Archive for December, 2006

Wavin: Strong organic growth in second half of 2006

Monday, December 18th, 2006

Plastic pipe manufacturer Wavin has announced today strong revenue growth for 2006 and forecasts a year total of €1.5bn, an increase of approximately 13% on 2005. The company, which is headquartered in Zwolle, the Netherlands, said it expects an Ebita profit in the range of €192-197m. Wavin said it is expecting a 10% increase in second half organic revenue growth, compared with last year’s performance during the same period. The company said revenue growth had been seen in both its business units – Building and Installation, and Civils and Infrastructure. In a statement, the company said that it had seen significant revenue growth in Central and Easter Europe, with signs of a recovery in the German market. “In the UK/Ireland, our largest region, we have seen steady growth in the UK, and continuing high building activity levels in Ireland,” the company said. Wavin also said that the integration of Hepworth Building Products was “proceeding successfully”. The Dutch company completed its purchase of Hepworth from Germany’s Vaillant in 2005. The acquisition gave Wavin a turnover boost of more than 20%, and gave the company access to Hepworth’s clay and concrete pipes.

Basell: 50 Years of Continuous Testing of Pipes made from Hostalen HDPE Grades Completed

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

Pipes made from Basell’s Hostalen high density polyethylene have now undergone 50 years of continuous testing, according to Ulrich Schulte, head of the Application and Technical Service for Basell’s Pipe and Sheet business unit.
‘Two pipe specimens made from Hostalen GM5010 that were installed in October 1956 are still in service and continue to undergo creep tests designed to evaluate the progressive deformation of the pipes under pressure at a temperature of 20 °C,’ Schulte said.
When HDPE pipe grades were in the early development stages at Basell predecessor company Hoechst, customers were aiming to produce water pipe systems with a minimum service life of 50 years, according to Schulte, who is based at Basell’s PE research and development centre in Frankfurt, Germany.
‘Creep tests by Hoechst on pipes made from Hostalen HDPE commenced in 1954,’ Schulte said. ‘In the early years of plastic pipe material development the researchers at Hoechst were basing their indication of service life on accelerated pressure tests at elevated temperatures, and the results were then extrapolated using a mathematical formula, the Arrhenius methodology.’ In 1956 long term creep testing at room temperature (20°C), was also initiated.
Schulte added: ‘By 1959, after only four and a half years of elevated temperature testing at 80 °C, an extrapolation of the time-to-failure values obtained provided an indication of the service life for the pipes made from Hostalen HDPE undergoing the test over a period of 50 years at 20 °C,’ said Schulte. ‘It is gratifying to know that today, more than half a century later, the results of the long term creep tests (at 20 °C) initiated by those pioneers working on the Hostalen grades, correlate with the service life potential for pipes which they indicated so long ago.’
The Hostalen GM5010 test findings are significant, Schulte pointed out, because the same extrapolation method is used to provide an indication of the service life of today’s improved generation of Hostalen GM 5010 T3 Black and Hostalen CRP 100 Black and Blue pipe materials.
Basell is the world’s largest producer of polypropylene and advanced polyolefin products, a leading supplier of polyethylene and catalysts, and a global leader in the development and licensing of polypropylene and polyethylene processes. Basell, together with its joint ventures, has manufacturing facilities around the world and sells products in more than 120 countries.

Rapra Technology: Project aims to optimise twin screw extrusion

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

The UK’s Rapra Technology is leading a pan-European, 21-strong consortium that intends to strengthen the industry’s knowledge base and understanding of twin screw processing. The three-year, €3.35m research project has attracted €2.18m funding from the European Commission under its Collective Research programme designed to benefit SMEs. The project, termed PEPT-Flow, is based on a flow analysis technique known as positron emission particle tracking that will study polymer flow and mixing behaviour within twin screw processes. Much of the research work will be carried out at Birmingham University, which has the relevant particle tracking equipment.
Work has started on establishing an optimum size and construction for a twin screw extruder that is compatible with the capabilities of Birmingham’s equipment – and a special extruder will be built, if necessary. The main R&D effort will then undertake a scientific analysis of different screw elements and components, and their effects when used with different materials. Rapra says it expects the project to have a significant impact on the competitiveness of European SMEs throughout the supply chain because of the benefits that will derive from optimisation of machine design, process set-up and production operations. It should also lead to improved simulation and modelling software. Consortium partners include the BPF, PMMDA, GKV and Assocomaplast. Dedicated SME companies that will provide guidance and research input include twin screw specialists Rondol Technology and ICMA San Giorgio.

Conair: Installation of Davis-Standard Extruder in Pittsburgh Lab

Monday, December 11th, 2006

Conair recently installed a 3 1/2-inch (90mm) Davis-Standard extruder at the company’s technical center in Pittsburgh, Penn. The extruder is being used for developing and testing new downstream equipment designs. Specifically, it enables Conair to support trials for larger tubing and profile applications, and those with higher output requirements.
“We’ve had a long-standing relationship with Davis-Standard and a mutual respect for each other’s capabilities in the industry. This extruder is a welcomed addition to our lab,” said Ernie Preiato, Vice President of Applied Products for Conair. “In addition to testing new downstream equipment, we’ll be using this extruder for customer demonstrations, product development and prototype samples.”
Conair’s technical center is widely used by the company’s engineers as well as customers. It is also available to Conair’s OEM partners like Davis-Standard who want to take customers to the facility. With the technical center, Conair has created a plant-like setting that enables its engineers to work with equipment before it is used in the field. Customers use the facility to enhance existing products, improve output rates or product tolerances, and develop new products for prototype samples before going to production. According to Preiato, the facility enables customers to have time for “pure development” which is often hard with the production deadlines that exist in a typical plant environment.
For more information about Conair’s technical center, contact Ernie Preiato at [email protected] For more information about Davis-Standard’s laboratory and small systems equipment, contact Simon Dominey at [email protected]

AMC: Installation of AMC/BEX 54 and AMC Compact downstream increases efficiency and output of customer

Monday, December 11th, 2006

“The extruder from American Maplan out-produces our other extruders and uses less energy,” says Chuck Singleton, president of Central States Marketing and Manufacturing, McPherson, KS. “The efficiencies alone have made it a
viable decision.”
Installed in August, the AMC/BEX 54 and AMC Compact downstream have led to a 10-15% immediate efficiency increase, according to Singleton. Additionally “it’s capability to precision cut has alleviated the necessity of off-line cutting.”
Central States Marketing and Manufacturing (CSM & Mfg) was developed in January 2003 and moved to its current location in McPherson, KS in January 2006. CSM & Mfg has the ability to produce ABS, acrylic, flexible and rigid PVC, PP, PE, PS, TPO
and TPE. The American Maplan extrusion system has allowed the company to produce window, fence and siding accessories, custom work (signs, furniture) and other custom profiles. An easy-to-install “plug-and-play” extrusion system, the AMC/BEX 54 and the AMC Compact downstream were running the same day of installation. “It exceeded our expectation in terms of installation and operation and has aided our recent success in the marketplace,” says Singleton.

With this success, CSM & Mfg plans to exchange some of their current extruders for American Maplan models and expand into the techBEX production lines in the near future, based on new projects. The AMC/BEX 54 has an output range of 65-285 lb/hr. The extruder is designed with water filled screws and air cooled barrel. The design is consistent with other American Maplan twin screw extruders yielding high throughput at low screw speeds and consistent melt homogeneity with optimized process control. The American Maplan Compact downstream includes the calibrating table with two vacuum pumps and stainless steel plumbing, tanks and fittings. The belt haul off has belts independently driven by AC motors coupled with a production proven electronic differential gearbox. The high precision saw cuts within +/- 0.02 in. at a maximum speed of 65 ft/min.

Arkema: Bioplastic Rilsan® PA11 approved

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

Arkema’s Rilsan® PA11 has been approved by several automotive contractors for biodiesel fuel lines in Europe and Brazil. Rilsan® PA11 indeed features superior ageing resistance to biodiesel at high temperature. This renewable source high performance bioplastic derived from castor seeds opens up the way to the use of biodiesel in automotive fuel lines.
Today’s increasing use of biofuels has led Arkema to develop a new Rilsan® grade, M-BESN Noir P210TL, specifically for biodiesel. Biofuels are in fact much more aggressive than traditional crude oil based fuels. Arkema’s Rilsan® biodiesel grade benefits from the inherent properties of polyamide 11 that ensure superior performance compared to polyamide 12, in particular with its outstanding chemical and mechanical ageing resistance at high temperature in the presence of pure biodiesel.
Arkema has been renowned for many years for its specific polyamide grades for fuel lines in diesel cars. Rilsan® PA11 BESN Noir P20TL is now the reference material for diesel fuel lines thanks to its outstanding resistance to high temperatures in the under-hood environment of vehicles. Used instead of rubber and metal assemblies, Rilsan® also affords significant cost savings.
In addition, biobased Rilsan® PA11 can be combined with conductive Rilsan® PA11 whenever electrical conductivity complying with Standard SAE J1645 is required (Rilperm® 2101 twin-layer line).
By adapting its product range to the requirements of carmakers, Arkema aims to strengthen its position as a dedicated high-performance polyamide supplier to the automotive industry.
Arkema is committed to sustainable development by developing and marketing products for today’s generations, and not at the expense of tomorrow’s generations. The use of renewable source fuels such as biodiesel and flexfuel combined with the use of biobased Rilsan® PA11 can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
With global brands like Rilsan®, Pebax® and Platamid®, unique products like Rilsan® biobased PA11, and leading capacities in Rilsan® PA 11 and 12, Arkema’s Technical Polymers business unit provides its customers with global coverage and superior regional service from production facilities and research sites in Europe, Asia, and the USA.
A global chemical player, Arkema consists of 3 coherent and balanced business segments: Vinyl Products, Industrial Chemicals, and Performance Products. Present in over 40 countries with 18,400 employees, Arkema achieves sales of 5.7 billion euros. With its 6 research centers in France, the United States and Japan, and internationally recognized brands, Arkema holds leadership positions in its principal markets.

Davis-Standard: R&D Facility in Texas Bustling with Activity

Monday, December 4th, 2006

Customer activity for both product trials and extrusion seminars has been on the rise at the Davis-Standard/Jorgenson Machinery laboratory in Houston, Texas. The lab, a partnership between Davis-Standard, LLC and Jorgenson Machinery Corporation, has seen a continual increase in lab utilization and inquiries since opening in 2005. Davis-Standard customers from across the U.S. and as far as the U.K. have come to run product trials in the areas of sheet, blown film, cast film, compounding and other processes. The lab is equipped with the full range of Davis-Standard Killion laboratory and small systems equipment as well as film gauges, tensile testers, melt indexers, gel counters, analytical systems, corona treaters and temperature control/chillers.
According to Emery Jorgenson, lab manager and owner of Jorgenson Machinery, Killion Laboratories is widely used for material and application development as well as proprietary trials. ‘Customers are pleased with the size of the lab, range of equipment and overall capabilities. They are able to do proof of concept testing that would otherwise cost them thousands of dollars more if they tried to do it in house,’ explained Jorgenson. ‘We are increasing our number of trials each month and continue to receive an impressive number of inquiries. Recent trial activity includes a three-layer cast trial with EVOH, a multi-layer coating and paper laminating trial, and a three-layer blown film trial with PVOH. In some instances, customers ask us to run trials even if they are not able to be there.’
Due to its proximity to the Houston airport, technical capabilities and set-up, the lab is also becoming a popular location for extrusion seminars focused on specific extrusion disciplines such as blown film and gel counting. The gel counting seminar in July was so popular that a second seminar was scheduled for September. This seminar focused on gel analysis using a gel counter for quality control testing of film on a cast or blown film station. Participants learned about the composition of gels, how they are created, and solutions for dealing with them.
Simon Dominey, manager of Davis-Standard’s specialty systems, Killion and laboratory business groups, is pleased with the lab’s progress. ‘We have customers from across the country using or interested in using the lab. We have several inquiries from Europe and Japan, and have completed a trial for a UK company,’ he said. ‘The lab is continuing to evolve as we upgrade and add new equipment and services. In the meantime, we are able to accommodate just about any process including tensile testing for film, off-line profiling to measure film thickness, gel analysis and several other specialized applications.’

Switch to non-lead PVC stabilisers prompts investment

Monday, December 4th, 2006

PVC additive makers are stepping up their commitment to non-lead stabilisers in the face of the impending Reach programme, the voluntary phase-out and the soaring price of lead.
The combination is prompting strong growth in the demand for calcium based additive products, says PVC stabiliser maker Baerlocher, which has responded with a series of investments totalling some €8m to provide additional supplies of product, it says.
Heading the programme is a 7,000tpa increase in capacity for calcium one packs at the company’s Lingen site, in Germany, scheduled to come on stream in January. It will be followed by the provision of additional capacities for making calcium-based products in other forms such as the novel pastille types.
Baerlocher has already started up new dedicated production lines for calcium-based products during the course of this year at Seremban in Malaysia and Dewas in India.
Also investing to meet non-lead stabiliser demand is Netherlands-based Kisuma Chemicals, which recently completed a €20m programme in capacity for its Alcamizer speciality magnesium compounds.
The company, which warns of an imminent shortage of these synthetic hydrotalcites used in non-lead heat stabilisers, will now raise the capacity of its Veendam plant to 30 000tpa in a two phase programme costing €50m. The first stage will be completed before the end of next year.
Meanwhile additives leader Chemtura says it is enjoying rapid growth in demand for its organic heavy metal-free stabilisers. Having seen demand double in the past year, the company expects to quadruple sales in the next three years, says additives vp Marcus Meadow-Smith.