KraussMaffei Berstorff offers cost-effective line concept for the production of LVT flooring

MOSCOW (MRC) -- KraussMaffei Berstorff has recently developed a highly cost-effective production process for multilayer PVC floor coverings, also referred to as Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT)? said the producer in its press-release.

In contrast to conventional multistage processes using calenders or belt presses, compounding and tile production are performed in a single cycle with the material being heated up only once. Offering a range of convincing benefits, LVT floor coverings are an attractive alternative to laminate flooring, which is why they are in high demand worldwide.

LVT flooring is composed of a highly filled core layer - usually provided with an integrated glass mat – plus decorative film and a wear protection layer. While the glass mat gives strength and dimensional stability, the core layer provides flatness of the floor covering and impact sound insulation. For this purpose, the PVC sheet material is filled up to 60 to 70% with mineral additives to obtain thick sheeting of high density and weight. The decorative film is laminated to the thick sheeting to produce the desired design and the product is rounded off by wear protection layers of different thickness depending on the future application.

Similar to roofing sheets, the three-layer floor covering core is produced on two twin-screw extruders and two smoothing calenders. The first extruder - used for plasticizing and homogenizing a PVC compound - is equipped with a side feeder to incorporate a high mineral filler share and additional additives. The material leaving the extruder is applied to the glass mat on the first downstream smoothing calender.

The composite obtained is then guided through the second smoothing calender to apply the PVC compound - previously processed on the second extruder - to the other side of the glass mat. This method offers the decisive benefit that processing, compounding and tile production are carried out in-line, which is of fundamental importance for heat-sensitive PVC in particular. Downstream from the second smoothing calender, the three-layer core material is provided with the decorative film and the wear protection layer. The five-layer composite then passes through an embossing station as well as a temperature control section to ensure dimensional stability before being cut to size.

We remind that KraussMaffei Berstorff (Munich, Germany) presented its innovative concept for producing weatherproof sheets based on renewable raw materials to a 60 customers during a live demonstration in Munich on March 12, 2014.

As MRC wrote earlier, two leading pipe manufacturers from Russia have recently chosen KraussMaffei Berstorff as a systems supplier for premium-quality technology and invested in PO pipe extrusion systems.

The KraussMaffei Group is a global leader in the plastics and rubber processing industries. The company covers all areas of injection molding machinery, extrusion technology and reaction process machinery, which gives it a unique selling point in the industry.


Kem One launching the electrolysis conversion project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kem One has announced the launch of a project to convert its diaphragm and mercury "chlorine/caustic soda" electrolysis to the membrane technology at the Lavera site located in the Bouches du Rhone -France, as per the company's statement.

This project goal is to make existing facilities to comply with the European Directive concerning mercury cells end of 2019 phase out dead-line. From the middle of 2016, this conversion will also improve the competitiveness and the reliability of the Lavera site production units.

The conversion of Lavera diaphragm and mercury "chlorine/caustic soda" electrolysis to bipolar membrane technology is a major investment for Kem One development and sustainability. This project will improve Kem One competitiveness, the company enjoying today an integrated production chain from the salt to PVC and chloromethanes via chlorine production.

Through this modernization, the existing production units will benefit from the best technology currently available. Less energy consumption, more reliable units, higher product quality, and reduction of the environmental impact are expected from this project.

"This change will significantly reduce the Lavera production site energy consumption on one hand, and its environmental footprint on the other hand. It will strengthen Kem One competitive position in the chlorochemicals and PVC Field," says Alain de Krassny, the new President of Kem One.

The financing of this project is supported by the French state according to the terms presented to the European Commission in the notification file. Thus, this investment project will consolidate Kem One position within the European Vinyl Industry.

A newly formed company from Arkema's vinyl products division, Kem One, is fully integrated in the vinyl sector. The company will continue its development within the Klesch Group, a leading European operator of industrial and commodity-related businesses. Kem One is Europe's third-largest producer of PVC with revenues in excess of one billion euros, which already possesses numerous strengths for growing and becoming the integrated vinyl solutions leader in southern Europe and the Mediterranean basin. The company has been chaired since February 2014 by the French Industrialist Alain de Krassny.

Lubrizol broke ground on CPVC compounding plant in India

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Lubrizol Corporation announces the groundbreaking for a new TempRite chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) compounding plant in Dahej, India, said the producer in its press-release.

Construction of this plant is an integral component of the company's previously announced USD400 million global expansion of its resin and compounding manufacturing capacity. Further solidifying Lubrizol's commitment to the Indian market, investment in this new plant marks Lubrizol as the first major global producer of CPVC to establish operations in India. The estimated investment in the new plant is more than USD50 million U.S., and it will have the capacity to produce approximately 55,000 metric tons of compounds annually.

The plant will be strategically located in the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), which is one of the largest chemical parks in the country. Many of the raw materials required for Lubrizol's specialty chemical product portfolio are produced in GIDC. The plant is located near excellent infrastructure and is well-positioned geographically to serve the growing Indian market as well as support the emerging growth of the TempRite CPVC business in South Asia, the Middle East and East Africa.

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, Sekisui Chemical and Lubrizol will initialise a joint venture (JV) company in Thailand, in order to produce chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), which is used as a raw material in pipes for supplying hot water, industry and sprinklers.

The Lubrizol Corporation, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is an innovative specialty chemical company that apart from its production develops and supplies technologies to customers in the global transportation, industrial and consumer markets. Lubrizol"s advanced polymer technology delivers exceptional performance for the plumbing, fire sprinkler, industrial and other building and construction related applications. Lubrizol is providing innovative solutions for its customers high-performance application needs and remains committed to ongoing investment in its CPVC capabilities that support future growth.

LDPE prices in Russia continue to break records

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Prices of high-density polyethylene (LDPE) in Russia continued to grow on the back of tight supply amid seasonally higher prices. LDPE prices broke all historical records in mid-April. The situation was worsened by road closures because of spring floods, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

LDPE prices continued to rise in the Russian market this week on the back of seasonally stronger demand and an upcoming one-month shutdown for maintenance at Kazanorgsintez, the second largest LDPE producer in Russia. Prices of 158 and 153 grade polyethylene (PE) rose to record levels over the past few years. At the same time, transportation issues because of traffic ristrictions on many federal roads added to problems of record high prices.

Kazanorgsintez plans to shut down its 158 and 153 grade LDPE for a one-month turnaround from 18 April. Ufaorgsintez dramatically reduced its capacity utilisation last week (Wednesday-Thursday) because of technical issues. These factors have a psychological impact on the market.

Tomskneftekhim announced a price increase of Rb1,000/tonne from early April in the contract market this week. New contract PE prices are expected to be announced by Ufaorgsintez from 11 April.

Spot prices of 158 grade LDPE rose to Rb65,500-72,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT. Offer prices for shrinkable films PE ranged between Rb70,000-75,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT.

Traditional restrictions on transportation movement during the spring floods on most federal roads aggravated the situation for converters. The introduction of restrictions began last week of March and it will be in force in most regions of the Russian Federation by mid-April, which resulted in higher freight charges (the growth from 25% to 43%) and difficulties with transportation chartering.

Synthos plans to invest USD170 mln in Brazil rubber plant

MOSCOW (MRC) - Polish chemicals maker Synthos aims to invest about USD170 million in its planned synthetic rubber plant in Brazil, said Reuters, citing the group's chief executive.

The facility, based on French tyre maker Michelin's licence for the production of synthetic rubber, would use raw materials supplied by Latin America's top petrochemical company - Brazil's Braskem.

The plant will be launched in 2016 or 2017, Synthos CEO Tomasz Kalwat told Reuters. "We plan to spend around USD170 million until 2017 or 2018, as the last payments usually take place some time after the construction," he said.

Synthos - controlled by one of Poland's wealthiest businessmen, Michal Solowow - signed a conditional 15-year deal with Braskem worth around 4.5 billion zlotys (USD1.5 billion) for the supply of butadiene to the plant.

Michelin and its Italian rival Pirelli have signed multi-year deals with Synthos for the delivery of synthetic rubber from the plant worth 1.15 billion zlotys and 1.55 billion zlotys, respectively.

Synthos S.A. is one of the largest manufacturers of chemical raw materials in Poland, as well as being Europe’s No. 1 manufacturer of emulsion rubbers and leading manufacturer of polystyrene for foaming applications. We remind that Synthos Dwory announced an increase for April price following price rise for styrene monomer contracts. The range of April PS prices from Polish producers will be in the range of EUR1,500-1,550/tonne FCA Auschwitz, excluding VAT.