Your Business in Brief - August 2000

Equistar to Boost LDPE CapacityEquistar Chemicals LP, Houston, is undertaking a 70-million-lb/yr capacity expansion at its high-pressure LDPE resin plant in Morris, Ill.

Equistar to Boost LDPE Capacity

Equistar Chemicals LP, Houston, is undertaking a 70-million-lb/yr capacity expansion at its high-pressure LDPE resin plant in Morris, Ill. It is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2001. Meanwhile, Equistar has begun plans to expand LDPE capacity at La Porte, Texas, from 240 to 480 million lb/yr. Equistar is also exploring the feasibility of converting an existing LDPE reactor in Pasadena, Texas, into a high-EVA facility.


ExxonMobil Starts Up New PP Unit

ExxonMobil Chemical, Houston, has started production at its new 605-million-lb/yr polypropylene plant in Baton Rouge, La. It makes homopolymers primarily for diapers, fabrics, and food packaging. The new line will use a combination of Montell Polyolefins' Spheripol process, Mitsubishi Petrochemicals' Hypol process, and ExxonMobil's own technology.Ineos Acrylics Plan


Big Expansion

Ineos Acrylics, Memphis, Tenn. (formerly ICI Acrylics), will expand its methylmethacrylate capacity at Beaumont, Texas, by 50 million lb/yr. Also, Ineos will add 45 million lb/yr of capacity to its Lucite CP acrylic sheet extrusion plant in Olive Branch, Miss.


Put Your Plant Network On the Internet

GE Cisco Industrial Networks, Charlottesville, Va., is a new business formed by GE Industrial Systems of Plainville, Conn., a specialist in factory control and automation, and Cisco Systems of San Jose, Calif., the world leader in networking for the Internet. Their new venture will design and install networks to connect plant-floor manufacturing environments with enterprise-wide communications for ERP (enterprise resource planning), VMI (vendor-managed inventory), and e-commerce. The new firm will use the Ethernet open standard network protocol to make factory-floor, ERP, and VMI data available anytime, anywhere via a simple browser. For more information, visit


Forecasting Software for Plastics Plants

IQMS of Paso Robles, Calif., a developer of enterprise-management software for plastics processors, has released its new IQWin32 Forecast Module. It is said to allow users without a background in statistics and forecast modeling to make informed business decisions by projecting plant throughput, resource requirements, revenues, and profitability. The new software helps provide increased control of inventory and avoids out-of-stock problems. It also allows users to check forecast adjustments in real time.

The software builds a forecast based on actual order history, showing forecasted, shipped, and on-order quantities and dollar values. Data can be viewed in a spreadsheet format or graphically. Forecasts can be refined by customer, product, plant, or department. IQWin32 features “What If” capabilities that allow users to view the impact of projected scenarios in seconds. This forecasting module is fully integrated with the company’s IQWin32 ERP package.


Epsilon Splits in Two

Polypropylene producer Epsilon Products Co., Marcus Hook, Pa., has split into two companies. Epsilon Products is now a 50-50 joint venture of Sunoco Inc., Philadelphia, and BAR-L, an affiliate of privately held Washington Penn Plastics of Washington, Pa. The new firm retains Epsilon’s original 720-million-lb/yr PP homopolymer plant at Marcus Hook.

The other half of the company is called Pinnacle Polymers. Headquartered in Dalton, Ga., it will operate Epsilon’s newer 800-million lb/yr PP copolymer unit in Garyville, La.


Phillips Sells Its PE Compounding

H. Heller and Co., Inc. of White Plains, N.Y., has acquired American Thermoplastics Corp. (ATC), the PE compounding operation of Phillips Chemical Co., Bartlesville, Okla. (now Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.). Heller supplies prime and off-prime resins, regrind, and recycled plastics. It has two affiliated companies: Heller Performance Polymers Inc. produces PVC and PE wire and cable compounds; Gulf Performance Polymers Inc. makes utility grades of PE, PP, and PS.


BASF to Sell Its IR-PS Business

BASF Corp., Mount Olive, N.J., has signed a letter of intent to sell its ignition-resistant polystyrene business to O’Neil Color & Compounding Corp., Garfield, N.J., a subsidiary of Primex Plastics Corp. As part of the deal, O’Neil gains the exclusive right in North America to produce these compounds using BASF proprietary formulations and BASF base resins. Certain compounding equipment from BASF’s Joliet, Ill., plant will be relocated to an O’Neil facility.


Huntsman to Buy Morton TPUs

Huntsman Corp., Salt Lake City, plans to acquire the Morton global TPU business from Rohm and Haas Co., Philadelphia. Morton TPUs are manufactured in Ringwood, Ill., and in Germany. The plants will be integrated into Huntsman Polyurethanes, which also makes TPUs.


Mobile Service Sorts Contaminated Materials

PolyClean is a new division of the Richards Group of Companies in Charleston, S.C., which offers a mobile resin-sorting service. PolyClean comes to your plant with a self-contained system that can remove color- and speck-contaminated materials from prime resin. PolyClean uses the Satake Color Master, a Japanese optical sorting system equipped with 4800 sensing sites and a two-pass sorting mechanism.


Washington Penn Plastic Buys a Compounder

Compounder and resin distributor Washington Penn Plastic Co., Washington, Pa., has bought Joines Plastic and Engineering Co.’s compounding division in Frankfort, Ky. The 200,000-sq-ft facility there has two high-capacity compounding lines that supply General Electric Co.’s Appliance Div. The purchase gives Washington Penn greater access to customers in the central U.S. and to the large appliances business. Immediate plans for the Frankfort plant include installation of a new compounding line capable of 45 million lb/yr, which will double the site’s overall output.


Bayer Buys Source Of Blowing Agents

Bayer Corp., Pittsburgh, has acquired Hughes Industrial Corp. of Kennesaw, Ga., said to be the leading U.S. supplier of chemical blowing agents for foam-core rigid PVC profiles, pipe, and sheet. Hughes’ HRVP exothermic blowing agents and Flow-Cell line of exothermic and exothermic/endothermic blends will now be marketed under Bayer’s Ficel name.

Bayer is already the largest worldwide producer of azodicarbonamide. Its Ficel modified azo blowing agents are now produced in the U.K. Hughes gives Bayer its first U.S. production of blowing agents. Bayer now will expand its U.S. marketing efforts to other polymers such as XLPE.


Brown & Lyle Halt Merger Talks

The formation of North America’s largest supplier of thermoforming machines was halted last month as merger talks between Brown Machine LLC and Lyle Industries, both of Beaverton, Mich., ended because of “unforeseen issues,” says a Lyle spokesman.


CertainTeed Owns Brunswick Technologies

CertainTeed Corp., Valley Forge, Pa., has agreed to acquire Brunswick Technologies, Inc. (BTI) of Brunswick, Maine. Vetrotex CertainTeed Corp., the fiberglass reinforcements business of CertainTeed, already owns about 14% of the shares of BTI. BTI produces glass- and carbon-fiber reinforcing fabrics for composites. CertainTeed is a subsidiary of Compagnie de Saint-Gobain of France. After the merger, BTI will become part of the Technical Fabrics Group of Saint-Gobain’s Reinforcements Div.


Ferro Gets Solutia’s Polymer Modifiers

Ferro Corp., Cleveland, has bought the polymer modifiers business of Solutia Inc., St. Louis. The major segment of the acquired business is the Santicizer line of benzyl phthalate plasticizers. The Santicizer line also includes adipates and polymeric plasticizers for PVC, ABS, and polyurethanes. Santicizer nonhalogenated phosphate ester plasticizers and resin modifiers are used in PVC, cellulose acetate, and some engineering thermoplastics to provide flame resistance, low-temperature flexibility, and improved flow in glass-filled systems.


Ciba Polymers Is Now Vantico

Ciba Specialty Chemicals of Basel, Switzerland, has completed the sale of its Performance Polymers epoxy business to Morgan Grenfell Private Equity of the U.K. The business is now called Vantico and is based in Basel. It has three divisions, Adhesives and Tooling, Electronic Polymers, and Polymer Specialties (which includes structural composites).


Milacron Forms MIM Unit

Ferromatik Milacron Inc., Batavia, Ohio, has formed the Metal and Ceramic Injection Molding Machinery Business Unit to support the growing metal injection molding (MIM) market. Milacron offers a MIM package for its presses under 150 tons. It includes wear-resistant barrels, screws, screw tips, and nozzles.


SPI & Euromap Sign Two Machinery Pacts

The Society of the Plastics Industry, Washington, D.C., has reached two agreements with Euromap, the association for European plastics machinery manufacturers. One involves harmonization of safety signage for horizontal injection machines. The two associations developed a set of common icons to denote safety hazards. An explanatory document, “International Safety Warning Signs for Horizontal Injection Molding Machines,” is available from SPI Literature Sales ( 800-541-0736 800-541-0736). Cost is $10 for SPI members, $20 for non-members.

SPI and Euromap also released the final version of their jointly developed Data Exchange Interface, which enables host computers and injection molding machines to “talk” to each other electronically.


E-Commerce Site Coming for Additives

Now that resin companies are banding together to form e-commerce sites for plastics and elastomers, three vendors have allied in a similar venture for plastics additives. Albemarle Corp., Baton Rouge, La.; Cytec Industries Inc., West Paterson, N.J.; and GE Specialty Chemicals, Inc., Parkersburg, W.Va., are creating, LLC to offer 24-hour on-line purchasing. It is expected to start up this month.