S&W establishing Minn. design center
EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN. — Custom injection molder S&W Plastics Inc. will streamline its design, mold-building and production operations by integrating them.
The Eden Prairie-based firm will establish an on-site engineering design center by early next year. President Scott Thiss said the company is reorganizing its 56,000-square-foot plant to speed design and engineering so customers can bring products to market more quickly.
S&W will expand design and engineering services with mold-flow and finite-element analysis and material consultation. Decisions made early in design stages have the greatest influence on project costs, according to the company.
S&W mainly uses engineering resins for medical, electronic, computer and industrial markets. It runs 18 Toyo injection presses with clamping forces of 30-300 tons. The firm focuses on precision jobs, large-part molding and stack molding.
Thiss, majority owner, estimated S&W's annual sales at about $11 million. It was founded in 1970 and employs 95.
British firms enter PVC sheet venture
HECKMONDWIKE, ENGLAND — Two small British companies have joined forces to capitalize on a growing demand there for recycled-content rigid PVC sheet.
A&K Plastics Ltd. of Heckmondwike and Thermofilm Ltd. of Bradford, England, have formed A&K Ecofilm Ltd. to extrude PVC sheet for sale to thermoformers.
The partners have invested nearly £400,000 ($644,0000) to install a new twin-screw sheet extrusion line from Italian supplier Amut SpA. The equipment can turn out sheet as wide as 32.8 inches.
In the two months since the line was purchased, it has processed 200,000 pounds of material. The sheet contains 40-50 percent recycled content, said Ken Soutter, a Thermofilm director.
``The demand for recycled-content PVC sheet is growing,'' he said.
One retail store chain is looking for more sources of recycled-content packaging, but very few British processors are making recycled-content PVC sheet, he said.
Henry Lenox Industrial Ltd., the British agent for Novara, Italy-based Amut, installed the extrusion line.
Heywood focuses on building products unit
HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND — Heywood Williams Group plc plans to use cash from the sale of its replacement-windshield business to strengthen its core building-products business through acquisitions.
Options include PVC window, door, profile and pipe businesses in Britain and the United States.
Heywood Williams of Huddersfield announced it sold windshield maker Heywood Williams Automotive Ltd. to Inhoco 788 Ltd. for £77.2 million ($124 million). Earlier, Heywood Williams disposed of two small automotive glass-replacement businesses in France and Germany.
``The sales ... at a very satisfactory price, leave the group totally focused on its building products activities. We intend to retain that focus by growing our core business and by making appropriate, complementary acquisitions as and when suitable opportunities arise,'' said Executive Chairman Ralph Hinchliffe.
The company's U.S. holdings include Bristolpipe Corp. of Elkhart, Ind., and its subsidiary, Columbia Pipe Inc. of Columbia, Tenn.
Hinchliffe added that the publicly traded parent company will buy back as much as 10 percent of its common stock and repay borrowing for its April acquisition of Mottram Group plc's Spectus-Kestrel business. The deal included PVC window and door profile manufacturing plants.
Heywood will have a cash balance of almost $9.6 million, according to the company.