Plenco, Bakelite AG form joint venture
SHEBOYGAN, WIS. — Plastics Engineering Co. of Sheboygan is teaming up with Bakelite AG, a subsidiary of Rutgers AG of Iserlohn-Letmathe, Germany.
The companies are forming a joint venture — Rutgers-Plenco LLC — to manufacture and sell technical phenolic resins in North America. Both Bakelite AG and Plastics Engineering — also known as Plenco — will provide technology for the new venture, while Plenco will add production capacity, sales and service to new and existing North American customers.
The joint venture will target the foundry, friction and adhesives industries — new market areas for Plenco, Jeffrey T. Mohr, secretary and general counsel of Plenco, said in a June 8 telephone interview.
Plenco's current phenolic molding compounds business will not be affected by the joint venture, Mohr said.
Bakelite AG was the original European license for the phenolic products of plastics pioneer Leo Baekeland.
The U.S. trademark for Bakelite is held by Union Carbide. That is why the joint venture is using the Rutgers name instead of Bakelite in North America, according to Mohr.
Prince Machine buys maker of controllers
HOLLAND, MICH. — Die-casting machinery maker Prince Machine Corp. of Holland has expanded into plastics equipment by purchasing Quality Process Controls Inc., a maker of temperature controllers.
Paul Dykstra, president of Zeeland, Mich.-based Quality Process Controls, will join Prince Machine as business leader. Quality will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Prince Machine.
Terms of the deal were not released.
Quality makes high-temperature oil circulating systems, portable water chillers and temperature regulators for mold die water. The company serves both the plastic injection molding and die-casting industries.
Dean Francis, Prince Machine's vice president and general manager, said both companies have a similar approach to designing and manufacturing products.
Thermagon increases prepeg production
SAN DIEGO — Thermagon Inc. of Cleveland is adding capacity to make a thermally conductive free-standing prepreg for use in constructing printed circuit boards.
``We are the only company making such a product,'' Carol Latham said at Semi-Therm, held March 10-12 in San Diego. ``Our T-lam system can dissipate more than 10 times the heat and over one-and-one-half times the electrical insulation capacity of industry-standard materials.''
Thermagon expects ``to have $1 million in sales this year'' from this proprietary product and can boost that production by four or five times ``with some added equipment,'' said Latham, president and technical director.
A prototype can ``take six months to two years to design-in at the original equipment manufacturer's production level because the technology is relatively new,'' she said. Thermagon assists OEMs in the design of single-sided, doubled-sided, multi-layer and metal core insulated metal PCBs and supplies T-lam products to PCB makers for print and etch. Applications include power supplies, motor controllers, ABS brake systems and wireless communication systems. Thermagon introduced the material in 1997.
In addition, Thermagon manufactures ``a polymer-based and very-high-thermal-conductivity interface material'' that is used ``in over 50 percent of the notebook computers in the world,'' Latham said. In 1992, she founded the company, which now employs 45 and occupies 25,000 square feet.
Amoco developing injection compounds
SAN DIEGO — Using pitch-based graphite fibers, Amoco Polymers is developing injection molding compounds that ``increase the thermal performance of plastics by several orders of magnitude into the range of stainless steel,'' Thomas Fleming said in an interview at Semi-Therm.
Amoco Polymers targets the heat-dissipation portion of the electronics market, particularly laptop computers and portables, where ``things are happening fastest, sizes are shrinking [and] weight is important,'' said Fleming, electronics market manager for the Alpharetta, Ga.-based business group of Amoco Corp.'s chemical sector.
These composites combine ultra-high-modulus graphite fibers with polymers. ``Although the plastic is thermal insulating, you still get far more thermal reinforcement using fibers than you can by adding metals or particulate,'' he said.
Amoco makes pitch-based graphite fibers in Greenville, S.C. Amoco's year-old Thermal Graph brand distinguishes its thermal-management products from the business unit's aerospace and sporting goods materials, usually made with polyacrylonitrile-based fibers.
Bourhis Mold starts injection molding
HAWTHORNE, CALIF. — Rapid tooling specialist Bourhis Mold Inc. of Hawthorne has expanded into injection molding with the acquisition of a 190-ton Toshiba press, cooling tower and auxiliary equipment.
The company has designed and built molds and prototypes for the plastic and die-casting industries since 1968 and recently formed a division, High Tech Precision Plastics Inc., for entry into the molding business.
Toshiba delivered the injection molding machine and a full set of accessories in March.
Bourhis Mold operates four Fadal computer numerically controlled milling centers that are programmed by five Master Cam workstations and one Surf Cam software station.
Also, Bourhis has three Charmilles sinker electrical discharge machines, seven Bridgeport milling machines and other toolroom equipment to manufacture molds for medical, toy, automotive and computer applications.
The company employs 12 and occupies 13,000 square feet.
Portage expands with its new facility
PORTAGE, WIS. — Portage Casting & Mold Inc., a privately owned maker of molds for thermoforming and blow molding, has expanded its mold-testing capacity with a new, 18,000-square-foot facility.
The facility houses a four-station rotary thermoforming machine with platens measuring 6 feet by 9 feet, and features for testing pressure forming and twin-sheet molds.
PCM is installing a rebuilt blow molding machine in the testing facility. The dual-parison, 35-pound machine will be ready for testing molds by late summer.
``It is hard to give exact figures on how much time or money the company is going to save, but this facility is going to help us,'' said President John Griep.
PCM makes molds for the transportation/distribution, automotive, recreational vehicles, agricultural, retail and packaging markets.