Sasol Polymers buys ExxonMobil know-how
HOUSTON - ExxonMobil Chemical Co. of Houston has licensed its tubular process polyethylene technology to Sasol Polymers of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Sasol plans to open a 485 million-pound-capacity low density PE plant in Sasolburg, South Africa, in 2005. Sasol already produces PE, polypropylene and PVC in South Africa, and makes PE through joint ventures in Malaysia and China.
ExxonMobil's LDPE technology offers Sasol a range of products ``suited to meeting the growing needs of the Southern African market,'' Howard Parry, Sasol PE general manager, said in a Nov. 6 news release.
When the plant opens, there will be seven LDPE lines using the technology worldwide, including five of ExxonMobil's own, according to ExxonMobil spokesman Russ Roberts.
Each of those lines can produce at least 440 million pounds of material annually. Plans are in the works to use the technology to make as much as 880 million pounds of annual capacity on a single line, Roberts added.
Sasol Polymers is part of Sasol Group, one of South Africa's largest industrial firms, with major operations in fuel and chemicals. ExxonMobil Chemical is one of the world's largest PE makers and is a leader in PE technology.
RTP lab developing extrusion compounds
WINONA, MINN. - Custom compounder RTP Co. believes it has lowered lead time and minimum purchase amounts for specialty extruded sheet, profile or wire and cable products.
RTP, of Winona, acquired three extruders in establishing a dedicated laboratory to support and develop extrusion-grade specialty compounds. The lab shares some capabilities with other RTP research and development facilities.
The extrusion lab can create various custom formulas and make test samples in sheets measuring as large as 12 inches by 8 inches, said Alain Creissen, RTP business manager for extrusion applications. The extruders can make as little as 1 pound of film, sheet, tape or rod.
In a usual situation, ``we help customers produce parts with 50 pounds'' of compound, Creissen said. ``We don't want the customer to take a risk with 3,000 pounds'' on the basis of a material data sheet.
Customers find more value in an extruded sheet than a molded plaque, which RTP routinely provides to injection molders, Creissen said.
Trade groups at odds over Philippine tariff
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Philippine Plastics Industry Association is concerned about the closure of several plastics manufacturers due to a slowdown of the local economy.
PPIA President Alex Ting said about 20,000 jobs have been displaced as firms have transferred operations to neighboring Asian countries. One problem locally, he said, is the 15 percent tariff on some imported resin.
``The tariff distortion had adversely affected not only the plastics firms but also the consumers who finally absorb the high tariff rates. The correction of the tariff distortion would serve the interests of the consumers,'' he said.
The Association of Petrochemical Manufacturers of the Philippines, however, disputes that the tariff is costing local jobs.
``The plastics industry had every opportunity to present their data and problems before the Philippine Tariff Commission but they chose to make their claims, which cannot be validated outside [the] commission,'' said Jong Sereno, executive director of APMP.
Leaders of the plastics and petrochemicals industries have clashed several times in the past on the issue of tariff rates on imported resins.
Plastics and petrochemical sectors are facing a bigger battle - the scheduled reduction of the petrochemical and plastic product tariff rates from 15 percent to 5 percent by 2004 under the Association of Southeast Nations Free Trade Agreement.
SDR increases output with rebuilt pelletizer
RAVENSWOOD, W.VA. - Recycler SDR Plastics Inc. has increased its annual output more than 20 percent through efficient use of a rebuilt pelletizer.
SDR, a 100-employee firm in Ravenswood, faced downtimes of four hours when it changed materials on any of its eight extrusion lines.
Now the firm's feeders are calibrated before material switching and pre-production is done while the lines are purged. Materials-changing downtime now is less than an hour.
Rebuilding and reoutfitting the pelletizer cost less than $3,000, said plant manager Todd Knapp.