TORONTO — Bi-Ax International Inc. is expanding biaxially oriented polypropylene film capacity at its Tiverton, Ontario, plant.
The private firm runs a 10-foot-wide BOPP line and will install a 161/2-foot line by early next year, said Bi-Ax President David Inglis. The company will use reconditioned machinery made by a variety of suppliers, and an Extrusion Dies Inc. Autoflex die and Measurex system for gauge control. Inglis did not disclose the cost of the program or his firm's production capacity.
Bi-Ax featured its BOPP films at Pac-Ex '97, held Sept. 15-17 in Toronto. Its products include homopolymer films, coextruded heat-sealable types and slip-modified, low-friction types.
Bi-Ax buys its process heat from an unusual source, a nearby nuclear power plant that makes heavy water for local nuclear reactors. Bi-Ax uses excess steam from the power plant to heat its orienter and tenter machines, which account for about 15-20 percent of Bi-Ax's total energy load, Inglis said.
The Bruce Heavy Water Plant is slated to close, but Inglis said Bi-Ax should not be hurt by the decision. The large nuclear complex probably will continue making steam for other operations. Ontario Hydro already has mothballed the nuclear plant, but the utility has been generating steam with oil heaters.
Ontario Hydro offered the excess steam at attractive prices to lure industry to the Tiverton area. The largest user is an alcohol-from-corn fermentation facility. Ingis did not disclose how much of a discount Bi-Ax gets on the steam, but said Ontario Hydro prices it to break even.
Bi-Ax began operating in 1988 and employs about 40. The firm declined to disclose sales data.