With the economy recovering and heading for an upbeat growth, companies are optimistic about new business opportunities. True to the spirit of rejoicing the recovery, PlastIndia International Conference 2018, to be held at Gandhinagar (Gujarat) from February 8-9, will embark on an interesting voyage to discover ways for sustainability and profitability with the theme “Empowering sustainable and profitable growth”. The conference will be held alongside the 10th edition of PlastIndia exhibition (to be hosted from February 7-12, 2018) – one of the world’s leading trade fairs for the plastics industry.
India is on the cusp of the biggest transition of a lifetime. India is taking giant strides with the special focus on manufacture to improve the quality of life of Indian citizens. PlastIndia conference will focus on the ways to enhance usage of plastics materials in automotive, healthcare and sports. The emerging technology of 3D Printing and the versatility of composites will also find a place. No conference is complete without a discussion on lifecycle.
Reduce, recycle & reuse
With an increased use of plastics, it is important to ensure that plastics are reused and recycled intelligently. While plastics have been recycled since the 1970s, the quantities that are recycled vary geographically, according to plastic type and application. Recycling of packaging materials has seen rapid expansion over the last two decades. It is reported that 62 million tonnes (MT) of waste is generated annually in the country and out of that, around 5.6 MT is the plastic waste.
Advances in technologies and systems for the collection, sorting and reprocessing of recyclable plastics are creating new opportunities for recycling. All the stakeholders have to work on innovation and by 2025 aim for less than 1% of the plastic waste going to the landfill. There is a huge business opportunity in recycling as the plastic consumption of India is set to cross 20 MT per annum by 2020.
The contamination is, however, not limited to the land. Recent studies have found sea salt around the world has been contaminated by plastic pollution, adding to experts’ fear that microplastics are becoming ubiquitous in the environment and finding their way into the food chain via the salt in our diets. The time is ripe for the public, industry, and government to join hands and avoid a natural catastrophe.
Automotives on the move
While plastics have been used in cars since the 1950s, it is the latest innovations that are changing the industry for the better. Engineered polymers and plastics continue to replace aluminium and other metals in automobiles, with the average car interior now being made up of over 50% plastics and its aesthetic appeal, comfort, durability and ergonomic layout having a significant impact on a consumer’s purchase decision.
The sleek and aerodynamic shape of the modern vehicle is because of plastics; its increased use and polymer composites give manufacturers more options for better performing vehicles without compromising cost or weight. In the car’s exterior, plastics are used anywhere from the body panels to the bumpers, reducing the overall weight without affecting the safety or performance.
Innovative technology has created opportunities for light weighting leading to ultra-lightweight wheel trims and other components that reduce weight. They not only keep costs down but lower the centre of gravity, enhance safety and improve performance.
For a healthy gain
Modern healthcare would not be possible without the use of plastic materials. From the casing of an open MRI machine to the smallest tubing, plastics have made healthcare simpler. Disposable syringes, intravenous blood bags, and heart valves are now made of plastic. Exceptional barrier properties, lightweight, low cost, and durability of plastics are ideal for medical applications.
If one thought to excel in sports was only about practice, then the sessions on ‘How plastics have revolutionised sports in recent years’ at PlastIndia conference 2018, would be an eye-opener. From tracks on which athletes pursue new records to shoes, clothing, safety equipment like helmets, kneepads and stadium construction, modern sports rely on plastics. Football, for instance, has become faster and more technical than ever before as the latest ball production concept - thermal bonding using a high-solid polyurethane layer on a seamless glued surface – results is an excellent responsiveness and ball contact sensitivity, a predictable trajectory, substantially reduced water uptake and maximum abrasion resistance. Running shoes weigh just a few grams yet provide the strength and suppleness that athletes demand. The use of plastics has helped athletes to be Citius, Altius, Fortius (faster, higher, stronger).
3D printing gaining traction
While there are countless segments that are benefitting from the use of plastics, using it with a revolutionising technology like 3D printing has opened up a whole new world of horizons. From an artificial skull made of acrylic to custom confections created from chocolate, the world of 3D printing keeps getting more amazing.
Today, 3D printers allow creating anything, using a variety of materials, from metal and ceramic to sugar and Styrofoam. Of course, plastic is the substance that first made 3D printing of any kind possible, and plastic remains one of the most common materials used in 3D printing. At an expected growth of $ 692.2 million by 2020, at a CAGR of 25.7% from 2015 to 2020, 3D printing plastic is one of the fastest growing markets. This is one space that is endless like the outer one and sky is not the limit.
According to Composites Manufacturing magazine, the demand for composites has been steadily growing, with the expected annual sales of $ 12 billion by 2020. The top three markets for composite materials are transportation, aerospace, and construction. However, a look around and one will find countless examples of the use of composites on daily items of use. From shower stalls to bathtubs, storage tanks, imitation granite, countertops to something as small mobile protection cover. The penetration level of composites in each application differs according to performance requirements, functional requirements and other factors thereby expanding the manufacturing possibilities of virtually every industry.
“If you feel this burning desire to charter the destination of our nation and build a strong country, join us and we shall discover ways to act together,” said PlastIndia in a press statement.