Machinery production increases in Germany
FRANKFURT, GERMANY — German companies increased output of plastics and rubber machinery by 10 percent in 1997, as exports topped the 5 billion-deutsche-mark barrier, according to the trade group VDMA.
VDMA, the German Machinery and Plant Manufacturers Association, reported the value of German plastics and rubber machines probably reached $4 billion in 1997. The Frankfurt-based group said the data is based on initial estimates.
Exports were DM5 billion, or about $3 billion. VDMA cited increases to other European Union countries and ``a further hefty increase in exports to North America, encouraged by the positive economic trend and the exchange rate.''
The German outlook on exports to Asia is not so rosy, however. Economic unrest there caused deliveries to decline in the second half of 1997, temporarily slowing the growth of previous years, VDMA said.
VDMA expressed optimism about Asia this year, although the industry group said the ``Asian flu'' will have a negative impact on demand for machines well into 1999.
For 1997, injection molding machines led the growth. German companies produced $865 million worth of injection presses. Extruders recorded a slight increase, to $692 million. Blow molding machines reached $213 million.
Farrel to renovate Connecticut factory
ANSONIA, CONN. — Farrel Corp., a manufacturer of extruders and mixers for plastics and rubber, announced Jan. 26 it will spend $1.1 million to renovate a 70,000-square-foot area of its headquarters factory in Ansonia.
The improvements will boost efficiency of Farrel's assembly area, Rolf Liebergesell, Farrel's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a news release.
Exact details of the renovation were not available.
Phillips Petroleum raises PPS capacity
BARTLESVILLE, OKLA. — Phillips Petroleum Co. has added 6 million pounds of Ryton-brand polyphenylene sulfide capacity through a major debottlenecking at its Borger, Texas, facility.
The plant now produces 22 million pounds of PPS annually for Bartlesville-based Phillips.
PPS is replacing metal in cars, home appliances and heating equipment and is growing in markets for computers, telecommunications systems and industrial fibers, Phillips officials said.
In the past year, the company has introduced three new PPS-based compounds and is working to develop new markets in PPS alloys and extrusion processing.
JSW may boost its presence in the U.S.
LONG BEACH, CALIF.—JSW Plastics Machinery Inc. may locate two more technical centers in the United States, President Nobuyuki Hirato said at the Western Plastics Expo in Long Beach.
JSW is the North American marketing arm for injection molding machines made by Japan Steel Works Ltd. of Tokyo
In North America, JSW has resisted market pressures to lower prices in the face of the yen's performance, Hirato said. By late January, JSW will establish new pricing that will remain in effect for about six months. The company plans to ``promote [its products] more aggressively in 1998,'' he said in an interview at the January expo.
Among its injection molding products, JSW is emphasizing the J-ELII line of electric servo control machines with clamping forces of 35-120 tons, which are priced about 10-20 percent higher than the J-EII standard machines with hydraulic oil operations.
Also, JSW's line for thin-wall production applications may include a 500-ton model in the future, Hirato said. The J-EII-SP comes now with clamping forces of 200-385 tons.
Hirato splits his time between a Chicago-area technical center in Elk Grove Village, Ill., and JSW's Anaheim, Calif., headquarters and technical center. The California site was relocated in November from Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
Another technical center is in East Granby, Conn., and JSW has service offices in Marietta, Ga., and Plymouth, Mich.
DSM to raise capacity of PBT in Netherlands
SITTARD, NETHERLANDS — DSM Engineering Plastics will increase its polybutylene terephthalate capacity in Emmen, the Netherlands, to 66 million pounds by the end of the first quarter of 1998.
Demand for the firm's Arnite-brand thermoplastic polyesters has been growing 8-9 percent annually, officials said. PBT developments in automotive and electronics are ``very interesting, from a technical point of view as well as from a marketing standpoint,'' Roeland Polet, Arnite global business manager, said in a news release.
Arnite is used in injection molding and extrusion applications such as auto connectors, personal computer connectors, fuse blocks, lamp bases and film.
DSM Engineering Plastics, based in Sittard, posted global sales of about $410 million in such products as thermoplastic polyesters, polyamides, polycarbonate and polyester elastomers in 1997.