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In this Edition
August 2011
PRA August 2011 Electronic Issue
Now Available


Lead Feature

Chemical companies face a new dilemma

Progress and development usually come with an expensive price tag, that of their toll on the environment. As Asian countries become developed, they get entangled in environmental issues, especially when industrial areas encroach into residential zones.

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Company News

German buy-out of Malaysian auto parts supplier
Malaysian automotive parts producer, Sanichi Technology, which is listed on the ACE market, has signed an MOU with German firm Projektarbelt Technische Beratung Venretung International (Protec), that will take up shareholding in the company. But the percentage of equity to be held by Protev has not been finalised as due diligence is still ongoing.
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Sumitomo caters to North China's automakers
Japan-based Sumitomo Chemical has set up a 50:50 joint venture with Chinese compounder Jilin Xindongtai Engineering Plastics to construct a 25,000 tonne/year PP compound facility in Changchun. It is also building a 10,000 tonne/year facility in Dalian to cater to North China.
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Morgan Stanley invests in Chinese supplier
China's automotive sector is booming and this has led private equity investment firm Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia to invest US$100 million into automotive plastics producer China XD Plastics. The latter is said to be one of the largest domestic modified plastics players in the country, with 165,000 tonnes of capacity.
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Indian processors to move to Dahej plastics park
India's Ahmedabad city in Gujarat will be home to some 30 plastic manufacturers from Mumbai who will invest US$130 million in setting up in a plastic park coming up in Dahej. The companies are looking at saving costs by moving to Gujarat.
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Indorama's Thai PET recycling plant
Thai PET resin supplier Indorama Ventures will build a US$22.4 million PET bottle recycling plant in Nakhon Pathom. With a capacity of 28,500 tonnes/year it will commence by 2012.
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Henkel's Dragon enters China
German company Henkel recently broke ground on a new adhesives plant in the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park (SCIP). Known as Project Dragon, it will also involve the consolidation of current production facilities in China to generate significant additional capacity and thus create the largest adhesives production base in the world. At full capacity, the estimated annual output will be 428,000 tonnes.
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Polyplastics expands POM capacity in Malaysia
By expanding production capacity of its Duracon polyoxymethylene (POM) at its Malaysian plant, with an additional 90,000 tonnes/year, Japanese supplier Polyplastics says it will meet a third of global POM demand. The construction will be completed in October 2013 and it will start operating early 2014.
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In Brief

MDI output expansion in South Korea
Mitsui Chemicals and Korea Kumho Petrochemicals, a subsidiary of Kumho Asiana Group, are expanding the capacity of their joint venture MDI plant in South Korea to 45,000 tonnes/year. The additional capacity will start up in 2013, increasing the total output of the plant to 200,000 tonnes/year. The companies say demand for MDI, which has wide applications including automotive interior components, refrigerator insulation, construction material and LNG tanker insulation in South Korea, has continued to show steady growth.


Huhtamaki adds on to its portfolio
Having sold most of its rigid packaging business last year, Finnish packaging processor Huhtamaki is now expanding its flexible packaging business by acquiring Brazilian film extruder and converter Prisma Pack Indústria de Filmes Técnicos e Embalagens for EUR20 million. Founded in 2001, Prisma Pack is a market leader in hygienic films in Brazil and also serves the food packaging sector. Hygienic films are mainly used in personal care products, such as disposable diapers, feminine protection and incontinence diapers. Huhtamaki says the acquisition will add on to its manufacturing footprint as it recently started up a new plant in Thailand and will be able to serve key customers globally.


Europe to benefit from more PET
Beligium-based BP Aromatics has entered into an agreement with JBF-Rak, the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based PET producer, under which the latter will build a 390,000 tonne/year PET facility on BP's existing petrochemicals complex in Geel, adjacent to BP's world-class purified terephthalic acid (PTA) facility. BP will in return supply PTA directly to this new PET manufacturing unit. Start-up of the unit is scheduled in 2014. BP in Geel, belongs to the BP group of companies.


Evonik to increase MMA capacities globally
German company Evonik Industries is increasing the production capabilities of its methyl methacrylate (MMA) plants throughout the world, to meet the rising demand. It will do this by debottlenecking and plant expansion projects at its existing plants in Europe (Worms and Wesseling in Germany), Asia (Shanghai in China), and the US (Fortier) this year and in 2012. Upon completion of the projects Evonik will add on an additional capacity of 50,000 tonnes.


Rexam to expand in India and downsize in China
GUK-based packaging producer Rexan will invest in India by building a new plant and expanding its current plant, to capture the growth in the medical sector, the company said in its recent half year results announcement. However, in China, to address what the company says are strategic challenges faced by its business, where 65% of sales come from domestic customers, the company will look at relocating or scaling down its cosmetics packaging facility. It plans to build a facility in Western India to produce generic drug delivery devices and will double the capacity of its existing healthcare packaging facility in Bangalore. In its earnings review, the company's sales were down due to high resin costs.


Solutia to build PVB plant in Malaysia
US-based Solutia, a producer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) interlayers for laminated glass, will build a PVB resin plant in Kuantan, Malaysia, where it also has a Crystex insoluble sulphur manufacturing facility, said to be the largest of its kind in the world. Sold under the Saflex brand, the sheet is also produced in Suzhou, China.



Materials News

Degradable plastic bag misunderstood?
When a large retailer with a global chain of supermarkets decides to stop using degradable plastic bags, it certainly demands attention! UK-based Tesco has announced that research has revealed that "eco-friendly" carrier bags may be more environmentally damaging than conventional plastic bags. This has not gone down well with bioadditives producers Symphony Environmental Technologies and EPI Environmental Products.
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Multi-barrier coatings for bottles
Demands on the permeation properties of bottles are important criteria, with biopolymers or light weighting of bottles coming into the picture too. The German Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) at RRWTH Aachen University is now looking at using PLA as a barrier coating.
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New TPVs for weather seals
US company ExxonMobil Chemical has introduced Santoprene 121-XXM200 TPV grades for automotive parts that require improved appearance, such as glass encapsulated weather seals for quarter lights and side fixed glass applications.
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Machinery News

Forming bottles straight from sheet
French filling and capping machinery producer Serac's subsidiary Agami recently introduced a new blow moulding/thermoforming machine known as Roll n Blow. A bottle cum thermoforming machine, it allows the production of bottles at a lower cost compared to conventional methods, says Serac.
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Kreyenborg and Macro open rep offices
Germany-based Kreyenborg and Canadian extrusion machinery supplier Macro have set up offices in different parts of the world. While Kreyenborg has expanded to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Macro has gone west to Italy.
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Maag unveils performance-boosting pumps
Swiss company Maag is now transferring its experience of extrusion technology to high-performance gear pumps for the polymer industry with the launch of the Vacorex (discharge pumps) and Thermorex (transfer pumps) series. The new versions have been designed in response to specific requirements in terms of throughput and pressure increases.
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NDC expands into metal measuring
US-based NDC Infrared Engineering, a manufacturer of web gauging equipment for the plastics and rubber industries, is adding on metal to its portfolio. It has acquired Belgium-based IRM Group, a manufacturer of high-technology measuring systems for the metal industries.
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. Injection Moulding Asia

KM increases plant size and works with LG on electronic devices
Germany machinery maker Krauss Maffei (KM) says extension work on its new production plant for automation solutions is progressing quicker than planned. In other news, the company has tied up with LG Electronics to develop electronic devices.
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Chinese car market to consume more plastics
The year 2009 was a watershed one for the Chinese car industry when it became the largest in the world says new report titled "China Automotive Plastic Parts Industry Report, 2011-2015," Ireland-based by Research and Markets. The report also says that last year, Chinese passenger car components market reached a value of RMB58.2 billion ($9.09 billion) and is expected to increase to RMB85.12 billion in 2015.
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Visteon to invest in Chery parts supplier
US-based automotive parts supplier Visteon Corporation will invest in Wuhu Bonaire Auto Electrical Systems, a subsidiary of Chery Technology and a major supplier of climate products to Chinese vehicle manufacturer Chery Automobile.
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Plastic three-wheelers taking shape in Europe
Three-wheelers are a popular mode of transport in Asian countries like India, the Philippines and Thailand. Taking a cue from this low-cost form of transportation, Austrian motorcycle producer KTM, along with the Austrian Institute of Technology and industrial design firm Kiska, has introduced an all-electric three-wheeler.
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Lower costs for electronics and solar cells with new polymer
The Singapore Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) has developed a new polymer with both high charge mobility and power conversion efficiency for application in electronics and solar cells.
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