Many companies in the plastics and rubber industry have set up research and technology centres to help in their product development.
Saudi Basic Industries Corporation recently announced that it will add four new state-of-the-art technology and innovation facilities in 2013, two in Saudi Arabia and one each in India and China, to bring the total number of its research facilities around the world to 18.
The four new centres represent a strategic investment of around half a billion US dollars to continuously improve technology, applications and solutions and meet the needs of an increasingly sophisticated marketplace, as well as address a wide variety of sustainability issues.
DSM also opened its new Asia Pacific Technical Centre in Singapore. The 2,500 sqm state-of-the-art centre will support the technological capabilities for customers and reinforce the development of DSM’s Dyneema in all its core businesses across life protection, commercial marine, industrial, sports and new business development initiatives in this region.
The centre houses Singapore’s first-ever independent ballistics testing facility, featuring two ballistic ranges, as well as laboratories for conducting comprehensive tests for both personal and vehicle armor applications in Dyneema. Tests can be carried out in accordance with international and regional ballistics standards. For DSM Dyneema, this will be the third global ballistics testing facility, complementing the existing technical centres in the U.S. and Europe.
BASF also opened late last year its application technology centre for PU systems in Russia to provide comprehensive technical services and sales know-how for modern PU systems. The company poured in $8.2 million investment into the centre.
These new centres are usually near the main facilities of the companies, or strategically located within their target markets. They required huge investments and the hiring of qualified professionals. These centres speak well of the intentions of the companies and the highly competitive nature of the industry.
All these investments into R&D are aimed at further developing materials and technologies that respond to the emerging needs of various industries. Much development has taken place to improve material properties and launch new technologies to meet the complex requirements of the industries and the markets today. Many more new uses of plastics and rubber will be developed to replace conventional materials. And more new machines and efficient machines will be needed to process these new materials. We will continue to watch a dynamic plastics and rubber industry and view every move of these key players as they embark on their journey.