Bic Corp. puts cap on its S.C. facility
MILFORD, CONN. — Bic Corp. is closing its Duncan, S.C., facility and moving injection molding and extrusion machinery to its Milford headquarters plant to cut costs.
Bic makes its Wavelength pens and other writing instruments in Duncan and employs about 100 there. Company spokeswoman Linda Kwong said the facility, which opened in 1990, will close by fall. Two other plants in the state will remain open. One in Gaffney makes highlighters, childproof lighters and pen point rollers, and one in Fountain Inn makes Wite-Out related products and inks.
Kwong said the Duncan facility is for sale. She did not provide equipment or capacity details. Bic is converting to third-party distribution centers in the United States to improve service. By fall it will close its Milford shipping department.
AlliedSignal boosts Aclar film capacity
POTTSVILLE, PA. — AlliedSignal Specialty Films recently expanded production capacity for Aclar fluoropolymer film by about 50 percent at Pottsville, the site of its sole Aclar plant.
The Morristown, N.J., firm said it upgraded existing Aclar extrusion lines and installed a new one at an undisclosed cost. AlliedSignal also boosted capacity for Aclon resin, the base resin for Aclar, by about 50 percent at its Elizabeth, N.J., facility.
Whitney Erickson, who is AlliedSignal's market leader for health care, said blister packaging for pharmaceuticals is growing fast and Aclar is a standard material for such applications, especially for rapidly proliferating moisture-sensitive drugs. Aclar has high moisture-barrier properties and clarity. The expansion should cut delivery time for Aclar film from 10 weeks to two to three weeks, the firm said.
Erickson said the two expansions cost millions of dollars, but she wouldn't disclose actual cost or capacity figures. The company installed a new reactor in the Aclon expansion.
More Key Tronic operations go to Mexico
SPOKANE, WASH.—Cost competition is driving independent computer-keyboard maker Key Tronic Corp. to transfer more operations to Ciudad Ju rez, Mexico, from its headquarters in Spokane.
Key Tronic said July 13 it plans to shift the remainder of its Northwest assembly operations and part of its Northwest molding operations in stages over five months. The company will move some assembly and molding workers to Ciudad Ju rez and expects to cut the Spokane work force by 150-200 positions.
Key Tronic develops tooling and injection molds parts of ABS, high-impact polystyrene, polyester, polycarbonate and thermoplastic elastomers. It has more than 100 molding machines, with clamping forces of 50-800 tons. Jack Oehlke, president and chief executive officer, said earlier this year that Key Tronic had 30 presses in Ciudad Ju rez, with room for 40.
The firm opened the Ciudad Ju rez plant in 1996 and expanded it in 1997. Now, the 155,000-square-foot facility is adding design equipment. An 80,000-square-foot warehouse is in nearby El Paso, Texas.
GE eyes Spain plant for major PC boost
PITTSFIELD, MASS. — Although its polycarbonate plant in Cartagena, Spain, isn't set to open until next year, GE Plastics already has announced plans to double the plant's capacity by 2002.
``We're very confident about the future of Lexan polycarbonate,'' GE Plastics President and Chief Executive Gary Rogers said in a news release.
The plant is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 1999 with annual capacity of 286 million pounds. Another 286 million pounds will be added in early 2002.
When completed, the Cartagena site will be GE Plastics' second-largest PC operation, trailing only Mount Vernon, Ind., in overall capacity.
GE Plastics, based in Pittsfield, has operated an 88 million-pound-per-year compounding plant in Cartagena since 1995. The compounding plant produces Cycoloy PC/ABS thermoplastic alloys.
The expansion is being driven by solid PC growth in several markets, particularly such data storage uses as compact discs, CD-ROMs and digital versatile discs, GE officials said. PC and PC/ABS blends also are growing quickly in cellular phones, pagers, computers and automotive instrument panels.
Overall PC growth has averaged between 7 and 8 percent in the past 15 years, GE officials said. The firm expects that number to climb to 9 percent annual growth in the next three to five years.