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Double celebration for Krauss-Maffei Automation AG

The large number of visitors at the Open Day clearly demonstrated the strong roots of the automation business segment of KraussMaffei in Schwaig/Oberding. Over 1,000 visitors celebrated the company’s 30th anniversary together with the employees and were able to gain an impression of the efficiency and wide range of applications of the automation solutions by means of superb exhibits of linear and industrial robots. “The reception and appreciation which I saw among customers, partners, employees and the numerous guests from the region made me extremely happy and proud”, said Josef Neureder, Chairman of the Board of Management of Krauss-Maffei Automation AG. The company has expanded continuously over the last thirty years. It now has a total workforce of around 180 employees, of whom 10 are apprentices, at the main plant in Schwaig and the branches in Munich and Schwerin. The company has been a subsidiary of the KraussMaffei Group since 2002 and specializes in the development and manufacture of linear and industrial robots which simplify and speed up the production process in the plastics mechanical engineering sector, thus making it more efficient. The company’s regular customers include renowned international firms from the industrial segments automotive, electrical engineering, medical technology, white goods and packaging.
Krauss-Maffei Automation AG had another reason to celebrate since the 1000th robot was supplied from the branch plant in Schwerin last week right on time for the company’s 30th anniversary. The LRX-S 350 linear robot has a payload of 35 kg and will be installed in future at a customer in the USA on a KraussMaffei CX 350-3000 injection molding machine. The plant in Schwerin was established in 2000 and started to produce robots in 2001. 22 employees now produce large linear robot devices in the LRX/LRX-S 250 to 1000 series with a payload of between 25 and 100 kg, as well as side entry robots. In addition to standard “pick-and-place? applications, these robots are used with complex technologies. They include, for example, different insert molding technologies with metal parts such as contacts, rings, bushings and plugs. However, the product portfolio also includes complete solutions for demolding injection molded parts and for separating, sorting or packing product units (for example a cutlery set comprising a knife, fork, spoon and serviette).

Course of Plastics Manufacturing Process -Recent Trends ,Trouble shooting & Quality Control

CIPET Aurangabad has organized a ?Plastics Manufacturing Process -Recent Trends ,Trouble shooting & Quality Control? from: 25 July 2012 to 28 July 2012. The course is sponsored by
SIDBI that is contributing substantially to the course fee. Participants will be required to pay only Rs.1000/- as course fee which include cost of reference material, working lunch and tea. The course is Non-residential. Owners / Entrepreneurs / Technical Personnel/ Managers/ Supervisors should attend the course that will be taught through lectures, PowerPoint/OHP presentations, Practical Demonstrations, Discussions, Case Studies, Evaluation.
Corse content includes:
Introduction to Engineering Plastics Materials
Plastics Products, Design & Development & end use criteria.
Role of CAD/CAM/CAE in Performance improvement & Cost Reduction.
Plastics Product Manufacturing Techniques like Injection molding, Extrusion etc.
Testing & Quality Control of Plastics.
Maintenance Techniques for plastics industries.
Auxiliary equipment for plastics manufacturing.
Products and Schemes of SIDBI.

International conference on Innovation in technologies for processing of rubber & Elastomers

Processing of polymeric materials is still not well understood and there is a need to have a greater interaction between Academia and Industry. To promote such a dialogue, PPA has planned to organize an International Conference on ?Innovation In Technologies For Processing Of Rubber & Elastomers? in Mumbai on 26th & 27th October, 2012 at Hotel Ramada Inn, Juhu, Mumbai. Polymer Processing Academy (PPA) would like to invite active participation from all concerned with Polymer Processing from Academia and Industries to this Conference. PPA is therefore, inviting Technical Papers on the following broad topics :
Importance of Rheology and its understanding in enhancing the processing of Rubbers & Elastomers.
Compounding of Rubbers & Elastomers for improved processing.
Emerging processing technologies of Rubbers & Elastomers.
New development in testing & evaluation.
Current status in R&D and Polymer modification in Rubbers & Elastomers.
Innovations in reinforcements, additives and Nano materials.
Emerging trends in recycling of Rubbers & Elastomers.
Green technologies and advances in sustainability issues.
Shift in applications from Rubbers to TPEs.
PPA also calls for registration of a large number of delegates from Polymer producers, processors, equipment suppliers, users, suppliers of Additives, Consultants and others who are connected with Polymers to participate and share their views.
Polymer Processing Academy (PPA) was established on 5th March, 2011 in Mumbai to provide a single forum of all branches of Polymer Processing e.g. plastics, rubbers, elastomers, fibres, coatings, adhesives etc.

Higher costs, firmer regional trends push PE prices higher in SE Asia

Players in Southeast Asia report that PE prices moved higher over the past week in accordance with stronger regional trends and higher upstream costs, as per ChemOrbis. Prices are expected to remain firm in the coming week, with increases likely to be more pronounced near the lower end, as disappointing demand from the nearby Chinese market will prevent prices at the upper ends from posting any significant hikes. In the import market, prices have posted significant increases on the low ends of the ranges for both HDPE and LLDPE film. A Vietnamese trader based in Hung Yen stated, ?We lifted our import offers this week in accordance with higher prices from our suppliers. We think that prices will remain mostly stable after the most recent price hikes.?
A source at an Indonesian producer reported, ?We issued two separate increases over the course of the week as stronger regional trends and healthier domestic demand encouraged us to raise our prices.? An Indonesian converter manufacturing plastic bags and sheets stated, ?Demand has improved but not enough to justify any pre-buying under the current conditions.? Another Indonesian converter active in the packaging sector commented, ?Demand for our end products is picking up these days.? A Thai distributor based in Bangkok told ChemOrbis, ?Domestic PE prices have firmed up this week and we believe that local prices will remain steady at these new levels. Demand has picked up somewhat as buyers have started to return to the market to replenish their stocks.? Another Thai distributor added, ?Domestic prices have increased this week and relatively limited supply will help keep prices firm. However, buyers are offering some resistance to the most recent increases and demand has not been as strong following the most recent hikes.? A plastic bag manufacturer in the Philippines stated, ?Local PE prices firmed up a bit this week. We are not looking to purchase any material for now as we had sourced enough material to meet our needs last week and prefer to focus on our end product business for now.? Another Philippine converter added, ?Locally-held PE prices are moving higher this week in accordance with improved demand, although PE prices are not rising quite as quickly as PP prices.?

Mid-Eastern producers cut July PE prices in Egypt, raise Aug outlook

In Egypt, Middle Eastern producers had approached the PE market at the start of July with lower prices as compared to June offer levels, as per ChemOrbis. As the month of July proceeded, the producers issued further decreases unlike the pattern followed in other global markets including Turkey and China. Despite the recent price cuts, Middle Eastern producers are already pronouncing firmer price ideas for August in the Egyptian market.
A major Saudi Arabian producer offered US$70-120/ton decreases to Egypt for initial July offers before conceding to further decreases. The supplier first down revised prices by US$30/ton for HDPE injection, HDPE film and LLDPE film followed by further decreases of US$30-80/ton on LDPE film, LLDPE film, HDPE film, injection and blow moulding offers as of last week. Meanwhile, a Qatari producer approached the market with US$100/ton decreases for LDPE film and US$60/ton decreases for LLDPE film. On top these decreases, the seller was also willing to offer US$30-50/ton extra discounts for purchases of around 200 tons. However, a week after the announcement, the producer reported selling out LLDPE film quotas accompanied by very limited LDPE film availability and therefore, raising their LDPE film offers by US$40-60/ton and a US$20/ton higher LLDPE film sell idea. Another Middle Eastern producer had announced relatively smaller July decreases of US$10-30/ton on their LLDPE film, HDPE film and blow moulding offers before revising them down by another US$20-50/ton last week for HDPE and LLDPE film. A trader offering on behalf of the producer told ChemOrbis, ?We adjusted down our prices given the weak sales performance as buyers still hesitate to make purchases beyond their urgent needs. However, given the firmer oil prices we are mulling over issuing US$50-70/ton increases on our August prices.?
A plastic end product manufacturer, who concluded a deal at the lower revised prices remarked, ?We have started to see some improvement on our end product demand and we believe that the market has been performing better when compared to the previous years. We are currently running our plant at full capacity and we are covered until the end of this month due to our purchases.? Looking at other global markets, regular Middle Eastern suppliers disappeared from the Turkish PE market last week as they target higher offer levels based on higher energy markets. On a week over week basis, Middle Eastern HDPE film offers rose US$10-95/ton, LDPE film offers moved up by US$180-200/ton and LLDPE film offers gained US$80/ton at the low end of the range in Turkey. Similarly, in China, most sellers reported targeting higher offer levels on their late July and August prices given the firmer upstream costs.

Developments in Thin Wall Packaging

Applications of thin wall packaging range from dairy ice cream tubs and yogurt pots to ready meals, bakery trays and long-life jar and can replacements. Applied Market Information LLC launched a new packaging event- Thin Wall Packaging Films 2012. The two day program was co-chaired by AMI consultants with extensive knowledge on the thin wall packaging markets: Jon Nash and Martyna Zimakiewicz.
In the inaugurating conference session, Amcor Rigid Plastics and Grupo Phoenix (leading FMCG packaging suppliers in North America) presented an overview of the changing landscape of rigid plastic packaging in the context of materials and design that helped the audience understand the role of innovation in consumer appeal and product differentiation. Greiner Packaging (a leading European supplier of dairy packaging, with growing presence in the Americas) discussed different ‘green’ packaging options available on the market and stressed the importance of recyclability. Product differentiation can certainly be enhanced by superior decorating technologies, of which in-mold labeling is a perfect example. There were a number of in-mold label producers in the audience, as new market opportunities in this segment attract research and development initiatives. Printing Company Verstraete assured that IML not only allows for excellent graphics and improved shelf appeal, but it can also provide functional barrier properties to extend product shelf life, when applied in combination with high barrier multilayer filmic substrates. Although IML is predominantly used with injection molded containers, the emergence of T-IML (in-mold label for thermoforming) is not to be overseen; Hekuma Automation’s second and third generation machinery designs are contributing to bridging the gap on the market with that in regard. Nevertheless, brand owners and packaging converters must realize certain limitations of IML, especially contour doming, multi-dimensional curves and contours, as pointed out by Fame Technology Solutions. The company highlighted the importance of prototyping and the pilot phase in order to minimize adjustments on production equipment. The thin wall packaging market witnesses technical developments in two competing production processes: thermoforming and injection molding. This Chicago conference provided an opportunity for an open debate – Illig Maschinenbau (represented by Midwest Plastics) looked at the benefits of thermoforming, of which cycle speed, high output and cost were key. This topic was further developed on the second day of the conference by OMV-USA, which highlighted manufacturing advancements in the in-line extrusion thermoforming technology. On the other hand, Kortec Inc. explained how co-injection technology for multilayer thin wall packaging can improve options for differentiated marketing, flexibility of design as well as scrap and cost control. This topic is well known to Husky Injection Molding, a machinery supplier, which presented the advantages of using integrated production solution and hot runners (i.e. single source supplier responsibility, higher performance and integrated controls).
The manufacturing technology advancements are equally matched with developments of new materials. Braskem discussed innovations in polypropylene for thin wall packaging and the benefits of bio-polyethylene, while Kuraray America presented the latest achievements of using high performance EVOH barrier films, especially applicable for plastic packaging replacing traditional metal or glass packaging formats. Netstal Machinery continued this topic and talked through a number of barrier solution technologies, their strong points and challenges. In terms of material sourcing for thin wall packaging, the role of recyclate is an area of steady growth. Amut North America tackled the challenge of improving sustainability though recyclability and changing ‘trash to cash’. The company demonstrated its sorting, washing and flaking capabilities, which allow for efficient and sustainable material recovery from post-consumer PET bottles.
The second day of the conference focused greatly on barrier and retort packaging in response to the growing industry demand, resulting mainly from can replacement initiatives. Rexam Food Containers analyzed the range extension opportunities for ambient packaging, proposing the concept of a ‘plastic can’. The presentation by Winpak Inc., supplier of peelable retortable lidding to the thin wall industry, shared scientific data on retort process versus oxygen and moisture barriers, impact resistance properties and retort shock. Furthermore, Marbach (the headline sponsor) discussed molds, automation, temperature and quality control systems – the technical aspects of using barrier IML technologies. Printpack continued the discussion of material and design optimisation for high barrier ambient food packaging, introducing its desiccant technology, which would enhance EVOH retort performance and minimize the retort shock. Lastly, Graham Packaging took a stand on the topic of extended shelf life packaging for food products, comparing the existing technologies and categorizing their downfalls. He stressed the importance of different cooking/preparation methods in the choice of barrier technology, as well as regulatory issues.

Astra Polymers inks agreement with BASF to manufacture customer specific blends

Astra Polymers, a developer and producer of plastic compounds in the Middle East, has entered into a new cooperative agreement with BASF Plastic Additives Middle East to manufacture customer specific blends (CSB) in Saudi Arabia. The agreement integrates the capabilities of both the companies and brings two innovative technologies for additive blends to clients in the region. Astra Polymers was operating BASF-owned CSB production lines for many years at its Dammam site. BASF Plastic Additives is responsible for marketing and selling the CSB products. The collaboration will help BASF to retain its leadership status in the Middle East plastic additives market.

New report on plastic carrier bags


Consolidation of the European cable extrusion industry amidst turbulent economic times

The European cable industry is showing signs of consolidation according to AMI’s latest report. Detailed information is provided on 325 cable extrusion sites across Europe, from multinational groups such as Prysmian and Nexans to smaller new sites looking to make their mark. This new guide reports a slight drop of around 5% in the number of operational cable extrusion sites in Europe since its last edition (2008). The total consumption of compounds also dropped from 1.45 to 1.23 mln tons over the same period with Italy and Germany leading the way. Manufacturers continue to refocus their product range with plants specialising in the production of specific cables supplied to certain markets which are often driven by local demand. In terms of materials, the report confirms PVC is the dominant polymer due to its competitive price, technical performance and ease of processing. Linear grades of PE and low smoke zero halogen (LSF0H) materials have grown rapidly despite small volumes. Whilst the above figures suggest the market remains stagnant, cables continue to be at the forefront of technical innovation in the plastics sector in terms of formulation and modification of resin and development of additives. The renewable energy sector is also showing signs of growth and its demand for cable applications will offer encouragement to the European cable industry. Demand in Poland bucks the European trend however. Unlike almost all European nations, Poland has remained relatively untouched by the economic recession and its cables sector now accounts for around 10% of European polymer consumption. The local construction and infrastructure market, buoyed by the Euro 2012 football championship together with attractive overheads and labour costs, are the driving forces behind this upturn.

Idemitsu Kosan, Formosa Petrochem in hydrogenated hydrocarbon resin JV

Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. and Formosa Petrochemical Corp. have concluded a basic agreement on the establishment of a joint-venture company to manufacture and sell hydrogenated hydrocarbon resin. Plans call for finalizing detailed terms in the future, aiming to establish the joint-venture company in the H2 of fiscal 2012 and to complete installation of equipment in fiscal 2014.
Hydrogenated hydrocarbon resin (trade name: I-MARV) is a colorless, transparent, odorless resin with outstanding thermostability and thermal resistance, used in applications such as tackifiers for hot melt adhesives used in disposal diapers and polyolefin resin modifiers. Recent years have seen expectations for massive growth in demand for its use in sanitary products such as disposal diapers as populations grow and standards of living rise in emerging countries.
Since 1994 Idemitsu Kosan has produced hydrogenated hydrocarbon resin using its own unique technologies at the Tokuyama Plant (manufacturing scale: 10,000 metric tons/year). However, in light of expectations for growth in the hydrogenated hydrocarbon resin business in response to growing demand in emerging countries, it has concluded with Taiwan FPCC a basic agreement and memorandum of understanding on establishment of a joint-venture company to strengthen manufacturing and sales. Taiwan FPCC, a member of the Formosa Plastics Group (FPG), is engaged in petroleum refining and manufacture and sale of petroleum products. It also has advantages in areas such as the ability to provide a stable supply of raw materials for hydrogenated hydrocarbon resin and its location in an area experiencing growing demand.