Panel discusses the future of plastics

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: October 28, 2013 3:20 pm ET
Updated: October 28, 2013 3:25 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials Suppliers, K 2013, Business News & Features

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — A panel assembled by styrenics maker Styrolution explored the future of plastics at K 2013.

The panel met Oct. 17 at a press event moderated by award-winning science journalist Robert Matthews.

Emerging technologies will allow Styrolution and other resin makers to control resin performance in ways previously not possible, including self-assembly of nanostructures, said Hans-Werner Schmidt, macromolecular chemistry department head at the University of Bayreuth in Bayreuth, Germany.

Resin makers "have the opportunity to affect materials in a unique way — to control to the nanometer scale," he added. "They can improve their plastic materials to find specialized applications."

Styrenics can be especially helpful in this regard because of their ability to provide a variety of performances — ranging from flexible to hard — and because of their "benign processing behavior," said Norbert Niessner, global research and development head for Frankfurt-based Styrolution.

Eckart Herrmann, interior material technology head for automaker Volkswagen AG, declared that "the plastics revolution already has overtaken cars."

"Compare the '69 Beetle to the current Golf," he said. "In the Beetle, you were looking at sheet metal when you were inside. Now when you're inside the Golf, you see only plastics."

Future application trends could lead to cars with fewer buttons and knobs and more touch interfaces, Herrmann added. Niessner described "cool-touch" technology that Styrolution is working on. The heat-transfer technology could give plastic parts the feel of metal.

Niessner listed improved weather-resistant plastics for fencing and decking and an increased role for design as "more of a selling point" as other future directions for the market. Three-dimentional printing also could play a role in advancing technology for plastics, according to Schmidt.

Patricia Vangheluwe, consumer and environment affairs director for the Brussels, Belgium-based PlasticsEurope trade group, cited the value of advanced plastics in supplying fresh water and improving transportation as areas where plastics can have a future impact.

"We in the industry should talk about the benefit of plastics to life and not so much about plastic imitating other materials," she said.


Comments

Panel discusses the future of plastics

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: October 28, 2013 3:20 pm ET
Updated: October 28, 2013 3:25 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Carbon black supplier Orion begins trading on NYSE

July 29, 2014 11:29 am ET

Orion Engineered Carbons S.a.r.l. has priced the initial public offering of 19.5 million common shares at a price to the public of $18 per share.    More

Image

Dow sees solid second quarter performance

July 29, 2014 11:19 am ET

Dow Chemical Co. has reported its second quarter figures, with its seventh consecutive quarter of growth, according to the company.More

Image

Evonik sells polyimide foams operation to Boyd

July 29, 2014 10:46 am ET

Modesto, Calif.-based Boyd Corp., a manufacturers of specialty material and sealing agents, has purchased Evonik Industries’...    More

Image

Formosa to be compensated for Vietnam riot

July 28, 2014 1:44 pm ET

Taiwan's Formosa Plastics Group will receive $2.39 million from the Vietnamese government and insurance companies for damages suffered during the...    More

Image

Ukraine's Group DF may be forced to sell Crimea-based additives plant

July 28, 2014 10:12 am ET

Group DF, the industrial business of Ukrainian tycoon Dmitry Firtash, may be forced to sell off Eastern Europe's biggest producer of titanium oxide, C...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recyclers Data Report & Directory

This exclusive MS Excel database contains all the companies from Plastics News' ranking of top North American Recyclers and Brokers by reprocessed volume and also includes a directory with materials processes, services offered and company contact information. Data is based on primary research by PN editorial staff.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

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

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

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

More Events