Dow Chemical Co., Mid-land, Mich., last month made a major addition to its building-materials business with the purchase of Celotex Corp.'s rigid polyisocyanurate (PIR) foam insulation products for residential and commercial markets.
Celotex Corp. will retain use of the Celotex name, but Dow has acquired former Celotex product brands including Tuff-R, Super Tuff-R, Sturdy-R, Thermax, Hy-Therm, Celo-Vent, and Tuff-Wrap. The purchase also includes five plants in Charleston, Ill.; Elizabethtown, Ky.; Pennsauken, N.J.; Texarkana, Ark.; and Tracy, Calif. Dow's building products include Styrofoam extruded polystyrene foam insulation and Trymer PIR foam pipe insulation.
Parkinson Technologies Inc., Woonsocket, R.I., has expanded by 25% to 100,000 sq ft to accommodate the Marshall and Williams Plastics Laboratory, which was located in Providence, R.I. Parkinson's Marshall and Williams Div. makes film-orienting equipment. Parkinson produces winders and other web-handling products.
A range of load-bearing, cosmetically appealing structural components for furniture represent a new market thrust for compression molded long-glass composites of nylon 6 and PP. Herman Miller in Zeeland, Mich., is adopting these materials because of their mechanical properties and the cost-effectiveness of an in-line compounding and molding method called Direct Feed Thermoplastic (DFT) processing. DFT was developed by Composite Products Inc. (CPI) in Winona, Minn. Its in-line system is said to reduce costs by about 30-50% versus precompounded long-glass pellets or glass-mat reinforced sheet.
One application is the support foot for Herman Miller's Red Rocket Desk. It is molded of 40% glass-filled nylon 6. Material cost per table is less than half that for an equivalent aluminum part. The part has molded-in color, while the aluminum alternative would require painting. The compound offers strength and stiffness (1.7 million psi flexural modulus) enough to anchor the table, and sufficient dimensional stability to ensure easy assembly and firm fit of the foot to the desk legs.
Benefits of the DFT approach are being extended to 40% long-glass PP materials for other furniture products. Use of PP cuts part weight and cost even further. An example is the six legs of Herman Miller's Grasshopper Table. The tapered parts incorporate complex ribs to add strength and also include a threaded metal insert for attaching the legs to the table base. In another case, Herman Miller's Red Orbiter table uses long-glass PP in truss and gusset parts intended to provide both style and stability.
Vyncolit NV, a Belgian producer of phenolic molding compounds, recently established its first office in North America to serve automotive, electrical, and industrial markets. Its glass-reinforced phenolics reportedly have been successful in Europe for under-hood components. The molding compounds are currently imported from Europe, but Vyncolit expects to announce begin U.S. production in early 2003.
Vyncolit North America Inc. in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., will house sales, market development, technical assistance, and customer service. The new facility can provide computer-aided structural analysis and prototype services. Vyncolit can be reached at (248) 452-5655. Its new website (www.vyncolit.com) contains product data sheets and examples of applications.
A free service to help plastic processors locate buyers or sellers of used extruders is offered on a new website launched last month by American Extrusion Services Inc., Dayton, Ohio. The new website (www.usedextruders.com) is for use only by processors, not machinery vendors.
Davis-Standard, Pawcatuck, Conn., will boost its production capacity for single- and twin-screw extruder screws up to 3.5-in. (90-mm) diam. by 40% with the addition of a new Weingaertner computerized "whirler." This machine can mill and cut threads in a single operation. Its software reportedly permits quick and accurate programming of machining instructions for screws with constant or variable flight width, pitch changes, and flank angles.
The Society of the Plastics Industry in Washington, D.C., recently published in the journal of the Air & Waste Management Association a study that can help processors determine their air emissions from extruding nylon 6, 66, and 6/66 copolymer. Such emissions must be calculated to fulfill requirements for state permits under the federal Clean Air Act. Seven types of nylon compounds were processed on a small extruder to determine emission factors for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Those factors are reported as pounds released to the atmosphere per million lb of polymer processed. For more information, contact Marie Gargas at SPI: (202) 974-5330.
PolyOne Corp. of Cleveland is restructuring its U.S. Plastic Compounds and Colors business by closing some plants and creating Centers of Manufacturing Excellence (CMEs) at the remaining facilities. PolyOne plans to invest $12 million in new technology and equipment over the next two years to create engineering-materials CMEs at Avon Lake, Ohio; Dyersburg, Tenn.; Macedonia, Ohio; and Seabrook, Texas. Following modernization and consolidation at those sites, the firm will close three other plants by late next year. They are in Bethlehem, Pa.; Corona, Calif.; and Houston. PolyOne plans to extend this restructuring to its vinyl compounds business in the next year.
On the colorants side, PolyOne is investing $18 million to create eight CMEs and expand its overall capacity by 15%. Each CME will have a particular area of focus:
After expanding these CMEs, PolyOne will close its remaining color plants in Broadview Heights, Ohio; Florence, Ky.; Gastonia, N.C.; and Somerset, N.J.
3D Systems Corp. of Valencia, Calif., has completed its acquisition of DTM Corp., Austin, Texas. The merger brings together under one banner the two most widely used rapid-prototyping technologies. 3D Systems is the leading producer of stereolithography systems. DTM is the sole supplier of selective laser sintering (SLS) equipment and materials. In order to satisfy the antitrust concerns of the U.S. Dept. of Justice, 3D Systems agreed to license patents for either stereolithography or SLS to a third party.
3D Systems will maintain a regional sales and marketing office in Austin. That site will have an SLS demonstration center and will be a focus of SLS R&D because of DTM's long relationship with research facilities at the University of Texas, Austin.
Kraton Polymers, the world's leading manufacturer and supplier of styrenic block copolymer TPEs, has relocated its Houston offices to 700 Milam, North Tower, 13th floor. The new mailing address is P.O. Box 61070, Houston, TX 77208-1070. The main phone number is (832) 204-5400. Fax is (832) 204-5460. Customer service number is 1-800-Kraton.
Spartech Polycom Inc., Cape Girardeau, Mo., a subsidiary of Spartech Corp., has formed a joint venture with Washington Penn Plastics Corp., Washington, Pa., to produce post-consumer recycled polypropylene. The venture is called the Plastics Recycling Center (PRC) and is located in Summerville, S.C. The two companies previously ran separate recycling operations in the Charleston, S.C., area. The new venture will combine their joint assets in the new location. The joint venture will supply recycled PP to both firms for use in compounding.
Ashland Specialty Chemical Co., Dublin, Ohio, has purchased the unsaturated polyester gel-coat business and assets of Polydyne Inc., Johnson Creek, Wis. Polydyne is a specialty-coatings company that will continue its business in roofing and protective-coating markets. The gel-coat operations are now part of Ashland's Composite Polymers Div., which plans to lease and continue operations at Polydyne's gel-coat manufacturing plant. This acquisition strengthens Ashland's gel-coat business near its extensive customer base in the upper Midwest and eastern Canada.
H. Muehlstein & Co. Inc. in Norwalk, Conn., has acquired Trinity Specialty Compounding LLC of West Unity, Ohio, which will operate as a stand-alone business in Muehlstein's compounded products group. Muehlstein, a global distributor of plastics, is also a substantial compounder and is expanding that business segment. Muehlstein Compounded Products in Houston has three continuous mixers and two twin-screw compounders. Trinity runs one continuous mixer.