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Stop press

DuPont and Nike create the perfect tee-off

US-based DuPont has partnered with Nike Golf to launch a golf ball with a core that adds distance, straightens shots and improves control, according to Nike test results.

Four years in the making, the new Nike 20XI ball design replaces rubber cores with a DuPont thermoplastic resin developed specifically for use in golf balls. This advanced core technology makes the new 20XI ball faster and Nike's new design makes it possible to achieve both greater distance and greater control, says DuPont.

Now in its 50th year, ionomer materials technology, including DuPont's flagship brand Surlyn ionomer resins, continues to enable innovation and transforming products in a wide range of industries, from golf to packaging, says the company.

The resin formulation in Nike Golf's 20XI ball is based on DuPont HPF ionomer technology. In addition to advanced performance, the resin technology also offers the potential for improved sustainability in golf as up to 40% of the core material's weight is from renewably sourced content.

The 20XI ball is being played by touring pros and will be available this April.

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E-News Update
February 2011


Lead Feature

Unravelling the rubber recycling tread

Rubber is probably one of the most volatile commodities today. Having gone through a series of supply and demand gaps over the years, has led to a sharp increase in its prices. It is because of the price fluctuations, changing weather patterns and shortage of the material in the market that reclaimed rubber has become a popular choice over the virgin material.

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Company News

US companies doing better
Based on the fourth quarter 2010 results posted by US companies, like Celanese, Lubrizol, PolyOne, ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, Dow Corning and Eastman Chemical, things must surely be improving, after the economic downturn of the last two years. The companies attributed the higher revenue to higher volumes and prices for their products, with some reporting higher sales in Asia.
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Clariant to take over Süd-Chemie
Swiss chemicals group Clariant is planning to acquire a controlling stake in biotechnology process company Süd-Chemie for EUR2 billion. Since the deal is subject to approval from relevant authorities, Clariant has signed a contract with its owners, One Equity Partners (50.4%) and the family shareholders (around 46%). In other news, Clariant reported a 13% increase in sales last year, with 8% higher sales in the fourth quarter of 2010.
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KPPC ships heavy aromatics to Asia
Kuwait Paraxylene Production Company (KPPC), a fully owned subsidiary of Kuwait Aromatics Company (KARO), has exported its first 17,000 tonnes of heavy aromatics, from its 80,000 tonnes/year plant, to customers in Asia.
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Borouge awards contract for XLPE unit
Chemicals company Borouge has awarded a US$169 million contract to Hyundai Engineering and Construction of South Korea to build a 80,000 tonnes/year cross-linkable polyethylene (XLPE) unit at its petrochemical plant in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi.
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Sabic ships first acetone load to India
Setting a record for initial acetone shipment from the Middle East is Sabic affiliate Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Company (Saudi Kayan) that exported 1,600 tonnes of the chemical, which is a part of the phenolic chain used to make methyl methacrylate (MMA), PC, solvents, adhesives and paints, to Indian customers. With a capacity of 140,000 tonnes/year, the Al Jubail plant, besides catering to the export market, will be also supply to Saudi Kayan to produce high-value PC.
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In Brief
Lanxess tops its caprolactam output
To date, German speciality chemicals group Lanxess has produced 5 million tonnes of its plastics precursor caprolactam at its facility in Antwerp, Belgium. This is the equivalent of roughly 250,000 tankers full. The world-scale facility in the port of Antwerp commenced production in 1967. An investment project totalling EUR35 million is underway to expand production there by 10% from its current volume of 200,000 tonnes/year, says the company. Caprolactam is required to produce PA6, which is commonly used in the automotive industry.


BMS strengthens PC position in India
Having recently inaugurated its Color Competence and Design Center in Greater Noida, near New Delhi Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) will be able to provide solutions for PC compounds, from colour matching and small-scale production to injection moulding and compounding processes. BMS's facilities worldwide are located in the US, Italy, Germany, Thailand and China. These are complemented with three innovation centres in Germany, Japan and the Polymers Research and Development Centre in China.
Also in Greater Noida, BMS recently inaugurated an "EcoCommercial Building", which is a net-zero emission building, and it runs a PU systems house there. The total investment at this site amounts to EUR26 million.


Oxea increases capacity for oxo-derivatives
Global chemical company Oxea will further strengthen its oxo-derivatives portfolio by increasing its Neopentyl Glycol (NPG) capacity at its production site in Oberhausen, Germany. When completed in mid-2011, it will raise Oxea's European capacity to 45,000 tonnes. It is used as a building block for eco-efficient powder coating resins and lubricants, with growth remaining strong in Asia, even during the 2009 global crisis with the Chinese market already set to outpace Europe, says the company. In the 12 months ending September 2010, Oxea generated revenue of about EUR1.3 billion with approximately 1,330 employees in Europe, the Americas and Asia.


DSM's film tie-layer unit sold
Stating that the unit has a better fit with more growth opportunities with a new owner, Dutch DSM Engineering Plastics is selling its Yparex adhesive tie-layer business to another Dutch company Resin Products & Technologies. Yparex produces adhesive tie-layer resins that are extrudable maleic anhydride-(MaH)-modified and functionalised polyolefin compounds. These are used in numerous industrial applications such as sanitary and heating pipes, floor and wall heating (or cooling), copper and steel pipe coating, film applications, cables and cladding panels. The Yparex business will be positioned as an independent company, headquartered in Geleen, the Netherlands and its current four employees will transfer to the new owner.


Teijin to focus on composites
Japan-based Teijin is to restructure its carbon fibre unit to accelerate the expansion of its advanced composite materials business as one of the main components of its long-term growth strategy. The company says it will combine its carbon fibres and composite materials businesses into a new Carbon Fibers and Composites Business Group from 1 April. The new unit will comprise Toho Tenax and its subsidiary companies now in the current Carbon Fibers Business Group, the Teijin Composites Innovation Center and GH Craft. The present Carbon Fibers Business Group will cease to exist.


Chinese company is global leader in isocyanates
Having acquired a minority 38% interest in Hungarian PVC producer BorsodChem last year, China-based Wanhua Industrial has now exercised its right under the deal to acquire all the shares in the company. Wanhua has also provided EUR140 million capital to enable cash-strapped BorsodChem to complete the construction of a 200,000 tonnes/year toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) plant in Kazincbarcinka. Wanhua says its takeover of BorsodChem will allow long term development including expanding production at Kazincbarcinka further. The takeover is backed by a financial consortium led by the Bank of China. Wanhua also owns PU producer Yantai Wanhua, reputedly the largest producer of isocyanates in Asia Pacific.


PetroChina to buy into Scottish plant
UK-based Ineos is evaluating a US$1 billion offer from PetroChina for half its shares in its European refining business, a deal that has been on the boards for the last few years. The deal, which is likely to happen in the second quarter of this year, is focused on Ineos's refining operations at Grangemouth in Scotland and Lavéra in France. Both the sites are integrated with Ineos's downstream petrochemical production. With the joint venture offer, the Scottish plant will be able to operate in the long term and 1,400 employees will be assured of jobs.


Dow closing down two VCM units
US-based Dow Chemical will close down two vinyl chloride monomer plants, a key feedstock for PVC, in the country. These two plants, in Texas and Louisiana, account for 10% capacity in the US. The company says the closures are a continuation of its decisive actions to right-size its core chemicals manufacturing footprint and to shift its basic feedstocks toward performance derivatives businesses. The company also produces VCM in another plant in Texas and in Germany.


Higher revenue for Akzo Nobel
Last year, Dutch company Akzo Nobel's saw a revenue increase of 12% to EUR14.6 billion, based on higher raw material prices that are expected to increase in 2011 as well. CEO Hans Wijers said that the 2010 performance marks the first year of delivery of the company's new strategy. Its revenue in high growth markets, currently representing around 40% of its total, grew more than 20%, outperforming the market in 2010. In its mature markets, revenue increased close to 10%. "Broad demand improvement in both mature and high growth markets for Specialty Chemicals led to a full-year EBITDA increase of 27%," said Wijers.


DSM buys PE company in China
In line with its strategy of investing in high growth economies, Netherlands-based DSM is to acquire the majority shareholding in UHMWPE (ultra high molecular weight polyethylene) fibre maker Shandong ICD High Performance Fibre (ICD), based in Laiwu, Shandong province. Closing of this transaction is expected in 2011. The acquisition of the majority share in ICD will bring complementary manufacturing and technology assets to DSM in addition to strengthening the company's presence in this key market. For DSM, the acquisition of a majority share in ICD represents a key milestone in the global development of its high performance materials business, DSM Dyneema. The parties have agreed not to disclose the financial terms of this transaction.



Materials News

Fly ash to hit the roof
Specialist eco-minerals company Rocktron's collaboration with Ford Motor Company will result in its fly ash fillers being used to develop new compounds for interior, exterior and under bonnet automotive applications. UK-based RockTron recycles coal-fired power station fly ash waste into minerals that can be used to substitute traditional fillers in polymer, rubber and coatings manufacturing and as cementitious substitutes.
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PET bottle comes on board
Canadian supplier of wines, bears and alcomalts Societe de Vin Internationale LTEE has introduced the first 1 l PET wine bottle for the North American airline industry. The lightweight PET barrier container is supplied by Amcor Rigid Plastics.
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High heat resistant PEEK label
Victrex Japan and Kuramoto Sangyo, a pressure sensitive sheet manufacturer, have developed a laser marking pressure sensitive label using Victrex's APTIV films. The Victrex PEEK polymer-based label will be marketed by Kuramoto Sangyo and is targeted for use in applications that need heat and chemical resistance like electronic and automotive and also for medical device labels that are used in high temperature steam and chemical sterilisation and cleansing processes.
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All-plastic wheelchair is wheeled out
To avoid the many inconveniences resulting from the use of metal for the manufacturing of wheelchai¬rs, Norwegian designer Torbjørn Skjæran has developed EasyRoller, which is totally made of plastic materials.
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TPU for high heat applications
US-based Huntsman Polyurethanes has developed the first product in a new line of TPUs that offers a broader operating temperature than standard grades.
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Funding to develop carbon fibres
European Precursor, a joint venture between SGL and Lenzing Group, has received a EUR1.5 million grant from the "Bavaria FIT" programme under the Bavarian undersecretary of the state of Katja Hessel, to fund the development of a novel carbon fibre precursor with revised properties.
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Pilot plant for carbon dioxide-based PUs
Bayer is taking a new direction in the production of high-quality plastics with the help of carbon dioxide (CO2). It has set up a pilot plant at Chempark Leverkusen, run by Bayer Technology Services, to trial the new process on a technical scale. The plant produces a chemical precursor into which CO2 is incorporated and then processed into PUs.
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In Brief

Keyuan's MEP gets a patent
China-based Keyuan Petrochemicals has received a patent for its MEP (Multiple Ethylene Propylene) technology. This technology allows the company to use lower grade feedstock (such as heavy oil) instead of naphtha, a higher grade feedstock commonly used in other existing petrochemical production processes. It also allows the company to improve the yield and utilisation rate of its production line, resulting in a 15% cost savings.


Albion rebrands to Brenntag
Following the acquisition of the Albion Chemicals Group by Brenntag and its subsequent rebranding to Brenntag UK & Ireland, Albion Colours, a global supplier of dyes, pigments and associated auxiliaries, is rebranding to Brenntag Colours.
Over the last five years, Albion's product ranges have been progressively integrated into the Brenntag organisation and through ongoing investment and access to Brenntag's worldwide resources, its services have been enhanced to all customers and suppliers across Europe.


AkzoNobel targets growth in India
Dutch chemical group AkzoNobel's aim to accelerate growth and increase revenue in India to EUR1 billion within the next five years has been underlined by the opening of a coil and speciality plastic coatings plant near Bangalore. With a capacity of 18 million l/year, the facility is located in Hoskote on an existing AkzoNobel site that already manufactures marine and protective, automotive and powder coatings. The company says technologies most in demand in India include laser-etch coatings for the automotive industry, soft-touch technology for smart phones and coil coatings for high performance steel and aluminum construction markets. AkzoNobel currently employs around 1,500 people in India and operates six production facilities, two research laboratories and around a dozen sales locations, representing activities from across all Coatings and Specialty Chemicals businesses.


Machinery News

German machinery sales pick up
German plastics and rubber machine makers recorded 17% higher sales in the last financial year, pointing to a recovery in the market that was faster than expected, according to VDMA, the German Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association. Furthermore, sales outside Europe increased by 19%, led by China, the US and India.
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Kreyenborg clinches Korean deal
Gear pump specialist Kreyenborg has secured a contract from South Korean Hyosung that involves providing equipment for a new PET plant in PET plant in Ulsan. The plant will be producing 150,000 tonnes of PET resin annually for use in polyester fibre production.
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Brückner buys PackSys Global
German extrusion machinery specialist Brückner Group has acquired all the shares of Swiss packaging equipment supplier PackSys Global.
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Icma extruder for lab line
Within the framework of a collaboration started in 2004, Italian extrusion machine supplier Icma San Giorgio has installed at the laboratory of Milan Polytechnic a complete compounding line equipped with an MCM HT 25 co-rotating twin-screw extruder
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Exhibition News

MPlas in a right setting
The Malaysian trade fair MPlas will be held in Kuala Lumpur in November, against the backdrop of a growing economy, says the organiser of the show Messe Düsseldorf Asia. Home to more than 1,550 plastic product manufacturers, Malaysia's GDP growth is expected to average 5% a year from 2011 to 2015.
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Rubber Journal Asia

Comar to settle into industrial site
South African Comar Chemicals will establish a second production site for its organo metallic catalysts and nano-particle chemicals at Swiss chemical group Clariant's new Infrapark Baselland in Muttenz, Switzerland during the course of 2011.
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More tyre bladders in South America
Speciality chemical group Lanxess's wholly owned subsdiary Rhein Chemie will expand bladder production by 40% by the second half of 2011 at its newly-acquired production site in Burzaco, Argentina. The company is also considering new facilities to manufacture bladders and polymer-bound chemicals in Brazil. The size of the global bladder market is estimated at more than EUR300 million.
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Competitive rubber material
US-based Rubber Sheet Roll has developed a synthetic rubber, GPRubber, in response to the demand for a rubber material that is able to cover a range of applications but remain competitively priced.
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Thailand on new rubber planting drive
Thailand is encouraging its farmers to take part in a new rubber plantation project covering 800,000 rai (1 acre = 2.471 rai) nationwide. The project aims to create new rubber planters who would own 2 to 15 rai of land each, without encroaching on forest areas.
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New silicones for medical devices
US-based Momentive Performance Materials has expanded its platform of silicone rubber, which can be cured on demand by exposure to UV light, with the introduction of Addisil UV 60 EX elastomer for the medical market.
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In Brief

Keyuan to enter the synthetic rubber market
China-based Keyuan Petrochemicals will work jointly with Ningbo Institute of Technology, an affiliate of Zhejiang University, to develop commercial applications for its styrenic block co-polymer. The partnership will focus on developing commercial applications for the material in synthetic rubber products. Keyuan and Ningbo Institute of Technology will share the rights to products and technologies developed from this cooperation. Keyuan said its resin is a block co-polymer with excellent transparency and anti-impact properties, including flexibility and durability. It is currently used in packaging and plastic products such as medical instruments and toys.


Cheng Shin changes plans for tyre plant
Due to delayed land acquisition, Taiwanese Cheng Shin Rubber Industry's plans to set up a plant to make truck tyres in the Changnan Science Park, Central Taiwan, have been changed. It will now build an automotive tyre plant in Touliu`s Yunlin Science Park, with an output of between 12,000 and 18,000 car tyres/day. Cheng Shin is also speeding up construction of a 20,000 tyres/day output plant in Chongqing, China, with the first-stage construction and mass production planned for the third quarter of this year. The Chongqing plant will supply mainly central and western China. It also operates another automotive tyre plant in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province, where the daily output is 54,000 tyres. This is the largest facility for automotive tyres in China that sells 70% of output locally.


New carbon black facility in China
To meet the demand for carbon black in Asia and China, Cabot has begun construction of a new black masterbatch plant at its Tianjin facility in China. With an investment of US$20 million, the plant will have an annual nameplate capacity of 45,000 tonnes with expansion capacity to 80,000 tonnes in the future. The world-scale plant will be the first fully integrated black masterbatch production and is anticipated to be commissioned in mid-2011. The plant will supply products to a broad range of markets, from key infrastructure applications such as pipe and wire and cable to the rapidly expanding automotive sector, says the company.


Michelin to upgrade R&D centre
To strengthen its speed time to market for new tyres, French tyre maker Michelin has launched a comprehensive modernisation project at its global R&D centre in Ladoux near Clermont-Ferrand. The entire project represents an investment of more than EUR100 million in this centre staffed by 3,300 people. It includes the building of a completely new and modern complex by 2017 and the bringing together of all the teams and laboratories of R&D Michelin under one roof.


Solutia disposing of rubber chemicals
US-based Solutia has sold its Italian rubber chemicals business that makes dithiocarbamates (DTCs) and tetrabenzylthiuram disulphide (TBzTD) to German Performance Additives Europe, a subsidiary of Behn Meyer Chemical Holding, for US$26 million. Last year, Solutia's subsidiary Flexsys sold its primary accelerator business and the anti-reversion agent Perkalink 900 to Lanxess and the year before Solutia stopped producing tetramethylthiuram disulphide (TMTD) and tetraethylthiuram disulphide (TETD) accelerators due to the competition from Asia.


. Injection Moulding Asia

Sumitomo expands machine range
Sumitomo (SHI) Demag Plastics Machinery of Germany has expanded its hydraulic injection moulding machine series to include a 1,300-tonne model. The company will also introduce a 2,000-tonne model later this year.
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Hot gas welding integrated in injection moulding process
Austrian injection moulding machine maker Engel, mould maker Hummel-Formen and welding technology specialist KVT-Bielefeld have jointly developed a gas welding process that can be undertaken in a mould as part of the moulding process.
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Mould maker expands portfolio with new company
Mould Technologies Group (MTG), which owns Swiss mould maker Schöttli and S-Mouldtech in Suzhou, China, has bought a US-based mould maker, Magor Mold. Both Schöttli and Magor specialise in developing moulds with a high output rate.
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New hybrid model ramps up vertical moulding
Japanese Nissei Plastic Industrial has launched its new TNX series of hybrid vertical-injection moulding machines with a total of 19 models.
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