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

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

Contigo, Avex buy lets Newell Rubbermaid leapfrog new bottle development

July 22, 2014 4:11 pm ET

Newell Rubbermaid Inc. is ready to accelerate its move into the reusable water bottle business with the purchase of two on-the-go drinkware brands.    More

Image

Plastics industry blasted for stance in green building debate

July 22, 2014 2:45 pm ET

The plastics industry has taken high-profile stance in the debate over green building standards. The result, today at least, is that it's getting...    More

Image

Plastics help designers bring home the gold

July 22, 2014 2:15 pm ET

Products with polymer content received multiple gold recognitions in the 2014 International Design Excellence Awards.    More

Image

Munson Machinery expanding assembly, testing operations

July 22, 2014 2:02 pm ET

Munson Machinery Co. Inc. is expanding its headquarters factory by about one-third in Utica, N.Y., where the company makes mixing, blending and size-...    More

Image

Continuing on the energy roller coaster

July 22, 2014 12:59 pm ET

From the Arab Oil Embargo through $4 gas to the boom in shale oil and gas, Americans — and the plastics industry — have ridden an energy r...    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events