PT Blog

In late 2017, I reported on Braskem forming a technological partnership with Danish-based Haldor Topsoe, that would put the company on the road to developing ‘Green’ PET, to add to its portfolio of biobased PE and EVA. The collaboration called for Braskem and Haldor Topsoe, a global leader in catalysts and technology for the chemical and refining industries, to explore a pioneering route for the production of monoethylene glycol (MEG) from sugar at a single industrial unit, which reduces the initial investment in production and consequently makes the process more competitive. MEG is one of two key components used to make PET, and has a current global market estimated at around  $25 billion.

The partners have now announced the startup of a pilot plant in Lyngby, Denmark, and say it marks a decisive step in confirming the technical  and economic feasibility of producing renewable MEG on an industrial scale. Built in Denmark, the unit has annual production capacity of hundreds of tons of glycolaldehyde, a substance that is converted into MEG. The goal is for the plant to convert various raw materials, such as sucrose, dextrose and second-generation sugars, into MEG. Currently, the compound is made from fossil-based feedstocks, such as naphtha, gas or coal. Starting in 2020, clients will receive samples to test in their products.

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Wittmann Battenfeld has made several enhancements to its liquid silicone rubber injection molding equipment. The most important changes are a revised screw design and integration of the LSR dosing pump into the machine’s control system via OPC-UA communication, the emerging standard for Industry 4.0. Any commonly available LSR dosing and pumping system can now be connected to a Wittmann Battenfeld press controller via an OPC-UA interface, the company says.

The revised injection screw has an optimized shaft seal at the end of the shaft in front of the screw coupling to reduce the risk of silicone leaking out toward the screw drive. Another improvement is to the check valve, combining a larger flow cross-section with a faster and more precise closing mechanism. This has led to a significant improvement in shot-weight precision compared with the predecessor version, the company reports.

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A number of injection molding machine builders are betting that the answer is Yes. If you’re looking for evidence to answer that question for yourself, consider this demonstration at last month’s Plástico Brasil 2019 show in São Paulo. A 160-metric-ton all-electric Engel e-motion press molded thin-wall PP ice-cream cups in four cavities with IML in 2.2 sec. Total shot weight was 14.8 g. The machine boasts injection speeds up to 500 mm/sec. Credit for the extremely fast cycles also goes to Beck Automation of Switzerland, which provided the IML automation.

Though it’s not easy to find an apples-to-apples comparison with a hydraulic machine, Arburg demonstrated four-cavity molding of PP tubs with IML in 1.95 sec at NPE2018. The shot size was quite similar (each tub weighed 3.4 g). The press was an Allrounder 570 H (200 m.t.) with an electric clamp unit and hydraulic accumulator injection unit. IML automation came from Brink B.V. of the Netherlands.

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Eliminate any doubt by attending the Tuesday afternoon session on Medium & Large Parts Molding for Mechanical Performance & Aesthetics at the Molding 2019 Conference in Indianapolis, March 19-21.

That session will have three speakers on in-mold labeling and decorating (IML & IMD) for decorative and functional applications:

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Just a couple of weeks ago, I reported that in pursuing solutions that contribute to the circular economy and sustainable development, polyolefins resin supplier Braskem had formed new partnerships to accelerate the development of chemical recycling of consumer products such as grocery bags, and packaging films for snacks and cookies.

On March 5,Eastman Chemical announced plans to launch an advanced circular recycling technology that uses polyester waste which cannot be recycled by current mechanical methods. Moreover, the company’s goal is to be operating a full-scale, advanced circular recycling facility within 24 to 36 months.

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