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CHINAPALS 2019 crowded with international visitors.
CHINAPALS 2019 crowded with international visitors.

The highly successful four-day CHINAPLAS 2019 drew down its curtain in Guangzhou. For the plastics and rubber industries and other key end-use sectors, the show was like an elite performance stage, which focused on exhibiting top performance technologies that satisfy the latest market demands.

Record breaking attendance of Guangzhou show with 163,314 visitors

CHINAPLAS proved again it is an attractive and effective platform for sourcing and showcasing latest state-of-the-art plastics technologies.

CHINAPLAS 2019 drew down its curtain on May 24 in Guangzhou, China. A total of 163,314 visitors showed up in the China Import and Export Fair Complex, Pazhou, Guangzhou, topping the Guangzhou show’s all-time record.

Visitor numbers have grown about 5.2% from the last edition in Guangzhou in 2017 to historic high this year. Overseas visitors accounted for 25.72% of the total number of visitors, according to the organizer, Adsale Exhibition Services Ltd.

With an exhibition space occupying more than 250,000 square meters, CHINAPLAS 2019 attracted over 3,600 exhibitors from all over the world to present numerous pioneering technologies that are helping plastics and rubber companies to stand out and grow.

Concurrent events on market trends

Apart from a mega showcase of technologies, a series of practical and insightful concurrent events were also held fruitfully to reinforce the theme of “Innovation is Key to the Future”.

These included “Industry 4.0 Factory of the Future”, “Tech Talk”, “Medical Plastics Connect” and “Design x Innovation”. The live demonstrations of smart manufacturing, CMF inspiration walls, medical plastic showcase and technical forums were all crowd-pulling activities, boosting the exchange of expertise and market information.

Exhibitors being interviewed hailed CHINAPLAS’s increasing sophistication of showcased technologies, reinforcing the fact that the market is requiring more innovative, high-tech materials and equipment for production upgrade, in particular, in China and other Asian countries.

Reaching the goal of Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is now a widespread goal among enterprises in the plastics and rubber industries, and therefore, elite machine manufacturers are rolling out their latest smart manufacturing technologies, which are practical solutions freshly installed in high-tech factories around the world.

CHINAPLAS 2019 boosted the promotion of Industry 4.0 by organizing the concurrent event, Industry 4.0 Factory of the Future. At the fairground, there were two themed areas, “Manufacturing Intelligence Control Room” and “Smart Factory”, to demonstrate practical Industry 4.0 solutions. Among them, the control room displayed operational data recorded in machines operating at different booths and various factories in Asia and Europe.
The live demonstrations of Industry 4.0 Factory of the Future attracted crowds of visitors.
Meanwhile, many control systems suppliers were on show, and one of them was KEBA. The Austria-based automation specialist presented the full range of KePlast systems for controlling injection molding machines.

As introduced by Günther Weilguny, Product Manager, Industrial Automation, Plastics of KEBA, the major exhibit this year was the new KePlast i3000. It was launched to the Chinese market for the first time at CHINAPLAS.

The new control generation KePlast i3000 stands out with the latest multi-touch technology and a powerful controller with a future-proof software platform which enables several communication protocol and interface standards, such as OPC UA and EUROMAP 77, 79, 82, etc.

Günther Weilguny, Product Manager, Industrial Automation, Plastics of KEBA. In addition, the 12”, 15” and 18” multi-touch screen panels of the OP 500 series set new standards in operation and fulfills the needs of end users. “A smooth workflow with intuitive multi-touch gestures allows process values to be set extremely quickly, and reduces the time required for sampling and service,” he said.

Commenting on the development of Industry 4.0, he said: “Industry 4.0 represents the future, and we are well prepared for it with our wide range of controllers and platforms. Now, many Chinese customers are working towards the concept of Industry 4.0 and I think China is on a good path.”

We see that multi-touch is a big trend now. Every customer is used to work with smartphone. Now, users can control the machine just like they use a smartphone. This is an irreversible trend in the industry,” he said.

High output recycling machines the trend setter

Recycling and circular economy, as a mega trend of the plastics industry, was under the spotlight at CHINAPLAS 2019.

A contract signing ceremony was held at CHINAPLAS 2019 between Chinese recycling firm Guolong Recyclable Resources Group and five renowned European suppliers of plastics recycling technology, including TOMRA, SOREMA, EREMA, SML and KIEFEL.

Guolong is expected to have a turnkey project line comprising sorting equipment from TOMRA, washing line from SOREMA, recycling equipment from EREMA and an extrusion line from SML, with KIEFEL’s thermoforming machinery closing the loop. The total value of the equipment purchased exceeded €30 million.
Michael Heitzinger, Managing Director at EREMA.
EREMA Managing Director Michael Heitzinger commented that the project of Guolong reflects the fact that the Chinese recycling market has high potential, with enterprises willing to invest in high quality and high output recycling machines.

I think there are two signs here. One sign is that it shows the Chinese producers are eager to produce good quality products and have to choose good suppliers. Second sign is that they see recycling really coming at a good level,” he said.

Michael Heitzinger pointed out that PET recycling is definitely a big market focus in China. The trend in the country is focusing on post-consumer recycled products, but not on food contact recycled products.

Nevertheless, he believes that PET bottle to bottle application will become a trend in China, as more big names in the food and beverage sector are increasing the ratio of recycled plastics for bottles.

In order to help customers to produce top quality products with top performance from the equipment, EREMA is enhancing its technological capability and expanding its production facilities.

Another Austrian recycling machine expert NGR received more enquiries from visitors at the show when compared with last few years.
Karlheinz Berger, Sales Director Asia of NGR.
According to Karlheinz Berger, Sales Director Asia of NGR, the visitors at the company booth focused on very specific solutions and the enquiries were very concrete, showing that there has been better understanding of recycling technologies in the market.

Karlheinz Berger expects that the demands for automated and customized solutions will be increased as recycling are widely adopted in more end-user applications. He also commented that PET recycling is one of the hottest trends in the global recycling market.

NGR’s P:REACT machine offers the next dimension of PET recycling. Thanks to its specially developed Liquid State Polycondensation (LSP) method, post-consumer PET can be turned into food-safe recycled PET (rPET) efficiently and safely.

On May 20 (the day before grand opening of CHINAPLAS 2019), the “CHINAPLAS x CPRJ Plastics Recycling & Circular Economy Conference and Showcase” was held and received an overwhelming response from the industry.

The conference gathered from all around the world the latest innovations, improvements in processes, application examples, unique perspectives and insightful viewpoints regarding the circular economy and recycled plastic materials.

High-tech materials and new processing for future mobility

The rapid emergence of electric, lightweight and intelligent vehicles is revolutionizing the automotive sector. At CHINAPLAS 2019, a series of latest solutions for this evolving sector were shown, including materials and production technologies for interiors and exteriors of vehicles.

The AKXY concept electric vehicle (EV) presented by Asahi Kasei caught the eyes of many visitors at the show. The concept EV uses a wide variety of Asahi Kasei materials, products and integrated systems, numbering 27 products in all.
The concept EVs showcased by BASF were eye catchers of the show.
The two-seat concept EVs developed by BASF in collaboration with the Research and Development Center of Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Ltd. were attractions as well. These models adopt several of BASF’s innovative materials and solutions, have a futuristic design, and are tailor-made for Chinese car owners with diversified lifestyles.

There were many live system demonstrations dedicated to auto parts production, one of these was the new ReactPro+Hybrid Manufacture System of Guangdong Yizumi Precision Machinery Co. , Ltd., which can be used to produce automotive interior trim, such as dashboard, door panel, A/B/C/D column, etc.

The combination of thermoplastic material and polyurethane (PU) can effectively improve the quality and appearance of auto parts. Yizumi’s technology is based on an intelligent combination of injection molding and PU processing. When compared with traditional injection molding, it produces parts with PU surface in one shot process efficiently.

Thinner PU products can be prepared cost effectively and also have high quality appearance and touch, with scratch resistance, self-repair and other excellent characteristics. The combination of 3D printing and injection molding can realize more possibilities of injection molding products.

Meanwhile, MATSUI displayed different auxiliary equipment solutions under the theme “factor 4” which aims at facilitating producers in the plastics industry to increase the productivity by four times with halved resources.

In the automotive sector, as many auto part producers increase the percentage of carbon fiber and use resin foaming for their products for higher strength and lighter weight, we have developed breakthrough solutions to solve the production problems that come along,” explained Takeshi TOMOMITSU, Senior General Manager, Solution Business Company Solution Division, MATSUI MFG. CO., Ltd.

INCOE’s Direct-Flo HEM-Miniature Hydraulic system.
INCOE Corporation, renowned supplier of hot runner technology, showcased two new products which are compact structured but have high output, as well as many auto parts produced by its solutions.

One of the new products showcased was the Direct- Flo DF 12 nozzle with MP 24 heater, which is simple for installation and increases stability of the mold through less milling. Another was Direct-Flo HEM-Miniature Hydraulic. It is a compact hydraulic actuator with smaller milling areas and thus less production effort is required.

We see new trends in molding, which are smaller systems and higher injection pressure. It means that nozzle heaters need to be compact,” said Jim Bott, Automotive Business Development Manager of INCOE Corporation.

For example, the thickness of auto parts is going down from 2-3 mm historically to 1-1.5 mm. Thus, a thinner wall production calls for high injection pressure and precise control of the flow of plastics.

Though the automotive market is slowing down globally, but it has little impact on our business. With the trends of electrical vehicles and autonomous driving, car brands are striving for lightweight. Though the volume of cars was cut down, the volume for plastic components were increased,” remarked Jim Bott.

Packaging: striving for balance between functionality and sustainability

In the packaging sector, packaging films are enjoying continuous growth as flexible packaging is a more efficient type of packaging.

The trend in packaging sector is moving from rigid towards flexible packaging, as flexible packaging uses less material for production, as well as less space and energy consumption for logistics,” Reinhard Priller, Sales Director of Brückner Maschinenbau, explained.
Reinhard Priller, Sales Director of Brückner Maschinenbau.
However, challenge comes along with opportunity. At present, film manufacturers are striving for the balance between functionality and sustainability, such as better barrier property and higher recyclability.

According to Reinhard Priller, Brückner has already invested in R&D facilities for the next development of flexible packaging films production in the earlier stage. He believes that both high recyclability and good functionality can be achieved at the same time, and one of the solutions will be laminated and coated films.

Brückner adopts a strong approach to recyclability and circular economy. At the show, the company presented a new BOPE line concept with a huge potential for the flexible packaging markets and the upcoming circular economy.

As said, the line provides easy sorting and recycling, and new mono-material solutions as substitution of not recyclable multilayer structures and material composites. In addition, the films are with excellent mechanical and optical properties.

The new Brückner inline coating system, a cooperation with the German coating specialist Kroenert, was also introduced. It was developed for manufacturing of mono-material high barrier films which are better sortable and recyclable.

German thermoforming specialist Kiefel is dedicated to offering one-stop turnkey solutions. According to Reinhold Plot, Head of Communications, packaging is the most important sector for the company at the moment.

Kiefel’s KMD 78.1 Premium is used for the manufacture of packaging products.Reinhold Plot observed that the most significant trend in the packaging sector is circular economy. Recycling is certainly the main topic for plastics players nowadays, especially in China, he said.

At the company’s booth, the Speedformer KMD 78.1 Premium compressed air forming machine was a magnet for visitors. It comprises a film unreeling station, a heating station, a forming station, a cutting station and a stacking station.

The machine on display demonstrated the production of PP takeaway trays made with a 12-cavity mold. A sealable thermoformed lid was also produced on a KMD, completing the tray to provide a cost-effective and safe container for take-away soups or other liquid takeaway food.

In addition, the KMD 78.1 Premium is used for the manufacture of packaging products made of (R)PET, PP, PS, CPET, OPS, PLA, PE and others. It provides reliable stacking options and optimal material distribution, which are the basis for the high quality of the molded parts.

Reinhold Plot further explained how Kiefel’s thermoforming machines help to save materials. “With our machines, customers can now create thinner product design and achieve better materials distribution. So there is a huge potential for saving materials and cost. It is also a way to avoid waste and contribute to a more sustainable future.”

Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H) presented a wide array of innovations for manufacturing flexible packaging at CHINAPLAS 2019. The product portfolio includes high-performance machines for film extrusion, printing and converting.

Different flexible packaging produced by machines of W&H. Talking about the trend in packaging sector, Maximilian Clüsserath, Managing Director, PT. W&H Indonesia added that there is trend not just to reduce packaging and waste. “We are very much in favor of intelligent packaging. We want to make sure that our customers are able to save time and raw materials with our intelligent technologies,” he pinpointed.

Among its film applications, W&H presented its entire machine portfolio. Particular interest was felt by market trend such as PET replacement films in lamination applications with PE which are fully recyclable.

Clüsserath explained, due to W&H’s MDO technology and process know-how, these PE films achieve not only outstanding flatness, high modulus and transparency for perfect printing, but also a very high stiffness and temperature resistant outer layer for excellent stand-up pouch properties.

A new squeezable, inverted stand-up pouch for Greek yogurt packaging was showcased. The pouch is an easy dispensing pack and a highly functional and lighter alternative to rigid plastic tub.

We are offering a new stand-up pouch concept which is not the traditional one. With W&H technology, we are working on solution to replace PET film with MDO PE film in lamination applications, so that the product can be recycled,” he said.

In addition, the highlight at the W&H booth was also on the manufacture of surface protection films, FFS films and barrier films with up to 11 layers for blown film applications. While 11-layer lines are already increasingly being used in cast film extrusion for special applications, this trend is still very recent in blown film.

Meanwhile, injection molding machine builder Chen Hsong introduced three advanced injection molding machines to visitors at its booth, namely SUPERMASTER 100-SPARK, JM-MK6e series and SUPERMASTER 700-TP II.

The SUPERMASTER 100-SPARK was displayed at Chen Hsong’s booth.The SUPERMASTER SPARK series is an all-new series of all-electric injection molding machines. Apart from the obvious good looks, these machines are packed with full of extraordinary quality and performance.

It combines a proprietary ultra-high-response servosystem with very-high-speed advanced computer control, yielding no-compromise levels of responsiveness (from zero to 2000rpm in less than 30ms). That is ten times faster than traditional all-electric machines (300ms) in the Chinese market, according to Chen Hsong.

Besides, its “All-Adapt” is a package of technologies that enables an all-electric injection molding machine to gain a wide application window, from ultra-thin-walled molding (such as high-speed packaging) to thick-walled, high-pressure parts (such as optics).

Also, its“ASRS” (Auto Stress Release System) is a revolutionary technology that employs high-speed computer algorithms that dynamically monitors, via high-speed digital pressure transducers, the actual motion of the injection screw (<1ms scan time).

High performance materials and chemicals are also driving the growth of packaging sector, helping the sector to meet the increasing requirements from consumers.

At the fairground, Borouge introduced different innovative solutions to the visitors, including plastics for the packaging sector. ANTEO is a new family of bimodal terpolymer PE solutions based on the BORSTAR Bimodal Terpolymer (BBT) technology platform, which combines smart catalyst design and a superior two-reactor process with two co-monomers.

ANTEO FK1820 and FK1828 are innovative LLDPEs that provide a combination of excellent sealing performance, unparalleled processability, good optical properties and superior puncture and tear resistance. According to Michael Pell, Senior Vice President Marketing at Borouge, these materials are reliable choices for food packaging.

Sought after elite equipment for pelletizing and compounding

Maag, a worldwide leading manufacturer of gear pumps, pelletizing systems, filtration systems and pulverizers, showcased its broad portfolio of high-performance equipment that help compounders and recyclers combine high productivity with high product quality.
Andreas Weidner, Sales Director – Pelletizing Greater China, Maag Automatik GmbH.
The exhibits included PEARLO underwater pelletizing system, extrex gear pumps, ERF continuous melt filter from Ettlinger, etc. Among these, the ERF continuous melt filter reliably filters plastic melts with impurities and separates foreign materials which fuse at a higher temperature with impurity levels up to 18 %.

Regarding the increasing requirements from the Chinese and Asian producers, Andreas Weidner, Sales Director – Pelletizing Greater China at Maag Automatik GmbH, said, “The Asian markets, in particular, the Chinese market, are driven by dynamic trends. It means that more producers are looking for unique equipment with specific requirements.”

BUSS, a Swiss specialist in compounding systems for demanding applications, premiered its novel COMPEO compounding system at CHINAPLAS.

The polymer industry earnings potential lies in the production of high quality compounds. End products, which are reinforced, flame-retardant, weather-resistant and resource-saving, are desired. This requires a compounder which easily and thoroughly mixes in significant of additives. It is the reason we launched our state-of-the-art COMPEO,” explained Christian Hauser, Vice President Sales Asia, Buss AG.

(Left) Christian Hauser, Vice President Sales Asia, Buss AG and Joe Gao, General Manager, Buss (Shanghai).
As introduced by Hauser, COMPEO is put together from standardised modules and the series permits cost-effective configuration of specifically optimised compounding lines for a range of processing tasks and temperatures.

These extend from traditional segments such as PVC and cable compounds via highly filled polyolefins to engineering polymers with processing temperatures of up to 400°C.

In addition, the COMPEO compounder can combine conventional three or four-flight kneading elements with new elements comprising two or six flights and use them at any position in the process section.

Our machines are already smart controlled years ago. We are happy to see the Chinese market is paying more attention on automated control systems. With our ready-for-future machine, we believed that we can meet the higher requirements of the Chinese customers,” said Joe Gao, General Manager, Buss Compounding Solutions (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.

Commenting on the strategic move in China, Joe said that Buss has officially opened its new branch in Songjiang, Shanghai, in last October. The generous location offers many opportunities for the expansion of the local service offering, such as customer trials, gearbox revisions, modernization, as well as an even faster spare parts service. 

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