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China’s Latest Credit Crunch: What It Says About 2014

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CHINA continues to cross the river by feeling the stones and anyone in the chemicals industry who says that they have a clear idea of where this is going to end is probably being more than a little disingenuous.
 
There will be a lot of experimentation as China tries to overhaul its growth model with some successes and also some failures. What nobody can predict with any degree of genuine confidence is whether, in the end, the whole effort will succeed or fail. 

Carrera ski helmet folds for a custom fit

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Eyewear and helmet manufacturer Carrera got itself noticed last year, when it released an accordion-like bike helmet that can be folded in or out to accommodate different head sizes. Now, the company has brought that same idea to the skiing and snowboarding-oriented Snow Foldable Helmet.
 
The helmet consists of one lateral middle section, along with two side sections. Those latter two pieces can be pulled out to either side, to match the width of the wearer's head, and then locked into place. 

Trostel expands business, upgrades two facilities

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Trostel Ltd. is expanding all facets of its business with a series of projects that will impact both its rubber molding and compounding operations.
 
The company is building an addition onto its headquarters facility in Lake Geneva that will bring some manufacturing to the site; it just completed a building expansion at its Whitewater, Wis., compounding division that will allow for the addition of new capital equipment; and it is upgrading equipment and focusing on lean manufacturing efforts at its molding factory in Reynosa, Mexico. 

Feng Ping workers arrested in protest

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More than 35 workers from bankrupt American mold maker Feng Ping Tooling & Plastics Mfg. Co. Ltd. were arrested Dec. 23 in Dongguan after they tried to block traffic outside a local Wal-Mart near their factory to protest what they consider an unfair wage settlement.
 
It's the latest development in the chaotic and sometimes tense collapse of the once fast-growing Feng Ping, which was started by two American brothers in 2007 but which declared bankruptcy on Dec. 16 and shut its doors. It blamed a $4.5 million embezzlement scheme by a former top manager and 18 others. 

Bottle Molding Gets a Makeover

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When some people think of engineering, they immediately think of bridges, airplanes, or computers. However, engineering is involved in almost everything we use in our daily lives. For example, almost everything we purchase or store comes in some type of box. 
 
The truth is, many of these boxes are engineered to be folded together using as little material as possible while providing the most strength as possible. Indeed, much time and thought can be spent designing a single box for an application. 

AXION Commissions New Extruder to Increase Capacity and Fill Demand

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AXION Recycled Plastics Incorporation, a reprocessor of recycled plastic materials and a wholly owned subsidiary of AXION International Holdings, Inc. (otcqb:AXIH), today announced that the Company has commissioned an additional extrusion line to increase its manufacturing capacity to meet growing demand.
 
The newly commissioned equipment is a Davis Standard 6" extruder, which began production on December 13, 2013. The installation of this extruder will add an additional 1,800,000 lbs. of reprocessed (pelletized recycled plastic resin) to the Company's monthly capacity. The machine is capable of processing post-consumer and post-industrial plastic. 

Los Angeles plastic bag ban starts on Jan. 1

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After Jan. 1, Los Angeles shoppers will no longer be presented with that checkout choice: Paper or plastic?Instead, they will be required to bring in their own reusable bags or pay 10 cents for each paper bag they need.
 
The city’s plastic bag ban will start with stores of more than 10,000 square feet or with annual sales of more than $2 million. Then, beginning on July 1, the ban will extend to smaller stores such as mini-marts. 

Medical plastics prognosis: growth

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The medical market will be the strongest segment for plastics growth over the next four years, with demand growing at rates above gross domestic product in Europe and the Americas and in the 9-16% range in Asia and other developing regions. 
 
Major factors driving growth will be implementation of new
 national healthcare programs in China and the United States, aging populations in developed countries, and development
 of new technologies, such as bioresorbable implants.

Bioplastics to play key role in EU circular biobased economy

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In an opening speech to the 8th European Bioplastics Conference on 10-11 December in Berlin, Germany, EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik has said bioplastics can play a “crucial role” in Europe‘s transition towards a circular biobased economy.
 
Potocnik encouraged the bioplastics industry to “continue their work on making bioplastics a truly sustainable material, neutral in its impact on food production and biodiversity”. 

Global Plastics Issue: Developing Asia the hub of global automobile production

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The developing Asia-Pacific region will account for 62% of overall growth in global automobile production between 2012 and 2017, according to the latest data from PwC Autofacts (New York, NY).
 
The region, including the key markets of China and India, will contribute 62% of gains in vehicle assembly over that period whereas developed Asia, which includes major auto producers Japan and South Korea, will see its output decline by 3.5%. 

Mayfield Plastics Acquired by Owner of Universal Plastics

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Mayfield Plastics was recently acquired by Jay Kumar, the owner of Universal Plastics, a custom thermoformer based in Holyoke MA. The acquisition will allow Mr. Kumar to continue to execute on his vision to find ways to add additional value to customers, grow the business and establish a stronger footprint in the custom plastic thermoforming space. 
 
The intention of this merger is to provide Mayfield with additional management, technical and financial support. Both Mayfield and Universal will continue to maintain their facilities, brand, employees and procedures. 

Canada's chemistry industry reports record profits, strong investment intentions for 2014

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fter a year of record-breaking profits, Canada's chemistry sector plans to make major investments in 2014, according to the 2013 Year-End Survey of Business Conditions released today by the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC).
 
In 2013, the Canadian chemistry industry's operating profits reached $3.5 billion – an all-time record, according to CIAC.  However, global markets are expected to weaken in 2014, as are prices of many chemical commodities, which could drive sales down a projected eight per cent next year. In spite of that, CIAC members plan to ramp up their capital investments by 28 per cent in 2014, to $2.6 billion.

Former NFL star partners with Port Erie Plastics

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Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly is teaming up with Port Erie Plastics Inc. to make a multi-purpose clip holding discs imprinted with sports team and NASCAR logos — as Port Erie has made a major investment into new digital printing equipment.
 
The digital inkjet printer from Pad Print Machinery of Vermont can print 208 of the plastic discs at a time and the design can be easily changed using a computer. 

Polystyrene market focuses on Asia

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n a report on the polystyrene market, German firm Ceresana Research said it expects global revenues to rise to approximately $26 billion in 2020.
 
Capacity utilization of polystyrene plants has averaged only about 75 percent in the past. This led producers to reduce production and capacities in Western Europe and North America and refocus on growth markets. They also refocused on quality products, said Ceresana. 

SPI and ACC to work together on rigid packaging issues

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Two of the heavyweight U.S. plastics industry associations are joining forces to tackle rigid packaging issues like recycling and growth opportunities.
 
The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. announced Dec. 11 it will begin partnering with the American Chemistry Council on Jan. 1. SPI’s thermoforming committee will work with ACC’s rigid plastics packaging group. The latter group advocates on behalf of rigid plastics producers to advance their products as sustainable choices, to fight unnecessary regulation and to increase collection and recycling. 

EU to launch tool for testing migration of packaging materials into food

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The results of a four year European Commission project, which impact heavily on the food packaging industry, are to be unveiled at the Smithers Pira conference from Dec. 9-12 in London.
 
The 7th Framework European Union funded project Flavourings, Additives and food Contact materials Exposure Task, (FACET) has developed a mathematical modeling tool to estimate migration from packaging materials into foods under real conditions of use, with both deterministic and probabilistic outputs for exposure estimates. 

Alliance eyes bioplastics sustainability

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A well-known conservation group, along with some of the most famous companies in the world, wants to have a say in how the bioplastics industry develops in the years ahead.
 
With the creation of the new Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance, the World Wildlife Federation and eight companies are looking to have input and drive sustainable development of the industry. 

Citadel purchases Lucent Polymers

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Citadel Plastic Holdings Inc. sure likes spending its money in Evansville, Ind.
 
Officials with West Chicago, Ill.-based Citadel announced on Dec. 6 that the firm has acquired Lucent Polymers of Evansville for an undisclosed price. It’s the third time in six years that Citadel has acquired an Evansville-based materials firm. Previously, Citadel had purchased Matrixx Group and QTR Inc. 

Control Devices acquires Kerick Valve

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Valve and nozzle maker Control Devices LLC acquired Kerick Valve Inc. to broaden its product line into the industrial and agricultural sectors.
 
Control Devices, which is based in Fenton. Mo., offers customized and standard components for end-product applications, such as pressure washers, air compressors, fire suppression systems, and heavy truck braking systems. 

Firms report extrusion grows with construction, packaging

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Rising home prices are driving remodeling, as people open their wallets to invest in their houses, driving sales of appliances, new bathrooms — and vinyl windows, pipe and siding, key extruded products.
 
And other extrusion markets continued solid growth. Packaging fuels sales of blown film lines and sheet extrusion lines. 

Bio-bag findings attacked as 'poor science'

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Biodegradable plastic bags need to be collected separately to avoid contaminating the waste stream, according to the European Plastics Converters Association (EuPC).
 
The organization has published a report, carried out by the Austrian Transfer Center for Polymer Technology, regarding the effects of degradable plastics on the quality of plastic recyclates. 

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