AES increasing space at Ohio R&D facility
WADSWORTH, OHIO — Advanced Elastomer Systems recently dedicated an expansion that will almost double the size of its research and development center in Wadsworth.
AES officials said the $5 million expansion, which increases the facility to 50,000 square feet, will allow further development of new products at the 17-year-old site.
Sharell Mikesell, AES' vice president of technology, said the company will use the facility to develop new grades of AES products such as Santoprene and Trefsin thermoplastic elastomers.
Santoprene's 8000 series, launched last year, is finding use in weatherstripping and glass-run channels in the automotive industry, where it is replacing thermoset rubbers.
AES Chief Operating Officer William Ginter said about 40 percent of the overall TPE market is automotive. Industry analysts have said that number could be as high as 50 percent by 2000.
Trefsin also is finding uses in tubing and vial closures in the medical field, while Santoprene 8000 is being used by Black & Decker to make ``soft-grip'' handles for power tools, AES officials said.
The expansion will allow AES to hire six more research technicians in the next year. The Wadsworth site currently has about 70 employees.
Akron, Ohio-based AES, which posted sales of $250 million last year in 42 countries worldwide, is a limited partnership formed in 1991 between Monsanto Co. and Exxon Corp.
Study finds Australia could lose investors
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — Australia could lose A$6 billion (US$4.68 billion) of investment in the plastics and chemical industries if the government fails to remove impediments to new investment and define industry policy, according to the Plastics & Chemicals Industries Association, the key industry lobby group.
Melbourne-based PACIA commissioned Canberra, Australia-based Access Economics Pty. Ltd., an independent research company, to examine the economic impact of planned investments for the Australian chemicals and plastics industries.
The report, ``Economic Impact of Chemicals and Plastics Investment,'' considers a list of A$6 billion of potential projects international firms are contemplating for Australia.
John Foote, PACIA president, said the projects were in danger of going elsewhere without better tax and tariff arrangements and other incentives.
The report shows countries — including Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia — offer research and development, tax and plant and machinery depreciation incentives.
Foote, who also is chairman and managing director of Melbourne-based DuPont (Australia) Pty. Ltd., said the plastics industry was at a ``crossroads with companies deciding where to locate the next generation of world-scale plants.''
Australia has advantages for investors, including accessible raw materials and a stable political and economic climate, but faces strong competition from Asia, the United States and the Persian Gulf, the report said.
Battenfeld establishes joint venture in China
BAD OEYENHAUSEN, GERMANY — Battenfeld GmbH has launched Battenfeld Chen Extrusion Systems Ltd., its $5 million joint venture to manufacture extrusion lines in China.
A new, 13,000-square-foot plant in Shunde, China, which formally opened earlier this year, has begun to produce pipe and polyethylene film extrusion lines for the Asian market.
The plant will have capacity to manufacture about 10 lines in its first year, but the partners anticipate that could rise to 250 lines in due course.
The company is a joint venture between Bad Oeyenhausen-based Battenfeld, the majority shareholder with 51 percent, and its Chinese partners: Chen Hsong Holdings Ltd., a major Hong Kong injection press producer (34 percent), and Guangdong Sunny Group Corp. (15 percent).
Management of the new enterprise is divided between engineering general manager Peter Franz and marketing manager Jiang Peng.