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Issue 04/2017

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Report High-quality PLA

Report High-quality PLA from the world’s most state-of-the-art PLA production line The Austria headquartered weforyou Group runs the brands WEFORYOU SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTS AND- POLYMERS as well as the award-winning brand SUPLA BIOPLASTICS. The weforyou Group was founded in 2014 and has grown to be one of the world’s largest biopolymers producers. It offers a capacity of 10.000 tonnes of high-quality Pure PLA resins. weforyou also offers a wide range of services such as 40.000 tonnes of compounding capacity, tailor- made R&D services and finished applications. Pure PLA with an optical purity of more than 99 % Although PLA is a proven and the most common used type of bioplastic, it is important to be aware that there are differences in the quality and properties of PLA grades. PLA is made of optical active monomers, which are known as L and D type. The optical purity of the monomer and the control of the polymerization affects the final properties of PLA and the behavior of the crystallization. PLA grades of high optical purity above 99 % are in many cases called PLLA. The PLLA has superior properties in both the speed of crystallization and the crystallinity, providing a better base for further modification. The weforyou Pure PLA grades are PLLA with 99.7 % of optical purity. This high purity results from the stateof-the-art production installation at SUPLA (Fig. 1), the only commercial scale plant with these cutting-edge technologies currently available on the market. Solutions to overcome PLA limitations Like all plastics, PLA has its limitations. These limitations can be overcome through various solutions. Compounding is one of the most popular ways to do it. weforyou modifies PLA into PLA compounds by unique recipes and efficient twin-screw extruders and thus providing solutions in the field of electronic housing, food packaging, cutlery, nonwoven fabrics, fibers, films, bags and more. Compared to other compounders in this area, weforyou is able to control the PLA base resin and they have all their facilities in one location. weforyou Pure PLA is available in three grades: Pure PLA 120, 150 and 180. The differences are mostly the molecular weights of low, middle and high. All of them have a higher glass transition temperature and higher melting point than common PLA, which allows a superior heat resistance while remaining biodegradable. The demand of the market to produce a 100 % GMO-free and non- staple food PLA as well as PDLA/PLLA mixtures can be fully met by weforyou. Based on the company’s scale of flexibility, this Austrian biopolymer producer is able to adjust and tailor-make the base resins for specific needs. An example of a tailor-made PLA grade is the Pure PLA non-woven grade. PLA for experienced biopolymer converters For experienced converters of biopolymers, the Pure PLA series with its high-level stability and adjustable optical purity, leads to excellent product quality. This outstanding performance of the PLA product is based on two aspects: Firstly, it has an adjustable optical purity between 96 % and 99,7 % and secondly, because of the high-end production technology. The recently established production plant helps to lower the production cost of the end product by offering improved shrinkage values, a better base heat resistance and stability. Overall, the weforyou Pure PLA series helps save costs in many aspects while having a better output. Figure 1: weforyou PLA production line in Suqian, China 36 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/17] Vol. 12

Report Figure 2: weforyou biodegradable, non-woven shopping bags can carry up to 40 kg PLA for converters, OEMs, brand owners and retailers that are new in the market For new converters, who want to enter the biopolymer industry, weforyou offers tailor made R&D solutions lowering initial investment and speeding up the time-tomarket. The weforyou R&D team consults not only converters but also OEMs, brand owners and retailers. Together they achieve new and improved properties of PLA, such as: • High-heat resistance of up to 150 °C without using PDLA • Enormous forming stability for high precision injection molded products • Antibacterial, toughened, antistatic or even flexible PLA products PLA Compounds weforyou offers a total capacity of 40.000 tonnes of compounding services optimized for biopolymers. The compounding and laboratory services are offered at the same location as the weforyou PLA production. This helps in saving logistic costs as well as investments in compounding and/or researching capacities. weforyou offers their compounding services for all PLA clients at a very attractive price in order to promote a move away from conventional fossil-based polymers to bio-based Pure PLA with lower initial investment and effort. Biodegradable Non-Woven Bags The brand weforyou sustainable products consolidates non-woven applications such as reusable, non-woven bags (Fig. 2). “Our weforyou sustainable products line has been focusing on non-woven because in this field we are not in competition with our converting partners. The outstanding quality of our Pure non- woven PLA, results in products such as biodegradable, reusable shopping bags which have become one of our signature products. We see ourselves as a biopolymer hub connecting brand owners, retailers and trading companies with converters. We control the quality throughout the entire supply chain, from the raw material to the final product. Having one strong partner makes the change to biopolymers easier.” says Armin Amirpanah, CEO of the weforyou Group. Additionally, PLA is an ideal base material for biodegradable blown film bags, which are especially common in the retail industry. A new promising area is in the field of biodegradable, ultra- transparent, bi-directional films which are used, for instance, for greeting card packaging, bread packaging and many other applications requiring highest transparency. weforyou takes its claim packed with nature seriously and is evaluating and testing with its R&D team additional promising applications. MT Figure 3: weforyou copounding equipment bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/17] Vol. 12 37

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