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Turkish car parts supplier Feka Automotive is to begin the construction of a new production plant at the town of ?uprija central Serbia before the end of this year.
Earlier this month, the family-owned firm based at Bursa in north western Turkey, concluded a memorandum of agreement to invest €15m to establish the facility on a 4ha site in ?uprija industrial zone.
Feka company founder Ferit Karsl?o?lu and Ninoslav Eric, president of ?uprija municipality signed the deal on 13 October under which the town will provide the land for a plant to manufacture vehicle lighting and other components.
In its initial phase, the new facility is scheduled to employ up to 110 workers, but with later development is expected to employ almost 10 times that number.
“This is a big investment for ?uprija as the plan is to have up to 1,000 workers employed at the plant eventually. The factory will be located in the industrial zone which has been equipped with help from the Serbian government,” commented municipal head Ninoslav Eric.
During the past year, Feka representatives have toured Serbia visiting a dozen municipalities in a quest to find the most suitable development site before deciding on ?uprija.
Feka Automotive, which injection moulds components for vehicle internal and exterior mirrors, front and rear lighting, water expansion and steering hydraulic oil tanks and mounted interior trim parts, was formed in 1988.
It counts among its customers worldwide a number of tier one auto suppliers and vehicle manufacturers among them Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, PSA, Renault, Porsche, Toyota, Hyundai and Magneti Marelli.
Since 2010, the Turkish supplier has restructured its operations to match its increasing business at home and abroad. In June 2014, the company integrated its design, mould making, moulding production and research and development of two separate plants on a single 15,000m2 site.
Rhodia introduced a new Technyl Star AFX PA6,6 grade characterised by improved flow characteristics, enabling it to be injection moulded with as much as 60% glass fibre reinforcement.
The company says the resin bridges the gap between conventional PA6,6 and high performance polyamides, such as polypthtalamide and polyarylamide.
Laurent Schmitt, president of Rhodia Polyamide said the AFX material is a “game-changing” resin.
“The price is between conventional PA6,6 and PPA, but closer to PA6,6. We have sampled it and it has been tested at customers, with parts moulded and under tests. It is available to customers now,” he said.
The company also introduced Technyl HP at the show, a high temperature resistant PA 6,6 grade targeted at under-hood applications that are presently produced in PA6 but lack the ability to handle the increasing temperatures in this application area. Unlike PA6 and standard PA6,6, Technyl HP can withstand exposure to 1,000 hrs at 200°C and shows less cracks than these materials after 200 hrs. It is claimed to deliver PA6,6 processability at a PA6,6 cost level.
Schmitt said at the show: “We want to be the nylon champion – the PA6,6 champion. While the market is growing at 5%, we are growing twice as fast, at 11%”.
The Nepol GB303HP long glass fibre-reinforced PP replaces unsaturated polyester glass fibre and is injection moulded by Iveco supplier Plastal, which has been able to integrate more functions into the part than was possible in the thermoset manufacturing solution.
The thermoplastics component provides a 30% weight reduction in the front panel and bumper structure, is fully recyclable, and reduces production time. The Nepol grade’s good impact and stiffness performance and dimensional stability meets the crash performance required for this application, according to Borealis.
“This is the first time polypropylene has been used in such an application and the move towards injection moulded bumper and front panel structures is a significant advance for the industry,” according to Paul Turner, vice president of automotive and appliance applications at Borealis.
Reutlingen University in Germany has developed a process that converts post consumer Tetrapak cartons into a conductive and electromagnetically shielding material.
Tetrapaks have a composite structure. While the paper content is recyclable, the remaining composite, consisting of 84% polyethylene and 16% aluminium, has not previously been considered recyclable.
Reutlingen University has devised a means to convert this mixed waste into a plastic material that can be moulded into a coloured, anti-static and electromagnetically shielding compound. The bright colours are an innovative feature, something that cannot be achieved with conventional electrostatically dissipative materials.
The concept has been proved at plastics recycling company Hiller and has been used in transport and storage containers moulded for electronic equipment by Daigler.
The parts were put on display at the Composites fair in Stuttgart and won second place in the AVK Federation of Reinforced Plastics environmental category.
DBU (Federal German Environment Foundation) supported the project. In its concluding report, it said a typical compound would be made of 14% ground carbon fibres, 10% aluminium, 6% LDPE and 15% talc to achieve shielding beyond 10dB.
Kraiburg will introduce a new range of high performance TPEs later this year pitched at demanding applications requiring heat resistance up to 170???C, such as automotive engine compartment ducting.
Developed together with Lanxess, the company says the new grades will be able to replace some traditional thermoset acrylic and ethylene-acrylic elastomers.
The new grades will provide hardnesses in the range 70-80 Shore A. A number of pilot applications are already under evaluation using single and dual-component moulding, says the company.
US-based Hybrid Plastics has introduced a new version of its POSS Flow nanocomposite masterbatch designed to aid processing of PEEK resins.
PEEK POSS Flow is a pellet-form masterbatch based on Hybrid’s polyhedral oligomeric silsequioxane (POSS) nanomaterial additive technology delivered in a PEEK carrier resin. It is formulated for use at addition levels of between 10 and 20%.
In injection moulding applications, POSS Flow technology is claimed to result in reduced moulding pressures and improved flow. In extrusion, processors are said to see reduced screw torque and higher outputs.
The company claims adding 20% of the additive to high molecular weight PEEK almost doubles the MFI.
Gerresheimer has put its €70m technical plastics business, which manufactures automotive components, up for sale.
The German moulder and medical device supplier said the move would enable it to concentrate on its core segments of pharmaceuticals and life science.
The business, acquired through the take over of German moulder Wilden last year, employs 550 people. It has facilities in Germany, the Czech Republic and Mexico as well as Italian and Bulgarian jvs.
The move follows the sale of the company’s consumer healthcare business to the Krallmann group in June.
Gerresheimer ceo, Dr Axel Herberg said: “Through the sale of the technical plastics business we are, as previously announced, continuing our focus on the core business of pharma and life science.”
Italy-based Negri Bossi has won a contract to supply five automated high tonnage injection moulding production cells to Fiat’s Cassino plant south of Rome.
The cells will use 3,500 tonne versions of the company’s Bi-Power two-platen machines, equipped with robotics, and will produce parts for more than 1,500 vehicles per day.
Negri Bossi ceo Eugenio Ferragina said the deal “confirms [our] position as a leading supplier in the automotive sector”.
The Fiat contract will help Negri Bossi return to growth in the second half of the year according to Ferragina.
Results for the first quarter of the year showed sales down almost 13% on the previous year and a net loss of E3.8m compared to E1.2m in 2006/7.
Global medical disposables producer Gerresheimer plans to expand its presence in North America by acquiring Centor US Holding, a former Rexam plc business based in Perrysburg, Ohio.
Centor of Perrysburg, Ohio, is the leader in the US prescription plastic vial retail market for oral drugs, according to Gerresheimer. The German company agreed to pay $725m (€656m) for Centor, which had sales last year of about $167m (€151m) and about 220 employees.
The acquisition, expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2015, would launch Gerresheimer into plastic injection molded packaging in the United States, according to spokesman Jens Kuerten.
Gerresheimer, based in Düsseldorf, Germany, saw about €262m in sales in North America last year, but it was mainly in glass packaging and other drug delivery devices such as inhalers, Kuerten said in an email.
Gerresheimer is already experienced in making plastic medical packaging elsewhere and will combine that experience with Centor’s expertise in moulding, he added.
The deal also puts Gerresheimer in the retail market of pharmacies and supermarkets, a new customer base for the company, which has mostly sold directly to drug companies.
Centor, founded in 1968, does its molding in Berlin, Ohio. Centor President and one of the founders, Paul Arsenault, declined comment by phone, deferring to Gerresheimer’s media relations team.
“We will contribute to Gerresheimer’s success with our market leadership in the North American prescription plastic vial retail market,” Arsenault noted in a news release.
Gerresheimer boosted its production capacity for inhalers, pens and other drug delivery items at its Peachtree City, Georgia, plant early this year. The project also enhanced the firm’s moulding technology development there, reflecting Gerresheimer’s 2014 investment in pilot plant production at its Wackersdorf, Germany, technical center. Gerresheimer also operates a third technical center, in Dongguan, China, which it opened last autumn to develop markets in Asia. The company has been manufacturing drug delivery systems such as inhalers and lancets in Dongguan since 2006.
Centor leads its market with two drug vials, Screw-Loc and 1-Clic, which cater to trends to “pour and count” drug delivery systems among consumers. Centor reportedly has more than half the US prescription vial retail market, selling some 1.5 billion of the little bottles per year.
Centor was Rexam’s prescription retail packaging business until it was acquired by Montagu Private Equity in 2014. Montagu also bought Rexam’s former pharmaceutical devices division, which will continue on as Nemera Development SA of La Verpillieré, France.
Gerresheimer is growing the plastics side of its business and shedding the glass manufacturing portion. In June, Gerresheimer said it will sell its glass tubing business to Corning, although it will continue in a joint venture with Corning to develop innovations in glass drug packaging.
Gerresheimer runs more than 40 factories in Europe, Asia and North and South America employing about 11,000. Annual sales of about €1.3bn comprise a wide range of packaging and delivery systems for drugs and to a lesser extent, cosmetics. It makes PET and high density polyethylene bottles for pharmaceuticals as well as multilayer barrier bottles with cyclic polyolefin and nylon layers.
Gerresheimer calculates its agreed purchase price values Centor at about 9.8 time earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation. It will integrate the newcomer into its Plastics & Devices Division. Gerresheimer was founded in 1864 as a glass container manufacturer.
Photo by Adval Tech Adval Tech operation at Szekszárd, Hungary
Auto parts producer Adval Tech is in the process of moving plastics moulding capacity to an expanding operation in Hungary from a Swiss plant that will shut down later this year.
The planned closure of the group’s plant at Uetendorf, south of Bern, Switzerland with component production switching to other units at Szekszárd in southern Hungary and Endingen am Kaiserstuhl, Germany is part of broader restructuring by the Swiss group.
Meanwhile, this month (Sept), Adval Tech announced it had agreed to sell off its consumer goods plastic components operation in Pluak Daeng, Thailand to Singapore-based precision plastic parts maker Sunningdale Tech Ltd.
Its disposal of Adval Tech (Thailand) Co Ltd, which employs 80, was in line with the Swiss group’s continuing strategy of focusing on certain activities, particularly in its main target market of the automotive sector.
Sunningdale Tech is a significant global plastics processor with more than 1,000 injection moulding machines producing auto, consumer and healthcare parts at 20 plants in Mexico, Latvia, Brazil and across Asia. It boasts more than 2.8 million m2 of factory space.
Adval Tech, based in Niederwangen, Switzerland, specialises in manufacturing both plastic moulded, composite and metal automotive parts. It has operated in Hungary since 2007 and early last year split its national subsidiary into two separate businesses, one, Adval Tech (Hungary Kft., injection moulding plastics parts and the other, Adval Tech (Hungary) Plant 2 Kft. making and assembling metal components.
During 2016 and 2017, the publicly quoted group won several large orders for plastics components which are expected to keep the Hungarian operation busy for several years. These include a contract for air flow systems from a new automotive sector customer, part of the Volkswagen group, with series production set to start next year and run for around four years.
From 2019, Adval Tech will also start turning out parts for a front panel, including radiator shutters which it will manufacture for different models of various OEMs. That business is due to continue for seven years, the firm said.
It attracted a further order to supply oil guidance components for another automotive OEM with series production in Hungary also set to start in 2019. That business is likely to last for about six years.
Adval Tech group, which employs 1,400 overall, reported annual income of €182.5m for last year and has achieved first half 2018 sales of €91.2m, slightly up on the same period in 2017. It reported 2018 first half pre tax profit of €9.75m.
Evolve Additive Solutions, Inc. announced the completion of an equity investment of US$19M led by the LEGO Brand Group with participation from Stanley Black and Decker Investments and a third undisclosed investor. As said, the proprietary Selective Thermoplastic Electrophotographic Process (STEP) technology of Evolve will radically improve manufacturing while creating disruptive new business models. STEP, designed for automated manufacturing and factory-floor integration, allows users to utilize production-grade thermoplastics for volume manufacturing applications across multiple industries, including Consumer, Automotive, Industrial and Medical. The highly scalable and extensible solution combines Evolve’s own proprietary technology with the proven capability of electrophotography, to produce additive manufactured parts that meet or exceed traditionally manufactured parts. “Evolve has entered an exciting new growth phase as we begin commercial development of our proprietary STEP technology,” commented Steve Chillscyzn, CEO of Evolve Additive Solutions. “We are excited to have forged equity partnerships with world leading companies that recognize the production potential of STEP and are committed to working alongside Evolve to bring the technology to commercialization.” “LEGO Brand Group has invested in Evolve because it is an attractive investment opportunity, which can benefit the LEGO brand. The LEGO Group has been using Additive Manufacturing technology for more than 20 years. Today, the company mainly employs the technology to create prototypes in the development of new products and we believe that the technology will become an even more important supplement to the current Injection Moulding capabilities in the future. With Evolve Additive Solutions we have found a very competent partner within this area,” said Per Hjuler, LEGO Brand Group business development. “We are excited about the potential impact that Evolve’s unique Additive Manufacturing technology could have on the production of high quality medium volume plastic components for a number of our product categories,” said Tim Hatch Chief Technology Officer for Stanley Engineered Fasteners. Other investors in Evolve Additive Solutions include Stratasys, Inc. as a minority shareholder as well as an undisclosed investor. BNP Paribas acted as exclusive financial advisors to Evolve. The senior management team of Evolve Additive Solutions brings over 40 years of combined experience in additive manufacturing and is supported by a very experienced Board of Directors with expertise in managing and counseling both private and publically-held companies.
Photo by Caroline Seidel Adhesive bonded hybrid structures in a car axis from Evonik shown at Fakuma 2018.
Friedrichshafen, Germany — Evonik Industries AG is progressing well with a €400m plan to increase production of polyamide 12 (PA 12) at its manufacturing site in Marl, Germany by 50%, with start-up scheduled in just over two years.
"We have asked engineering companies for bids now, and the plan is to start up the plant at the beginning of 2021," Ralf Duessel, general manager high-performance polymers, said in an interview at Fakuma.
The 50% increase in capacity will include increases in monomer production as well as polymerisation and compounding capabilities at the site.
In February, Evonik already raised production of its Vestosint-branded powder materials in Marl by 50%. But the recent investment, according to Duessel, will cover a larger scope that will include its Vistamid range of PA 12 polymers.
According to Duessel, who took over the role eight months ago, the high-performance material has a steady, solid growth prospect, with increasing applications in additive manufacturing.
"We have been involved in 3D printing for a long time, and we have a good knowledge of how polymers behave. Over the years, we have seen volumes increasing," the Evonik official said.
The Essen, Germany-based specialty chemical company sees its products particularly suited for laser sintering and multijet fusion technologies. In this process, Evonik has established long-term partners including HP and Munich-based additive manufacturing pioneer EOS GmbH.
According to Duessel, the clear material has significant advantages in 3D printing over other polymers.
The material, particularly in laser sintering, has certain features including crystallinity that can give a broad operation window.
"It doesn't melt, and you can create sharp contours. It also has a wide range of features that can be optimised for different applications," Duessel said.
Despite the increasing demand, 3D printing has remained fairly limited to prototyping and small-scale manufacturing.
"We are trying to get there, to make the process fast and more efficient with lower costs," Duessel added.
Evonik is supporting so-called 3D printing "ecosystems," where a range of players, including material suppliers, hardware, software and designing experts, collaborate to advance the technology.
"Engineers need to design differently and think differently. [Unlike injection moulding], they are not putting parts together. They need to design differently, and we are working with universities and startups in that area," he said.
Apart from the increasing demand in additive manufacturing, PA 12 continues to grow in its traditional markets, too.
With resistance to chemicals and a good temperature range between -40 to 80° C, the material is well-suited for fluid transfer applications, particularly in the automotive industry.
The polymer is also finding increasing levels of use in the oil and gas industry, replacing metal pipe.
"For pipes, PA 12 is simply better. It's lighter, and it can be welded when you're installing it. We have a nice long gas pipeline that has just been installed using the material," he said.
In cars, the high impact resistance makes it a key material for fuel lines. And as the car industry transitions from combustion engines to electric motors, Evonik sees new application opportunities. For example, cooling lines used for the thermal management of batteries can be made with PA 12, according Duessel.
"We already sell a significant amount to that [EV] market," he added.
At Fakuma, Evonik also displays its well-established Plexiglass-branded polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) materials, despite being in the process of carving out the business.
According to Duessel, the sale of the methyl methacrylates (MMA)and PMMA business, originally announced in March, is going well, and a long-list has been created.
The methacrylates business, in spite of its sales of roughly €1.5bn, has been defined as outside the company's growth area.
This, according to Duessel, is because of the cyclical nature of the business, its cash-intensiveness as well as the fact that MMAs are standard chemicals, as opposed to specialty chemicals that Evonik pursues.
Evonik's overall MMA and PMMA production capacities are roughly 600 and 400 kilotonnes per annum, respectively.
With plants in Germany, the United States and China, covering three large continents, Duessel believes the operation is a "very attractive business."
On top of that, Evonik has, over the past 10 years, developed a propriety new production process that it is currently employing at its pilot plant in Germany.
"To scale up, a significant capex amount is needed, and Evonik is not prepared to make the investment at this point. Finding a new investor can help with the scaling up of the technology, too," he said.