ELIX Polymers joins the fight against COVID-19 with biocompatible ABS grades for medical devices

MOSCOW (MRC) - Leading ABS producer ELIX Polymers is collaborating with a large group of companies within ClusterMAV, the Advanced Materials Cluster of Catalonia, Spain, in the fight against COVID-19, said the company.

The partners are working in collaboration with the National Federation of Innovative Business Groups and Clusters (FENAEIC), which focuses on promoting collaboration between federations, clusters and their partners, within the European Cluster collaboration platform.

ELIX Polymers is donating a medical-grade material, ELIX ABS 3D-FC, in response to high demand from hospitals for medical masks, valves for ventilators and other medical devices. This product, developed for transformation into filaments for FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) 3D printing, is now being used by Ford Motor Company (which has switched some of its production in automobiles to medical equipment), research organization AIMPLAS, and two Spanish plastics processors, PESL and SIIM.

Materials developed by ELIX Polymers for the healthcare sector are compliant with the ISO 10993 and USP class VI biocompatibility standards. They have been included in Drug Master Files (DMF) for use in medical and food contact applications in both Europe and the USA.

Ford is using 15 3D printers at its facility in Valencia to produce protective face shields at a rate of 300 units a day. Filaments, produced on extruders operated by volunteer employees, are used to print head supports for protective face shields. Assembled shields are shipped to an ozone disinfection centre coordinated by the Ministry of Health in Valencia and then distributed to hospitals and care homes.

Logistic support of the 3Dcovid19.tech initiative, in coordination with leading plastics distributor Nexeo Plastics in Barcelona, is enabling distribution of ELIX ABS 3D-FC filaments to several 3D printing companies in the network. They are producing various parts that are in high demand, including ventilator adaptors and manifolds. One such company is Noumena, a tech company that specialises in the manufacture of additives and uses ELIX ABS 3D-FC in its WASP 3D printing machines to produce different types of protective masks with interchangeable filters for the subsequent supply thereof to hospitals. In some cases, injection moulding is also being used; for this, ELIX Polymers is providing another medical grade, ELIX ABS M203-FC.

ELIX ABS 3D-FC is being processed on several brands of 3D printers, including open-chamber types like Prusa and Ultimaker, and closed-chamber printers like WASP. Temperature fluctuation is reduced in a closed chamber, but open-chamber 3D printers have also given excellent results.

The downloadable printing profile for ELIX ABS 3D-FC, which is compatible with Cura software widely used in FFF 3D printing, has helped in identifying the most suitable settings for the material; standard Prusa settings for ABS have also been useful.

The performance characteristics of ABS, together with the fact that it can be adapted and customised to meet each
specific need in its final use, as well as the safety and reliability of the different types of ABS manufactured by ELIX, have made it an essential material for many medical equipment manufacturers.

As MRC reported before, in June 2018, ELIX Polymers, a thermoplastics manufacturer located in Tarragona's Poligono Sur industrial complex, announced a new investment amounting to EUR4 million, whose objective is to optimize its ABS powder production facilities. The company began executing this new project in 2018, which it will continue to develop and consolidate throughout the year of 2019.

As oer MRC's ScanPlast, overall imports of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) to the Russian market increased in the first four months of 2020 by 5% year on year to 10,900 tonnes. This figure was at 10,400 tonnes in January-April 2019. Last month"s imports of material to the Russian Federation rose by 5% to 3,300 tonnes from 3,100 tonnes a year earlier. March ABS imports into the country were 2,800 tonnes.

ELIX Polymers is one of the most important manufacturers of ABS resins and derivatives in Europe, with 40 years of experience in engineering plastics and an installed capacity of 180,000/year from their plant in Tarragona (Spain) to the world. The operation starts in 1975, when the Tarragona ABS and SAN production plant was inaugurated.

Turnaround at German Heide refinery postponed until late summer

MOSCOW (MRC) -- German refiner Klesch will postpone scheduled turnaround work at its refinery near Hamburg until late summer because of the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, reported Chemweek with reference to a spokesperson for the refinery's statement to OPIS.

The 90,000-b/d refinery, known as Raffinerie Heide, was due to undergo planned maintenance in June. “The maintenance will now take place in late summer 2020,” the spokesperson says.

The company said at the end of April it had optimized production at the refinery in response to lower demand amid the COVID-19 outbreak. “We are able to reoptimize our operations in order to divert products and feedstocks away from low-demand products and channel them towards the production of other, less impacted products,” the spokesperson says. The plant has also diverted gasoline-blending ethanol to sell it as a standalone product on the back of increased demand for cleaning and hygiene products.

The Heide refinery is a key jet fuel supplier to the nearby Hamburg airport.

OPIS is an IHS Markit company.

We remind that, as MRC informed earlier, in late 2019, the TOTAL refinery in Leuna awarded Bilfinger two further major contracts worth roughly EUR30 million: the first involves exchanging the reactor systems; the second, performing the turnaround for the plant’s POX methanol facility.

We alos remind that Total is evaluating new gas cracker project in South Korea as part of petchems growth strategy.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 557,060 tonnes in the first three month of 2020, up by 7% year on year. High density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) shipments rose because of the increased capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim. Demand for LDPE subsided. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market was 267,630 tonnes in January-March 2020, down 20% year on year. Homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers accounted for the main decrease in imports.

Shandong Chanbroad to restart No. 1 propylene plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shandong Chambroad Petrochemicals, is in plans to bring on-stream its No.1 propylene unit following a turnaround, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that, the company is likely to resume operations at the plant by early-June, 2020. The plant was shut on March 25, 2020 and was supposed to remain under maintenance for about two weeks.

Located at Shandong province of China, the No. 1 plant has a production capacity of 125,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, in September 2018, LyondellBasell announced that Shandong Chambroad Petrochemicals Co. Ltd., (Shandong Chambroad), had selected the LyondellBasell Hostalen "Advance Cascade Process" (Hostalen ACP) technology. The low-pressure slurry process technology will be used for a 350KTA high-density polyethylene (HDPE) unit to be built in their petrochemical complex in Binzhou city, Shandong province, P.R. China.

Propylene is the main feedstock for producing polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market was 267,630 tonnes in January-March 2020, down 20% year on year. Homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers accounted for the main decrease in imports.

Shandong Chambroad Petrochemicals Co.,Ltd is founded in 1988,whose predecessor is Boxing lubricating oil factory.After more than 20 years of trails and hardships,Chambroad has now developed into a large-scale private petrochamical enterprise intergrating petroleum refining and chemical industry. Besides, Chambroad has successively been awarded "one of top 500 manufacturing enterprise of China" and "one of top 500 chemical enterprise of China".

Output of chemical products in Russia up by 5.6% in Jan-Apr 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's output of chemical products rose in April 2020 by 2.4% year on year. Thus, production of basic chemicals increased year on year by 5.6% in the first four months of 2020, according to Rosstat's data.

According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, polymers in primary form accounted for the greatest increase in the output in January-April.

Last month's ethylene production decreased to 350,800 tonnes from 383,400 tonnes in March, Kazanorgsintez reduced its output of monomer because of a scheduled maintenance at some of its production capacities. Overall ethylene output exceeded 1,400,000 tonnes in January-April 2020, compared to 1,100,000 tonnes a year earlier.

Production of benzene was 110,000 tonnes in April 2020, compared to 133,000 tonnes a month earlier. Overall output of this product reached 505,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 1.7% year on year.

April production of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) was 101,000 tonnes (100% of the basic substance) versus 110,000 tonnes a month earlier. Overall output of caustic soda totalled 431,000 tonnes in the first four months of 2020, up by 0.8% year on year.

2,055,000 tonnes of mineral fertilizers (in terms of 100% nutrients) were produced in April 2020 versus 2,195,000 tonnes a month earlier. Overall, Russian plants produced slightly less than 8,100,000 tonnes of fertilizers in January-April 2020, up by 1.6% year on year.

Last month's production of polymers in primary form fell to 775,000 tonnes from 883,000 tonnes in March partially because of a scheduled shutdown for maintenance at SIBUR Tobolsk. Overall output of polymers in primary form totalled 3,300,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 17.4% year on year.

Output of products from polymers in Russia up by 3.4% in Jan-April 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's output of products from polymers grew in April 2020 by 11.2% year on year due to quarantine restrictions. However, this figure increased by 3.4% year on year in the first four months of 2020, reported MRC analysts.

According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, April production of unreinforced and non-combined films decreased to 107,000 tonnes from 110,400 tonnes a month earlier. Output of films products grew in the first four months of 2020 by 12.5% year on year to 402,800 tonnes.

Last month's production of non-porous boards, sheets and films dropped to 32,800 tonnes from 34,200 tonnes in March. Thus, overall output of these products reached 127,400 tonnes in January-April 2020, up by 5.7% year on year.

April production of porous boards, sheets and films was 20,200 tonnes, down by 1.6% month on month. Overall output of these products reached 84,500 tonnes in the first four months of 2020, compared to 80,000 tonnes a year earlier.

April production of plastic bottles and flasks grew to 2,06 bn items from 1,796 bn items a month earlier. Overall output of these plastic products totalled 6,961,000,000 units over the stated period, compared to 6,731,000,000 units a year earlier.

Last month's production of polymer pipes, hoses and fittings was 52,800 tonnes versus 53,900 tonnes in March.
Overall output of these products was 193,700 tonnes in January-April 2020, up by 21.2% year on year.

April production of sacks and bags from ethylene polymers reached 2,419,000,000 units, compared to 2,277,000,000 units a month earlier. Overall output of these plastic products totalled 9,130,000,000 units in the first four months of 2020, compared to 7,956,000,000 units a year earlier.

Last month's production of linoleum and floor coverings was 6,700,000 square metres, compared to 11,900,000 square metres in March. Overall output of these products totalled 40,000,000 square metres over the stated period versus 41,700,000 square metres a year earlier.

April production of plastic windows and door blocks reached 1,521,000 square metres and 64,300 square metres, respectively, versus 1,814,000 square metres and 68,400 square metres a month earlier. Overall output of these plastic products totalled 7,045,000 square metres and 261,800,000 square metres, respectively, compared to 5,841,000 square metres and 266,400 square metres a year earlier.