COPLEY, OHIO - After surviving a late spring tornado and a move last year by its owners to sell the company, Multibase Inc. of Copley is doing very nicely today. Andre Fritz, president of the company, now owns a minority interest in the custom compounder. He said June 29 that the firm is continuing to invest in its future.
Multibase spent more than $5 million to install three new extrusion lines and two underwater pelletizers in the past few years. It also is rebuilding after a May 29 storm destroyed a 10,000-square-foot packaging and railroad car unloading building and a 2,400-square-foot office.
Fritz said he bought the minority interest in the company in November, when its parent, Multibase SA of Lyon, France, put it up for sale. His purchase, in effect, removed the company from the market.
Fritz said his purchase of a portion of the company renewed internal confidence and contributed, with the addition of new products and a streamlined manufacturing process, to increasing the company's sales by 35 percent.
Nearly 70 percent of Multibase's sales consist of thermoplastic olefins and thermoplastic elastomer products to the automotive industry. The company also serves the appliance, housing, lawn and garden, and industrial markets.
Washington Penn boosting capacity
WASHINGTON, PA. - Washington Penn Plastics Co. Inc. is expanding its production capacity with new extrusion lines at its facilities in Washington and Eighty Four, Pa.
Paul Cusolito, vice president for sales and marketing, said the company added one extrusion line at its Arden plant in Washington. That facility is one of three plants the company operates in Washington.
The firm is installing a second new line at the its Performance Plastics plant in Eighty Four, Cusolito said.
Washington Penn will have 12 lines at seven plants when it completes the expansions. The new lines will add capacity for the company's sales to the automotive and furniture industries, Cusolito said.
DSM unit emparks on Chinese auto venture
HEERLEN, NETHERLANDS - A unit of DSM NV signed an agreement June 17 to form a 50-50 joint venture with China's Jiangsu Jiangyin Mould Plastic Group Co. to make specialty thermoplastic compounds for the automotive industry in China.
The new company will be based in Jiangyin, China, where the Chinese parent firm is headquartered.
DSM's Polypropylene and Specialty Compounds business unit is party to the venture, which is scheduled to be in production by year's end.
In a news release, DSM said it is contributing its compounding expertise to the joint venture, while Jiangsu Jiangyin will contribute equipment and buildings. DSM, based in Heerlen, said Jiangsu Jiangyin is a 9-year-old company that has sales equivalent to $25 million, primarily from injection molded plastics products.
Laurel expanding thermoplastic plant
SHARON CENTER, OHIO - Laurel Industries Inc. is spending about $2.5 million to expand its thermoplastics compounding facility in Sharon Center.
``We are rapidly filling up our capacity,'' said Tom Roberts, vice president and general manager of Laurel's Specialty Compounding Division.
The expansion will boost Laurel's investment in the plant, which began production in early 1994, to about $9 million, Roberts said in a telephone interview.
Roberts said his division will nearly double plant space to 47,000 square feet and commission a new Farrel compounding line in November. The facility has twin-screw extrusion capacity and continuous mixers, but Roberts would not disclose the number of compounding lines or capacity.
Laurel established its compounding division three years ago to diversify from its main product line of antimony trioxide, used as a flame retardant in plastics and other materials. Roberts said the division compounds a lot more than antimony-based concentrates.
``We make halogenated and nonhalogenated flame-retardant systems, and do custom work with colors and multiple additives,'' he said. The division specializes in high-dispersion systems and focuses on truckload and smaller-quantity production runs.
Roberts said resin and additive manufacturers and other original equipment manufacturers are his division's main customer base. That base is growing fast as those firms contract more of their work outside. Laurel also sells to injection molders and does toll compounding.
Roberts would not disclose sales figures.
Privately held Laurel is based in Cleveland and operates its export department from Akron, Ohio. Its major antimony trioxide refinery is in LaPorte, Texas.
Laurel was created in 1983 when President C. Walder Parke and other investors acquired the antimony oxide operations of PPG Industries Inc. in Pittsburgh.