Plastics News South Africa
Sep 16th-18th, 2015, Shanghai China
By Ulrich Thiele, Co-Organizer, October 12, 2015
The 2015 summit meeting of the polyester recycling industry was marked by two new issues. At first the application area of rPET was enlarged by the topic packaging with the idea pooling PET-packaging industry as main source where PET-waste is coming from and polyester fiber industry as major consumer where PET-waste is going for. At second this was the first conference faced by the obvious outcome of the far-reaching trend of economy and industry consolidation called as the "New Normal" in China's economic growth. Nevertheless, importance and attractiveness of exhibition and conference were expressed by over 300 Chinese and International participants.
Also well accepted by the audience was the simultaneously ongoing exhibition where speakers and participants had an optimal platform of business and social networking.
A large number of conference presentations contain repeating key phrases:
- Low oil price causing low virgin PET price strong pressure to rPET industry
- Low operation rates down to 60%
- Labor cost increased by factor 2.7 compared to 2005
- High inventories
Appropriate answers to these challenges are discussed:
- Significant capacity boost of rPET lines and rPET enterprises
- Vertical integration of rPET production
- Increase degree of automation and robotization
- Zero waste production processes
- Brand building and green purchasing to increase margins
- Relocation of rPET production facilities to low labor cost countries of South-East Asia
Li Shidong, Secretary General Recycled Fiber Commission of CFA, analyzed in deep detail the current challenging development. In reference to the polyester recycling industry in China he estimated that about 50% of the enterprises are suffering or struggle to survive.
Some major problems are:
- High import dependency of basic raw materials, about 2,1 Mio t/a import compared to domestic
waste of about 3,1 Mio t/a bottle flakes, 0,35 Mio t/a fiber waste and 0,9 Mio t/a waste textiles
- Declining virgin POY and PSF prices reducing rPET filament und fiber prices disproportionately high
- Number of enterprises (516) too high and average capacity too low
- Running rates with 60 – 70% too low
He marked key policies and suggestion of safeguard measures and underlined the need of concerted support by province and central government as well as by industry alliances.
Hu Xiaopeng, Researcher of Financial Research Center of Shanghai Academy of Social Science, a Chinese Think Tank, explained the "New Normal" of Chinas economic growth where the gear of growth is shifting from high speed to a lower, more moderate level. He compared the historic economy development in USA and Japan in this respect and stated that China's industry is developing forward to sustainability and he thinks that "optimism will come back after the winter is over".
Steward Hardy, Global Manager Petrochemical Market Dynamics of NEXANT, presented a detailed analysis of PET recycling developments in the lower oil price environment. He concluded that the lower fixed costs and wider spec on flakes for fiber production favour rPET fiber over B-2-B recycling in the current time of low oil price. Middle East and Africa he traced as challenging new source of baled bottles for export and underlined the important role of Hong Kong for the import of rPET to mainland China.
Cao Wenting, Product Manager of CCFEI, provided in her paper an Analysis on rPET Market in 2015 with concentration to the situation China. As answer to hurdles of overcapacity and low virgin prices she is expecting significant slowdown of expansion and a decrease of rPET fiber production in general combined to more differential fibers of improved quality.
Zhang Feipeng, General Manager Fujian Baichuan Resources Recycling Technology Co. Ltd., gave a paper about “Forge International Edges through Vertical Integration of Industrial Chain”. Mayor requirements to overcome the current situation are capacity increase of single production sites, relocation of small recycling enterprises to “low cost countries”, more direct conversion processes and processing the waste at site of its origin with the development of “Zero Waste Technology - ZWT” called also “Total Recycling Technology-TRT”. Zhang also advertised for more government care to realize the a.m. targets.
Han Yaojie, Energy and Chemical Researcher of Shenzhen Kaifeng Investment Management Co., analyzed change and outlook of the PX-PTA market and in detail on the general investment climate in China. Notwithstanding China is still importing PX, the government will not allow private companies to step in PX and PTA investments. As outlook he stated "all in all, the growth rate for the nominal capacity of PX will keep on expanding in the coming three years, while the growth of PTA and polyester capacities will slow down."
Joy Huang, Research Manager EUROMONITOR Int. (Shanghai) Co. Ltd, focused in his contribution “PET Global Growth Prospects and Trends in China” history and forecast of PET as packaging raw material and predicted a growth of 4,1% for Chinese market boosted by the substantial growth of the whole Asia Pacific region. Mainly the emerging markets are generating the growth by increasing population that will buy packages as incomes rise and retail infrastructure develop.
Chu Jianying, Product Manager CCFEI, summarized his view about “Chinas BGPET Chip Market in a Stage of Transition”. With a capacity of about 8,8 Mio t/a and a real output of about 5,6 Mio t/a bottle grade resins the currently ongoing crisis of this industry section was outlined. In addition to the overcapacity China is struggling with a number of antidumping and anti-subsidy procedures in several export countries. Therefore the industry is entering a stage of correction, as the market will have to take time to absorb excess BGPET and upstream capacities.
ENGINEERING, MATERIAL and SERVICE
Dr. Stephan Gneuss, Managing Director of GNEUSS Kunststofftechnik GmbH, introduced current progress of the engineering package for the rPET industry and demonstrated the capability of the new Multi Rotation System MRS in fiber waste processing.
Zhu Bin, Assistant General Manager of Hangzhou Xianjin Fuchun Chemical Co. Ltd., underlined the importance of product quality improvements during development, processing and application of rPSF in apparel warmth-keeping materials.
Christoph Woess, Business Development Manager Application Bottle of EREMA GmbH, talked about achievements on enhanced end product quality, energy saving and line flexibility with the all new upgraded VACUREMA ® system.
Joyce Qiu, Manager Green Environment of INTERTEK, provided a view about the broad service portfolio in product life cycle analysis, environmental performance audit and site organization for the packaging supply chain. One base of INTERTEK success is the tradition mark “ETL” going back to its founder Thomas Edison.
Nikolas Wolf, Area Sales and Project Manager of SeSoTec China Co. Ltd., informed about latest technical developments in waste sorting where the flake purifier of S+S is key of high final product quality nowadays. With the VISUTEC data management system all sorting systems allow online-monitoring and remote maintenance.
Zhang Dabing, Assistant General Manager of Lunnex Chemical Fiber (Fuzhou) Co. Ltd., spoke about production experience especially the management of baled bottles from import sources within an industry park specialized in plastic recycling. Baled bottles from different world regions are showing significant quality quirks which are optimal maintained within the described import industry park.
David Hehenberger, Head of Product, NGR GmbH, reported about first field testing results using the NGR melt polycondensation unit of 500 kg/h for the recycling of fiber scrap to produce rPET-pellets. The process is also useful for bottle and film waste upgrading.
Yan Taotao, General Manager Pinghu Sanxin Machinery Manuf. Co. Ltd., introduced a newly developed PET-flake blending system to feed a continuous rPET filament plant of 410 t/d (Haili Group). The key of successful continuous filament production is a homogenization tank based on German technology combined with a number of Pinghu´s proprietary bulk handling machinery.
Yu Zheng, Sales Engineer of SOREMA (a div. of PREVIERO N. Srl), talked about SOREMAs new approach of "Zero Waste Recycling", where a by-products recovery is integrated to the PET bottle flake production line. By-products like caps and labels are parallel to bottle flakes recovered which is increasing the overall yield.
Peter Hartel, Head of Sales for PET recycling of KRONES AG, explained in detail the "Meta-Pure" PET recycling technology which is able to produce food-grade PET flakes and pellets as well and underlined the low energy and water consumption of the new process.
Harald Pohl, Product Manager Filtration MAAG-AUTOMATIC GmbH, illuminated the correlation between functionality, quality and investment of MAAG "New Filtration Technology" based on piston type screen changer.
Eric Shen, Asia Pacific Packaging Development Director of JOHNSON & JOHNSON, discussed in his contribution the “Application of PET in Everyday Chemical Packaging” how J&J is replacing packaging materials like glass, paper, aluminium, PP or PVC continuously by PET. Simultaneously J&J is supporting PET recycling and the application of rPET as packaging material.
Weilong Chiang, Pkg. Sr. Manager PepsiCo Global Packaging R&D, outlined basics about “PET Packaging Design for Recycling”. As member of APR he pointed to all details of PET bottle design which impact the recycle ability. Primarily the design-diversity of labels, closures and additives is major source of newly generated contaminants. As support and guideline for the PET packaging industry the “APR Design Guide™ for Plastics Recyclability” was introduced.
Otto Appel, PETnology/tecPET GmbH, provided with his view about "What comes after Lightweighting" a general conspectus about the material usage in PET bottle production and application. The fight for continuous weight reduction has to be seen in the highly complex environment, starting from PET resin producer via bottle producer, filler, distributor, consumer and is ending up with the recycler. His credo is avoiding any "wasting" in all process steps by making things easier. Major issues are, comparable to fiber production, vertical integration and capacity boost within the packaging and bottling market.
Volker Spiesmacher, Director marketing and sales of BERICAP Group, gave in his lesson about "Advancements in JETS and Water Closure Technology" an interesting insight about closure function and design concerning the target of material economy during PET bottle production. He raised attention about the significant potential how bottle neck and closure are able to contribute to lightweighting and presented the appertaining solutions of BERICAP.
Leon Xiong, Sales Manager of KHS (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., concentrated in his contribution “AquaBloc – The Easy Way to fill Water”, to the issue of cost optimization demonstrated by several customer case studies applying the KHS filling systems.
Those who might be interested in the conference preprints (as CD, download file, paper book) should turn to Tracy Liu (email@example.com , URL: www.ccfei.net) or Dr. Ulrich Thiele (firstname.lastname@example.org ; URL: www.polyester-technology.com) or Barbara Appel of PETnology email@example.com; URL www.petnology.com ).