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Tim Stedman, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development at Trinseo.
Tim Stedman, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development at Trinseo.

Trinseo, the global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders, and synthetic rubber, showcased its solutions-oriented approach to rethinking innovation at K 2019.

What does rethinking innovation mean? At Trinseo, it means “going beyond typical product development and focusing on delivering forward-looking solutions that not only meet sustainability needs, but also enable customers to capture shifting trends with products that deliver true market differentiation”.

“The aim of Trinseo is driving future orientation around sustainability and mega trends. Besides, it also focuses on product differentiation,” Tim Stedman, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development at Trinseo, told CPRJ.

As he said, Trinseo is developing products and services that allow customers to meet the needs of society. For example, an aging population is leading to the increased importance of health care, and several of the company's products can withstand aggressive cleaning agents found in hospitals.

For electric vehicles, several of Trinseo’s products are well suited for charging stations as wells as supporting light weighting of vehicles. For interiors of vehicles, the company’s thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) allow the making of both rigid and soft touch plastics, creating an environment that is much more conducive to personal experience.

Heavily engaged in polystyrene recycling

As a founding member of Styrenics Circular Solutions (SCS), a consortium that explores new methods for polystyrene recycling, Trinseo has a strong commitment to sustainability. Therefore, Rethinking Sustainability was one of the company’s key themes at the show.

At the K fairgrounds, Trinseo’s plastics portfolio of sustainable products included both rigid and soft touch plastics, such as TPE bio-based and biodegradable plastics under the trade name of APINAT, and polycarbonate containing up to 75% post-consumer recycled (PCR) content in the rigid portfolio, under the EMERGE ECO Advanced Resin series. ENLITE PP LGF Structural Polymers were also featured, offering the automotive industry a sustainable alternative answering the need for weight savings.

The company also highlighted its industry leadership in the development of circular solutions and polystyrene recycling by hosting different conferences and workshops.

More chemical recycling projects have become real-world things, ready to be additional solutions for mechanical recycling. Trinseo is heavily engaged in this more complex but emerging recycling method.

“Apart from working with our Styrenics Circular Solutions partners in Europe, we have a joint venture in North America, Americas Styrenics (AmSty). AmSty is at the leading edge of the development of Polystyrene chemical recycling, taking polystyrene back to styrene monomer. That’s a very exciting opportunity for polystyrene recycling. There’s a misconception that polystyrene is not recyclable,” explained Tim Stedman.

One of the challenges of recycling is downcycling a product. According to Tim Stedman, the joint venture in the North America has already proved that the same quality of polystyrene can be achieved after recycling, which is closing the loop.

New TPE pilot facility in Hsinchu, Taiwan

Trinseo recently announced its plans for a TPE pilot facility in Hsinchu, Taiwan. The pilot facility will serve customers in the automotive, consumer electronics, footwear and medical markets. It will be built at Trinseo’s existing manufacturing site in Hsinchu and will begin operation in 2020.

The investment in a state-of-the art TPE pilot facility in Asia Pacific is the next step of Trinseo’s TPE growth roadmap. Once the new pilot line in Hsinchu is operational, the company will locally produce its custom engineered TPE and thermoplastic urethanes.

At some point, the logic is to step into Asia. The developments in the region in terms of mobility, aging population, digitization, etc. absolutely play into the products and capability that we have, despite the trade and economic situations at the moment,” remarked Tim Stedman.

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