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A plant visit by a group of student Bachelor of Chemical Engineering was to Polyplastics Asia
Pacific Sdn Bhd which is located at Gebeng, Kuantan, Pahang. The objectives of this visit are to
give information on the plant design based on the company production which on polymer, to
give understanding on overall process involve, locating of the system in the plant and operation
system in the plant until producing of the products.
The site area of Polyplastic company in Kuantan is around 303,000 Polyplastics is the
company which is produce, provide and seller engineering plastics. Their business operation is
manufacturing and selling various types of engineering plastics. The company starts operating
since 1962 and well develops until now. The company starts operating in Malaysia in 1997
which is at two business location, Kuala Lumpur as headquarters office and Kuantan as
manufacturing plant. The main production of Polyplastics are Acetal copolymer(POM),
Polybutylene terephthalate(PBT), Fiberglass Reinforced Polyethylene terephthalate(GF-PET),
Liquid crystal polymer(LCP), Polyphenylene sulfide(PPS) and Cyclic olefin copolymer(COC).
All this engineering plastics are used to develop and to install to any component such as cars,
digital and electronic equipment, and gadget.

Figure 1 : The organization of Polyplastic Sdn Bhd

The plant manager in Kuantan Plant is Sim Ah Siang. Based on figure 4, there are 5 departments
in Kuantan Plant which are production, mechanical engineering, electrical instrument,
quality assurance and safety, health & environment. The main role of production
department is to design the product of polyplastic company which is engineering plastic and
also to improves on the products by bringing changes and innovations. While, mechanical
engineering role is to design or redesign mechanical and thermal devices using analysis and
computer-aided design in the plant. Then the duty of electrical instrument department in the
plant is to troubleshoot, repair and maintain the various parts needed to keep automotive
machinery running smoothly and effectively. Next the quality assurance and safety department
roles is make sure that products meet standards of quality and safety. Lastly, the health &
environment department responsible for providing support of the workers health and to make
sure the environment in the plant is fresh and healthy.
For engineer and technician in the plant, they have 4 groups and they have rotated shift in 8
hours. Every day, there are only 3 groups working and another group will be out of duty. The role
of engineer and technician is to monitoring and optimizing the performance of production
processes in the plant.
All the equipment is located in the plant. The flow of production is from the feed which
row material (methanol) on the unloading bay, formaldehyde unit, monomer units which are
dioxolane (OD) and trioxane (TOX) and polymer unit. All four units are located in sequence
which is place in separate for safety and all units are under controlling by control centre building.
The company has safety measures and operations in any works in the plant. With 303 000
m3 of area which is include development and research site, the company attaining many
certificates such as ISO. As example on safety measures such as interlock as well as release
valve installed in the plant system.
Every day, approximately ten lorries will unload raw material into storage tank. It is to
supply about 200m3 of methanol per lorry. For additional information, the liquid methanol is

imported from oversea. The methanol storage tank is built in a closed area with protecting wall.
The wall is built to prevent any spillage of methanol if any accidents happen and as barrier such
as spillage of methanol. So, the damage will less and it will not affect other site. Besides, the
loading bay is built quite a way from the processing unit in case of considering the traffic utility
of the unloading lorry. Thus, the working area would be safer and convenience.
The control room have four main central processing units (CPU) are installed to eight monitors
to control all the process system in the plant that include monomer reactor, polymer reactor, DO
and TOX. The process sampling area is located in the control center building. It is include on
testing product by tensile test. In large area of plant, only two technicians will be in charge every
working shift. Each of technicians will divide work in the inside and outside control room. Any
needed maintenance or action will be informed to the in charge persons. The total number of
employees working in the Polyplastic Plant in Kuantan is around 354 staffs.
The overall process in the plant is as following:
Methanol --> Formaldehyde --> Monomer --> Polymerization --> Compounding
Before the engineering plastics produce in resins formed, three stages of formation will occur
which is formaldehyde, Dioxolane (DO) and Trioxane (TOX). The chemical process in this plant
starts at Formaldehyde Unit where formaldehyde synthesis takes place. Oxygen reacts with
methanol to produce formaldehyde. The raw material involved in the process is methanol. In the
process, the engineer during the visit said that about 99.95% of formaldehyde (gas) and
formalide (liquid) are obtained and another 0.05% is actually the impurities such as sulphur.
The formaldehyde then sent to Trioxane and Dioxolane Unit to produce the monomer. As
additional information there are catalyst named molybdenum catalyst which exist in solid state
added in the reactor to speed up the reaction. In trioxane plant, the steam produced form the heat
is then used again. The process involve in TOX is including involve concentrator, reactor,
extractor and purifier component. The conversion of TOX is approximately 27%. For DO plant,
there is also catalyst added and benzene used for the extraction. The conversion in DO plant is

approximately 97%. The engineer on that day also said that there is absorber used in DO plant to
bring the gas and liquid phase in contact.
Then, the products from TOX and DO plant are sending to polymerization unit. The
polymerization process encloses in gases, liquid and solid reaction which is about 55% of
product in water is desired. After all the process, the product will continue extruder machine to
extrude the product in resins size. The resins form will pack on variations packaging based on
customer demands. The production of engineering plastics, POM is about 123 000 tons/year and
compounding is 26 000 tons/year.
In the finishing step, the overall process is as follows:

Figure 2: The finishing step process in the plant

In the process, the extruder used to change the product phase from solid to molten and to change
to molten again. The engineer also adding additional information during the briefing which is to
design something in the plant, the main parameter should be focusing is concept of the gravity
and pressure. There is certain equipment placed by following the gravity, therefore there is no
pump used to transfer the material. Therefore, the cost can be save there. So, the extruder is
located at the basement floor to decrease the pressure needed as it will use the gravity attraction.
From figure 2, the dehydrator is used to remove the water from the product. Then the mixture
content is removed by using dryer. There are many processes left in dryer process to the
packaging process but the process is confidential as said by the engineer at the polyplastic. The
final product (DURACON) which almost 85% is packed into a bag which is approximately 25kg
per bag before the transporting process is be done.