PLASTI/CONN '97

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The following briefs were reported by East Coast staff reporter Steve Toloken from Plasti/Conn '97, held April 2 in Southington, Conn.

Utility deregulation gets CPC support

Connecticut plastics companies should support electric utility deregulation that is winding its way through the state Legislature because the flawed proposal is ``probably the best bill we will get,'' a Connecticut Plastics Council official said.

Ted Stoughton, a CPC director and vice chairman of Prototype & Plastic Mold Co. Inc. of Middletown, Conn., said those flaws include letting utilities recover 100 percent of their stranded costs and taking too long to bring competition to the state, which is among the country's most expensive for electricity.

The proposal would give a 10 percent rate cut over time, but how that will be given and what else consumers get is ``pretty murky,'' he said.

One of the state's utilities, United Illuminating Co. in New Haven, Conn., supports the proposal in part because it allows utilities to recover all stranded costs, said Robert Fort, economic development specialist with United Illuminating.

The plan, which has broad support in the state government, deregulates service for 20 percent of the state in 1998 and phases in the rest by 2002, he said.

``It's a little slower process than other states, but it's a well-considered process,'' Fort said.

Northeast Mold mulls further expansion

Northeast Mold & Plastics Inc. has added three machines to its Glastonbury, Conn., facility and is considering expanding to a larger plant, officials said.

The firm spent $500,000 in the last four months on 300- and 170-ton Van Dorns and a computer numerically controlled electric discharge machine, said President Maury Boudreau.

Growth in the economy in the Northeast also is pushing a possible expansion from the company's 12,000-square-foot facility to a 20,000-square-foot plant.

``It's a strong possibility we will be doing that because we are out of room,'' Boudreau said.

A decision is possible before the end of the year, and the firm is likely to double its current work force of about 25, according to Boudreau.

Van Dorn opening a technical center

Van Dorn Demag Corp. will open a regional technical center in Chesire, Conn., April 29, the company's third such facility.

The Northeast Technical Center is similar to offices in Arizona and South Carolina, where the company has machines that customers can try out and receive training on, said Nathan Smith, district manager.

Five people, including one processor technician, will staff the 5,000-square-foot facility, he said. It will have five machines, ranging from 30-230 tons.