Renewables and regulations in the PVC industry

The PVC compounding industry has been shaken up in recent years by changes in chemical regulations that have removed some traditional additives from the marketplace and put new emphasis on renewable aspects including bio-based plasticisers and recycling.  There have been many voluntary agreements within the PVC associations to make advances ahead of any legal requirement and this has made them a leader in areas like recycling.  This year in Europe there will be more changes in recipes as standard biocides used in protecting many outdoor applications such as waterproof covers will have to be replaced with alternatives.  There are also discussions as to whether some bio-based ingredients require a biocide to prevent degradation. 

Applied Market Information (AMI) has organised a forum to discuss the changes at the 5th international compounding conference PVC Formulation 2013, held from 12th-14th March 2013 in Dusseldorf, Germany.  This event brings together the global vinyl industry to review new PVC additives, recipes, technology, legislation and market drivers. Vinnolit has presented a review of the PVC market in Europe, followed by a look at the PVC market in the growing Turkish economy by Mr. Ali Murat Ayar.

The profile producer Deceuninck gave a keynote paper on the advances in responsible action on the theme reduce, reuse and recover.  Reagens is part of a group aiming for the sustainable use of additives and the CEO Dr Ettore Nanni will outline this project.  The European Union has legislated against the use of heavy metals and this has affected PVC stabilization with moves away from very effective lead formulation in profiles, to new products such as Ca/Zn.  Baerlocher is showing stabilization systems in the construction industry. Naturally occurring minerals are useful not only as fillers but also as active ingredients like flame retardants and this will be demonstrated by Minelco.  Phosphate esters have flame retardant effects and plasticising properties: Lanxess points to the effect of these additives on PVC compound properties in combination with antimony trioxide, zinc borate and fillers.

The status of the current plasticisers market will be presented by the European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates (ECPI).  There is a growing trend in the plastics industry for bio-based and natural materials. In the PVC industry this is mainly seen in the bio-based plasticisers.  In the US this gives a high percentage of renewable carbon for the USDA Biopreferred programme.  The South Americans have vast land areas for crop development and have taken a lead in supplying bio-plasticisers.  Varteco Quimica Iberica from Argentina will give an overview of this market, while PETROM – Petroquimica Mogi Das Cruzes of Brazil with its partner Proviron Functional Chemicals will show some of the new plasticisers. Hallstar has also developed natural products for this market. However, what are the effects on the rest of the recipe of this substitution?  Are these materials so biodegradable that they need microbicides to preserve the vinyl?  

The EU Biocides Directive is going to affect a commonly used ingredient: OBPA antimicrobials which are widely used in outdoor applications as a preservative will be banned. Akcros Chemicals will review the changes and the alternative formulations, and some of the provisional data on the potential need for biocides when using bio-sourced ingredients.  From Switzerland, Sanitized has studied antimicrobial protection for PVC with bio-based plasticisers.

PVC is widely used in food packaging particularly as film, and a producer and expert service provider Polycomply Hoechst will review the current standards.  From the flooring manufacturer’s viewpoint, James Halstead/Polyflor will outline the industry requirements. 

Many factors affect PVC compounding: Chemson will examine the effect and regulation of humidity. Impact strength alongside thermal stability will be the topic of Dow. Foaming is a growing technology to reduce material use and weight: Kaneka Belgium is looking at more foam with less additives.  Processing aids like PE waxes will be discussed by BASF.  Product appeal is enhanced with a good colour range and Holland Colours specialises in the PVC area.

What are the alternative additives for formulations?  What are the requirements of end-users? Are there improvements in PVC processing? How are PVC markets developing?  Is it feasible to incorporate recyclate?  These are some of the debating points at PVC Formulation 2013 conference.


MENA region grew 5%

In 2011, the economic output of the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region grew by 5% compared to 2010 and this rate is expected to be maintained through the next 5 years.   Investments are outpacing economic growth: they represented circa 25% of GDP in 2011 and are expected to reach 28% by 2016.  The region’s population continues to grow fast, further stimulating demand for construction and infrastructure – and hence the demand for pipes.

AMI’s 5th edition of the Middle East Plastic Pipes Conference will take place from 15 to 16 May 2012 in Dubai, UAE, focused on the applications, markets and technology. The  programme includes presentations from Polypipe Gulf LLC, Tasnee, Future Pipe Industries, Gulf Plastic Pipe Academy, Pipe Coil Technology Ltd, Rollepaal B.V., Exova and many more…

For further information, visit AMI website or contact the conference manager.

The Plastic Pipe Industry is going up again

Plastic pipe industry is recovering in Europe and NAFTA and booming in South America. In three new reports, leading plastics industry consultant, Applied Market Information Ltd. (AMI) has documented the established European and North American pipe extrusion industries, as well as the up and coming industry of South America.  The effects of global recession are still taking their toll on the plastics industry and that the pipe extrusion industry is no exception. A 12% drop in the number of pipe extruders listed in AMI’s guide to the pipe extrusion industry in Europe, 5th Edition highlights the effeimage_thumb[1]cts of the global economic crisis of the previous years on the European pipe industry. The remaining 493 listed production sites across Europe are estimated to have been responsible for the consumption of nearly 3 million tonnes of polymer in 2011.  The recovery in the building market in Europe from the recession has been slower and more cautious than for most other plastic market segments (e.g. automotive and packaging) resulting in only relatively modest gains in polymer demand for pipe applications in 2010 and 2011.     
The North American market also saw declining sales volumes for pipe producers in 2008 and 2009 although, as in Europe, there has been a modest recovery in 2010 and 2011. The market there is estimated to account for over 3.6 million tonnes. 
The aim of AMI’s guide to the pipe extrusion industry in NAFTA, 1st Edition is to provide accurate and up-to-date information on pipe extrusion plants in Canada, Mexico and the United States of America.  This information has been compiled using AMI’s extensive knowledge of the industry on a global basis and not only provides a directory and listing of 520 pipe extruders within the NAFTA region, but also an overview and summary of the current status of the industry.
In contrast the demand for pipe extrusion in Latin America has been growing strongly, and AMI has accordingly seen fit to publish a brand new report detailing these developments:  AMI’s guide to the pipe extrusion industry in South America, 1st Edition.  This shows that the region’s committed development to improving infrastructure has had a resounding effect on the expansion of the pipe industry, with over 200 production sites listed within the report.  The size of the industry is however still considerably smaller than its North American and European counterparts with less than 1 million tonnes of polymer consumed in 2011.