The hottest polyester bottle chips enjoy great suc

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Polyester bottle chips enjoy great success

due to its transparency, high strength, wide use and recyclability, it is no wonder that polyester bottle chips have become a favorite packaging material for consumers and enjoy great success. Few bulk polymer varieties have such a high demand growth rate as polyester bottle chips. Even in developed countries, the demand growth rate of polyester bottle chips is still close to double digits

however, the lucky son of the plastic industry is not flawless. Polyester bottle chips appeared after polyester fiber, and large-scale new devices led to oversupply. Polyester manufacturers, like other products in the chemical industry, are facing high raw material cost pressure. Due to technical limitations, new markets such as beer bottles have failed to make a breakthrough in application as 20 ounce beverage bottles did many years ago

in the face of these challenges, some observers believe that the commercialization of new polyester packaging products will take time, while others admit that the growth rate of polyester bottle chips in some parts of the world is slowing down

Mr. Edgar Acosta, a consultant in charge of polyester bottle chips and fibers from DeWitt Co, a consulting company headquartered in Houston, USA, pointed out that the market demand for polyester bottle chips in the United States is about 3.1 million tons/year, which is one third of the world's total consumption. Last year, the demand growth rate of polyester bottle chips in North America was 8%, while in the 1990s, the growth rate once reached double digits. Mr. Acosta predicts that the growth rate may slow down by% this year, because in terms of sales channels, the U.S. beverage market has reached saturation point

observers in the industry seem to be optimistic. Tom Sherlock, business director of dak resin company, pointed out that the low temperature in major markets of soft drink consumption in New York and other United States last summer led to a slowdown in the growth rate of polyester bottle chip consumption in 2003. Mr. Sherlock said that the demand growth in 2004 would be improved, and the growth rate would reach 8.5%. The growth will come from the withdrawal of some new soft drink products this summer, such as Coca Cola's withdrawal from low carbonate coke, although these new products may devour the market of other soft drinks

although the carbonated beverage market in North America is relatively mature, there is still room for growth in the demand for hot canned beverages such as fruit juice. Michael E. dewsbury, vice president of polyester bottle chip business of Wellman, said that due to the improvement of bottle design, polyester bottles can withstand higher temperatures

once there is a breakthrough in beer bottles and other application fields, the demand for polyester bottle chips will still have the potential to recover the double-digit growth rate in the next few years. Kevin M. Fogarty, President of NVIDIA's polymer and resin business (Koch merged with Kosa's Polyester business after the acquisition of NVIDIA, and continued to use the name of NVIDIA), pointed out that the beer bottle market is very large. If polyester bottle chips obtain a 1% share, it means that the average operating rate of polyester bottle chip devices obtained in the United States can be increased by 1%

manufacturers often debate why plastic beer bottles are not so popular. Mr. dewsbury believes that this is a problem of market strategy. Consumers refuse beer manufacturers to pass strict tests before they can be put into use. Polyester beer bottles with long necks have almost no living space except in specific places such as sports fields. He also believes that 22 ounce and 40 Ounce Bottles, which are less important in aesthetic value, seem to be a more valuable target market

Mr. Fogarty of NVIDIA believes that the main reason why polyester bottle chips fail to enter the beer bottle Market on a large scale is the technical problem. The polyester bottle itself cannot provide good air tightness. Therefore, the polyester beer bottle body needs nylon interlayer, plasma coating or pen (polyethylene terephthalate), which will increase the production cost of the bottle. He said that it is clear that it is not a matter of consumer acceptance

Mr Fogarty said that unless polyester manufacturers produce materials with good single-layer oxygen isolation performance, the production cost of polyester beer bottles will not be significantly reduced. In January this year, NVIDIA launched polyshield bottle chips. The company said that the single-layer bottle made of this polyester bottle chip can be used to produce beer bottles. This autumn, a beer brand in Europe will use this polyester packaging

Mr. dewsbury of Wellman said that the polyester industry also aims at the aluminum soft drink can market, which has an annual output of 60billion. For the American polyester industry, replacing 12 ounce aluminum cans is the biggest business opportunity. Mr. dewsbury has no doubt that 12 ounce polyester cans have more advantages than aluminum cans, but because aluminum cans have been deeply rooted in the hearts of the people, it is difficult for plastic cans to enter this market. If polyester bottles had the current Formula 30 years ago, aluminum cans could not exist in the soft drink packaging market at all. Soft drink manufacturers' canning facilities are built around aluminum cans, and they don't have much sweetness to replace them with polyester cans. However, Mr. dewsbury said that the 12 ounce polyester bottle had made some breakthroughs. Although soft drink manufacturers have spent a lot of money on building aluminum cans and canning equipment, they prefer to use 12 ounce polyester bottles for the new capacity. Despite many difficulties, polyester bottle chips will seize part of the aluminum can market every year

manufacturers said that the traditional application fields of polyester bottle chips outside North America are still growing, especially the high raw material costs have increased trade between the United States and Asian countries. Mr. Sherlock of dak said that historically, Asian polyester manufacturers have the advantage of raw material cost, which gives them the opportunity to export polyester bottle chips. However, at present, there is little gap between their raw material purchase price and polyester manufacturers in North America

Mr. dewsbury said that the advantages of Asian polyester manufacturers to become UHF fatigue testing machines with more than 300Hz are far more than raw material costs. Polyester manufacturers in Taiwan, Thailand, India and Indonesia, for example, do not have obvious cost advantages in polyester bottle chip production, because bottle chip production is different from fiber production and is not labor-intensive. However, the higher tariffs in these regions allow polyester manufacturers to sell their products in the local market at a higher price, and export bottle chips at a price lower than the cost. In other words, local sales provide subsidies for polyester bottle chips exported to the United States. Therefore, researchers in the United States have tried to use plant fiber as a substitute. The manufacturer of ester bottle tablets submitted a complaint to the International Trade Commission. Mr. Acosta of DeWitt said that the European Union imposed anti-dumping tariffs on polyester bottle chips in Asia, which has benefited American polyester manufacturers, and their polyester bottle chips exported to Europe have become more competitive

American polyester producers can also get a share in the markets of developing countries such as Latin America. Mr. dewsbury pointed out that Mexico's per capita consumption of soft drinks exceeded that of the United States, and the market potential here is huge. The Italian Mossi Ghisolfi group, which acquired the polyester business of shell chemical in 2000, built a new polyester bottle chip device with an annual output of 275000 tons in Mexico last year. This device is the largest polyester bottle chip device with single line capacity in the world at present. Mg group said that at present, the output of the device exceeds the design level, and the device will be expanded to 440000 tons/year this year. In 2002, Mg also acquired Rhodia ster, a Brazilian polyester producer, and plans to build a new plant in Recife, Brazil. Mr. Acosta said that the average annual growth rate of polyester bottle chip market in South America reached 14%

although the prosperity of the polyester bottle chip market in the United States is rising, Mr. Sherlock said that their situation is not very optimistic. He said that for the polyester industry, the good news is that the demand growth rate is good, and the news is that the tension in this industry is too intense. In the past three years, the profits were either none or very meager. The rapid growth of raw material prices has taken away the profits of the industry, and the planned capacity expansion has also caused this problem. A year ago, the production capacity of Mr. Sherlock's company's plant in Cooper River, South Carolina doubled. This expansion transformed the original polyester fiber production unit into a bottle chip unit and added a solid-phase polycondensation unit

Mr. dewsbury pointed out that the device transformation similar to dak is a natural action taken by polyester manufacturers in the face of competition from Asian fiber manufacturers. At present, a large number of fiber grade polyester production units in the United States can be transformed into bottle chip production units

in 2000, a polyester fiber production line located in Pearl River, Mississippi, was put into operation. However, the polyester fiber market in the United States deteriorated, and the device stopped soon, and then it was ready to be transformed into a 140000 ton polyester bottle and chip device. However, due to the poor market of polyester bottle chips, the company has not implemented this plan so far. At present, Wilman plans to transform the device in 2006. Companies such as NVIDIA and dak also have fiber grade polyester production plants that can be transformed

the transformation of production equipment requires investment. Mr. dewsbury believes that the polyester bottle chip market in the United States will not be oversupplied due to the transformation of fiber production equipment. However, Mr. Acosta said that the cost of device transformation was only one-third of the investment cost of the new polyester bottle chip device. He was worried that the transformation of fiber level devices and the fact that we didn't have to play with M G's giant device recently put into production would turn this high value-added product into a price driven commodity

recently, some production capacity has withdrawn from the market. In April this year, Mg shut down its 100000 ton/year polyester bottle chip plant in Virginia. Fred Fournier, global sales and marketing director of mg group, made harsh remarks for customers and raw material suppliers, He said, "it is a pity to close this factory, but this is caused by the current business environment. Raw material suppliers ignore the needs of the polyester industry, especially in North America, and downstream customers refuse to accept to share higher production costs. As a leading manufacturer in the industry, the company decided not to provide subsidies for the behavior between disproportionate raw material suppliers and downstream customers."

Thomas J. Stevens, vice president of Eastman Chemical's polymer business group, cleverly agreed with this statement. He said: "in 2004, raw material prices remained strong and volatile, and these cost rising factors must be borne by consumers. The rise in bottle and chip prices only offset some, but not all, of the rising pressure on raw material prices." He pointed out that in response to rising costs, Eastman is also considering business adjustments. The company has closed its special copolyester production plant in the UK and transferred production to Ginsburg, Tennessee, and Kuantan, Malaysia. "Obviously, both we and our customers are dissatisfied with the current situation," he said He also said that the situation is improving. This year's market is close to the bottom and will recover soon. If the pressure on raw material costs is reduced, this industry can still make profits this year. If beer bottles or small capacity carbonated beverage bottles make a breakthrough, the market will continue to recover in the future this year

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