The following briefs were compiled by Plastics News staff reporter Steve Toloken at MassPlastics '97, held Oct. 29-30 in Fitchburg, Mass.
Topcraft Precision opens tech center
Injection molder Topcraft Precision Molders Inc. opened a technical center in August to provide product design and development help.
The Warminster, Pa., company spent close to $1 million on the center, which will provide computer-assisted design, engineering support and project management, said Robert Piazzo, vice president of sales and marketing. The 4,000-square-foot center, also in Warminster, has eight toolmakers, and will boost that to 12 by early next year, he said.
``We started to look at what was going on in the industry, particularly automotive,'' he said. ``A lot of companies don't want the expense and effort of development and design upfront.''
Colorants supplier expands in Mass.
Colorant manufacturer Spectra Polymer Co. Inc. is adding five storage silos, is considering building a new facility in the Southeast and has introduced a new product it says can be used with any engineering resin.
The firm is spending $225,000 to add five 80,000-pound storage silos at its Leominster, Mass., headquarters plant, with construction slated to start in early November, said sales manager David Boudreau.
Spectra may build a facility in the Southeast next year, because it now ships ``about a truckload of color'' into the region each week, according to Boudreau.
The firm also has introduced its Spectra II colorant, a line that it claims can work with any engineering resin and requires only about one-fourth of the colorant as the firm's earlier lines, Boudreau said.
Netstal to boost machine production
Injection molding machine maker Netstal Machinery Inc. plans to increase its manufacturing capacity 20-25 percent next year, after its sales showed a solid increase this year, particularly from PET machines.
U.S. sales have been flat at about 100 machines a year for the past two years, but worldwide sales are up significantly this year, to 710 from 550 in 1996, officials said. This year, the firm already has sold about 70 PET machines, up from 20 units last year.
``It will be difficult to handle the business,'' said Werner Christinger, president of Netstal Machinery Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Netstal-Maschinen AG in Nafels, Switzerland.
The production capacity increase will come in Switzerland. Netstal has no plans for U.S. manufacturing or assembly.
Executives made the announcements during a tour of the firm's new North American headquarters, a 25,000-square-foot building on the former Fort Devens military base in Devens, Mass.
Robert Amarace, chief financial officer and treasurer of Netstal Machinery, said the company also is considering a joint venture with a molder of smart cards, but has not yet chosen a partner. Smart-card use will grow dramatically in the United States, he predicted.
General Motors Corp. has named Accutech Plastics Inc. a 1996 Supplier of the Year. The Marlborough, Mass., injection molder makes components for a timing unit used in engines.