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The future of smart manufacturing

Source:International Plastics News for Asia

Date Published:11/23/2017 03:11:37 PM

Outlook 2018 Special Report gathers the insights of industry experts on future market trends and product developments in the plastics industry. 
Asia continues to lead the global economy with strong growth projected at 5.5% in 2018, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In its outlook on the region, the IMF cites strong consumption and investment, as well as better than anticipated external demand as driving the pickup in growth.  The region’s sustained performance is attributed to stronger-than-expected growth in China, Japan, Korea, and countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which helped compensate for the weaker outlook in Australia and India.
 
The global plastics industry is also experiencing tremendous change with innovative materials and manufacturing processes driving new applications in multiple markets including automotive, aerospace, medical, construction, packaging and more, according to Mr. William R. Carteaux, President & CEO of Plastics Industry Association. Anticipated increased demand is prompting processors to actively look for new machinery and technologies to streamline production. And consumers are more conscious than ever about sustainable consumption, encouraging manufacturers to seek plastics offering better performance and greater recyclability and containing more renewable content.
 
But major developments in the industry are expected to lean on smart manufacturing with rising investments focused on achieving connectivity and digitalization. The global smart manufacturing market is expected to reach over $159 billion by 2025, posting double-digit growth during the period. Asia Pacific market for smart manufacturing products is projected to post about 13% annual growth up to 2025 mainly due to rising awareness on better production technologies, changing lifestyles, increasing investments in production activities, and efficient marketing of the products. Leading industry players have started to offer products and services aimed at accelerating plastics manufacturers move toward Industry 4.0 compliance.  
 
For Outlook 2018, International Plastics News for Asia gathered the insights from key industry players on their plans and forecast, as well as the factors that will affect their operations in 2018 and beyond. 
 
 
TECHNOLOGIES, MACHINERY AND COMPONENTS
 
Michael Wittmann
 
Mr. Michael Wittmann 
General Manager 
WITTMANN Kunststoffgeräte GmbH
Tel: +43 1 250 39-0
Fax + 43 1 259 71-70
 
With the trend toward higher functionality in each plastic component, as well as lightweight parts for the automotive sector and here particularly e-mobility, we are experiencing increased interest in our multi-component machines, as well as our foaming process, CELLMOULD® and gas-assist technology, AIRMOULD®. This trend will certainly continue into and beyond the year 2018. Furthermore and in the context of the general Industry 4.0 initiative toward “smart machines”, the ability to connect various peripheral equipment to create an intelligent molding workcell is of highest importance to molders. 
 
Each peripheral equipment connected to the injection molding machine and communicating its condition and process parameters widens the ability of the machine to better monitor the molding process. This creates an adaptive system, able to respond to various effects from the environment. This results in higher quality parts with less reject and more stable processes.  The WITTMANN Group has developed for this purpose a molding workcell technology, called Wittmann 4.0, which allows to plug equipment into the machine and to immediately start the production without elaborate configuration and setup of the workcell. This is achieved through the automatic recognition of the connected equipment and the automatic transfer of the corresponding parameters to each equipment.
 
We have several expansion projects in process or close to completion. In process are currently the expansion of the assembly area in our molding machine plant in Kottingbrunn/Austria. The completion will be in April 2018 and will effectively close to double the capacity of our large-tonnage MacroPower machines. Also, several office buildings in Kottingbrunn are equally doubled in space. Due to the high demand for automation systems, two more plant expansions are in process. The first one is in our plant in the Czech Republic and the second expansion in our automation plant in Nuremberg, Germany. The expansion of the robot plant in Vienna/Austria has been recently finalized and will be followed by an expansion of our material handling plant in Wolkersdorf/Austria, to be finalized end of 2018. All expansions together are desperately needed to meet the increasing demand for our products.
 
With the first introduction of our fast running, fully electric EcoXpress machine at the “K” show 2018 and the presentation of the next size up (400 t and 500 t), we are foreseeing a wider entry into the packaging market. In addition, we are equally paying high attention to the expansion of our offerings to the medical market. The presentation of our new robot control system R9 with the implementation of a digital twin for online testing and animating sequences, will allow a further expansion into the automation market. Overall the topic of connectivity and open-architecture for data exchange, storage and analysis is of particular interest for molders and opens many new applications for quality control and process improvements. We strongly believe that a closer monitoring of the molding process with inline process technology (we call them HiQ technologies, e.g. HiQ Flow), as well as external “sensors” (Wittmann 4.0) will continue its steep path of growth.
 
Emanuele Barbagli, Frigel
 
Mr. Emanuele Barbagli
COO 
Frigel Asia Pacific Co., Ltd.
Tel: +66 3857 7799
Website: www.frigel.com
 
We are now in the Industry 4.0, the era of the “smart factories”, in which computers, data and automation come together in an entirely new way to lead to a faster and more flexible production process, greater efficiency of material, and reduction of complexity and downtime. There is no doubt that this is one of the main trends in 2018 and in the years to come and at the same time we also believe that we will see increasing attention to sustainable growth that requires a rational use of natural resources i.e. energy and water that Frigel has always put at the heart of design of new products.
 
Frigel has put a lot of effort in recent years in studying the markets and applications to develop the best solutions for process cooling always focused to ensure the best performances, highest efficiency and longer reliability. The products that we will be promoting with passion in 2018 are not only revolutionary but they also cover an incredibly wide range of applications.  
 
One of these is MiND, a digital solution developed to meet the Industry 4.0 and IIOT (Industrial Internet Of Things) standards. A powerful device that has come out to fulfill the need of customers that want to monitor their entire plant to measure and control their overall performances and consumptions, MiND is really an extraordinary product. It consists of a powerful industrial PLC, where data from all Frigel equipment and from other devices are collected and stored, and a user-friendly software interface. With local and remote accesses, MiND system provides to customers a full control and supervision of their plant. On the other side, MiND system is an innovative tool to assure customers a reliable maintenance service.
 
Our focus next year will be also on publicizing and more importantly explaining our innovative and revolutionary cooling system designed for food and beverage preparation that represent a paradigm shift in the industry and can cover all cooling demands with unbeatable performance improvements and savings when compared to traditional solutions. But we will be also talking about our Ecodry, 3PR and Digital Microgels that have proved to provide remarkably successful in plastic market and have got new look and additional features.
 
The innovative cooling system developed by Frigel for food and beverage processes is an integrated solution based on two technologies, process-synchronized refrigeration units, single or multi-cascade configuration, to provide chilled water and a central adiabatic cooling system to supply ambient water. This revolutionary concept allows us to design the refrigeration units tailored to the process in terms of cooling and flow rate to achieve the highest efficiency and effectiveness of cooling. While the central circuit is used to cool the condensers of our chillers and can also do direct cooling of any process that requires ambient temperature. If necessary, these water-cooled chillers can also be operated as heat pump to produce hot water for the same process or other needs. Last but not least, our system is very compact, modular and Ammonia-free, as it utilizes innocuous refrigeration gas with the lowest GWP available today and is divided into several separated small circuits so in case of leakage the risk of emissions is reduced to minimum.  But I have also to say something about the user-friendly 10” and 7” touch screen that are used on our main controller 3PR and Digital Microgels, which are designed for connectivity, data recording and remote access, that have already proved to make the life of our customers much easier in understanding how the machines are performing and during maintenance and troubleshooting. 
 
Given the increasing demand for our products, we are investing to expand and open new production sites worldwide. In addition to the current factories in Italy, Thailand and Brazil, we have recently acquired a much bigger building of 5,000sq in Brazil and made a direct investment in India aiming at providing better deliveries and local support.  
 
H.K Teong, Nordson Xaloy Asia
 
Mr. H.K Teong
Managing Director in Asia for Polymer Processing Systems (PPS)
Nordson Xaloy Asia (Thailand) Ltd.
Tel: +66-38 717 084. 
 
Nordson will be marketing its full range of PPS products, placing special emphasis on our extensive capabilities to provide localized supply and service for customers throughout Asia, including manufacture, sales, technical support, and customer trials, as well as aftermarket service such as spare parts, repair, and remanufacturing. All of the PPS product range is now readily available in the Asian marketplace. This includes BKG® underwater, water ring, and strand pelletizers; BKG® melt delivery components such as screen changers and gear pumps; Xaloy® screws, barrels, valves, and related plasticizing components for molding and extrusion; and EDI® dies and feedblocks for polymer extrusion and fluid coating.
  
With the startup in January 2018 of the new twin-screw pelletizer laboratory line in our Chonburi, Thailand facility, we will be able to provide prompt resin trials to customers across the region, including India, Southeast Asia, and Korea.  At the same time, we will be installing a pelletizer laboratory line at our Shanghai facility to serve customers in China.
 
For 2018, our promotions will focus on two new-generation products: The HiCon™ R-Type 250 melt filtration system for recycling highly contaminated plastics provides greater productivity than comparable machines on the market while maintaining constant melt pressure and product consistency. BlueFlow™ gear pumps provide up to 15% greater throughput than our standard gear pumps without an increase in rpm, and they deliver a more consistent and stable polymer melt for enhanced product quality. 
 
One of our newest EDI products is the SmartGap™ sheet die system, which enables manufacturers to make changes in thickness with unprecedented speed, extend the range of thicknesses that they can produce, and achieve these improvements while enhancing sheet quality. As for extrusion coating and cast film dies, our most recent successes have been with Indonesian and Thai processors, as well as global extrusion system OEMs. Another success story is the installation of a 6.25 m cast film die in Thailand—the largest triple manifold die in that country.
 
A number of industry trends affect our business. To offset the escalation in the cost of labor and raw materials, there is increasing demand for high-efficiency automated systems—as exemplified by Industry 4.0. Nordson has responded by designing new generation equipment with increased throughput, durability, and long working lifetimes.  The continued growth in renewable energy systems and energy conservation has caused Nordson to place special emphasis on energy-saving equipment designs. In addition, the booming demand for electric vehicles and other battery-operated systems has opened new opportunities for die systems that produce separator film for batteries or provide precision coatings for multilayer battery structures.
 
Another ongoing trend is what can be called the migration of technologies. For example, there continues to be a shift to slot die coating systems such as our Premier™ dies from older technologies like gravure, curtain, and roll coating. Similarly, in our Xaloy® business we see a shift from nitride to bimetallic barrels and screws. And the move away from conventional plastics to bioplastics has implications for all of our PPS brands. A new Xaloy® plasticizing package, for example, is designed specifically for processing PLA resins.
 
Nordson is in the midst of a worldwide expansion of its manufacturing and customer service capabilities affecting all of the PPS brands.  In Asia, this expansion has taken place at three locations: Shanghai, China; Chonburi, Thailand;  and Tokyo, Japan.   
 
Derek Kim, Hankook Delcam
 
Mr. Derek Kim
Senior Specialist, Marketing Specialist
HanKook Delcam Ltd.
Tel: +82-2 6918 3820 
Fax: +82-2 6918 4525 
 
Currently, there is a proliferation of software assistance modules aimed at providing smart manufacturing solutions. Though these systems have been active and in place in many industries for some time, solutions providing machining information in mold & die or parts production industry has been vastly oversighted. To address this need, Hankook Delcam is set to roll out its latest software solutions product called AIMS (Adaptive & Intelligent Manufacturing Solutions) in 2018. 
 
AIMS is a system that enables predictive manufacturing with the real-time monitoring of whole manufacturing process. The system allows for immediate monitoring of the machining process, through the Smart Manufacturing Solution (SS) where manufacturers are regularly updated of all working machine statuses, production history and even run machine simulation through smart devices (smart glasses, tablet PC, smartphone). The cornerstone of AIMS is the Manufacturing Execution System (MES), a solution-based software optimized for the mold manufacturing industry. AIMS software comes with AIMS-Shopfloor, a system that allows for the real-time monitoring of all stage processes with inset predictive alarms and a machining utility software - AR machine management system. There is already success case study that showed reduced 20% of defective rate of production and increased machine operation rate to 20% with the implementation of our AIMS-Shopfloor system.
 
Hankook Delcam will be setting its focus in expanding the company’s resources to provide ‘Manufacturing Platform as a Service’. This service will apply the latest IT trends in domestic manufacturing industries. For example, Delcam will provide consulting service with well-trained engineers in optimizing or converting a manufacturer’s production data freely with its Digital Manufacturing Solutions. Hankook Delcam delivers not only CAD/CAM related software but also the smart manufacturing solutions, such as AIMS, to optimize the manufacturing process and offer real-time monitoring on machines.  
 
The IT trends are moving to ‘Anything as a Service’, which means that it’s not a matter of selling products anymore but providing what customer wants in service format and letting the customer choose what to pay for what services they have chosen. These choices are ‘Software as a Service’ where customer can use the software in subscription service; ‘Infrastructure as a Service’ where customers can avail rental service instead of setting up the server or network in a physical format. 
 
Renato Moretto
 
Mr. Renato Moretto
President and CEO,
Moretto S.p.A.  
Tel.: +39-049 9396900
Fax.: +39-049 9396910 
Website: www.moretto.com
 
Moretto is always looking for automated systems designed to achieve excellent plastic materials and adapted to the needs of an increasingly sophisticated clientele. We are heading toward ‘industry 4.0’ which sees interconnection between machines and software, the availability of new and important data to be processed and shared to achieve higher levels of efficiency. This concept creates a closed loop, connecting material, dryer, process quality, and plastic processing machine, which represents the prerequisite conditions to move straight toward the ‘Smart factory’ i.e. transparent computer-integrated processability in an automated environment leaving no room for errors that could impede productivity.  
 
At Fakuma 2017, we introduced “MOISTURE METER MANAGER”, a revolutionary system able to control automatically the level of humidity during the entire dehumidification process. For processing technical polymers that meet high quality standards it is essential to remove moisture from the polymer without altering its chemical physical characteristics. The intrinsic humidity values of the polymer differ depending on the materials, the temperature of the materials themselves and other environmental factors.  Moisture Meter Manager is able to handle the dehumidification process by guaranteeing the production certification. This device makes the dehumidification process fully automatic allowing incredible energy efficiency and savings.
 
The exclusive Power-Peak technology ensures accurate residual moisture monitoring of the plastic granule. The system checks the initial moisture level of the polymer before starting the drying process and then verifies if the treatment has been performed in the pre-established limits. Moisture Meter Manager it is equipped with an automatic setting of process variables that does not require additional off-line calibration. Meter Manager scans the material and measures the in-line and real-time moisture level every two seconds, providing regular granule quality reports for each piece or sample. With Moisture Meter Manager it is possible to certify the production piece by piece.
  
MoistureMeter is one of many new or enhanced ancillary systems for the automatic treatment of polymer material to be processed in injection molding, extrusion or blow molding machines. The range of systems offered and installed worldwide covers for example the ONE WIRE 6, CENTRALINA DOLPHIN and KRUISEKONTROL conveying technology, dryers of the XMAX and FLOWMATIK series, GRAVIX and GRAMIXO dosing systems, the SILCONTROL warehouse management system, the X COOLER cooling and temperature regulating unit as well as MOWIS which is the latest high-end control and monitoring system for plastics processing plants. 
 
Moretto is  set to expand its activities globally with the opening of three new branches in China, India and Russia. Three markets where Moretto’s technology has been protagonist for years through the realization of numerous plants and the supply of primary companies in the sector. China is a market at the core of the international plastics industry with growing production needs from both technological and automation point of view. India is considered the second emergent country after China and represents today an important attraction for economic activities around the world with an exponential and continuous GDP growth. Last, but not the least, Russia with growing plastic applications in all areas where it is applied. A market in which Moretto plans to double its sales volume according with the results of first half of 2017: an increase of 35% compared to the total amount of 2016. Accordingly, every office engages experienced staff able to offer qualified advice with a careful analysis of customer’s requirements and the proposal of timely and effective solutions. The on-site presence also ensures a prompt and immediate after-sales service.
 
Christoph Steger, ENGEL Austria
 
Dr. Christoph Steger
Chief Sales Officer
ENGEL AUSTRIA
Tel: +66 (0) 2 184 2645
 
Industry 4.0 is rapidly gaining importance in Asia. The major international players have been tackling this issue for a long time and have first successes to show. Many other companies still find it difficult to deal with digitalization and networking. This is where we see our role to support our customers with their very special problems to enable them to make full use of Industry 4.0 and to accompany them on their road to becoming smart factories. This for sure, will remain one major focus in the year to come. 
 
For all three areas of the smart factory – smart machine, smart production and smart service – ENGEL today already has mature products and solutions in its inject 4.0 programme, which contribute a great deal of benefit, both individually and within the context of a digitalization strategy as applied to the entire machine pool. These products are modular which allows the customers to choose them based on their individual Industry 4.0 status. Be it one module out of the iQ products or an entire smart factory system. Products which are particularly asked for in Asia are the intelligent assistance systems of the ENGEL iQ product family, the remote control solution e connect.24 and the MES authentig.
 
With production cells becoming more and more complex due to increasing process integration and automation, steering and controlling them must become that much more simple and intuitive. This is an important goal in the smart machine area. Self-adapting assistance systems play a decisive role in this. They increase process consistency and quality without requiring the machine operator to acquire special expertise. While iQ weight control maintains consistent injected melt volume throughout the entire injection molding process, iQ clamp control monitors the mold breathing in order to calculate and automatically adjust the optimal clamping force. In order to increase the availability of machines and production cells, smart service – among other things – relies on online support and remote maintenance. e connect.24 gives our customers access to qualified remote maintenance and online support around the clock.  
 
Customized solutions are currently our main driving force for growth, with Asia, and China in particular, growing at above-average rates. Apart from injection molding machines, robots and other automation solutions, the system solutions tailor-made to meet the requirements of the respective applications include process technologies, peripheral systems, molds as well as software solutions for digitalization and networking. ENGEL unlocks the potentials for efficiency and quality particularly well by adapting all components in the manufacturing cell to each other exactly right from the start, thereby strengthening the competitiveness of our customers. 
 
From Austria to Asia, we are building at almost all production sites to significantly expand our capacities. In September, we inaugurated our new production hall at ENGEL Machinery Shanghai, expanding large-size machine production by 1600 m². In addition to this, the existing office building was lengthened to create an additional 1000 m² of office space. In Europe, the main expansion projects are in Schwertberg and St. Valentin. At the ENGEL headquarters in Schwertberg, construction started in May at the north section of the premises, next to the main entrance. There the production hall built in 2013 will be extended by autumn 2018, and the technology center for customers will then be moved above the new section. It will be significantly larger than the existing center in order to present an even wider selection of injection molding machines and technologies. At the same time, the large-scale machine plant in St. Valentin will be further expanded and the next step is a new customer technology center for large-scale machines. ENGEL also is expanding capacity at its sales and service subsidiaries, with particular emphasis on Southeast Asia. Last year ENGEL established a regional hub in Bangkok for its local subsidiaries and representatives. Further steps will include a new even bigger building in Bangkok.  
 
Nicholas Beck, Beck Automation
 
Mr. Nicolas Beck
CEO
Beck Automation AG  
Tel: +41 44 751 84 44
 
Beck Automation has its headquarters in Oberengstringen near to Zurich in Switzerland. It specializes in in-mold labeling, high-speed take-out robots and automation solutions for injection molding. As a pioneer in IML, we have developed ourselves to be a competent partner for the plastics industry.  
 
A major trend is everything related to Industry 4.0 approach due to its potential to further automate production plants and savings connected to increased productivity. This includes internet based platforms to control the production, and to analyze the process and its data flow up to prevention and maintaining operations. The core of the Industry 4.0 strategy is about making available technology more meaningful.
 
For 2018, we are enlarging our standardized IML system line called “BASIC” with a 2-cavity pail system. The BASIC line stands for reliability, simplicity and ease of use in combination with first class technology from Switzerland. The BASIC line combines performance with a fair and value able price.  
 
Due to the great success and demand we see for the already existing 1-cavity pail system, it was clear for us, that we want to also offer a standardized IML system for 2-cavity applications. In this level we see a good potential to promote the value added of our customers. This so called BASIC line will be further developed over the coming years. Besides the BASIC system line, we are also promoting our newly developed IML and take-out systems for single serve capsules as a special application.  Applications are for example coffee capsules. Our automation solution is a highly dynamic, precise and operator-friendly machine for IML decoration. This way, the disposable coffee capsules are both more environment friendly and look more premium, too. The aroma of the coffee should not be inferior to market-driven solutions, but should even surpass them. We see this growing market as a huge global opportunity for us as an IML supplier.
 
How to create value? Our philosophy is always a high-performance, high-availability system, with high output levels at a high-quality level that works over a long life cycle. Speed in combination with high precision movements is the major key when it comes to single serve capsule systems and customized IML systems in general. We would also like to point out the importance of designing a system that incorporates an optical vision system. Vision systems, as quality insurance systems, have become, more and more, a must-have feature inside IML systems.  
 
Beck Automation is investing into features related to the Industry 4.0 strategy. It’s no longer enough to just see an IML system as an isolated cell. We are working on new solutions to have our IML systems communicating with an injection molding machine in order to further improve the performance of the whole systems. This includes but is not limited to automated adjustments based on process information in order to improve parameters like scrap rate, cycle time etc. Beck Automation is also investing into a four times production site in our location in Braga, Portugal. Due to the increased demand we’re forced to invest heavily into our production capacities in order to offer fast delivery dates at the best possible quality.
 
Stephen Chung, Chen Hsong Group
 
Mr. Stephen Chung 
Executive Director 
The Chen Hsong Group 
Tel: +852 2665 3222
 
Strong demand for highly advanced injection molding systems will drive growth in this sector in 2018 and beyond. At this point, The Chen Hsong Group has long-time commitment to high-end research, technology development and application innovations. Since introducing China’s first “real” two-platen injection molding machine in 2007, Chen Hsong has since launched a number of “firsts” – the 4,500-ton, and then the 6,500-ton monsters, Asia’s largest. This innovative spirit will continue in the years to come.
 
In 2018, a number of products from Chen Hsong are set to play vital role in the sector. For instance, the JETMASTER MK6 Servo Drive Injection Molding Machine is a product of the technology team’s continuous efforts, not only is the injection performance significantly enhanced, but also the machine is equipped with unparalleled stability. Ever since its release, the JETMASTER MK6 machine has received a lot of positive feedback from the customers.  This hydraulic injection molding machine combines high speed with high performance and superior precision to deliver unparalleled results. This machine is ideal for demanding applications such as multi-material overmolding, fast-cycle packaging, and precision components production.
 
Another important product is the SUPERMASTER Two-Platen Advanced Servo Drive Injection Molding Machine, which is the largest and most advanced in this sector. For instance, the tie-bar/ hydraulic connection design, which reduces stress concentration and improves product quality and precision, can effectively protect the molds. Moreover, its patented high-speed automatic mold-height adjustment and extremely fast clamp movements significantly shorten cycle time; and the unique patented inter-lock mechanism combines high speed and silent operation with extremely high precision and rock-solid stability.  This is ideal for the needs of automotive and household appliances manufacturers.  
 
High precision and efficiency will continue to be main factors in the injection molding sector and machines must be able to comply with these requirements. Chen Hsong has also embraced the Industry 4.0 trend as our machines can be integrated to meet the goals of smart manufacturing.  
 
 
 
RAW MATERIALS AND COMPOUNDS
 
Maurizio Butti, Songwon Industrial Group
 
Mr. Maurizio Butti
CEO  
SONGWON Industrial Group
Tel: +41 52 635 0000
Website: www.songwon.com
 
SONGWON’s target has always been to be a key player in all of its businesses. We have established ourselves as one of the key global players in the Polymer Stabilizers business (AOX and UVs for plastics), while we have regional leadership positions (mainly in Korea and North East Asia) in some of our other businesses (Tin Intermediates, PVC Stabilizers and Polyurethanes). So, our emphasis will still be to grow and consolidate our global position in Polymer Stabilizers, while we are focusing on expanding our position on the other regional businesses mentioned above.
 
In the meantime, a number of our businesses, which we have started to develop in 2017, will become a key focus during 2018. These are businesses (electronic chemicals, coating stabilizers, fuel and lubes additives, functional monomers, etc.), where we think we have the necessary strengths and competitive advantages and see a great potential for growing sales and results, with the aim to support double digit growth for the foreseeable future and develop a balanced business portfolio. In addition, for some of these businesses the geographical location of our manufacturing facilities (Asia) is a key competitive advantage because it is where the market is or it is growing.  Our strategy is now to move from being a well-known key global player in the AOX/UVs stabilizers market, with regional activities in other businesses, to a truly specialty chemical company. 
 
In general, we expect growth in demand because of the overall economic growth foreseen for 2018. But besides this, each of the businesses mentioned above have their own dynamics and specific trends. For instance, we expect plastic demand to continue to grow above GDP, driving the demand for Polymer Stabilizers. The growth of plastic demand is clearly related to the megatrends we are experiencing during these years: population growth, economic growth in developing countries, reduction of emissions (lightweight cars) etc. Demand for PVC stabilizers is also driven in certain region by the ongoing substitution of old kind of stabilizers (lead-based in particular) which have been phased out for environmental/toxicity reasons in other areas Polyurethanes will grow because of the development of product for higher end applications.  Lube antioxidants have a very high prospect for growth due to the new standards for lubricating engine oils, growth which should be particularly significant in Asia. In addition, electronic chemicals demand is driven by the constant innovation in the display and semiconductor businesses. 
 
SONGWON is planning a double-digit growth in 2018, partly due to the traditional businesses, and partly due to the new businesses. In 2017, we have been expanding our production footprint to be able to achieve this goal via a new world scale aminic AOX plant for Lube application that started up in the third quarter in Ulsan site, Korea. Another production line for Polyurethanes has been started up also in the third quarter in Suwon site, Korea. The new line dedicated to electronic chemicals is also in operation in Maeam site, Korea. In Panoli site, India, we have expanded the plant capacity for electronic chemicals, started up the production of a new niche AOX for plastics. In addition, we have invested into a new pilot plant which will support a faster scale up of new technologies and products. The start up of another production line for a niche AOX for plastics, a new aminic AOX line and the production line for functional monomers are scheduled to take place in the Ulsan site, Korea.  In 2018 we will continue to expand our plastic AOX capacities through debottlenecking and productivity improvements.
 
We are looking at innovation with renewed focus and commitment. Back in March 2017 we have inaugurated the new Technology Innovation Center in Maeam site (Korea). Keeping an eye on the future, the facility has been already designed with future expansion in mind and is constructed to allow the company to add two more floors later as required.  The new facility hosts both R&D, Global Application Community and Technical Service, and fully supports the complete development of new products from the design phase to final customer applications.
 
Ian K.W. Toh, NatureWorks
 
Mr. Ian K.W. Toh
NatureWorks
Commercial Director, Asia Pacific
Mobile: +65 8399 8498
 
Apart from the macroeconomics factors, industry wise, The New Plastics Economy launched and driven by the Ellen MacArthur foundation since January 2016 is likely to take momentum given more companies from the value chain pledge in support of it – new materials innovation, design better packaging, increase recovery rates, and introduce new models for making better use of packaging.  The industry should broaden the thinking to consider sustainability from the whole product life cycle starting from material sourcing, manufacturing and use, apart from biodegradation or after use options for the product. For material sourcing, bioplastics will play an important role. Optimize the use of renewable material to reduce the carbon footprint is one important mission against the climate change issue. For NatureWorks, we are always looking for new feedstock alternatives to turn greenhouse gases into performance materials. 
 
Drive for environmental awareness and protection in the use of plastics has been more prevalent in the few years, such as the banning on the use of non-compostable plastics bags or food packaging in some countries, and hence there is a need to look at compostable materials for such applications. One example is the single use coffee capsule with a total consumption of 25.4 billion in 2016, and this can be diverted from landfill to industrial composting (organics recovery), yet not compromising its functionality.  However, infrastructure and industrial composting facilities are still not so popular in most of the countries, it is expected renewable or biobased materials will be one key criteria when selecting the material in the industries where composting may not be the suitable disposal option. 
 
If pressure on environmental considerations becomes greater, the industry now – from material supplier to converters and end users – is not quite ready to support such a change as some reinvestment, system change or innovative redesign need to take place. My recommendation is that for each party in the value chain to start looking into these aspects, start working on small scale projects and applications to assess the economics and reinvestment needs as the world is driving toward this direction. 
 
 
INDUSTRY SECTOR
 
Henky Wibawa
 
Mr. Henky Wibawa
Executive Director
Indonesian Packaging Federation
Tel/Fax: +62-21 7441775
 
The impact of shale gas in the plastics industry cannot be undermined as it has affected the price position of plastics in many applications including for packaging in Asia. Another factor that is expected to set the course for future developments in the plastics industry is the environmental concerns in China and many other countries in Southeast Asia which can have the effect of slowing the growth for plastic demand.
 
In the packaging sector, there are trends that are likely to affect the demand for plastics. We have a new generation to think about, they are 'born digital', and there is also the changing   urban life styles, where the way of life is now 24/7, thus consumers need a combination of safety-product quality-convenience for foods that are ready-to-eat and to-drink. The packaging sector will also be focused more on brand engagement, logistic efficiency by smart or intelligent packaging, competitive cost and speed to market, last but not least sustainability design for a circular economy – these are the future of plastics.
 
In Indonesia, plastic packaging demand is still growing although this is very much apparent in certain category segments such as dairy, ready-to-eat convenience food, functional health food, home and personal cares especially in hygiene products. The big challenges for us are our plastic raw materials, which are still about 60% imported. The ASEAN common free market affected Indonesian plastics industry’s cost competitiveness. There is also the challenge of resolving poor infrastructure in goods transportation and high logistics cost while less skilled manpower in our packaging industry needs to be improved by strengthening packaging school and training. Overall, the industry definitely needs new investment and next capacity expansion.
 
 

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