Your Business in Brief - September 2002

Univ. of Wisconsin Licenses MuCellThe Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison has licensed MuCell microcellular foam technology from Trexel Inc., Woburn, Mass.

Univ. of Wisconsin Licenses MuCell

The Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison has licensed MuCell microcellular foam technology from Trexel Inc., Woburn, Mass. UW-Madison also purchased MuCell processing equipment for its Polymer Engineering Center (PEC). It is the first U.S. University to incorporate microcellular injection molding into its teaching curriculum and research program. UW-Madison students will study the physics of the process and will work with industrial consortium members to implement the technology in specific applications.


Negri Bossi Moves

The North American branch of Italian injection-machine builder Negri Bossi S.p.A. has moved from Concord, Ont., to a new 10,000-sq-ft facility at 5181 Brandco Blvd., Mississauga, ON, L4W 2A6 (905) 625-7257, Located 10 min from Toronto airport, it has a showroom, mold-test facility, parts warehouse, and capacity to stock around 20 presses from 44 to 1100 tons. The firm also changed its name from Negri Bossi America Inc. to Negri Bossi Inc.


Nova Bets on Styrenic Specialties

Christopher Pappas, president of the styrenics business of Pittsburgh-based Nova Chemicals, recently explained to the press and financial analysts that Nova would seek profitability in styrenics by focusing on specialty, value-added, and “differentiated” products.

  • Nova has commercialized new ultra-low-pentane technology that helps EPS molders meet environmental regulations on VOCs. The company’s Ultra-Low EPS has around 3% pentane, about half the usual amount. Pappas says this is the practical lower limit for pentane, so Nova is developing VOC-Free technology that replaces pentane with water.
  • Arcel PS/PE interpolymer is a premium expandable bead said to offer unusually high cushioning properties. Nova is starting work at Beaver Valley, Pa., to double capacity for Arcel by March.
  • In the fourth quarter, Nova will debottleneck its Dylark SMA resin manufacturing at Beaver Valley, increasing capacity by 20 million lb/yr. The project will be completed at the end of the first quarter of 2003. Dylark is used in automotive applications including instrument panels, interior trim, and knee bolsters.
  • Nova commercialized FX 110 high-heat crystal PS last fall. It has higher toughness than other high-heat GPPS resins. Its main uses are in foam meat trays, egg cartons, and clamshell packaging.
  • Nova is also focusing on its NAS clear SMMA resins and Zylar impact-modified versions. Nova recently introduced an antistatic grade of Zylar.
  • Another focus is Nova’s Zyntar FR-HIPS grades used in tv cabinets, computers, consumer electronics, building construction, and safety detectors.
  • Nova recently introduced to the U.S. its Styrosun weatherable HIPS (PT, July ’02, p. 21). It relies on EPDM instead of SBR rubber.


Barrel GuaranteeLasts a Lifetime

InductaMetals LP in Chicago is so confident of the wear resistance of its IDM-Ultramax barrels that it is offering customers a lifetime guarantee, which the company says is the first ever for such products in the plastics industry. For injection molders, the firm guarantees that an IDM-Ultramax barrel with I.D. less than 100 mm will not wear more than 0.010 in. diametrically over the life of the barrel for as long as the original purchaser owns the molding machine. Maximum wear is 0.015 in. for barrels of 100 mm or more I.D.

For extrusion customers, an IDM-Ultramax barrel with I.D. less than 100 mm is guaranteed not wear more than 0.015 in. diametrically over the life of the barrel (0.020 in. for barrels over 100 mm) for as long as the original purchaser owns the extruder. If total wear exceeds an allowable limit, InductaMetals says it will elect to replace or repair the barrel or refund the purchase price.

Louis Berger, a managing partner, says field tests have proven IDM-Ultramax to be at least two to three times more wear resistant than competitive “high-wear” barrels. He says many processors using highly filled resins report that their IDM-Ultramax barrels have lasted three to five times longer than tool-steel or furnace-cast tungsten-carbide bimetallics and still show only negligible wear. Tel: (800) 860-1006


Mannesmann PlasticsGroup Is Sold

Mannesmann Plastics Machinery (MPM), the world’s largest plastics machinery maker, has been sold by its German parent company Siemens AG to Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) L.P., a private investment company with headquarters in N.Y.C., Menlo Park, Calif., and London. The machinery businesses is owned by a new holding company, Demag Holding s.a.r.l. of Luxembourg, of which KKR owns 81% and Siemens 19%.

MPM comprises five injection-machine suppliers: Billion, Demag Ergotech, Krauss-Maffei, Netstal, and Van Dorn Demag, as well as Berstorff, a maker of compounding machinery. (Netstal remains part of the group after an intended sale to a Swiss investor last year was canceled.)


Together Again: Van DornDemag & Demag Ergotech

U.S. sales and service operations of two injection-machine builders, Van Dorn Demag Corp. and Demag Ergotech USA, both in Strongsville, Ohio, will be merged into a single operation. Both firms are part of Mannesmann Plastics Machinery AG (MPM) in Germany (see story above).

The two firms had a close relationship in North America in the mid-1990s, but were formally separated in 2000. Ergotech’s U.S. office will now be closed, and its machines will be sold through Van Dorn Demag’s sales network. Aftermarket parts, service, and training for both company’s lines can be obtained through Van Dorn Demag’s Molders Action Network.

Van Dorn Demag is a U.S. maker of general-purpose machines, while German-based Demag Ergotech builds high-speed and multi-component presses. The two firms will start joint development of machine controls and other technologies.


Dow Stops Production Of Index E/S Interpolymers

In July, Dow Plastics, Midland, Mich., ended production of its Index ethylene styrene interpolymer (ESI) line at its product-development plant in Sarnia, Ont. Dow will continue to sell ESI to some development customers from inventory while the future of the ESI development project is finalized and possible alternative uses for the facility are evaluated. Produced with Dow’s Insite metallocene technology, ESI was launched in 1995.

According to Romeo Kreinberg, business group president, “There is a market for ESI’s technical performance. However, we have not been able to construct an economically viable business model, so we must now evaluate options for this material and the valuable world-class facility in Sarnia.”


Hasco Opens North American Headquarters

German-based tooling component supplier Hasco has established a new North American base. Hasco America, Inc. is located at 140 Vista Blvd., Arden, NC 28704 (828) 650-2600; tollfree (877) 427-2662; fax (828) 684-7960; e-mail; web In addition, Hasco now has four regional locations: Hasco-East in Arden, N.C.; Hasco-West in Chatsworth, Calif. (800) 266-4272; Hasco-Canada in Scarborough, Ont. (800) 387-9609; and Hasco-Mexico in Mexico City (52) 55 5572-7755.


Massachusetts Approves Mold Lien Law

On Aug. 7, Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift signed mold-lien legislation that resulted in part from active efforts by the Society of the Plastics Industry. The law, which takes effect in 90 days, allows molders to take possession of and sell a customer’s mold as recourse for non-payment for the mold or parts produced with it. For information, contact Maureen Healey at SPI, (202) 974-5219.


ACS Group Offers RDN Post-Extrusion Equipment

ACS Group, Wood Dale, Ill., has signed an agreement that allows it to sell the full range of extrusion downstream equipment from RDN Manufacturing Co., Bloomingdale, Ill. These products include vacuum calibrators, water baths, pullers, cutters, and saws. They complement ACS Group’s materials-handling, reclaim, process-cooling, and temperature-control products for extrusion. ACS Group brands include AEC, Whitlock, Nelmor, HydReclaim, Sterling, Ball & Jewell, and Cumberland Engineering.


Chevron Phillips Moves

At the end of July, Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LP relocated its headquarters from downtown Houston to 1001 Six Pines Dr., The Woodlands, TX 77380. Tel: (832) 813-4100, tollfree (800) 231-1212,


Wellman & EastmanPartner in PET

Wellman Inc., Johnsonville, S.C., and Voridian Co., div. of Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tenn., have agreed that Wellman will supply amorphous fiber-grade PET to Voridian for solid-stating to raise its I.V. The result will be 260 million lb/yr more bottle-grade PET. Both firms will market the material.