Archive for June, 2002

Wavin: Sales and earnings rise in 2001

Thursday, June 27th, 2002

Despite the economic slump in the European construction sector, Wavin BV, the Netherlands, lifted both sales and earnings in 2001 against 2000. Sales rose 5% to EUR 901m and earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation by 12% to EUR 112m. Employment in the Dutch group, Europe´s largest producer of plastic pipes, increased to 4,530 from 4,440 a year earlier. For 2002, Wavin said it does not expect any major change in the European market situation and is predicting flat earnings.The group attributes its sales improvement last year partly to acquisitions, but also to brisk business in the Benelux countries. The German and Polish markets remained depressed. Sales of plastic pipe systems in France and the UK were “satisfactory.” Overall, the European market for cable protection pipes declined sharply as a result of sinking investment in the telecommunications sector, Wavin said.

Kaneka: High-barrier biodegradable resin

Thursday, June 27th, 2002

PHBHx, a novel polymer developed by Kaneka Corp. in Osaka, Japan, could have a big impact on barrier packaging markets in the next few years, according to a report by Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati. Kaneka’s Nodax resins have a broad appeal in flexible, multi-layer packaging because they are biodegradable and also because they offer EVOH-like gas barrier properties. The material reportedly processes readily in blown film extrusion and molding. Meanwhile, an agreement between Kaneka and P&G signed late last year has made speedy commercialization of PHBHx more likely. Under the deal, Kaneka pledged to build a PHBHx resin plant within three years, while P&G agreed to license the biodegradable resin technology for use in packaging. P&G itself holds application and process patents on PHBHx.

Filmcast Extrusions: New co-extruded PP wrapping film

Wednesday, June 26th, 2002

Filmcast Extrusions, UK, has taken its first trial orders for a new fresh food co-extruded PP wrapping film that it claims will eliminate misting of packaged products such as pre-prepared salads and vegetables.According to Steve Cowie, chief executive of Filmcast parent Learoyd Group, the film incorporates a modified internal layer, which controls water droplet nucleation on the film surface. “Usually this is got around by using expensive modified atmosphere packaging or perforations, which reduce the shelf life,” he said. The anti-mist film will be market-tested by an unnamed UK supermarket group.

Eastman Chemical: New biodegradable resin for blown film

Wednesday, June 26th, 2002

Eastman Chemical Co., USA, has introduced Eastar Bio Ultra copolyester, a new entry in its line of Eastar Bio biodegradable resins. Eastar Bio Ultra copolyester features a higher melt viscosity than its sister product, Eastar Bio GP copolyester. Engineered to be durable for its useful life, Eastar Bio Ultra completely biodegrades to carbon dioxide, water, and biomass in 180 days in a commercial composting environment. It will become invisible to the naked eye in as little as 12 weeks, a time frame comparable to paper in the same environment.
Film made of this copolyester is said to be strong, moisture-resistant, and durable outside a composting environment. It reportedly provides good tear and puncture resistance, particularly at lower temperatures. Applications include agricultural films, lamination films for rigid food packaging, leaf and lawn waste bags, and horticultural applications. Eastar Bio Ultra copolyester is approved for food contact in the European Union and the U.S. When used as a laminate film on conventional biodegradable materials such as starch, Eastar Bio Ultra provides moisture protection and strengthens rigid packaging structures such as produce and meat trays.

Everwhite: Investment in PVC extrusion

Monday, June 24th, 2002

PVC building products extruder Everwhite of Aberdare in Mid-Glamorgan is to invest £2,1 million over three years in new production equipment to improve efficiency and enable new product lines to be introduced. There will also be an increase in production space, and the investment is expected to create 40 new jobs.
Everwhite’s turnover was £6,5 million last year and is expected to reach £8 million this year. The investment programme is intended to take turnover up to £15 million. £600,000 of the investment cost will come from a Regional Selective Assistance Grant from the National Assembly of Wales.

DuPont Dow Elastomers: Latest fluoropolymer additives improve blown films

Monday, June 24th, 2002

The polyolefins film industry can produce better and faster films by using the latest Viton FreeFlow process additives, according to DuPont Dow Elastomers. The company says that the RC range of rapid conditioning grades is designed to enable film converters to reduce die build-up, which increases production of smoother, clearer blown films, extruded tubing and wire jacketing.

According to the company, Viton FreeFlow works by coating the inside of the die with a microscopically thin non-stick film that reduces friction at the point where resin and die meet. This allows the extrudate to flow faster and more freely, increasing throughput of smooth, clear, fracture-free blown film made from resins, blends or masterbatches on all types of processing equipment. DuPont Dow adds that the additive shifts the processing point at which ’sharkskin’ melt fractures begin when extruding polyolefin film, resulting in improved product appearance. Additional process aid benefits of Viton FreeFlow are reductions in die swell and resin particle build-up at the die exit, which minimizes any die gap problems.

While improving clarity and surface appearance, the fluoropolymer process additive has no effect on the printability and sealability of products made of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), high density polyethylene (HDPE) and metallocene resins. The company says that the additive has also been used successfully with many other polymers including PP, PVC, SEBS, ABS and PET. Further benefits include extended equipment life and greater flexibility in processing speeds, pressures, melt temperatures and gauge control. The fluoropolymer additive meets all European and FDA requirements for extrusion aids used in manufacturing extruded polyolefins for continuous food contact.

Process Control Corporation: Automatic ramping for extrusion lines

Friday, June 21st, 2002

Process Control Corporation has introduced a new software feature for its Gravitrol® control systems and gravimetric blenders. The new development allows an extrusion line to ramp up and down automatically while maintaining perfect product gauge and layer distribution over the entire line speed change. The system must control the extruder speed(s), as well as the haul off device, in order for the automatic step ramping to be effective.
In the conventional method of ramping an extrusion line, the operator enters a particular line speed for the process. This usually creates a variation in the product thickness, because the extruder does not produce a linear output with respect to its rpm speed change, if changed drastically. Process Control Corporation says that the new step ramping software allows the line to be ramped up and down by taking incremental steps towards the new line speed. At each step change in the line speed, the system learns the weight loss of each extruder and then calculates the required extruder speed for the next line speed step change. The line speed change and coinciding extruder speed calculation continue until the final desired line speed is reached. This results in a perfect product gauge and layer ratio distribution over the course of the whole line speed change, says the company.
Automatic step ramping is particularly important for producers of wire and cable or other extruded products where drastic line speed changes are required for reel changes or other downstream process changes. Extrusion applications that have a two-stage process require this feature as the second stage. For example, an accumulator mechanism may become full and need the initial extrusion stage to ramp down until it can catch up, returning to full production speed while preserving perfect product and layer ratio distribution.

Teknor Apex: Lead-free versions of all fireguard compounds

Friday, June 21st, 2002

Fireguard (R) plenum-cable compounds, proprietary vinyl-based products that meet the most stringent low-flame and -smoke requirements for data and communications applications, are now available in lead-free versions that provide all of the cost-performance advantages of their standard counterparts. Eight grades of the new lead-free series of Fireguard 910 compounds are available for insulation and jacketing of copper and fiber optic cable, along with all of the standard lead-stabilized Fireguard formulations. The non-lead formulations range in Shore C hardness (ten-second reading) from 80 to 85, in elongation from 167 to 235%, and in tensile strength from 2306 to 2879 psi.

Deceuninck: Eastern European markets targeted

Wednesday, June 19th, 2002

Despite the “difficult” economic and political backdrop, window and building profiles manufacturer Deceuninck NV, Belgium was able to consolidate its position last year in markets where it already had strong sales, the group said in a statement to shareholders. Turnover rose 3.2% to EUR 350.6m and net earnings improved by 20.3% to EUR 27m. The group, which has 1,694 employees active in 32 countries, regards itself as world´s third largest profiles manufacturer. In its annual report for 2001, Deceuninck reveals additional details on the performance of its core business segments.

In window and door systems, group sales rose 4% to EUR 277m. The building profiles division grew by only 2% to EUR 58m, which is attributed to the difficult competitive situation among European processors. Here, Deceuninck intends to boost its position by strengthening its brand policy. In facade protection, sales reached their target with a jump of 9% to EUR 12m. The company´s Delta division embraces all new projects, including Deceuninck Recycling S.A., Belgium, which manufactures garden supplies from recycled plastic scrap, and Uniplast S.A., Belgium, which produces flexible cable sheathing under the names “Vitflex” and “Mondoflex”. With its “Dermaplast” tools division at Belgian headquarters, Deceuninck is able to cover the group´s entire captive requirements, currently 1,400 tools.

The Belgian profiles manufacturer´s main markets are the US (sales of EUR 95m), UK (EUR 70m), France (EUR 52m), Benelux (EUR 43m), the countries of central and eastern Europe – Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia and Hungary – (EUR 32m) and Spain / Portugal (EUR 12m). Deceuninck sees especially good strategic opportunities for growth in central and eastern Europe. Although a serious competitor in Europe, it thus far has not succeeded in gaining a foothold in Germany. The German sales office has been closed and turnover there continues to decline. Apart from the weakness of the construction market generally, one reason is certainly that the German profile manufacturers already have the market well covered.

CPI Plastics: Expansion of wood-replacement products

Wednesday, June 19th, 2002

CPI Plastics Group Ltd., Canada, is boosting production capacity 22 percent for its eon-brand wood-replacement product, providing the firm with an additional US$10 million to $13 million in annual sales potential. The firm is adding seven extrusion lines this month at two plants in Mississauga. CPI already added four lines this year.