US demand for plastic films to rise 1.5% annually through 2018

MOSCOW (MRC) -- US demand for plastic film is expected to grow 1.5% pa through 2018 to 16.4 bln lbs, resulting in sales of USD26.2 bln, reported Plastemart with reference to RnR Market Research.

Acceleration in manufacturing output and disposable income bode well for plastic film sales in a wide range of markets. Expected price stabilization from increased plastic resin supply will improve the cost-competitiveness of plastic film, allowing it to replace paper and other materials in multiple applications. Increased penetration of pouches, which provide convenience and functionality in new markets, will also boost demand for plastic film.

However, environmental concerns will hinder plastic film growth in some applications, particularly plastic retail bags.
LLDPE (linear low-density polyethylene) is the largest volume film resin, comprising nearly half of resin usage in 2013, and is expected to maintain solid growth through 2018. LLDPE's high strength source reduction capabilities have helped spur gains in multiple markets, including pouches for food products and pharmaceutical packaging.

Demand for LDPE (low-density polyethylene) is expected to grow more slowly, continuing to be replaced by LLDPE in some functions and having reached market maturity in many of its primary markets. Above average growth is forecast for poly-propylene film, driven by its usage in packaging for the increasingly popular fresh produce market and its growth in snack food packaging.

HDPE (high-density polyethylene) film is expected to exhibit minimal growth in demand through 2018, with growing opposition to single use plastic bags offsetting gains in food packaging.

PET (polyethylene terephthalate) film demand will grow modestly through 2018, with healthy gains in food packaging applications replacing demand from the declining magnetic tape and photographic film markets.

Below average growth is expected for PVC (polyvinyl chloride), hampered by continued declines in nonfood applications including pharmaceutical and medical products.

Degradable plastic resins will experience the highest growth rate of all film types, due to increasing affordability and adoption by packaging converters.

The market exhibiting the greatest growth in film demand is food packaging, driven by the expanding popularity of pouches for a variety of food items, as well as the rise of active and intelligent packaging for food.

Non food packaging will also see above average growth stemming from strong demand for pharmaceutical and medical packaging.

Below average growth is forecast for non packaging film due to the maturity of trash bags and the decrease in photographic and magnetic film, offset partially by robust advances for construction film. Secondary packaging will see the slowest gains, restrained by declines in garment bags and

Rochling to expand Czech car parts plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- German plastic car parts maker Rochling Group will expand its production facility in Koprivnice, the Czech Republic, said Plasticsnews.

The move will allow the firm to increase the factory’s output capacity and take on new workers. "Rochling Automotive Koprivnice intends to expand its plant. The favorable situation of the company... demands an increase in production capacities," the Czech municipality said in a statement.

To carry out the investment, the German company will add two new production halls, one with 2,200 square meters of space and a second with 3,900 square meters. The project is will add 85 new jobs to the current 75.

The plant is located in the Koprivnice-Vlcovice industrial park, in the country's eastern part, and it was launched in 2006. Construction will begin in May, and is expected to be completed in January 2016.

As MRC informed before, Rochling Group's automotive business will build its seventh U.S. manufacturing site in Akron, OH to support customers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors.

Rochling makes various plastic components for car makers, including GM, Ford, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Skoda and Subaru. Based in Mannheim, Germany, the group has a global workforce of 8,000 employees in 21 countries worldwide, and annual revenues of about 1.4 billion euros (USD1.48 billion).


Tianjin Dagu to shut down SM plant in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Tianjin Dagu Chemical is likely to shut a styrene monomer (SM) plant for maintenance turnaround, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the plant is planned to be shut in early April 2015. It is likely to remain off-stream for around one month.

Located in Tianjin, China, the plant has a production capacity of 500,000 mt/year.

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, Idemitsu Kosan, one of Japan’s largest refining and petrochemical companies, is likely to shut its SM plant for a maintenance in April 2015. It is expected to remain off-stream for around three months. Located at Chiba in Japan, the SM plant has a production capacity of 210,000 mt/yr.

Besides, Denki Kagaku Kabushiki Kaisha (Denka) is in plans to shut its SM plant for maintenance in Q1, 2016. The duration of the shutdown could not be ascertained. Located at Chiba in Japan, the plant has a production capacity of 270,000 mt/year.

Also, Grand Pacific Petrochemical Corporation (GPPC) is likely to shut its SM plant for maintenance in November 2015. It is likely to remain off-stream for around one month. Located in Tashe, Taiwan, the plant has a production capacity of 140,000 mt/year.

Mitsui Chemicals launched compound plants in Shanghai

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (Tokyo, Japan) announced the successful March startup of Mitsui Chemicals Functional Composites (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.’s (MFS ) plants for Milastomer and Admer in China’s Shanghai Jinshan District, said the company in its press release.

Mitsui Chemicals Functional Composites (Shanghai) was established in October 2012 as the Group’s strategic base in China for manufacture and sale of functional polymeric materials.

In China, rapid growth continues in the automotive and packaging material markets. To capture share in these expanding markets, Mitsui Chemicals strategically situated its new company and manufacturing facilities to serve as its compound base and to support the Group’s efforts as a central player in supplying manufacturers concentrated in Eastern China.

The startup of the new plant underpins the Group’s aggressive efforts to strengthen and expand its functional polymeric compound business through intensification of manufacture, distribution, and technical service for its high quality, state-of-the-art products.

As MRC informed before, Mitsui Chemicals and China Petroleum & Chemical have announced the startup of one of the world’s largest EPT (ethylene-propylene-dieneterpolymer) plant for a single train under their joint venture.

Mitsui Chemicals,a Japanese chemical company, is a part of the Mitsui conglomerate. The company has a turnover of around 15 billion USD and has business interests in Japan, Europe, China, Southeast Asia and the USA. The company mainly deals in performance materials, petro and basic chemicals and functional polymeric materials.

LG Chem to shut MEG plant in South Korea for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South Korean petrochemical company LG Chem is in plans to shut its monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant for maintenance turnaround, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in South Korea informed that the plant is likely to be shut on March 21, 2015. It is likely to remain off-stream for around one month.

Located in Daesan, South Korea, the plant has a production capacity of 210,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed previously, LG Chem is in plans to shut its phenol-acetone plant for maintenance turnaround in May 2015. It is likely to remain off-stream for around one month. Located at Daesan in South Korea, the plant has a phenol capacity of 300,000 mt/year and acetone capacity of 180,000 mt/year.

LG Chem Ltd., often referred to as LG Chemical, is the largest Korean chemical company and is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. According to ICIS report, it is 15th biggest chemical company in the world in 2011. It has eight domestic factories and global network of 29 business locations in 15 countries. LG Chem is a manufacturer, supplier, and exporter of petrochemical goods, IT&E Materials and Energy Solutions.