Your Business in Brief - September 2006

Japanese TPE Maker Coming to U.S.Riken Technos and Mitsubishi Corp. of Tokyo have established a joint venture, Riken Elastomers, in Hopkinsville, Ky.

Japanese TPE Maker Coming to U.S.

Riken Technos and Mitsubishi Corp. of Tokyo have established a joint venture, Riken Elastomers, in Hopkinsville, Ky. It will supply TPEs primarily to Japanese auto companies here when it starts up next July. Riken Technos makes primarily PVC compounds, films, and sheet, but since 2003 has launched a line of TPEs. These include Actymer, a dynamically vulcanized styrenic TPV with good heat and oil resistance. It comes in Hyperalloy versions blended with TPU, copolyester TPE, or nylon elastomers to add wear and chemical resistance. Riken also offers Leostomer SBC and TPO compounds and Trinity olefinic TPV.


Automated Assemblies Is Up for Sale

Robot supplier Automated Assemblies Corp. (AAC), Clinton, Mass., is being put up for sale by its parent company, Nypro Inc., a global custom molder. Nypro plans to merge AAC into its in-house automation group, and plans to divest AAC’s Raptor line of injection molding robots by the end of the year. Nypro will no longer offer robots commercially itself but will maintain an AAC staff to provide parts and technical support for its existing robots.

Owens Corning & Saint-Gobain to Merge Reinforcements Businesses
Two leaders in the composites reinforcements business, Owens Corning, Toledo, Ohio, and Paris-based Saint-Gobain Vetrotex, have announced plans to form a joint venture. Owens Corning would have a 60% interest and Saint-Gobain 40% in the new company to be called Owens Corning-Vetrotex Reinforcements. The deal is expected to bring purchasing and procurement benefits, operational and technology plant improvements, and reduced distribution and administrative costs. After four years, Saint-Gobain would have an option to sell its 40% stake to Owens Corning. The deal is expected to close by early 2007.


New Extrusion Process Recycles Food-Grade PET

PTP Plastic Technologies and Products bv in Prague, Czech Republic, seeks to license a reactive extrusion process to upgrade clean post-consumer PET bottle flake into food-grade PET for new bottles or film. A 6-million-lb/yr plant is producing material for customer testing. Washed PET flakes are added to a mixer where they are coated with a liquid silicone-based additive. The flakes are fed to a twin-screw extruder where molecular weight is restored. PET-M (modified PET) is then pelletized and crystallized (using residual heat from pelletizing).

PTP’s chemical-aided extrusion process is reportedly less expensive than solid-stating and achieves properties comparable to or better than virgin PET. Elongation at break is said to be 50% to 100% greater than virgin PET, and PET-M is hydrophobic instead of hydrophilic like normal PET, so it reportedly dries four times faster. PET-M has been certified acceptable for food contact.

PTP will present the process for the first time at Nova-Pack Europe 2006, Oct. 2-3, in Prague, organized by Schotland Business Research, Skillman, N.J.


Thermoformer Offers Help With IMD

Hy-tech Forming Systems (USA) Inc., Phoenix, Ariz., is a specialist in close-tolerance forming of printed film using hydroforming, a technology utilizing fluid pressure behind a diaphragm to force heated film into a mold. The firm recently opened a 6500-sq-ft Project Development Center for development of tooling and equipment for forming film inserts for in-mold decorating (IMD) of appliqués via injection molding. Customers will be trained there and can verify tooling and production processes before the systems are shipped to customer plants.

For IMD, Hy-tech developed a special AccuForm process, which combines elements of hydroforming and standard thermoforming. Its key feature is to eliminate sag, thereby ensuring optimum print registration, the company says.


Wittmann Opens West Coast Center

Auxiliary equipment producer Wittmann, Inc., Torrington, Conn., has opened a 5800-sq-ft technical center in Lake Forest, Orange County, Calif. The new facility provides sales, support, demonstrations, training, spare parts, and service.


Electroluminescent Films from New Firm

Bayer MaterialScience AG in Germany has invested $29 million to establish Lyttron Technology GmbH, a start-up company to produce electroluminescent films at Bayer’s headquarters site in Leverkusen. These films light up when an electric current is applied. Previously this was only possible for flat surfaces, but Bayer’s technology enables the films to be molded into any shape. Bayer introduced the film first for illuminating the inside of women’s purses. A key market area is interior lighting of car glove compartments. Other applications include consumer goods such as cell phones.


New ERP Module Handles Inter-Plant Transactions

Web-based control of just-in-time transactions between multiple facilities and subsidiaries of the same company is provided by a new Intercompany Transaction (ICT) software module for the EnterpriseIQ enterprise resource planning (ERP) system from IQMS, Paso Robles, Calif. The drive for leaner manufacturing is more difficult for multi-plant firms, says Randy Flamm, president and founder of IQMS, “because inefficiencies are often amplified by the number of locations. Enterprise IQ and the ICT module allow multi-plant companies to achieve unified scheduling and distribution across all facilities. The benefit is greater efficiency in areas such as production, transportation, and inventory control.” The module’s eKanban function permits setting “trigger points” for inventories of items used at one location and supplied by another. When the trigger quantity is crossed, a sales order is generated automatically.