Australia at the forefront of PVC innovation: industry expert 

by PlastixANZ 

Global demand for high quality PVC is on the rise – and Australian industry can expect to see several innovative new resin developments in the near future. That was the message from the recent Shaping the Future PVC Australia 2018 conference held in Sydney, attended by more than 150 key industry players.

Nigel Jones, Technical Manager, Australian Vinyls, told the conference that Australia’s PVC market size had increased to 211,000 tonnes in January this year. And consumers now have access to the latest world innovations in PVC – including new low odour resins.

Over 85% of all PVC consumption in Australia is in the building and infrastructure sectors, predominately in pipes and fittings products.PVC is the most widely used polymer in building and construction applications. PVC durability makes it suitable for long-term applications such as pipes and fittings, cable insulation, floor coverings, window profiles, cladding and roof membranes. PVC products make a major contribution to the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of construction materials and contribute to the sustainability of completed projects.

Other uses are in short to medium-term applications such as packaging, medical devices, toys, stationery, fashion and household products. 

Australian industry now has a strong focus on sustainability and more sustainable PVC grades have been introduced into the Australian market, Mr Jones said.

During his presentation, Mr Jones revealed the world’s Top 5 PVC resin producers in 2016 were:

1. Shinetsu (Japan/US)

2. FPG (Taiwan)

3. Westlake + Axiall (US)

4. Ineos-Solvay (UK/Belgium)

5. Mexichem (Mexico)

In Australia, the PVC market has seen impressive growth in a number of areas including: 

• Permanent formwork (Market growth 250%) 

• Windows (Local production of profile) (uPVC Windows Alliance 2020 Strategy)

• Fencing (350% growth) 

• Vineyard posts 

And FPC has introduced many new PVC resin developments including: 

1. High Bulk Density S-65D Resin 

• FPC and AV are collaborating on developing a high bulk density PVC resin for the rigid extrusion market.

2. Low Odour PVC Resin 

• FPC has developed low odour PVC resins covering a K value range from 60 – 80 (S-60M, S-65M, S-70M, S-80M) 

Mr Jones said a higher BD S-65D would match the BD of Corvic 67R ideally without having to use antistatic treatment. 

Trial resin produced achieved the following: 

• Resin BD 3+%

• Dry blend BD ~3% 

Several benefits potentially come from this development, including an increase in productivity (more into extruder = more out of extruder). 

It will also streamline shipping and logistics operations:

• Container payloads would be increased by 500kg 

• Ocean freight costs would be reduced

• Local storage and transport costs would be reduced

• Less paperwork 

• More environmentally friendly – reducing the carbon footprint 

Low odour PVC resin 

As part of ongoing effort to improve the environmental and health aspects of its products, FPC has also developed a range of low odour PVC resins. The low odour resins are aimed at various applications including automotive, leathercloth, masterbatch, food and medical products. The source of odours in PVC resin have been identified as coming from reaction by- products, impurities and the cracking process. And FPC S-70M odour levels are now the lowest in the world. Several changes have been made in production to produce low odour PVC, to remove impurity and prevent degradation, Mr Jones said.

Mr Jones said Australian Vinyls and FPC have a strong and successful partnership dating back to 2002.Both organisations are large contributors to the Vinyl Council of Australia (VCA) in support of the local PVC industry. And both organisatons have successfully introduced a number of new PVC grades into the Australian market. Mr Jones said FPC would continue to work on new grades of PVC for the benefit of industry and consumers. Australian Vinyls (AV) sells a range of PVC resin grades for domestic and export markets. The grade of the resin is determined by the type of product to be fabricated. Australian Vinyls will evaluate new developments from FPC for suitability for the Australian market.

About Australian Vinyls (AV)

Australian Vinyls Pty Ltd is a part of Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers. It is Australia's leading supplier of PVC resin and wood-plastic composites. The company also supplies a range of specialty products and chemicals including PVC processing additives, plasticisers and specialty elastomers to the Australian market. Australian Vinyls (AV) has three key business units: Resins, Specialty Products and ModWood Technologies Pty Ltd. 

About Formosa Plastics Corporation (FPC)

Formosa Plastics Corporation produces and sells intermediate raw materials for plastics in Taiwan. The company’s plastic products include PVC resins, high density polyethylene resins, LDPE extrusion coatings, linear low density polyethylene resins, ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer resins, PE wax, polypropylene, polyoxymethylene, PE-based masterbatch, and green biomass particles.


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