Tool Enables Manufacturer

Collaboration Tool Enables Manufacturer to Increase Project Management Efficiency

Arlington, MA—An electromechanical design engineering firm and a manufacturer of complex injection molds are among the companies currently using Glance™, a web demonstration technology from Glance Networks, as a collaboration tool for design reviews and increased project management efficiency. The screen sharing service enables companies to instantly show their live PC screen to anyone with an Internet connection. Up to 15 guests can connect instantly from nearly any PC, Mac, or Linux computer, without downloading software.

One of the companies reporting success with Glance is EEC Inc. (Plainville, Massachusetts), a full-service design engineering and product development firm that currently serves the electronics, medical, pharmaceutical, industrial, and consumer products industries. The company’s services span the spectrum of engineering disciplines, and include concept development and modeling, industrial design, embedded hardware and software development, and printed circuit board design and development. Also offered are system level enclosure, sub-assembly, individual part design, and thermal and structural analyses.

The company is said to be highly skilled in designing parts that are to be fabricated either from formed sheet metal or by machining, Aluminum die casting products, extrusion, and Custom Plastic Injection Molding processes. Typically, designs are created as 3D solid CAD models, utilizing Pro E, Solidworks, or Mechanical Desktop CAD programs. Full file conversion, electronic transfer, and 2D documentation capabilities are also provided.

According to Herb McEvoy, president, EEC values the utility and convenience of a simple, reliable screen sharing tool that brings its strategic partners and clients, located all over North America, together for design reviews. Using Glance, the company collaborates with up to 15 people at one time, quickly agreeing on design intent and avoiding opportunity for errors.

“In the past, we sent e-mails out to clients with simplified CAD viewers,” says McEvoy. “We would follow up with a phone call and try to guess what the customer was looking at. We spent a lot of time describing landmarks to make sure we were on the same page. We looked at other services, but everyone had to own the software, and even after the software was installed, it was not user-friendly. Glance is fast and simple, allowing me to quickly answer a question by reviewing a file over the Internet.

“Glance is simple, as there is no software to install for the client,” continues McEvoy. “Our clients and partners only need to know how to ‘log on’ to instantly view the same model at the same time. Before Glance, individuals had varying expectations of the design intent, but when a Glance session is over, everyone is on ‘the same page.’”

Another satisfied user is Concours Mold, Inc. (Windsor, Ontario, Canada), a manufacturer of complex injection molds that has been able to increase its project management efficiency with the help of Glance. The screen sharing service enables the plasticmold maker to review project details in real time with customers in various locations, providing the opportunity for simple changes and modifications at the most cost-effective stages.

“We use Glance to conduct review meetings for projects in real-time,” commented Mario Donaldson, data and systems administrator, Concours Mold, Inc. “Glance allows us to show a customer, anywhere in the world, our progress, and they can easily review the product and have changes made quickly on the fly without ever having to leave their office. Glance ensures the customer is extremely satisfied with the end product, meeting all their specialized requirements.”

Glance allows users to demonstrate software, give presentations, qualify sales prospects, go over spreadsheets, provide technical assistance or training, show designs, and review documents. Every mouse movement and screen update is seen instantly.

“Being able to review a project first-hand at each stage of the design process allows Concours Mold to deliver the best possible product to their customers,” commented Rich Baker, chief executive officer at Glance Networks. “For small-to-medium sized businesses like Concours Mold, Glance provides the most cost-effective collaboration tool for keeping projects on schedule and on budget.”

In September, Glance released version 2.0 of the screen sharing service, an enhanced package that provides faster screen update speeds, 24-bit color, and easy customer website integration. The same month, Glance 2.0 was selected as a finalist in the technology category for the 10th Annual MITX Awards. Produced by the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange, the MITX Awards recognize excellence in the creation of interactive technologies designed, produced, or developed in New England.

uropean CPP films to reach 545,000 tonnes by 2017

European CPP films to reach 545,000 tonnes by 2017

Despite declines in some non-packaging markets (e.g. stationery), PCI forecasts show European demand for CPP films will continue to grow by an average of 1.3% per annum to reach 545,000 tonnes by 2017.

Growth in East European demand is expected to play a relatively significant role in overall European growth.

Other report highlights:Between 2007 and 2012, European CPP film demand grew by an average of 1.4% per annum to reach an estimated 512,000 tonnes in 2012.  The majority of European demand continues to be accounted for by West European markets although Eastern Europe has been expanding at an average rate of around 5.1% over the past five years.
 CPP film producers have more than kept pace with demand growth and increased production volumes by around 10% since 2007.  However, due to production growth outstripping demand growth, more producers are looking to external regions to fill capacity.
 Germany is Europe’s largest producer and consumer of CPP films accounting for around 35% of total regional production and 30% of total regional demand in 2012.
 Investments in East European CPP film capacity over recent years have caused production growth to increase at a rate of around 8% since 2007, although demand continues to outstrip production in Eastern Europe.
 Flexible packaging applications for CPP film now account for 75% of total European demand amid strong increases in volumes used in food packaging.  However, this growth has been somewhat offset by declines in non packaging applications, particularly stationery.
 Transparent CPP films continue to account for the vast majority of European CPP film demand. 

Rapid growth in European Stand-Up Pouches continues

Rapid growth in European Stand-Up Pouches continues

With packaging volume reduction, cost reduction and convenience driving rapid growth, European demand for stand-up pouches is forecast to grow by around 5% p.a. over the next five years to reach 28 billion units in 2017.

This is at least twice as fast as the volume growth which is expected in the European flexible packaging market as a whole.

Other report highlights:European sales of pre-made stand-up pouches and laminates used in form-fill-seal pouch-making applications amounted to 22 billion units in 2012.
 Associated expenditure on stand-up pouches amounted to around €700 million and accounted for around 6% of total European converted flexible packaging sales.
 An estimated 145,000 tonnes of substrates were used in the production of stand-up pouches in Europe in 2012.
 Form-fill-seal is increasing its share of the stand-up pouch market with current segmentation estimated at 45% FFS / 55% pre-made pouches.
 Overall European growth in unit demand over the last five years has been around 5.5% per annum. This reflects rapid growth prior to 2008, a subsequent slowdown following the onset of the global downturn and since then growth recovery.
 Retorted pouches used for wet pet food and human food applications accounted for 45% of the overall total, with 55% taken by non-retort end-uses, primarily liquid beverages, and in applications such as confectionery, grated cheese, fruit compote, and ketchup / mayonnaise.
 Growth in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe will out-perform those in Western Europe over the coming years, with growth in wet pet food in Russia and Poland being particularly rapid.

Global BOPET film demand forecasts predict average world growth

Global BOPET film demand forecasts predict average world growth of 6.8% p.a.

PCI’s latest study estimates that world BOPET film demand has been growing by 7.2% since 2007 and reached 3.2 million tonnes in 2012.

Global BOPET film demand forecasts predict average world growth of 6.8% p.a. with Asia continuing as the powerhouse.

Other report highlights:The Central and East Asian region, which includes South Korea, Japan and China, remains the world’s largest producer and consumer of BOPET films accounting for 55% of total demand.
 Flexible packaging applications for BOPET film now account for 54% of world demand.  The thin film market is expected to grow at an average rate of 6.7% per annum, over the next five years.
 BOPET film producers have invested in capacity to keep pace with demand growth and increased by 53% the size of the industry since 2007.
 Demand for thick films has grown the fastest in recent years but volume growth is slowing.
 PCI ‘conservative’ forecasts show world demand for BOPET films will continue to grow by an average of 6.8% per annum to reach 4.4 million tonnes by 2017.  Growth in Asian demand is expected to account for almost 80% of world growth over the next five years.
 Capacity additions announced and expected, will expand the world BOPET film industry by another 34% over the next five years with Chinese producers accounting for one third of the expected increase. 

Two million tonnes of new BOPET film capacity

Two million tonnes of new BOPET film capacity, but is it enough??

After the supply shortages of commodity bi-oriented polyester (BOPET) thin films in 2010, the global BOPET film industry has done its best to ensure global supplies will not dry up again – or has it?

PCI Films Consulting’s latest review of the commodity BOPET thin film market notes a significant increase in film extrusion capacity in recent years and more planned for the next three years but still believes 2 million tonnes, incredibly, won’t necessarily guarantee supplies to Western markets.

Since the supply shortages of 2010, demand in the global thin (i.e. less than 50 micron in thickness) BOPET film market has grown by only 250,000 tonnes (5% p.a.), awaiting the expected global recovery.  But this growth has been more than matched by the installation of 700,000 tonnes of new film extrusion capacity.  

Over the next five years (2012 – 2017) the global market is expected to use another 900,000 tonnes of thin film and suppliers are gearing up for this with investments in an additional 1.3 million tonnes of new capacity – surely more than enough to meet demand in the West?  

Not according to one of the report authors, Simon King who notes;

“These headline numbers are misleading for two reasons: 1) nameplate capacities are never realised and a more realistic level of production from this new capacity could be as low as 75% of nameplate; and 2) most of this new capacity is being installed in China and Chinese film producers don’t seem to be able to connect with European and North American customer needs.  Many do not see them as realistic alternatives at present”.

Westernised regions, such as Europe and North America, continue to be major importers of BOPET thin films because their local industries are not large enough or competitive enough to meet local demand and regional producers appear to be doing little about it.  PCI reports the running up of new capacity in Turkey and Poland and two new plants in the US but these will do little to absorb the current volume of imports into these regions, let alone meet future demand.   

While the current investment climate is weak, buyers are encouraged to gain a broader understanding of potential suppliers and their capabilities in commodity BOPET thin films outside of traditional supplier networks to ensure continuity of supplies in the coming years.

Global thick BOPET film capacity to increases

Global thick BOPET film capacity to increase by 45%

PCI’s latest study estimates that world thick BOPET film demand has been growing by 7.1% since 2007 and reached 772,500 tonnes in 2012. 

Global thick BOPET film demand forecasts predict average world growth of 6% p.a. led by Asian countries, particularly China. Planned new installations of thick BOPET film capacity are to increase global production capabilities by around 45% to 1.55 million tonnes by 2017.

Other report highlights:The Central and East Asian region, which includes South Korea, Japan and China, remains the world’s largest producer and consumer of thick BOPET films accounting for 70% of global demand.
 Electrical applications account for a high proportion of total usage, with major end uses including flat panel screens, photovoltaic cells, and motor and transformer insulation. The imaging sector remains a high usage market although volumes have been declining over recent years.
 Significant demand growth has caused high levels of investment in dedicated thick BOPET film production capacity with global increases of 375,000 tonnes since 2007.
 Switch BOPET film lines capable of producing both thin and thick films are also becoming more apparent.
 PCI ‘conservative’ forecasts show world demand for thick BOPET films will continue to grow by an average of 6% per annum to reach 1.03 million tonnes by 2017.
 Capacity additions announced and expected, will expand the world thick BOPET film industry by another 44% over the next five years with China accounting for 70% of new capacity.