GPCA plastics summit stresses innovation
Dubai, April 5, 2012
The evolving needs of end-users will make innovation in the polymers industry a necessity, said an industry expert on the opening day of a major plastics summit in Dubai.
Sultan Bin Battal, vice president (Polymer SBU), of Saudi Arabia-based Sabic was delivering his keynote presentation at the summit organised by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA).
Nearly 400 executives from key corporations from across the region and international markets are participating at the GPCA Plastics Summit, which opened on April 3 at the Grand Hyatt Dubai and is concluding today (April 5).
The summit features sessions focusing on plastics in the GCC, packaging as a driver for conversion, plastics products for building and construction, as well as industry trends in sustainability, quality and hygiene.
Dr Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general of GPCA, said: “We’re delighted with the level of participation in this year’s summit, a sign of the continued growth in the industry.
The Plastics Summit is the ideal platform to encourage discussion of education, technology and R&D, and the wider development of the plastics industry in the Middle East.”
Battal said that developing products for new applications, adding new features to existing solutions, and optimizing manufacturing processes would be critical factors for success.
Battal added that Sabic’s new application centre, to be completed in the third quarter of 2012, illustrated how the company was responding to the need for greater innovation and R&D.
The new 110,000 sq m facility, staffed by 180 engineers, will be made up offices, laboratories and the latest high-tech equipment, and will support the continued expansion of Sabic’s new product portfolio, especially in the areas of packaging, automotive materials and compounding.
Also speaking on the first day was Michael Pell, vice president of Innovation at Borouge, a petrochemicals joint venture between ADNOC of Abu Dhabi and Austria-based Borealis, who highlighted the many cost savings and environmental benefits of plastics.
In the food industry, for example, he said plastic packaging used considerably less space than glass containers and achieved significant weight savings, which in turn reduced fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
Pell said Borouge’s solutions in infrastructure, automotive, and advanced packaging were benchmarks for plastics conversion in the region.
Also presenting on the first day of the summit, Mubarak Al-Mubarak, director general, Planning and Investment at the Royal Commission of Jubail and Yanbu in Saudi Arabia, said further development of the plastics industry would create additional employment and lessen dependence on oil exports.
Jubail and Yanbu, which alone contribute 11.5 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s non-oil GDP, illustrated how Gulf countries can diversify their economies through plastics conversion, he said.
Taking place alongside the Plastics Summit are the 2012 Plastics Innovation Awards.
Now in their second year, the awards recognize those companies and individuals at the forefront of the development of plastics conversion industry in terms of products and solutions in the Gulf region. – TradeArabia News Service
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