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March 8, 1999

8 Min Read
Supplier News


The world buys them, that's who. VDMA, the German machinery manufacturers association, has a rubber and plastics machinery division that tracks production and exports of plastics machinery. That division reports growth in 1995 was 12 percent, and the injection moulding machinery segment made a significant contribution to the growth of the sector with an above-average increase of 23 percent. The chart to the left shows where German plastics and rubber machinery is exported.

Export markets experiencing the greatest growth were India (64.8 percent) and the Asean countries (37.6 percent). The P.R. of China, on the other hand, imported 25.5 percent less machinery in 1995.


Firsthand information for moulders in Asia will be available as nearly 250 companies from 15 countries exhibit their latest technologies at Aseanplas '97. Visitors from the Southeast Asian plastics and rubber industries will gather at the Singapore World Trade Center, from 21-24 January, 1997.

This surpasses by 33 percent the 167 companies that exhibited at the 1996 Aseanplas event, held in Jakarta, Indonesia. This event is organized by Nowea Düsseldorf Asia Pte Ltd. and sponsored by AFPI (Asean Federation of Plastic Industries) and Euromap (European Committee of Machinery Manufacturers for the Plastics and Rubber Industry).

Moulders from Southeast Asia will be invited to examine some of the world´s newest machinery and equipment for injection moulding, as well as raw materials. Nearly all major international suppliers of machinery and material are moving into the Southeast Asian market in response to the growth opportunities here, amplified by emerging new markets of Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and Kampuchea.

Industry analysts are forecasting strong performances in the automotive, construction, packaging, and electrical/electronics industry, all of which are heavy users of plastic and rubber finished products and parts.

The largest contingent of exhibitors come from Germany, followed by Italy, Singapore, Austria, and the U.S. Other exhibitors are from Switzerland, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Canada, U.K., Denmark, France, Sweden, Korea, and India.

As Bernd Aufderheide, managing director of Messe Düsseldorf Asia, explained to IMI, this will be the biggest plastics exhibition ever held in this region. Some 10,000 visitors are expected mainly from the Asean countries, but also from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

For IMI readers it is a perfect chance to meet the IMI people at our stand. Please come and see us, so we can learn more about what the Asian moulders expect from our new journal.

For suppliers that are looking for this big export market, but have not yet decided to exhibit in Singapore, some exhibit space is still available.

Exports Help Italian Machinery Manufacturers

Sales of plastics and rubber machinery in Italy in 1995 were buoyed by a strengthening export market. Injection moulding machines, however, were not as strong as extruders. But exports definitely helped balance what has been a weak domestic market.

According to Assocomoplast, the Italian machinery manufacturers association, the country importing the most Italian machinery was Germany, at 10.9 percent of Italian export production; second was France, at 10.1 percent; and third was the U.K., which purchased 8.3 percent of Italian machinery exports.

Bayer Expands Activities in Thailand

Bayer intends to increase the group's sales in Thailand to more than DM 500 million (US$ 325 million) by the year 2000. Total sales of DM 350 million (US$ 230 million) are expected for 1996. An essential contribution towards the growth in sales is to come from styrene copolymers. Bayer has founded a joint venture to this end with the Thai chemical concern, Premier, in which Bayer has a majority holding of 50.5 percent.

Since April, this com-pany has been operating a SAN plant with an annual capacity of 25,000 metric tons. An ABS plant with an overall annual capacity of 46,000 tons came onstream in mid-June. Annual sales of DM 150 million (US$ 100 million) are expected to be earned with products from this plant, both on the domestic market and through exports.

Dow Enters PP Business

Dow Plastics, Midland, Michigan, USA, intends to become one of the world's leading suppliers of polypropylene during the next 10 years. In a bid to achieve this target, Dow has acquired a license from Montell for its Spheripol technology for the production of PP. At the same time, both partners are hoping to exploit the many years of experience that Dow has acquired in the field of metallocene catalysts to further develop this Spheripol technology.

Dow will initially be using the Spheripol technology in its subsidiary, BSL, Schkopau, Germany. A plant with an annual capacity of 200,000 tons is being built at this location, which is scheduled to come onstream in 1998. Two further plants of comparable capacity are to be constructed by the end of the millennium. The one in Tarragona, Spain, will have the capacity to produce 65,000 metric tons to supply Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Another will be built somewhere in North America. By way of preparation for the market introduction, Dow will initially be purchasing polypropylene from Montell; customer deliveries will start in the fourth quarter of 1996. Over the longer term, the two companies wish to run their own production, purchasing, and sales operations, and also pursue their own marketing strategies and activities, appearing on the PP market as competitors.

World Supply of Polycarbonate
Faces Stiffer Demand, But Capacity Grows

It is no secret that supplies of polycarbonate worldwide have been squeezed for some time. But despite that recent tightness, Bayer predicts that supply will keep up with recent growth. In fact, driven by emerging markets and new technology and applications, global polycarbonate demand will grow annually at a rate of at least 8 to 10 percent, reaching the 1.5 million tons/year milestone in 2000, according to Bayer senior vice president Peter Mueller. After all, global producers have approximately 500,000 tons of capacity expansion planned.

Injection moulding applications such as optical discs, medical parts, and other optical markets will continue to increase that consumption. "The optical disc market has consumed in excess of 750,000 tons since its inception in the 1980s," says Bayer's Mark Witman, director of plastics technology, "and it shows no sign of slowing down. We see this market, which consumed about 85,000 tons in 1995, growing at 18 to 20 percent per year."

Moulders will compete with more basic applications for polycarbonate, such as sheet and film and the 20-liter returnable water bottle, for access to the material that is produced.

In related news, Dow Chemical has announced plans to build a new polycarbonate plant at its site in Stade, Germany. This expansion will bring the Stade plant's capacity to 105,000 metric tons. Dow's Bill Ray, Dow European commercial director for engineering plastics, tempers the prediction for polycarbonate supply a bit, giving a range of 5 to 10 percent growth.

Other polycarbonate activities in the recent news: M.A. Hanna's business unit CTI has opened a European production unit in Saint-Etienne, France. The new facility represents an investment of FF 21 million (US$ 4 million). Initial production capacity is 200 tons per month, but is expected to go to 500 tons per month. Primary focus is on custom reinforced engineering thermoplastics, with the emphasis on polycarbonate reinforced with glass, carbon fiber, or PTFE.

FANUC On the Future of Electric Moulding Machines

In the 1994/95 financial year, Fanuc Ltd., Oshinomura, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, increased its sales by 17.5 percent over the previous year to reach a level of US$ 1.4 billion. Net profits totaled US$ 204 million (up 41 percent). Even when viewed on an international scale, a figure of 14.6 percent profit on sales is impressive. What lies behind the company's success and how does it relate to injection moulding?

Sixty-four percent of Fanuc's sales are generated by CNC controls, motors, motor controllers, primary drive controllers, and laser machining units, while 27 percent are generated by the robot group (industrial robots, electric injection moulding machines, wire EDM, and CNC machining centers).

Fanuc obtained a license for the construction of injection moulding machines from Cincinnati Milacron of the U.S. in 1983. The first electric injection moulding machines came onto the market in 1984. Approximately 4,000 electric injection moulding machines produced by Fanuc are now in use worldwide.

At present some 10 percent of Fanuc's employees are involved in the development and production of electric injection moulding machines. The focus is not only on plastics processing but also on the injection moulding of metals and ceramics.

The third generation of electric injection moulding machines for plastics processing (Roboshot alpha series) offers clamping forces of between 150 and 3,000 kN. The improved CNC control, employing artificial intelligence, controls the screw position, screw speed, and injection pressure. The high repeatability of the injection speed and the injection pressure ensures the uniformity of the parts produced.

According to information supplied by the company, 300 machines of the new Roboshot series have already been sold worldwide. The company's intention is to sell a total of 20 machines in Europe each month. The principal markets for electric injection moulding machines are Japan, the Asean states, and the U.S., primarily for electrical, automotive, and medical components.

Contact Information
in Europe:
Düsseldorf Trade Fairs
Mr. Frank Thorwirth
P.O. Box 101006
D-40001 Düsseldorf
Phone: (49) 211 4560-715
Fax: (49) 211 4560-740

In Asia:
Messe Düsseldorf Asia
Mr. Ting Siew Mui
5 Temasek Boulevard
#05-05 Suntec City Tower
Singapore 038985
Phone: (65) 332-9620
Fax: (65) 337-4633

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