Your Business in Brief - July 2001

Dow Buys Into New BiocompositesDow Pipeline Ltd. in Calgary, Alberta, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co., has agreed to purchase most of the assets of Isobord Enterprises Inc. in Elie, Manitoba.

Dow Buys Into New Biocomposites

Dow Pipeline Ltd. in Calgary, Alberta, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co., has agreed to purchase most of the assets of Isobord Enterprises Inc. in Elie, Manitoba. Isobord makes novel natural-fiber composite panels by pressing a mixture of finely chopped wheat straw and Dow polyurethane. The Elie plant occupies 215,000 sq ft. Dow has worked with Isobord since the plant started up in 1998 and says the product line is a good fit with Dow's other PUR-based products for home construction and remodeling. Home Depot distributes Isobord products used in kitchen counters, shelving, cabinets, ready-to-assemble furniture, etc.


Monsanto Sells Its Biopol Technology

Metabolix Inc., Cambridge, Mass., has bought the Biopol product line from Monsanto Co. of St. Louis. Biopol is a biodegradable PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) polyester resin made by bacteria. PHA can be molded, extruded, and spun into fiber. Metabolix already produces PHAs by a microbial process and expects to launch its first commercial products this year. Monsanto stopped R&D on Biopol in 1998. The technology was developed by ICI in the 1980s.


First 100% Curbside PET Bottle Gets Okay for Food Contact

A give-away sport water bottle made for a Lucas County, Ohio, recycling education program is said to be the world's first food or beverage bottle commercially produced from 100% curbside-recycled PET. Lucas County's "Get Green" program received over $400,000 in state grants to support distribution of recycled bottles in schools and at community events.

The bottles are made on a lab line at Plastic Technologies Inc. (PTI) in Holland, Ohio. PTI's patented decontamination process is used to make the material at sister company Phoenix Technologies in Bowling Green, Ohio. There, commercial RPET flake is reground to a smaller size. This improves its surface-to-volume ratio so that cleaning gets more contaminants out faster, PTI says. Decontamination is performed in a batch process similar to solid-stating, in which the flake is held at high temperature under vacuum.

Phoenix's RPET won a historic "letter of no objection" in 1999 from the FDA, said to be the first such letter specifically identifying flake sourced from curbside collection. Other PET materials and containers have won FDA non-objection status for food contact, but their resin came from deposit-bottle collection, considered to be a "cleaner" source of RPET.

PTI offers two curbside RPET grades: "LNOF" (letter of no objection flake) with 0.90 I.V. and "LNOP" (letter of no objection pellet) with 0.84-0.85 I.V. The PTI/Phoenix process is also licensed to an Australian recycler that makes RPET for Coca-Cola bottles.


UGS Merges with SDRC

A new giant in software for CAD/CAM and product data management (PDM) will result from the merger of two leading vendors by EDS of Plano, Texas. EDS will acquire Structural Dynamics Research Corp. (SDRC) of Milford, Ohio, supplier of Metaphase PDM and I-DEAS CAD software. EDS also will purchase the remaining shares of Unigraphics Solutions (UGS) in Cypress, Calif., which supplies CAD/CAM and other software such as Unigraphics, Parasolid, Solid Edge, and ProductVision. EDS already owns 86% of UGS. EDS will combine the two companies under the UGS name into a new division focused on the automotive and aerospace industries.


BASF Plans Styrolux SBS Plant in Mexico

BASF Corp., Mt. Olive, N.J., will build a world-scale plant to make Styrolux SBS copolymer at Altamira, Mexico. The plant will have initial capacity of 100 million lb/yr when it starts up in early 2003. In the same family as Chevron Phillips' K Resin, Styrolux offers both transparency and toughness for uses like film wrap, drinking cups, and coat hangers.


Ticona to Add UHMW-PE Capacity

Ticona of Summit, N.J., broke ground last month for a new 60-million-lb/yr plant in Bishop, Texas, that will produce Hostalen GUR UHMW-PE. The plant will double Ticona's GUR capacity in North America when it starts up in the third quarter of 2002. It will replace an older plant in Bayport, Texas.


GE Names New Distribution Unit

GE Polymershapes in Huntersville, N.C., is the new name of the business unit formed last year by GE Plastics through the acquisition of Cadillac Plastic and Commercial Plastics & Supply. The new unit distributes sheet, rod, tube, and film. It has 150 branches in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, plus locations in Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific Rim. All are listed on the new website,


Milacron Buys Canadian Screw & Barrel Maker

Milacron Inc. in Cincinnati has acquired Progress Precision of Mississauga, Ont., a supplier of barrels, screws, and related services for extrusion, injection, and blow molding. It will become one of the regional centers in a new network being established by ExtrusionTek Milacron to offer quick local response for processors in the Northeast.


Lectro Engineering Buys MTM Systems

Lectro Engineering Co. in St. Louis has bought the assets of MTM Systems Inc. of Beaverton, Ore., and has created a new business unit in St. Louis called MTM Systems, staffed by key MTM employees. Lectro supplies 3D surface treaters (corona, plasma, and flame types) for plastic bottles, while MTM makes a range of downstream systems for blow molding, such as takeaway systems, detabbing and deflashing equipment, rotary trimmers, case packers, palletizers, and in-mold labelers.


CAD/CAM Vendor to Open Four New Regional Offices

VX Corp. (formerly Varimetrix Corp.) of Palm Bay, Fla., supplier of mid-priced CAD/CAM software for mold and product design, will open four new regional offices this year. The offices will be in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Philadephia. The firm also has signed Real Machine Tool of Windsor, Ont., to sell and distribute VX software in central and eastern Canada.