Steere unveils dip molding growth plan
TALLMADGE, OHIO — Steere Enterprises Inc. in early 1999 plans to begin dip molding operations in a 54,000-square-foot facility under construction near its existing facility in Tallmadge. Increased demand for plastic products made with Steere's other process — blow molding — is driving the expansion.
In addition, Steere acquired a nearby, 38,000-square-foot warehouse with four loading docks.
Steere was founded in 1949 as a dip molding operation and began blow molding in 1970. The firm makes grips, sleeves, specialty items and air induction components for the automotive, hand and power tool, juvenile products, housewares, lawn and garden, fitness and recreation industries.
Hanna teams with Italian compounder
CLEVELAND — M.A. Hanna Co. is entering a joint venture with Bifan SA, the holding company that controls Italian compounder So.F.teR SpA.
Cleveland-based Hanna will hold a majority stake in the venture; So.F.teR will control the rest. Terms were not disclosed.
So.F.teR has annual sales of about $60 million, making it one of the largest independent compounders in Europe. Its sales primarily have been in Italy, where it has three production sites. It also has sales in Eastern Europe and South America.
The Forli, Italy-based company serves the wire and cable, automotive, electrical and electronic, and shoe markets, and makes thermoplastic elastomers and engineering materials.
S.C. PET recycler files for bankruptcy
EDGEFIELD, S.C. — Martin Color-Fi Inc. filed Nov. 16 for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The Edgefield-based firm owes NationsBank of Charlotte, N.C., $60 million.
The filing allows the company to continue business while it reorganizes. Part of that reorganization involves working out a debt repayment plan and submitting a budget.
``The bank filed a foreclosure in one of the counties and our response was to file Chapter 11,'' Stephen Zagorski, executive vice president and operational officer, said in a telephone interview. ``As far as our customers and employees are concerned, it's business as usual.''
He added that at the root of Martin Color-Fi's financial woes were rapid growth, a drop in PET prices and the Asian economic crisis. The company makes polyester fiber from bottles, off-spec packaging resins, fiber waste and film waste.
Toolmaker cranks up new Ohio facility
FREMONT, OHIO — Freeman Co. opened a $4.5 million plant in Fremont earlier this year and is up to full production.
The new, 33,000-square-foot facility is climate-controlled and equipped with the latest technology.
``The new plant and equipment will increase our capacity 300 percent and the plant design facilitates extremely efficient production-line layouts,'' Freeman President Lou Freeman said in a news release.
Erlanger, Ky.-based Freeman makes precision cutting dies, thermoform tooling and cutting and assembly equipment. The factory was built in response to growth from existing customers and expansion into new markets.
The company builds cold-bent, forged and solid cutting dies; and matched metal, contour and three-dimensional tooling. It supplies the plastics industry with complete thermoform tooling for thin-gauge materials.