Plastics News - Show Daily - October 21, 2022 - 22

22 * Plastics News, October 21, 2022
22 * Plastics News, October 16, 2019
Lanxess cautiously optimistic for coming year
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.
In a Q&A ahead of K 2019, Axel
By Shahrzad Pourriahi
Plastics News Europe
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
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,
By Steve Toloken
Plastics News Staff
The European plastics industry
increased its use of post-consumer
recycled content in products
by 20 percent last year, to a 10
percent level, but it wants stronger
policies from governments
supporting chemical recycling to
accelerate that.
The head of the trade group
Plastics Europe made that argument
at an Oct. 20 news conference
at K 2022, where the association
unveiled its " Plastics
- The Facts 2022 " report on economic
The group called chemical recycling
a key lever, along with more
mechanical recycling, for increasfl
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
up 20% in
Europe as
Lanxess AG
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
its CFRT technology
the past seven
years. Can you
please tell us
more about the
latest developments
in this
Any expansion
plans? New
the circularity of plastics, and
it stressed that it wanted to see
specifi c legislation supporting
chemical recycling to encourage
" There are massive investment
announcements, in Europe and
globally, and we need to make
sure that recognition [of chemical
recycling] is there at the European
level, in legislation, so the
investor security is there, yesterday, "
said Virginia Janssens,
Plastics Europe managing director.
" We need it yesterday. ... We
need that enabling framework to
move faster. "
As part of that, the group said
a regulatory system that accepts
mass balance standards, a system
for measuring recycled or reWe
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.
Virginia Janssens, Plastics
Europe managing director, says
European plastics products
used 10.1 percent recycled
content in 2021, a 20 percent
increase from the year before.
Plastics News photo by Caroline Seidel
Hall 6,
Booth C40
newable content within fossil fuel-based
feedstocks, is important
for chemical recycling.
Janssens also said expanding
traditional mechanical recycling
is important.
group's report said European
plastics products used 10.1 percent
recycled content in 2021,
or about 5.5 million metric tons,
which was a 20 percent increase
from the year before. That fi gure
used in all markets in Europe,
including packaging as well as in
durable goods like housing, construction
and cars.
The report said bio-based plastics
made up 2.3 percent of European
plastics production in 2021,
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
meaning that 12.4 percent of the
total European plastics production
is nonfossil fuel-based.
In a news release, the group
endorsed the European Union's
" aspirational target " of having 20
percent of the continent's plastics
come from nonfossil carbon
by 2030. By comparison, it said,
for the global plastics industry
and its 390 million metric tons of
production in 2021, 9.8 percent
of it came from non-fossil-based
The global post-consumer recycled-content
average is 8.3 percent
and bio-based 1.5 percent,
Plastics Europe said.
Janssens said the European
industry is committed to following
a path laid out in its April report
" Reshaping Plastics, " which
called on the industry to speed
up investments in circular and
recycling technologies to boost
recycling rates and, by 2050, get
the industry to net zero carbon
She said the association would
be developing a road map next
year to implement that report.
Echoing what other European
associations have said at K,
though, Janssens said the energy
crisis in Europe from the Russia-Ukraine
war is creating significant
" Even though the market demand
for recyclates is higher
than the supply, the soaring energy
and feedstock prices resulting
from Russia's unjustifi ed aggression
towards Ukraine are driving
very signifi cant challenges for our
industry, supply chain and all EU
economies, " the group said in a
news release. " Supply bottlenecks
will likely continue to be an issue
in the coming months. "
It also said " huge uncertainties "
in feedstock supply, energy prices
and potential shortages make
it extremely diffi cult to provide a
2023 outlook.
In its news release, it said Europe's
global competitiveness in
plastics is at risk, with the continent
falling from 23 percent of
global plastics production in 2006
to 19 percent in 2017 and to 15
percent in 2021.
Janssens told reporters that
the European plastics industry is
still assessing the full impact of
the energy crisis but said the industry
is facing potential production
In its news release, the group
said the continent's plastics production
is expected to decrease 4
percent by the end of the year.
But Janssens said the industry
will continue to move ahead with
investments in circularity.
" We hear from our members,
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
Taiwan Pavilion Page
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and they state it publicly as well,
their continued commitments,
and despite the crisis today,
they remain committed to the
long-term objectives of the circularity
and net zero journey, "
Janssens said.
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
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 21, 2022

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