MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — Secos Group Ltd. has started trial production of hygiene film made from bioplastics at its recently reopened plant near Melbourne.
Managing Director Stephen Walters said the Deer Park plant had been closed for several months until the merger of Melbourne-based, publicly listed Cardia Bioplastics Ltd. with Melbourne-based privately held Stellar Films Group Pty. Ltd. to form Secos Group Ltd.
“We had planned to move production to our Malaysian plant,” he said. Secos has a manufacturing plant at Port Klang, Malaysia, and owns 50.8 percent of Akronn Industries Sdn. Bhd. Akronn manufactures silicone-coated paper and film products in Nilai, Malaysia, supplying the global hygiene and medical packaging markets and the energy sector.
Walters said Deer Park, 11 miles from Melbourne's central business district, re-opened in April and was now running at 30 percent capacity after picking up contracts worth $A400,000 a month ($US295,108). It has the ability to make 6 metric tons of high-quality hygiene-grade cast film a year.
Walters said the plant may reach 50 percent of its capacity within 12 months, and 100 percent within two years.
The merger with Cardia brought bioplastics into the mix, and Walters said product from the trial run of sustainable film will be airfreighted to potential customers, mainly in the Asia-Pacific region, for further trials to “see how it processes on their lines.”
“Other people can produce sustainable film, but we need high-speed, efficient production at a cost-effective price,” Walters said.
He is confident the Deer Park facility can achieve that. “We hope to have a successful uptake and ultimately switch the majority of production at Deer Park to sustainable films.”
The single-line facility was built in 1987, but Walters said it has seen significant capital investment in upgrades since then.
Cardia's Biohybrid film was the catalyst for the merger. Biohybrid is a mix of renewable thermoplastics, mainly corn starch, and traditional resins, which can include polyethylene and polypropylene.
A company statement said the weakening Australian dollar “further strengthens Stellar's competiveness in targeted export markets.” Walters said Stellar's traditional cast films are in high demand from global hygiene companies for diaper back sheets and sanitary napkins.
Cardia Bioplastics has a product development center and a manufacturing plant for resins and finished products in Nanjing, China.