POTTSVILLE, PA. - Hexcel Corp. is freeing up more manufacturing space to accommodate growth at its Pottsville facility. Hexcel is investing $700,000 to build 30,000 square feet of warehouse space at Pottsville. When the work is complete this fall, Hexcel will move some warehousing from its existing 104,000-square-foot building into the addition. The project qualifies for a $280,000 loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority. PIDA announced the project should create 20 jobs and retain 181 others.
Pottsville's controller, Ted Gideon, said the operation expects to boost productivity from a more-efficient layout. Only minor equipment purchases will be needed in the program. The facility makes nonstructural honeycomb products from nonmetallic composites and aluminum for aerospace. Typical applications include cores for stabilizers, flaps and helicopter blades.
Gideon said aerospace markets are rebounding after a few difficult years when the Cold War thaw hurt military spending. Pottsville also will gain work from Hexcel's recent acquisition of Ciba-Geigy Ltd.'s composites division, he explained. Hexcel, based in Pleasanton, Calif., also recently purchased Hercules Inc.'s composites division but Gideon did not think it would have much effect on Pottsville in the short term.
IMC purchases two Toshiba presses
RANCHO DOMINGUEZ, CALIF. - Custom injection molder Industrial Molding Corp. recently installed two Toshiba injection presses with 2,750 tons of clamping force. One machine went into the company's main plant in Rancho Dominguez, the other into its newest facility in Brasilton, Ga.
IMC President John Cutt declined to comment on the cost of the new machines, but said both are equipped with robots and were purchased to serve customers in the consumer electronics industry, primarily to mold television cabinets.
The presses will mold up to a 25-pound shot. IMC now has 51 presses, ranging from 50-2,750 tons of clamping force.
IMC has a facility in Tualitin, Ore., with presses from 350-720 tons of clamping force. Cutt said all three facilities do mold maintenance and repair and offer a variety of secondary operations. The Rancho Dominguez and Brasilton plants have painting capabilities.
The Rancho Dominguez and Tualitin plants are ISO 9002 certified, and Cutt said he expects the Brasilton operation to receive its ISO certification in July.
The firm - which recently added Pro/Engineer software for mold design and construction - also molds for the automotive and materials-handling industries. It employs nearly 600.
Laird to set up shop at Crystaplex unit
BURT, N.Y. - Laird Plastics Inc. plans to set up a plastics operation in a Burt facility occupied by its Crystaplex USA Inc. subsidiary.
Galen Silver, general manager of the plastics operation, declined comment on what the operation will do.
Crystaplex USA in early May moved to Burt from its former Roseville, Minn., location to be closer to the Crystaplex operation at Mississauga, Ontario, said Ann Bollmeier, Crystaplex USA operations manager.
Crystaplex supplies dashboard structural supports, glazing, flooring and other equipment to skating rinks and other indoor recreational facilities.
Crystaplex occupies about 30,000 square feet of space in a 58,000-square-foot plant formerly occupied by Ferree Plastics, according to a Buffalo News report. Bollmeier confirmed a report that her firm expects to have sales of $5.1 million this year. Last year it bought Strutt Specialties of St. Paul, Minn.
An official said the Burt facility will not house Laird's Plastic Profiles extrusion business located in Cannon Falls, Minn. Earlier this year Laird bought distributor A-1 Plastics Inc. of Houston a few months after it opened new distribution centers in Erie, Pa., and Hamilton, Ontario.
Wester Bag closes idenfinitely after fire
BRADDOCK, PA. - Wester Bag and Supply Co. will remain closed indefinitely following a Memorial Day fire that destroyed the firm's bag manufacturing operation and most of its inventory.
The Braddock-based firm sewed woven polypropylene bags from purchased web stock and made burlap bags. It also distributed polyethylene bags for an undisclosed manufacturer. The firm's owner, Walt Araneick, said he did not know the cause of the fire and will not know his next step until the firm's insurance company advises him on possible compensation.
Araneick said no one was injured. The plant was shut down for the holiday weekend. He did not confirm a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report that the fire caused about $500,000 of damage.
Braddock Police Chief William Moore said the Allegheny County Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the fire but would not confirm the Post-Gazette report that the cause was ``suspicious.'' County fire officials were unavailable to comment.