Plastics – Trends and Perspectives

imageSince 1952, the K trade fair in Düsseldorf has been presenting tangible evidence of the plastics and rubber industry’s global success. The twentieth edition of the K trade fair in 2016 is no different: a benchmark and orientation point for the plastics and plastics processing industry.

Between 1950 and 2015, the consumption of plastics and rubber have risen by an average of 8.5 % per annum. Since the beginning of the new millennium, the growth rates have still been rising by between 4 and 5 %. They do, however, vary significantly from region to region, and change with the product and application.

imageThe rising global population and the overall improvement in living standards are the main factors that drive global growth. The effects of increasing prosperity can be seen in many markets for plastics application, spearheaded by packaging for food and convenience goods, but also in the variety of storage and shipping containers. Infrastructure and construction also require the use of plastics in water, electricity and gas supply systems, as well as in insulation, window profiles and many more. Another aspect is increasing mobility – in cars, lorries and airplanes. Medical engineering is one area of application where polymer materials have become indispensable: without safe, disposable and hygienic plastics products, technical dimageevices and systems, diagnostics, laboratory equipment and the safe application of medical drugs would not be able to comply with current quality standards. This also applies to our modern and widely appreciated sports and leisure products. In their markets, these applications, equipped with or entirely made of plastics or rubber, contribute to the global acceptance and proliferation of polymer materials.

In 2015, the association of European plastics producers, PlasticsEurope, reported a global plastics production volume of 322 million tonnes. A proportion of almost 270 million tonnes was attributed to polymer materials, i.e. materials used for the production of plastics applications. The remaining amount, about 50 million tonnes, were used for the production of coatings, adhesives, dispersions, lacquer or paint. Analyses of the same period published by the International Rubber Study Group IRSG show a global rubber production and consumption volume of almost 29 million tonnes, 12 million tonnes of which were attributed to natural rubber and almost 17 million tonnes were synthetic rubber.

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Health and Safety Issues in the Rubber Industry

rubber sfety bookiSmithers Rapra Publishing (Shropshire, UK) has announced the release of Update on Health and Safety in the Rubber Industries. This report takes a broad overview of the rubber industry and highlights the key concerns over safety that are currently being raised. Legislation in the UK and USA is discussed in depth. Safety of processing equipment is discussed as are the measures that can be taken to avoid injury from machinery. Rubber dust and fume exposures during rubber processing are considered to be general health hazards. Chemicals used in rubber manufacture/processing, particularly solvents have been responsible for many health effects in the rubber industry, these are outlined here. Recommendations for handling rubber chemicals are given.

The rubber industry uses both natural and synthetic rubber. Tyres and tyre products account for approximately 60% of the synthetic rubber and 75% of the natural rubber used, and this industry employs about half a million workers worldwide. Important non-tyre uses of rubber include automotive belts and hoses, gloves, condoms and rubber footwear.

To read the table of contents, CLICK HERE.
To read a sample chapter of the book, CLICK HERE.
For more information, click on the image.

Multitalented elastic materials for undercover assignments

When most people think about rubber, the first thing that comes to mind is probably car tyres. After all, we see them everywhere on our streets and roads, and many of us have to ensure that they are regularly inspected and replaced. About 60 percent of the 22 million tonnes of rubber used worldwide every year are processed to make all kinds of tyres. However, rubber can be used for many other purposes, most of which fall under the headings “sealing”, “damping” and “transportation” – three simple words, with a lot more to them than might first appear. This is because many rubber products are used for undercover applications, so that most people are unaware of the real scope of this material’s versatility. Rubber products are used to seal things as small as medicinal ampoules and as large as the roofs of stadiums. They help trains to run smoothly and engines to run quietly, ensure that conveyor belts perform energy-efficiently and wind turbines gain the necessary momentum. They give operating elements their soft-touch feeling, and – in the form of safety clothing – protect people against dangerous substances. As belts in different shapes and sizes, they transmit energy, and as hoses of all kinds they transport fluids, both in the home and in industrial and medical applications.The new materials have been accompanied by changes in rubber processing technology. Rising raw material costs and falling prices to buyers are forcing processors to continuously improve the efficiency of their production methods. Many of the new possibilities will be presented at K 2010 – the world’s biggest trade fair for plastics and rubber – from 27 October to 3 November in Düsseldorf.

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Vacuum chamber press for compression and transfer moulding

The new universally applicable vacuum chamber press for compression and transfer moulding, from Wickert (Landau, Germany) makes moulds with very high calibre numbers possible. With a pressing force of 5500 kN injection pressures of up to 350 kg/cm² are available in the transfer pot. The transfer process enables many injection points on the component. The machine can be used in both hot channel and cold channel-transfer processes and is prepared for temperature control of the transfer pot. This vacuum chamber press is suitable above all for rubber-metal-combinations. The loading of metal parts by Loading-Racket is very easy due to the good accessibility to the mould plates, making it easy to check afterwards whether the parts are all lying in the right position in the cavities.

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