MUNICH, GERMANY - Union Carbide Corp. said Jan. 31 that the Board of Appeals for the European Patent Office in Munich upheld its patent for the condensing-mode process used in the gas-phase, fluidized-bed production process for polyolefin resins. Union Carbide has filed suits in France and England against BP Chemicals Ltd. alleging BP infringed on its patents for the condensing-mode process. Those lawsuits are pending.
BP of London and BASF AG of Ludwigshafen, Germany, raised opposition to the patent, but their opposition was rejected by the Opposition Division of the European Patent office in 1993.
In a news release, Union Carbide said the Board of Appeals for the European Patent Office confirmed the Opposition Division's rejection, thereby upholding the patent. Union Carbide said the Board of Appeals's ruling is the final appeal procedure available to dispute the patent.
Separately, Union Carbide announced that Hyundai Petro-chemical Co. Ltd. of Seoul, Korea, will build a facility in Daewan, Korea, to produce 286 million pounds of polyethylene a year.
The plant will use Union Carbide's Unipol process and catalyst technology to produce linear low density PE and high density PE.
Q-Panel lab offers weathering testing
CLEVELAND - Q-Panel Lab Products Inc. of Cleveland has announced plans to build a contract laboratory testing facility on a 30-acre site it owns just outside of Phoenix in Buckeye.
Q-Lab will provide both outdoor, real-time testing and indoor accelerated testing ser-vices.
Arizona's high levels of ultra-violet radiation and extreme temperatures - from blistering heat in summer to freezing cold in the winter - provide an ideal setting for the testing of materials such as paints, vinyl and other types of plastics used in automobiles, outdoor furniture, building construction materials and other products exposed to nature's elements.
Q-Lab offers customized laboratory testing services for quality control, material certification, material research and development, durability studies and service life predictions.
The company recently opened Q-Lab Weathering Research Service in Miami at a site it purchased about a year ago. Ron Roberts, Arizona site manager for Q-Panel, said it is important for the company to be able to offer its customers both environments for testing materials.
Pat Brennan, vice president of Q-Panel's technical services, said the Arizona facility will open sometime later this year.
AT Plastics to boost copolymer capacity
BRAMPTON, ONTARIO - AT Plastics Inc. plans to spend C$120 million (US$87.6 million) to expand ethylene copolymer production at its Edmonton, Alberta, plant. It made the Feb. 22 announcement three months after it revealed plans to establish its first U.S. operation, a film and sack plant, in Clinton, Tenn.
AT said the resin project will boost annual capacity to 319 million pounds from Edmonton's current 132 million pounds per year. It scheduled 1998 for startup of the expansion.
The Brampton firm will use new capacity to boost production of compounds for medium-voltage wire and cable, resins for direct-foam applications such as sports shoes, and other specialty ethylene polymers. Its product line includes ethylene vinyl acetate and ethylene vinyl silane coplymers. New high-pressure reactor capacity will allow it to make higher vinyl acetate-content resins.
Novacor Chemicals Ltd. will supply ethylene for AT's expanded production. AT will finance the project through internally generated funds, an equity issue and a combination of bank debt and new-term debt.
AT recently reported its 1995 sales of C$204.8 million (US$149.5 million) were 11 percent above 1994 sales. Profit last year, at C$24.3 million (US$17.7 million), was 62 percent higher than the previous year.
Toolmaker doubling manufacturing space
DETROIT - P&R Precision Inc., a builder of prototype and pro-duction tooling, is preparing a $500,000 expansion to boost its manufacturing space 50 percent to 6,000 square feet by April. The company also is mulling a plan to relocate to a 12,000-square-foot space later this year.
P&R, based in Shelby Township, Mich., hopes to add four more employees to its current staff of seven. As part of the April expansion, the firm plans to acquire two injection presses for tool tryouts and another workstation, its fifth, for computer-aided engineering and design.
P&R specializes in tooling for small and medium parts, such as cellular telephone cases and lenses, switches and electrical connectors.
The company is projecting sales of $1.2 million in the fiscal year ending April 30.
Owners Peter and Rita Wain said they hope to expand P&R's mold-building and polishing business through an in-house training program for skilled labor.
Rita Wain said she would like to train women as both mold polishers and CAD operators as an alternative to the clerical careers many often choose.