It could be a model for further collaboration. BASF SE, Renolit, Sanquin Blood Bank and an undisclosed medical device supplier teamed up to find an long-awaited solution for the medical device industry, which earned them the Solvin Award Special Prize.

Molecor has defied all the odds. The company, which started up as the financial crisis broke has rocketed to win this year’s SolVin Gold Award thanks to its new PVC pipe with the largest diameter on the market today.

Water management is a key issue in a planet expected to be home for 9 billion people by 2050. As the need for irrigation to grow food and provide clean water for sanitation continues to go up, PVC pipe, while durable, light and recyclable, also needed to expand.

In the land of Calvados, the Depestele Group is using cutting-edge technology to combine fibre and resin for transportation, wind energy, construction, sports and leisure applications. That’s how they snatched the SolVin Bronze Award.

The Innovation consists of a flax reinforcement impregnated with vinyl latex (NanoVin® developed by SolVin) giving pre-impregnated composite fibres “pre-pregs” the seemingly magical quality of being flexible before forming and very rigid after forming.

Why throw it away when you can build something with it? British company Affresol is turning tons of PVC scrap, combined with stone, into an innovative building material called Thermo Polymerized Rock. But they didn’t do it alone.

“From 2007 to 2012 we were researching and developing the product in partnership with Cardiff University,” says Neil Jones, Affresol’s business development manager. “The product has now a registered trademark as TPR®.”

It’s far and away from the aluminum façade craze of the 1950s in America, portrayed by the comedy film “Tin Men” with Danny de Vito playing a salesman using every trick in the book. For today’s far more demanding and knowledgeable customers, Germany’s Vinylit has successfully devised vinyTherm: a rear-ventilated façade combining PVC and natural stone.

“The most conspicuous thing about vinyTherm is its inconspicuousness, says its developer, Mr Buchfeldt.

Suspense builds for the most innovative PVC applications at SolVin Awards 2013

More than 70 competitors from all over Europe have thrown their hats into the ring for the fifth edition of the SolVin Award, which goes to large and small pioneering firms for innovation, sustainability and creativity in PVC technology.

It can ruin your whole day… or longer if your plumber’s busy. A blocked sink can paralyse a home, unless of course you’re skilled at DIY.

You roll up your sleeves, take your toolbox and start to work, dismantling the siphon, flushing out whatever’s blocking the pipes. Then you try to reassemble it all, hoping you will not end up with spare parts in your hand. Belgium company, LML Pipes, decided there’s got to be a better way to unblock a sink.

“We started with a simple thought: How can we improve the functionality of a siphon?” says Jos Mertens, LML’s chief design engineer.

How do you keep out the roar of a stadium crowd, preserve the productive silence of an office or the pin-drop tranquility of a recording studio and still give architects maximum flexibility? The answer is Germany's Mehler Texnologies’ Sound Absorption project using PVC-coated textiles to keep the noise under control.

Eco-designer Mario Scheichenbauer worked for years out of an atelier in Milan’s historic center to produce trendy furniture for cityslickers and rural dwellers alike. Melding the rustic with the functional and ecological is also how he created his Brikplast PVC partitions.

Typical partitions can be heavy, costly and lacking in style. Mr. Scheichenbauer was inspired in part by his experience designing a hilltop retreat years ago, collaborating with fellow Italian designer Aurelio Zanotta.

The use of cold runners was until the 90s de rigueur process for PVC injection moulding, but they are wasteful due to the left-over material accumulated in the injection gate. With the ever-rising costs of energy and resources, a lightbulb went off in the head of Dietzel-Univolt’s development engineer, Andreas Neulinger.

"Why not mould PVC with the same hot channel technology already used for other plastics?", he thought. Easier said than done!