Your Business in Brief - May 2002

GE Plastics Makes LNP New Global UnitGE Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass., has completed its acquisition of LNP Engineering Plastics in Exton, Pa., from Kawasaki Steel Corp. of Japan.

GE Plastics Makes LNP New Global Unit

GE Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass., has completed its acquisition of LNP Engineering Plastics in Exton, Pa., from Kawasaki Steel Corp. of Japan. GE has combined LNP with GE Plastics’ Custom Engineered Products unit to form a new global compounding business under the name LNP Engineering Plastics. It will operate as a separate business within GE Plastics headquartered in Exton. The business unit will have about 1100 employees at 12 locations in eight countries. It will continue to offer LNP and GE CEP product lines. Bob Schulz, who previously led LNP as president and CEO, is chairman of the new LNP. Charles E. Crew has been named president and CEO. He was president and senior managing director of GE Plastics Europe.


Eastman to Make ‘Bio’ Resins Here

Early next year, Eastman Specialty Plastics, Kingsport, Tenn., will begin making its Eastar Bio biodegradable copolyester resin at a converted polyester plant in the U.S. Currently, Eastar Bio is made only in England.
Eastman projects global demand for biodegradables to grow 30% a year over the next five years. Applications for Eastar Bio include lawn bags, food-packaging films, agricultural films, and perfume containers and caps.


SABIC to Buy DSM’s Polyolefins

DSM of the Netherlands and SABIC of Saudi Arabia have agreed in principle for SABIC to purchase DSM’s petrochemicals business, which includes polyethylene and polypropylene. The transaction involves the transfer of all shares of the companies that form DSM Petrochemicals (DPC) and the related technology positions, patents, and trade names. DSM and SABIC expect the closing to take place around June 30, pending approval by the European Commission.

This acquisition will move SABIC from 22nd position to 11th position in the global petrochemical industry, and will establish SABIC as the third and fourth global player in the polyethylene and polypropylene businesses, respectively.

By selling its petrochemicals business, DSM advances its plan to become a specialty company focusing on biotechnological and chemical products for the life-science industry and on performance materials—including engineering plastics.

DSM Petrochemicals, which includes DSM Polyethylenes and DSM Polypropylenes, sells about 5.72 billion lb/yr of polymers, mainly in Europe. DSM produces LDPE, HDPE, hexene and octene LLDPE, UHMW-PE, modified-polyolefin adhesive polymers, and metallocene plastomers (through a joint venture with ExxonMobil). SABIC already produces LDPE, LLDPE, HDPE, PP, and a number of other polymers.


Dow Corning Plans TPE Entry & Multibase Purchase

As evidence of its interest in getting into the thermoplastic elastomer business, Dow Corning Corp., Midland, Mich., last week announced its intent to acquire Multibase S.A. of France, an independent thermoplastics compounder serving the automotive, appliance, and packaging industries. Multibase, which has a U.S. operation in Copley, Ohio, produces Multiprene and Multi-Flex olefinic and styrenic TPEs, Multibatch mineral-filled polyolefin masterbatches, Multi-Pro polyolefin compounds, and ABS. Multibase has production facilities in France, the U.S., and India, and sales offices in Brazil and China.

Although Dow Corning is known for silanes and silicones, it has just launched the TPSiV line of high-performance TPEs. They combine the high-temperature performance (>150 C continuous use) of silicone rubber with the melt reprocessability and chemical resistance of engineering thermoplastics. It is analogous to olefinic thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs) in that it contains a vulcanized silicone rubber. Dow Corning intends to sell this TPE under the Multibase brand, initially to automotive markets. Tel: (800) 346-9882,


Eurotherm Gauging in Management Buyout

On April 1, Eurotherm Gauging Systems, Inc. of Billerica, Mass., was purchased in a management buyout from its former parent company, Eurotherm International Inc. John Sharood, president, and senior vice presidents Vince Chambers and Richard Murphy will lead the newly independent company. Said Murphy, “We are totally focused on gauging, and will stay with what we do best.”


Milacron Buys European Twin-Screw Maker

Milacron Inc. in Cincinnati has added European twin-screw machinery and extrusion technology to its ExtrusionTek Business with the purchase of CPM (Compounding Processing Machinery) GmbH of Grossefehn, Germany. Founded in 1995, CPM now becomes CPM Milacron and will be marketed from both the U.S. and Europe. CPM founder and industry pioneer Dr. Ernst Krueger will work with the overall ExtrusionTek business.

“This acquisition gives our U.S. business an immediate infusion of advanced European parallel twin-screw processing technology,” said Jim Abbiati, president of ExtrusionTek Milacron. “Our twin-screw products now include a full range of both conical and parallel machines for siding, pipe, windows, and other technical profiles, as well as compounding and pelletizing. In addition, our aftermarket barrel and screw business, Wear Technology, gains immediate access to a new range of European design solutions within CPM.” Abbiati added that Milacron gains access to CPM’s customer base throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Tel. (513) 487-5000,


Spartech Moves Into Mexico

Spartech Corp., St. Louis, has purchased certain assets from Industrias Acros Whirlpool, S.A. de C.V., a joint venture between Whirlpool Corp. and Vitro S.A. located in Monterrey, Mexico. The acquired business is a captive manufacturer of extruded sheet for refrigerators marketed under the Whirlpool, Acros, Supermatic, and other brands. Spartech will temporarily service this business through two of its existing Spartech Plastics plants, but will transfer the majority of such production to a new facility to open in Mexico later this year.

The purchase includes two extrusion lines and supporting equipment, which will be moved to the planned 110,000-sq-ft facility in Ramos Arizpe. This facility will be Spartech’s first plant in Mexico and will perform both sheet extrusion and compounding.


Husky Supports Former CustomersOf Zygo Mould

Husky Injection Molding Systems, Bolton, Ont., has purchased exclusive rights to engineering drawings and patents for PET molds formerly built by Zygo Mould Ltd. Toronto-based Zygo closed its doors this past summer after 22 years designing and manufacturing PET and other molds. Customers with Zygo molds can turn to Husky for service and support, including refurbishment, conversions, and replacement components.


ACS Group to Sell Yushin Robots

A high-end line of servo-driven traverse robots with three to five axes will be offered in the U.S. and Mexico by the ACS Group, Wood Dale, Ill., through a new sales-distribution agreement with Yushin America Inc., Cranston, R.I. ACS Group, which includes AEC/Automation Engineering and Sterltech Div. of Sterling, Inc., both of Windsor, Conn., will offer Yushin’s VN and VN II series, which come with straight or telescoping arms and are suited to machines from 25 to 4000 tons. They will be sold as the AEX and SRX lines under the AEC or Sterltech brands, respectively.

ACS Group already offers a “cost-effective” line of three-axis servo traverse robots for presses up to about 6000 tons through an agreement with Sytrama of Italy, as well as a servo-pneumatic entry-level series for machines up to 500 tons, from Apex in Taiwan. AEC (860) 688-4739,; Sterltech (800) 783-7835,


Alloy Polymers Opens New FDA Compounds Plant

Alloy Polymers Inc., Richmond, Va., recently started up a new compounding facility that will focus on producing engineering thermoplastics and high-value-added polyethylene and polypropylene compounds used in food, medical, and pharmaceutical applications, as well as personal-care packaging.

Located at company headquarters in Richmond, this 10,000-sq-ft facility has production capacity of 15 million lb/yr. It reportedly meets FDA “Good Manufacturing Practices” (GMP) standards as well as the applicable sections of Parts 110 and 172 through 185 of CFR Title 21, and the packaging plant guidelines of the American Institute of Baking. The plant has two 90-mm Coperion Werner & Pfleiderer ZSK twin-screw extrusion lines that are isolated from other operations, creating a “plant within a plant.” Tel: (804) 232-8000,


BASF Cuts Its EPS Capacity 20%

BASF Corp., Mt. Olive, N.J., has permanently reduced its North American capacity for Styropor EPS bead products by 20%, or 50 million lb. BASF decommissioned reactors at South Brunswick, N.J., in response to market conditions. “The last two years have been extremely challenging for the EPS industry in North America, as block and shape resin demand has significantly declined,” says Kevin McQuade, business director. One factor he cited was “continued migration of the OEM packaging business to Mexico.”


Vecoplan Moves HQ

Vecoplan, LLC, maker of ReTech rotary grinders, has moved from its location in High Point, N.C., to a new 30,000-sq-ft plant at 5708 Uwharrie Rd., Archdale, NC 27263. The company’s P.O. box and tollfree phone numbers are unchanged.