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Golden Electric machine on display at the Arburg hall 22 opening ceremony
In this feature for Plastics News Europe, David Vink reports from Arburg's 2016 Technology Days event on the family-owned group's new production hall and new electric drive machine.
A record 6,500 participants from 54 countries visited the 2016 Technology Days open house at the Lossburg, Germany headquarters of injection moulding machinery producer Arburg in March. Many of the participants attended the official opening ceremony of the new assembly hall 22 in the evening before the event started.
Thorsten Kühmann, managing director of the VDMA KuG association of German plastics and rubber machinery producers, spoke about the importance of family-owned and -run companies such as Arburg to the success of the German machinery industry.
Kühmann said 110 of the 220 member companies of VDMA KuG are family-run. They take the long view and instead of being “concerned about their quarterly results, they look beyond that to the next generation”, he said.
He praised Arburg, which – along with many other family-run companies – did not cut back on staff during the financial and economic crisis in 2008-09, despite a 60% drop in injection moulding incoming orders at the time. It was this approach, Kühmann said, that resulted in Arburg leaving many of its competitors behind when the crisis ended and was followed by an upturn in business.
In his address by video link from the US, Bill Carteaux of the Society of the Plastic Industry presented a global manufacturing competitiveness ranking chart, with China leading, followed by the US, Germany, Japan, South Korea and the UK. But he pointed out that the US is expected to top the chart in 2021, followed by China, Germany, Japan and India, with the UK expected to be overtaken by Mexico by then. The study was made by Deloitte consultants and the US Council on Competitiveness.
Arburg’s new assembly hall 22 adds a further 18,600 square metres production area floor space. Managing partner Michael Hehl put this in perspective by telling Plastics News Europe that the available production area has now reached 165,000 square metres as a result of adding the new hall.
Technical director Heinz Gaub said it has been the rapid growth of business in larger (250-500 tonne) machines that has driven the need to increase production capacity with the new hall. The previous investment in a new assembly hall had been in 2000 with hall 21, which has 22,100 square metres floor space and is equipped with four assembly lines using 88 cranes.
Cranes previously installed at Arburg have not exceeded 20 tonnes lifting capability, so the presence of a number of 40-tonne cranes in hall 22 led to speculation among journalists that this could indicate Arburg will introduce a new larger machine at K 2016, exceeding its present 500-tonne limit.
Referring to K 2016 the day after hall 22 was opened, Michael Hehl said: “The only thing I have to say on this subject is that there is a time and a place for everything. The Technology Days are the Technology Days and the K is the K. And as an injection moulding company, we have to ‘dose’ our information.”
But he continued: “The one thing you can be sure of, however, is that you won’t be disappointed by the surprises we have in store at the K. Anyone who knows us will be well aware that Arburg is always full of surprises – especially at the K.”
Gaub hinted Arburg may use K 2016 to reveal an enhanced version of its Selogica control system, which would overcome Selogica’s drawbacks of lacking hot-plugging and self-configuration capabilities.
At the hall 22 opening ceremony, Gerhard B?hm was introduced as the new managing director for sales, with Helmut Heinson retiring after 11 years in the position. Heinson jokingly made the handover to B?hm by passing on the crystal glass ball that he has used at press briefings in the past to illustrate that business developments cannot always be foreseen.
Heinson and B?hm jointly announced a new Golden Electric 5-point, double toggle-clamping, electric drive machine at the ceremony. Like the Golden Edition series, introduced on the occasion of Arburg’s 50th anniversary in 2006, the Golden Electric is also competitively priced. Heinson said the Golden Edition has been a success story, and accounts for one-third of all machines produced at Arburg today.
There are four clamping forces of 60, 100, 150 and 200 tonnes for the Golden Electric and Heinson said the machine “covers 70-80% of applications”. He described the machine as “a German workhorse for the international plastics processing industry, made by Arburg in Lossburg. It has the same price as an equivalent hydraulic machine and you can order it tonight.”
This is quite an achievement, as electric drive machines have been faced with hydraulic machine prices falling over the years.
Main innovations of the new machine are a central greasing unit and an injection unit that swivels out for ease of maintenance and machine adjustment – a similar approach to that used for extrusion machinery barrels. These innovations mean “the machine is always in movement with little down-time, which means more profit in the pocket”, B?hm said.
Michael Hehl referred to both the Golden Edition and new Golden Electric series as “entry-level” machines with attractive price/performance ratios, the latter machine meeting customer demands for high performance, energy-efficient production of demanding parts.
Arburg put all four sizes of the Golden Electric machines on show running live during the Technology Days open house. For example, The 60-tonne 370E moulded Akroloy ICF40, a 40% short carbon fibre reinforced PA66/PA61/6T blend developed by compounder Akro-Plastic with recycled carbon fibres from, for example, BMW i-series car production.
The black part produced was a standard letter opener, traditionally used by Akro-Plastic to demonstrate its compounds. The letter opener weighed 12g and was moulded in a single-cavity mould with 23s cycle time. The 150-tonne 520E moulded a thermostatic radiator valve cap in Styrolution’s Terluran GP35 grade of ABS, as a part weighing 24.5g, in a 4-cavity mould with 32s cycle time.
Hehl said Arburg does not want the Golden Electric to cannibalise existing Arburg electric drive machines – or the company’s hydraulic machines, for that matter – but that the aim is to “take on additional market share with the new machine series, not just in terms of price, but also technically”.
Gaub said: “As is known, foreign sales account for 70% of Arburg’s turnover and although the US and Japan are markets where customers always bought electric machines for high precision moulding, these have not always been from Arburg.”
Arburg is not seeking to convert customers from hydraulic to electric drive with the new machine, said B?hm, but is aiming at those who have always used electrical drive machines – “that’s where the growth will come for the Golden Electric”, he said. Arburg expects it to become clear in 2017 how much Arburg’s share of electric machines will have been increased with the Golden Electric introduction.
The lightweighting highlight at the 2016 Technology Days was a live demonstration of foam moulding a car glove box cover using the Profoam foam moulding process, developed jointly by Arburg and the IKV plastics processing institute in Aachen.
The glove box covers were moulded in a Krallmann mould partially laser-textured by J & F Kruth on an A630H hybrid drive machine in Covestro’s Makrolon SF 800Z, a 5% milled glass fibre reinforced flame retardant medium viscosity polycarbonate. Covestro showed the part at Fakuma 2015, where it had been moulded in its Makroblend PC/ABS material.
Both examples have featured use of Integrat segmented variothermal rapid heating and cooling (RHC) temperature control from GWK in order to provide high gloss and closely replicated textured surfaces on the one part. As IKV also showed at its biannual Colloquium in February, Arburg demonstrated the effect on the high gloss and textured surfaces caused by switching off the close contour RHC temperature control at one end of the part.
The glove box moulding weighed around 190g and was produced in a single-cavity mould with 60s cycle time. Heinz Gaub stressed Profoam advantages of being able to use a standard Arburg 3-zone plastification screw and the high retention of glass fibre length when processing long glass fibre reinforced plastics.
The weight of the glove box had been reduced from 279g for a compact moulding to 190g with Profoam. The low viscosity of the process helps here by cutting wall thickness down from 2.5mm to 1.5mm, although this characteristic can also be used to increase strength with higher fibre content.
In a Technology Days presentation on latest trends and developments in lightweight construction, Manuel W?hrle, Arburg senior sales manager for lightweight projects, talked about a range of processes, including Profoam, PCIM – particle foam injection moulding, which Arburg also demonstrated at the event – overmoulding organic sheet and the fibre direct compounding (FDC) process that Arburg has shown with PP and PA on previous occasions.
W?hrle gave an example of how using FDC can cut compound material cost to €1.48/kg compared with €2.65/kg for ready purchased 30% long glass fibre reinforced PP compound. He based the calculation on €1.40/kg for PP resin (67%), €1.30/kg for glass fibre rovings (30%) and €3.50/kg for bonding agent (3.5%). He warned, however, that although there are flexibility benefits when the moulder uses FDC, it also takes over responsibility that would otherwise be carried by a compounding company, as “changing the process changes the part”.
The third generation KCC series was exhibited at Chinaplas in Shanghai
Germany-based blow moulding machinery maker Kautex Maschinenbau exhibited the third generation of its KCC series of extrusion blow moulding machines at the Chinaplas trade fair in Shanghai, China in April.
The KCC series has been produced in Shunde, China since 1997. The third generation model has a number of new and revised technical features and has also been completely redesigned to reflect the company’s new visual identity.
The new series is more compact, taking up less floor space and, according to the company, has better accessibility, making it easier to service and shortening change-over times. Moulds can now be changed from the side and products are discharged from the rear of the machine.
The company plans a gradual introduction of the new machine until the switch-over of the entire KCC range has been completed.
Mark Lueddecke, vice president of Kautex in Shunde, said: “We offer KCC machines for all kinds of consumer and industrial packaging applications as well as for the automotive sector. This high degree of flexibility is precisely why this machine series has continued its success for almost twenty years.”
The company also demonstrated its KSB suction blow moulding machine at the fair. This new machine type was specifically designed for low-flash production of 3D-moulded parts such as plastic exhaust ducts for the automotive sector. Controlled using Kautex’s BC5 controller, the KSB machines are claimed to take up almost 50% less space than previous comparable equipment.
Photo by AHA Plastik AHA Plastik makes plastic packaging including plastic buckets
Slovenian industrial group JUB-H d.d. has purchased troubled plastic packaging maker AHA Plastik d.o.o. from Slovenia’s Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC), the bank said in a statement.“We will endeavor to ensure sustainable growth and development of AHA Plastik. We believe that this transaction marks an important milestone in the development of AHA Plastik, both in terms of its long-term development and its potential,” JUB-H said in the statement.AHA Plastik specialises in making various packaging products with the use of plastics, and owns a plant in Kanal, Slovenia.With the use of “blow moulding, we can produce drums, canisters, fuel canisters and bottles ranging from 1l to 150l and reservoirs for different kinds of liquids,” according to the company. In addition to this, AHA Plastik makes crates, baskets and other plastic products.AHA Plastik is currently operated by a workforce of 77 employees, and in 2015, the packaging producer reported revenues of about €7.3m, according to data obtained by local business news site Finance.si. AHA Plastik exports its output to a number of European markets, including Italy, Germany, Austria, Croatia and Serbia, where the firm’s subsidiary is operated by eight employees and makes PVC lines for electrical installations.Export sales are responsible for some 33% of AHA Plastik’s revenues. The manufacturer's production facilities are ISO 9001 certified.
Photo by Raumedic AG From left, Martin Bayer, Martin Schenkel and Jobst Wagner at the ribbon cutting for the new Raumedic Inc. plant in Mills River, N.C.
German medical moulding specialist Raumedic has opened a $20m (€17.2m) new plant in Mills River, North Carolina, US, bolstering its ability to produce customised products for the North American market.
In the first stage of expansion, the company is making customized tubing, moulded parts and systems on 13,000 square feet of clean room space in accordance with ISO 14644 class 7 at its new Raumedic Inc. operation.
The company said it is investing over $20m (€17.2m) in the facility, which serves as the Helmbrechts, Germany-based company’s new U.S. headquarters. The site currently employs about 60 but expects the headcount to exceed 100 in the next few years.
Raumedic Inc. Chairman Martin Bayer said, “We all have created an American company that is based on its own tradition and history. We will fuse and develop German and American know-how in polymer processing in this region.”
“Here American pioneer spirit, German engineering, and the Swiss solid way of doing business come together and form the perfect foundation for a rising company,” commented Jobst Wagner, president of the Rehau Group, the conglomerate which created Raumedic for its medical business in 1971.
Raumedic extrudes and injection molds tubing, parts, catheters, and components for the medical and pharmaceutical industry. It also develops and produces high-precision pressure measurement systems with microchip technology for the indication areas of neuromonitoring, urology and traumatology.
The company processes medical-grade thermoplastic polymers and silicones at a total of four production sites in Germany — Helmbrechts, Feuchtwangen, Zw?nitz — and the new US site. It employs 680 worldwide.
Photo by Novares
French automotive component manufacturer Novares has now introduced in-mould labeling (IML) technology at its factory in Leiria, Portugal, for the surface finishing of plastic parts for the car industry.
The factory, which employs around 550 employees, produces complex plastic component systems such as instrument clusters, radio bezels and HVAC bezels for car interiors.
IML technology allows decorative or functional designs or lettering that would normally be printed as a label and attached to a plastic component to be integrated into the manufacture of the component.
The addition, said Novares 11 Dec, is in response to growing customer demand for tailored, decorative and functional components. As part of the upgrade, the company has also invested in equipment for high-pressure forming, trimming and automatic inspection.
Novares supplies parts to leading automotive suppliers including Faurecia, BHTC, Bosch, Continental, Kostal and Visteon from its Leiria plant.
The manufacturing unit employs various plastic processing technologies including injection, painting, laser etching, hot stamping and assembly.
“Novares is continually expanding its in-house capabilities and introducing the latest technologies to... [face] the growing challenges of the automotive market,“ said Pierre Boulet, CEO of Novares.
Photo by Voterfoll Pro Megapolis has invested in Dornier extrusion equipment for its Voterfoll Pro subsidiary to produce BOPP film in Shakhty, Russia.
Investment by Russian companies in plastics processing machinery fell by 26% to an estimated $531m (€467m) in 2015, according to a report by MRC, a market research consultancy based in Moscow.
Russia’s economic crisis started in 2014 and worsened in 2015, when figures from the Federal State Statistics Service show that GDP contracted by 3.7%.
The plastics machinery market in Russia is now half the $1bn level it reached in 2008. In 2013 machinery investments totalled $850m, but this decreased by 16% to $717m in 2014, before the 26% decline in 2015, according to MRC.
Injection moulding machinery was the segment that was hit hardest last year, with purchases falling by 39% from $277m in 2014 to $169m in 2015.
Investments in film extrusion lines, in fact, increased in 2015, rising to $146m from $124m in 2014.
MRC said: “The positive trend in the sector became possible due, in fact, [to] one investment from Voterfoll Pro company, subsidiary of Megapolis Group. Voterfoll Pro has installed two lines from German producer Dornier for the production of 3 and 5-layer BOPP films with 60,000 tonnes/year capacity in Shakhty, Rostov region.”
Investments in compounding lines also continued a positive trend, growing to $42m in 2015. MRC noted two investments: a ZSK Megacompounder from Coperion was installed by Kazanorgsintez for black PE pipe compounds; a PE compounding line from KraussMaffei for anti-corrosion coating of steel pipes of large diameter was installed by Metaclay.
The downturn in Russia’s construction sector impacted extrusion line investments: those for pipe production were $23m in 2015 (down from $34.8m in 2014), while lines for PVC profiles and panels amounted to $19m in 2015 ($40m in 2014).
Investments in extrusion blow moulding equipment declined to $28m in 2015 from $59m a year earlier.
MRC is part of polymer and commodity pricing group ICIS.
Plastics News Europe’s final issue of the year is now out and can be accessed digitally on our site as from today.
In this issue, we recap the past year, mainly covering key European plastics event of the year Fakuma – a show that continued its successful streak in Friedrichshafen, Germany for the 26th time in October.
The automotive industry is the centre of our focus on materials in this issue, with Professor Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer of the CAR centre for Automotive Research in Duisburg telling us about the latest trends in the car industry. Julian Buckley, the editor of our soon-to-be-launched Plastics and Rubber World also brings us a soft touch on the Paris Motor Show, and Citroen’s use of plastic parts in its latest models.
Our special correspondent David Vink also looks into the latest innovations in surface treatment and decoration, where aesthetics meets interactive functionality.
For our blow moulding feature, editor Karen Laird visits leading manufacturer of blow moulding machinery Kautex Maschinenbau, which has seen significant gains in the packaging industries and specialities in recent years.
Micro-electronic moulding trends are also examined as electronics and other industries require high levels of precision, know-how and the right equipment.
This issue’s Q&A is with Dr Ramesh Ramachandran, President & CEO of EQUATE Group, whose subsidiary EQP launched a food-grade PET with 25% recycled PET content in October.
As always, our regular pages include James Snodgrass’ Design Landmark column, where he looks into the history of Itera Bicycle – the first attempt at a plastic bicycle.
To access our October issue, please go to our Digital Magazine page and click on download issue.
Packaging is the largest end use market supplied by French and Italian injection moulders, accounting for 47% of polymer usage in Italy and 51% in France in 2017, according to a study by AMI Consulting.
The findings showed that 304 Italian and 239 French companies are involved in packaging production with French and Italian PET preform manufacturers that supply the mineral water industry.
This includes both companies manufacturing in house such as S.A. Des Eaux Minérales D'évian in France and trade suppliers of preforms such as Plastipak Packaging that operates in both France and Italy.
Italy’s second largest end use sector is the manufacture of injection moulded furniture with moulders IPAEProgarden & Scab among some of those listed in the database.
In France, the automotive sector is the second largest end use market accounting for 15% of all injection moulded end use markets compared to only 6% in Italy.
Polypropylene and PET account for 55% of all polymer usage in Italy, thanks to their use in packaging. Polypropylene is also the main material processed by automotive and furniture moulders with some of the larger consumers being Accuma S.p.A. and Sigit Sud S.p.A.
Similarly, in France, 62% of all polymer usage is polypropylene and PET which again are mainly used in automotive and packaging sectors. Nestlé Waters and Schoeller Allibert S.A.S.U. account for some of the largest volumes used in the injection moulding industry in France.
Photo by Total Corbion PLA Total Corbion PLA's facility in Rayong
Bioplastics company Total Corbion PLA has started up its 75 kilotonne per annum (ktpa) polylactic acid (PLA) bioplastics plant in Rayong, Thailand.
The plant has successfully produced Luminy PLA resins, which are biobased and, in some cases, biodegradable as well, Total Corbion said in a 3 Dec release.
The 50:50 joint venture between the French energy giant Total and Dutch biochemicals company Corbion was set up in the Netherlands in late 2016 for the development of bioplastics.
The new industrial-scale facility will produce a broad range of Luminy PLA resins from renewable, non-GMO sugarcane sourced locally in Thailand. These include standard PLA, high heat PLA and PDLA with “unique properties”.
The products can be used in a number of applications, notably in packaging, consumer goods, 3D printing, fibers and automotive. The materials are also specifically optimised for extrusion, thermoforming, injection moulding and fiber spinning processes.
Total Corbion PLA also announced that it is expanding production of lactide, the monomer required for the production of PLA, at the same site to 100 ktpa.
A 1 ktpa PLA pilot plant, which has been operational since last December will be used for product development at the site, the company added.
“The start-up… establishes Total Corbion PLA as a world-scale PLA bioplastic producer, ideally located to serve growing markets from Asia Pacific to Europe and the Americas” said Stephane Dion, CEO of the company.
The commercial-scale production, according to Bernard Pinatel, President Refining & Chemicals at Total, is “fully in line” with the French company’s strategy to expand in petrochemicals and innovate in low-carbon solutions.
“Bioplastics are a great complement to our more traditional petrochemicals products to meet the rising demand for polymers while contributing towards reducing end-of-life concerns,” added Pinatel.
According to Total Corbion, with the start-up of the new plant, global production of PLA has increased by almost 50% to 240 ktpa.
PLA is a fast-growing polymer market with an estimated annual growth rate of 10% to 15%.
At the end of their useful life, PLA products can be mechanically or chemically recycled, or in some cases composted and returned to the soil as fertiliser.
Injection moulder IPG
As a result of increased demand for its products, Czech injection moulder IPG s.r.o. says it is planning to expand its storage and production capacities, reports local daily Mlada fronta DNES.
"This year, we would like to construct a new storage facility, and next year a production hall," said Peter Gross, the company's founder.
Visualisation of Sentinel 2 series satellite
Hi-tech Hungarian aerospace parts producer Admatis has won a major contract to supply satellite components for the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Copernicus research programme.
The Miskolc, Hungary-based firm is due to deliver a range of 140 components to Airbus Defence and Space group which is involved in the manufacture of the programme’s latest Sentinel 2 Earth monitoring satellites.
Admatis will cooperate with other Hungarian firms, also members of HUNSPACE, the Hungarian Space Industry Cluster, among 30 domestic and foreign component suppliers, confirmed Hungary’s National Development ministry.
All suppliers will contribute by the 2018 supply deadline to the latest Sentinel 2-C and 2-D satellite projects in ESA’s Copernicus Earth observation programme.
Admatis, a name created from ‘Advanced Materials in Space’, was founded in 2000 and specialises in the production and use of lightweight materials. These include strong man-made honeycomb structures made with material including fibreglass, aluminium and advanced composites.
The firm also uses the Evonik Industries closed-cell rigid foam ‘Rohacell’ based on polymethacrylimide (PMI), with applications particularly in antenna components. Admatis also uses the foam for sandwich panels and structures.
Admatis, which has worked previously with NASA projects, works in close partnership with the University of Miskolc where its general manager Dr. Pál Bárczy is professor of material science.
Another of the HUNSPACE member companies that has supplied space projects is the automotive and technical parts plastics moulder and prototyping company Technoplast Group based at Fels?zsolca in north eastern Hungary.
Demand was quite good across the polymer markets in March but material availability tightened.
L/LDPE prices fell slightly during the first two weeks of March. Following a small €20/tonne reduction in the March ethylene contract price, producers targeted a rollover. Most early contracts were however being settled at around €5-10/tonne lower compared to price settlements of the previous month, despite solid demand and limited availability.
Demand was quite lively at the beginning of the month as firming oil prices led converters to believe that feedstock costs would soon bottom out.
Demand was however expected to fall during the Easter holiday period at the end of the month as most film producers operate at a lower rate.
Plant outages have limited availability of LDPE material and import volumes were at a lower level than seen in the previous month. LLDPE was more readily available with imports continuing to swell supply.
In March, HDPE producers were seeking a price rollover to bolster their profit margins after the ethylene contract price settled €20/tonne lower. However, most early contracts were settling €10/tonne lower compared with the previous month, despite low material availability and good demand.
Overall, material availability for HDPE grades were relatively short with blow moulding grades facing slightly tighter bottlenecks than blown film and injection moulding grades. A plant maintenance turnaround at a large Belgian plant has further exacerbated the supply situation. However, a steady supply of imported material continues to supplement local production.
As oil prices were on a rising trend, most converters sought to replenish inventories at the beginning of the month. Demand was however expected to weaken during the Easter holiday period later in the month, with most converters operating at reduced rates.
In early March, the PP sector was much steadier compared with the sharp reduction in prices seen in the previous month. The March propylene contract price was unchanged from February, which prompted producers to call for a small price increase to improve their margin position. Brisk demand and tightening supply permitted marginal price gains for contracts settled during early trading.
Offtake was quite lively late February into early March as converters sought additional material to rebuild inventories. Signs that crude oil prices, and hence feedstock costs, were turning upward, stimulated sales. Demand was however expected to be dampened by the Easter holidays at the end of the month.
Material availability was somewhat shorter last month. This was largely due to a series of scheduled plant maintenance programmes and a lower volume of Russian homopolymer imports.
Following the surprisingly steep €100/tonne rise in the March styrene monomer (SM) reference price, PS producers called for price increases ranging €100-120/tonne. Producers justified the sharp rise in SM costs on the likelihood of impending supply shortages. In early trading, PS contracts for smaller customers were settling close to the €100/tonne increase in feedstock costs. It remained to be seen whether the full cost increase could be passed onto larger customers settling later in the month.
PS demand started to recover with the arrival of spring and higher crude oil prices also encouraged converters to rebuild stocks.
PS supply was generally sufficient to meet demand. SM availability is however likely to be tighter over the next couple of months. There are several plant maintenance turnarounds planned and imports from the US into Europe are easing.
The €20/tonne reduction in ethylene costs meant just a €10/tonne reduction in the PVC cost base last month. PVC producers targeted a price rollover or even a small price increase to rebuild their profit margins. Tightening supply and a pick-up in demand saw PVC prices largely unchanged from the previous month during the first two weeks of March.
Following a period of plentiful supply, PVC availability started to tighten last month. Several European PVC production plants had either begun or were about to undergo routine maintenance programmes. In addition, higher North American PVC prices meant that imports from the region would likely wane.
The onset of spring heralded an upturn in offtake to the construction sector. There was also a notable rise in export business. Demand was however likely to slow during the Easter holidays.
In early March, PET producers achieved price increases just over the rise in their cost base to provide much-needed margin improvement. The March paraxylene contract price settled €10/tonne higher, while monoethylene glycol settled up €11/tonne. The combined cost increases meant a €10/tonne rise in the PET cost base.
Tightening market fundamentals permitted PET sellers to raise contract prices on average by €10-20/tonne. Spot prices were increasing at an even faster rate as producers reduced supply on the spot market to cover rising demand to meet their contractual obligations. However, PET notations in southern Europe barely moved due to continued import pressure.
Seasonal PET demand has improved as processors build up stocks ahead of the beverage bottle-making season.
Maintenance work is due to be carried out at several PET plants this spring, which will reduce supply.