Archive for June, 2004

Bemis: Purchase of flexible assets of Masterpak

Wednesday, June 30th, 2004

Bemis Company has completed the purchase of certain flexible packaging assets of Masterpak S.A. de C.V., including a converting facility in Tultitlan, Mexico. The assets produce flexible packaging for dry foods, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, confectionery and bakery products. Bemis owns 51 per cent of the acquired business, along with its Mexican joint venture partner. Jeffrey Curler, chief executive of Bemis Company, said: ‘This investment will provide an opportunity to expand our current film technology into the Mexican packaging market and is expected to be modestly accretive to Bemis’ EPS in 2004.’ The new flexible packaging business will focus on supplying the packaging needs of Mexican food and consumer goods markets.

Britton Group: Management buy-out

Wednesday, June 30th, 2004

Management at UK films maker Britton Group has bought the company in a E68m deal. Britton’s new owners will be led by chief executive Mike Clark and will include Turner and other members of the current management team. Turner said the move followed the retirement of Dick Searle last year after three and a half years at the head of the company. Clarke joined the group after heading firms including Macfarlane Plastics and Tyco UK. Turner added that Britton Group planned to grow the business, with backing from corporate finance companies. The company has seven sites in the UK with the capacity to manufacture 100,000 tonnes of blown and cast film. Its turnover last year was E135m.

Cincinnati: Standardised downstream equipment for its Alpha extruders

Tuesday, June 29th, 2004

Cincinnati Extrusion has launched standardised downstream equipment for its Alpha extruders. These will be shown as complete Alpha Tubeline pipe and Alpha Profline profile extrusion lines for the first time at the K 2004 fair in October. The equipment offers short delivery times and a good price/performance ratio, the company said at a preview of the company’s exhibits. Cincinnati said it has sold more than 200 of the Alpha machines since the introduction of standard high-end Alpha single screw extruders at K 2001.
Managing director Walter Häder told it was still able to offer the basic Alpha 45-25B and 60-25B machines at the same “cost-effective” prices of E28,000 and E34,000 as at the time of the K 2001 launch. The company recently added two new model versions to the Alpha machines involving an increase in the L/D ratio by 3D to 28D and options of grooved or fine grooved feed zones.
It said that while the standard version Alphas were especially suited for processing of soft materials such as thermoplastic elastomers, the grooved feed zone versions were suitable for unfilled or filled PP profiles and tubes and other polymers such as polyamide.


Tuesday, June 29th, 2004

The leading players in PE film extrusion are continuing to grow and expand at the expense of smaller companies, according to research from Applied Market Information (AMI). The report found that the top 50 companies increased their production of PE film by a third over the past three years, compared with a 10 per cent increase for PE film overall. As a result their share of the market has grown from 55 per cent in 2000 to 60 per cent for 2003.
This increase has often been achieved through acquisition but there have also been some substantial investments. British Polythene Industries still tops the league of Europe’s leading producers but whereas a decade ago it was more than twice the size of its nearest rivals, nowadays it is only 12 per cent ahead of the next largest producer, Rheinische Kunststoffwerke (RKW).
BPI saw its profits suffer through the combined effects of the strength of the pound, fluctuating raw material costs and the high level of imports into the UK. Other companies that have seen their status increase in recent years are primarily based in France or Italy. Stretch film producers, Manuli and Plastotecnica have both increased capacity substantially in the past three years, while Barbier in France has also seen strong growth.

Spartech: New product development center

Monday, June 28th, 2004

Spartech Corporation announced that a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was held earlier today to formally open the Company’s new Product Development Center (’PDC’) located in Warsaw, Indiana. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the Company’s Annual Technical Conference where over 230 customer representatives along with local dignitaries, investors, and suppliers attended the Grand Opening of the 30,000 square foot facility. Spartech invested more than $8 million in the PDC to complement the technical capabilities of the Company’s more than 5,500 customers and to accelerate the development of its new Alloy Plastics and Product Transformations. It is anticipated that annually as many as 1,500 visitors will come to the Center to work on process improvement initiatives, new product developments, and Product Transformations. Bradley B. Buechler, Chairman, President and CEO, stated that ‘Spartech’s new Product Development Center has been designed to serve our current and future customers by developing thermoplastic and advanced polymer products that meet the needs of a rapidly growing global marketplace. Our PDC team will work closely with our business partners to (A) provide innovative product and process solutions, (B) accelerate new products to market, (C) optimize product formulations, and (D) complement our customers’ technical capabilities. The Center will initially consist of two large sheet extrusion lines and a smaller lab line; two profile extrusion lines; a four station rotary and one single station thermoformer; complete lab capabilities with a full range of physical and mechanical testing; and a VEC cell, which represents today’s state-of-the-art closed-mold plastics processing technology, for gel coat/FRP replacement. While the PDC certainly represents a sizable investment for the Company, we believe the payback will be considerable, as more extensive customer product development, new technologies and solutions, and the acceleration of products to market, leads us to increased business and more satisfied customers.’
Mr. Buechler added, ‘The Product Development Center will also further enhance our ability to more rapidly develop new innovative Alloy Plastics. These proprietary products that combine advanced engineered compounds and additives with innovative manufacturing techniques have continued to support and drive Product Transformations, which expands business growth opportunities for both our customers and the entire plastics industry. Finally, the PDC will centralize our knowledge base for new developments, further integrate the R&D efforts between our custom sheet and specialty compound groups, and improve the Company’s production efficiencies by eliminating most of the sample and new product development time previously performed 100% at our production facilities.’
For more information on the Company’s Product Development Center and new product developments, or to receive a copy of our PDC Informational Flyer, please contact Spartech Corporation at (314) 721-4242.
Spartech Corporation is a leading producer of engineered thermoplastic materials, polymeric compounds, and molded & profile products, which has 48 facilities located throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe, with annual production and sales of approximately 1.4 billion pounds and $1 billion, respectively.

Davis-Standard: Culisse Winder Eliminates Slitting and Rewinding Process

Monday, June 28th, 2004

Producers of hygienic films and non-wovens have long been required to slit and rewind products from extrusion machines to make them marketable to customers. The Culisse winder from Davis-Standard provides a cost and time saving alternative by eliminating the slitting and rewinding steps for most processes as well as scrap. Due to these competitive advantages, the Culisse has become a popular choice among hygienic film producers worldwide. Specifically, Davis-Standard has seen an increase in the winder’s use for niche applications in the diaper film, breathable film and non-woven coating sectors. High-speed, in-line slitting capabilities and a scrapless transfer mechanism make the Culisse a viable alternative to traditional turret winders.
The Culisse is capable of in-line slitting to widths of 3 inches (75mm) across a 120-inch (3,000mm) web at speeds up to 600 meters per minute
(2,000 feet per minute). The winder’s scrapless transfer mechanism generates high yields for extrusion applications by indexing the new core into a transfer position while the transfer is made without indexing the final roll. This is a faster, more efficient process when compared to standard turret winders which produce scrap during the index cycle of the full roll. The Culisse is available with a roll diameter of 40 to 60 inches (1,000 to 1,500mm) and with options such as automatic core feed and finished roll removal. The winder is also offered with U.S. or European electrical configurations.
The winder is available from Davis-Standard’s facilities in Somerville, New Jersey, USA and Erkrath, Germany. Both locations offer after sales services. To schedule a video presentation contact Steve Post at (908) 722-6000 (USA) or Volkmar Mehnert at 49-211-2404-0 (Germany).

Clariant: Innovative technology that reaches across borders

Friday, June 25th, 2004

For the Clariant Competence Center Micro Reactor Technology (C3-MRT), Clariant, a globally active, world-leading producer of specialty chemicals, received the ‘Best Innovator’ award in the category ‘Supporting factors’. It is the second consecutive year that the Swiss company is a winner of this innovation award for the German companies, a competition that is jointly held by the management consulting firm A. T. Kearney and the German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche. Already in 2003, the Pigments & Additives Division of Clariant received the ‘Best Innovator’ award in the individual award category ‘Excellent program and project management’.

The aim of the ‘Best Innovator’ innovation award for the German companies is to identify the companies with the best innovation management. More than 100 companies participated in this year’s competition. The candidates initially provided written information about their innovation performance. Based on this information, Clariant and 19 other finalists were selected in the categories of Strategy, Organization and processes, as well as Supporting factors.

MRT – a technology with many benefits

The field of expertise of the award-winning C3-MRT is micro reactors – miniaturized flow channels ranging between several micrometers and 1 millimeter in size. To reach the usual throughput of specialty chemical producers of several hundred tons annually, a large number of these flow channels are connected in parallel (’numbering up’), whereas the conventional method increases the reaction volume (’scaling up’). Compared to conventional methods, micro reactor technology has significant advantages. In addition to an increased transfer of material and heat, the modular set-up of micro reactors allows a fast adaptation of the process to the varying requirements of different chemical reactions and a fast screening of reaction parameters such as temperature, residence time, concentration, and more. Also, due to their small reaction volume, micro reactors are viewed as inherently safe installations.

Until now, the use of micro reactors was limited mainly to research and development, an area where this new technology established itself over the last decade in a few companies as a standard tool. In industrial applications, however, experience on a larger scale has been lacking so far. Clariant recognized the importance of MRT for the specialty chemicals sector in the late 1990s, when the company decided to build its own resources, with the aim of being at the core of the development and establishment of micro reactor technology for industrial applications from the very beginning.

Know-how transfer across divisions and companies

In 1999, Clariant developed a program in ten steps, which comprised two parallel sets of action: in addition to laboratories and pilot plants, Clariant created the necessary infrastructure for cross-divisional transfer of MRT know-how, and the transfer of its know-how to other companies. The new know-how was simultaneously secured by numerous patents, including a method for the manufacture of high-performance pigments. In 2001, a cross-divisional MRT team was formed, which was followed by the Clariant Competence Center Micro Reactor Technology (C3-MRT) in early 2004. The mission of the center is not only to foster a more intensive use of MRT in all of Clariant’s Divisions, but also to market the know-how to third parties with the aim of external return-on-investment.

The award-winning (C3-MRT) illustrates how Clariant has been successful in strengthening its market and technology standing through its own know-how by implementing innovation management in a key technology of the future.

More information is available under ‘Service’ on the website of Clariant Pigments & Additives

Clariant: Exolit® for optimal fire protection

Monday, June 21st, 2004

Exolit® is Clariant’s high-quality response to the continually rising safety awareness in fire protection. Especially in construction, traffic, electronics, electrical engineering, furniture, and mining, the increasingly stringent fire protection requirements worldwide require the use of flame retardants.

Exolit®, the future-oriented, non-halogenated flame retardant systems from Clariant, are suitable for many applications. These highly effective products guarantee optimal fire protection while taking into consideration ecological and toxicological effects.

But, in addition to its proven products, Clariant also offers a special customer-oriented service, which sets the company apart from many other suppliers. The flame retardant systems are tailored to the individual application in close cooperation with the customer. This approach has two major benefits: the Exolit® system is always perfectly fitted to the requirements of the customers, and the range of products is being constantly improved and optimized in view of the increasing safety regulations.

In addition to merely supplying the market with products, the corporate philosophy of Clariant, a company that has decades of experience as a partner on the global market, also includes the implementation and fulfillment of worldwide norms and standards. Management systems such as DIN ISO 9001 and DIN ISO 14001, combined with the comprehensive know-how and experience of the experts from Clariant, ensure the first-class quality of Exolit® products. Also, Clariant is already getting ready for the new EU Chemical Policy known as REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation of Chemicals), which requires the full regulatory evaluation of a product and all of its components. The evaluation is bound to become a decisive criterion for selecting products.

Clariant is known for its excellent product quality and its customer-oriented service – two aspects that have a major contribution in making the Pigments & Additives Division an international market leader. In preventive fire protection, the Clariant approach guarantees maximum safety, without compromising the standards.
A major ingredient of Clariant’s non-halogenated flame protection systems, sold under the Exolit® trade name, is ammonium polyphosphate (APP). Exolit® fulfills all of the current requirements for environmentally safe and highly effective fire protection. The advantage of the Exolit® flame retardants is its low smoke density and the absence of the formation of corrosive gases in case of a fire.

The non-halogenated systems are suitable for various applications, such as coatings for steel structures, sealants, adhesives, wood, textiles, polyurethanes, duroplastics (resins), or thermoplastics. Exolit® is also the preferred protection for intumescent coatings. At temperatures above 200 degrees Celsius, the precise coordination of various components prompts a foaming process, forming a voluminous carbon-rich layer that protects the underlying substrate from the impact of heat. While non-halogenated flame retardants have been used mainly for fire protection coatings in steel and wood materials, the Exolit® AP systems can be used with the same success in plastics, such as polyolefines, polyurethanes, unsaturated polyester resins, and epoxy resins.

Commonwealth: Increased capacity with new film line

Monday, June 21st, 2004

Commonwealth Laminating & Coating Inc., USA, more than doubled its capacity for window films with the recent start of a US$6 million laminating/coating line and clean room. The firm expects its sales to increase 60 percent or more, to about US$22 million this year as the new line, its second, fills a growing list of orders for specialty window films and safety films.

LDPE consumption dipped last year, while LLDPE’s grew again

Friday, June 18th, 2004

According to consultancy Nexant Chem Systems, Western European consumption of LDPE fell by 2.2% in 2003, reflecting the poor economic performance in major European economies. At the same time, LLDPE consumption increased by 4.6%. “There was some modest substitution from LDPE to LLDPE taking place,” says Roger Green, global polyolefins manager with Nexant. “However, LDPE tends to remain fairly stable while LLDPE takes most of the growth in the market.” Nexant notes that imports of polyethylene into Europe continue to rise. In 2003, the consultancy estimates that LLDPE imports totalled around 320,000 tonnes, mostly from the Middle East. Nexant is predicting greater than 7% annual growth in consumption for LLDPE during the next five years, but just 1% for LDPE.