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

2014 US machinery shipments up 6 percent

November 25, 2014 5:17 pm ET

Through the first nine months of 2014 U.S. shipments of primary plastics equipment — for injection molding, blow molding and extrusion —...    More

Image

Globalization brings sizable growth, primarily in Asia

November 25, 2014 1:40 pm ET

In 1990, the year after Plastics News published our first issue, there were 33,000 injection molding machines sold worldwide. Fast forward to 2013,...    More

Image

Taipei Plas vandal and German firm trade lawsuits

November 25, 2014 1:26 pm ET

Taiwan businessman Karma Tang, who splashed red paint at German firm Baumüller GmbH's Taipei Plas booth, is in a messy legal battle.    More

Image

Plastics News by the year: 1991

November 25, 2014 6:00 am ET

As Plastics News marks its 25th year of publication, we take a year-by-year look back at some of the events, people and curious coincidences that...    More

Image

Obituary: Patsy Beall, 79, industry activist

November 25, 2014 1:18 pm ET

Patsy Beall, a plastics industry activist who worked alongside her husband of 61 years, product designer Glenn Beall, passed away Nov. 22.    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

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

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

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

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

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

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

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events