Multibax boosting its bioplastics production

By Steve Toloken
Staff Reporter / Asia Bureau Chief

Published: January 30, 2013 3:02 pm ET
Updated: January 30, 2013 3:09 pm ET

Image By: Steve Toloken Pisuth Lertvilai

Related to this story

Topics Regions, End Markets, Packaging, Consumer Products, Sustainability, Materials, Polyethylene, Africa

BANGKOK — Thai plastic packager Multibax Public Co. Ltd. is more than doubling capacity for its new line of biodegradable bags, based largely on strong European demand for such lower-carbon-footprint packaging.

Multibax plans this year to add a second extrusion line for bioplastics products, with an annual nameplate capacity of 8 million pounds, and expand capacity in its more traditional business of polyethylene bags, said Pisuth Lertvilai, deputy managing director of the Bangkok-based company.

Its current nameplate capacity for bioplastic bags is about 4.4 million pounds a year, he said.

Looking to reduce costs for biodegradable resins, the company has spent at least 50 million Thai baht ($1.67 million) since 2008 to develop its own formulations, blending tapioca starch derived from Thai cassava root with imported biodegradable polymers to manufacture its own blend of material called MBIO resin.

"We are well aware that if we just buy biodegradable resin from overseas, blow the bag and sell, we won't be competitive," he said. "As such, we then decided to invest in our own R&D."

The research took several years to pay off, and the company only started shipping its MBIO plastic bags in 2012 because it needed to go through the detailed certification for international standards for biodegradability, heavy-metal residue and eco-toxicity, including Germany's DIN Certco, BPI in the United States, and EN 13432 and ASTM 6400, Lertvilai said.

"Right now there are so many customer inquiries [for the biodegradable bags] we can't keep up," he said in an interview at the Inno Bioplast 2013 conference, held Jan. 24-26 in Bangkok.

Lertvilai said that while biodegradable plastics are only 10 percent of its overall business, the market is at the moment stronger than its traditional petrochemical-based plastic packaging because there are fewer companies capable of meeting the strict standards for biodegradable packaging.

"Working in the bioplastics market is easier," he said. "I would say conventional [plastic packaging] is very, very competitive, but in the bioplastics market there are only a few good-quality processes."

Multibax, which is publicly traded on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, hopes its biodegradable materials will account for 40 percent of sales within five years, Lertvilai said.

It has developed both film and injection grades of its bio-based polymers, and is exploring the possibility of selling its resins, he said in a presentation at Inno Bioplast.

The company last year had about 1.6 billion baht ($53.4 million) in sales.

Multibax also plans to introduce a second MBIO formulation, for carrier bags, he said. Its first formulation has been for garbage bin liner bags. It also plans to start a new pilot plant for more extensive research and development by 2015.

Besides the bioplastics investment, the company also plans to increase extrusion capacity for its petrochemical-based products this year from 40 million pounds to about 45 million pounds, he said.

Multibax's factories are all located in an export processing zone in Chonburi province, with 100 percent of its products shipped overseas, he said. It employs about 800 people.


Comments

Multibax boosting its bioplastics production

By Steve Toloken
Staff Reporter / Asia Bureau Chief

Published: January 30, 2013 3:02 pm ET
Updated: January 30, 2013 3:09 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Sabic adding Stamax production line in Shanghai

April 23, 2014 6:55 am ET

SHANGHAI — Sabic Innovative Plastics announced April 23 at Chinaplas that it is investing in a production line for Stamax-brand long glass...    More

Some medical devices could get faster approval with new FDA rules

April 22, 2014 7:41 pm ET

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing an expedited approval for medical devices for devices aimed at the diagnosis or treatment of...    More

Image

Two Ohio groups team up to accelerate development of future medical devices

April 22, 2014 9:55 am ET

The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron and Cleveland-based design specialists Nottingham Spirk announced a strategic partnership that the two...    More

Image

Coffee roaster looks to improve footprint of single cup systems

April 22, 2014 1:30 pm ET

One of the largest coffee and tea manufacturers in North America has introduced a single-serve beverage capsule intended to curb the waste created by ...    More

Image

HRS adding more North American production for hot runners

April 22, 2014 12:57 pm ET

An Italian tooling component supplier is set to open a new production plant in Grand Rapids, Mich. The HRS Flow Division of San Polo di Piace-headquar...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events