This summary captures highlights of two days 2016 Recycled Polyester and PET Packaging Conference which took place September 21th – 23th in Shanghai, China. Despite the polyester recycling industry suffers from the pressure of low crude oil and virgin PET prices with all other consequences out of this 280 participants and exhibition visitors from China and abroad demonstrated their ongoing interest. Like 2015 the issue PET packaging enriched the whole policy group of rPET raw material sources and applications.
The conference program tackled the three main topics: First economy & market, process & equipment and processing & application. On interest within the first topic “economy + market” was the contribution of Lin Shidong, Secretary General, Recycled Fiber Commission of CCFA. He described the current state of polyester recycling industry in China which is suffering from the further declined operational rates (61,4% in 2010 to 56,5% in 2015) with a large number of non-standard small companies.
Especially the contributions of the PET Packaging Conference gave a detailed few about the current economic environment. Hou Hui, Senior Economist of Economic and Technology Research Center of Sinopec described in his contribution “Outlook for global petroleum market in 2017” the whole current dilemma of low oil prices and the ongoing economic restructuring in China. His deep economic analysis includes the look back to the history as well as the forecast on global economy. Detailed market information provided the paper “Polyester Market 2016: Review and Perspective” presented by Zhao Cheng, Dpt. Manager of Information department CCFEI. The analysis contains the 2016 market development of PX, PTA, MEG and polyester as well as the expectations for the immediate future.
The second topic “process + equipment” were dominated by machinery and process providers from Europe. Axel Hannemann, Head of Business Unit Fibers and Pellets of Gneuss Kunststofftechnik GmbH introduced as latest development a reactor system dedicated to lift up polymer intrinsic viscosity especially useful for the recycling of PET fiber waste. An interesting approach to increase the economy of the flake production process was provided by Yu Zheng, Sales Engineer, Sorema div. of Previero N. SRL. New of this process is that the side products of flake washing lines like fines, cups and labels, colored flakes, thermoforms and skeletons which are normally disposed as waste for incineration or land fill are converted to useful plastic compounds.
The third topic of the conference “processing + application” covered a variety of contributions.
Mao-Yuan Chiu from Fare Eastern New Century Corp. introduced “Value Added Products of Sustainable Polyester”. Large production units of highly purified PET bottle flakes allow FENC to produce a wide variety of high quality textile and film products based on 100% r-PET.
Alexander Buechler, Executive Director of PETplanet insider talked about his personal experiences during “The China Road Show” of his journal. Driving by mobile home cross China and visiting most of the market participants of PET packaging from mould makers, preform- bottle- and cap makers to the beverage companies Alexander Buechler collected a deep insight in the status of China´s beverage and packaging industry. Similar to the general economy trend the growth rates of beverages and packaging are approaching the new normal of an annual growth rate of about 5%. Winners of the situation are the mould makers which have come out best from the situation. Cut-throat competition amongst the bottlers calls for new designs, new caps. New moulds are therefore constantly required.