Plastics News East Coast staff reporter Steve Toloken gathered the following items at Plastics Fair '98, held Sept. 22-24 in Atlantic City, N.J.
Rival shows drain Plastics Fair turnout
Plastics Fair '98 in Atlantic City, N.J., had 889 attendees and 85 exhibitors, a very low turnout that organizers attributed to bad timing and competition with other trade shows.
``It was very slow, very light,'' said Julie Ichiba, trade show manager with Advanstar Communications in Cleveland. The last East Coast plastics show run by Advanstar, in Providence, R.I., in 1995, drew 4,000 people and more than 200 exhibitors, she said.
Many big exhibitors had to move into the Plastics USA show in Chicago during the week of Sept. 28, and bowed out of Atlantic City because they could not move equipment from there to Chicago quickly, she said. The mammoth K'98 is in late October.
``It was the timing with all the shows and all the competitive shows,'' she said. ``In the last half of the year, there are a lot of shows.''
Topcraft Precision buys H.C. Specialties
Injection molder Topcraft Precision Molders Inc. has purchased a mold maker specializing in electronics, part of a push into molding for circuits and computer chips.
Warminster, Pa.-based Topcraft bought H.C. Specialties, formerly of Newtown, Pa., about six months ago and moved its dozen employees into Topcraft's engineering center in Warrington, Pa., said Jesse Young, vice president of sales for the engineering center.
Terms were not disclosed.
H.C. Specialties builds thermoset encapsulation molds and trim and form systems for electronics, he said. In particular, it develops molds for plastic leaded chip carriers, small outline integrated circuits and ball-grid arrays, he said.
The H.C. Specialties acquisition gives Topcraft 35 employees at its Warrington engineering center.
The company has about $15 million in annual sales.
Slowdown triggers layoffs at Precision
An industrywide slowdown prompted Precision Feedscrews Inc. to lay off four machinists in early August, reducing its payroll to 35, said President James Hagan.
The slowdown began in May, when companies began watching spending much more closely, said Hagan, who is also an owner of the New Castle, Pa., manufacturer and rebuilder of feedscrews for extruders and injection molders.
Hagan said the slowdown may be attributed to companies nervous about the world economy and signs of a deflationary economy.
Hagan said the slowdown seems to be affecting his competitors, as well, and he said business picked up a little recently, but not enough to bring the machinists back.
Apex speeds printing of round containers
Apex Machine Co. said it has developed a way to speed up printing on round plastic containers with a new rotary hot-stamp printing method.
Tom Gray, regional sales manager, declined to disclose details but he said the method can print labels on 50-300 containers per minute, compared with traditional hot-stamping techniques of 20-50 round containers per minute.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Apex markets the rotary hot-stamping system as attachments to its existing equipment, and sells it for about $45,000. Gray said he developed the technology and the company began manufacturing it in the past three months.
Mold Base designs own training program
Mold Base Industries Inc. has started its own self-designed worker training program, an effort the company began two years ago to combat a severe shortage of skilled workers.
The company is happy with the results thus far, and hopes when the three-year effort finishes next year it will be able to retain most of the six apprentices, said Samuel Shiffler, vice president and an owner of the Harrisburg, Pa., company.
``We could have jobs for everybody,'' Shiffler said. ``We just can't get enough people for the expansion we want.''
The shortage is industrywide and is not limited to the Harrisburg area.
The company developed the program on its own, and has the students spend time in design classes and on machines, he said. The mold-base manufacturer employs about 90 people and has annual sales of $10 million to $12 million a year, Shiffler said.
True Precision plans injection molding site
True Precision Plastics has purchased land for a new injection molding facility in Lancaster, Pa., and intends to have it operating in the first quarter of 2000.
The plant will replace the company's existing building in Leola, Pa., said Vice President James Hirsch. The new, 40,000- to 50,000- square-foot structure will give the firm more space, he said.
The move will cost $2 million to $2.5 million, he said.
The facility will sit on 4 acres near the airport in Lancaster and will be expandable, he said. The company, which does a significant amount of molding for Harley Davidson Inc. motorcycles, plans to add two to three presses to its 20 after the move, he said.