This month, the sale of GE Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass., to Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic) of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is expected to be completed. The purchased engineering plastics business will become Sabic Innovative Plastics. For more information visit Sabic Innovative Plastics PT Online Showroom.
Last month, Huntsman Corp., The Woodlands, Texas, completed the sale of its U.S. polymers business to Flint Hills Resources, LP, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, Inc., Wichita, Kan. The sale was first announced in February. The former Huntsman PP, PE, and EPS bead businesses are now called Flint Hills Resources and based in Wichita. For more information visit Flint Hills Resources' PT Online Showroom.
PolyOne Corp., Cleveland, has divested its 24% interest in PVC resin manufacturing joint venture OxyVinyls, LP in Dallas to its former joint-venture partner, Occidental Chemical Corp. (OxyChem), also in Dallas. OxyVinyls was formed in 1999 by combining the PVC and VCM monomer businesses of PolyOne and OxyChem to create one of North America’s largest PVC producers. PolyOne retains two plants that produce specialty vinyl resins. For more information visit PolyOne Corp's PT Online Showroom.
After announcing a year ago a plan to join two global reinforcements and composites businesses into a joint venture, Toledo-based Owens Corning has decided instead to purchase outright those businesses of Saint-Gobain Vetrotex of France. The deal, which is expected to close this year, will give Owens Corning 20 more plants in Europe, Asia, and South America, including 14 that produce glass fibers and eight that make woven and knitted fabrics (including two that make both fibers and fabrics). It will add 1 billion lb/yr of glass reinforcements capacity to Owens Corning’s 1.6 billion lb. The sale does not include the Wichita Falls, Texas, facility of Saint-Gobain, which will be sold separately. For more information visit Owens Corning's PT Online Showroom.
‘Fractional Ownership’ Makes Rapid Prototyping More Affordable
A collaboration between 3D Systems Corp., Rock Hill, S.C., and two-year old rapid-prototyping service bureau Tangible Express in Springville, Utah, has spawned a novel fractional-ownership program in manufacturing. The Tangible Alliance Program (TAP) allows users to purchase single or multiple shares (“fractions”) of a 3D Systems rapid-prototyping and rapid-manufacturing system that is owned and operated by Tangible Express. The number of shares purchased would depend on the buyer’s anticipated annual system use. The buyer would gain access to the technology at much less than the cost of buying a system.
The smallest ownership fraction is 1/16, which can be applied to any 3D Systems equipment, including InVision multi-jet 3D printers, stereolithography, and selective laser sintering. Tangible Express operates and maintains the equipment and will build and ship parts according to the TAP fractional-owners’ requirements. It can make prototypes using a broad range of materials within a couple of days. Tangible Express can help prospective customers analyze their annual parts usage to determine whether fractional ownership is the best option for them. As an alternative, the company can provide its rapid-prototyping service on a project basis. For more information visit Tangible Express' PT Online Showroom.
Taking an approach more common among materials suppliers than machinery builders, Engel Austria has rearranged its sales force into a new structure based on its five most important end-use markets: automotive, packaging, medical, “telectronics,” and technical molding. According to head of sales Christian Pum, the company has a new focus on “industry-specific system solutions” and on designating sales contact persons with expertise in a particular key market. For more information visit Engel's PT Online Showroom.
Stopol Inc., Solon, Ohio, which sells and services new and used equipment and provides auction and liquidation management, appraisals, and merger/acquisition consulting, has now launched Stopol Finance. It will provide equipment leasing, accounts receivable financing, lines of credit, and Small Business Association loans. For more information visit Stopol Inc.'s PT Online Showroom.
Plaskolite, Inc., Columbus, Ohio, has expanded its acrylic sheet capacity with the purchase of the acrylic sheet division of Lucite International, Cordova, Tenn. Plaskolite will acquire plants in Olive Branch, Miss., and Monterrey, Mexico. For more information visit Plaskolite, Inc.'s PT Online Showroom.
DuPont Engineering Polymers, Wilmington, Del., has created a new Center of Excellence for coextruded pipe and tubing at its European Technical Center in Geneva, Switzerland. It contains three Swiss Maillefer extruders of 30 to 45 mm diam., a three-layer die head for tubing of 4 to 32 mm diam., and a corrugator from Corelco in France. Corelco has a patent on making a continuous chain of bottles with a corrugator and DuPont has tested production of Delrin acetal bottles in this manner. The Center has also prototyped partly corrugated automotive coolant pipe coextruded of Zytel nylon and Bynel adhesive resin, which acts as a barrier to water/glycol mixtures and increases hot-water resistance. For more information visit DuPont Engineering Polymers' PT Online Showroom.
Two Brazilian firms are developing methods of making polyethylene from ethanol derived from sugar cane. The first to produce such a material is Braskem of Sao Paulo, which claims to be the largest producer of thermoplastics (PP, PE, and PVC) in Latin America. It uses sugar-cane ethanol to produce ethane and then ethylene monomer. Braskem has made HDPE in this manner.
Shortly after Braskem’s announcement came word from Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich., that it will form a joint venture with Crystalsev, one of Brazil’s largest ethanol producers, to build the first commercial-scale, integrated facility in the world to produce PE—specifically Dowlex LLDPE—from sugar cane. The 770-million-lb/yr plant is slated to come on-stream in 2011.