on petrochemical, plastics, printing and packaging to be organised in Greater Noida next year

THE All India Plastic Industries Association (AIPIA) and Dubai based trade fair organiser, Verifair, have announced plans to organise P4 Expo India 2016 from April 5 to 7, 2016 at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida. The new exhibition seeks to bring together the entire value chain of petrochemical, plastics, packaging and printing industries together.

Announcing the launch of the event, Mr. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Minister of State for Chemical and Fertilisers, said “Petrochemicals and plastics have been the sunrise sector of the economy for some years now. Growth in polymer industry always outpaces the GDP in India. This expo is being held at a crucial time for our economy in conformity with the 'Make in India' programme”.

The Indian petrochemicals and related industries like plastics, packaging and printing have registered growth rates of over 20% in the past decade. According to a press note released on the occasion, the chemicals and petrochemicals industries are expected to touch $200-bn turnover by 2020. The packaging industry is expected to reach $43.7-bn by 2016, the printing industry to be worth $20.17-bn and plastic industry at $20-bn by 2020, is making India an attractive market for the global investors.

The inaugural edition of the expo will host country pavilions from China, Korea, Taiwan, EU, Iran, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

“With rising demands and more capacity addition in the pipeline, India is clearly emerging as hub for the P4 sector. By organising P4 Expo India 2016, we have taken the lead in giving our global clients a head start in the race for the emerging opportunities in India,” noted Verifair CEO Mr. Jeen Joshua. “P4 Expo India 2016 will be a true win-win for all four sectors. P4 Expo India 2016 offers the best platform to showcase products, technology and innovations in all the sectors,” added Mr. Ravi Aggarwal, President, AIPIA.

‘No plans for IOC-Chennai Petroleum merger'

INDIAN Oil Corporation (IOC's) Chairman Mr. B. Ashok has said that there is no plan to merge Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (CPCL), a group company of IOC. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of CPCL's 49th AGM at Chennai recently he said “no proposal for merger as of now. There is another partner (Iranian company which holds around 15% stake) who needs to settle that issue. No clarity at this time. No proposal as of now,” he said.

Mr. Ashok informed that IOC would infuse Rs. 1,000-crore into CPCL by end of September to strengthen CPCL's net worth. CPCL was intimated to BIFR after 50 per cent of erosion in its net worth. The fund infusion would ease reporting requirement and will help the company to support upcoming projects. Project update

Mr. Ashok said the residue upgradation project at Manali Refinery will maximise production of high-value distillates and increase the percentage of high-sulphur crude processing. As part of this, construction of major units like Delayed Coker Unit (DCU) and Sulphur Recovery Unit (SRU) is in progress as planned. “Work on other utilities and off-site packages have also been initiated. The project is scheduled to be mechanically completed by July 2016,” he said. Mr. Gautam Roy, Managing Director, CPCL said that the project will help the company to improve Gross Refinery Margin (GRM) by at least $2 a barrel.

CPCL is also implementing a Rs. 257.80-crore new crude oil pipeline at Chennai port which is scheduled to be mechanically completed by November 2016. The new pipeline will be from Chennai Port Trust to Manali Refinery with state-of-the-art technology and safety features. Mr. Ashok said the company has developed an action plan to produce BS-IV transportation fuels by April 2017, as per the Auto Fuel Vision & Policy 2025 of the Government of India.

The company plans to revamp and raise the capacity of the existing diesel hydro-desulphurisation (DHDS) unit from 1.8-mmtpa to 2.34-mmtpa to ensure production of 100 per cent BS-IV HSD with less than 100 ppm sulphur content. “A feasibility report is under preparation in this regard and the project is expected to be commissioned by March 2017” said Mr. Ashok, adding that in case of gasoline or petrol, the existing facilities will be able to fully meet the BS-IV quality specifications.

Indian masterbatch market to be well over $1-bn by 2020: Report

ACCORDING to a recently released report by TechSci Research, the masterbatch market in India is projected to surpass $1.1-bn by 2020. The market is expected to be driven by fast growing automotive sector and expanding packaging industry.

Masterbatch is a solid or liquid mixture of pigments or additives used as a raw material in plastic processing in order to impart colour or other special characteristics to processed goods. They are broadly classified into four categories – white, black, colour and additive. Out of these, white masterbatch segment dominated the Indian market in 2014. The segment is forecast to maintain its dominance during 2015-20 as well on account of its ability to provide opacity and base colour to plastic used extensively in food & beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Packaging industry is forecast to remain the largest end user for masterbatch in India over the next five years.

Increase in number of plastic processing facilities in India coupled with growing demand from end use sectors is forecast to propel growth in the country's masterbatch market over the next five years. Moreover, increasing demand for colourful and innovative solutions from packaging industry and growing preference of plastic and polymers for manufacturing light- weight vehicles in automotive industry are forecast to boost demand for masterbatch in India through 2020. Few of the major masterbatch companies operating in the country include Plastiblends, Poddar Pigments and Clariant, among others.

“Due to increasing demand for plastic from various end use industries, the Indian government announced plans to invest $64-mn for setting up new plastic parks across the country in 2013. Moreover, market players are investing heavily in R&D for introducing technologically advanced masterbatch products and to increase product quality, and operational & energy efficiency of existing products. All these factors are anticipated to augment the demand for masterbatch, thereby boosting the masterbatch market in India,” commented Mr. Karan Chechi, Research Director with TechSci Research, a research based global management consulting firm.

CIS countries set to drive synthetic latex polymers market: Kline

EUROPE and CIS together accounted for a total 23% of the global synthetic latex polymers (SLP) market in 2014. While consumption of synthetic latex polymers in CIS remains low, the region offers high growth potential, said a recently published analysis of the CIS and European regions from Kline & Company, a market research and management consulting firm.

Import substitution programmes implemented by the Russian government along with the strategic development of chemical industry across the majority of CIS countries will drive the synthetic latex market in the region, estimated to increase at 2.6% through 2019, the report revealed. However, the political and economical instability in the region could decelerate this growth, it added.

Consumption patterns

The consumption of different lattices varies widely between the two regions, notably due to the contrasting application split. While in CIS region styrene acrylics lead by a large amount, followed by polyvinyl acetate, in Europe, carboxylated styrene- butadiene (X-SB) remains the leading synthetic latex polymer in volume terms, and styrene acrylics represent the largest chemistry in terms of value. The product split differs even from one country to another and from one application to another, Kline said.

According to the report, VAE (vinyl acetate-ethylene) is benefiting from its favourable application mix, competitive pricing, and environmental-friendly profile, and is expected to be the fastest growing polymer between 2014 and 2019. VAE's relative low cost is due to the favourable situation in the ethylene market, mainly as a result of the increased extraction of shale gas. The strengthening of VOC regulations in Europe has also bolstered VAE's growth.

Market participants

Due to the market's maturity and large number of active players, rivalry is high on the European synthetic latex polymers market. With the increasing consolidation, the competition is also increasing on the CIS market, which was extremely dynamic in terms of the supplier landscape development over the last four years. Among the changes were an entrance of new, mainly local suppliers, including Novojiazot, Akrilat-Kz, and SWAN, among others, and an increase in production capacities by prominent local suppliers, such as Akrilan and Homa Group.

BASF and Dow Chemical are the two largely present suppliers in both regions where the supplier landscape is fragmented, albeit for the top six suppliers in Europe accounting for two- thirds of the total European market. The variety of products and applications are a key factor explaining this market fragmentation, Kline said.

Application trends

As paper production in Europe is decreasing due to the switch to electronic media, paper is no longer the leading application in terms of SLP consumption. Paint and coating applications are currently the leading consumers of SLP in Europe by both volume and value. In CIS, paints and coatings has been by far the most dominant end-use application in 2014, accounting for over 34% of the total consumption. Other important smaller applications are glass fibre and nonwovens.

Different variables will be influencing the growth of leading synthetic latex polymers in Europe and CIS, according to the report. The European market is mature, and its growth will be affected by the poor performance of some of the large consuming applications. “Although affected by the decline in paper applications in terms of emulsion polymers consumption, overall figures are hiding the growth potential that exists in a wide range of other applications in Europe, driven by favourable macroeconomics in the region,” commented Mr. Nikola Matic, Industry Manager at Kline's Chemicals & Materials Practice. Growth in CIS will favourably be affected by various economical measures taken by local governments, Kline added.

New ASTM Standard tests and supports biodegradability of plastics in water

LABORATORIES will soon be able to use a new ASTM International standard to test and better understand biodegradability of plastics in marine environments. The new standard (soon to be published as D7991, Test Method for Determining Aerobic Biodegradation of Plastics Buried in Sandy Marine Sediment Under Controlled Laboratory Conditions) provides ways to simulate how plastics degrade in seawater-soaked sand.

According to ASTM member Francesco Degli Innocenti, the recent discovery of major contamination in the oceans has heightened interest in the biodegradability of plastics.

“The environment cannot cope with massive littering, whether it's biodegradable or not,” says Innocenti, director, ecology of products and environmental communication, Novamont. “However, there are certain products prone to being lost at sea – such as fishing gear – that could have much less environmental impact by being made with plastics that biodegrade quickly in that environment.”

The standard will provide specific test methods that determine biodegradation rates in different marine habitats simulated in laboratories. Such tests will help establish parameters to develop plastics that ensure faster biodegradation. The standard will also advance the understanding of biodegradation when unexpected or uncontrolled releases of plastics occur.

All interested parties are invited to join in the standards developing activities of Subcommittee D20.96 on Environmentally Degradable Plastics and Biobased Products. In addition to continuing work on standards for biodegradation in water, the subcommittee is working on proposed standards for biodegradation in soil. Over 12,000 ASTM standards operate globally. Defined and set by us, they improve the lives of millions every day. Combined with our innovative business services, they enhance performance and help everyone have confidence in the things they buy and use – from the toy in a child's hand to the aircraft overhead

ASTM welcomes participation in the development of its standards. Become a member at www.astm.org/JOIN.

ASTM Committee D20 on Plastics Next Meeting: Nov. 15-18, 2015, November Committee Week, Tampa, Fla.

Technical Contact: Francesco Degli Innocenti, Novamont, Novara, Italy, tel +39.0321.699.606;fdi@novamont.com

ASTM Staff Contact: Alyson Fick, tel +1.610.832.9710; afick@astm.org

Three inspirational keynote speakers – to open new horizons during JEC Asia

JEC Group enriches the business dimension of JEC Asia with the participation of 3 renowned motivational speakers over the 3 days of the event. The 3 KeyNote Speakers will illustrate Human Development, team spirit and winning methods. All attendees, either students, engineers or entrepreneurs will be inspired by their drives to succeed. Leaders will discover new managerial skills.

“I am thrilled to present those amazing speakers to the Composites Professionals who will attend our 8thsession of JEC Asia.” says Mrs Fré dérique Mutel, JEC Group President and CEO. “Additional to the Leadership Circles launched last year, this program will deliver keys to negotiate better business outcomes. I am convinced that not only will the attendance grow personally and professionally from the experience of these inspiring men, but also our Community will be encouraged in going always a step further and push ambitions to the limits as our Industry has always been.” adds Mrs Mutel.

“1 + 1 = 3. Leverage on Composite Synergy to Lead Your Market” – Oct 20, 10 a.m., Suntec Center

Water Tay will bring his wealth of having worked with more than 1,000 corporations in more than 30 cities to the audience.

As Certified Trainer, Speaker & Master of Ceremony to some of the biggest events, he is passionate about Leadership, Human Development and Team Dynamics.

His speech will bring out the best in the Composites Professionals, and in the most entertaining way, covering thepower of synergy related to the Composites Industry, the leverage of doing more with less or again the concept of Price versus Pride in Business.

Always finding the best way to motivate and lead the group, he is known for his wit, multiple-intelligence, dynamism and pragmatic views of “what works, what doesn't”. There will be no lofty textbook materials or boring PowerPoint slides !

“Unstoppable” – Oct 21, 10 a.m., Suntec Center

Dr. William Tan is a Neuroscientist and Medical Doctor, Paralympian, World Records' Holder and International Inspirational Speaker. He personifies both passion and compassion. He contracted polio at the age of two and is paralyzed from the waist down. Notwithstanding his disability, he has shown outstanding strength in overcoming adversities. Graduated from The National University of Singapore, Harvard University and Oxford University, he has also trained at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in USA.

Dr Tan is also an accomplished sportsman with numerous Gold Medals at the Asian-Pacific Games, participations to Paralympics and World Games and holder of six endurance Marathons world records. His charity works is matched only by his perseverance. Thus, his journey of resilience and reinventing oneself to scale greater heights in the face of adversity continues to inspire many individuals and corporate leaders.

Lessons From Everest: How Leaders Lead – Oct 22, 10 a.m., Suntec Center

David Lim knows something about leadership, motivation, and overcoming obstacles.

In 1998, he made history as leader of the 1st Singapore Mt Everest Expedition. The landmark climb captured the nation's imagination about the art of the possible, and ignited the need for calculated risk-taking, courage and imagination in the flat, tropical island nation of Singapore.

A week after his triumphant return from Everest, he was struck down by the rare nerve disorder, Guillain Barre Syndrome, and paralysed completely from eyes down. He regained his life through sheer will and focus, and made a successful return to the great mountains.

Fascinated about discovering winning aspects of human resilience and motivation, David's speech will help people tap their potential in becoming stronger leaders, be better team members and to negotiate better life and business outcomes.

Messe Düsseldorf expands international portfolio of trade fairs for the plastics and rubber industry

Partnership for IRAN PLAST agreed

MESSE Düsseldorf, successful host of international trade fairs for the plastics and rubber industry, has now extended its portfolio. Iranian National Petrochemical Company NPC and Messe Düsseldorf have agreed on cooperating comprehensively for the IRAN PLAST trade fair. The new partnership will already take effect at the coming trade show, which will take place from 13 until 17 April 2016 in Tehran, where Messe Düsseldorf will be responsible for organising and implementing international exhibitor participations.

IRAN PLAST is a biannual trade fair. Next year will see the 10th event of this kind, which has become established as the most important platform for the plastics and rubber industry in Iran. In 2014, about 800 exhibitors attended the fair, 250 of which were non-domestic exhibitors, and the organiser recorded 68,000 visitors, including delegations from Armenia, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and from the United Arab Emirates. Hosted in addition to the trade show, a range of topical conferences provided insights into the latest trends and developments in the polymer industry. The trade show is sponsored by the Iran Trade Promotion Organization ITPO and the Iran International Exhibition Co. IIEC.

A country with a population of 75 million people, Iran has a powerful oil and gas industry, which generates more than 50% of the country's export revenues. It also has a substantial backlog demand for investment goods, modern machinery, components, processing methods and expertise. The lifting of economic sanctions is expected to create a significant boost to international trade relations with Iran. Experts anticipate a rising demand for machines, and equipment, particularly from the plastics and rubber segment.

Messe Düsseldorf has acquired international expertise in the plastics and rubber segment, most notably as the organiser of the K trade show. The triennial flagship fair for the industry is of global importance as it offers international machine and equipment manufacturers, raw material producers, processors and customers from different segments a place to meet, to exchange information and to do business. In addition to the K trade fair, Messe Düsseldorf also hosts and organises outstanding regional plastics and rubber trade fairs such as interplastica in Moscow, INDOPLAS (in tandem with indopack and indoprint) in Jakarta and the T-PLAS in Bangkok, either independently or in cooperation with subsidiaries. In addition to this, Messe Düsseldorf has been cooperating with the organisers of Arabplast, Chinaplas and Plastindia for many years.


For more information on IRAN PLAST 2016, please visit www.iranplast.ir or contact Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, Gabriele Schreiber, Tel. +49(0)211/4560-7762, SchreiberG@messe-duesseldorf.de. niharika@ramcharan.org


Ashland to split into two public companies

ASHLAND Inc. is splitting itself into two publicly traded companies, one of which will include several plastics- related products.

Officials with Covington, Ky.-based Ashland said in a Sept. 22 news release that one company will keep the Ashland name and focus on specialty chemicals. The second will use the Valvoline name and will make high-performance lubricants.

The new Ashland will have annual sales of around $3.6 billion and will include specialty polyester and vinyl ester resins, as well as bioplastics and water-soluble polymers. Valvoline will have annual sales of about $2 billion.

“We believe that separating into two industry-leading public companies … will generate significant value for shareholders by enabling each company to focus on its specific business and strategic priorities,” Chairman and CEO William Wulfsohn said in the release.

Wulfsohn will continue as chairman and CEO of the new Ashland. Ashland Senior Vice President Sam Mitchell will become CEO of Valvoline.

Officials described the split as “the final step in Ashland's more than decade-long transformation from an oil refiner and marketer to a specialty chemicals company.”

In the first nine months of its 2015 fiscal year — which ends on Sept. 30 — Ashland's profit more than doubled to $363 million even as sales fell 10 percent to $4.1 billion. Those results, however, come after a 2014 fiscal year in which profit tumbled almost 70 percent and sales were flat.

On Wall Street, news of the split sent Ashland's per-share stock price up more than 1 percent to almost $107 in the midst of a broad market selloff Sept. 22. Even with that rise, the price has fallen almost 11 percent since Jan. 1.

BP Plastics expands film capacity to meet Asian demand

MALAYSIA'S BP Plastics Holding Bhd. is investing $3.2 million in an expansion of its stretch-film capacity to boost exports, particularly in higher growth regions in Asia.

The Johor-based firm told Malaysia's Star Media Group that it invested 13.5 million Malaysian ringgits in the new 3 meter line from Austria, which started operating in June. The line is aimed to boost exports to 80 percent of sales, up from 78 percent last year.

The publicly traded company says it's one of Asia's largest makers of polyethylene film, with annual capacity of more than 54,000 metric tons (119 million pounds). It also makes plastic bags.

BP Plastics Managing Director Lim Chun Yow said the company has benefited from lower resin prices but said the overall business climate is uncertain.

“Demand from countries like Japan, South Korea and China has slowed down,” Lim said, adding the domestic Malaysia demand is also somewhat softer because of the weakening ringgit and implementation of new taxes.

Still, the company said it achieved its highest sales last year since 2005, with sales up 17 percent to 283.9 million ringgit ($81 million).

It said it was “cautiously optimistic” that continued urbanization in Asia, along with lower oil and commodity costs, will lead to growth in demand for packaging materials in the region, particularly among countries that are heavy oil importers.

LANXESS and Saudi Aramco create world-leading joint venture for synthetic rubber

THE specialty chemicals company LANXESS and Saudi Aramco plan to establish a joint venture for synthetic rubber detailed in an agreement signed today. LANXESS and Saudi Aramco subsidiary, Aramco Overseas Company, will each hold a 50 percent interest in the joint venture, with annual sales of approximately three billion Euro in 2014. Saudi Aramco is to pay approx. EUR 1.2 billion in cash for its 50 percent share after deducting debt and other financial liabilities. The total joint venture is valued at EUR 2.75 billion.

The transaction still requires the approval of the relevant antitrust authorities and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2016.

LANXESS will contribute its synthetic rubber business to the new joint venture. This will include the Tire & Specialty Rubbers (TSR) and the High Performance Elastomers (HPE) business units, their 20 production facilities in nine countries and some 3,700 employees and additional support staff. The high-performance rubbers manufactured by LANXESS are mainly used in the production of tires and technical applications such as hoses, belts and seals. The main customers include the automotive and tire industries but the products are also used in the construction industry and by oil and gas companies.

Saudi Aramco will provide the joint venture with competitive and reliable access to strategic raw materials over the medium term.

The joint venture brings together the world's largest producer of synthetic rubber and the world's largest oil and energy producer to form a far-reaching strategic partnership. “This alliance will enable us to give the rubber business a very strong competitive position and the best possible future perspectives”, said LANXESS CEO Matthias Zachert. “Together in the future we can produce synthetic rubber in an integrated value chain from the oil field to the end product, thus establishing one of the best positioned suppliers in the world market. In this way, we will be able to offer our customers even greater reliability than before.”

Abdulrahman Al-Wuhaib, Senior Vice President Downstream, Saudi Aramco said: “Through the joint venture agreement we are investing in a world-class synthetic rubber and elastomer products capability that already supplies many of the world's largest tire and automotive-parts manufacturing customers. In addition to creating a new revenue stream for Saudi Aramco, the agreement will spur economic growth and diversification opportunities for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East region in high-volume sectors, such as tire and auto-parts manufacturing, that are dependent on higher-margin, value- added chemicals products.”

The new joint venture will be managed by a holding company headquartered in the Netherlands. The CEO will be appointed by LANXESS and the CFO will be appointed by Aramco Overseas Company. Each company will have equal representation on the JV's board of directors. LANXESS will consolidate the JV's financials.

With the creation of this joint venture, LANXESS is implementing the third stage of its three-phase realignment program. “We have established a completely new strategic starting point for our company in just over a year”, said Zachert. “Not only have we streamlined our administrative functions and already made many of our production structures and processes more efficient but with this joint venture in the rubber business we are delivering on the most important phase of our realignment – with the best partner possible and in a very short period of time. The resulting financial headroom will allow us to return to growth considerably sooner than expected.”

LANXESS plans to use around EUR 400 million of the proceeds from the transaction to invest in the growth of the well-positioned and less cyclical segments Advanced Intermediates and Performance Chemicals. Another roughly EUR 400 million is earmarked for a further reduction of its financial debt position and around EUR 200 million are planned to be used for a share buyback program.

BP Plastics expands film capacity to meet Asian demand

MALAYSIA'S BP Plastics Holding Bhd. is investing $3.2 million in an expansion of its stretch-film capacity to boost exports, particularly in higher growth regions in Asia.

The Johor-based firm told Malaysia's Star Media Group that it invested 13.5 million Malaysian ringgits in the new 3 meter line from Austria, which started operating in June. The line is aimed to boost exports to 80 percent of sales, up from 78 percent last year.

The publicly traded company says it's one of Asia's largest makers of polyethylene film, with annual capacity of more than 54,000 metric tons (119 million pounds). It also makes plastic bags.

BP Plastics Managing Director Lim Chun Yow said the company has benefitted from lower resin prices but said the overall business climate is uncertain.

“Demand from countries like Japan, South Korea and China has slowed down,” Lim said, adding the domestic Malaysia demand is also somewhat softer because of the weakening ringgit and implementation of new taxes.

Still, the company said it achieved its highest sales last year since 2005, with sales up 17 percent to 283.9 million ringgit ($81 million).

It said it was “cautiously optimistic” that continued urbanization in Asia, along with lower oil and commodity costs, will lead to growth in demand for packaging materials in the region, particularly among countries that are heavy oil importers.

Michelman Continues to Invest in Expanding Asian Market

TO meet the demands of its fast growing Asian markets, Michelman has invested in additional production equipment at its Singapore manufacturing facility that increases capacity by 40%. The investment complements and supports acquisition activity and organic growth by Michelman in Asia, and will allow the company to better serve its expanding customer base, particularly in China and India.

With its recent acquisition of long- time sales partner Supack in Mumbai, India, the grand opening of Michelman India, and a growing sales and support staff and laboratory facility at its Shanghai, China location, Michelman has continued to aggressively enhance its ability to serve customers in Asia.

According to Mr. Steven Wong, Michelman's VP/Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, “With a decade of robust growth in Asia, this investment was needed to allow us to continue developing and delivering advanced materials that meet the needs of our customers. With our increased capacity here in Singapore, coupled with manufacturing facilities in the US, Germany and Belgium, and joint venture manufacturing in Japan, we can satisfy demand faster than ever, across the entire Asia-Pacific region.”

Complexities of PET Imports, rPET & Trendy PET Packaging Designs Top Focus at 2nd NAPET Conference in California

2nd NAPET (North America PET Resin Trade, Recycling & Packaging) conference will be held in Napa Valley, California, on 2-4 November, 2015, with an agenda focused on PET imports into the US and its implications on pricing, increase in PET recycling rates as well as emergence of new packaging designs for beverages in the US - especially wines and liquors.

2nd NAPET opens with a discussion on the latest innovative PET packaging designs for wines and liquors that will include two sessions - 'Quality Wine in a Convenient PET Package - Zip, Snap & Sip' by Matt Zimmer, CEO, Stacked Wines - that pioneered stacked wines in the US and 'Wine & Spirits a lighter form of luxury' by Rui Peneda, Managing Director, GEPACK.

As investigation on impact of PET imports from China, Oman, India and Canada on US PET market looms large, a timely session - 'International Trade Commission Investigation/ Determination for Imports to USA & Impact on North America PET Pricing' will be presented by Dale Behm, Managing Director of Pacific Rim Traders.

A Panel Discussion on US PET recycling trends, led by key authorities from the RPET value chain in the US, will explore the Challenges & Opportunities in rPET recycling in the US - How to bring a significant change and improve recycling rates? Among the panelists are - leading converter Amcor Rigid Plastics' Charlie Schwarze, Global Sustainability Manager and Alexander Delnik, President, Verdeco Recycling - the major recycler and rPET processor in US. Also joining the panel discussion is Jim Hill, Recycling Specialist of CalRecycle addressing 'California plastics bottle bill' and Ronnie Little, Specialty Plastics Market Development Manager, Eastman Chemical - a major resin producer talking about challenges of full-wrap shrink labels. Moderated by John Standish, Technical Director of The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, the discussion will also have a panelist from Niagara Bottling.

To complement the presentation on 'Boretech Stockton PET recycling facility' by Paul Ou, Sales Manager, Boretech Resources Recovering Engineering, an optional pre-conference site visit to Boretech PET recycling plant in Stockton is added to the agenda.

Other key sessions include:

  • Global PET Markets Outlook - David Swift, Managing Director, PCI (PET Packaging, Resin & Recycling)
  • PET import resin management, logistics challenges & how we overcame it - Timothy Bransford, Owner, Matrix Transportation
  • Value adding our supply chain - from bales to pellets - Lori Carson, Director Commercial Operations, Phoenix Technologies International
  • Brandowner perspective: Green 2o Natural Alkaline Spring Water - Frank DiTucci, Founder/CEO, Green 2o Water
  • PET- Upcycling, using the LSP- Process(Liquid State Polycondensation) - featuring rapid IV increase and high decontamination performance - Warren Kim, Sales Manager, Next Generation Recycling Machines
  • Low cost production of bio-based Paraxylene from non-food biomass - Dr. David Sudolsky, Founder, President & CEO, Anellotech
  • PET recycling - highly efficient direct extrusion to sheet - Ing. Christoph Woess, Business Development Manager, Application Bottle, EREMA
  • Marketing recycled PET to consumers - JT Marburger, President, Renew Merchandise
  • Learning from Mexico - the world's largest foodgrade PET recycling plant - Ing. Jaime Camara Creixell, CEO, PetStar
  • Innovative technology to recycle multi-layer laminated flexible PET packaging films - Kathy Xuan, President, PARC Corporation

Plastic-metal assemblies enjoy an enduring bond with ISO standards

FOR the automotive and aerospace industries, saving weight is a top priority to reduce CO2 emissions and improve fuel efficiency for environmental protection. Now, thanks to hybrid mixed materials such as plastic-metal assemblies, these industries can rise to the challenge. But how safe are these products? Are the materials efficient enough to guarantee people's safety?

Tackling the problem head on, ISO has just published ISO 19095, a new series of standards that gives guidelines for evaluating the adhesion interface performance of plastic-metal assemblies. This is a big step as there were no international test standards on the subject and existing methods only apply to the measurement of adhesive properties between adherends of the same kind. Yet the performance of these new materials needs to be tested and assessed in an appropriate environment.

SPE announces winners of annual thermoforming conference parts competition

THE Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) has announced the winners of the SPE Thermoforming Division annual parts competition.

The awards were presented during the Thermoforming Division's annual conference, held earlier this month in Atlanta, GA. They were presented in twenty categories as well as in a student parts competition. The Peoples' Choice competition resulted in a tie and the award was presented to two companies.

The categories and winners are:

  • “Peoples' Choice.” Allied Plastics, for the “Mobile Light Tower Enclosure,” and Plastitel, for the “POD'S,” used for the Stryker Isolibrium bed.
  • Roll Fed Consumer – Gold. think4D, for the “Gillette Venus Swirl.”
  • Roll Fed Consumer – Silver. Placon, for the “Gillette Fusion ProGlide with FlexBall.”
  • Roll Fed Food – Gold. Plastic Ingenuity, for the “Sargento two compartment, yin yang tray design.”
  • Roll Fed Recycled – Gold. Innovative Plastech, for the “Half Pallet Sell-Stack 2L Soda Bottle Dunnage Tray.”
  • Roll Fed Recycled – Silver. Plastic Ingenuity, for the “Clamshell housing for Flonase Allergy spray.”
  • Roll Fed Innovation – Gold. OMG, for the “Brick Wall Panel.”
  • Heavy Gauge Vacuum Form – Gold. Plastitel, for the “POD medical component.”
  • Heavy Gauge Vacuum Form – Silver. Medallion Plastics, for the “Aftermarket Hood Assembly for Ford F-150 Aluminum Body OE.”
  • Heavy Gauge Pressure Form – Gold. SMI, for the “Operating Room Medical Device Assembly.”
  • Heavy Gauge Pressure Form – Silver. Productive Plastics, for the “Diagnostic test machine.”
  • Heavy Gauge TPO – Gold. Allied Plastics, for the “Mobile Light Tower Enclosure.”
  • Heavy Gauge TPO – Silver. Brentwood Plastics, for the “Center Console Assembly.”
  • Heavy Gauge Value Add – Gold. Productive Plastics, for the “MRI Assembly.”
  • Heavy Gauge Value Add – Silver. Kintz Plastics, for the “Top cover for medical laser unit.”
  • Heavy Gauge Innovation – Gold. Wilbert Plastics, for the “MRI Medical Enclosure.”
  • Heavy Gauge Innovation – Silver. Medallion Plastics, for the “Class A Motorhome Dash Top with Automotive Style Stitching.”
  • Twin Sheet – Gold. Profile Plastics, for the “Air Duct for medical diagnostic machine.”
  • Twin Sheet – Silver. ATI, for the “Medical air duct device.”
  • Judges' Award. Wilbert Plastics, for the “MRI medical enclosure.”

Alllied Plastics


Eight finalists were named in the Student Parts Competition. The student winners are:

First Prize: Kevin Langer, University of Wisconsin, who received a $1,000 award for the “Turtle Caddy.”

Second Prize: David Charlier, University of Wisconsin, who received a $500 award for the “Whirl” Rotating desk organizer.”

“Over 30 parts were submitted to this year's Parts Competition and the SPE Thermoforming Division is extremely pleased with the quality and quantity of the submissions,” noted Matt O'Hagan, 2015 Parts Competition Chair. “We expanded the size of our parts competition area on the show floor to accommodate the volume of large and small parts entries that we received this year.”

More information is available at www.thermoformingdivision.com or by contacting Lesley Kyle at 1-914-671- 9524 or lesley@openmindworks.com.

Added value is shaping the plastic closures market in Europe

THE outlook for the plastic closures market is positive with further output growth and increasing demand for added value and premium products shaping the landscape, according to a newly published report from industry consultants, AMI Consulting.

Plastic closures demand in Europe exceeded 230 billion units in 2014, up from 215 billion in 2010, with the fastest growing market segments being solid food and non-carbonated beverages.

In the last couple of years growth prospects have improved in tandem with the economic recovery in a number of European countries. “Brand owners are looking for a full packaging solution for their products in which the role of closures is increasingly valued, “says Márta Babits, AMI Consulting's Consumer Packaging Market Analyst. “Well designed closures can improve product differentiation, aesthetics and functionality.”

The caps & closures industry is becoming increasingly technology driven with rising levels of R&D investment and technical expertise required. Technology developments enable added value and premium products to be produced at lower cost and speed time-to-market.

Whereas beverages are still growing they now account for only 35% of the market, non-beverage applications are growing faster and provide a number of added-value and developing niches. The report identifies strong inter-polymer competition between polyethylene and polypropylene with the former gaining in beverages and the latter in non- beverages.

The structure of the industry is changing with consolidation underway driven by both organic growth and merges & acquisitions such as 3i Group acquiring Weener Packaging (WPPG) in July 2015. The largest producers in Europe include Alpla, Aptar, Bericap and Global Closure Systems.

AMI Consulting forecasts that demand overall will reach 256 billion units to 2019, a 2% CAGR 2014-2019, but growth in added value products will be well above the average. “Innovation is gaining importance in protecting and growing profitability and it will create opportunities for well informed and well organised companies,” concluded Márta Babits.

LANXESS included in Dow Jones Sustainability Index World for the fifth consecutive time

AS of September 21, 2015, specialty Chemicals Company LANXESS will be listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) World for the fifth time in a row. The composition of the well- renowned sustainability index is determined once a year according to financially material environmental, social and governance factors.

The index follows the “best in class” principle: only the top 10 percent of the companies assessed in each industry sector are included in the DJSI World. In this year, LANXESS was especially recognized for its commitment in the areas occupational health and safety, codes of conduct and compliance, risk and crisis management, customer relationship management, corporate citizenship as well as innovation management.

The DJSI is compiled by S&P Dow Jones Indices, one of the world's leading providers of financial market indices, in cooperation with RobecoSAM, an asset manager specialized in sustainability investing. In this year, the world's largest 3,400 companies from developed and emerging markets were invited to take part in the assessment.

Sukano AG appoints Thomas Bernhardt as new CEO

Thomas Bernhardt

SUKANO AG, an expert in the development and production of functional and optical masterbatches, special compounds, and blends for improving the properties of bio and oil based plastics for the plastics manufacturing industry, has appointed Thomas Bernhardt as the new chief executive officer and chairman of the management, effective October 1, 2015.

Bernhardt takes over the function from Wolfgang Schadt, who has been the interim CEO of the company. In addition to his appointment as CEO, he will also serve as head of sales of Sukano AG. Thomas Bernhardt held a number of senior management positions for Hoechst, Clariant and most recently for Archroma in Singapore, according to a press release.

Building on the strong Sukano brand, the proven high quality of Sukano products and the innovative power of Sukano solutions, being close to customers will remain the Company's focus under its new leadership. The management and team is expected to work with full commitment to bring the Sukano products and services to the customers with even more speed and flexibility and in response to their individual requirements.

Plastic-metal assemblies enjoy an enduring bond with ISO standards

FOR the automotive and aerospace industries, saving weight is a top priority to reduce CO2 emissions and improve fuel efficiency for environmental protection. Now, thanks to hybrid mixed materials such as plastic-metal assemblies, these industries can rise to the challenge. But how safe are these products? Are the materials efficient enough to guarantee people's safety? Tackling the problem head on, ISO has just published ISO 19095, a new series of standards that gives guidelines for evaluating the adhesion interface performance of plastic-metal assemblies. This is a big step as there were no international test standards on the subject and existing methods only apply to the measurement of adhesive properties between adherends of the same kind. Yet the performance of these new materials needs to be tested and assessed in an appropriate environment.

So what does the series cover? Dr. Ritsuo Iwata, Project Leader of ISO 19095, Plastics – Evaluation of the adhesion interface performance in plastic-metal assemblies, gives us an insight: “The new International Standard will provide the experimental data supporting the applicability of the test methods proposed to the evaluation of adhesion interface performance of metal-plastic assemblies.”

The methods set out in ISO 19095 are intended to ensure that the integrity of the joint is realized through the interface and that traceability of the value improves data comparison. The adhesion interface performance is tested on tensile strength, tensile shear strength, peel strength, bending strength, impact strength and sealing properties. The new suite of standards will now allow quantitative and objective evaluation as well.

“With the progress of bonding technologies, we expect to see an improvement in the strength of the whole-body structure by using high- strength plastic-metal assembly technique as well as high-strength structural adhesive technology and, as a result, lighter, thinner and higher-value- added products will be created for a wide range of applications,” enthuses Dr. Ritsuo Iwata.

ISO 19095 will help manufacturers determine the correct values, enhance the traceability of these values and improve the comparability of data between different kinds of materials. It will lead to the rapid spread of products and assembly parts made of plastics and metals into international industries, such as the automotive sector, electronics, aircraft and spacecraft, to name a few.

The ISO 19095 series of standards was developed by technical committee ISO/TC 61/SC 11 on plastic products, whose secretariat is held by JISC, ISO member for Japan. The standards can be bought from your national ISO member or through the ISO Store.

SECOS Group successfully scales up production of Biohybrid films for global hygiene market

SECOS Group Limited (ASX: SES) is pleased to announce the successful scale- up production of its environmentally friendly, high quality and cost competitive BiohybridT films tailored for the global personal care and hygiene product markets. The company manufactures a broad range of BiohybridT hygiene films at its Stellar Films Australian cast film manufacturing plant to meet customer demand. The BiohybridT films produced on Stellar Films proprietary cast film process exhibits a high performance property profile and delivers product innovation for a rapidly changing market.

BiohybridT films are differentiated through their unique soft touch, warm feel and quietness in handling that is ideal for personal care product applications. Environmentally preferred and body friendly, containing GMO free renewable plant based material, BiohybridT films contain less oil, have a lower carbon footprint and are heavy metal free, ideal attributes for the growing personal care and hygiene product applications.

The absorbent hygiene products market is a $72 billion industry growing 5.5% a year, with growth being driven by demographics and economic development across both developed and developing markets. Factors such as, births increasing across Asia, ageing populations, female population growth and increasing middle classes with higher disposable income are driving demand for quality disposable personal hygiene products including baby nappies, feminine hygiene products and adult incontinence products. Brand owners and consumers are demanding more environmentally friendly, sustainable and non-toxic solutions for disposable personal hygiene products. Cardia BiohybridT hygiene films deliver on all requirements

  • environmentally friendly, sustainable, heavy metal free and body friendly with soft touch and warm feel. The new BiohybridT hygiene films are both a more sustainable and a healthier choice.

Stephen Walters, SECOS Group Managing Director, stated, "We are thrilled with the exceptional results achieved by combining Stellar Films process with Cardia BiohybridT resin technology. Our extensive knowledge and experience in the cast film market has enabled us to develop a product that the personal care and hygiene product industry as well as consumers are demanding." Mr Walters continued, "Bringing together Stellar Films Group, Cardia Bioplastics and Akronn technologies under the SECOS Group umbrella is enabling us to create highly innovative, sustainable and non-toxic solutions for a fast evolving market."

Following initial tests and engagement with major personal care and hygiene product manufacturers, SECOS has received product requests and specifications from ten potential customers. These manufacturers have been provided with their tailored BiohybridT hygiene sample films for in- house validation and product performance testing.

Cardia Bioplastics CEO Dr Frank Glatz stated, "Bioplastics have the ability to fundamentally change the personal care and hygiene product markets and we are excited to be involved in driving this change by supplying manufacturers with quality and cost competitive materials." Dr. Glatz continued, "We are confident that the manufacturers who are now validating our films through their product testing will see the unique benefits that BiohybridT hygiene films offer their products in their applications."

Stellar Films manufacturing plant located in Melbourne, Australia, has the capacity to produce up to 6,000 tonnes of high quality hygiene films per annum. Ideal for applications such as nappy back sheets and sanitary napkins, Stellar's cast films are in high demand by global hygiene companies. Combining Stellar Films process with Cardia BiohybridT environmentally friendly resins technology delivers the quality sustainable choice.

Milliken showcased Reactint colorants at PU China 2015

THIS fall's PU China 2015 was the Asia- Pacific region's leading annual event for the polyurethanes market. PU China 2014 attracted over 200 exhibitors and 10,000 attendees. This year's international exhibition and strategic conference event, held on August 31- September 2 at the Poly World Trade Centre Expo in Guangzhou, China.

PU China consistently delivered a high-level targeted audience. Show visitors represented a full range of applications and end-use markets, including automotive, medical, transportation, packaging, clothing, construction, electrical, domestics, as well as sports and leisure goods.

Milliken and Company generated fresh leads and greeted valued existing customers at Stand 120 in the exhibit hall. There Milliken Chemical representatives featured Reactint, unique polymeric colorant for polyurethane and other thermoset resins.

Unlike pigment pastes, which are dispersions of solid particles in a liquid carrier, Reactint colorants are 100% homogeneous liquids that are soluble in polyol and will not settle over time, preserving ultimate quality.

Because of this pure liquid nature, it is possible to blend Reactint in-line and on-the-fly while producing polyurethane foams and resins for a variety of applications, including automotive seating and headliners, furniture, orthotics, sponge products, insulation, bowling balls, sealants, and adhesives.

With Milliken's support team of developers and colorant professionals, polyurethane manufacturers worldwide can easily achieve virtually any color by blending and mixing our five Reactint color bases.

Toray Plastics (America) introduces new TreaTear OPP films for non-retortpouches

TORAY Plastics (America), Inc., (www.toraytpa.com), introduces to CPG's and converters new TreaTear LT Series of linear-tear, polyproypylene sealant films for any type of non-retort pouch lamination, including stand-up pouches, requiring a low SIT (seal initiation temperature) and high heat- seal strength. Unique TreaTear LT films are made with Toray's proprietary design, which delivers a precise machine-direction linear tear without a need for laser scoring, perforations, or registration. Available as thin as 30 microns (1.2 mil.), TreaTear LT films offer yield advantages over traditional 60 or 70 micron sealant films, as well as flexibility with overall lamination design. For example, manufacturers that use a traditional nylon directional-tear film laminated to a standard sealant web will find that LT films can now replace both of those films. The use of one, thinner film also provides important sustainability benefits, such as source reduction and lightweighting. The TreaTear LT Series is compatible with most zipper stocks, is FDA- and CONEG-compliant, and comes in clear, white, and custom colors.

"The demand for pouches, especially stand-up varieties, grows daily," says Chris Voght, Senior Director of Sales, Torayfan Division. "A versatile, thin film with excellent sealant properties and precise tear is an important development for pouch manufacturing, usability, and consumer satisfaction."

Toray Plastics (America), Inc., is a leading manufacturer of polyester, polypropylene, bio-based, and metallized films for flexible and rigid packaging, lidding, graphic, industrial, optical, and electronic applications. It is also a leader in the manufacture of polyolefin, polypropylene, and polyethylene foams for the automotive and flooring industries. The company is a subsidiary of Toray Industries, Inc., the world leader in synthetic fibers and textiles, carbon fibers, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and high- performance films, which has annual sales exceeding US$19 billion.

For more information about Toray Plastics (America)'s products, contact Mary Gervais at mary.gervais@toraytpa.com or 401- 667-2281.

ARMO 2015 hailed a 'roaring success'

MORE than 500 attendees flocked to Nottingham Conference Centre over the past three days to visit the 51 trade stands and to enjoy two jam-packed days of thought-provoking and interesting presentations at ARMO 2015.

Organised by the British Plastics Federation (BPF), ARMO 2015 took place from 13th – 15th September 2015 in Nottingham, UK and proved to be a roaring success for exhibitors and attendees alike.

Co-sponsor of the trade exhibition, Les Druyf of A. Schulman, noted; “The preparation was outstanding. We worked closely with the BPF to maximise our exposure and all of our queries were dealt with efficiently. We thoroughly enjoyed being part of ARMO 2015 and were pleased to see that the BPF supported us the whole way.”

Martin Coles of Matrix Polymers, another key sponsor for the event, spoke very highly of the gathering, stating, “ARMO 2015 was a great opportunity to get the premier rotational moulders under one roof. We were extremely happy to share with attendees our hard work and our thoughts for how to take the rotational moulding industry further.”

With approximately 3,000 rotational moulding companies worldwide and around 350 European rotational moulders in current existence, ARMO 2015 was the industry's premier rotational moulding event globally in 2015 and served as the perfect occasion for industry peers to network, as well as to exhibit their products. The event also showcased the talent of budding designers, with the winners and runners up of the ARMO 2015 Student Design Competition receiving space to showcase their innovative entries.

SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association and IHS Chemical,the leading global source of critical information and insight, announced today that Skylar Tibbits, a research scientist in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Department of Architecture and director of MIT's Self- Assembly Lab, will serve as the innovation keynote speaker for the upcoming 2015 Global Plastics Summit(GPS), scheduled for Oct. 28-30, 2015, in Chicago. Tibbits' presentation is scheduled from 8:05-8:45 a.m., Friday, Oct. 30.

Titled “Next Generation Beyond: Glimpse into the Future. The Next Generation of Plastics,” Tibbits' presentation will highlight his groundbreaking work on “4D printing” and the role the plastics industry is poised to play in the development of this new technology. His presentation will inspire GPS attendees to think about new technology and its potential benefits for their business and products. So called 4D printing is an emerging technology that will enable manufacturers to print objects that reshape or self-assemble over time.

MIT Scientist and “4D Printing” Pioneer Skylar Tibbits Joins
Global Plastics Summit Program as Innovation Keynote Speaker

“The history of plastics as a versatile material of choice bears the imprint of several important visionaries who have pushed the industry into new and exciting places while relying on plastics to solve some of the world's most intransigent problems,” said William R. Carteaux, SPI President and CEO. “Skylar is a visionary who possesses the intelligence, perspective and creativity necessary to push the plastics industry into a new era of innovation and applications. We could not be more thrilled to welcome him to GPS and are certain our attendees will feel the same after hearing his presentation.”

“Skylar will present his impressive vision of a world in which plastic products and materials can self-assemble and transform themselves, but he'll also inspire GPS attendees to think about the potential of the technology, and how they can innovate to help solve problems from healthcare to aging infrastructure at home and abroad,” said Nick Vafiadis, Senior Director, global polyolefins and plastics at IHS Chemical. “Skylar's presentation and Q&A will be a must- see for all forward-thinking executives in the plastics industry.”

A TED fellow and winner of the 2013 Architectural League Prize, the Next Idea Award at Ars Electronica 2013 and the Visionary Innovation Award at the Manufacturing Leadership Summit, Tibbits is the director of MIT's Self- Assembly Lab, which focuses on self- assembly and programmable material technologies for novel manufacturing, products and construction processes. Previously he has worked at a number of renowned design offices including Zaha Hadid Architects, Asymptote Architecture and Point b Design. He has designed and built large-scale installations at galleries around the world, has been published extensively in outlets such as the New York Times, Wired, Nature, Fast Company, various peer-reviewed journals and books.

BPF offers new conference for sustainable design & construction using vinyl products

THE British Plastics Federation is pleased to announce the launch of an exciting new event, which will provide a platform for specifiers and procurement professionals to exchange experiences and to learn about the energy saving and cost efficiency potential of PVC products.

SmartBuild,will take place on 23rd November 2015 at BRE, Bucknalls Way, Watford, Hertfordshire WD25 9XX.

Attendees will enjoy the benefit of listening to expert speakers from organisations including
ArchitenLandrell, BRE, Axion Recycling and AGPU. Presentations given over the course of the day will cover topics such as the 'energy efficient renovation of buildings', a case study demonstrating 'energy, resource and cost savings using PVC products' and an exclusive presentation on the London Aquatics Centre.

The conference will enable an exchange of knowledge and ideas between procurement professionals, architects and suppliers, which is also a cost-effective way to network. The day's goal is to facilitate collaboration between like-minded individuals who are committed to the efficient use of materials. For more information on vinyl products in construction and their benefits, please visit www.bpf.co.uk/press/PVC_Explained. aspx

Deinove produces muconic acid from second-generation substrates

DEINOVE, the French biotech company developing innovative processes for producing biofuels and bio-based chemicals by using deinococcus bacteria, announced on September 2, 2015 that it has produced muconic acid in its laboratory using second-generation (2G) substrates.

Deinove recently announced that it had deployed a new R&D platform dedicated to the production of muconic acid, a versatile chemical intermediate whose derivatives – caprolactam, terephthalic acid (a precursor to PET) andadipic acid - are widely used in the plastics industry (notably for automotive and packaging applications), the production of synthetic fibres for textiles or industry (mainly nylon) and food (acidifying agent).

Deinove has since obtained proof of concept in their laboratory for the transformation of second-generation cellulose-based materials into muconic acid.

Platts JKM for October-Delivered LNG Dropped 5.9% from Month Ago

Prices of spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) to northeast Asia averaged $7.538 per million British thermal units (/MMBtu) for October, according to latest Platts Japan/Korea Marker (Platts JKM) data for month-ahead delivery.

The figure reflects the daily JKM assessment published by Platts, a leading global energy, petrochemicals and metals information provider and a premier source of benchmark price references, between August 17 and September 15, expressed as a monthly average.

The marker, which fell 5.9% month over month, started the assessment period at $7.95/MMBtu, but weakened over the course of the month to be assessed at $7.00/MMBtu on September 15, as supply concerns from the previous month eased following multiple sell tenders from projects in the Asia Pacific region.

Although the market was moving into the traditional peak winter season, demand among northeast Asian buyers remained weak owing to high inventories in tank and moderate temperatures. Demand among portfolio sellers and traders -- who had previously provided some support to prices -- was also lackluster, as most short positions had now been covered.Arbitrage opportunities between the two basins had also narrowed on tighter spreads between the JKM and U.K. onshore National Balancing Point (NBP) gas prices.

“High inventories continued to result in weak demand from South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan,” said Stephanie Wilson, managing editor of Asia LNG at Platts. “In Japan, Kyushu Electric was unable to take delivery of a cargo due to high inventories, while in Taiwan, CPC, the only North Asian buyer to have shown sustained demand for additional LNG in 2015, was recently heard to be looking to defer contractual volumes due to high stocks.”

Furthermore, said Wilson, Chinese downstream demand is also weak, with state-owned LNG buyer CNOOC issuing a supply tender, the first sell tender from a traditional northeast Asian LNG consumer. “Demand is looking uncharacteristically soft leading up to winter,” Wilson said.

On the supply side, there were numerous sell tenders from the majority of Asia Pacific projects, as sellers found it difficult to market extra volumes. Tenders from Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Russia were issued during the month.

This is the eighth consecutive month that Platts JKM prices have been range bound between $7-8/MMBtu since declining from the $9-10/MMBtu level seen over January and February delivery.

Meanwhile, the price of possible competing fuel thermal coal also decreased 21.1% year over year, while fuel oil was also down 60.0% from the same month in 2014.

Note: U.K. and U.S. front-month futures roll at the end of each calendar month. Platts JKM rolls on the 16th of each calendar month.

Source: Platts data

The Platts JKM is an assessment of LNG prices for spot cargoes delivered to Japan and South Korea, based on the most recent trades and/or bids and offers from buyers and sellers in the open market prevailing at the close of the trading day. The monthly JKM assessments are month-ahead delivered prices and are an average of the daily JKM price assessments reported by Platts. The monthly reports on Asia LNG prices and market developments are typically published shortly

Are you sure you want to