Premix building new composites plant
MIDLAND, MICH. — Quantum Composites Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of custom compounder and molder Premix Inc., will move to a much larger facility next year.
The company, a maker of high-strength sheet molding compound and other advanced composite materials, plans to open a 45,000-square-foot plant in Bay County, near Midland, by October 1999, said Warren Owens, vice president of Premix's molding compound group.
The firm will invest about $6 million in the move from Quantum's current home in Midland, Owens said. The company outgrew the 20,000-square-foot site Premix bought in 1990, he said.
``With the growth of the business, we were busting at the seams,'' Owens said.
The company will upgrade current equipment and buy several new machines, Owens said. Quantum already has ordered a specially made, 52-inch SMC compounding machine, he said. Auxiliary equipment and bulk-storage pieces also will be added.
Premix bought extra land and plans to expand the Quantum plant again in 2003 by another 20,000 square feet, Owens said.
Quantum makes a variety of structural-strength SMC composites, including different materials using epoxy, polyamides and phenolics as a base.
Its compounds are used frequently by the military, commercial aircraft, and electrical manufacturers, Owens said.
Premix, based in North Kingsville, Ohio, makes both SMC and bulk molding thermoset compounds and also operates an injection and compression molding facility.
Unistar closing Argentine resin facility
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA — Unistar SA on Oct. 31 shut down its 26 million-pound-per-year ABS/styrene-acrylonitrile resin plant in Z rate, Argentina.
The company cited its goal of strengthening its position as a leading polystyrene supplier in the Mercosul trade region, General Manager Oscar Mazza said in a telephone interview from the company's headquarters in Buenos Aires.
By 2001, Unistar will complete a 50 percent expansion of its 132 million pound-per-year PS plant in Z rate. The firm also is building a 265 million pound-per-year PS facility in Triunfo, Brazil, which it plans to launch in December.
``Producing ABS/SAN no longer was convenient for us — we didn't possess sufficient critical mass, nor was the market attractive enough for these resins,'' Mazza said.
Unistar's ABS/SAN facility was the largest of its type in Argentina and operated at two-thirds of its capacity when it was discontinued.
Ticona taps Exxon catalyst technology
OBERHAUSEN, GERMANY — Engineering resins maker Ticona will use Exxon Corp.'s metallocene catalysts to produce cyclic olefin copolymers at a plant under construction in Oberhausen.
A recent agreement between the two firms will allow Frankfurt, Germany-based Ticona to produce 66 million pounds annually of its Topas-brand COCs when the Oberhausen plant opens in mid-2000.
Ticona will use Houston-based Exxon's 800 patent, which Exxon officials said is the world's most widely cited patent in metallocene literature. Ticona is investing $52 million in the plant, which it expects to create 70 jobs.
The North American Ticona unit, based in Summit, N.J., accounts for about 40 percent of the firm's overall sales, which totaled $850 million last year. The firm claims to hold 11 percent of the global market for high-performance resins.
Exxon is one of North America's largest polyethylene makers. The company recently won a metallocene lawsuit against Mobil Chemical Co. of Edison, N.J. Exxon also is involved in metallocene litigation against Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich.
Ticona owner Hoechst AG of Frankfurt plans to spin off Ticona and its Celanese chemicals unit into a new public company called Celanese AG.
Davalor makes room for injection molding
DETROIT — With interest building in its molded products, Davalor Mold Corp. has added 20,000 square feet to its plant in Chesterfield, Mich.
The company, which splits its work between toolmaking and injection molding, added the space to accommodate new molding machines added in the past three years, Davalor Vice President Alan Bernhardt said Nov. 11 during the Modern Mold & Tooling Exposition in Detroit.
The company invested more than $700,000 in the expansion, completed this summer, Bernhardt said.
Davalor injection molds a variety of consumer products, including a patented bowling-ball grip made from PVC. Its molding operations include 50 injection presses with clamping forces of 50-250 tons.
Last year, Davalor also added a 35,000-square-foot raw-materials and parts warehouse near its Chesterfield plant.