Your Business In Brief - March 2007

Huntsman to Exit EPS, PP, & PEHuntsman Corp., Salt Lake City, will sell its U.S. basic chemicals and polymers business to Flint Hills Resources, Wichita, Kan., sub. of Koch Industries Inc.

Huntsman to Exit EPS, PP, & PE

Huntsman Corp., Salt Lake City, will sell its U.S. basic chemicals and polymers business to Flint Hills Resources, Wichita, Kan., sub. of Koch Industries Inc. The divestiture includes ethylene, propylene, PE, PP, and EPS bead. Flint Hills will acquire a 200-million-lb EPS plant in Peru, Ill.; almost 800 million lb of LDPE and LLDPE capacity at Odessa, Texas; and 1.085 billion lb of PP capacity in Odessa and Longview, Texas, and Marysville, Mich. Koch’s other plastics holding is Invista, which includes the former KoSa PET business. Visit Huntsman Corp's PT Online Showroom.


Siemens Buys UGS

Siemens AG of Germany is expanding its industrial software portfolio by acquiring UGS Corp., Plano, Texas. UGS will become part of Siemens Automation and Drives Group. UGS is a leader in CAD/CAM/CAE and other software for PLM (product lifecycle management). During its 44-year history it was formerly known as Unigraphics, McDonnell Douglas Systems Integration (MDSI), EDS Unigraphics, and Unigraphics Solutions. It acquired other CAD/CAM vendors such as Applicon, SDRC, and Solid Edge. Visit Siemens PT Online Showroom.


More MDI Coming

Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich., will add 50% to MDI capacity at Freeport, Texas, by early 2010. MDI has been in tight supply worldwide. Visit Dow Chemical Co.'s PT Online Showroom.


Thermoformed Body Is a Hit For Electric Mini Car

In December, Global Electric Motors (GEM), LLC began its tenth year of operation as the first and only successful maker of all-electric, low-speed vehicles in North America. These plastic-bodied, battery-powered “neighborhood electric vehicles,” or NEVs, are street-legal in 40 states for off-highway driving at up to 25 mph. President and COO Richard J. Kasper says more than 33,000 GEM cars are running on college campuses, military bases, retirement communities, parks, and other municipal facilities. Since 2000, GEM has been a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler.

The GEM plant in Fargo, N.D., can produce 275 cars a day with two shifts, says director of sales and marketing Russ Kiefer. Sales have grown 10% to 15% annually over the last five years, and the company has a four- to six-week order backlog. GEM cars start at about 1000 lb and prices of $7000 to $9000.

Six models (for two, four, or six passengers and three sizes of utility trucks) share a simple design: An aluminum and steel frame is covered with eight to 12 thermoformed panels—underbody tub, two side panels, two mud guards, hood, fender, and roof. The largest models have three-piece tubs and roofs. All these parts are formed from a tri-layer coextruded sheet with an ABS substrate topped by colored weatherable ASA and a glossy, clear acrylic capstock. The sheet is extruded by Spartech Corp., Clayton, Mo., and formed by Wilbert Plastic Services, White Bear Lake, Minn. Thermoformed panels replaced thermoset FRP composites in 1999, Kasper says, because of inconsistent quality in the FRP parts and because thermoplastic sheet eliminated painting. GEM vehicles also have injection molded upper dashboard panels and “hard” doors (a clip-on option instead of canvas doors). GEM: (888) 871-4367/ Visit Spartech Corp.'s PT Online Showroom.


Chemtura Sheds EPDM

Chemtura Corp., Middlebury, Conn., one of the world’s three largest EPDM producers, will sell its EPDM business and some of its rubber chemicals to Lion Chemical Capital, LLC of New York and Houston. Lion also owns stakes in Lion Copolymer, Baton Rouge (SBR); Excel Polymers, Solon, Ohio (elastomers and additives); and Sonneborn, Mahwah, N.J. (white oils).


K-Tron Rebrands Pneumatic Conveying

K-Tron International, Pitman, N.J., which recently acquired Premier Pneumatics, Salina, Kan., has extended the Premier Pneumatics brand to all of its pneumatic conveying products. These include vacuum loaders and receivers, pumps, and valves formerly branded K-Tron PCS and K-Tron Colormax. Visit K-Tron International's PT Online Showroom.


RPT Is Sold

Robotic Production Technology (RPT), Auburn Hills, Mich., has been acquired by KMT Group in Sweden. KMT owns three U.S. suppliers of waterjet cutting systems and KMT Cutting Systems in Sweden, which supplies robotic cutting/routing systems. RPT (now called KMT RPT) also supplies robotic trimming systems using waterjets, lasers, or mechanical routers. Visit Production Technology's PT Online Showroom.