Dr Rotem Shemesh, R&D and Customer Service Manager at Carmel Olefins, recently spent the day at the Plastribution offices providing technical training to our sales teams. While she was here, Commercial Director Katherine White, took the opportunity to learn more about Rotem and her current activities at Carmel Olefins.
Katherine: Good afternoon Rotem, thank you for taking the time to come and see us today. Could you start by telling us about your career to date?
Rotem: 17 years ago, I joined the Carmel Olefins Research & Development Department, just after my bachelor's degree in chemical engineering at the Technion, the Israeli Institute of Technology. Since than I completed my Masters in Materials Engineering, Business Administration and PhD. The PhD topic was in the development of antimicrobial flexible packaging for food packaging in order to extend shelf life and reduce the use of preservatives.
For the last two years I have been the department manager for research, development and customer service, there are around 15 people.
K: Carmel Olefins have always been a very technology-focused company, can you tell me about any new products you are working on at the moment?
R: We invented the fourth family of polypropylene, the family called C-type. C for Copolymer and C for Clear.
Polypropylene has 3 standard types. Homopolymer for toughness, random copolymer for transparency and impact strength copolymer. We invented the fourth PP type, characterised with good impact strength and transparency. A unique product that can fit a wide variety of applications such as transparent ice cream packaging, rigid luggage, non-fragile containers, caps and closures. It is also suitable with living hinge like fliptop, transparent sheets for temperatures below zero and with high tear resistance, transparent storage boxes and toys without stress whitening. We are very excited to see the benefits this can bring to plastics processors.
“We invented the fourth PP type, characterised with good impact strength and transparency.” – watch above to see how Carmel Olefin’s C-type grades are helping ice-cream companies to produce better packaging.
We are also working on a high flow PPCP with low emissions for the automotive industry. The automotive industry uses polypropylene, about 70-80 kg of polypropylene in an average vehicle. Plastics for interiors must meet certain standards, such as the emissions amount according to VDA standard for example.
Another requirement is a high-flow polypropylene that will fit with long glass fibre composite and large car parts like panel instrument and doorway. We were able to develop a family of high-flow homopolymer and copolymer products that meet the German standards
Applications for low emissions copolymer are airbag canisters and instrumental panels.
Finally, we have been working hard to develop a new grade of LDPE for the films industry, Ipethene 4140. This grade has a MFR of 0.13 and is mainly for large diameter agricultural films. The grade exhibits excellent bubble stability and good mechanical properties.
K: Sustainability is the biggest issue facing our industry at the moment, can you share with me some of the things that Carmel Olefins are doing to tackle the issue?
R: Carmel Olefins is working very hard on sustainability and I am personally very involved. I am the chairman of CIRCLE consortium. CIRCLE is a new consortium for the 'traditional industry' sector, established with the support of the Israel Innovation Authority (formerly the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Economics). This consortium is part of the MAGNET program of the Innovation Authority's Technology Infrastructure Division. Within the program, industry and academia cooperate for a period of three years on the development of generic technologies to promote innovation for a specific industry segment in Israel.
The Israel Innovation Authority support CIRCLE to find solutions to two problems that present a significant challenge in the field of plastics recycling:
- Methods to treat industrial waste comprised of multi-layer plastic films - which at present are very difficult to recycle due to their heterogeneous composition.
- Methods to increase the amount of recycled material in plastic products while maintaining the quality of the final product.
The consortium will develop a range of scientific-chemical technologies with the aim of improving these two issues. As a result, plastic recycling processes will yield higher quality products and become more efficient.
The consortium members include several manufacturers of plastic products and films, as well as raw material producers and companies with unique technologies for various plastics additives. The industry members in the consortium are Keter Plastic, Avgol Nonwovens, Plastopil, Plasto-Sac, Tosaf Compounds, Shahaf Alon Tavor, Carmel Olefins of the Bazan Group, Netafim, Tama Plastic Industry, Palram, Tyrec and IsraZion.
The research cooperation will be conducted with leading academic members from the Technion, Shenkar College, Volcani Institute and Kinneret College.
The results of the research are targeted for use within the participating industries, which in turn are expected to apply the new technologies to create products with improved recycling capability and that meet stringent regulatory standards anticipated in the coming years in international markets. The consortium is expected to operate in the years 2019-2022.
We do not know the outcomes of this project yet but we will be sure to share the outcomes with you as they develop.
K:We look forward to hearing more about this exciting new project as it develops.