DAK Americas, Charlotte, N.C., plans to build a PET packaging resin unit in Charleston, S.C., that will double the company’s capacity to 660 million lb/yr. The new plant for DAK’s “Laser+” copolymers is expected to be operational by next April. DAK Americas is a business unit of Alpek, the petrochemicals and synthetic fibers business group of Alfa S.A. in Mexico.
Ticona of Summit, N.J., recently doubled its capacity for two thermoplastics: First, it just completed a 77% expansion of its Vectra liquid-crystal polymer plant in Shelby, N.C., to 13.3 million lb/yr. Ticona is considering further expansion for 2005.
Second, Ticona will start up this month a 66-million-lb/yr plant for GUR UHMW-PE at Bishop, Texas. It doubles Ticona’s GUR capacity in the U.S. and will replace an existing plant in Bayport, Texas.
This summer, Septon Co. of America (Sepco) in Pasadena, Texas, a part of Japan’s Kuraray group, plans to bring on line a 26-million-lb/yr plant for making hydrogenated styrenic block copolymers (HSBCs). The plant will make crumb and powder forms of SEBS, as well as a unique variant known as SEEPS, short for styrene-ethylene-ethylene/propylene-styrene.
These products will be supplied to compounders of TPEs for uses such as soft-touch molding and engineering thermoplastics modification. “Our plant brings a new source of high-quality SEBS to the U.S.,” says Thomas Bell, director of sales and marketing. Sepco has no plan to process its HSBCs into market-ready TPE compounds.
SEEPS is a promising new option for U.S. end-users, says Ron Foster, Sepco’s director of market development. He says the $2/lb material offers higher tensile strength and heat resistance than SEBS. It also improves absorption and retention of oil when compounded with PP. That makes one SEEPS grade, Septon 4077, a potential replacement for thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs) in certain soft-touch applications like grips, handles, and control buttons. SEEPS, a non-vulcanized product, offers Shore A hardnesses from 5 to 95, plus excellent weatherability, Foster says.
Polymer modification is another promising area for Sepco’s resins. Foster says SEEPS is a cost-effective impact modifier for PPO (GE’s Noryl) and syndiotactic polystyrene (Dow’s Questra SPS). Other HSBCs made in Japan and sold here by Sepco are used as impact modifiers and compatibilizers in ABS/PP blends. In Japan, Hybrar 1725 styrene-isoprene copolymer is used in an EVA/PP/EVA film that replaces PVC in food and meat wraps. Hybrar is blended with PP in the core layer to increase resiliency and softness while retaining clarity. Septon America: (281) 909-5800, www.kuraray.co.jp/en
Dow Plastics, Midland, Mich., anticipates that its global TDI production will fall short of demand this year. The company cites as contributing factors both low inventory and a scheduled maintenance shutdown in June of its TDI facility in Freeport, Texas.
Due to the steady slow recovery in polyurethane demand, tight TDI supply is likely to last all year, according to David Fischer, v.p. of Dow’s global PUR business.
Spartech Corp., St. Louis, has agreed to acquire GWB Plastics Holding Co., the parent of two operating companies that make additive concentrates and compounds. They are UVtec Inc. in Dallas and PolyTech South Inc. in Alpharetta, Ga. Their sales were more than $40 million in the last year.
These businesses will become a division of Spartech Polycom. They add 70 million lb of capacity to Spartech’s 11 other plants in its Color & Specialty Compounds segment. Spartech also gains several flame-retardant and uv-stabilized polyolefins that are currently sold for wire/cable and construction uses. Spartech envisions automotive and appliance markets, as well.
Van Dorn Demag Corp., Strongsville, Ohio, together with a sales partner, has opened an injection molding technical and training center in the Midwest. The new 3500-sq-ft facility is operated by the Process Solutions Group at its headquarters in Roselle, Ill. According to Lou Zavala, co-founder of Process Solutions, “The test lab will simulate a fully operational plant, with complete auxiliary equipment and a selection of Van Dorn Demag machines. There’s been great demand from molders for local training and testing of equipment.” This is the fourth testing and training location for Van Dorn. Another will open this summer at Absolute Machinery, a Van Dorn sales representative in Worcester, Mass.
Process Solutions is a full-service sales agency providing equipment, systems design, installation, and maintenance services to processors in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Northwest Indiana. For the technical center, Van Dorn Demag supplied an 80-ton Newbury vertical press, a 110-ton IntElect all-electric model, and a 230-ton HT Series toggle press. Tel: (630) 924-7199
A new agreement between Glycon Corp., Tecumseh, Mich., and Xaloy Inc., Pulaski, Va., allows Glycon to sell Xaloy’s bimetallic barrels and Xaloy to distribute Glycon plasticating screws. Included is Glycon’s new DM2 low-shear mixing screw.
Campine NV of Belgium has appointed Durr Marketing Associates, Inc., Pittsburgh, as its master distributor of antimony oxide throughout the U.S. Campine’s White Star and Blue Star products were previously sold by Durr only in the Midwest. Campine is closing its North American sales office in Baltimore. Durr Marketing: (800) 937-3877
BASF Corp., Plastic Materials, Mount Olive, N.J., has licensed Entec Engineered Resins of Maitland, Fla., to make precolored grades of BASF’s Terluran ABS and Luran S ASA. Entec was recently appointed a national distributor of these resins. Entec: (800) 225-1529, www.entecresins.com
Flexicon Corp., a maker of flexible screw conveyors and other materials-handling equipment, has moved from Phillipsburg, N.J., to a new 90,000-sq-ft headquarters in Bethlehem, Pa. Manufacturing in Easton, Pa., has also been relocated to the new site at 2400 Emrick Blvd., Bethlehem, PA 18020-8006; tel: (888) 353-9426.
Heat stabilizers, impact modifiers, processing aids, and epoxidized soybean oil plasticizers from AtoFina Chemicals, Inc., Philadelphia, are now available for purchase on-line at www.PolymerAdditives.com. The site is operated by a joint venture of Albemarle, GE Specialty Chemicals, and Cytec Industries, which also offer their products there.
In its first five months of operation, MfgJobs.com has attracted over 250 employers and more than 5000 job seekers (50 new ones per day) to its new job-recruitment website dedicated to manufacturing and engineering professionals. The new venture was started by ManufacturingQuote Inc., Smyrna, Ga., whose own website (www.MFG.com) is designed to help contract manufacturers in plastics and metalworking sell custom manufacturing services.
The new recruitment site allows job seekers to post their resumes for free. Employers pay $250 to post a job offer and $600 to search the resume databank for 30 days. Both job offers and resume listings are categorized by function. Examples range from CAD/CAM engineer, manufacturing supervisor, and quality inspector to molding-machine or extruder operator, maintenance worker, and mold maker. www.mfgjobs.com
Brookfield Engineering, Middleboro, Mass., a supplier of viscosity measurement instrumentation, now offers viscosity testing services. The Brookfield Rheology Laboratory reportedly offers quick turnaround and detailed reports. Tel: (800) 628-8139; www.brookfieldengineering.com