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Octal`s new PET plastic plant to feature direct to sheet technology

Octal has revealed details of its direct to sheet (DTS) APET plastic manufacturing process which constitutes a significant departure from traditional manufacturing processes - both in terms of manufacturing efficiency and product quality.

The new complex, located in the Salalah Free Trade Zone in Oman, is funded by an initial $300 million investment in proprietary technology and custom-made production lines. The 330,000 metric ton PET resin and APET sheet facility is scheduled to start-up in August 2008. Octal is focused on PET resin for bottles (150,000 tons per annum (tpa)) and APET sheet (180,000 tpa) as the continuing trend towards convenience living is driving strong growth in both beverage and prepared foods packaging. APET is emerging as the strongest overall performer from the standpoint of mechanical and optical performance as well as recyclability.

Octal`s investment is based on a manufacturing process that provides a quantum leap in manufacturing efficiency and quality. This significant strategic innovation expands the universe of clear rigid packaging applications available to APET, growing opportunities for thermoformers and food and consumer product packagers, alike.

Octal`s express intent is to rewrite the script for value in APET packaging by leveraging game-changing technology to produce a product that allows downstream processors to extract cost from their processes and benefit from APET`s superior mechanical and optical properties.

Octal`s proprietary DTS technology simplifies the traditional manufacturing process that typically requires the use of granulated resin from a third-party supplier. After delivery, the resin is dried in a four-to-six hour energy-intensive operation before being fed into the extruder. From there, the extruder compresses and heats the resin into a melt, which is then transferred to the die and onto the rollers to manufacture APET sheets.

- Octal`s new DTS technology eliminates two energy intensive processes: resin drying and resin reheating or remelting, which together account for the majority of energy consumption and resin degradation - said Karl Stöger, SML Maschinengsellschaft of Austria, supplier of key sheet line components.

PJ Corcoran, Octal`s converted products manager adds: - With the melt already heated to the proper temperature, it arrives at the calendar stacks without having to be dried and remelted from the granular form. This means there is no chance for contamination to enter the system and ensures a finished polymer that is fully devoid of moisture, eliminating all moisture-related defects. This is especially salient for food processors, which can be absolutely assured of product purity. Only a direct to sheet system can make such a claim. Finally, there is absolute traceability as the resin is mechanically constrained to one source for a mono layer sheet - there can be no question as to the origin of the resin and its quality.