PT Blog

Prices Bottom Out for PE & PP? Up for PS, Flat-to-Down for PVC & PET

By the end of the first full week of 2020, it appeared that prices of both polyethylene and polypropylene may be bottoming out, with domestic prices generally in parity with global polyolefin prices. Crude oil prices moved higher in the first week of January amid escalating tensions in the Mideast, which helped feed into international market sentiment that PE and PP prices had reached a bottom.


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Finding the Right Melt Filtration System for Post-Consumer Recycling

Melt filters are a critical component in plastics recycling systems as they remove contaminants such as paper, cardboard, wood, rubber, aluminum or even foreign plastics from the stream. To achieve high-quality pellets at the end of the recycling process, the right filtration technology should be chosen based on both the input materials as well as the performance requirements of the finished pellets.

Essentially there are two proven filtration designs: automatic back flushing filters utilizing wire mesh screens and self-cleaning continuous filters that use steel screen discs.

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Prices for Polyolefins, PS, PVC and PET Trending Flat to Higher

By mid-February, prices of PE, PS and PVC were up, while PP and PET had potential to move up a bit as well. In general, prices appear to have bottomed out and are more on par with global prices. As we move toward the second quarter, it is not fully clear how domestic demand will fare, though there is some cause for optimism despite some key uncertainties. Included are: to what extent will domestic resin pricing be affected by the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Yet another uncertainty is the potential impact of the Feb. 12 fire at ExxonMobil’s major refinery in Baton Rouge, La. An ExxonMobil spokesperson told PT that operations continue at the refinery and chemical plant. Asked how this might impact PE availability and pricing, the response was,As a matter of practice, we do not comment on the operational status of specific units. We continue to meet contractual commitments and expect to meet all customer commitments. We apologize for any inconvenience and concern this incident may have caused. We will continue to keep you updated with information as it becomes available.”

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How Smart a Granulator Do You Need?

I must admit some skepticism when I heard there would be a granulator displayed at the K 2019 show in Germany last October that would have new controls with an unprecedented level of “smart” features and ability to “talk” to other machines or computers over a network, and even order spare parts over the internet. It was billed as bringing the humble scrap grinder into Industry 4.0 or the Internet of Things.


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Innovation, Customization & Sustainability: How Flex Films Focuses on U.S. Market

A worldwide producer of biaxially oriented packaging films has brought its culture of innovation and commitment to sustainability to the North American market. FlexFilms is the global film manufacturing arm of UFlex Ltd., India’s largest multinational flexible packaging company. With its 2013 opening of a 180,000 ft² plant in Elizabethtown, Ky., the firm has state-of-the-art film manufacturing plants in the U.S., India, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Egypt and Poland, with cumulative production capacity in excess of 337,000 metric tons (almost 743 million lb) per year, serving brand owners and other customers in roughly 140 countries.

The company’s roots go back to 1994, when it started up its first BOPET line in India. Two years later, it installed a second BOPET line at the same location, along with a line for BOPP production. Through 2003, additional capacity was added for BOPP, metalizing, and cast BOPP. Its first foray out of India occurred in 2005, when it opened a plant in Dubai. In quick succession from 2009 through 2015, it set up plants in Mexico, Egypt, Poland and the U.S. Its strategy all along has been to build greenfield facilities as opposed to using acquisitions to enter new markets. Today, the firm generates about $1 billion in annual global sales.

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