Multibax boosting its bioplastics production

By Steve Toloken
News Editor / International

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
News Editor / International

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

Newell Rubbermaid expanding production, employment in Kansas

March 3, 2015 3:31 pm ET

Newell Rubbermaid Inc. is expanding and extending plastics molding technologies at its Winfield, Kan., manufacturing plant and distribution center.    More

Image

Snow blamed for roof collapse at Pennsylvania pipe maker

March 3, 2015 4:51 pm ET

Heavy snow is likely to blame for bringing down part of the roof of a Charter Plastics Inc. facility in Titusville, Pa., about 3 p.m. March 3.    More

Image

Accella buys IPS Polymer Systems

March 3, 2015 5:26 pm ET

Accella Performance Materials Inc. is acquiring IPS Polymer Systems Inc. to expand the firm's growing polyurethane operation.    More

Image

Clear Lam settles Doritos lawsuit

March 3, 2015 4:06 pm ET

Clear Lam Packaging Inc. has settled a months-old lawsuit against Frito-Lay Inc. alleging “breach of contract, false advertising, and...    More

Image

Best Places To Work 2015

March 3, 2015 2:59 pm ET

For the second year, Plastics News has named the 10 best places to work in the plastics industry. This year, Northstar Recycling Co. Inc. tops the lis...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

North America represents about 30 percent of the global consumption of flexible packaging. Annual growth in this region is forecast at 4 percent during the next 5 years.

For more insight on growth opportunities, drivers of growth and the outlook for 2015, download this report.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events