Archive for February, 2004

Uponor: Georg von Graevenitz appointed Head of Marketing at Uponor

Tuesday, February 17th, 2004

Uponor Corporation’s Board of Directors has appointed M.Sc. (Eng.) Georg von Graevenitz (56) Head of Marketing at Uponor Corporation, and member of the Executive Committee, reporting to CEO Jan Lång. He will be responsible for the Group’s brand management, development of product portfolio as well as communications. Graevenitz joins Uponor from Sulzer Pumps, where he was employed as Vice President, Marketing since 2000. Prior to this, he held various marketing positions at Ahlstrom and at Foster Wheeler. Graevenitz starts at Uponor at the beginning of April.

Nicholas Plastics: Purchase of Extrusion Plant in Mexico

Tuesday, February 17th, 2004

Nicholas Plastics, an injection molder and extruder in the USA has bought a profile extrusion plant in Monterrey, Mexico, from Grupo IMSA. The company has been renamed Nicholas Plastics de Mexico. The American parent is using the company, its third production facility and first outside the U.S., to expand markets in Mexico and South America. The profile extruder operates in a 25,000-sq-ft plant, employs 28, and has secondary manufacturing and assembly capabilities. Products include automotive components, consumer goods, and construction items.

Henschel: 26 PVC mixer combinations to China

Monday, February 16th, 2004

A total of 26 mixer combinations for the production of PVC dry blend will be supplied to the Chinese Dalian Shide Group by the MixingSystems Division of Henschel Industrietechnik GmbH of Kassel/Germany under its largest contract signed to date. Henschel had been supplying PVC mixers and complete material handling lines to Dalian Shide production sites since the start of the group’s profile extrusion operations in 1995. The high quality of the PVC dry blends obtained, the rugged design of the mixer combinations, and Henschel’s good customer support played a key role in the partner’s decision to continue their cooperation. As an industrial group active in many business sectors, Dalian Shide is among the world’s largest manufacturers of PVC profiles for windows and doors. Their current production expansion will bring up mixing capacity from a previous 480,000 million tonnes to 1 million tonnes/year.
Delivery of the 26 PVC mixers is scheduled for the period from February through July, 2004. Divided into 7 part-shipments, the equipment will be forwarded to three customer sites at Chengdu (Sichuan Province in the south-west of China), Dalian (Liaoning Province in the north-east of China), and Shanghai. The shipments under the present contract form part of the material supply logistics of Henschel’s sister company, Reimelt GmbH & Co. KG of Rödermark/Germany, which covers the entire chain from incoming goods to the extruder hopper. For this company, too, the Dalian Shide order was its biggest yet.

Each of the mixer combinations destined for Dalian Shide will provide a mixing capacity of 20,000 tonnes/year over an annual 7,200 operating hours and consists of the following:
- Fluid Mixer FM 1000 with self-cleaning Variant mixing tool carrying a special armoring for increased service life;
- horizontal Cooling Mixer HM 3500 cycled to cooperate with the heating mixer and equipped with a mixing tool designed specifically for PVC to provide a gentle and effective cooling action;
- an effective filter system guaranteeing virtually dust-free production.
- The Siemens S7-based PLC control system of each mixer combination enables a fully automatic mixing process and manages the data exchange with the higher-order plant control architecture.

Deceuninck: Closure of window profile plant

Wednesday, February 11th, 2004

Group Deceuninck, a Belgian-based, worldwide manufacturer of PVC window systems and profiles, plans to close a plant in Wilmington, USA.This move is part of the company’s consolidation of U.S. extrusion sites following the acquisition of Vinyl Building Products last July. Deceuninck North America is the combination of Dayton Technologies, acquired in 1997. It has plants in Ohio, New Jersey, Delaware, and Arkansas, with the Wilmington plant being the smallest.

Huhtamaki: 37% decline in EBITA

Thursday, February 5th, 2004

Persistent manufacturing problems at several units has hit operating profits at international packaging group Huhtamaki.
The Finnish firm announced a 37% decline in EBITA to E137m in 2003, despite a growth in sales of 4% to E2,108m. It said a series of actions were undertaken in the third and fourth quarters to reduce manufacturing costs and improve productivity.
Looking ahead to 2004, Huhtamaki said it was cautiously optimistic and does not foresee significant changes in market demand. It expects raw material prices in early 2004 to remain at current levels or move only slightly higher, while prices should be less volatile.
Huhtamaki’s investments in 2003 included a capacity expansion for the flexibles plant in Ronsberg, Germany, and a new flexibles plant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Uponor: Restructuring plans

Thursday, February 5th, 2004

Finnish pipemaker Uponor has revealed another two stages of its restructuring, announcing a new organisational structure and the sale of certain German businesses.
The group today reported a massive 73.2% slump in annual profits to E30.7m on sales of just over E1bn. It said most of fall was due to restructuring costs of E54.9m. Also the 2002 result was boosted by a E35.6m capital gains on property; last year’s contribution was a mere E7.3m.
Uponor is to abandon the divisional layer of its organisation and replace it with a four-segment regional structure, divided into Nordic, Central Europe, Europe Other and North America. It said this will “speed up decision-making and our ability to respond quickly to market needs”.
The company has also approved the management buy-out of its cable and tap water pipe protection businesses in Germany. Current president of Uponor Housing Solutions Europe Dieter Pfister is heading the buy-out of the divisions, which had net sales of E16.7m and a staff of 110 people in Hassfurt, Schweinfurt and Ochtrup.

M-Base: Database for Natural-Fiber Plastics

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004

M-Base Engineering + Software GmbH in Aachen, Germany, the creator of the CAMPUS materials databases, is now developing the first on-line databank related to plastics reinforced with natural fibers. Such information has been hard to find up to now, says M-Base president Dr.-Ing. Erwin Baur. The new N-FibreBase databank will include technical data on material properties, pictures and information on natural-fiber applications, a price index for natural fibers, and lists of suppliers of natural fibers and plastics compounds and composites. For a preview of this developmental project, visit

Composite Technologies: Relocation of sales and manufacturing facilities

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004

Twin-screw extruder and strand-die pelletizer replacement parts manufacturer, Composite Technologies, Inc. (CTI), has relocated it’s sales and manufacturing facilities from Winona, MN to an existing building, in near by Trempealeau, WI. The Winona site consisted of 3 buildings, 2 for manufacturing and office space (7500 sq. ft.) and 1 for storage. The Trempealeau facility, which is on 8 acres, combines the manufacturing and office space with a 25,000 sq. ft. building, which has given the ten-year-old company the ability to add additional manufacturing equipment and personnel. This spring CTI has plans to construct a 20,000 sq. ft. machine assembly and storage building, adjacent to the existing one, which will enabled them to expand on their extruder and pelletizer rebuilding business as well.

Battenfeld Gloucester: Boosting of cast film productivity with air knife/soft box combo

Monday, February 2nd, 2004

Cast polypropylene film lines use either an air knife or a soft box to pin the web to the chill roll immediately after it exits the die. Each component is suitable for a different range of web thicknesses, and every cast polypropylene (CPP) line uses one or the other separately - until now. Battenfeld Gloucester Engineering Co. has developed a combination air knife and soft box attachment that handles a broad range of CPP film thicknesses with no tradeoff in performance and substantial reductions in downtime for product changeover.

The air knife/soft box component handles a web thickness range of 20 to 150 microns, says Allen F. Hall, group product sales manager for cast, sheet and foam technology at Battenfeld Gloucester Engineering, in Gloucester, Massachusetts. ‘This lets processors run essentially the full range of cast polypropylene film thicknesses used in products,’ he notes.

An air knife expels air in a concentrated stream at high velocity. Its power makes it effective with webs of 30 microns and more in thickness. A soft box usually has a screened opening that expels a higher volume of air at lower velocity and over a wider area of the web than with an air knife. It works best with films that are less than 30 microns.

The design, which Hall believes is unique to Battenfeld Gloucester, features the air knife mounted on top of the soft box. The component is attached in the same general area as a conventional air knife or soft box (i.e., between the die and chill roll). When a processor changes product and needs a different flow of air to pin the web to the chill roll, he makes a mechanical adjustment to the component and indexes the correct side into place. Since the air knife/soft box unit does not have to be removed, processors eliminate the downtime associated with disconnecting one device and installing the other.

The first air knife/soft box component was installed on a Battenfeld Gloucester CPP line in the People’s Republic of China late in 2003. Hall says the device is available for sale on new lines or for retrofit worldwide.

Cast polypropylene is a huge and growing market in China, Japan, and other parts of Asia, where its primary use is in metallized or laminated food packaging. Battenfeld Gloucester is a major supplier of advanced CPP lines in China. CPP use is increasing in Western Europe and Latin America, also in food packaging and in laminations. The U.S. lags the rest of the world in CPP use, but experts say the material is finding a market in laminated structures.

Uponor: 2004 restructuring programme under way

Monday, February 2nd, 2004

Since its restructuring programme was announced in December, Uponor has started measures to increase efficiency in operations. The factory in Zella-Mehlis, Germany, will be the centre of Uponor’s Unipipe composite pipe production. As a result, the production of these pipes in Ahlen (Germany) and Mostoles (Spain) will be transferred to Germany by the end of June.
As a consequence of the centralisation of production, the factory in Ahlen will be closed down.In connection with this, the production of downstream equipment in Zella-Mehlis will be terminated and the business discontinued by the end of June.
In Hassfurt, Germany, Uponor will invest in the automatisation of fittings production in order to increase its efficiency and profitability.
The Mostoles site in Spain will concentrate on the production of PEX-a pipes for underfloor heating and tap water systems. This is the company’s main product and is showing good growth. As well as the transfer of the composite pipe production, the PEX-b tap water pipe and corrugated pipe production in Spain will be discontinued. The growing demand for composite pipes in the Spanish market will be satisfied by imports from Germany.

The aim of these actions is to reach larger, specialised production entities and to increase efficiency in production and logistics. The actions will reduce the Group’s personnel by almost 100 persons in 2004.