Your Business in Brief - June 2000

GE Buys Cadillac Plastic From M.A.

GE Buys Cadillac Plastic From M.A. Hanna

GE Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass., has agreed to buy most of the assets and business of Cadillac Plastic from M.A. Hanna Co. of Cleveland. Cadillac, based in Troy, Mich., distributes and fabricates plastic sheet, rod, tube, and film. Hanna’s chairman and CEO, Phillip D. Ashkettle, said, “Cadillac Plastic is outside of Hanna’s core business as an intermediary materials supplier serving plastic and rubber molders and extruders.”

The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval, does not include Cadillac’s Richmond Aircraft unit in the U.S. and three joint ventures in Germany, France, and Spain. Hanna is considering other alternatives for these units. GE says Cadillac Plastic will continue to offer a full line of products and will be managed as a distinct business unit separate from GE’s resins and sheet extrusion businesses.


Milacron Forms New PET Systems Business

Milacron North America, Batavia, Ohio, has appointed M. Barr Klaus to be general manager of a new PET systems business unit that will supply preform injection molding machinery. Klaus has been with Milacron for more than 30 years, most recently as technical director of the Elektron Technologies unit.


RDN Mfg. Now Sells Used Extrusion Hardware

RDN Manufacturing Co. of Bloomingdale, Ill., a builder of extrusion downstream equipment, is now offering pre-owned hardware. It can be purchased as-is or refurbished and guaranteed for up to six months. The majority of the used equipment currently offered is for pipe and profile extrusion. However, RDN expects to offer all types of used plastics machinery and auxiliaries.

Plastics processors can buy, sell, or trade in used equipment through RDN. If not sold as-is, RDN will make any upgrades necessary to bring the equipment to optimum working order.


ERP & Financial Software Packaged for Processors

FRx, a Denver-based supplier of financial-reporting and analysis software, and IQMS of Paso Robles, Calif., producer of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, have agreed to bundle their products into a package designed specifically for plastics processors. The new package will combine the IQWin32 plant-management package from IQMS with financial-reporting tools developed by FRx. IQWin32 is an ERP system written for injection molders, extruders, blow molders, and thermoformers. Integration of IQWin32 and FRx software is said to facilitate financial reporting for multiple plants with different accounting systems.


New Castle Establishes Screw Rebuilding Center

Screw and barrel manufacturer New Castle Industries, New Castle, Pa., recently established a Feed Screw Rebuilding Center in Columbia, S.C., to repair, rebuild, and refinish injection and extrusion screws for the eastern U.S. New Castle already rebuilds screws at its three screw manufacturing plants. The Rebuilding Center will enable the company to concentrate on developing technology unique to repair and rebuilding tasks. The focus will be on cutting cost and delivery time. New Castle’s other two screw plants in New Castle and Londonderry, N.H., will continue to supply rebuilt screws, but will focus on new screws.


Another Alliance in Thermoforming Machinery

Two manufacturers of continuous thermoforming machinery for packaging have formed a joint venture to design, build, sell, and service integrated sheet-extrusion and thermoforming systems worldwide. Irwin Research and Development Inc., Yakima, Wash., and OMV-USA, Genoa City, Wis., will jointly form a new firm called Irwin OMV Technology Inc., which will produce systems based on technologies from both firms.

Irwin makes high-volume roll-fed machines for forming polystyrene foam and light-gauge solid sheet. OMV is an Italian-based supplier of extruders and in-line thermoformers, best known for its trim-in-place machines for polypropylene.

The new company will be based in Yakima, Wash., at a soon-to-be-built manufacturing and administrative site of 30,000-50,000 sq ft. Future products from the new firm will include a system for wider sheet than is now offered by either partner. The first product from the firm is scheduled to arrive next year. Irwin and OMV will continue to run their existing business separately but will coordinate product sales.

Two months ago, an alliance was announced by Lyle Industries of Beaverton, Mich., and Gabler Maschinenbau of Lubeck, Germany (see PT, April ’00, p. 60).


‘Fashion Design Studio’ Opens for Plastics

Enhancement Technologies Inc. (ETI), a provider of designer heat-transfer prints for thermoplastics, has opened a design and prototyping studio at its headquarters in Liberty Corner, N.J. The ETI Fashion Studio is intended to help customers quickly develop and prototype surface designs for plastic window treatments, upholstery, floor tiles, patio furniture, mats, footwear, and bath and kitchen accessories. The studio reportedly allows customers to accomplish in days what used to take months.

Since 1985, ETI has marketed a heat-transfer printing process that produces high-resolution, eight-color surface decoration on vinyl and other plastics. The Fashion Studio contains a “colorization workstation” with a 52-in. color screen. Visitors can access a database of about 1100 patterns and 2000 color choices keyed to actual production inks. Users can choose designs and recolor them on-screen. The designs and colors can then be produced by ETI in its printing plant. In addition, the 52-in. screen allows customers to superimpose the desired pattern on images of products in real-life settings. For example, a window-treatment manufacturer can transfer a design to blinds in a high-resolution photo of a room setting. A vinyl upholstery designer can view designs on a chair or couch. The studio also has a prototyping lab where patterns selected from the ETI library can be placed on the customer’s plastic substrate and embossed to create physical samples. For more information, call 888-317-6670 888-317-6670 or visit the website


Cambridge Industries to Be Sold

Last month, Cambridge Industries, Inc. of Madison Heights, Mich., North America’s largest custom molder of automotive composites, signed a definitive agreement to sell its assets and operations to Meridian Automotive Systems, Inc., Dearborn, Mich. Cambridge also voluntarily entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Cambridge has 18 facilities in the U.S., Canada, and South America. Meridian has 13 manufacturing operations in Michigan, Indiana, Kansas, and Tennessee. It produces front- and rear-end modules, signal lighting, console modules, instrument panels, and other interior systems for Ford, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, and Toyota.


New PET Barrier Technology Unveiled

A new plasma technology that applies a barrier to a PET bottle at atmospheric pressure has been developed by Instant Surface Technology SA of Yverdon, Switzerland. Its new IST process doesn’t require expensive vacuum equipment to deposit the barrier coating. IST coats the interior of the PET bottle by rotating the bottle in front of an electrical discharge device that deposits a thin silicon-oxide (SiOx) coating. The coating is said to boost the oxygen barrier of a heat-set 1-liter PET bottle tenfold, and that of a 500-cc beer bottle by a factor of five.

IST is not commercial, but it will be discussed at the Nova-Pack Europe 2000 conference Sept. 26-27 in Neuss, Germany. It is sponsored by Schotland Business Research, Skillman, N.J. ( 609-466-9191 609-466-9191).


ExxonMobil Adds mLLDPE Capacity

ExxonMobil Chemical, Houston, has completed a reactor upgrade at its Mont Belvieu, Texas, facility that increases the plant’s capacity to make Exceed metallocene LLDPE. Adding a second U.S. reactor to make Exceed raises ExxonMobil’s total mLLDPE capacity to 2 billion lb/yr. A third Exceed reactor is in France, and a fourth will go on-line in Singapore late this year.