Bic Corp., the ballpoint pen people, are about to bring you a pencil. It will be made of ABS resin instead of wood, available in nine colors and will bend before it breaks. The Evolution pencil is Bic's first nonmechanical pencil in what the company calls a thriving U.S. pencil market. The extruded, round-barrel pencil will be among products made at an 82,000-square-foot plant the company is buying in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Bic Special Markets Division of Clearwater, Fla., is acquiring the plant. The division produces pens and imprints customer logos and promotional messages on Bic Corp. products like lighters and shavers at a rate of about 1 million items a day.
``We've maximized space in Clearwater and need an additional location to meet future manufacturing and service demands,'' said Jack Teague, vice president and general manager of the unit.
In the new plant, expected to begin operating in the summer of 1997, the division will imprint Bic products like pens, lighters and shavers and make the new pencils. Teague said he could offer only ``very limited information'' on molding processes and materials used for the Evolution.
The pencil at this time is being made in Bic's Clearwater plant.
``Through a sister company in Europe we invested in technology and brought it over here. I can't even talk about writing material,'' he said.
But, Bic is using five extruders to mold the pens with the carbon-based writing material coextruded with the ABS of the pencil barrel. The Evolution has all the characteristics of a wood pencil, but has distinct advantages, Teague said. The pencil is flexible and more comfortable to hold, and if it breaks, it snaps cleanly without jagged edges, he said.
Bic Corp., based in Milford, Conn., is controlled by Societe Bic SA of Clichy, France.