The consultation process on the New European Chemicals Regulation REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) will be finished soon. The political agreement reached in the Council, as published in June 2006, will most likely not be changed fundamentally and it can be expected that the regulation will be adopted by the end of this year. It is expected that the regulation will enter into force in the spring of 2007.
The first comprehensive regulatory activity for food-contact materials and articles began in the late 1950s and early 1960s in the United States and some European countries. Today, the regulation of food-contact articles - and especially packaging - has become a global subject as the world's commercial channels have broadened in the last decades.
As markets expand due to globalization, chemical manufacturers are faced with the challenge of meeting the rapidly growing global demand for production at a time when production costs are increasing due to rising feedstock prices. One way for chemical manufacturers to ensure profitability in the current environment is to foster innovation through the use of advanced modeling techniques. The Chemical Industry Vision2020 Technology Partnership1 highlights opportunities to address several challenges in the chemical industry through shared pre-competitive research and development activities in many technology areas, and offers a special focus on high-end modeling. This article examines the available technologies in the chemical industry and highlights several areas where major advances have been achieved through innovation fostered by advanced modeling of industrial processes.