2023 will be a critical year in the polymer industry at all levels. The global polymers market size was expected to grow finally after the economic recovery from the pandemic.
We have many reasons to be enthusiastic about the coming year and how it will affect the sector. The Plentiful resin supply from China and USA (United States). Enhancing the supply chain and lowering energy costs should improve the availability and pricing of imported resins.
In this article, we will connect the dots to know the following:
♦ How leading petrochemical companies get ready for the upcoming year?
♦ How the resin product prices change by the new factors in this dynamic market?
♦ What are the major Acquistions and mergers that happened in the last year?
♦ Dive into logistics& supply chain news.
♦ Quick Glimpse at Q4 profits of the leading companies.
♦ The future of the Packaging Industry in 2023.
Polymer Industry Updates
Plastic industry leaders predict that the demand for the plastic industry will be improved because of The probabilities Favour a soft landing in the economy over a recession.
First let us see how leading petrochemical companies get ready for the upcoming year regarding resin production:
1- ExxonMobil will increase its spendings for the upcoming Year 2023
ExxonMobil, the American International corporation, announced lately that it will lift its capital spending next year. The increase will be between $23 billion& $25 billion, which represents a 10% increase compared to last year.
When it comes to production plans, Exxon plans to build its 1st plastic waste facility in 2023 in Texas. This facility will produce volumes of recyclable circular polymers to meet the increasing demand.
Exxon demonstrated the facility capacity to process 50 tons per day.
2- Sabic plans to increase circular products production
Sabic, the leading petrochemical company, announces intentions to expand its capacity for circular polymers in 2023. The company has a circular innovations portfolio called “TRUCIRCLE”. This portfolio aims to give manufacturers an opportunity to use more sustainable polymers.
The company's first commercial plant is currently nearing completion in the Netherlands, and delivery of the first circular polymers are anticipated this year.
Sabic noted its massive progress in circular products. Certified circular PP from Sabic has been used to manufacture ice cream tubes for magnum Ice cream from Unilever’s ice cream brand.
“We plan to produce million metric tons of circular materials by 2030 to accelerate the circular carbon economy, we are committed to help our customers find more sustainable solutions” stated by SABIC CEO, Abdulrahman Al Fageeh.
3- Triparty deal between OQ, KPI & Sabic to minimize carbon footprint.
OQ (Oman Oil Company), KPI (Kuwait Petroleum International) and SABIC (Saudi Arabian Petrochemical Company) signed a tri-party deal to develop a new project in Oman.
They have agreed to develop the mutually owned petrochemical complex in Duqm in the Omani special economic zone.
First, they will conduct research, then they will utilize their commercial and technical expertise to develop the project. They aim this project will be globally competitive and very profitable.
In this newly signed project, they aim to use the latest technology in the industry to minimize carbon footprint and commit high standards to protect the environment.
Plastic Industry in Numbers
Q4 leading petrochemical companies’ profits
GAP Polymers will help you to know how far the leading petrochemical companies’ profits affected in Q4:
Raw material costs began to decline at the end of 2022, because of improved supply chain dynamics and an excess of some types of resin.
Now, Companies are interested to know how pricing will develop in 2023.
BASF has announced lately its preliminary figures for 2022. The anticipated €87,327 million in sales and €6,878 million in operating income (EBIT).
When it comes to net income, it is expected to reach €1,376 million in 2022.
By these results, BASF sales has increased by 11% in 2022. They were €78,598 million in 2021.
According to the latest reports, Saudi Aramco, one of the biggest oil producers, is likely to witness 6.3% decline quarter on quarter in the 4th quarter of 2022.
The company recorded $38.90 billion. The main reasons for this decline were the ample demand for the products during the economic slowdown globally.
The latest report also mentioned many causes for this result such as weak oil prices and production cut deals.
ExxonMobil, the American multinational company, has announced lately its fourth quarter profits.
It recorded about 15.4 billion dollars profits. With these results, the preliminary operational results for 2022 profits are around 58 billion dollars.
Dow, the American multinational chemical corporation, has delivered the last year full net sales. The company announced 56.9 billion dollars as net sales.
It is worth mentioning that the company recorded 55 billion dollars in 2021.
The company is renewing its approach for 2023. They will concentrate on cash flow generation with sustainable solutions.
Latest Plastic Industry News
Acquisitions and mergers
When it comes to the latest news in the plastic industry, we must cover the major Acquistions and mergers that happened during the last year and affected the entire industry:
Avient declares that H.I.G. Capital will acquire its distribution business:
Avient Corporation, the international manufacturer of specialized polymers stated that it has entered into a binding agreement to sell its Distribution business to a company of H.I.G. Capital for $950 million in cash.
Ensinger Acquires the StyLight® Thermoplastic Composite Business from INEOS Styrolution:
With the acquisition, Ensinger's extensive thermoplastic composite portfolio gains Many new thermoplastics composite possibilities, including products based on carbon, glass, and natural (flax) fibers for decorative materials, semi-structural applications
Shutdowns & Openings
Regarding the Shutdowns& Openings, here are the most important ones that will take place in the next year:
For a turnaround, Lotte INEOS is likely to close the No. 1 VAM factory:
In Ulsan, Lotte INEOS Chemical plans to shut down its No. 1 Vinyl Acetate Monomer (VAM) plant.
On March 10, 2023, the plant is scheduled to be shut down for maintenance. It was impossible to determine more information about how long the outage would last.
The No. 1 VAM plant is in Ulsan, South Korea, and has an annual production capacity of 210,000 mt.
PetroChina Daqing will shut down the No. 1 and No. 2 PP units.
Both PetroChina Daqing Petrochemical's polypropylene (PP) units Nos. 1 and 2 are expected to close.
In June 2023, the company has scheduled to suspend operations at the facilities for maintenance. It was impossible to determine the shutdown's precise start date or length.
The No. 1 and No. 2 PP units, both of which are in Daqing, China, have annual production capacities of 70,000 and 110,000 mt.
Container shipping market outlook for 2023:
Although container spot freight prices increased at the beginning of the year, they are currently lower than the 10-year average, according to Drewry
After 43 straight declines, Drewry's composite World Container Index (WCI) increased 0.7% in the week ending January 5, 2023.
The WCI has decreased 79% from a peak of $10,377 each feud in September 2021 to its current level of $2,135 per feud. The index is currently less than the $2,694 per feud 10-year average, which according to Drewry indicates a return to normal prices.
Quick Hint of the IMO 2023 Regulation
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Greenhouse Gas Strategy (GHG) intends to cut carbon emissions from international shipping by 40% by 2030 and 70% by 2050
compared to 2008 levels.
Both commercial and non-commercial vessels are impacted by the IMO 2023 regulation.
It introduces obligatory reductions in carbon emissions for both new and existing ships, utilizing energy efficiency indicators to calculate these limits. The following are some of the measures:
- The Energy Efficiency Exciting Ship Index (EEXI)
- The rating system for the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII)
Packaging Industry in 2023
Are you wondering why we have divided packaging development into 3 eras? The answer is that we noticed that since 2020, there have been 3 critical changes happened to the packaging industry. First, we have to demonstrate the reasons for these changes:
- The first reason for this change is that the packaging industry depends mainly on the customers’ behaviors. In this ever-changing life, customers are always searching for new packaging products and new innovations to satisfy their needs.
- The second one is the digital transformation in our daily lives. Social media and mobile devices sped up the development of the packaging industry.
- In addition to those reasons, there is a significant shift to the online shopping that increase the plastic waste. Proceeding from this situation, consumers are searching for sustainable packaging solutions.
The 3 plastic packaging eras in detail:
“The flexible packaging Era” (from 2000 to 2009)
In this period, consumers behaviors change, they need to use flexible packaging items, small handy packs.
That’s why the packaging manufacturers aim to keep up with the new needs. They shift from rigid packaging such as glass and metal to plastic. They manufacture lightweight and small packs with less material.
“The Recyclability & Awareness Era” (from 2010 to 2020)
The financial crisis that the world faced, combined with the pandemic. Consumers start to realize the problem of packaging leakage and its effect on the environment. They become aware of how to depend on online shopping during covid-19 crisis. This era also witnessed an increase in health awareness; the consumers became much more dependent on fresh and healthy goods.
The packaging industry kept up with this evolution. The manufacturers and brand owners increase their usage of recycled materials. They come back to the non-plastic packaging such as paper. It is worth mentioning that plastic was still their first choice as they didn’t find functional and cost-effective alternatives.
“The Digitalization Era“ (from 2020 till now)
In the current era, social media and E-commerce have become the main engines for consumers. That’s why brand owners try to satisfy consumers by providing sustainable solutions. The packaging is adapted to e-commerce standards. Brand owners try to keep pace with the innovative technologies like (refill & reuse) technology with sustainable packaging materials. Worth mentioning that there will be a continuous development in the packaging industry in the next decades as a response to the higher production of the new plastic compounds.
Your FAQS about packaging solutions
1. How to bond or seal uneven surfaces?
Depending on your application, we have 2 options to choose from to solve this problem:
- The first is the double-sided foam tape; it is a thick tape that can help you in bonding uneven surfaces. You have to choose a good type of tape that can withstand high levels of impact and vibration. This tape can be a workable solution for many applications such as plastic fabrication.
- The second option is the single-sided foam tape that you can use to fill gaps and seal. It will be perfect for plastic insulation applications.
2. How to solve the highness of injection molding temperature?
First, we have to divide the thermoplastics into 2 types; Good fluidity such as PP, PE and PS & Poor fluidity such as hard PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) and PC (Polycarbonate). The high temperature increases the flow of the raw material. This will affect the impact resistance of some materials such as PS (Polystyrene).
3. What is the solution for air bubbles in injection molding parts?
When you find bubbles in injection molding products, you must solve this problem immediately. If you identify the reason, you will solve it. Let us dig deeper into this problem reasons:
If the reason is in the drying process of the plastic raw material, you can solve it by paying attention to the hopper insulation management.
The reason may be the melt temperature setting of the injection mold. You have to consider that holding pressure and the injection pressure are not enough.
4. What to do to solve the injection molding wall thickness problem?
If you face this problem during injection molding process, you can simply solve it. The first solution is noticing the areas that have the problem then you can find 2 issues; the first one is the thickness around screw holes and thickness in the parts that need more strength.
If the problem comes from the screw holes in the molding parts, you can use “screw bosses” which is a small cylinder of the material that can be put around the screw holes, you can tie it to the rest of the housing. This method can help you to uniform wall thickness.
When it comes to the strength of specific part while the wall is too thick, the ribbing is the best solution. First try to thin the exterior face and turn it into a shell, then you can add the ribs of the material to the interior. This can help you to increase the rigidity and the strength of this part. With this solution you can reduce costs.
5. What causes voids in the injection molding parts and how to solve it?
“Voids” presents the air pockets that appear in the molding parts in both transparent and colored applications. This defect occurs when the internal layer takes more time to cool than the outside layer.
Here are 3 options you could try to solve this problem:
- The first suggestion is to choose one of these solutions: increasing the shot volume, increasing the screw forward time, reducing the melt temperature, and adjusting the speed of the injection.
- The second solution is related to mold, here you must ask yourself some questions. Is the gate in the correct position? Is the mold temperature too low? Are you using the perfect gate size?
- The material could be the reason, you can check the material if it is affected by the excessive moisture.
Latest Trends in the Food Packaging Industry
The global food packaging market is expected to reach $478.18 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 5.1% in the period between 2021 & 2028.
Preventing food related diseases, preserving food quality, Prolonging the products’ shelf life. All these and more are the purposes of food packaging. And now with the ever-changing lifestyles, the need to packaging trends with plastic material becomes more crucial. Let’s see how:
Consumers are permanently searching for packaging innovations which perfectly matches the plastic industry and polymers.
For instance, PP (Polypropylene) is used to produce creative food packaging trends. Current trend in 2022 is creating attractive labels from plastic resins. Worth mentioning that Sabic produced first PP packaging labels from ocean-bound plastic.
When it comes to the global food packaging market by application, study in 2020 approved that the fruits and vegetables packaging took the first place, then the bakery and dairy products.
There is a new creative packaging equipment every day, so the need for LDPE shrink films, PVC wrappers will increase. The plastic industry will continue to provide solution to satisfy all customers’ needs and expectations in packaging.
The future of the plastic industry GAP (Global Advanced Polymers) Polymers In 2023
The future is already here in GAP polymers, as we aim to sell 1 million tons of polymer material globally by 2030 while being the top distributor in Africa.
We try our hardest to build strong strategy by delivering unique value to our customers. “We put ourselves in our customers’ shoes”, that’s why we are not only offering customer after-sales service but also technical service to ensure that our clients are perfectly dealing with our raw materials.
We have been successfully developing our 6 branches, and in 2023 we are expanding in new plastic markets such as North Africa.
We are also looking forward to supplying our customers with new products such as recycled plastic.
“GAP Polymers” also wants to enhance the relationship with our customers to be a long-lasting relationship by laying our valuable fundamentals such as integrity in business, providing quality in the supply process, flexibility, teamwork to ensure that our customers are highly satisfied.
We hope that our brief newsletter has given you economic indicators to anticipate how the polymer industry will deal with global crises such as the pandemic. How war will affect the prices of the products.
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An Overview of Polypropylene Thermoforming Process
GAP Polymers Team
PP is the second most popular plastic resin in the world used across many industries. Thermoforming PP has become a process of choice for many manufactures due to its versatility low cost , and more.