Tikes grows, adds injection molding
HUDSON, OHIO — Little Tikes Co. is hiring 200 full-time workers for its headquarters factory in Hudson, as the toy maker rebounds from slow sales. The company also plans to add injection molding to its processing lineup.
Little Tikes has added more blow molding machines in Hudson. The headquarters factory also will start doing some injection molding, according to a company spokeswoman. She declined to provide information on the number and make of the new machinery.
Currently, about 850 people work at the huge Hudson complex, which primarily makes rotationally molded toys.
Business began picking up in the second quarter for Little Tikes, a division of Rubbermaid Inc., said spokeswoman Lorrie Paul Crum. ``We've had increased demand from our customers this spring and summer. Then we will go into the Christmas selling season.''
Little Tikes has been through a difficult period, as sales declined in 1996. Rubbermaid of Wooster, Ohio, breaks out very little financial information about Little Tikes, but throughout 1996 blamed much of its corporatewide problems on Tikes, and on higher resin costs.
Little Tikes expects to take 400 applications for the 200 full-time openings, which pay an average starting wage of about $7 an hour. People not hired full time may be selected for part-time work, which Tikes uses to even out fluctuations in production demand, Crum said.
On Aug. 11, Rubbermaid announced that Gary Kleinjan, Little Tikes' president and general manager, had switched positions with another Rubbermaid executive, Cal Eller, who becomes the new president at Little Tikes.
Screw manufacturer buys sister firms
NEW CASTLE, PA. — Screw-maker New Castle Industries Inc. has acquired two metalworking factories, in New Hampshire and South Carolina, in a deal announced Aug. 1.
New Castle Industries of New Castle bought sister companies Atlantic Grinding and Welding Inc. of Londonderry, N.H., and Atlantic Feed Screw Inc. of Cayce, S.C. The facilities will be called the Atlantic Division of New Castle Industries.
With the acquisition, New Castle now has a total of 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space and more than 200 employees.
New Castle said it will retain all employees of the acquired companies. Terms of the deal were not released.
In a news release, the company said it will add computer numerically controlled machining equipment in New Hampshire. New Castle Industries will expand the South Carolina screw-making factory to accommodate growing regional demand for rebuilt screws.
A subsidiary of Pittsburgh-based Ampco-Pittsburgh Corp., New Castle Industries supplies screws, barrels, chill rolls and retrofits plastics machinery.
Thai industry seeks help from slump
SINGAPORE — Thailand has appointed Australian petrochemical consultancy SIRA International Corp. Pty. Ltd. to help the government revive the local plastics industry in the midst of the country's economic slump.
Since May, the value of the Thai baht has plunged over 20 percent as speculators and investors fled the overleveraged economy. As a result, billions of dollars' worth of petrochemical projects had to be shelved indefinitely.
SIRA will evaluate Thailand's plastics compounders, processors and producers, identify problems and make recommendations to the Thai government in mid-November.
Resin chart shows EPS price correction
AKRON, OHIO — This week's Plastics News resin pricing chart shows a price correction on all grades of expanded polystyrene.
Prices for modified and unmodified EPS, as well as for EPS cup resin, were reduced 10 cents per pound to reflect invoice prices paid by EPS buyers.
The change is a correction, not a downturn in the market price, which industry sources said has climbed 3-6 cents this summer because of a price increase instituted by several manufacturers, including Styrochem International of Fort Worth, Texas.