Korea Zinc, LG Chem team up for US recycling business

Korea Zinc, LG Chem team up for US recycling business

Korea Zinc Inc., the leading global zinc and lead smelter, and LG Chem Ltd., South Korea’s top petrochemical producer, joined hands for the plastic waste recycling business in the US to seek new growth drives in the eco-friendly industry, said Kedglobal.

Korea Zinc and LG Chem said on Friday they have agreed to jointly develop a resource circulation system through the plastic waste recycling business in the US, the world’s largest economy.

LG Chem plans to utilize its various technologies, which improve the quality of recycled plastic waste. to cooperate with Korea Zinc specializing in securing plastic waste and processing plastic waste from electronic devices.

“The partnership is expected to create a real resource circulation system by combining Korea Zinc’s unrivaled technology to secure recycling raw materials and extract intermediate goods with LG Chem’s world-class plastic waste recycling technology,” said Lee Hwa-young, head of LG Chem’s sustainability business, in a joint statement.

Korea Zinc and LG Chem have been seeking a new growth drive in the recycling industry. The global plastic waste recycling market was forecast to double to 120 trillion won ($90.3 billion) by 2030 from the current 60 trillion won, industry sources in Seoul said.

LG Chem has been struggling in its main petrochemical businesses such as plastic basic materials manufacturing as the South Korean chemical industry was in a structural downturn due to low-priced products from China.

The company decided to shut down its styrene monomer (SM) production line in South Korea this month and is mulling closing another domestic base chemical production facility, The Korea Economic Daily exclusively reported earlier this week.

Korea Zinc has also been focusing on the resource recycling business. In 2022, the smelter acquired a majority stake in Igneo Holdings LLC, a US-based electronic waste recycling company, for $332 million.

LG Chem, the parent of the world's No. 3 electric vehicle battery maker LG Energy Solution Ltd., and Korea Zinc are predicted to expand their cooperation into the waste battery recycling business, industry sources said. The two companies established a joint venture to produce cathode precursors for EV batteries in 2022.

The petrochemical producer, which holds a 2% stake in Korea Zinc, has been helping the smelter in an equity stake feud against Young Poong Precision Corp.


Toray develops hybrid bonding insulating resin

Toray develops hybrid bonding insulating resin

Toray Industries, Inc., announced that it has developed an insulating resin material for hybrid bonding (micro bonding), said the company.

The material is based on Semicofine and Photoneece. These are high-heat-resistant polyimide coatings for semiconductor and display devices. The new material combines a conventional polyimide coating agent with the company’s processing and bonding technologies. It can enhance the yields and reliability of semiconductor devices in the hybrid bonding process, which entails bonding semiconductor chips with metal electrodes. Toray will push ahead with prototyping and providing samples to customers. It aims to obtain materials certification in 2025 and start mass production by 2028.

A leading high-performance packaging technology applied in recent years is three-dimensional (3D) packaging. Hybrid bonding is particularly promising for high-performance semiconductor chips requiring fine structures with bump pitches (the spacing between adjacent electrodes joined by solder) of 10 microns or less. Toray markets resin bonding materials for 3D chip-to-chip packaging with fine bump pitches of about 20 microns. Hybrid bonding differs from conventional 3D packaging because it entails directly joining metal electrodes without using bumps, making it possible to further shorten electrode pitches.

In hybrid bonding, the chip-to-wafer technique has attracted considerable attention for high-density packaging of different types of chips. This technique involves processing one wafer substrate to the chip size and bonding it to another wafer substrate. Silicon dioxide and other inorganic materials are usually used as insulating materials for hybrid bonding. There are two key challenges, however, with applying the chip-to-wafer technique. The first is that silicon dust generated in chip dicing can be trapped during hybrid bonding, causing chip bonding defects and lowering yields.

Since 2020, Toray has carried out hybrid bonding experimental demonstrations with the Institute of Microelectronics, a semiconductor research unit of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research. This work has tapped the company’s accumulated expertise in functional plastics design technology in employing sophisticated molecular design and pursues excellence to create insulating polymers offering high heat resistance and excellent mechanical properties (Figure 3). By collaborating with that entity and various semiconductor-related companies, Toray looks to apply this material to chip-to-wafer hybrid bonding. It seeks to boost the yields and reliability of chiplets and make it possible to integrate differing chips in a single package.

We remind, Toray Industries, Inc., announced it signed an agreement with Honda Motor Co., Ltd., to jointly develop a chemical recycling technology for glass-fiber reinforced nylon 6 parts recovered from end-of-life vehicles, said the company. The two have begun verifying this technology, which entails depolymerizing with subcritical water and regenerating the materials as caprolactam, a raw monomer.


Shin-Etsu Chemical develops industry’s first water-based, fast-curing silicone resin

Shin-Etsu Chemical develops industry’s first water-based, fast-curing silicone resin

Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd.has developed the industry’s first silicone resin that does not use emulsifiers — the water-based, fast-curing silicone resin "KRW-6000 Series.", said the company.

Silicone resins are used in such applications as paints and coatings because of their excellent performance with regard to weather resistance and heat resistance. In recent years, expectations for water-based silicone resins have been increasing.

Conventional waterborne silicone resins use emulsifiers. Compared to organic solvent-based silicone resins, water-based products to which emulsifiers are added tend to have inferior film properties. In addition, there were issues regarding the required time for drying and curing. The KRW-6000 Series does not use emulsifiers, and thus it has excellent film properties and can be cured quickly through heating. The main features of this newly developed silicone resin series are as follows:

1. Emulsifier-free, water-dispersible silicone resin
Because no emulsifier is used, it forms a superior water-resistant film. In addition, after curing, it becomes an inorganic silicone-only film, which provides excellent durability and weather resistance over the long term. For this reason, it is suitable as a binder for weather-resistant paints and various additives.

2. Non-inclusion of organic solvents contributes to a VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)-free product
This resin is a water-solvent type that does not contain organic solvents, and the only substance generated in the curing reaction is water, which contributes to VOC-free products. In addition, the water evaporates to form a film with no tackiness, making it easy to work with.

3. Fast-curing at low temperatures in a short time contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
In addition to the curing process progressing at room temperature, curing is accelerated by heating to the 80-150°C level for several minutes. Compared to conventional organic solvent-based silicone resins, curing progresses at lower temperatures and in a shorter time, thus contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases.

4. Formation of high-hardness film
It is possible to form a high-hardness film with a maximum hardness of 4H. Types with more flexible coatings are also available.

Shin-Etsu Chemical will strive to develop and supply high-value-added silicone products that take advantage of the technological expertise and know-how Shin-Etsu has cultivated over the years in order to help our customers solve various issues, as we continue our efforts to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society.

We remind, Shin-Etsu Chemical Co Ltd strived to make up for the loss in profit with the shipment of highly functional product groups, said the company. Net sales stood at Yen 255.3 bn and Yen 215.4 bn, respectively, a change of (16%). Operating income stood at Yen 73.5 bn and Yen 51.7 bn, respectively, a change of (30%). As for PVC, export pressures from Chinese manufacturers continued due to the weakness of construction and housing investment in China, but price levels were maintained. The caustic soda market was in a similar situation.


Trinseo announces potential closure of Stade, Germany PC manufacturing facility

Trinseo announces potential closure of Stade, Germany PC manufacturing facility

Trinseo, a specialty material solutions provider, announced it has initiated an information and consultation process with the Works Council of Trinseo Deutschland Anlagengesellschaft mbH regarding the potential closure of its virgin polycarbonate (PC) production site in Stade, Germany, said the company.

The Company expects to seek board approval of the closure in 2024 following the Works Council consultation process. If an agreement is reached, Trinseo will no longer produce virgin PC and will obtain PC for its downstream businesses entirely via external purchases. In comparison to 2023 results, the action is expected to increase annual profitability by USD15 million to USD20 million.

“Unfortunately, we continue to see demand soften, and price declines due to the oversupply caused by offshore producers pushing material into the EMEA market. We anticipate these conditions to continue in 2024 and beyond. Additionally, our fixed operating costs at Stade are significant, placing a further strain on our financial viability at this location,” said CEO, Frank Bozich.

In the third quarter 2023 earnings call, the Company identified Stade as a potential location for a PC dissolution facility. The Company is committed to the integration and application of modern recycling technologies, such as PC dissolution and depolymerization, to help customers develop more sustainable product offerings. Trinseo is exploring numerous options for viable locations to ensure recycling plants are both resilient and adaptive to customer requirements. Developing commercial scale operations in recycling remains a key pillar of the business strategy moving forward as evidenced by the polycarbonate-dissolution pilot facility recently opened in Terneuzen, the Netherlands.


Collaboration leads to launch of film packaging made with recycled plastic

Collaboration leads to launch of film packaging made with recycled plastic

Companies from across the flexible food packaging supply chain have partnered to launch a new snack packaging that contains 50 percent-recycled plastic and meets stringent food contact requirements, said Recyclingtoday.

The new packaging was launched in late 2023 in the United Kingdom and Ireland for Sunbites, a snack brand owned by PepsiCo. The packaging is made using an advanced recycling process—a complementary approach to mechanical recycling—that enables the recycled materials to satisfy the demanding European Union regulatory requirements for applications such as food-contact packaging, contact sensitive and medical devices.

A number of companies were involved in developing the circular packaging: Germany-based GreenDot ensured the procurement and supply of postconsumer plastic packaging scrap, which was converted into a pyrolysis oil called Tacoil using Plastic Energy’s technology.

London-based manufacturing company Ineos Olefins & Polymers Europe used the pyrolysis oil as an alternative to traditional fossil feedstock to first produce recycled propylene before turning this into virgin-quality recycled polypropylene (PP) resin at its plant in Lavera, France.

Italy-based Irplast S.p.A., a producer of biaxially oriented PP films (BOPP), used the new resin to turn existing plastic packaging designs into new packaging films containing 50 percent-postconsumer-recycled materials and meet the food contact and performance requirements.

Switzerland-based packaging developer Amcor transformed the films into printed packaging that delivers the same technical performance for PepsiCo.

Using the new PP films, PepsiCo launched the Sunbites packaging in the U.K. The partnership is part of PepsiCo Positive, the company’s program to eliminate virgin fossil-based plastic in crisp and chip bags in Europe by 2030.

“At PepsiCo, we are proud to work with our industry partners towards more sustainable packaging solutions,” says Archana Jagannathan, chief sustainability officer at PepsiCo Europe. “We are excited about the new Sunbites packaging in the U.K., and we look forward to learning from this pilot market and expanding it across more countries in the near future. Collaboration is key to progressing on our ambition to eliminate virgin fossil-based plastic in all our crisp and chip packaging in Europe by the end of 2030.”

According to Ineos, the recycled polymer content is certified under the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC Plus) scheme.

Ineos says the upcoming EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) is expected to set out ambitious targets for recycling packaging waste for 2025 and 2030 across a range of materials and recycled content targets for plastics. The company adds the development of the new packaging demonstrates that advanced recycling technologies can play a critical role in meeting the growing demand for the safe, circular use of recycled materials in food contact products, helping the EU achieve its 10 percent-recycled content objective for contact-sensitive plastic packaging by 2030, as well as help to reduce total emissions.