EL SEGUNDO, CALIF. - The prototype of a low-floor lightweight bus made of polymer composites will be unveiled Oct. 8 with transit officials and members of Congress on hand. The event for the first Advanced Technology Transit Bus is planned at an El Segundo plant of Northrop Grumman Corp.
An industry unveiling Oct. 9 is part of the American Public Transit Association's three-day exposition in Anaheim, Calif. The first unit begins a yearlong simulated million-mile test program Nov. 1, and another unit follows that path April 1. The next four prototypes will go into service in varying climates around the country beginning in July.
Northrop Grumman fabricated the shell and enclosure panels using its aerospace experience in composites. Standard E-glass and Dow Chemical Co.'s Derakane 441-400 epoxy vinyl ester resin sandwich an inner core of DIAB Group's Klegecell foam to create the lower tub, ceiling and connecting ladders. The 21,000-pound prototype has seats for 43, standing room for 29, four tires instead of six and a power plant using low-emission compressed natural gas. Electric fuel cells are an option.HUDSON, OHIO - Little Tikes Co. plans to close its Blythwood, S.C., rotational molding plant the first week of December because of poor market conditions and high production costs.
Blythwood is one of eight Little Tikes plants in North America. Spokeswoman Leslie Mapes said the equipment will be moved to other plants, but she did not know where. The Blythwood facility has 248 employees, and is one of Little Tikes' smaller plants, she said from the firm's headquarters in Hudson. The company's Guelph, Ontario, facility is scheduled to close next month.
Mapes said the Blythwood closure is not related to parent company Rubbermaid Inc.'s plan to purchase Graco Children's products Inc., an Elverson, Pa., producer of strollers, play yards, swings, and other infant products. Blythwood rotomolds juvenile furniture and some outdoor products.
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK -John Worbye, technical director of the Tooling Materials Division of Thyssen Specialty Steels Inc. in Carol Stream, Ill., died Sept. 13 while visiting his native country of Denmark.
Worbye, 55, recently had started a term as chairman of the Society of Plastics Engineers' Mold Making and Mold Design Division.
Worbye was traveling with his wife, Dorthe. According to Thyssen Specialty Steels, he collapsed in the bathroom of their hotel room in Copenhagen. A Thyssen spokeswoman said the cause of death is not known, and no autopsy has been performed. Worbye was buried Sept. 19 in Copenhagen.
Glenn Starkey, who is now chairman of the Mold Making/ Mold Design Division, said Worbye was kind and helpful. Starkey is president of Progressive Components Corp. of Wauconda, Ill.
``He was a very thorough individual, a delight to work with and a real gentleman,'' said Gail Bristol, field services and development director of SPE in Brookfield, Conn.FORT MITCHELL, KY. - Sullivan Packaging Ltd. of Christchurch, New Zealand, plans to expand its thermoforming operations into Vietnam.
President Tony Orpwood said he and his partner are negotiating with an unnamed Vietnamese company to form a joint venture to produce strawberry containers in that country. Orpwood was interviewed last week at the Society of Plastics Engineers' Thermoforming Division conference in Fort Mitchell.
Sullivan is a custom and proprietary thermoformer that produces containers for the cosmetics and meat packaging industries. It exports many of its products to Australia, England and the United States.
Recently, Orpwood helped develop a polyethylene blend material to meet special requirements of the meat packaging industry. The ``bone guard'' is a thermoformed cap that covers the ends of bones to keep them from puncturing the plastic wrap. Sullivan also purchased two die-cutting presses that can cut the bone guards 50 at a time in a high-speed operation. The company runs eight Illig thermoforming machines from Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. Sullivan employs 20.