Plastics News - Show Daily - October 19, 2022 - 22

22 * Plastics News, October 16, 2019
22 * Plastics News, October 19, 2022
Lanxess cautiously optimistic for coming year
Green is more than a color
By Shahrzad Pourriahi
Plastics News Europe
As a major supplier to the automotive
industry, German specialty
chemicals company Lanxess AG is
upbeat about the prospects of the
automotive market despite a signifi -
cant decline in demand, particularly
in Europe, so far.
By Karen Laird
Sustainable Plastics
Throughout the industry, the
injection molding machines built
by Austria-based Engel are immediately
recognizable by, among
others, their highly distinctive color
green. Today, however, there's
more to it than that, as the company
is demonstrating at K 2022.
Sustainable Plastics talked with
Stefan Engleder, CEO at Engel
Group, about his company's presence
at the fair - and what it actually
means to be green.
Q: After almost three years of
In a Q&A ahead of K 2019, Axel
Tuchlenski, head of global product
and application development in the
High Performance Materials business
unit of Lanxess, told Plastics
News that the industry was " close to
bottoming out " the downturn, adding
that his company was " cautiously
optimistic for the coming year. "
Despite the subdued automotive
market, Lanxess has continued with
expansion plans, having recently
increased production capacity for
Tepex-branded continuous fi ber-reinforced
thermoplastics (CFRT) by
50 percent in Germany, according to
the pandemic, how important is
this year's K fair for Engel? What
is the biggest difference in your
opinion with the previous edition
of the show?
Engleder: During the last
months we have restarted local
events for customers and partners,
and we very much enjoy
talking to them in person again.
We are looking forward to having
this personal contact at a larger
scale at the K, especially as there
will be a lot to talk about. Even
during the pandemic, we have
stuck to our development goals,
worked hard, and we are going to
show a lot of innovations. What
will be different from previous
shows? Not too much, we hope.
However, it is likely that fewer
customers from China will be able
to travel to Düsseldorf.
Q: Your slogan is " Green is more
than a color. " What does green
mean to Engel, as an internationally
operating family-owned company
in the plastics industry? In
other words, what drives you as a
company to be " green " ?
Engleder: As a family-owned
company, we always have the
next generations in mind. Saving
energy and resources has always
been a very important part of
Engel's corporate culture and at
the same time a core feature of
our products. With our injection
molding machines and technologies,
we support our customers
in producing in a climate-neutral
way and strengthen their competitiveness.
Energy recovery
systems, the avoidance of power
consumption peaks and digitalization
help to achieve these
goals. We also provide integrated
solutions that facilitate processing
of recycled material.
Q: How do you see your role in
Lanxess AG
Lanxess is bringing its high-tech
plastics and more to K this year.
On Oct. 18, Tuchlenski will be
joined by Greg Mulholland of Citrine
Informatics, a U.S.-based artifi cial
intelligence company, to present
the two companies' groundbreaking
technologies in the use of AI
for developing customer-specifi c,
high-performance plastics.
Q: What is Lanxess offering at K
this year? What would you say is
the highlight of the Lanxess booth?
Tuchlenski: Among other things,
the High Performance Materials
business unit will present new
products and applications for electromobility.
New materials include
orange-colored, heat-stabilized and
fl ame-retardant compounds for
high-voltage applications and materials
that can be used in applications
that are particularly sensitive
to electrocorrosion.
Other examples are halogen-free,
fl ame-retardant materials for components
such as cell holders or battery
end plates.
When it comes to lightweight construction,
Lanxess is concentrating
on the new hollow-profi le hybrid
the circular economy?
Engleder: As an injection molding
machine manufacturer and
system solution provider, Engel
assumes responsibility for three
areas: the overall effi ciency of
the injection molding production
cell, the digitalization of injection
molding processes and processing
technologies supporting
the circular economy. The aim is
to replace the still-predominant
downcycling of materials with recycling
or even upcycling.
In order to achieve our upcycling
goal, we cooperate closely with
companies along the value chain.
For example, we are engaged in
the R-Cycle initiative. Using digital
product passports, R-Cycle creates
the basis for a high-quality
recycling process by automatically
recording recycling-relevant information
starting at the product
manufacturing stage.
HALL 6/C76
technology and the thermoplastic
composites of the Tepex brand.
At K, we will be exhibiting a highstrength
seat shell and a Tepex front
end carrier with integrated functions,
both of which exhibit excellent
crash resistance.
We will also be presenting new
compounds for the economical
blow molding of, for example, air
ducts for turbocharged internal
combustion engines and liners for
hydrogen and natural gas-powered
vehicles. At our plastics technology
center in Dormagen, Germany, we
put a state-of-the-art blow molding
facility into operation and established
a global team that develops
materials for special applications.
Some of the many highlights at
our stand will certainly include a
tank fl ap made of Pocan, a glass ballfi
lled PBT that can be painted in line
and is characterized by very good
surface quality and high toughness.
Components for high-quality furniture
fi ttings made of a material
from the new Durethan P series will
also be on display. Another highlight
is the heat dissipation connector,
which can dissipate a large
part of the locally generated heat
to the environment thanks to our
new thermally conductive Durethan
BTC965FM30. Also worth mentioning
is the innovative BAGS (Bolster
Active Grill Shutter) system, which
is made of Durethan for the new
Ford Focus. This was developed in
close cooperation with OEM and
Tier 1.
Q: Lanxess has been expanding
Q: Does Engel have specifi c
sustainability goals or commitments
in terms of, for example,
emission reductions, certifi cations,
Engleder: We have developed a
road map and defi ned goals that
help us to consistently drive sustainable
development within the
company. For example, we have
calculated the corporate carbon
footprint for the Austrian sites
and will now do the same for the
other sites worldwide. Our goals
include reducing our own energy
consumption and emissions,
as well as those of the Engel machines
used by our customers.
As far as our own plants are
concerned, we are continuing to
Hall 15,
B42 & C58
its CFRT technology
the past seven
years. Can you
please tell us
more about the
latest developments
in this
Any expansion
plans? New
are underway
to reduce
air consumption
and recover heat from
production processes. A declared
goal is also to extend the service
life of our machines. We achieve
this with a maintenance-friendly
and recyclable design. Two years
ago, we founded the company
Engel Used Machinery that takes
care of refurbishing and selling
used Engel machines. Our understanding
of sustainability is
refl ected in the EcoVadis score,
which is currently rated Silver.
Q: How do you fi nd a balance
between what is economically
possible and what is environmentally
essential? And how do you
communicate this to customers?
Engleder: We are convinced
that ecological solutions only
work with solid economic concepts.
We keep this in mind in
all our developments. Measures
to optimize energy consumption
and the CO2 balance have a direct
impact on the cost structure.
With our energy effi ciency packages,
which we will be presenting
at K, we make this transparent for
our customers.
We are pursuing an integrated
sustainability strategy and
have decided to communicate
our progress from now on in a
regularly published
report. We are guided by recognized
international standards
and procedures in order to create
transparency and comparability
for our customers and partners.
The fi rst edition of the Engel sustainability
report has just been
published and is freely available
on our website.
Q: You strive to build injection
molding machinery that is more
than just green on the outside.
We have increased our Tepex manufacturing
capacity by approximately
50 percent to meet the strong
demand in the mass production
of highly loadable components for
light automobiles and consumer
electronics. For the expansion from
six to eight production lines, a new
hall with an area of around 1,500
square meters was built. The investments
amounted to a mid single-digit
million amount.
We regard the establishment of
the hybrid molding process with
variothermal molds for the production
of decorative components as a
major milestone in the fi eld of thermoplastic
Following the introduction of the
hybrid injection molding process
for structural components, primarily
in the automotive industry,
this is the next evolutionary step
in the use of Tepex, since in the
sports and electronics industries,
for example, the focus is not only
on mechanical properties but also
on the outstanding appearance of
fi ber composite components.
One example of Tepex's use for
mass production are laptop housings
of one of the world's three largest
computer manufacturers. In this
application, Tepex has substituted
both thermoset and magnesium
components with carbon fi bers in
six- to seven-digit quantities per
month. In addition, Tepex meets
the high requirements for fl ame retardance
(UL94-V0) as well as high
torsional and bending stiffness.
Tepex is also becoming increasingly
established in the automotive
industry in the mass production of
lightweight structural components
such as front ends and bumper
beams, brake pedals and underbody
panels. A more recent application
example is two electrically adjustable
individual rear seats for a variant
of the Audi A8, whose seat shells
are manufactured using the hybrid
molding process from a polyamide
(nylon) 6-based Tepex dynalite.
We are also continuing to work
intensively on the development of
standardized material parameters,
particularly in the automotive sector.
In this way, we can further advance
the simulation of the entire CFRT
process chain. Here we are now in
a position to accompany the entire
chain with simulation tools from
component design to the process.
Q: Another area of focus for
Lanxess has been compounding
activities. How is the construction
of the compounding plant in
Krefeld and the expansion project
in China coming along?
Tuchlenski: All expansion projects
in the compound area are making
good progress and are fully on
We expect to commission the
plant in China in October. As things
stand at present, capacity expansion
in Germany will begin in mid2020
with ramp up.
Stefan Engleder,
CEO of Engel Group.
Engel Austria GmbH photo
Can you talk about some of the
new features you are showcasing
here at K?
Engleder: At K, we are focusing
on overall effi ciency. Many processors
think that by using a modern
injection molding machine
with energy-effi cient drives, they
have already exhausted the full
energy-saving potential. However,
with a precisely coordinated temperature
control solution, much
more is possible.
Mold temperature control accounts
for almost 40 percent of
the total energy consumption of
an injection molding production
cell. With dynamic individual circuit
control and demand-based
control of the temperature control
units, Engel system solutions
exploit this potential. They combine
energy effi ciency with temperature
control consistency and
very high productivity. Added to
this are the digital solutions.
At K 2022, Engel is using specifi
c examples to show the benefi
ts from integrating the injection
molding machine, the temperature
control and digital solutions.
Q: Digitalization is crucial for
more sustainability in the plastics
industry. Can you explain why?
Engleder: A study conducted by
Accenture on behalf of Bitkom with
German companies predicts that
tors, including local factors, which
cannot be predicted in the current
situation. In Europe, electric mobility
will continue to gain momentum
and demand will pick up again,
while the further development of
the diesel engine in Germany, for
example, can hardly be estimated.
Lanxess is cautiously optimistic for
the coming year.
Q: What measures are Lanxess
taking to mitigate the market
Tuchlenski: Lanxess' global positioning
enables it to balance out
regional imbalances to a certain
digitalization can reduce today's
CO2 emissions by up to 58 percent.
At 23 percent, the manufacturing
sector has a large share of this.
In the injection molding industry,
digitization is making a significant
contribution to exploiting
the full potential of processing
technologies. The goal is the
self-optimizing injection molding
Q: Lanxess was substantially impacted
by the recent automotive
decline in the fi rst half of 2019.
How do you assess the market for
Lanxess for the rest of the year?
How do you see the market developing
in the short term?
Tuchlenski: The signifi cant
decline in demand from the automotive
industry, particularly in
Europe, naturally also left its mark
on Lanxess.
However, we believe that we are
close to bottoming out here. External
factors such as the trade war between
China and the United States,
however, are diffi cult to assess in
terms of their further impact.
If no further trade barriers are
introduced, we expect demand to
settle at the current level for the
rest of the year. Further market development
will depend on many facPavilion
systems, for example, detect
fl uctuations in the raw material
and ambient conditions and automatically
readjust the process
parameters cycle by cycle. This
prevents scrap and unnecessary
energy consumption. At the same
time, intelligent assistants simplify
the use of recycled materials,
as they balance out batch fl uctuations.
Thanks to digitalization,
recyclate can also be used for demanding
Q: Despite the restraints imposed
by the pandemic, the logistics
havoc, the shortage of
materials, you had a very good
year last year. Is this trend continuing?
If so, what is driving it?
Engleder: Sustainability, digitalization
and also the transformation
of the automotive industry
continue to be the strongest
drivers of innovation and growth.
Nevertheless, the future outlook
is uncertain. Uncertainty factors
include the war in Ukraine with
its impact on already strained
supply chains, energy and raw
material prices, but also the
shortage of skilled workers. Crises
will become the new normal.
We have prepared ourselves for
these challenges.
The fact that we have weathered
the automotive crisis and
the pandemic so well shows how
resilient our company is. This is
due to the high fl exibility of our
global production network, continuous
investment in our sites
worldwide and our high innovative
strength. Times may be diffi -
cult, but we are always a reliable,
stable partner for our customers.
Audi A8 seat shells are
manufactured using the hybrid
molding process from a nylon
6-based Tepex dynalite. Compared
with a comparable metal version,
the seat shells are around 45
percent lighter. Audi AG photo
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This is being done in the current
situation. In addition, we have been
able to reduce excess orders from
2018 and are now back on the road
with normal delivery times for all
our compound products.
With regards to Tepex, due to the
very positive introduction of CFRT
worldwide in mass production
products, this business area is currently
Q: Finally, does Lanxess have
any expansion or greenfi eld projects
in the pipeline? If yes, can you
please elaborate?
Tuchlenski: At present, we have
no further expansion plans in the
compound area of engineering plastics
apart from the capacity expansions
in China and Germany already
mentioned above. In the CRFT area,
we have just completed the expansion
of capacity as described above.

Plastics News - Show Daily - October 19, 2022

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